Home » Eyes Rolling, Religion, Science » And there you have it!

And there you have it!

Janna Levin Janna Levin, Columbia astrophysicist, gives us the cutting-edge science on the origin of the universe: there was nothing, really nothing, nothing at all … but the potential to exist. Was it Aristotle who said that nothing admits no predicates? So where did nothing get the potential to exist and then bring the universe into existence? Not to worry. Janna does give us this assurance: “We know that something happened.” Yes, this is science at its best. Let’s not bring God or design into this discussion — we wouldn’t want to be accused of “acting stupidly.” Oh, one more thing, she’s an assistant professor (go here). Want to bet that she doesn’t have problems getting tenure? Compare this to Guillermo Gonzalez at Iowa State.

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282 Responses to And there you have it!

  1. Seems she has it all figured out:
    “We are not just imposing human-centric notions on a cosmos independent of us. We are progeny of the cosmos and our ability to understand it is an inheritance.”

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Janna_Levin

    Quite thoughtful that nothing left us such a great inheritance.

    Guess I’ll just pack up my faith in God and move on. Lol.

  2. She said the simplest explanation is that there was nothing and then something. Later on she added other possibilities. Seems reasonable to me.

  3. Mark Frank, that is not a simple answer. It is a simpletons answer. Ad hominem, I know. But this really deserves no less of a response. No more either.

  4. Cool, a megaverse. I would like on of those. Then again, pigs might fly.

    This is what I love about physics — it so quickly turns into philosophy. I wonder when the darwinists will admit that their beloved theory is mostly philosophy too?

  5. I know this will sound a bit rude but I have to ask,, does she actually get paid for teaching that tripe at a university?!? No wonder our education system is going down the tubes! Here is a physicist who is a bit more critical of the evidence:

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjn8poWD7tM

    Evidence against the oscillating universe- Michael Strauss – video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A9G8k02vpI

    Evidence For Flat Universe Reported By Boomerang Project
    http://www.lbl.gov/ScienceArti.....-flat.html

    A “flat universe”, which is actually another surprisingly finely-tuned “coincidence” of the universe, means this universe, left to its own present course of accelerating expansion due to “Dark Energy”, will continue to expand forever, thus fulfilling the thermodynamic equilibrium of the second law to its fullest extent (entropic “Heat Death” of the universe).

    The Future of the Universe
    excerpt: After all the black holes have evaporated, (and after all the ordinary matter made of protons has disintegrated, if protons are unstable), the universe will be nearly empty. Photons, neutrinos, electrons and positrons will fly from place to place, hardly ever encountering each other. It will be cold, and dark, and there is no known process which will ever change things. —- Not a happy ending.

    http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/p.....uture.html

    Psalm 102:25-27
    Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.

    Big Rip
    Excerpt: The Big Rip is a cosmological hypothesis first published in 2003, about the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the matter of universe, from stars and galaxies to atoms and subatomic particles, are progressively torn apart by the expansion of the universe at a certain time in the future. Theoretically, the scale factor of the universe becomes infinite at a finite time in the future.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rip

    Thermodynamic Argument Against Evolution – Thomas Kindell – video
    Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI1RiTOQ4do
    Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgzWMccWOe8
    Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQBjguaBueE

    Romans 8:18-21
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

    I also like this following piece of evidence which unequivocally shows, if human evolution did it occur it was a miracle.

    In Barrow and Tippler’s book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God. William Lane Craig

    William Lane Craig – If Human Evolution Did Occur It Was A Miracle – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUxm8dXLRpA

  6. Re #3

    What you seem to have omitted in your comment is any explanation of why my answer was wrong.

  7. Here is a link for the flat universe that works:

    Strong Evidence For a Flat Universe:
    http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Art.....-flat.html

  8. Hey Mark–what you seem to have omitted from comment #2 is any explanation of how Janna got from nothing to something. That’s quite a remarkable philosophical feat. How did she accomplish it?

  9. I see Levin and Barrow published on the Copernican principle:

    The Copernican Principle in Compact Spacetimes
    Authors: John D. Barrow, Janna Levin
    http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0304038

    To which they try to find a true “center” for the universe.

    My question is by what methodology are they trying to find a center to the universe in 4D space-time cosmology:

    Space itself was created in the Big Bang and continues to “expand equally in all places” i.e. The universe is not expanding “into” anything outside of itself. Thus from a 3-dimensional perspective, any particular “material” spot in the universe is to be considered just as “center of the universe” as any other particular material spot in the universe is to be considered “center of the universe”.

    There Is No Three-Dimensional Center To This Universe – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_7Ta5igSEc

    Where is the centre of the universe?:
    Excerpt: There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a “Big Bang” about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell.
    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/.....entre.html

    This assertion, that it is possible for the earth to now be considered the “center of the universe”, is clearly illustrated by the fact the Cosmic Background Radiation, left over from the creation of the universe, is coming at us equally from all points surrounding us in space (In fact it is coming at each individual observer in space-time equally from all points in space).

    COBE – WMAP Satellites – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huaS_iSITQs

    Earth As The Center Of The Universe – image
    http://universe-review.ca/R02-16-universe.htm

    So in a holistic sense, from what we now know to be true from 4-Dimensional space-time cosmology, and from other facts of a Privileged Planet (Gonzalez, Ross, Brownlee), everything in the entire universe can be found to be “centered” on the “observer platform” of earth, since there is no true 3-D material center to this universe. In fact, depending on how much relative importance can be found in a single person, the whole universe could truthfully be said to be “centered on” a single person. Thus, much contrary to the mediocrity of earth and of humans, brought about by the heliocentric discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus, this finding of a “4-dimensional space-time” for our universe is in fact very comforting to Theistic postulations in general, and even lends very strong support of plausibility to the main tenet of Christianity which holds Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.

    Matthew 28:18
    And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and upon earth.”

    To solidify this assertion that the universe is “centered” on life within it, I would like to point out that quantum mechanics is now completely verified to be “absolutely dependent” on a observer:

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    The Miraculous Foundation of Reality – Dr. Quantum – Double Slit & Entanglement – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzQuU6FpYAk

    To me it is extremely interesting that quantum mechanics tells us that a wave collapse to a quasi 3-D particle is “centered” on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas 4-D space-time cosmology tells us the 3-D universe is “centered” on each individual conscious observer in the universe. Why should the universe, or the sub-atomic world, even care that I exist? This is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large and the very small. A congruence they seem to be having a extremely difficult time making a connection with mathematically (Penrose, Einstein). Yet, a connection which Jesus apparently seems to have joined together with His resurrection as somewhat illustrated by this following video:

    A Particle Physicist Looks At The Turin Shroud Image – 4:25 minute mark of video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgvEDfkuhGg

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.”
    St. Augustine

    In fact I was having a very hard time understanding how all 3-Dimensional “material” spots may be considered “central” in 4D space-time cosmology until I realized that the wave collapse to quasi-3D particles, in quantum mechanics, is totally dependent on each individual observer,,, Thus if I was on the other side of the universe the wave collapse to quasi-3D particles would be dependent on my position and the universe would reflect that, since observation is necessary for the wave to collapse to its quasi-3D state, and It would thus always give me a consistent position of centrality in the cosmos… Pretty neat Huh?!? A life centered cosmos!

    John 1:4
    In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

    As well, I find the fact this seemingly insignificant earth is found to revolve around the much more massive sun to be reflective of our true spiritual condition. In regards to God’s “kingdom of light”, are we not to keep in mind our lives are to be guided by the much higher purpose which is tied to our future in God’s “kingdom of light”? Are we not to avoid placing too much emphasis on what this world has to offer, since it is so much more insignificant than what heaven has to offer?

    Sara Groves – You Are The Sun – Music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foz25j0r2rM

    Louie Giglio – How Great Is Our God – Part 2 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfNiZrt5FjU

    Psalm 8: 3-4
    When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have
    ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

  10. Mark Frank @ 6

    What question did you actually answer in 2? … I see only a comment.

    If it regards your stating what Janna Levin said, then it wouldn’t be practical to explain why you are wrong, but moreso why she is wrong. And to simply state that she is not making a simple(st) explanation is not a statment with an ommitted explantion, because an explanation is not requiered. However, you can ask for one, just don’t call it an ‘ommission’ as if it is someone hiding something.

    If it regards the fact that you stated that you think Janna’s view is reasonable, then explaining that you are wrong that you think that would be silly. Because, Who can argue about what you actually think?

    But if you want an explanation as to why your reasoning is wrong, that is another issue….but you have to clarify if thats what you want.

    Final note: You said that Janna said ‘X’, and that she said ‘X’ is the simplest explanation. Yet, it is not the simplest answer. Nothing doing something makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! Like saying nothing is nothing in actuality makes no sense if you don’t realize there must still be an outside reality to nothing. And reality is not nothing.

    So, why not the answer: God

    Why can’t that be the simplest answer? It’s even shorter to type out!:) A single three letter word.

    that’s much simpler than saying ‘nothing ‘made’ something’.

    Example on the paltriness of her supposed ‘explanation’:

    Quiestion: Explain the origin of microchips.

    Explanation: Nothing made microchips.

    Ultimately, she is saying that.

  11. I see Levin and Barrow published on the Copernican principle:

    The Copernican Principle in Compact Spacetimes
    Authors: John D. Barrow, Janna Levin
    http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0304038

    To which they try to find a true “center” for the universe.

    My question is by what methodology are they trying to find a center to the universe in 4D space-time cosmology:

    Space itself was created in the Big Bang and continues to “expand equally in all places” i.e. The universe is not expanding “into” anything outside of itself. Thus from a 3-dimensional perspective, any particular “material” spot in the universe is to be considered just as “center of the universe” as any other particular material spot in the universe is to be considered “center of the universe”.

    There Is No Three-Dimensional Center To This Universe – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_7Ta5igSEc

    Where is the centre of the universe?:
    Excerpt: There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a “Big Bang” about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell.
    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/.....entre.html

    This assertion, that it is possible for the earth to now be considered the “center of the universe”, is clearly illustrated by the fact the Cosmic Background Radiation, left over from the creation of the universe, is coming at us equally from all points surrounding us in space (In fact it is coming at each individual observer in space-time equally from all points in space).

    COBE – WMAP Satellites – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huaS_iSITQs

    Earth As The Center Of The Universe – image
    http://universe-review.ca/R02-16-universe.htm

    So in a holistic sense, from what we now know to be true from 4-Dimensional space-time cosmology, and from other facts of a Privileged Planet (Gonzalez, Ross, Brownlee), everything in the entire universe can be found to be “centered” on the “observer platform” of earth, since there is no true 3-D material center to this universe. In fact, depending on how much relative importance can be found in a single person, the whole universe could truthfully be said to be “centered on” a single person. Thus, much contrary to the mediocrity of earth and of humans, brought about by the heliocentric discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus, this finding of a “4-dimensional space-time” for our universe is in fact very comforting to Theistic postulations in general, and even lends very strong support of plausibility to the main tenet of Christianity which holds Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.

    Matthew 28:18
    And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and upon earth.”

    To solidify this assertion that the universe is “centered” on life within it, I would like to point out that quantum mechanics is now completely verified to be “absolutely dependent” on a observer:

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    The Miraculous Foundation of Reality – Dr. Quantum – Double Slit & Entanglement – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzQuU6FpYAk

    To me it is extremely interesting that quantum mechanics tells us that a wave collapse to a quasi 3-D particle is “centered” on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas 4-D space-time cosmology tells us the 3-D universe is “centered” on each individual conscious observer in the universe. Why should the universe, or the sub-atomic world, even care that I exist? This is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large and the very small. A congruence they seem to be having a extremely difficult time making a connection with mathematically (Penrose, Einstein). Yet, a connection which Jesus apparently seems to have joined together with His resurrection as somewhat illustrated by this following video:

    A Particle Physicist Looks At The Turin Shroud Image – 4:25 minute mark of video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgvEDfkuhGg

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.”
    St. Augustine

    In fact I was having a very hard time understanding how all 3-Dimensional “material” spots may be considered “central” in 4D space-time cosmology until I realized that the wave collapse to quasi-3D particles, in quantum mechanics, is totally dependent on each individual observer,,, Thus if I was on the other side of the universe the wave collapse to quasi-3D particles would be dependent on my position and the universe would reflect that, since observation is necessary for the wave to collapse to its quasi-3D state, and It would thus always give me a consistent position of centrality in the cosmos… Pretty neat Huh?!? A life centered cosmos!

    John 1:4
    In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

    Psalm 8: 3-4
    When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have
    ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

  12. As said before, science has problems with origins.

    1. Existence – why does anything exist?

    2. A universe that’s so exquisitely fine tuned.

    3. A planet that is also so fine tuned for carbon based life,

    4. Life

    5. Origin of species – yes they are nowhere on this except for the trivial. Poor Darwin, did he get anything right?

    6. Consciousness

    None can be explained yet with chance and law. The closest is the origin of the Earth. The formation of planets is well understood, not just one so fine tuned as Earth. All can be explained by an agency with great intelligence except the first.

    That is why the greatest of all questions is “Why should anything exist?”

    After viewing this video with its interesting graphics Janna says she knows essentially nothing. Is that good enough for tenure?

  13. It seems to me that if something came from nothing, nothing is not nothing, but something. Am I missing something?

  14. #8

    Hey Mark–what you seem to have omitted from comment #2 is any explanation of how Janna got from nothing to something. That’s quite a remarkable philosophical feat. How did she accomplish it?

    Well that’s at least phrasing an objection. So presumably the supposed error is that you cannot get from nothing to something. I don’t know how she would respond. She only had a few minutes on you-tube to try to explain something quite extraordinary. But this is my response. It is true that to go from nothing to something appears impossible in our medium space/ medium time world; but we are talking about the most extraordinary circumstances imaginable. Even the phrase “get to” has to be stretched. This implies an order of events in time – when you get from A to B that usually implies A existed before B. But in this case B is the beginning of time – no thing existed before it. It is not that there was a void and then something. It is the word “before” that is the problem.

    It is hard to even phrase the question much less the answer.

    I would accept that her phrase “potential to exist” is problematic. All that you have to say is – things began – end of story. Why does this need an explanation or something else that didn’t begin?

  15. Reason has rules, which among other things, allow us to eliminate possibilities so that we can move logically from point A to point B. We cannot say, for example, IF A is true, then B MUST be true, unless we can also say that C through Z are impossible. If we didn’t agree, in advance, that C through Z are impossible, such as [a thing cannot be and not be], [the whole cannot be less that any of its parts], [something cannot come from nothing], [physical events cannot occur without causes etc.], then we couldn’t reason our way from A to B or enter into rational discouse with others. But postmodernist cosmologists and atheist Darwinists, who reject these rules, cannot, in any context, say If A is true, then B must be true, because they refuse to rule out C through Z. That is another way of saying that they cannot reason in the abstract.

    In keeping with the point, most rational people understand that streets don’t just get wet—something had to cause the streets to get wet. Thus, we say that IF the streets are wet, THEN it must be raining, or else someone turned on a fire hydrant, or for some other reason. Postmodernists, however, cannot do IF/THEN propositions in this fashion because, for them, reason has no standards, meaning that nothing can be ruled out. So they will ask, “Why can’t the streets just get wet?” “Can you provide me with evidence that moisture, like the cosmos or life cannot just come from out of nowhere.” or “you are wrong because quantum particles can appear without a cause,” and so on. For them physical events, or anything else for that matter, can “just happen.” Obviously, if that was really the case, then science would be finished because there would be no way of knowing which events had causes and which ones did not.

    Indeed, without the rules of right reason, anything at all can happen. Darwinists on this site often object when I point out that the whole must always be greater than any one of its parts. Among other things they have said, “We don’t know what ‘greater’” means,’ or “your rule is a mere tautology,” or “please provide evidence for your assertion,” or “those are just your rules,” and other such nonsense. Indeed, when I asked these same bloggers if an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft, they insisted that such a thing is, indeed, possible. On matters of design and chance, it does no good to provide evidence for anyone trapped in this postmodernist mind set, because evidence is of no use to anyone who cannot think—and make no mistake, anyone who thinks that something can come from nothing or that an automobile can be a part of a crankshaft, cannot think.

  16. That should read…anyone who [believes] that something can come from nothing or that an automobile can be a part of a crankshaft, cannot think.

  17. JGuy (#9) asked: “So, why not the answer: God

    Ah, but which God? The deist’s generic “supreme being,” or Jehovah / Yahweh – or Wotan / Odin or Vishnu or Zeus or Jupiter? How can you prove any particular god with one iota more credibility than Levin’s “nothing to something”?

  18. It can be argued that all concepts of origins are illogical, implying that the truth is beyond logic and human reason. Take the following:

    (1) Absolutely nothing spontaneously became something and is eternal.
    (2) Almost absolutely nothing (except potential), spontaneously became something and is eternal. “Potential” had no cause and no beginning.
    (3) Something always existed and is eternal (no origin and no end)
    (4) Something came from absolutely nothing through the act of a Creator. Then before this an infinite regress of previous Creators of Creators.
    (5) Something came from nothing through the act of an uncreated Creator with no beginning and no end (at least no infinite regress problem, and more in accordance with cosmological fine tuning for life).

  19. Forgot to add, #2 is Levin’s concept.

  20. Paul Burnett’s flippant remark, which totally ignores the transcendent God of the Bible and the fact his base “material reality” is just as imaginary as any of the pagan gods of history, reminds me of this video:

    Atheists: Trapped in Flat Land? – There’s More! – Rob Bell
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JmMTobaM68

  21. Stephen, you’re into jazz.

    Are you into LPs?

    Broken records?

    Indeed, when I asked these same bloggers if an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft, they insisted that such a thing is, indeed, possible.

    You’ve been relating this fascinating crankshaft story for weeks, Stephen. But so far as I can determine you tale hangs on a single response, as follows, from Lenoxus:

    Well, of course an automobile could be part of an enormous crankshaft, like some kind of huge modern sculpture. (It wouldn’t be a functional automobile in the sense of moving forward.) :)

    Original here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-328445

    You’ll notice that Lenoxus indicated that in this case the “crankshaft” wasn’t an actual crankshaft, but a non-functional sculpture, and followed his comment with a frakking SMILEY, indicating that it wasn’t a serious response. There is no “insisting” in that thread or anywhere else on this board.

    Nevertheless, you immediately got busy either misconstruing and/or distorting the obvious intent of his remark:

    I appreciate your honest confession [or perhaps insinuation] that you believe that the whole is not necessarily greater than any one of its parts. This is, of course, the problem.

    Give the crankshaft a rest, Stephen. No one, including Lenoxus above, has seriously suggested that an actual automobile can be part of an actual crankshaft.

  22. GilDodgen, #13

    The term “nothing” is presented here and elsewhere as if it has ontological existence and creative power.

    Consider Peter Atkins, from Oxford University.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    This is an example of the absurdity reached in light of philosophical naturalism. He is making truth claims – indeed so is Janna Levin – and subsequently throw out all references to the law of non-contradiction. There is no other alternative or explanation. But the theist is the idiot.

    Dallas Willard states this problem well, as far as I am concerned.

    “Evolution, whether cosmic or biological, cannot — logically cannot! — be a theory of ultimate origins of existence or order, precisely because its operations always presuppose the prior existence of certain entities with specific potential behaviors, as well as of an environment of some specific kind that operates upon those entities in some specifically ordered (law-governed) fashion, to determine which ones are allowed to survive and reproduce.

    Let us quite generally state: any sort of evolution of order of any kind will always presuppose pre-existing order and pre-existing entities governed by it. It follows as a simple matter of logic that not all order evolved. Given the physical world — and however much of evolution it may or may not contain — there is or was some order in it which did not evolve. However it may have originated (if it originated), that order did not evolve, for it was the condition of any evolution at all occurring. We come here upon a logically insurpassable limit to what evolution, however it may be understood, can accomplish.”

  23. Also for StephenB, from an earlier thread:

    I’m still hoping you’ll provide to us an examplar of an argument within evolutionary biology that is defective specifically due to a failure (you claim a motivated failure) to observe the “rules of right reason”, as you submit above. I’m not aware of any posit with evolutionary biology that hinges upon necessary violations of causality, nor of the law of non-contradiction, nor of your postulate that both the universe or our minds are rational, or that wholes are necessarily greater than parts. Yet you have submitted that greater problems arise within evolutionary theory due to such failures than to deficiencies of evidence.

    I’ve asked this before, but have yet to receive a relevant. Still, in the context of a discussion vis evolution, you keep repeating right reason…tsshhht right reason…tsshhht right reason…tsshhht right reason…tsshhht right reason…

  24. ….response.

  25. GilDodgen

    It seems to me that if something came from nothing, nothing is not nothing, but something. Am I missing something?

    ROTFL

    I posted a simple comment on the stupidity of the vid’s “explanations” on youtube – and as expected got a slew of ad homs in return. All from the monkey brained atheist gallery who don’t want to think but just believe. Yet I made no mention of God, ID, creationism, … just how do you get something from nothing.

  26. Gildogen

    It seems to me that if something came from nothing, nothing is not nothing, but something. Am I missing something?

    Yeah, nothing.

  27. Notice how she jumps from the fact that the math of the big bang cannot explain the whole picture to “therefore there is an infinite collaping universe cycle” or “infinite number of universes interacting in some fundamental or primal fashion.”

    I mean she is once again playing the physicist’s secular religion card of “we cant explain it therefore anything but mind or God caused it.”

    And of course there is no evidence of whether of his speculations- those physical models are merely fitted into the data- and not deduced form the data. That is the difference between ID and science and these physical theories and science. ID is an argument from evidence to inferred conclusion whereas her hypotheses are an argument from those ideas onto the data. They are just basically fanciful ways of delivering non-teleological arguments from ignorance.

  28. Nothing would have to transcend reality itself to be truly nothing.

    Let’s assume that nothing really existed. For it to actually exist, then nothing would actually be in a state of existence. Even if it is the only possible state of existence, it’s existence as absolutely nothing could not be a part of reality, it would have to be at the final reality; else…it’s something.

    In other words, if nothing existed, then how can it really exist? It appears to require a transcendent framework of reality to truly exist. And such a framework is not nothing… it’s something.

    The closet might contain nothing, but there’s still a closet.

  29. —Diffaxial: “Give the crankshaft a rest, Stephen. No one, including Lenoxus above, has seriously suggested that an actual automobile can be part of an actual crankshaft.”

    —”You’ll notice that Lenoxus indicated that in this case the “crankshaft” wasn’t an actual crankshaft, but a non-functional sculpture, and followed his comment with a frakking SMILEY, indicating that it wasn’t a serious response.”

    Why would I want to give it a rest. I love exposing Darwinist irrationality. It makes my day.

    Sorry, but your damage control isn’t working. First, I wasn’t referring to Lenoxus; I was referring to seversky. Second, Lenoxus was not agreeing with me; he was disagreeing with me. The smiley face has nothing to do with it. He could not say with authority that an automobile could not be a part of a crankshaft. Get it.

  30. —Diffaxial: “Give the crankshaft a rest, Stephen. No one, including Lenoxus above, has seriously suggested that an actual automobile can be part of an actual crankshaft.”

    You are equivocating again with that weasel worded “no one has suggested” routine. That always a dead giveaway for Darwinists when they are reluctant to answer a simple question. Yes or no. Can an automobile be a part of a crankshaft? If not, why not?

  31. —magnam:”(5) Something came from nothing through the act of an uncreated Creator with no beginning and no end (at least no infinite regress problem, and more in accordance with cosmological fine tuning for life).”

    To come from an uncreated Creator is not to come from nothing. You need to let that one go.

  32. Does this mean we can no longer use the phrase I’ve got nothing to say and remain silent. That is, since nothing would not only be something but everything.

  33. Nothing is not a thing, nor is it the name of anything. Nothing is merely a way of saying of anything, that it is not something else.
    – unknown

  34. StephenB @ 29:

    I wasn’t referring to Lenoxus; I was referring to seversky.

    That is incorrect. Seversky’s first post on that thread followed both Lenoxus’ post and your response to that post, quoted above. Moreover, you directly quoted Lenoxus, then supplied your reply.

    Second, Lenoxus was not agreeing with me; he was disagreeing with me. The smiley face has nothing to do with it.

    Lenoxus did not assert that an ordinary automobile can be part of an ordinary crankshaft (Neither did Seversky; what he asked is what you mean by “greater” in this context.) Interested readers can follow the above link and judge for themselves.

    However, perhaps you have other links to Darwinists insisting that an automobile can be a part of a crankshaft. If so, please supply.

    Lenoxus did pose an excellent question:

    In any case, I’m curious where Darwinism violates the whole-parts principle.

    Your reply was nonsensical:

    Darwinism violates the principle that physical events need no causes and the principle that something cannot come from nothing.

    Nonsensical in that Darwinism postulates neither that physical events need no causes nor that something can come from nothing.

    You are equivocating again with that weasel worded “no one has suggested” routine. That always a dead giveaway for Darwinists when they are reluctant to answer a simple question.

    I am quite unequivocally stating that you have distorted the record vis past conversations on this topic. No Darwinist has insisted that an ordinary automobile can be part of an ordinary crankshaft.

    I haven’t commented on the actual assertion in any way, equivocally or otherwise.

  35. toc @22 and @23: You are on a roll. Also, the Dallas Willard quote is excellent.

  36. —Diffaxial: “I am quite unequivocally stating that you have distorted the record vis past conversations on this topic. No Darwinist has insisted that an ordinary automobile can be part of an ordinary crankshaft.

    I have distorted nothing. On the contrary, you are desparately looking for distractions.

    —”I haven’t commented on the actual assertion in any way, equivocally or otherwise.”

    You are equivocating right now by refusing to answer the question. Can an automobile be a part of a crankshaft? Yes or no. Can Diffaxial be a part of his liver? Yes or no. If not, why not?

  37. StephenB @ 36:

    I have distorted nothing.

    So you say. The record establishes otherwise.

    On the contrary, you are desparately looking for distractions.

    That depends upon what one regards as the topic. The topic I am pursuing is your consistent misrepresentation of your discussant’s responses to your favorite question.

    To refute the charge of distortion, quote a participant insisting that ordinary automobiles can be parts of ordinary crankshafts. That would establish the accuracy of this statement:

    Indeed, when I asked these same bloggers if an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft, they insisted that such a thing is, indeed, possible.

    I say that is false.

  38. So cosmological theory before this point was woefully incomplete because it lacked Nothing.

    But with this insight, it appears to have Nothing to say about Everything.

    That’s really something.

    But how can this idea not inspire haiku? Here’s a crappy one:
    ——

    Nothing existed
    But then nothing got lonely
    We are his new friends!

  39. Mark Frank @6

    My comment was more directed at Levin than yourself. However, allanius @8 and Jguy @9 have spelled out what should have been obvious.

    Having an open mind about how things came into being is not jumping of the cliff of reason. Which it seems, happens in the materialist mind. Frequently.

    If you think God is an unacceptable answer as to how we got here you must ask the question why it is that ‘God’ is any more unreasonable than ‘nothing’. I see no reason to, outside personal prejudice.

    If you think that ‘God’ (a being of immense intellect and power) is a superior answer to ‘nothing’ (nothing) than God is the simplest answer.

    @Bornagain77, Thanks for the Craig debate video, I thought I had seen them all. I’m a fan of his.

  40. I wrote: Indeed, when I asked these same bloggers if an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft, they insisted that such a thing is, indeed, possible.

    —Diffaxial: “I say that is false.”

    Then you are making a false statement.

    Lenoxus wrote:

    “Well, of course an automobile COULD be part of an enormous crankshaft, like some kind of huge modern sculpture. (It wouldn’t be a functional automobile in the sense of moving forward.)”

    (Capital letters are mine.)

    I didn’t ask if the automobile would be functional; I asked if an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft, and he said that it could.

    At stake here is one principle of right reason which holds that the whole is always greater than any one of its parts. (For those who care, science depends on several principles of right reason, yet Darwinists continually disavow them when asked. To deny these principles is to deny reason itself. Read my comments at 15).

    Seversky refused to acknowledge that an automobile cannot be a part of a crankshaft and you, on this very thread, refuse to acknowledge it even after being asked three times.

    Diffaxial, I ask you again: Can an automobile be a part of a crankshaft? Yes of no. If not, why not?

    If you don’t like that example, let’s try another one: Can you be a part of your liver. Yes or no. If not, why not?

    You have stated on many occassions that the principles of right reason do not apply to the real world, but when I provide real world examples to test your assertions, you are not so enthusiastic about defending those claims. There is a very simple answer to this question and, if you are intellectually honest, you will answer it.

  41. Knowing the Darwinist capacity to look for any means to avoid substantive debate, I should probably emphasize the relational component here: Can an automobile be a part of ITS crankshaft? [As in a whole is always greater than any one of ITS parts.]

  42. Diffaxial: How about this one? Can an automobile be smaller than its crankshaft? Surely, you will affirm that it cannot, and we can stop all of this foolishness.

  43. talking about if a car is its crankshaft:

    Is This Intelligent Design or Chance?
    http://www.tangle.com/view_vid.....386efdede8

  44. I think I get it.

    There was nothing then there was something like a “hot space” then it inflated for a fraction of a second (faster than the speed of light) then it expanded normally and after 3 minutes atoms formed then it produced human beings after 14 billion years then it bounced over and over and it is a bubble and we are on the surface of the bubble.
    Also almost all of this “something” is undetectable (dark energy and matter) but it must be there otherwise none of this could have happened.

    Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

  45. Also, we’re only allowed to be on the surface of the bubble and not inside the bubble because that’s totally preposterous and unacceptable even though everything looks like we’re in the centre of the bubble.

    Have I got that right?

  46. bornagain77,

    I guess it’s a cool video, but I’m with the commenter that said:

    I don’t get what you trying to prove in this commercial!!! God Bless!!!

  47. StephenB clarifies @ 40:

    I should probably emphasize the relational component here: Can an automobile be a part of ITS crankshaft?

    That is helpful. It is certainly how I have understood your question from the start.

    Rather obviously, when Lenoxus stated that an automobile might be a part of an enormous sculpture of a crankshaft (which is certainly true), he was NOT asserting that an automobile can be part of its OWN crankshaft. Ipso facto, he was not arguing for a violation of a part-whole relationship, as you claim.

    Seversky’s only comment on the topic is as follows, in its entirety:

    Perhaps you – or StephenB – could define “greater than” in this context?

    For example, obviously a car, viewed as a machine for transporting people from place to place, is assembled from many more components than just the crankshaft. Is that what “greater than” means here: ‘made of more parts than’?

    On the other hand, an artist might view a car as a form of sculpture: an assemblage of parts whose function is to provide a housing or a context for the crankshaft which is viewed as the focal point of the work and hence ‘greater’ than the other parts either singly or severally. In this case, “greater than” could mean ‘having more aesthetic appeal or significance than’

    Words are slippery things in that they can have a number of different meanings – the words ‘information’ and ‘religious’ come to mind in the context of this blog – so we should try to choose them carefully so as to avoid ambiguity as far as possible.

    Nowhere in the above does Seversky “insist” upon anything resembling the assertion that an automobile may be part of its crankshaft. What I see is a request for a clarification of the meaning of “greater than” in this context, and the observation that the need for clarification arises because “words are slippery.”

    You state that daft Darwinists insist that such part whole violations are possible, that an automobile can be part of its crankshaft. I say that is incorrect. Your refutation remains a quote of a participant insisting that such a violation is possible. Lenoxus’ statement clearly fails to meet that description. Neither does Seversky’s. Yet you say,

    Indeed, when I asked these same bloggers if an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft, they insisted that such a thing is, indeed, possible.

    If your assertion is true, it should be a simple matter to provide quotes. I say it is false.

    My thoughts on the matter, whatever they may be, have no bearing on that.

  48. —Diffaxial: “Rather obviously, when Lenoxus stated that an automobile might be a part of an enormous sculpture of a crankshaft (which is certainly true), he was NOT asserting that an automobile can be part of its OWN crankshaft. Ipso facto, he was not arguing for a violation of a part-whole relationship, as you claim.”

    At the time, I used the less restrictive language, and yet he responded in the affirmative. Just as I charged, he argued that an automobile can be a part of A crankshaft. Therefore, your objection is pointless.

    —Diffaxial: “My thoughts on the matter, whatever they may be, have no bearing on that.”

    Your thoughts are absolutely essential since you have asserted all along that the principles of right reason do not apply to the real world. Clearly, you are afraid to answer the question and the reason is obvious:

    If you say, yes, an automobile must be larger than its crankshaft, you are conceding that the principle alluded to [the whole is always greater than any one of its parts] really does apply to the real world, and your entire argument is shredded.

    If you say no, an automobile can, indeed, be smaller than its crankshaft, all reasonable people [except your Darwinist friends, who may well agree] will laugh their heads off.

    That is why you will not answer the question and why all of your colleagues equivocate, affirm the ridiculous, or remain silent.

    The broader point I made at 15, which, of course, you also avoid, [Darwists always avoid context] holds now more than ever. Even after all this fuss, you run from the question in an attempt to avoid refutation. Darwnists cannot reason their way from A to B because they cannot rule out C through Z—they cannot and will not rule out the logically impossible in order to save their illogical paradigm. Thus, when called on it, they do just what you are doing—they look for any means possible to escape, refusing to provide an honest answer to an honest question.

  49. StephenB (49),

    “The broader point I made at 15, which, of course, you also avoid, [Darwists always avoid context] holds now more than ever”

    I think YOU are the one avoiding context with this example of automobiles/crankshafts. If you want a sensible answer then you must define explicitly what you mean by “greater than”.

    So do you have a definition? Frankly, I doubt it.

  50. StephenB @ 48:

    I used the less restrictive language, and yet he responded in the affirmative. Just as I charged, he argued that an automobile can be a part of A crankshaft. Therefore, your objection is pointless.

    Squirm all you like.

    The sense you intend your readers to take from “I asked if an automobile could be part of a crankshaft” is what is important. The only reasonable reading is that you intend to convey that some daft Darwinist has claimed that an ordinary automobile can be part of an ordinary crankshaft: “they insisted that such a thing is, indeed, possible.”

    But Lenoxus’ reply fails to exemplify that, and fails to exemplify a Darwinist irrationally advocating a violation of the part-whole principle, and therefore his inability to think. It is certainly true that an automobile could be part of an enormous sculpture of a crankshaft. That has no bearing upon the part-whole violation you wished to exemplify. (That, by the way, was the problem with his tongue-in-cheek reply).

    Your thoughts are absolutely essential since you have asserted all along that the principles of right reason do not apply to the real world.

    That’s another topic. The topic I am pursuing is not the validity of these principles. The topic I am pursuing is your frequent repetition of a distorted and misleading anecdote.

    Indeed, when I asked these same bloggers if an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft, they insisted that such a thing is, indeed, possible.

    I say this is false. Your simple refutation is to quote a participant insisting that an ordinary automobile can be part of an ordinary crankshaft, in the sense you intend your reader to take from “I asked if an automobile could be part of a crankshaft”.

  51. —-Diffaxial: But Lenoxus’ reply fails to exemplify that, and fails to exemplify a Darwinist irrationally advocating a violation of the part-whole principle, and therefore his inability to think. It is certainly true that an automobile could be part of an enormous sculpture of a crankshaft. That has no bearing upon the part-whole violation you wished to exemplify. (That, by the way, was the problem with his tongue-in-cheek reply).

    His reply indicates exactly what I said it indicates. The words speak for themselves. In any case, there are other examples I could offer besides Lenoxus, but I don’t want to provide you with further distractions and excuses for running and hiding.

    —-Diffaxial: “That’s another topic. The topic I am pursuing is not the validity of these principles. The topic I am pursuing is your frequent repetition of a distorted and misleading anecdote.

    On the contrary, it is the topic. I introduced it much earlier in this thead. It is also consistent with the overall theme first proposed, which is another of reason’s principles [something cannot come from nothing]. You introduced the distraction much later. The issue is very simple. Darwinists cannot reason in the abstract because they refuse to rule out logical impossibilities indicated by the reason’s rules.

    Thread after thread, you have asserted that the principles of right reason do not really apply to the real world. Yet, when I clarify those principles in the form of easily understood concrete examples and ask you the relevant questions, you always find some excuse to avoid discussion.

    Clearly, you are afraid to answer the question and the reason is obvious:

    If you say, yes, an automobile must be larger than its crankshaft, you are conceding that the principle alluded to [the whole is always greater than any one of its parts] really does apply to the real world, and your entire argument is shredded.

    If you say no, an automobile can, indeed, be smaller than its crankshaft, all reasonable people [except your Darwinist friends, who may well agree] will laugh their heads off.

    So, you use the history of other bloggers as a distraction and an excuse for not answering the question. Still, because you have consistently claimed that the principles of right reason are “mere tautologies” and do not apply to the real world, you are morally obliged to stand up to the challenge and provide an honest answer to an honest question.

  52. StephenB @ 50:

    His reply indicates exactly what I said it indicates. The words speak for themselves. In any case, there are other examples I could offer besides Lenoxus, but I don’t want to provide you with further distractions and excuses for running and hiding.

    No quote, no refutation. My characterization of your anecdote stands.

  53. —Diffaxial: “The topic I am pursuing is not the validity of these principles.”

    That is very convenient for you. It is, however, the subject that I am pursuing, the one that I introduced prior to your distraction, and the one which confirms the theme of the thread. So, my question for you at 48 and 50 remains.

  54. Diffaxial,

    Thy name is Distration if you cannot honestly answer his direct question to you 4 times at least.

    Why refuse to answer?

    Diffaxial, I ask you again: Can an automobile be a part of a crankshaft? Yes of no. If not, why not?

    If you don’t like that example, let’s try another one: Can you be a part of your liver. Yes or no. If not, why not

    Answer the question. It is very simple yes or no.

    StephenB is correct. Your refusal to answer this simple, direct question speaks volumes.

    And btw, not everyone is here monitoring 24/7 like the unusual number of revolving door Darwinist at UD.

    I just read this and find it amusing how you twist, turn and slither out of answering a direct question.

    If you refuse to answer, then StephenB’s statement:

    “If you say, yes, an automobile must be larger than its crankshaft, you are conceding that the principle alluded to [the whole is always greater than any one of its parts] really does apply to the real world, and your entire argument is shredded.

    If you say no, an automobile can, indeed, be smaller than its crankshaft, all reasonable people [except your Darwinist friends, who may well agree] will laugh their heads off.

    That is why you will not answer the question and why all of your colleagues equivocate, affirm the ridiculous, or remain silent.

    … has merit.

    StephenB is not playing a broken record.

    He’s playing music, with repetitive notes – yes to make a point, much like any well composed piece resoundingly moves forward measure by measure with added sticatto and melody repeats that can sing out with a flourish and a crescendo. Marches are famous for this as are any ballads that return to a well worn path. Where would Hip Hop artist be without repeats of great classics intertwined through their songs? DJs are famous for phat fingering old school records.

    Keep playing the good music StephenB. I like the beat and the repeat. DJ DJizzle FoSchizzle around line 33, then hop to 45 and repeat on the down beat.

    Sanity is to much for some folks to comprehend when it blows apart their worldviews. Rather than admitting their worldviews have obvious flaws, they’ll dither and dather around and fiddle faddle.

    I’m one reader glad you reset the replay of the Darwinist faux free way. Otherwise, I’d never known they blew past the free lunch.

  55. Hello all. I wasn’t really planning to come back into the arena, but I would like to offer a slightly different view on this ‘the whole must be greater than its parts’ discussion.

    There is actually a lack of specification in the expression as stated.

    ‘Greater’ is of course often used in reference to physical size, but it does not have to be. Something can also be greater in other respects (as already alluded to by another poster). For some of those other meanings, it is not hard to think of examples where the part can, indeed, be greater than the whole it is part of.

    For a random example, consider a highly valuable, unique classic car. This particular car has over the ages been repaired and restored to a large degree, and one of the few remaining genuine original parts is the crankshaft.

    Imagine an unfortunate accident where this car was totally wrecked and written off, with most parts damaged beyond repair, and the wreck resting in a remote part of the country in a 200 ft deep gully where it left the road.

    If the owner put the entire wreck as one lot on Ebay it is easy to see how this would attract lower bids, and thus be of smaller value, than if he were to salvage the original and fortunately undamaged crankshaft and put that on Ebay by itself.

    So in this case the part is greater than the whole, in value terms.

    One can easily think of other measures by which this may be the case. For instance, a different crankshaft is an iconic piece of innovative engineering, mounted in an otherwise wholly mediocre and unremarkable car. In that case the crankshaft would be greater than the car itself, in the sense of being an important feat of engineering.

    As always, context is essential, and few situations are black and white (or great and small).

    fG

  56. —faded glory: Thank you for positing that a crankshaft can be greater than the automobile of which it is a part. Please inform Diffaxial that you are the latest entry in a long list of Darwinists that he claims does not exist.

  57. DATCG: Thanks for the kind words. I also continue to read your excellent posts with interest.

  58. StephenB, you are welcome. Would you agree that my post you responded to contains two valid examples of how we sometimes can say that a part can be greater than its whole?

    fG

  59. StephenB @ 56:

    Thank you for positing that a crankshaft can be greater than the automobile of which it is a part. Please inform Diffaxial that you are the latest entry in a long list of Darwinists that he claims does not exist.

    Faded’s comment is very similar to Seversky’s earlier remark (quoted in its entirety above). The sense in which he suggests that a crankshaft can be “greater than” the automobile in which it is contained (specifically, “greater” in artistic, monetary, or engineering value) does not, in any way, exemplify your favorite part-whole violation. He does not posit that an automobile can be part of its (or any other) crankshaft. Rather, he (as did Seversky) notes that “greater” can have many meanings (greater value, etc.) and needs disambiguation.

    No participant has made statements that resemble “an automobile could be part of a crankshaft” in the sense you intend your readers to take from your statement, to wit: Daft Darwinists have insisted that an ordinary automobile can be part of an ordinary crankshaft.

    But you have a “long list.” Post that list, with quotes. A bit of cut and paste is all it takes. Until you, do my characterization of your tiresome anecdote as distorted and misleading stands.

  60. FG: No, sorry, I cannot affirm you examples. In both cases you are trying to subjectivize an objective principle of measurement.

    Even at that, in the first instance, you separated the part from the whole. Using your standard of market value, a junked out car with a valuable crankshaft is still worth more than a valuable crankshaft without the car.

    In the second instance, you are trying to elevate the innovation of a crankshaft, however novel it may be, to a level higher than that the entity which it serves, namely the automobile. That would be like saying that the creation of an innovatively designed artificial heart could be a greater accomplishment than the creation a human being, which is that which the heart serves. The human being is always greater than its heart, or its liver; the automobile is always greater than its crankshaft, or its oil pan.

  61. —Diffaxial, “No participant has made statements that resemble “an automobile could be part of a crankshaft” in the sense you intend your readers to take from your statement, to wit: Daft Darwinists have insisted that an ordinary automobile can be part of an ordinary crankshaft.”]

    Diffaxial, you are all wet. Lenoxus responded to exactly that point and exactly those words. With slightly different wording, I thanked faded glory for “positing that a crankshaft can be greater than the automobile of which it is a part,” and he responded, YOU ARE WELCOME.

    Al least faded glory has the courage to put his thoughts on the table. He, like seversky, Lenoxus, and others, girded up his loins, entered into the arena, and took his swing. You, on the other hand, remain on the sidelines, harping and sniping from what you believe to be a safe distance from the subject matter.

    On the other hand, you are not really on safe ground at all. You know very well which principle is being discussed and you know very well that you have declared that it does not apply to the real world.

    All you have to do is say the following: A crankshaft can never be greater that the automobile of which it is a part because the whole is always greater than any one of its parts.

    Can you say it? If not, then I must assume that, given your skepticism about the principle that informs the proposition, you accept the alternative proposition, namely that a crankshaft can, indeed, be greater than the automobile of which it is a part.

  62. We could, of course, shift to any one of reason’s first principles to make a similar point about the futility of trying to think without honoring reason’s rules, which is what Darwinists do. Let’s think about the ridiculous notion that something can come from nothing or the related concept that physical events could occur without causes. Once again, we can put flesh, blood, and bones on an abstract principle with a specific example.

    Consider the following proposition: Streets don’t just “get wet.” Using the scientific and philosophical principle of causation, we understand that something had to cause the streets to get wet. Thus, we say that if the streets are wet, then it must be raining, or else someone turned on a fire hydrant, or for some other reason. But in my correspondence with Darwinists, it is clear that they think that streets really can just get wet without a cause. For them physical events do not necessarily need causes or necessary conditions; for them, something can come from nothing. (Each time I raise the point, they appeal to quantum mechanics and I have to explain to them that quantum particles are spontaneous and unpredictable, but they are not uncaused)

    For Darwinists, a universe can pop into existence, life can come from non-life, and streets can just “get wet.” [Incredibly, one Darwinist labored intently over the meaning of the word “wet.”] He just could not reconcile himself with the notion that moisture cannot appear without some explanation.

    As all reasonable people know, facts and evidence do not just interpret themselves. That is why I do not often discuss science with Darwinists. They cannot follow where the evidence leads, because they cannot or will not interpret evidence according to the principles of right reason. How can they interpret evidence reasonably when they are hell bent on rejecting reason itself?

  63. StephenB @ 62:

    Diffaxial, you are all wet. Lenoxus responded to exactly that point and exactly those words.

    You seem to have forgotten that the point of your crankshaft example was to concretize the principle, “a whole is always greater than any one of its parts.”

    Does an enormous crankshaft-sculpture built from automobiles violate this part-whole relationship? (Lenoxus)

    It does not. In that instance automobiles are the parts, and the crankshaft the whole.

    Does a crankshaft of greater value than the auto of which it is part violate the part-whole relationship? (Seversky and Faded.)

    It does not. “Greater than” no longer refers to a part whole relationship, rather other forms of relative value.

    Do any of these “Darwinists” therefore assert that a violation of the part-whole relationship is possible?

    They do not.

    Do they therefore support the intent of your woebegone anecdote?

    They do not.

    Their attempts are problematic, however, and I can help you see why. Each of the examples they offer attempts to describe a context in which the statement “the crankshaft is greater than the automobile” is true. However, in establishing those contexts they have so altered the meanings of either “crankshaft” (in Lenoxus’ case) or “greater than” (in Seversky’s and Faded’s examples) that the resulting statement, understood in that context, no longer violates the part-whole relationship. In the instance of Lenoxus’ enormous sculpture the crankshaft has legitimately become the whole and the autos the parts, so there is no violation. The “valuable crankshaft” example of Faded doesn’t challenge the part whole relationshp and, in my opinion, doesn’t really work, but it does raise a good question: what is meant by “greater than?” Larger? Larger quantity? Greater (aesthetic, engineering, monetary value? This is a good question, also raised by Seversky, one that I haven’t seen answered.

    You know very well that you have declared that it does not apply to the real world.

    I have never commented directly on your “crankshaft” illustration, one way or the other.

    The closest I have come to commenting on the principle it purports to clarify (not very successfully) was to observe that “a whole is always greater than any one of its parts” mostly exercises the definitions of “whole,” “part” and “greater than.”

  64. Diffaxial: While I don’t agree with your above analysis, I am going to focus on your comments alone. I don’t want to continue vollying about other bloggers.

    —”I have never commented directly on your “crankshaft” illustration, one way or the other.”

    True enough.

    —”The closest I have come to commenting on the principle it purports to clarify (not very successfully) was to observe that “a whole is always greater than any one of its parts” mostly exercises the definitions of “whole,” “part” and “greater than.”

    You have stated categorically that all the principles of right reason that I have alluded to, including that one, do not apply to the real world. Among others, we can include the law of non-contradiction, the law of causation, and the principle that something cannot come from nothing.

    Without those principles, science cannot endure and rational discouse collapses.

  65. StephenB @ 64:

    I don’t want to continue vollying about other bloggers.

    We are volleying about this repeated claim of yours:

    Indeed, when I asked these same bloggers if an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft, they insisted that such a thing is, indeed, possible.

    Which is false and misleading. No participant has insisted that an ordinary automobile can be part of an ordinary crankshaft, in a sense that violates a part-whole relationship, and in the sense you intended your readers to take from the above quote.

    Equally false and misleading is the following:

    But in my correspondence with Darwinists, it is clear that they think that streets really can just get wet without a cause.

    Flat fact: No “Darwinist” UD participant has asserted that streets can “really” just get wet without a cause. Yet in the above you certainly intend that readers take from your statement that some daft Darwinists have claimed that “streets really can just get wet without a cause.” Your insertion of “really” reflects your intent that your readers accept this as a literal claim. Therefore arguments referring to the putative acausality of quantum events, and so on, don’t meet this description.

    Your simple refutation is a quote or a link to a participant asserting “streets really can just get wet without a cause.” Perhaps I missed it.

  66. —-Daffixial: “We are volleying about this repeated claim of yours:

    I am focusing on your proclivity to run away from your own statements.

    You have stated categorically that all the principles of right reason that I have alluded to, including that one, do not apply to the real world. Among others, we can include the law of non-contradiction, the law of causation, and the principle that something cannot come from nothing.

    —”Flat fact: No “Darwinist” UD participant has asserted that streets can “really” just get wet without a cause.”

    I didn’t say that they asserted any such thing. I said, “it is clear that they ‘think’ that streets could “just get wet.” That is absolutely true. They think, and have stated, that physical events can occur without causes. Under those circumstances, streets could just get wet. No cause needed.

    —-”Yet in the above you certainly intend that readers take from your statement that some daft Darwinists have claimed that “streets really can just get wet without a cause.”

    No, I did not, as is clear with my explanation.

    —-”Your insertion of “really” reflects your intent that your readers accept this as a literal claim.”

    No, it reflects my intent to show what Darwinists think, just I said. Darwinists think that events can occur without causes. So, that means that, in principle, there is no reason to think that streets couldn’t get wet without a cause. Darwinists think that something can come from nothing. That’s what you think.

    Can you state categorically that streets cannot get wet without a cause? If so, on what principle do you make that statement? You either think that it is possible or you do not. Make up your mind.

    —”Therefore arguments referring to the putative acausality of quantum events, and so on, don’t meet this description.”

    Yes, they do. You have stated that quantum events are acausal. So, you clearly believe that they occur without a cause. So, clearly, you accept the proposition that events can occur without causes.

  67. I didn’t say that they asserted any such thing. I said, “it is clear that they ‘think’ that streets could “just get wet.” That is absolutely true.

    OK. But no participant has stated that they think that streets could “really just get wet.” Therefore you are simply guessing, or perhaps deploying a heretofore undisclosed talent for telepathy. Yet your powers have failed you, because the assertion is almost certainly factually incorrect: no Darwinist has said that because no Darwinist believes it. I certainly don’t.

    What you want to say is that it follows from the claim that there is an element of acausality/indeterminism at the quantum level vis, for example, timing of particle decay, that streets can “really just get wet.” Further, you want to say that that an individual who asserts that elements of quantum indeterminacy amount to a limited domain of acausality is being inconsistent in denying that that “streets can really just get wet.”

    But the physics itself tells us that that doesn’t follow: the indeterminacy and profound randomness of quantum events is displayed at the quantum level to degrees that can be predicted probabilistically with great precision, probabilities that render meaningful macrophysical violations a non factor in our experience of and reasoning over ordinary macrophysical events. Macrophysical events (such as the wetting of streets) obey classical causality with a fidelity sufficient to prompt us all, Darwinists and those among us who are less bright alike, to always expect that macrophysical events have macrophysical causes.

    You also stated:

    So [postmodernists] will ask, “Why can’t the streets just get wet?” “Can you provide me with evidence that moisture, like the cosmos or life cannot just come from out of nowhere.” or “you are wrong because quantum particles can appear without a cause,” and so on. For them physical events, or anything else for that matter, can “just happen.”

    To the extent that this refers to exchanges on UD in which I have participated, this is pure fiction. (Perhaps you court such dimwitted corespondents in another venue.) No one here (in my experience) has asked “why can’t the streets just get wet?” No one has requested “evidence that moisture, like the cosmos or life cannot just come out of nowhere.” And no one has stated that it follows from the facts of quantum physics that macrophysical events such as the wetting of roads can “just happen.” No one has made statements that even remotely resemble these. To the extent that this refers to our previous conversations on UD, these statements are false and misleading.

    Your simple refutation is to quote someone asking “why can’t the streets just get wet?” “Why can’t moisture come out of nowhere?” or asserting that quantum indeterminacy means that the wetting of roads can “just happen.”

  68. If Darwinists, [you if you like] think that a universe can appear without a cause, matter can come from non-matter, life from non-life, and quantum events can occur without a cause, then clearly they allow for the possibility that all kinds of events can occur without causes. That means that causality is a take it or leave it proposition for Dariwnists, which is another way of saying that they have no reason to reject the possibility that wet streets can appear without a cause. Indeed, each time I have asked, you have refused to declare that causeless wet streets are an impossibility. Thus, I must assume that you think causeless wet streets are possible.

    Now you have said this: “Macrophysical events (such as the wetting of streets) obey classical causality with a fidelity sufficient to prompt us all, Darwinists and those among us who are less bright alike, to always expect that macrophysical events have macrophysical causes.”

    So, you “expect” wet streets to have causes, but you cannot say with certainly that causeless wet streets are impossible. Thus, you allow for the possbilit that, perhaps under some circumstances, streets could just get wet without a cause. After all, you allow for a causeless universe. A causeless wet street is much less problematical than a causeless universe.

  69. StephenB @ 68:

    Thus, I must assume that you think causeless wet streets are possible.

    I can hear it now: “Why just last week I was discussing this with Diffaxial, and he insisted that causeless wet streets were possible!”

  70. Dif:”I can hear it now: “Why just last week I was discussing this with Diffaxial, and he insisted that causeless wet streets were possible!”

    It still blows my mind that people actually assert that from nothing you can get something, that events happen without a cause,etc. I mean this is absurd.

    Stephens point is very germaine. If at the most fundamental level of reality events have no causes then why would one not think that causeless wet streets are possible. Why not?

    BTW Diffaxial to you think it causeless wet streets are possible?

    Vivid

  71. Correction:

    BTW Diffaxial do you think causeless wet streets are possible?

    Vivid

  72. —vividbleau: “It still blows my mind that people actually assert that from nothing you can get something, that events happen without a cause,etc. I mean this is absurd.”

    Yes, and in the name of science, which assumes uncompromising causality as one of its metaphysical foundations. Clearly, you get it.

  73. —Diffaxial: “I can hear it now: “Why just last week I was discussing this with Diffaxial, and he insisted that causeless wet streets were possible!”

    As a tribute to our long standing relationship, I will withhold the word “insist,” and speak only in generalities {Darwinists] i.e. Darwinists allow for the possibility that streets can just “get wet,”

    And,

    [that the whole need not be greater than one its parts],
    [that a thing can be and not be],

    [that causation can come and go]

    In other words, Darwinists think that anything at all can happen except design.

    You know the drill by now. They can’t reason If A then B, because they can’t rule out C through Z.

  74. “Yes, and in the name of science, which assumes uncompromising causality as one of its metaphysical foundations. Clearly, you get it.”

    Actually to embrace acausality at any level is the death knell for science.

    Vivid

  75. vividbleau, out of curiosity, do you believe that streets can be wet without sufficient cause?

  76. Footnote:

    1] Unless all NECESSARY causal factors are present, an event CANNOT happen.

    2] If SUFFICIENT causal factors are present, the even WILL happen.

    3] If an event DID happen, sufficient causal factors, AND necessary causal factors had to be present. (The two sets of factors need not be equivalent. Overkill is possible.)

    GEM of TKI

  77. In other words, Darwinists think that anything at all can happen except design.

    Let us review.

    You state that daft Darwinists have insisted that the part-whole relationships can be violated. Why just the other day they insisted that an ordinary automobile can be part of an ordinary crankshaft.

    Yet no one has.

    You state that it is absolutely true that daft Darwinists think that streets can really wet themselves without cause. Why just the other day postmodernists asked, “Why can’t the streets just get wet?” or “Can you provide me with evidence that moisture, like the cosmos or life cannot just come from out of nowhere” or “you are wrong because quantum particles can appear without a cause,” and so on.

    Yet no one has.

    And NOW you say DARWINISTS think that anything at all can happen.

    Gotcha.

  78. kairosfocus:

    If an event DID happen, sufficient causal factors, AND necessary causal factors had to be present.

    StephenB disagrees with you on that, as he accepts that quantum events can result from insufficient causes. Your disagreement with StephenB brands you as clearly irrational.

  79. —-Diffaxisl: “Let us review.”

    Let’s do.

    —-“You state that daft Darwinists have insisted that the part-whole relationships can be violated. Why just the other day they insisted that an ordinary automobile can be part of an ordinary crankshaft.

    Notice how you had to use the word “ordinary” in order to convey the meaning even though I don’t recall using that word. Sometimes, we have to use words that others didn’t use in order to characterize their position. This is especially true with Darwinists who try to use words to convey two different meanings at the same time in order to avoid debate, like you do with the word “natural.” That means that reasonable people must cut through the fog, and I don’t hesitate to do that, especially when the irrational obfuscation cries out for clarity.

    You and others Darwinists do, indeed, “INSIST” that the part-whole relationship is not one of reason’s principles. Thus, for you, and the others, it doesn’t apply to the real world. Lenoxus stated outright that an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft in an attempt to deny the principle. So, he was not taken out of context. For your part, all you have to do is declare, in principle, that an automobile cannot be a part of its crankshaft on the grounds that the whole is always greater than any one of its parts. Or, if you like, you can say that an automobile is always greater than any one of its parts on the same grounds. Can you do it? If not, then the charge stands.

    —–“You state that it is absolutely true that daft Darwinists think that streets can really wet themselves without cause. Why just the other day postmodernists asked, “Why can’t the streets just get wet?” or “Can you provide me with evidence that moisture, like the cosmos or life cannot just come from out of nowhere” or “you are wrong because quantum particles can appear without a cause,” and so on.

    —–“Yet no one has.”

    You have refused to state that it is impossible, so clearly you allow for the possibility. That means that you think it could be true. You cannot say that IF the streets are wet, something MUST have caused it. Vivid picked up on that.

    [Again, I don’t think I used the word, “absolutely true?” (Actually the term is not too far off, but I think I will play your game and pretend that since I didn’t use that exact formulation, I should not be held accountable for the meaning it conveys. See how that works? It’s called laboring over the trivial to avoid substance, which defines your agenda.)]

    Darwinists cannot reason IF A, then B MUST be true because, by rejecting reason’s first principles, they cannot rule out C through Z. I am not easily distracted.

    —-“And NOW you say DARWINISTS think that anything at all can happen.

    Actually, I would modify that. Darwinists think that anything at all could happen—–except design. Also, some Darwinists have a certain talent for alliteration. I like your formulation, “Daft Darwinists,” for example. It’s got style.

  80. Darwinists cannot reason in the abstract because they refuse to rule out logical impossibilities indicated by the reason’s rules.

    It’s interesting to watch StephenB criticize the postmodern mindset that he attributes to his opponents. To me, StephenB seems afflicted with a pre-modern mindset. There was a time when confidence was placed in models/rules/beliefs/assumptions simply because they seemed reasonable, or “self-evident”, whatever that means. Modern science has largely cured us of that naivete. Nowadays, we understand better the need to support empirical beliefs with data, mathematical beliefs with math, and logical beliefs with actual logic.

    StephenB cannot support his philosophical rules thusly, in part because they’re devoid of operational or formal definitions. “The whole cannot be less that any of its parts” is either a trivial tautology or false, depending on how you flesh out the definitions. A sum can be less than some of its terms, and a product can be less than some of its factors. Does that falsify the rule? We have no way of knowing, as the rule is ill-defined.

    The same goes for “a thing cannot be and not be”, “something cannot come from nothing”, and “physical events cannot occur without causes”. When pressed to flesh out that last rule, StephenB defined “causes” as “either necessary OR sufficient cause”, which means that physical events can occur without sufficient causes. He seems not to see how this dilutes to the rule to the point of vacuity. Unless StephenB can conceive of an event that’s devoid of necessary conditions, the rule allows any event the he can conceive of.

    The rules are fine for philosophical musing, but StephenB shouldn’t be surprised if the scientific community (including evolutionary biologists) is unimpressed.

  81. —Rob to kairosfocus: “StephenB disagrees with you on that, as he accepts that quantum events can result from insufficient causes. Your disagreement with StephenB brands you as clearly irrational.”

    Where did you get that nonsense? My position on necessary and sufficient causality is exactly the same as kairosfocus’ position.

  82. StephenB:

    Where did you get that nonsense?

    Here:

    In any quantum event, physically NECESSARY conditions exist that are not SUFFICIENT to make that event occur, meaning that the conditions cannot GUANRANTEE the event. So, when a particle appears in a quantum vacuum, it is spontaneous but not uncaused because it has many necessary conditions.

    [Emphasis in original]

  83. —-Rob: “It’s interesting to watch StephenB criticize the postmodern mindset that he attributes to his opponents. To me, StephenB seems afflicted with a pre-modern mindset. There was a time when confidence was placed in models/rules/beliefs/assumptions simply because they seemed reasonable, or “self-evident”, whatever that means. Modern science has largely cured us of that naivete. Nowadays, we understand better the need to support empirical beliefs with data, mathematical beliefs with math, and logical beliefs with actual logic.”

    Modern science can hardly cure the rules of right reason on which it rests. It is interesting that Rob’s first sentence tells us that science has outgrown the rules of logic and in the second sentence that science should be supported by the same logic that it has outgrown. This is Darwinism at its best folks. Reread his paragraph and weep for him and all postmodernist partisans.

    —-“StephenB cannot support his philosophical rules thusly, in part because they’re devoid of operational or formal definitions. “The whole cannot be less that any of its parts” is either a trivial tautology or false, depending on how you flesh out the definitions. A sum can be less than some of its terms, and a product can be less than some of its factors. Does that falsify the rule? We have no way of knowing, as the rule is ill-defined.”

    They are not “my” rules. They are as old as Aristotle. Logic does not stop being logic and reason does not stop being reason—-except, of course, for Rob. Poor insular Darwinists.

    I picked this up from Wikipedia:

    Whole-Part Relationship

    “A whole-part relationship indicates that one entity is composed of one or more parts which are themselves instances of that or another entity. Typically, a part can only be “attached” to one whole at a time. The parts can be said, in some very real way, to make up the whole.

    In object-technology, whole-part or composition relationships have very specific meaning and use—typically denoting sole ownership over a set of object instances as well as certain copy, update, and delete semantics. In psychology and semantic modeling whole-part relationships reflect construction of larger entities out of smaller ones. These uses of the term are parallel to each other but not identical.
    ________________________________________
    Example: A car is made up of a body, three or four wheels, a steering mechanism, a braking mechanism, and a power-train.
    This is essentially a definition by parts for a car. In mechanical assemblages, the parts are the major subassemblies of the whole. In naturalistic objects, the parts are the major pieces into which a person would mentally dissect the object.”

    Everyone gets this except the Darwinists.

    —-Rob: “The same goes for “a thing cannot be and not be”, “something cannot come from nothing”, and “physical events cannot occur without causes”. When pressed to flesh out that last rule, StephenB defined “causes” as “either necessary OR sufficient cause”, which means that physical events can occur without sufficient causes. He seems not to see how this dilutes to the rule to the point of vacuity. Unless StephenB can conceive of an event that’s devoid of necessary conditions, the rule allows any event the he can conceive of.”

    Thank you for confessing that you think something can come from nothing, that physical events can occur without causes, and that a thing can be and not be at the same time. I wasn’t “pressed” to flesh out the rule; I introduced the concept of necessary and sufficient causes to you and the other Darwinists who apparently had never heard of it.

    —-“The rules are fine for philosophical musing, but StephenB shouldn’t be surprised if the scientific community (including evolutionary biologists) is unimpressed.”

    Obviously, you are unaware of the metaphysical foundations for modern science. Normally, I would recommend a book, but in this case, I think it would be futile. In any case, why would irrational Darwinists be impressed when I expose their irrationality? You are making no sense at all.

    —-“StephenB defined “causes” as “either necessary OR sufficient cause”, which means that physical events can occur without sufficient causes.”

    That does not follow at all. Your confusion is remarkable.

  84. Rob @82. You do not understand what your read, so you should not comment on it until you absorb it.

    kairosfocus wrote, “If an event DID happen, sufficient causal factors, AND necessary causal factors had to be present.”

    That is my position and always has been.

  85. R0b,

    The rules are fine for philosophical musing, but StephenB shouldn’t be surprised if the scientific community (including evolutionary biologists) is unimpressed.

    Yeah, since when should the philosophy of science ever have any bearing on what scientists steeped in scientism believe, nevermind that scientism is a philosophy, just like the rest of your post is. I had a guy tell me once that philosophy didn’t get any work done, that it was science that actually did things, and of course, I told him that he was welcome to hold that philosophy :) just as you’re welcome to hold your scientism philosophy, but don’t be surprised when the rest of us who know philosophy are not impressed by yours.

  86. Rob,

    Just for fun, rreflect on the fire triangle as a simple model of sufficiency and necessity of causal factors in action.

    To start a fire, make sure that each factor is present: heat, fuel oxidiser. (Go back to boy scout days . . . or use the now classic Ishikawa fish bone causal chain diagrams )

    To put it out, rob it if any one. (that’s how fire fighting works.)

    GEM of TKI

  87. StephenB @ 79:

    You and others Darwinists do, indeed, “INSIST” that the part-whole relationship is not one of reason’s principles.

    “Insist” arose in your statement, “Indeed, when I asked these same bloggers if an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft, they insisted that such a thing is, indeed, possible.”

    In light of the meaning you intend your readers take from the above, namely a statement referring to ordinary automobiles and ordinary crankshafts, this is a false and misleading statement.

    Lenoxus stated outright that an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft in an attempt to deny the principle. So, he was not taken out of context.

    You omit crucial contextual information from this very statement, namely that Lenoxus was imagining an enormous sculpture of a crankshaft rather than an ordinary crankshaft. It is to constrain such distortions of the intentions behind the posts of other contributors that I have included “ordinary” in my paraphrase of your example. Cheeseparing is not my aim.

    For your part, all you have to do is declare, in principle, that an automobile cannot be a part of its crankshaft on the grounds that the whole is always greater than any one of its parts.

    There are further, more accurate alternatives beyond “either an automobile can be part of its crankshaft or an automobile cannot be part of its crankshaft” that, upon reflection, I would advocate. But not now, because…

    StephenB @ 79:

    I don’t think I used the word, “absolutely true?” (Actually the term is not too far off, but I think I will play your game and pretend that since I didn’t use that exact formulation, I should not be held accountable for the meaning it conveys. See how that works? It’s called laboring over the trivial to avoid substance, which defines your agenda

    StephenB @ 66:

    I said, “it is clear that they ‘think’ that streets could “just get wet.” That is absolutely true.

    …you can’t get your OWN words straight, much less others’.

    NOW you’ll accept accountability for your words?

  88. StephenB:

    It is interesting that Rob’s first sentence tells us that science has outgrown the rules of logic

    What rules of logic are you talking about? Are you referring to your rules of right reason? If so, they seem more like assertions about physical reality than rules of logic.

    Logic does not stop being logic

    Please point me to the logic by which you have supported your assertions.

    I picked this up from Wikipedia…Everyone gets this except the Darwinists.

    Thank you. When has any “Darwinist” contradicted anything in that passage?

    Thank you for confessing that you think something can come from nothing, that physical events can occur without causes, and that a thing can be and not be at the same time.

    Do you understand the difference between saying that something is ill-defined and saying that it’s false? Do you understand the difference between pointing out the implications of something and taking a position on whether that something is true or not? Seriously, I would like an answer on whether you understand these distinctions.

    I introduced the concept of necessary and sufficient causes to you and the other Darwinists who apparently had never heard of it.

    And what did we say that made you think that we had never heard of it?

    In any case, why would irrational Darwinists be impressed when I expose their irrationality? You are making no sense at all.

    What Darwinist would be not be impressed to see Darwinism rationally demonstrated to be wrong? I’m sorry this doesn’t make sense to you.

    That does not follow at all. Your confusion is remarkable.

    It follows quite naturally, although I should have said “your rule allows physical events without sufficient causes” rather than “physical events can occur without sufficient causes”.

    Rule: For every event E, it is the case that E resulted from sufficient causes OR (inclusive) E resulted from necessary causes.

    How does “E0 resulted from necessary but not sufficient causes” contradict the above rule? Please point out my remarkable confusion.

    If you think I’ve misstated your rule, then we can go back to this thread and review exactly what you said.

    That is my position and always has been.

    Are you the StephenB who commented on the aforementioned thread? If so, how do you reconcile your comments there with your current position?

  89. R0b,

    Maybe this will help,

    [T]he view in question is just the view that human thought is not true, not a reflection of reality. And this view is itself a thought. In other words, we are asking ‘Is the thought that no thoughts are true, itself true?’ If we answer Yes, we contradict ourselves. For if all thoughts are untrue, then this thought is untrue.

    There is therefore no question of a total scepticism about human thought. We are always prevented from accepting total scepticism because it can be formulated only by making a tacit exception in favour of the thought we are thinking at the moment — just as the man who warns the newcomer ‘Don’t trust anyone in this office’ always expects you to trust him at that moment… However small the class, some class of thoughts must be regarded not as mere facts about the way human brains work, but as true insights, as the reflection of reality in human consciousness.

    One popular distinction is between what is called scientific thought and other kinds of thought…..

    You can read the rest here:
    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

  90. R0b,

    It’s interesting to watch StephenB criticize the postmodern mindset that he attributes to his opponents. To me, StephenB seems afflicted with a pre-modern mindset. There was a time when confidence was placed in models/rules/beliefs/assumptions simply because they seemed reasonable, or “self-evident”, whatever that means. Modern science has largely cured us of that naivete.

    The belief that the post-modern system of thought is by definition truer or more advanced than any system of thought which came before it, merely because it is modern, will itself be outdated and wrong by its very system, just give it time. :) I love these kinds of debates, they show the absurdity of post-modernism.

  91. Clive, I agree. I’ve never been a fan of pomo.

  92. —Diffaxial:” NOW you’ll accept accountability for your words?”

    Of course. I said I don’t REMEMBER using it, so if I used it fine. As I said, it conveys the meaning very well. GET IT.

    Now, will you address the substantive issues, or are you going to run and hide forever.

    —”You omit crucial contextual information from this very statement, namely that Lenoxus was imagining an enormous sculpture of a crankshaft rather than an ordinary crankshaft. It is to constrain such distortions of the intentions behind the posts of other contributors that I have included “ordinary” in my paraphrase ”

    Oh, so now you say its OK to use words that other don’t use in order to provide the right context. Finally, you get it.

    So, quit dodging the issue that, in effect, you made default claims that were not expressed explictly.

    In fact, you deny all principles of right reason and any example, apt or not, that expresses that denail. The issue is that which you will not address:

    Darwinists cannot reason IF A, then B MUST be true because, by rejecting reason’s first principles, they cannot rule out C through Z.

  93. —-“Rob: “What rules of logic are you talking about? Are you referring to your rules of right reason? If so, they seem more like assertions about physical reality than rules of logic.”

    If you don’t know what rules I am talking about by now, I don’t think repetition would help. In any case, thank you for confessing that you don’t know that logic has standards.

    —-“When has any “Darwinist” contradicted anything in that passage?

    They state that the principle that it represents cannot be assumed and does not apply to the real world.

    —-“Do you understand the difference between saying that something is ill-defined and saying that it’s false? Do you understand the difference between pointing out the implications of something and taking a position on whether that something is true or not? Seriously, I would like an answer on whether you understand these distinctions.”

    Yes. That is why I feel the need to provide concrete examples from time to time: Hence, an automobile is “more than its parts” and streets don’t just “get wet, and so on. Very few people here have ever accused me of being ambiguous or claimed that they didn’t know what I am talking about, unless it is a last resort to avoid debate. Strategic ambiguity is not my game, but Darwinists live by it.

    —-“And what did we say that made you think that we had never heard of it?” [necessary, sufficient causes].

    The fact that Darwinists claim that quantum events are causeless, and because they, at least those here, clearly don’t understand anything about the metaphysical foundations of science. Indeed, even after being informed about the matter, they immediatly go into denial.

    —-“What Darwinist would be not be impressed to see Darwinism rationally demonstrated to be wrong?”

    Every Darwinist that visits this site.

    —“If you think I’ve misstated your rule, then we can go back to this thread and review exactly what you said.”

    and again:

    —-“If so, how do you reconcile your comments there with your current position?”

    and again:

    —-“StephenB disagrees with you [kairosfocus] on that as he accepts that quantum events can result from insufficient causes. Your disagreement with StephenB brands you as clearly irrational.

    Here is what I wrote, which, of course, includes that which you purposely left out.

    “With regard to the self-evident truths that undergird science, they not only work, they are essential to understanding anything at all about what may or may not be going on. If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and, if under the circumstances, the event occurs, then that event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.

    In any quantum event, physically NECESSARY conditions exist that are not SUFFICIENT to make that event occur, meaning that the conditions cannot GUANRANTEE the event. So, when a particle appears in a quantum vacuum, it is spontaneous but not uncaused because it has many necessary conditions. To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever. In other words, something cannot come from nothing.”

    And here is kairosfocus’ response on the very same thread:

    —-And, SB at 302 raises a very key point on the difference between the roots of thinking (which must be there for us to analyse observations and compare alternative explanations, picking which we find to be currently best on factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory elegance) and the observations, descriptions, explanations and predictions (or, retrodictions . . . ) of science:
    The metaphysical foundations for science have nothing to do with “verbal descriptions” and “macroscopic objects.” They are the self-evident truths through which verbal descriptions and macroscopic events are understood. You are conflating metaphysical truths with physical realities that can be observed and measured, an error, by the way, that stems from rejecting the metaphysical foundations themselves . . . .

    Quoting me he writes,

    “If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and, if under the circumstances, the event occurs, then that event [I add: relative to our state of understanding , ability to predict and ability to observe] is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.

    In any quantum event, physically NECESSARY conditions exist that are not SUFFICIENT to make that event occur, meaning that the conditions cannot GUARANTEE the event. So, when a particle appears in a quantum vacuum, it is spontaneous but not uncaused because it has many necessary conditions. To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever. In other words, something cannot come from nothing.

    —–“kairosfocus responds again: “Correct. Bearing this in mind, let us now turn to Q-mech and alpha decay and cause-effect bonds; starting with a simpler case to illustrate key concepts, a fire:

    random outcomes observed in quantum phenomena are comparable to that of a the outcome of tosses of a die, and hence at least in principle determined and knowable at some level (albeit difficult or impossible to discern at a practical level), you are profoundly mistaken. As the late Heinz Pagels put it, even “the perfect mind of God” cannot predict the specific outcome of individual quantum events.”

    This is the same man that you claim holds a different viewpoint than myself on exactly the same subject, even though he quoted me with approval word for word. Further, you ignored that which was right in front of you and went looking for what you hoped, and wasn’t, a misplaced preposition to invalidate several written paragraphs that cannot possible be misunderstood. Please stop wasting my time with these futile attempts at a gotcha. If you want a reasonable discussion, I will oblige you without any abusive snippey, but I have a low threshhold for nonsense—–and your notion that I have been inconsistent or that Kf and I are not on the same epistemological page on matters of necessary and sufficiant causes–is clearly nonsense.

  94. StephenB, before I respond to anything else, let’s clear up the sufficiency issue. Here are the facts as I see them:

    1) In the earlier thread, you said that the conditions for quantum events are physically necessary but not sufficient, and gave an example of a particle appearing in a quantum vacuum.

    2) It follows that you accept that events can occur under conditions that are necessary but not sufficient.

    3) If is now your contention that if an event happened, sufficient causal factors AND necessary causal factors had to be present.

    4) The position taken in (3) contradicts the position taken in (2).

    Which of the above statements is inaccurate, and why?

  95. StephenB @ 92:

    Oh, so now you say its OK to use words that other don’t use in order to provide the right context.

    Certainly, in this instance to make explicit what is implicit in your false and misleading characterization of others’ statements. Your intent in this offending passage…

    Indeed, when I asked these same bloggers if an automobile could be a part of a crankshaft, they insisted that such a thing is, indeed, possible.</blockquote

    …was for your readers to come away believing that Darwinists have asserted that an (ordinary) automobile could be part of an (ordinary) crankshaft, violating one of your oft repeated rules of right reason. "Ordinary" is implicit by means of cooperative linguistic convention, such that the burden is on the speaker/writer to alert the reader when he is using words in other than a conventional sense. You display a high level of verbal competence and are certainly aware of your responsibility to clarify. It is therefore inescapable that you wrote with the intention that your readers come away with an impression that you knew to be false, as no participant, Darwinist or otherwise, has either stated or implied that they believe ordinary automobiles can be parts of ordinary crankshafts in a way that violates the part-whole relationship. The motive behind your false and misleading statements is the desire to claim that Darwinists are incapable of reasoning and rationality.

  96. MIssed a tag.

  97. —Rob: “Which of the above statements is inaccurate, and why?”

    I am going to try to be a little kinder and gentler with my responses.

    Statements 1) and 2) are incorrect because they do not precisely reflect what was said.

    Here is the passage that you seem to object to.

    —”In any quantum event, physically NECESSARY conditions exist that are not SUFFICIENT to make that event occur, meaning that the conditions cannot GUARANTEE the event.”

    Let me provide another description that I think fairly captures what I wrote.

    In any quantum event, physically necessary conditions MUST exist such that the event MAY happen, but will NOT NECESSARILY happen. That is, everything MUST be in place that would allow the event to happen, even though the event still may not happen. On the other hand, if those conditions are NOT in place, the event cannot happen under any circumstances.

    And later:

    —-”So, when a particle appears in a quantum vacuum, it is spontaneous but not uncaused because it has many necessary conditions. To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever. In other words, something cannot come from nothing.”

    So, when a particle appears, that means that both the necessary and sufficient conditions were present. Otherwise, it would not or could not have happened. To be sure, the event was spontaneous and unpredictable, but it was not, as Darwinists claim, uncaused. In order for an event to be uncaused, both the necessary and sufficient conditions must be absent.

    I find nothing in either of those statements to justify your interpretation.

  98. Diffaxial: We have already been through this numerous times. You say that my characterization of OTHER Darwinists is unfair inaccurate and and I say that it is fair and accurate.

    On the other hand, I have a another Darwinist right in front of me, you, who refuses to answer questions in exactly the same way other Darwinists refused to answer questions. How can you speak for other Darwinists if you cannot or will not even speak for yourself.

    So, I put it to you.

    I assert that you accept the possibility that streets can get wet without a cause because you reject reason’s rule that would forbid that possibility. I further submit that such a position is unreasonable and irrational. I submit again that you will not respond to that characterization because [A] is it accurate and [B] you can provide no rational defense for it. So, to evade the issue, you obssess over my comments about other Darwinists and ignore my comments about your position.

  99. StephenB @ 98:

    So, I put it to you.

    You do make a great straight man. Okay, I’ll play.

    1) “I assert that you accept the possibility that streets can get wet without a cause…”

    That is factually incorrect. I stated “I certainly don’t believe that” above. Because I am the arbiter of what I believe, that question is closed.

    2) …because you reject reason’s rule that would forbid that possibility.

    Not applicable, because I don’t believe that streets can get wet without a cause.

    I do believe that “every effect has a cause” as an a priori ‘law’ fails, as it is a tautology (because the definition of effect is “a change that is a result or consequence of an action or a cause.”) However it succeeds beautifully as an empirical generalization at the macrophysical level of wet streets, quantum indeterminacy not withstanding (as I stated above), and has long been a powerful heuristic that was crucial to the development of the scientific mindset. Therefore it is the soul of rationality to conform ones beliefs and behavior to such reliable generalizations.

    3) “I further submit that such a position is unreasonable and irrational.”

    As it is not my position, I don’t feel compelled to defend its rationality. I would observe that it is irrational to attribute to persons irrational positions they don’t hold, and then accuse them of irrationality.

    4) “I submit again that you will not respond to that characterization”

    See above.

    You’re O for 4.

    You’d do better with a sharper accusation. For example, you might assert “your belief that streets can’t just get wet and your statements about quantum physics are inconsistent and hence irrational” or “your belief that streets can’t just get wet themselves is irrational in light of your assertion that my rule of right reason is a tautology” and we’d have something to discuss.

  100. What about “a thing is” or if that has a hidden qualification I haven’t found yet, then “it is”.

    This would be another absolute truth.

  101. StephenB, thank you for your kinder, gentler response.

    Let me provide another description that I think fairly captures what I wrote.

    In any quantum event, physically necessary conditions MUST exist such that the event MAY happen, but will NOT NECESSARILY happen. That is, everything MUST be in place that would allow the event to happen, even though the event still may not happen. On the other hand, if those conditions are NOT in place, the event cannot happen under any circumstances.

    That necessary conditions allow an event to occur without necessarily forcing it to occur has never been in dispute. Your restatement says nothing about whether an event can occur without sufficient conditions, which is the point at issue.

    ”So, when a particle appears in a quantum vacuum, it is spontaneous but not uncaused because it has many necessary conditions. To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever. In other words, something cannot come from nothing.”

    So, when a particle appears, that means that both the necessary and sufficient conditions were present.

    That last statement does not follow from the previous statements. From the statement, “To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever,” it follows that an event with necessary conditions is caused, regardless of whether it has sufficient conditions. Therefore, an event with necessary but insufficient conditions is caused, and therefore not precluded from occurring.

    We can formalize this lest there be any misunderstanding. If we define N as “necessary conditions present”, S as “sufficient conditions present”, and C as “event is caused”:

    1) ¬(N ∨ S) ⇔ ¬C
    2) N ∨ S ⇔ C
    3) N ⇒ C
    4) N ∧ ¬S ⇒ C

    Which of the above do you dispute?

    There are several statements in the earlier thread that seem to make your position clear. Consider the following statement in which you explicitly talk about a caused event that occurs under insufficient conditions:

    If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and, if under the circumstances, the event occurs, then that event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.

    Given that, I don’t see how you can now assert that events cannot occur under insufficient conditions.

  102. Thank you, Diffaxial, for defending me — and thank you, StephenB, for attacking me. This has been a delightfully insane read.

    For the record, I have never believed that an ordinary car can be part of an ordinary crankshaft. I expect StephenB to shortly find that statement to contradict what I have said earlier. I expect myself not to care — but who knows? Have a nice day, all!

  103. —-Diffaxial: “Not applicable, because I don’t believe that streets can get wet without a cause.

    Now that we are addressing substance, you will find my responses far more respectful. The point is that you have no rational standards to justify your belief. You can justify the belief only on the grounds that it has never happened as far as you know. Hence, you cannot, by your philosophy, reject the possibility. You can only say that, so far, it seems unlikely.

    —-“I do believe that “every effect has a cause” as an a priori ‘law’ fails, as it is a tautology (because the definition of effect is “a change that is a result or consequence of an action or a cause.”)”

    If I had said that every cause has an effect, it would indeed have been a tautology, since an “effect” is simply the latter half of the cause/effect formulation. However, I did not say that every cause has an effect; I said that every physical event has an effect. That, of course, is a statement of faith about the real world [not a mere definition] that cannot be proven—a self evident principle, if you like, —the necessary assumption for sound science and rational discourse.

    —-“However it succeeds beautifully as an empirical generalization at the macrophysical level of wet streets, quantum indeterminacy not withstanding (as I stated above), and has long been a powerful heuristic that was crucial to the development of the scientific mindset. Therefore it is the soul of rationality to conform ones beliefs and behavior to such reliable generalizations.’

    Correct. You conform your belief to the empirical generalization that streets do not normally get wet without a cause. However, you have no standard to declare that it cannot happen, as I have made clear since you do not accept the principle of causality, or, to be more precise, you accept it when you please and reject it when you please. Hence, you reject causality with respect to quantum indeterminancy or the origin of the universe, or whenever it is congenial with your inclinations.

    —-“As it is not my position, I don’t feel compelled to defend its rationality. I would observe that it is irrational to attribute to persons irrational positions they don’t hold, and then accuse them of irrationality.”

    You cannot provide any rational justification for believing that streets cannot get wet without a cause except to say that you accept the general principle that, as far as you know, it has not yet happened. That is not the same as providing reasons for saying that it cannot happen under any circumstances. I would rather not connect those dots for you; I would prefer that you connect them for me.

    ……..”you might assert “your belief that streets can’t just get wet and your statements about quantum physics are inconsistent and hence irrational” or “your belief that streets can’t just get wet themselves is irrational in light of your assertion that my rule of right reason is a tautology” and we’d have something to discuss.”

    I am getting ready to go on vacation, so I will soon have to wind things down. Still, you deserve a chance to frame the issue in your own way. So, have a go at those two formulations, especially the latter one. I don’t give people a hard time when they dig into substance.

  104. —Lenoxus: “For the record, I have never believed that an ordinary car can be part of an ordinary crankshaft. I expect StephenB to shortly find that statement to contradict what I have said earlier. I expect myself not to care — but who knows? Have a nice day, all!”

    The example was meant to dramatize the absurdity of denying the principle. I gather from your response, that you still deny the principle but don’t like the implications of having done so.

    So, we have two possibilities:

    [A] You accept the principle, in which case I will apologize for misrepresenting you

    [B] You still reject the principle, in which case you are blowing smoke.

    Its your choice.

    Have a nice day.

  105. —Rob: “To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever,” it follows that an event with necessary conditions is caused, regardless of whether it has sufficient conditions.”

    No, it doesn’t because you can have a necessary cause without an event, but you cannot have an event without a necessary cause. If A, then B, does not necessarily translate into If B, then A. In order to graduate from high school, one must be alive [necessary cause] and be alive and attend classes [sufficient cause]. But it doesn’t follow that I can graduate from high school without attending classes, even though graduating from high school also requires being alive as a cause. To be uncaused, the student would have to graduate without being alive or attending classes. On the other hand, if the student is alive but doesn’t attend classes, he will not graduate, therefore, the necessary cause was present but the sufficient cause was not.

  106. StephenB:

    No, it doesn’t

    The logic is trivial. Is “¬(N ∨ S) ⇔ ¬C” an accurate formalization of your premise?

    Even if the rest of your paragraph constituted a valid argument, it doesn’t address the issue of hand. I’m not arguing for or against your position on sufficiency. I’m arguing that your currently stated position contradicts your previously state position.

    You previously stated that if an event occurs under necessary but insufficient conditions, the event is not uncaused. Is that still your position or not?

  107. In response to StephenB @ 103:

    I said:

    I do believe that “every effect has a cause” as an a priori ‘law’ fails, as it is a tautology (because the definition of effect is “a change that is a result or consequence of an action or a cause.”)

    You replied:

    If I had said that every cause has an effect, it would indeed have been a tautology, since an “effect” is simply the latter half of the cause/effect formulation. However, I did not say that every cause has an effect; I said that every physical event has an effect.

    Let us take this step by step.

    First, above you correctly indicate that “every cause has an effect” is a tautology, since an effect is simply the latter half of the cause/effect formulation. That is to say (I would add), the definition of “cause” refers to “effects,” as causes are defined as “that which produce effects.” I have repeated the similar assertion that “every effect has a cause” is tautological for the same reason: the definition of “effect” is “that which results from a cause.” If you like, a cause is the former half of the cause/effect formulation. “Every cause has an effect” and “every effect has a cause” are exactly symmetrical statements, each as tautological as the other, for exactly the same reasons.

    However, your claim now is, “every physical event has an effect.” (I will be charitable and understand that your intention was to write “every physical event has a cause,” as that is what you have stated several times in this thread, and the formulation “every physical event has an effect” makes little sense in the context of this discussion, e.g. vis wet streets.) But, as I note above, that was not your original claim. Your original claim, repeated many times, was, “every effect has a cause.” Your own words from the “I have to keep reminding myself that science is self-correcting” thread:

    “We should, by extension, close our minds to the proposition that effects can occur without causes.”
    “On the one hand, for example, several bloggers have closed their minds to the self-evident truths that define rational discourse… advancing the proposition that “effects” can occur without causes.”

    “If an effect can occur without a cause…there is no rationality.”

    “So, you hesitate to say that [A] an effect cannot exist without its cause.”

    “Consider the statement, ‘an effect cannot exist without a cause.’”

    “Do you believe that the statement, ‘an effect cannot exist without its cause,’ is a statement about the real world?”

    “Is the statement, ‘an effect cannot exist without its cause,’ a statement about the real world?”

    “An effect cannot exist without its cause.”

    “If an effect can occur without a cause in the real world, then the world is not rational and no logical law of non-contradiction would be of any use.”

    “It should be obvious that, in the real world, an effect cannot occur without a cause.”

    So, before going further, in light of this change, I have to ask you: are physical events effects? Earlier I asked if human behaviors (choices, actions, etc.) are effects and, IIRC, you said yes. So I ask a similar question: are physical events effects? All physical events? Some physical events? No physical events?

    If all physical events are effects, then it seems to me that “every physical event (each one an effect) has a cause” is completely subsumed by “every effect has a cause.” (This remains true even if one maintains that not all effects are physical events.) But, as I argue above, “every effect has a cause” is as tautological as “every cause has an effect,” for exactly symmetrical reasons. Therefore, IF all “physical events” are “effects,” then “every physical event has a cause” is as tautological as “every effect has a cause.”

    If, however, only some physical events are effects, you need to explain how physical events that are effects differ from physical events that are not effects. The answer cannot be that “physical events that are not effects do not have causes” because you have already stated that “all physical events have causes.” You will also have to explain how it can be that a physical event that has a cause is nevertheless not an effect. Frankly, “all physical events have causes, but only some physical events are effects” is completely unintelligible.

    I don’t think we need visit “no physical events are effects.”

    Therefore, so far as I can tell, that leaves you with the first option: All physical events are effects, and, therefore, “every physical event has a cause” is entirely subsumed by “every effect has a cause” (your original formulation). You are then faced with the fact that “every effect has a cause” is no less tautological then “every cause has an effect,” and you above conceded that “every cause has an effect” IS in fact tautological.

    One more question: It was my understanding that you regard these laws as self-evidently true and unchanging. For example, you have made many statements similar to, “Our ever changing approximations are arrived at only upon tacit acceptance of self-evident, unchanging truths” (my emphasis; from the “I have to remind myself” thread). The notion that there are self-evident, unchanging truths prior to and upon which all rationality stands that themselves can change is obviously self-contradictory. But here you have (apparently carefully) advanced a new version of this particular self-evident, unchanging truth. Before it was “all effects have causes,” now it is “all physical events have causes.” So,

    1) Are “all physical events have causes” and “all effects have causes” exactly equivalent?

    2) Or, perhaps, is “all physical events have causes” a new Truth that you previously forgot to mention, or that recently became self-evident to you?

    3) Or, perhaps, is “all physical events have causes” a modified version of “all effects have causes?”

    If yes to 1), then “all physical events have causes” is tautological, because “all effects have causes is tautological, for the same reason that “all causes have effects” is tautological.

    If yes to 2), then you are back to the need to explain how physical events that are not effects differ from those that are, as well as how, given that all physical events have causes, some are nevertheless not effects.

    If yes to 3), then your Self-Evident, Unchanging Law of Right Reason has changed, and that is fatal defect for the argument that they provide a reliable foundation for reason and rationality, because this change leaves open the possibility of further change.

    Again, I think you are stuck with 1), and your only remaining move is to argue that, while “all causes have effects” is tautological, “all effects have causes” is not. Good luck with THAT.

    To be honest, in my opinion you’ve collapsed into complete incoherence. Take that vacation.

  108. —Rob: “You previously stated that if an event occurs under necessary but insufficient conditions, the event is not uncaused. Is that still your position or not?”

    Rob, I made it very easy for you–examples and all. Go back and study.

  109. Diffaxial: In our last correspondence, you wrote this:

    ……..”you might assert “your belief that streets can’t just get wet and your statements about quantum physics are inconsistent and hence irrational” or “your belief that streets can’t just get wet themselves is irrational in light of your assertion that my rule of right reason is a tautology” and we’d have something to discuss.”

    So, I asked you to take it on. Inasmuch as you have been running and hiding from my questions for the entire thread, I thought surely this would be the time when you would summon up the intellectual courage to take on the issue. It was YOUR formulation, after all, and YOUR assessment of a reasonable arrangement of my questions and you indicated that you would answer them.

    Yet when I invited you to stand up to the challenge, the only one you claimed to be able to handle, you ignored your own implied promise and decided rather to fill up the cyberspace with more of your usual “the-principles-of-right-reason-are-all-tautologies” nonsense—and make no mistake, it is nonsense. In spite of your protests to the contrary, the logic of the universe does correspond to the logic in our minds. Otherwise, we would not be able to make any sense at all out of anything. This point has always eluded you and it clouds your judgment on all the things that matter most. That is very, very, sad. It really is.

    Unfortunately, you are trapped in that mode and apparently unable to get out. Clearly, you do not understand the connection [and the difference] between the real world and the world of thought. That much has always been clear to me, but I didn’t realize how problematic your error was for you until you backed away from your own plan to answer your own challenge.

    I can only conclude that you were bluffing. You cannot reconcile that which you say you can reconcile because even you have come to understand that it is logically impossible. Even though you made the claim that you COULD justify the statement that streets can’t just get wet while denying the uncompromising principle of causality, it was clear to me all along that you cannot, which is why I invited you to do it.

    Your bluff was called, and you folded. It’s as simple as that. Everything else you wrote was nothing but a puff of smoke calculated to camouflage your retreat.

  110. Go back and study.

    No need to study. The facts are simple.

    1) In an earlier thread, quantum events were presented as a counterexample to the LNC.

    2) StephenB responded that events occurring under necessary but insufficient conditions are not uncaused. To be uncaused, he said, an event must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever.

    3) He reiterated the above later in the thread, and didn’t modify it when I pointed out what I saw as problematic implications.

    4) Now he maintains that events cannot occur under insufficient conditions, rendering nonsensical his response to the QM challenge.

    5) He denies the following simple logic: From the statement, “To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever,” it follows that an event with necessary conditions is caused, regardless of whether it has sufficient conditions. The trivial logic was even formalized to avoid ambiguity, but he still hasn’t pointed out the problem in it.

    I’ll gladly provide details on any of the above that StephenB denies.

  111. I said, in part:

    You [Stephen] might assert …,“your belief that streets can’t just get wet themselves is irrational in light of your assertion that my rule of right reason is a tautology” and we’d have something to discuss.

    You said:

    So, have a go at those two formulations, especially the latter one.

    The “latter formulation” being the bolded portion of my quote above.

    That is a logical place to start. In my previous post I stated, “I do believe that ‘every effect has a cause’ as an a priori ‘law’ fails, as it is a tautology (because the definition of effect is ‘a change that is a result or consequence of an action or a cause.’)” Further, you responded directly to my assertion of tautology:

    If I had said that every cause has an effect, it would indeed have been a tautology, since an “effect” is simply the latter half of the cause/effect formulation. However, I did not say that every cause has an effect; I said that every physical event has an effect.

    So, this is where I began, with the question of tautology, obviously germane because my central assertion is that your rule of right reason fails due to tautology. Indeed, in my opinion, I will have mounted a successful defense upon showing that your rule of right reason does not accomplish what you claim it accomplishes. Absent that “truth,” it is both necessary and rational to premise one’s beliefs upon what remains: empirical regularities and inferences from same.

    —-

    I then turned to the task at hand. I was surprised to immediately observe the following, to which you offer no response or explanation:

    1) You have changed the unchanging, self-evident truth, rejection of which renders my belief about streets irrational.

    Whereas before it was “every effect has a cause,” it is now “every physical event has a cause.” I wondered if you had just slipped into that new phraseology (easy to do), but a review of this thread shows that you carefully used “physical event” rather than effect” several times throughout the thread. I hadn’t previously noticed that. The change is striking, because, as my lengthy quote above demonstrates, you previously used “every effect has a cause” or its equivalent dozens of times. This change, at minimum, needs clarification and explanation, as the challenge set before me was to defend my belief vis wet streets in light of my rejection of “every effect has a cause,” not “every physical event has a cause.”

    2) You state right off the bat, “If I had said that every cause has an effect, it would indeed have been a tautology, since an ‘effect’ is simply the latter half of the cause/effect formulation.”

    I found this striking in part because of the reversal of “cause” and “effect,” but also because of the concession it contains relative to our previous discussion of this topic. I have repeatedly asserted that “every effect has a cause” is tautological (in a previous thread). You above state that the closely related “every cause has an effect” is indeed tautological. The reversal makes no difference in one crucial respect: “Every effect has a cause” and “Every cause has an effect” are indeed complementary statements, exactly “symmetrical.” If you accept that “every cause has an effect” is tautological “since an ‘effect’ is simply the latter half of the cause/effect formulation,” you must accept that “every effect has a cause” is tautological, since “cause” is simply the former half of the cause/effect formulation.

    Together, these two observations devastate your argument.

    If you intend “every physical event has a cause” as exactly equivalent to “every effect has a cause,” then the assertion that your “unchanging self-evident truth” is “self-evident” due to mere tautology stands, due to 2) above. If, on the other hand, you do not intend that “every physical event has a cause” is exactly equivalent to your previously oft repeated “every event has a cause,” then you have changed a “law” that you previously unequivocally characterized as an “unchanging, self-evident truth.” Obviously, unchanging, self-evident truths that change cannot serve the purpose you intend for them.

    In light of the above, I reject your unchanging, self-evident truth because it is, at the very least, either “self-evident” merely because it is tautological or because it is an “unchanging” truth that changes. Perhaps both.

    Fortunately, we have a well-developed understanding of macrophysical events such as water and wetness, the sorts of causal accounts that explain particular instances of wet streets, and the empirical regularity of those causal relationships. We also have a highly refined and extraordinarily precise understanding (both theoretical and empirical) of the domains in which quantum indeterminacy must be considered, such that it is completely clear from the physics that the “acausality” of some dimensions of quantum physics cannot stage a jail break and begin wetting roads and popping walls into existence out of thin air (your previous cartoon) without cause. You claim that this level and kind of certainty doesn’t attain the standard of absolute certainty set by your unchanging, self-evident truths. Neither, in my opinion, does this particular “self-evident, unchanging truth,” as it is only tautuologically self-evident, and/or it appears to change.

    I find it more rational to premise my picture of the world upon well-understood empirical regularities (an the associated theory) than upon unchanging truths that change and self-evidence that is tautological.

    A meta comment:

    Now that we are addressing substance, you will find my responses far more respectful.

    My previous response, and the above, are good faith, best efforts to address the issues at hand, as I see them. As you stated, “you deserve a chance to frame the issue in your own way,” and that is what I have done.

    So much for “respectful.”

  112. In #110, “counterexample to the LNC” should be “counterexample to the causality rule.” Sorry.

    As an aside, StephenB, I think I speak for all of your challengers when I say that we’re not asking for you to make things “easy” for us. What we want is precision and substance. It would really be nice if you could provide some operational or formal definitions, coupled with data or formal arguments. Once you do this, we can talk about whether you need to dumb it down for us. Until then, your hand-holding is premature.

  113. —-Rob: “He denies the following simple logic: From the statement, “To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever,” it follows that an event with necessary conditions is caused, regardless of whether it has sufficient conditions. The trivial logic was even formalized to avoid ambiguity, but he still hasn’t pointed out the problem in it.”

    It does not follow at all. It is not my problem that you cannot think straight. I have provided plenty of examples, and all of them have been ignored. If you cannot learn from my examples, reread kairosfocus, who quoted me word for word to make the same point. The same individual whom you dishonestly and purposely said that I contradicted. That was a straight out lie, and, if you like, I will revisit that lie. You need to move on.

  114. —-Diffaxial: “My previous response, and the above, are good faith, best efforts to address the issues at hand, as I see them. As you stated, “you deserve a chance to frame the issue in your own way,” and that is what I have done”

    Why you would invest all those paragraphs to run a bluff is beyond me. Everything you write is a bluff wrapped up in a fog. You promised that you would defend your irrational position just once, and my respectful tone was contingent on the anticipation that you would follow through with that promise. So, you can be sure that the short lived attempt to be respectful has more than run its course. You didn’t deliver. On the contrary, you simply launched into another one of your irrational screeds, and it is irrational in all respects.

    Earlier you wrote, “you might assert “your belief that streets can’t just get wet and your statements about quantum physics are inconsistent and hence irrational” or “your belief that streets can’t just get wet themselves is irrational in light of your assertion that my rule of right reason is a tautology” AND WE’D HAVE SOMETHING TO DISCUSS.”

    So, I asked you to discuss it, and what do you do, you slink away from your own promise, knowing that you can’t back it up and return to your usual nonsensical perspective on logic. Why should I respect the intellectual timidity that will not keep its own implied promise? In fact, what you write is little more than warmed over versions of David Hume and A. J. Ayer.

    For those unfamiliar with that lore, Hume believed that all meaningful ideas were, on the one hand, true by definition [does that sound familiar folks] or based on some sense experience. By his misunderstanding, there were no sense experiences for concepts beyond the NATURAL, therefore no metaphysical claim is worth believing. The irony is this, that although Hume insisted that truth doesn’t exist, he was absolutely sure that he had it. Does that sound familiar?

    Hume’s disciple, A. J. Ayer, extended that error and promulgated the doctrine he called, “the principle of empirical verifiability.” It means exactly what it sounds like. If a thing cannot be verified empirically, it should not be believed. Some call this formulation, “logical positivism.” For logical positivists, and for Diffaxial, there are only two kinds of meaningful propositions 1) those that are true by definition and 2) those that can be empirically verified. Since that principle is neither true by definition, and since it cannot be verified, IT CANNOT BE MEANINGFUL. Therefore the philosophy refutes itself.

    Everything Diffaxial writes refutes itself because it is based on the same illogical propositions. So, he simply repeats the mantra thread after thread. All self-evident truths are tautologies…all self-evident truths are tautologies…all self-evident truths are tautologies. Logical principles tell us nothing about the real world… logical principles tell us nothing about the real world…logical principles tell us nothing about the real world. Naturally, that position refutes itself as well. If logic can tell us nothing about the real world, then logic can not tell us that logic can tell us nothing about the real world.

    Down deep, I suspect that he knows this, which is why he resists all my questions and immediately goes into his well worn routine, looking for ways to find contradictions in my writing when no contradictions are present. All the while he refuses to provide straight answers to straight questions, and even failed to follow through on his own promise that he would answer his own reframing of my questions. You will notice that I did not ask him a third time to back up his claim that rationality can be maintain even when the principle of causality is abandoned. There is a simple reason why he will not defend that proposition. It can’t be defended. His bluff was called, and he folded.

  115. StephenB: I accept the principle that a whole cannot be less than (or be a part of) any of its parts. I reject the principle that a whole cannot be less than some other whole.

    One could construct a giant computer with regular-sized computers for the tops of the keyboard keys (or using dinner tables, or automobiles, or whatever). Why not? Would the larger computer “know” it included smaller computers and subsequently cease to exist?

    So yeah, I think you simply misinterpreted those now over-analyzed words of mine (whereas I have never misinterpreted anything, ever) and I’ll leave it at that. :)

  116. —Lenoxus: “StephenB: I accept the principle that a whole cannot be less than (or be a part of) any of its parts. I reject the principle that a whole cannot be less than some other whole.”

    OK. I give you credit for acknowledging the principle and I agree that your words were over analyzed. I also agree that you have been a good sport. I admire your sense of humor and your honesty. We should all learn not to take ourselves so seriously.

  117. Lenoxus, also please understand that it was not my original intention to bring you into the discussion. Diffaxial introduced your name at 21. At that point, we were off and running.

  118. StephenB:

    It does not follow at all. It is not my problem that you cannot think straight.

    Again, the logic is trivial, and again you’re not saying what is wrong with it. I thought that formalizing it was overkill, as you wouldn’t deny logic so simple and obvious. I was wrong.

    So I’ll ask again, are you saying that the formalization of the premise is wrong, or that the formal logic itself is wrong? This is not a loaded question. Why are you avoiding it?

    The same individual whom you dishonestly and purposely said that I contradicted. That was a straight out lie, and, if you like, I will revisit that lie.

    You contradicted both kairosfocus and yourself. And kairosfocus contradicted himself when you quoted you and said “Correct.”

    Again:

    1) You stated that events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused.

    2) You presented vacuum fluctuations as an example of such an event.

    3) Now you’re saying that events cannot occur under insufficient conditions.

    Which of the above is false? Or do you maintain that they’re not contradictory?

  119. Correction: “when you quoted you” –> “when he quoted you”.

  120. StephenB @ 114:

    What I fail to see in your response is:

    - anything that responds to the observation that your “Unchanging, Self-Evident Truth” has changed. It has changed from “every effect has a cause” to “every physical event has a cause.”

    What is the significance of this change? Do you intend these as exactly equivalent statements, or don’t you? If they are exactly equivalent, why have you abandoned your prior formulation?

    - anything that responds to the observation that your correct assertion that “every cause has an effect” is tautological compels the conclusion that “every effect has a cause” is also tautological, which indeed is what I have argued all along.

    Do you retract your statement that “every cause has an effect” is tautological? Will you argue that “every cause has an effect is tautological, but “every effect has a cause” is not? On what basis?

    Whatever other defects are evident in my position, both of these observations are fatal to your assertion that this particular unchanging, self-evident truth can supply a reliable foundation for the acquisition of knowledge.

  121. Rob “Which of the above is false? Or do you maintain that they’re not contradictory?”

    Hi Rob,

    Interesting to use the LNC in order to demonstrate the flaws in Stephens position. A law that does not apply in all instances and has empirically been demonstrated by QM to not always apply.

    I guess Steven could just as well respond by saying that both statements are true as well as both statements are false. Just because they both contradict each other that poses no problem to the veracity of Stephens position!! :)

    Vivid

  122. —Rob: “Again, the logic is trivial, and again you’re not saying what is wrong with it. I thought that formalizing it was overkill, as you wouldn’t deny logic so simple and obvious. I was wrong.”

    Obviously, your formulation is not capturing all the nuances, otherwise it would not lead to such gross misunderstanding.

    It isn’t all that complicated, except perhaps for you.

    Here are the passages that Rob objected to.

    —”In any quantum event, physically NECESSARY conditions exist that are not SUFFICIENT to make that event occur, meaning that the conditions cannot GUARANTEE the event.”

    It means exactly what it says. I even broke it down for him further, without changing the context of what I wrote.

    “In any quantum event, physically necessary conditions MUST exist such that the event MAY happen, but will NOT NECESSARILY happen. That is, everything MUST be in place that would allow the event to happen, even though the event still may not happen. On the other hand, if those conditions are NOT in place, the event cannot happen under any circumstances.”

    Rob ignored my explanation [no change in substance] as if it had not even been written. It needed no explanation, I was just trying to help him with his reading.

    Here is the second passage:

    —-”So, when a particle appears in a quantum vacuum, it is spontaneous but not uncaused because it has many necessary conditions. To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever. In other words, something cannot come from nothing.”

    I broke that one down for him as well as follows:

    “So, when a particle appears, that means that both the necessary and sufficient conditions were present. Otherwise, it would not or could not have happened. To be sure, the event was spontaneous and unpredictable, but it was not, as Darwinists claim, uncaused. In order for an event to be uncaused, both the necessary and sufficient conditions must be absent.”

    He ignored that as well. Remember, I changed nothing. I simply went the extra mile to help him with his reading deficit.

    Kairosfocus quoted what I wrote with approval and extended it later on in the thread. Rob, on the other hand, claimed that I had contradicted the same man that quoted me. I posted that discussion, by the way on this thread. Did Rob apologize for that lie? Of course not.

    Rob simply ignored that issue as well.

    Nothing I said on that thread contradicts anything I said on this or any other thread. [When Darwinists are losing a debate, they change the subject]

    Rob is confused about the fact that you can have a necessary cause without an event, but you cannot have an event without a necessary cause. Thus, his little foray into symbolic logic, cannot convey that subtlety, at least he is not capable of making the translation. So, I tried to provide the following remedial education for him.

    ….“you can have a necessary cause without an event, but you cannot have an event without a necessary cause. If A, then B, does not necessarily translate into If B, then A. In order to graduate from high school, one must be alive [necessary cause] and be alive and attend classes [sufficient cause]. But it doesn’t follow that I can graduate from high school without attending classes, even though graduating from high school also requires being alive as a cause. In order for the graduation to be uncaused, the student would have to graduate without being alive or attending classes. On the other hand, if the student is alive but doesn’t attend classes, he will not graduate, therefore, the necessary cause was present but the sufficient cause was not.”

    Even after I dumbed it down for him, he still doesn’t get it. Whose problem is that?

  123. —Diffaxial “Whatever other defects are evident in my position, both of these observations are fatal to your assertion that this particular unchanging, self-evident truth can supply a reliable foundation for the acquisition of knowledge.”

    You are just blowing more smoke. You promised to defend the proposition that you can, at the same time, remain rational and disavow causality. It was your promise, not mine. At the moment of truth, you slinked away.

    I called your bluff, and you folded. Everything else you write is a fog calculated to camaflouge your retreat.

  124. —Rob: “1) You stated that events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused.”

    You are lying. I made no such statement.

    What I said was this:

    —”In any quantum event, physically NECESSARY conditions exist that are not SUFFICIENT to make that event occur, meaning that the conditions cannot GUARANTEE the event.”

    Personally, I think people should be banned for lying.

  125. Forget about that last comment about banning. I am content to expose the lie.

  126. —Rob: “So I’ll ask again, are you saying that the formalization of the premise is wrong, or that the formal logic itself is wrong? This is not a loaded question. Why are you avoiding it?”

    I am not avoiding it. The premise is a lie.

  127. StephenB @ 123 (and above):

    You ignored your own implied promise…You promised that you would defend your irrational position just once, and my respectful tone was contingent on the anticipation that you would follow through with that promise…you slink away from your own promise …Why should I respect the intellectual timidity that will not keep its own implied promise? …while he refuses to provide straight answers to straight questions, and even failed to follow through on his own promise that he would answer his own reframing of my questions…You promised to defend the proposition that you can, at the same time, remain rational and disavow causality..

    It is entertaining to observe my words (and the words of others) so quickly morph beyond recognition at your hands, before our very eyes – which is really where I came in on this thread. All those references to a broken “promise” (and you seem so hurt) harken back to my suggestion that if you had a sharper accusation, “then we’d have something to discuss.” Get some therapy.

    Meanwhile, absent from your response is:

    - anything that responds to the observation that your “Unchanging, Self-Evident Truth” has changed.

    - anything that responds to the observation that your assertion that “every cause has an effect” is tautological compels the conclusion that “every effect has a cause” is also tautological.

  128. —Diffaxial: “It is entertaining to observe my words (and the words of others) so quickly morph beyond recognition at your hands, before our very eyes – which is really where I came in on this thread. All those references to a broken “promise” (and you seem so hurt) harken back to my suggestion that if you had a sharper accusation, “then we’d have something to discuss.” Get some therapy.

    Oh, I see. What you really meant was that we can discuss it unless I actually ask you to follow through. Your whole point was to suggest that my formulations were unanswerable on my terms but if you could only put it in your own words, then you could summon up sufficient courage to defend your irrational proposition. Clearly, you are the one in need of therapy—and an injection of intellectual courage–and an injection of intellectual honesty. The bluff continues.

  129. —Diffaxial: “anything that responds to the observation that your assertion that “every cause has an effect” is tautological compels the conclusion that “every effect has a cause” is also tautological.”

    ANYTHING THAT RESPONDS?

    Listen to the chant: The laws of logic are tautologies—the laws of logic are tautologies–the laws of logic are tautologies. Causation comes and goes–caustion comes and goes–causation comes and goes.

  130. It’s starting to get hot in here. StephenB has upped the stakes by accusing me of lying.

    I’ll respond to those accusations, and some of the lesser ones as well. I don’t have time to respond to everything.

    Rob ignored my explanation [no change in substance] as if it had not even been written.

    I quoted StephenB’s explanation and responded:
    That necessary conditions allow an event to occur without necessarily forcing it to occur has never been in dispute. Your restatement says nothing about whether an event can occur without sufficient conditions, which is the point at issue.
    How is that ignoring his explanation as if it had not even been written?

    He ignored that as well.

    I showed formally that the first sentence of the paragraph does not follow from the preceding paragraph. If that’s ignoring, I wish StephenB would ignore us in like manner.

    Rob, on the other hand, claimed that I had contradicted the same man that quoted me. I posted that discussion, by the way on this thread. Did Rob apologize for that lie?

    Now we’re to the accusations of lying. Contrary, to StephenB’s accusation, I showed the contradiction.

    Rob simply ignored that issue as well.

    What issue? That StephenB and kairosfocus expressed agreement with each other? Is StephenB under the impression that expressions of agreement refute claims of contradiction? If not, then what was I supposed to address on this?

    Rob is confused about the fact that you can have a necessary cause without an event, but you cannot have an event without a necessary cause.

    False. I have never said anything that implies that I’m confused on the above. Stephen “Everyone-on-this-site-knows-that-I-can-back-up-anything-that-I-say” B cannot even begin to back that up.

    Thus, his little foray into symbolic logic, cannot convey that subtlety, at least he is not capable of making the translation.

    If StephenB wants to include this “subtlety” as an additional premise and see if he comes up with a different conclusion, he is welcome to try it. But the fact is that every line of the argument will remain valid.

    I’m sure that StephenB knows how to refute a formal argument, namely, you either show which step does not follow from the preceding steps, or you falsify the premise(s). Why he hasn’t done so is up to the readers, if any, to divine.

    - to be continued -

  131. StephenB:

    You stated that events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused.”

    You are lying. I made no such statement.

    This is the heart of the matter. Perhaps the clearest way to address it is to ask StephenB a question: What is the difference between a spontaneous and non-spontaneous event?

    I’ll continue after the answer is given.

  132. —Rob: “You stated that events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused.”

    I wrote:

    ”In any quantum event, physically NECESSARY conditions exist that are not SUFFICIENT to make that event occur, meaning that the conditions cannot GUARANTEE the event.”

    Not at all the same. Either you have a problem with reading comprehension, are dishonest, or are playing some kind of game. [I haven't ruled out the third option, but it doesn't matter in any case. I resent the waste of time]

    —”Perhaps the clearest way to address it is to ask StephenB a question: What is the difference between a spontaneous and non-spontaneous event?”

    Sorry, no reprieve until I get an apology. No more wasted space.

  133. StephenB, I didn’t ask for a reprieve.

    What is the difference between a spontaneous and non-spontaneous event?

  134. Rob I don’t think you’re going to get an answer till you apologize. But I’m curious what you’re getting at here.

    The definition of spontaneous is self causing. Still there is a cause there.

  135. Rob,

    Please.

    Kindly note what I observed at 76 above:

    1] Unless all NECESSARY causal factors are present, an event CANNOT happen.

    2] If SUFFICIENT causal factors are present, the even WILL happen.

    3] If an event DID happen, sufficient causal factors, AND necessary causal factors had to be present. (The two sets of factors need not be equivalent. Overkill is possible.)

    1 –> Note my use of “factors” i.e. I am aware that cause may be complex and dependent on synergistic interaction. [NB: Cf the classical four causes analysis. Material (the stuff required to make it happen) and efficient (actuating or triggering and sustaining) causes are particularly relevant for understanding necessary factors. Formal -- pattern -- and final -- purposeful -- causes are relevant to understanding the action of agents.]

    2 –> Presence of sufficient causal factors [including overkill] will cause an event to happen. (And indeed, unless minimally sufficient factors are present it will not happen.)

    3 –> Necessary factors are those which if just one is absent an event CANNOT happen. (A minimally sufficient causal pattern will have just the set of necessary and sufficient factors present. The fire triangle is a common illustration.)

    4 –> For an event to be UNCAUSED — i.e. it is something that begins to happen and does happen — to be UNCAUSED, it must have neither necessary nor sufficient causal factors present. By the logic involved, such an even will not be observed to occur — note, by speaking of that which begins to happen, I am excluding here necessary beings; which have no beginning.

    5 –> “Spontaneous” events are generally those deemed to occur as brute facts of nature, usually in the context of stochastic chains of undirected contingent causal factors. It just happens to be so, but could have just as easily been otherwise. Chance + blind mechanical necessity are enough to explain the event, in short. [There was an earthquake, and the boulder resting on the ledge tumbled off and bounced around along the side of the cliff, until it hit bottom; where it happened to land.]

    6 –> In the case of quantum events, such as the appearance of spontaneous particle-antiparticle pairs, it should be noted that there is an underlying quantum vacuum seething with energy. This is a necessary condition; as is the presence of a space-time continuum in which the particles may emerge etc, etc. Quantum events are thus not UNCAUSED, though the relevant sufficient factors may well be unknown to us and possibly unobservable to us, given the issues over uncertainty etc. We see spontaneous, stochastic quantum phenomena, but that is hardly the same as that such are uncaused. (As was explained in painful details in previous threads.)

    7 –> In short, you have again misrepresented me in this thread, just as int he other one that I just had to correct this morning.

    8 –> And, there is no contradiction of any significance between what Stephen has said and what I have said, idea hit-man rhetorical talking point attempts to drive in a wedge notwithstanding.

    ++++++++++++

    GEM of TKI

  136. PS: Lamark: The definition of spontaneous is self causing , , ,

    AmHD: >> 1. Happening or arising without apparent external cause; self-generated.
    2. Arising from a natural inclination or impulse and not from external incitement or constraint. >>

    Spontaneous more properly is a synonym for natural: that which goes on by itself in the observable world, based on whatever initial conditions happen to obtain and whatever dynamical forces and inertial resistances and structures happen to be there. (Cf my falling rock example.)

    Self-causation is tricky and embeds a contradiction: until something exists, it cannot act as a cause, so if something is said to cause itself, it falls into having to be there before it is there. An evident absurdity.

    The confusion I suspect has a grain of truth in it: the possibility of necessary beings that do not begin to exist and are the ultimate causal ground of the world of contingent beings which we live in. [That is in a cosmos that is credibly contingent [singularity c 13,7 BYA for instance], we have an implied non-contingent grounding reality.]

    This becomes controversial in our time because of course it looks uncommonly like a classic argument to God, the cosmological argument. the issue is which possible non-contingent being makes best sense of our observed cosmos: and notice my raising the issue of inference to best explanation on warrant by observation and argument, as opposed to claimed demonstrative proof. It is much easier to dismiss a claimed proof than a challenge to provide a best explanation on comparative difficulties.

  137. R0b stated vis StephenB:

    You stated that events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused.

    StephenB denies this. He states that the following quote is “not at all the same.”

    In any quantum event, physically NECESSARY conditions exist that are not SUFFICIENT to make that event occur, meaning that the conditions cannot GUARANTEE the event.

    Indeed these two statements are not equivalent. Therefore StephenB stated that R0b was lying, momentarily wished him banned, and requested an apology.

    The problem with StephenB’s accusation is that R0b’s paraphrase IS equivalent to the following passage. Attend the the portions that I have bolded:

    If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and, if under the circumstances, the event occurs, then that event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.

    This scenario laid out:

    - If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur…

    - And if the conditions are not SUFFICIENT for it’s occurrence

    - And if under those circumstances the event occurs

    - That event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.

    This is fairly summarized by, “Events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused.”

    The only point of divergence that I can see between StephenB’s statement above and R0b’s paraphrase hangs on the series of “IFs” in StephenB’s statement. StephenB did not explicitly “state that events occur” under those conditions, he expressed it conditionally: “IF an event…and IF conditions are not sufficient…and IF it occurs.

    However, the context in which StephenB’s statement appeared makes it unambiguously clear that this conditional description is intended to refer to actual events, namely the emergence of virtual particles from a quantum vacuum. Hence, in the next paragraph we read:

    when a particle appears in a quantum vacuum, it is spontaneous but not uncaused because it has many necessary conditions. To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever. In other words, something cannot come from nothing.

    Given this quite specific referent (virtual particles), there is NO room here for, “I said ‘if’ such an event occurred, not ‘that’ such an event occurred.” And, of course, the point of the forgoing was to insist that, because virtual particles have necessary conditions, they are not uncaused, even given that there are no apparent sufficient conditions. To so insist is intelligible only in response to states of affairs in which one of the conditions is absent – in this case, sufficient conditions.

    One may quibble over interpretation, but I find R0b’s statement a good-faith paraphrase, and obviously not a lie.

    Hence it is StephenB who owes the apology (for characterizing R0b as lying), not R0b.

    Lastly, Stephen’s above scenario is, indeed, flatly at odds with KF’s statements, which he has conveniently reproduced again in 135:

    3] If an event DID happen, sufficient causal factors, AND necessary causal factors had to be present.

    The bolded above clearly and unambiguously conflicts with the bolded below:

    If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and, if under the circumstances, the event occurs, then that event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.

    —-

    I still fail to see:

    - anything that responds to the observation that your “Unchanging, Self-Evident Truth” has changed. It has changed from “every effect has a cause” to “every physical event has a cause.”

    - anything that responds to the observation that your correct assertion that “every cause has an effect” is tautological compels the conclusion that “every effect has a cause” is also tautological.

  138. I’ll revise the above to state that “You stated that events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused” does imply the conditionals in StephenB’s original statement.

    “events that occur that…” etc.

    This is a good paraphrase.

  139. —-Diffaxial: “I’ll revise the above to state that “You stated that events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused” does imply the conditionals in StephenB’s original statement.”

    I understand the game, believe me. I expose Darwinist irrationality, get accused of misrepresenting what was said, and so Rob [and you] decide to misrpresent what I say.

    Yet my charges stand. Indeed, I can offer another texture of your irrationality. Both you and Rob run from the law of non-contradiction. You claim it does not apply to the real world. Rob claims not to know what it means because, in his judgment, it has not been sufficiently defined. Yet everyone except Darwinists know what the law of non-contradiction means.

    Irrational Darwinists leave clues all over the place denying logic, causality, and other principles ofr reason.

    The only question left is to determine whether Rob, like you, believes that causality is a come and go proposition.

  140. StephenB @ 139:

    and so Rob [and you] decide to misrpresent what I say…

    Not representation in my case, vis this issue, Just reproduction. To wit:

    If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and, if under the circumstances, the event occurs, then that event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.

    Which says what it says, both standing alone and in the context of the discussion in which it appeared.

    The above patently contradicts KF:

    3] If an event DID happen, sufficient causal factors, AND necessary causal factors had to be present.

    The very contradiction accurately identified by R0b. His statement above is an accurate representation of yours quoted here. But his statement is not really needed, as your own words (yours and KF) above exhibit the contradiction with no intermediaries.

  141. Thanks Diffaxial.

    I would be both thrilled and profusely apologetic to StephenB if he could present to us an alternate interpretation that makes sense. There has been a lot of ugliness in this thread, and it would be great to find out that it has all been a misunderstanding. But no matter how I slice it, I can’t find any other coherent parsing of his counterargument to the QM challenge.

  142. —Diffaxial; “”The very contradiction accurately identified by R0b. His statement above is an accurate representation of yours quoted here.”

    Nope. There is no contradiction. If there was, you could explain it. All you can do it claim a contradiction, or rather join in on the lie.

    In any case, you chose the wrong quote that Rob misrepresented

    —Rob said about me, “you stated that events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused.”

    In other words, he claims that I am saying that some events can occur without causes, which is the very antithesis of my claim and he knows it–and so do you. The only way he can claim a contradiction is to dishonestly accuse me of the opposite of what I assert, namely the irrational Darwinst notion that physical events can occur without causese.

    He was speaking about THIS QUOTE
    of mind.

    “In any quantum event, physically NECESSARY conditions exist that are not SUFFICIENT to make that event occur, meaning that the conditions cannot GUARANTEE the event”

    Clearly there is no contradiction, nor is there any indication that events can occur without causes. You apparenly understand better than he that there is no contradiction, so you go looking for other quotes in other contexts and avoid the two under discussion. But those quotes do not help your case either.

    On the other hand, you and Rob contradict yourselves everytime you open your mouth by denying or discounting the law of non contradiction and the principle of causality. Notice that I am specifying your contradiction whereas you are falsely attributing a contradiction to me.

    Besides, you and Rob don’t believe in contradictions anyway, because neither of you are comfortable with the law of non-contradiciton.

    What a joke.

  143. “Yet everyone except Darwinists know what the law of non-contradiction means.”

    They certainly use it when it suits them i.e Diffs use of it in #140.It’s always important to observe what people do not what they say.

    Vivid

  144. —Rob: “There has been a lot of ugliness in this thread, and it would be great to find out that it has all been a misunderstanding. But no matter how I slice it, I can’t find any other coherent parsing of his counterargument to the QM challenge.”

    The ugliness began with your dishonest assertion that I hold that physical events can occur without causes.

    I wrote the following two paragraphs.

    In any quantum event, physically NECESSARY conditions exist that are not SUFFICIENT to make that event occur, meaning that the conditions cannot GUARANTEE the event.

    So, when a particle appears in a quantum vacuum, it is spontaneous but not uncaused because it has many necessary conditions. To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever. In other words, something cannot come from nothing.

    There are no causeless events–period. That is my position and has always been my position. Therefore, your accusations that I have changed my position are dishonest and dishonorable.

  145. “Besides, you and Rob don’t believe in contradictions anyway, because neither of you are comfortable with the law of non-contradiciton.

    What a joke.”

    StephenB here is a thought.For all those that do not believe in the LNC why dont you stipulate that the only arguments you will respond to are the arguments that dont use the LNC in anyway. See how that goes.

    The same can be stipulated for those who embrace that something can come into being from nothing without a cause. The only arguments you will respond to are the arguments that dont reason from point A to point B.This argument is a form of causality, beCAUSE A thus B. In fact ignore any use of the word or form of beCAUSE.

    Vivid

  146. Vivid: Yes, that is an idea. Clearly, Darwinists do not know that they are using the law of non-contradiction in their futile attempts to argue against me. They deny it even as they use it.

    It is the same with causality. They think it comes and goes with the wind. I must have hit a nerve, though. When Rob and Diffaxial go looking for what they hope will be a dangling prepositional phrase in something that I once wrote, you know they are desperate.

    Keep in mind, though, that they know their accusations are baseless. They are just playing a game. Unhappy with my demonstration that Darwinists can’t reason by virtue of their philosophy, they are just trying to put me on defensive, even though they obviously have nothing to talk about.

    My final words in my comment on the other thread [which they left out, no accident] were these:

    To be uncaused, it must have no necessary or sufficient conditions.”

    kairosfocus put it this way:

    “If an event DID happen, sufficient causal factors, AND necessary causal factors had to be present.

    So, both Rob and Diffaxial know they are being dishonest when they say that I changed my position or that I contradicted Kf. But, again, I am not easily distracted.

    What they are running away from is the theme that I established early.
    Reason has rules, which among other things, allow us to eliminate possibilities so that we can move logically from point A to point B. We cannot say, for example, IF A is true, then B MUST be true, unless we can also say that C through Z are impossible. If we didn’t agree, in advance, that C through Z are impossible, such as [a thing cannot be and not be], [the whole cannot be less that any of its parts], [something cannot come from nothing], [physical events cannot occur without causes etc.], then we couldn’t reason our way from A to B or enter into rational discouse with others. But postmodernist cosmologists and atheist Darwinists,[Diffaxial and Rob] who reject these rules, cannot, in any context, say If A is true, then B must be true, because they refuse to rule out C through Z. That is another way of saying that they cannot reason in the abstract.

  147. StephenB @ 142:

    There is no contradiction. If there was, you could explain it.

    I’ll cheerfully explain it:

    1) KF stated that if an an event has occurred, BOTH necessary causal factors AND sufficient causal factors had to be present.

    2) You allowed that events may occur (such as the appearance of virtual particles) when necessary conditions are present, but sufficient conditions are absent.

    Hence your statements do not agree with respect to the requirement that sufficient conditions must always be present. Your statements contradict one another with respect to the requirement for sufficient conditions.

    That’s the explanation. And I am indeed cheerful.

    Now again in slow motion:

    KF:

    If an event DID happen, sufficient causal factors, AND necessary causal factors had to be present.

    Notice the statement that if an event has occurred, sufficient conditions must have been present.

    StephenB:

    If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and, if under the circumstances, the event occurs, then that event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.

    Notice that StephenB allows that an event may occur absent sufficient conditions (and goes on to argue that such an event is still not uncaused, because necessary conditions were still present.)

    You disagree vis the requirement for sufficient conditions. That’s a contradiction. That is what “contradiction” means.

    —Rob said about me, “you stated that events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused.”

    he claims that I am saying that some events can occur without causes, which is the very antithesis of my claim and he knows it–and so do you.

    Yes I do know that, and so does R0b. You incorrectly paraphrase the meaning of his statement, which does not claim that you are saying that some events can occur with out causes. What you do say, and R0b correctly paraphrases you as saying, is that some events can occur when only necessary, but not sufficient conditions are present – contrary to KF. OTH, I recognize that you and KF AGREE that for a condition to be uncaused, BOTH necessary and sufficient conditions must be absent. Hence you said:

    My final words in my comment on the other thread [which they left out, no accident] were these:

    “To be uncaused, it must have no necessary or sufficient conditions.”

    kairosfocus put it this way:

    “If an event DID happen, sufficient causal factors, AND necessary causal factors had to be present.

    Your agreement on that point does not, however, remove the above contradiction vis what can occur when necessary conditions are present, but sufficient conditions are absent. This quote is otiose vis that issue.

    On the other hand, you and Rob contradict yourselves everytime you open your mouth by denying or discounting the law of non contradiction.

    The only statement I have ever made vis the law of non-contradiction was to agree that it holds, with a caution that grammatically well formed statements can sometimes be neither true or false, and can therefore be troublesome in a contentious discussion.

  148. I note that I inadvertently omitted “in other words” from a quote of Stephen above.

  149. StephenB @ 142:

    He was speaking about THIS QUOTE
    of mind.

    “In any quantum event, physically NECESSARY conditions exist that are not SUFFICIENT to make that event occur, meaning that the conditions cannot GUARANTEE the event”

    Clearly there is no contradiction, nor is there any indication that events can occur without causes. You apparenly understand better than he that there is no contradiction, so you go looking for other quotes in other contexts and avoid the two under discussion.

    The words I quoted immediately precede (with nothing intervening) the above, all of which appeared in a response you made to me back when. No need to go searching, and the context was the same. R0b also quotes this in support of his position in 101, above, because it seals the deal vis your disagreement with KF on the necessity of sufficient causes.

  150. “I’ll cheerfully explain it:

    1) KF stated that if an an event has occurred, BOTH necessary causal factors AND sufficient causal factors had to be present.

    2) You allowed that events may occur (such as the appearance of virtual particles) when necessary conditions are present, but sufficient conditions are absent.

    Hence your statements do not agree with respect to the requirement that sufficient conditions must always be present. Your statements contradict one another with respect to the requirement for sufficient conditions.

    That’s the explanation. And I am indeed cheerful”

    As well will be Stephenb I would suppose since the statements you cite are not contradictory…more on this later.

    Vivid

  151. —Diffaxial: “The words I quoted immediately precede (with nothing intervening) the above, all of which appeared in a response you made to me back when. No need to go searching, and the context was the same. R0b also quotes this in support of his position in 101, above, because it seals the deal vis your disagreement with KF on the necessity of sufficient causes.”

    Oh, I get it. It’s OK to include the preceding words, but its not OK to include the words that follow, which clarify the thought beyond debate.

    The key phrase you trying to manipulate is this one in the first paragraph—”under the circumstances” which was meant to convey the idea “if, as it turns out, the event really does occur, [a perfectly reasonable interpretation], you are interpreting to mean, “if the event happens solely under the influence of a natural cause.” Even if one interprets it your way, which is a stretch, that interpretation is rendered irrelevant in the next paragraph, which makes it clear that physical events cannot occur without a cause. Thus, a careful reader would understand what is being said in both paragraphs. Clearly, you is grasping for straws.

    Indeed, one of the reasons I wrote the second paragraph was to insure that there is no misunderstanding about the first paragraph, given the Darwinist capacity to do what you are currently doing, that is, lie about what was said. My final phrase reads: “To be uncaused, it must have no necessary or sufficient conditions.” As I often say, Darwinists do not understand context. Whether it is willful or a function of their illogical world view is not always clear. In this case, it is willful because both you and Rob made it a point to leave the second paragraph out even after I reminded you about it. Thus, I don’t hesitate to says that you are both dishonest.

    Here is what I wrote:

    “With regard to the self-evident truths that undergird science, they not only work, they are essential to understanding anything at all about what may or may not be going on. If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and, if under the circumstances, the event occurs, then that event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.
    In any quantum event, physically NECESSARY conditions exist that are not SUFFICIENT to make that event occur, meaning that the conditions cannot GUANRANTEE the event.

    So, when a particle appears in a quantum vacuum, it is spontaneous but not uncaused because it has many necessary conditions. To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever. In other words, something cannot come from nothing.”

    [I capitalized those words at the time.]

    In response to that, you write, “You allowed that events may occur (such as the appearance of virtual particles) when necessary conditions are present, but sufficient conditions are absent.”

    Thus, you are lying. No surprise.

  152. —Diffaxial: ““You allowed that events may occur (such as the appearance of virtual particles) when necessary conditions are present, but sufficient conditions are absent.”

    No, I did not.

    The following should be obvious. [to everyone but a Darwinist.]

    If one introduces the concept of sufficient causes, one is automatically arguing that sufficient causes are required.

    Necessary causes:

    If x is a necessary cause of y, then the presence of y necessarily implies the presence of x. The presence of x, however, does not imply that y will occur.

    Sufficient causes:

    If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y.

    It is not necessary to conclude the correspondence with, “don’t forget now, ‘sufficient’ means ‘sufficient.’”

    What incredible nonsense.

  153. Diff summarizes what he calls contradictory positions held by KF and StephenB

    “1) KF stated that if an an event has occurred, BOTH necessary causal factors AND sufficient causal factors had to be present.

    2) You allowed that events may occur (such as the appearance of virtual particles) when necessary conditions are present, but sufficient conditions are absent. “

    As I stated Diff’s description of the two so called contradictory positions held by KF and StephenB are not in fact in contradiction.

    What are the requirements in play in order for their to be a violation of the LNC which Difff is using in order to demonstrate that KF and StepehnB contradict one another.

    The LNC simply states that A cannot be non A at the same time and in the same relationship.

    A can be B at the same time but not in the same relationship. For example I can be a father and a son at the same time but not in the same relationship.

    Lets examine Diffs summary of what he considers two contradictory positions and determine if they do indeed violate the LNC.

    Difff says “ KF stated that if an an event has occurred,…” Diff goes on to contrast this statement to StephenB’s which he says “You allowed that events may occur….”

    Now there are two key words to focus on in these two respective summaries, they are HAS and MAY. Kf according to Difff is talking about what HAS happened where as StephenB is talking about what MAY happen.

    A “HAS” is not a “MAY“!! Since according to Diff they are talking about an actual versus a potential, and something that HAS happened verse something that MAY happen the above summary by Diff of the two different positions cannot be contradictory because they do not violate the LNC. They are not A and non A at the same “TIME” and in the same “RELATIONSHIP“

    They maybe confusing, they maybe ambiguous, they may need more clarification but they are not contradictory.

    Vivid

  154. What is being lost in the clutter is that Diff still has not kept his promise to StephenB

    “You promised to defend the proposition that you can, at the same time, remain rational and disavow causality. It was your promise, not mine. ”

    Diff will this defense be forthcoming?

    Vivid

  155. KF, I agree something spontaneous can’t exist and that the normal definition allows for outside help. I didn’t know where Rob was going with it.

  156. StephenB:

    —Rob said about me, “you stated that events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused.”

    In other words, he claims that I am saying that some events can occur without causes,

    Not at all. To be uncaused, it must have no necessary or sufficient conditions whatsoever. I learned that from a wise man who said: “To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever.”

    Of course, I may be twisting his words with my paraphrasing.

  157. StephenB @ 152:

    If one introduces the concept of sufficient causes, one is automatically arguing that sufficient causes are required.

    That’s fine. As R0b stated, your statements on this thread have been inconsistent with those on the previous, and contradict themselves as well as those of KF.

    Indeed, this all started with R0b’s request that you disambiguate, as there is a fair and compelling reading of your previous remarks that has you asserting that virtual particles may be characterized as sometimes reflecting necessary, but not sufficient conditions, as well as the further argument that they would nevertheless not be uncaused. Indeed, there is no other sensible reading of what you said then, as there is no reason to insist that events with necessary but insufficient causes are nevertheless not uncaused if you were also arguing that such a state of affairs is impossible. (It is worth noting that Stephen was the only participant who had suggested that formulation; i.e., he raised the possibility himself.)

  158. WRT the LNC,

    StephenB:

    Besides, you and Rob don’t believe in contradictions anyway, because neither of you are comfortable with the law of non-contradiciton.

    The only position I can recall taking on the LNC is that “a thing cannot be and not be” is ill-defined. That is not my position with regards to the formal LNC, ¬(A ∧ ¬A).

  159. vividbleau, I doubt that you’ll find anyone to side with you on your contention that the two statements presented by Diffaxial in 147 are, in fact, not contradictory.

  160. If one introduces the concept of sufficient causes, one is automatically arguing that sufficient causes are required.

    —Diffaxial: “That’s fine.”

    Good, then absorb the concept.

  161. —Diffaxial: “Indeed, this all started with R0b’s request that you disambiguate, as there is a fair and compelling reading of your previous remarks that has you asserting that virtual particles may be characterized as sometimes reflecting necessary, but not sufficient conditions, as well as the further argument that they would nevertheless not be uncaused. Indeed, there is no other sensible reading of what you said then, as there is no reason to insist that events with necessary but insufficient causes are nevertheless not uncaused if you were also arguing that such a state of affairs is impossible. (It is worth noting that Stephen was the only participant who had suggested that formulation; i.e., he raised the possibility himself.)”

    The key phrase he is trying to manipulate is this one in the first paragraph—”under the circumstances” which was meant to convey the idea “if, as it turns out, the event really does occur, [a perfectly reasonable interpretation], he is interpreting to mean, “if the event happens solely under the influence of a natural cause.” Thus, he is twisting the prepositional phrase “under the circumstances,” vulnerable to two possible meanings, and running with the one which clearly does not represent what that author (me) meant. Even at that, any possible ambiguity is eliminated by the second paragraph, which both of you consistently leave out. That makes both of you dishonest.

  162. Many of StephenB’s objections are based on a mistaken notion. He is under the impression that Diffaxial have attributed to him the position that events can occur without causes:

    In other words, he claims that I am saying that some events can occur without causes,

    ———

    The only way he can claim a contradiction is to dishonestly accuse me of the opposite of what I assert, namely the irrational Darwinst notion that physical events can occur without causese.

    ———

    Clearly there is no contradiction, nor is there any indication that events can occur without causes.

    ———

    There are no causeless events–period. That is my position and has always been my position. Therefore, your accusations that I have changed my position are dishonest and dishonorable.

    ———

    which makes it clear that physical events cannot occur without a cause.

    The fact is that Diffaxial and I have attributed no such position to him.

    If anyone can explain how StephenB gets from this:

    Rob said about me, “you stated that events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused.”

    to this:

    In other words, he claims that I am saying that some events can occur without causes,

    I’ll be most grateful.

    [emphasis added in both quotes above]

  163. —Rob: “Of course, I may be twisting his words with my paraphrasing.”

    Yes, you are.

    You wrote that I stated that events that occur under necessary but insufficient conditions are spontaneous but not uncaused.

    Obviously, that is not true.

    If one introduces the concept of sufficient causes, one is automatically arguing that sufficient causes are required.

    Necessary causes:

    If x is a necessary cause of y, then the presence of y necessarily implies the presence of x. The presence of x, however, does not imply that y will occur.

    Sufficient causes:

    If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y.

    It is not necessary to conclude the correspondence with, “don’t forget now, ‘sufficient’ means ‘sufficient.’”

    You hearken back to these comments that I wrote:

    If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and, if under the circumstances, the event occurs, then that event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.

    The key phrase you trying to manipulate is ”under the circumstances” which was meant to convey the idea “if, as it turns out, sufficient conditions are also present [a perfectly reasonable interpretation], you are interpreting to mean, “if the event happens solely under the influence of a natural cause.”

    If you perceived an ambiguity in the phrase, the proper way to address it is to ask the author what he meant, and I was available to be asked. You didn’t do that. Indeed, after I provided a reframing followed by several examples, you hearkened back to your interpretation and ignored my explanation of what I meant. That is dishonest—and pathetic.

    In any case, once the word “sufficient” is introduced into the discussion, then physical events can occur only when sufficient conditions are present.

    That is why the word sufficient was introduced to the concept of causality.

  164. —-Rob: “In other words, he claims that I am saying that some events can occur without causes.”

    Duly noted. You are saying that I claimed that an event can occur without sufficient causes, not without causes. The latter charge is untrue. Read 163.

  165. To clarify: Rob and Diffaxial have NOT said that I claimed that physical events can occur without causes. They say that I claimed that physical events can occur without SUFFICIENT causes. That false charge is addressed at 163.

  166. —Diffaxial: “The only statement I have ever made vis the law of non-contradiction was to agree that it holds, with a caution that grammatically well formed statements can sometimes be neither true or false, and can therefore be troublesome in a contentious discussion.”

    It is my understanding that you hold that the principle of non-contradiction cannot be used to judge events in the real world. I interpret that to mean that you disupute the notion that the logic of the mind corresponds to the logic of the universe. Or, to put it another way, you don’t think that the LNC can be used to make judgments about the existence and non-existence of real world entities. Is that a fair interpretation of your position?

  167. StephenB @ 163:

    ”Under the circumstances” … was meant to convey the idea “if, as it turns out, sufficient conditions are also present [a perfectly reasonable interpretation]…

    LOL!

    Strangely unbidden, Rose Mary Woods stretching to get the phone comes to mind.

  168. StephenB @ 166:

    It is my understanding that you hold that the principle of non-contradiction cannot be used to judge events in the real world…

    Sorry Steven, I’m not going down any more twisty little passages, all alike with you until you, a) retract your statement that I have lied, and b) circle back to my many times repeated questions regarding your new, ever changing law, “all physical events have causes,” formerly known as, “all effects have causes.”

  169. —-Diffaxial:

    Sorry Steven, I’m not going down any more twisty little passages, all alike with you until you, a) retract your statement that I have lied, and b) circle back to my many times repeated questions regarding your new, ever changing law, “all physical events have causes,” formerly known as, “all effects have causes.”

    I haven’t chaned anaything. Darwinists, like yourself, do not understand that the laws of the mind correspond to the laws of the universe, and therefore, they [and you] confuse epistemological references with metaphysical references.

  170. —Diffaxial; “Strangely unbidden, Rose Mary Woods stretching to get the phone comes to mind.”

    Perhaps you will, in time, come to learn the meaning of the word, “sufficient.”

  171. Necessary causes.

    If x is a necessary cause of y, then the presence of y necessarily implies the presence of x. The presence of x, however, does not imply that y will occur.

    Sufficient causes:

    If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y.

    Because of those definitions, if one uses the phrase, “if an event occurs,” it automatically means that the sufficient cause[s] was [were] present. It is not necessary to make the point explicit with each new correspondence.

  172. Until I have time for a longer comment, I’ll point out the the logic in 171 is fallacious. As usual, StephenB doesn’t actually state the logic by which he derives the conclusion, but he appears to be affirming the consequent.

  173. —-Rob: “Until I have time for a longer comment, I’ll point out the the logic in 171 is fallacious. As usual, StephenB doesn’t actually state the logic by which he derives the conclusion, but he appears to be affirming the consequent.”

    The logic at 171 can easily be tested.

    If an event [graduation] requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, [being alive in order to graduate] but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, [one must also be alive and attend classes] and, if under the circumstances, the event occurs, [graduation], then obviously the person was alive and attended classes.

  174. StephenB, your supposed test adds fallacy to fallacy.

    1) You cannot test logic by applying it to a specific case and seeing if the conclusion is correct.

    2) “one must also X and X” describes necessary conditions, not necessarily sufficient conditions. Because of this mistake, what you ended up showing was that, in this particular case, the occurrence of the event implied the presence of necessary conditions. Of course that’s true for all cases by definition of “necessary conditions”, so your test is tautological and irrelevant to your conclusion in 171.

    Your logic in 171 is fallacious because the conclusion does not follow from the two definitions.

  175. —Rob: “”StephenB, your supposed test adds fallacy to fallacy.

    You are getting tripped up on your own words and symbols. Here is a second example. For Plato, knowledge is sufficient for virtue. For Aristotle, knowledge is necessary but not sufficient for virtue. For Aristotle, both knowledge of the good and a trained will strong enough to follow the good are sufficient. Accordingly, if one knows the good, [a necessary cause] but does not train his will to follow it, his knowledge will not lead to virtue. On the other hand, if I were to say, “If, under the circumstances, x is virtuous, I need not explicitly say that he has trained his will. That is understood.

    Even if you fail to understand the meanings of the words, the broader point is that I have obviously not changed my position. I have always held that physcial events require both necessary and sufficient causes. That you continue to suggest otherwise does not serve you well.

  176. I am still unable to make sense of StephenB’s argument on the earlier thread in light of his currently stated position. Let’s take it a sentence at a time, starting with the following:

    If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and, if under the circumstances, the event occurs, then that event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.

    StephenB says that “under the circumstances” should be interpreted as “as it turns out, sufficient conditions are also present”. Okay, we’ll do so, but problems remain. Again, so we’re not plagued with ambiguity, I’ll formalize it.

    Given that an event occurs, we’ll define N as the set of all necessary conditions, and S as the set of all sets of jointly sufficient conditions.

    From the definitions of necessary and sufficient:
    (1) ∀X∈S:N⊆X

    StephenB’s currently stated position says:
    (2) N∈S

    The most natural meaning of “those conditions are not SUFFICIENT” seems N∉S, which of course contradicts (2), so that can’t be right.

    The only other interpretation I can think of for “those conditions are not SUFFICIENT” is:
    (3) ∃X⊆N:X∉S

    But given (1), (3) is true for all N:|N|>1 (assuming that empty sets don’t count). So it follows from this sentence that all occurring events that have more than one necessary condition are unpredictable, spontaneous, and not uncaused. (Thus the standing question: What is the difference between a spontaneous and non-spontaneous event?)

    The conclusion makes no sense, so we’re stuck without a sensible interpretation, unless StephenB can offer an alternative to those above. I’m open to any correction in or questions about the logic. We’ll see if we can get over this hurdle before moving on to the rest of the argument.

  177. Rob, you need to let it go, you really do. If you believe that logic cannot be tested in the real world of examples, then you simply don’t understand the subject. indeed, one of the reasons we provide examples is to test the logic. That way we can distinguish those who know what they are talking about from those who don’t. If one cannot make his abstract ideas concrete in some way or illustrate them with real world examples, he doesn’t know what he is talking about. He is just blowing smoke with symbols. That is what you are doing.

    —-”The conclusion makes no sense, so we’re stuck without a sensible interpretation, unless StephenB can offer an alternative to those above. I’m open to any correction in or questions about the logic. We’ll see if we can get over this hurdle before moving on to the rest of the argument.”

    What rest of the argument? Everything you have written turns on what you perceive to be a misplaced prepositional phrase.

    The conclusion makes perfect sense. If you try reading for context instead of looking for perceived dangling prepositional phrases to twist, you will be far better off.

    The paragraph in question reflects the argument that there are no uncaused events, meaning that it is emphasizing what is NOT the case rather than affirming what IS the case. Darwinists always miss the context. There is no need to add the additional fact that when an event occurs, a sufficient condition must be present. That point should be obvious. [From the definition of “sufficient cause,” it follows that all physical events require sufficient causes.] So, the point of the passage was not to belabor what everyone knows [except Darwinists], namely that physical events require sufficient causes, but rather to point out what many do not know, namely that there are no causeless events. If you had either read for context or understood the meaning of “sufficient cause,” you would have known that the words, “if, under the circumstances, the physical event occurs,” automatically means, “if sufficient conditions are present.”

    Apparently, you are taking the words, “under the circumstances,” to mean “under the conditions of a solely necessary cause” even though I didn’t mean them that way. I meant the words to convey a thought such as, “if, as it turns out.” or “if the event does happen.” Read for context and stop looking for loopholes. If the phrase wasn’t meaningful and reasonably accurate, even as written, I could not have substituted the words as written and converted them into examples.

    Once the concept of sufficient cause is introduced into the discussion, the phrase “if an event occurs” automatically means that the sufficient conditions were present. Wrap your head around that fact.

  178. Stephen @ 177:

    Everything you have written turns on what you perceive to be a misplaced prepositional phrase.

    Baloney.

    The context of your remarks was a discussion of the implications of quantum theory for causality. The irreducible randomness (within probabilistic limits) of quantum events such as particle decay and the appearance of virtual particle pairs presents a severe challenge to your Unchanging Truth that every effect has a cause, as there are variables within quantum events (the timing of such events, for example) that take values that can be said to be uncaused. There are NO sufficient facts that determine (cause) those quantum values, hidden or otherwise.

    In an effort to deny that some quantum events and variables may therefore be said to be uncaused, and rescue your view of causality, you attempted to characterize such quantum events as reflecting necessary, but not sufficient conditions, the necessary condition (in the case of virtual particles) being the presence of the quantum vacuum. You argued that absent sufficient conditions they would be spontaneous and unpredictable, yet, having necessary conditions, they were still (you sought to argue) caused. That was the clear content and intent of the entire passage in the context of the give and take of that discussion, an intent that was clear at the time. That clear intent is still plainly evident in the words you used, oft quoted here.

    Your current attempt to furiously backpedal by means of a preposterous revisionist reading of your words is horsepucky, plain and simple.

    Indeed, other statements you made then, statements you have recently repeated times many, make no sense within the context of your revisionist reinterpretation, but comport perfectly with the events I describe above. For example, your repeated assertion that BOTH necessary and sufficient conditions must be absent before an event could be said to be uncaused is intelligible only in support of the argument that causality would be sustained in the event that sufficient conditions were absent, but necessary conditions were present (as is suggested by the indeterminacy of quantum events). On your current view, only ONE of those aspects of causality would need be absent for causality to entirely fail, as there would be (on your current reading) no event to discuss were EITHER absent. Therefore there is no need (on your current view) to repeatedly emphasize that BOTH need be absent before an event could be said to be uncaused.

    In short, the entire context, as well as the entirety of your words, clearly establish that you sought to characterize quantum events as displaying necessary, but not sufficient causal conditions, and further sought to argue that causality was present nonetheless. It was your attempt to rescue causality in light of quantum events.

    Apparently you are now regretting that the baby went out with the bath water.

  179. Let me repeat:

    What is being lost in the clutter is that Diff still has not kept his promise to StephenB

    “You promised to defend the proposition that you can, at the same time, remain rational and disavow causality. It was your promise, not mine. ”

    Diff will this defense be forthcoming?

    Vivid

  180. Vividbleau @ 179:

    What is being lost in the clutter is that Diff still has not kept his promise to StephenB

    “You promised to defend the proposition that you can, at the same time, remain rational and disavow causality. It was your promise, not mine. ”

    Diff will this defense be forthcoming?

    Vivid

    Rely upon Stephen’s paraphrase of others’ remarks at your own peril. My offer was that if Stephen had a sharper accusation, “then we’d have something to discuss.”

    See mine at 99 and 127.

    I certainly have discussed. In my discussion I noted that StephenB’s Unchanging, Self-evident Truth vis causality has apparently changed. No explanation, no defense, not a word, just a denial unburdened by content and some talk about the weather in the countryside (a fog blanketed the bluff, as I recall). I also noted that his statement that “all causes have effects” is tautological compels the conclusion that “all effects have causes” is also tautological. No explanation, no defense, not a word. I have further noted that reliable and theoretically secure empirical regularities justify my belief that roads do not simply get wet, with no cause, and stated that I find it rational to found my view of the world and actions therein upon those empirical regularities and their theoretical justification.

    A disconnect here appears to be that Stephen (and others here) apparently believe that only beliefs that are founded upon First Principles may be held rationally, and firmly. (Of course, there is no first principle that can state, without self-referential paradox, that one must rely upon first principles, which is why Stephen’s comments about Ayer et al. above belong in middleschool. There is no argument that can compel acceptance of its own foundations.) So, for example, although I have stated that I do not believe that roads can become wet without cause, Stephen insists that, because I do not state on the basis of unassailable first principles that this is impossible, I actually do believe that roads simply get wet without cause (even though I don’t), and/or I am hopelessly irrational for believing otherwise.

    I encountered a similar argument on a previous thread in which it was claimed that, bereft of certain favorite first principles (including belief in God) I should be fearful that the sun will not rise tomorrow, and that my collapse into insanity is imminent, because it is irrational for me to believe otherwise. My response there is applicable here:

    Your sunrise argument fails because you are asserting that, absent a basis for unassailable certainty, we should experience anxiety about the sun rising (and similar constancies), yet all the while, by your own description, the maximum confidence offered by the cosmological argument for the persistence of the world is “beyond reasonable doubt,” NOT logical or unassailable certainty. My expectation that the sun will rise in the morning certainly attains the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt,” given the trillion and more sunrises that have gone before, without exception. Your argument – even for those who accept it – offers no greater certainty than that. Hence even those who accept your argument, and “believe” on that basis, are just trading one form of reassurance for another, both of which attain only “beyond reasonable doubt.” Your anxieties should therefore be equal to those of your favorite imaginary atheists who career toward insanity as we speak.

    Since I do not share the belief in God that motivates my discussant above, or any confidence that Unchanging, Self-Evident truths accomplish what is claimed for them, these first principles therefore fail to attain for me anything resembling the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt.” It doesn’t help that, when presented with objections and questions such as the above vis unchanging laws that are changelings, and self-evidence that is admittedly tautological, their primary advocate here talks about the weather.

    Fortunately, regularities such as trillions of sunrises and the means by which roads become wet, understood against the background of both long collective experience and the relevant sciences, certainly attain that standard. Given the doubts I happen to harbor about the alternative, my choice is as rational as it gets.

  181. —Vivid: “Diff will this defense be forthcoming?

    Vivid, did you notice that Diffaxial just spent 633 words @180 responding to your comment without once addressing the question.

  182. SB to Vivid

    - “Vivid, did you notice that Diffaxial just spent 633 words @180 responding to your comment without once addressing the question.”

    It is a personal “skill” that Diffy excels at. Perhaps it is his only one. (It is certainly not logical consistency, nor is it intellectual courage).

  183. To Stephen,

    I know you would prefer that I not continue to abuse Diffaxial (and I am certain that I stretch my posting freedoms with Clive as well). But I find it hard not to shoot at the target.

    I have had to allow myself to stand in my own mind and be wrong about my beliefs; to question myself, to set aside metaphysics and ask the questions and answer them again and again. I know many ID proponents have had to do the same.

    I have little tolerance for people like Diffaxial who never allow themselves to be questioned. His state of mind is evident in the willfully incessant demands he places upon the conversation itself. It’s a coward’s weakness. The fact that he is an intelligent person only makes his weakness all that more unbecoming.

  184. —Diffaxial: “In short, the entire context, as well as the entirety of your words, clearly establish that you sought to characterize quantum events as displaying necessary, but not sufficient causal conditions, and further sought to argue that causality was present nonetheless. It was your attempt to rescue causality in light of quantum events.

    Fortunately, I am immune from those who would dishonestly characterize my position because I have held it too long and too consistently. [a] There are no causeless physical events, and [b] Physical events require both necessary and sufficient causes. It was I who introduced the words “sufficient cause” into the discussion long ago, so I would hardly have gone down that road if I thought physical events could occur without them. Everyone who spends any time at all on this site knows that I am congenitally incapable of believing that a physical event can occur in the absence of necessary and sufficient causes. Quite the contrary, I often point out that it is the Darwinists who posit causeless events. So, any attempt to misrepresent my position by tracking down what appears to be a dangling prepositional phrase in something I once wrote is bound to fail.

    On the other hand, I need not misrepresent your position in order to expose its flaws. You really do think events can occur without causes of any kind, necessary or sufficient. By characterizing unpredictable quantum events as causeless, you compromise the indispensable rational underpinning that science depends on. If quantum events can be uncaused, why cannot other kinds of events be uncaused, either at the micro level or at the macro level? Once having gone down that road, how would we know which ones are caused and which ones are not? We couldn’t. Science would be out of business without an uncompromising principle of causality. You should spend less time drumming up false scenarios about what I DON’T believe and spend more time making a rational case for what you DO believe.

  185. A note:

    I draw attention to my remarks at 135 – 6 above, esp:

    5 –> “Spontaneous” events are generally those deemed to occur as brute facts of nature, usually in the context of stochastic chains of undirected contingent causal factors. It just happens to be so, but could have just as easily been otherwise. Chance + blind mechanical necessity are enough to explain the event, in short. [There was an earthquake, and the boulder resting on the ledge tumbled off and bounced around along the side of the cliff, until it hit bottom; where it happened to land.]

    6 –> In the case of quantum events, such as the appearance of spontaneous particle-antiparticle pairs, it should be noted that there is an underlying quantum vacuum seething with energy. This is a necessary condition; as is the presence of a space-time continuum in which the particles may emerge etc, etc. Quantum events are thus not UNCAUSED, though the relevant sufficient factors may well be unknown to us and possibly unobservable to us, given the issues over uncertainty etc. We see spontaneous, stochastic quantum phenomena, but that is hardly the same as that such are uncaused. (As was explained in painful details in previous threads.) . . . .

    Spontaneous more properly is a synonym for natural: that which goes on by itself in the observable world, based on whatever initial conditions happen to obtain and whatever dynamical forces and inertial resistances and structures happen to be there. (Cf my falling rock example [an earthquake triggers a boulder to fall off a ledge, bounding down the rough side of a cliff, and ending up at a chance position at the bottom.].)

    In that context, sometimes we only can access a list of necessary factors, and so are unaware of what will be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. that such is there, we may infer form the fact that the event happens at a certain time and place. But, since we see it not — or we may only see a stochastic process playing out — we see spontaneity that often fits a statistical/probabilistic pattern.

    that an event is stochastic and appears to our observation and even anlysis at an iunpredictable locus in space-time, does not entail that it is without cause. Indeed we may readily identify blocking factors — i.e the necessary conditions.

    These start with the presence and energy density of space-time itself.

    A vacuum in today’s science is not nothing, nor is it without properties and energy storage. (For that matter, let us note how it is known since C19 that light traverses space at a definite phase velocity determined by measurable electrical and magnetic properties of space itself c ~ 1/ root- epsilon nought times mu nought]; reflecting definite properties and constraints, i.e necessary conditions. Light’s speed in vacuo is not causeless.)

    Again, Stephen and the undersigned do not stand in contradiction, and the principles of right reason that events are constrained by sufficient and necessary causal factors, remains foundational to sound science.

    The appeal to “it just happens” meant to suggest or imply non-caused EVENTS, is an absurdity. Materialist reductio here hits yet another absurdity. (By now, their name is Legion.)

    GEM of TKI

    PS: this does not remove the logic of things that are and are uncaused. We live in a credibly contingent cosmos. Such entails the existence of a logically prior necessary being. (Until the big bang theory prevailed, it was convenient for materialists to assert that the physical cosmos was that necessary being. Poof! [And that logical implication is part of why the big bang was so stoutly resisted. Stir in the fine tuning observations and we see the place of the other half of ID: cosmological design.])

  186. “Vivid, did you notice that Diffaxial just spent 633 words @180 responding to your comment without once addressing the question.”

    Nor will it be forthcoming. Upright nailed it

    “I have little tolerance for people like Diffaxial who never allow themselves to be questioned. His state of mind is evident in the willfully incessant demands he places upon the conversation itself. It’s a coward’s weakness. The fact that he is an intelligent person only makes his weakness all that more unbecoming”

    SB “Quite the contrary, I often point out that it is the Darwinists who posit causeless events”

    Perhaps that explains why they are Darwinists. For those who believe in magic anything is possible.

    Vivid

  187. —Upright Biped: “I have had to allow myself to stand in my own mind and be wrong about my beliefs; to question myself, to set aside metaphysics and ask the questions and answer them again and again. I know many ID proponents have had to do the same.”

    I have had the same experience. Someone once said that education is a series of questions, the answers to which cause confusion, frustration and a whole new series of questions at a higher and more important level. I agree with that assessment. Without the confusion and frustration, there is no growth. Those who allow their ideology to insulate themselves from that process get nowhere. It seems that we are of one mind on that subject.

  188. Nobody liked my weather reference. I was surprised by that.

  189. —Diffaxial “Nobody liked my weather reference. I was surprised by that.”

    The issue does not concern the dependability of the sunrise, which is a question about probability based on reason, but rather whether or not the sun can do its own rising, which is a question about reason itself.

  190. StephenB @ 189:

    —Diffaxial “Nobody liked my weather reference. I was surprised by that.”

    The issue does not concern the dependability of the sunrise, which is a question about probability based on reason, but rather whether or not the sun can do its own rising, which is a question about reason itself.

    No, dummy, I was referring my statement that you had offered “some talk about the weather in the countryside (a fog blanketed the bluff, as I recall).”

    And, of course (although you missed it), “I was surprised by that” is an oblique way of stating everything else in your four collective responses is utterly unsurprising.

    By the way, another reason to reject your preposterous revision:.

    If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and, if under the circumstances, the event occurs, then that event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.

    You now maintain that by “under the circumstances” you intended that since the event occurred, sufficient conditions must have been present.

    The key phrase you trying to manipulate is ”under the circumstances” which was meant to convey the idea “if, as it turns out, sufficient conditions are also present [a perfectly reasonable interpretation]…

    But were you to insert this reading into the above passage, it ceases to be intelligible, because if, as you maintain, BOTH necessary AND sufficient causal factors are present, then a quantum event would not be distinguishable from others (as quantum events often are) by being “[A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous.” That the passage breaks down with your revised reading is easy to demonstrate:

    If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and, if under the circumstances that SUFFICIENT conditions then arise and the event occurs, then that event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.

    That, of course, makes no sense whatsoever vis “[A] unpredictable and [B] spontaneous” (Although [C] does follow.)

    It follows that it isn’t true that two possible readings are available, and we have chosen to press one and ignore the other. The reading you suggest is unintelligible, and hence not a viable alternative.

    This again makes your intended meaning plain, as we have characterized it above, and compels rejection of your revision.

  191. Here is a clearer (but no less nonsensical) version that bears your revision:

    “If an event requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, and then SUFFICIENT conditions do arise and the event occurs, then that event is [A] unpredictable, [B] spontaneous, and [C] Not uncaused.”

    If you don’t like mine, cook up your own.

  192. Kariosfocus

    I draw attention to my remarks at 135 – 6 above, esp:

    Usually people draw attention to their remarks by simply posting their remarks. It’s evident to all observers that you have now successfully created a situation where no matter what you say, people will simply scroll past without reading your posts. And why should they, you have been recycling the same “posts” for some time now.

    You now seem to be editing your “body of work” in response to comments, for example I’ve noticed that when you reference Hoyle you’ve now added in a pre-emptive “And don’t bother with any Wikipedia rubbish refuting Hoyle, he got a Nobel you know”.

    Is this your idea of debate then? Rather then debate issues, post a “newspaper” of your current thinking and those that do not conform and question instead are irrational or absurd? If you honestly wanted a debate or to honestly inform yourself and others you’d engage in the process of explaining why Wikipedias comments on Hoyle’s fallacy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoyle's_fallacy
    Are invalid. Don’t just prempt any possible discussion by saying it’s dealt with already thank you, you’ll have to take my word for it. I guess you never took debate class.

    Then you accuse others of your own failing:

    the appeal to “it just happens” meant to suggest or imply non-caused EVENTS, is an absurdity. Materialist reductio here hits yet another absurdity. (By now, their name is Legion.)

    And then say “except, of course, for the one uncaused cause I believe in”

    he appeal to “it just happens” meant to suggest or imply non-caused EVENTS, is an absurdity. Materialist reductio here hits yet another absurdity. (By now, their name is Legion.)

    GEM of TKI

    PS: this does not remove the logic of things that are and are uncaused. We live in a credibly contingent cosmos. Such entails the existence of a logically prior necessary being.

    But what about that prior cosmos for the necessary being? And the prior cosmos for the prior being prior being prior being prior being prior being etc etc.

    You want to have it both ways. You see nothing absurd in

    . Materialist reductio here hits yet another absurdity.

    and

    this does not remove the logic of things that are and are uncaused.

    Nothing is uncaused except the thing I need to be uncaused for my belief to work. And you think “Darwinists” are funny for believing that life evolved without guidance..

  193. StephenB, your response at 175 is 100% non-responsive.

    You are getting tripped up on your own words and symbols.

    What symbols? How am I getting tripped up?

    Here is a second example.

    You really don’t grok the fact that logic cannot be validated by example, do you. A conclusion that is correct, as verified by some other method than the logic in question, does not mean that the logic is valid.

    Your repeated definition of sufficient causes is: If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y.

    It does not follow from this that y implies x. You’re affirming the consequent. Any freshman in Philosophy 101 could tell you that. The ID proponents on this board should be embarrassed that one of their more prolific commenters, and an author of the FAQ, is so inept when it comes to basic logic. And that you think logic can be validated by example is further indication of your ineptitude.

    Pardon the frankness, but increased honesty is a natural reaction to repeated false accusations of lying.

  194. StephenB @ 177

    Everything you have written turns on what you perceive to be a misplaced prepositional phrase.

    If you’re talking about the “under the circumstances” phrase, then you apparently missed the part where I granted you arguendo the replacement of that phrase with “as it turns out, sufficient conditions are also present.”

    We can drop the charade now. We both know that you can’t follow the logic in 176. The only question was whether you would admit to not understanding it. As anyone familiar with your transparent phoniness would expect, you didn’t.

    If you care to understand why the sentence in question is nonsensical in light of your currently held position, I’ll gladly translate the argument to plain English to see if that helps you.

    If you believe that logic cannot be tested in the real world of examples, then you simply don’t understand the subject. indeed, one of the reasons we provide examples is to test the logic. That way we can distinguish those who know what they are talking about from those who don’t. If one cannot make his abstract ideas concrete in some way or illustrate them with real world examples, he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    Every one of those sentences is hilarious. Anyone with half a brain can apply logic to a concrete example, but those who understand logic know that examples don’t validate logic.

    This is especially rich coming from someone who says that his opponents “cannot reason in the abstract.” Your frequent logical blunders (affirming the consequent is a common one, especially in the form of unwarranted generalizations) rob you of any credibility as a judge of other people’s reasoning.

    Again, chock my bluntness up to the repeated false accusations of lying that I’ve received.

  195. —-Diffaxial: “No, dummy, I was referring my statement that you had offered “some talk about the weather in the countryside (a fog blanketed the bluff, as I recall).”

    How do I know whether you are referring to the “fog” or the “streets getting wet,” or, whatever else you might be talking about. Those who make ambiguous references to the weather in the context of multiple weather metaphors and expect closure would better qualify as a dummy. Since you had nothing to say of substance, I used the opportunity to dramatize you irrationality about causeless physical events, which is, of course, your calling card.

    —-Diffaxial blathers on for hundreds of words ………. “You now maintain”………and gets twisted and tangled in his own logic, which is his own invention.

    Its really very simple. I used the exact language in my original formulation and plugged in two concrete examples without changing a word. It works. Case closed. Get a life.

    Let us review the the Darwinist irrationality syndrome:

    Reason has rules, which among other things, allow us to eliminate possibilities so that we can move logically from point A to point B. We cannot say, for example, IF A is true, then B MUST be true, unless we can also say that C through Z are impossible. If we didn’t agree, in advance, that C through Z are impossible, such as [a thing cannot be and not be], [the whole cannot be less that any of its parts], [something cannot come from nothing], [physical events cannot occur without causes etc.], then we couldn’t reason our way from A to B or enter into rational discouse with others. But postmodernist cosmologists and atheist Darwinists, who reject these rules, cannot, in any context, say If A is true, then B must be true, because they refuse to rule out C through Z. That is another way of saying that they cannot reason in the abstract.

  196. —Rob: “We can drop the charade now. We both know that you can’t follow the logic in 176. The only question was whether you would admit to not understanding it. As anyone familiar with your transparent phoniness would expect, you didn’t.”

    I plugged in two concrete examples using the same language and both make perfect sense. You said it didn’t matter. That is ridiculous.

    By the way, what is your position on the following four points, which is the substance of what I have been talking about all along.

    [a.] something can come from nothing, yes or no.

    [b.] physical events can occur without causes, yes or no.

    [c] a thing cannot be and not be, yes or no. [Your phrasing A or not A has limited value but it does not address the point whether you think it applies to the real world. Diffaxial says it does not].

    [d.] the whole is always greater than any one of its parts. Yes or no.

    —”Again, chock my bluntness up to the repeated false accusations of lying that I’ve received.”

    A Continual attack on one’s character and credibility does have a way of changing one’s disposition doesn’t it?

  197. —-Rob: “It does not follow from this that y implies x. You’re affirming the consequent. Any freshman in Philosophy 101 could tell you that. The ID proponents on this board should be embarrassed that one of their more prolific commenters, and an author of the FAQ, is so inept when it comes to basic logic. And that you think logic can be validated by example is further indication of your ineptitude.”

    Logic: A thing cannot be and not be at the same time.

    Validation: Pluto cannot exist and not exist at the same time. Get a life.

    Logic: A physical event cannot occur without a cause.

    Validation: The post you just wrote required an author. Get a life.

    Enter the real world. You have been in your room for too long.

    What do you think logic is for if not making judgments about what is true and false in the real world?

    —”It does not follow from this that y implies x. You’re affirming the consequent. Any freshman in Philosophy 101 could tell you that.”

    You need more practice. If an event [graduation] requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, [being alive in order to graduate] but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, [one must also be alive and attend classes] and, if the event does occur, [graduation], then obviously the person was alive and attended classes. [Translation for Darwinists: If an event happened, the sufficient conditions HAD to be present.]

    Get a life. Enter the real world of logic and common sense. Like Diffaxial, you neither understand nor can apply the logic you claim to hold so dear.

    If you want to take on some real logic, deal with this:

    Reason has rules, which among other things, allow us to eliminate possibilities so that we can move logically from point A to point B. We cannot say, for example, IF A is true, then B MUST be true, unless we can also say that C through Z are impossible. If we didn’t agree, in advance, that C through Z are impossible, such as [a thing cannot be and not be], [the whole cannot be less that any of its parts], [something cannot come from nothing], [physical events cannot occur without causes etc.], then we couldn’t reason our way from A to B or enter into rational discouse with others. But postmodernist cosmologists and atheist Darwinists, who reject these rules, cannot, in any context, say If A is true, then B must be true, because they refuse to rule out C through Z. That is another way of saying that they cannot reason in the abstract.

  198. StephenB @ 107:

    We cannot say, for example, IF A is true, then B MUST be true, unless we can also say that C through Z are impossible.

    All horses like apples. Therefore Arabian horses like apples.

    Nah.

  199. StephenB:

    I plugged in two concrete examples using the same language and both make perfect sense.

    I already pointed out why your first example was bogus. Attending class was stated as a necessary condition, so of course it follows from the fact of graduation. That does not demonstrate that sufficient conditions follow from the occurrence of the event.

    Your second example is also bogus, because “x trained his will” does not follow from the premises. Nor does your sentence, “Accordingly, if one knows the good, [a necessary cause] but does not train his will to follow it, his knowledge will not lead to virtue”, because you did not state that training his will is necessary. x may be virtuous under some other set of conditions, which would necessarily includes knowing the good, but would not necessarily include training the will.

    This is the classic fallacy of affirming the consequent. That you need to have this explained to you should be deeply embarrassing to you.

    And your notion that logic can be validated by applying the logic to an example and then claiming that the example makes perfect sense is high comedy. How do you determine that the example makes perfect sense? Self-evidence?

  200. I have noticed one thing about honest people who really know their subject. They go for clarity at every opportunity. If they are honest, they will answer questions and probe more deeply into the subject. If they are smart and knowledgeable, they will find an illustration, or a metaphor to communicate the message, or they will utilize some other linguistic approach to sharpen their theme. Most important, they will apply concrete examples to bring the point home.

    If, on the other hand, they can’t put flesh, blood, and bones on their conceptual skeleton, that is, if they can’t transform their abstract theory into a concrete example, they don’t understand the subject at all, in spite of all their protests to the contrary. If, without oversimplifying, a person cannot distill a difficult principle into its simplest essence such that a twelve year old could understand it, he doesn’t know what he is talking about. He is bluffing.

    Rob and Diffaxial fail to make their points clear and avoid concrete examples for one simple reason. They do not know what they are talking about. They are indeed, bluffing. As materialist/Darwinists, they believe that the logic of their mind has nothing at all to do with the logic of nature. Indeed, they don’t even know that nature has a logic which the logic of the mind can apprehend. It all sounds so “dualistic” to them. Obviously, that puts them both at a severe disadvantage and explains why they cannot make sense out of anything.

    Since they have nothing else to talk about, they try to attack my credibility. Fortunately, I was around when it happened, so they were not successful. I am now going on vacation, finally, and I trust that they will continue their Darwinist love fest, attacking me, and avoiding all hard questions. Interpret their behavior for what it is—a bluff wrapped up in a fog.

  201. StephenB:

    Logic: A thing cannot be and not be at the same time.

    Validation: Pluto cannot exist and not exist at the same time. Get a life.

    Logic: A physical event cannot occur without a cause.

    Validation: The post you just wrote required an author. Get a life.

    Logic: Nothing can fly to the moon.

    Validation: My car can’t fly to the moon.

    Are we on candid camera here?

  202. StephenB:

    You need more practice. If an event [graduation] requires certain physically NECESSARY conditions to occur, [being alive in order to graduate] but if those conditions are not SUFFICIENT for its occurrence, [one must also be alive and attend classes] and, if the event does occur, [graduation], then obviously the person was alive and attended classes.

    I’ll repeat myself, since you didn’t get it the first time: To say that “one must also be alive and attend classes” is to say that those are necessary conditions.

    Since you’re obviously incapable of analyzing logic without examples, here’s one:

    Being born in Texas is sufficient to attain American citizenship. Therefore, if you have American citizenship, you must have been born in Texas.

    [Translation for Darwinists: If an event happened, the sufficient conditions HAD to be present.]

    No translation needed. x⇒y does not imply y⇒x. This is called affirming the consequent. Back to freshman logic for you.

  203. As I am going out the door:

    —Rob: “Logic: Nothing can fly to the moon.

    —”Validation: My car can’t fly to the moon.

    —”Are we on candid camera here?

    Your ignorance is truly astounding.

    “Nothing can fly to the moon” is not a logical principle. Its another bluff wrapped up in another fog.

  204. Have a good vacation, StephenB. If you need some reading material, here is #176 in plain English:

    (1) By definition, sufficient conditions must include necessary conditions. Otherwise, the sufficient conditions could not guarantee the occurrence of the event.

    (2) Your currently stated position posits the necessity of sufficient conditions. With this condition included in the necessary conditions, the necessary conditions are also sufficient.

    The above (2) renders nonsensical the notion of a complete set of necessary conditions that is not sufficient. So when you talk about necessary conditions that are not sufficient, you must be referring to a subset of all necessary conditions.

    But every event has a subset of necessary conditions that are insufficient, except for events that have only one necessary condition. The first sentence of your argument is therefore a claim that all events with more than one necessary condition are unpredictable, spontaneous, and not uncaused.

    If you still don’t understand it, I’ll try to bring it down to the level of a 12-year old. Shall I use puppets?

    Seriously, I hope you have a good vacation, and that you forget about UD the minute you step out the door.

  205. As I am going out the door:

    —Rob: “Logic: Nothing can fly to the moon.

    —”Validation: My car can’t fly to the moon.

    —”Are we on candid camera here?

    Your ignorance is truly astounding.

    “Nothing can fly to the moon” is not a logical principle. Its another bluff wrapped up in another fog.

    LOL. Whatever. Here’s a proof of a logical principle, StephenB-style:

    Logic: If all x are y, then all y are x.

    Validation: All binary digits are bits, and all bits are binary digits.

  206. StephenB,

    If, on the other hand, they can’t put flesh, blood, and bones on their conceptual skeleton, that is, if they can’t transform their abstract theory into a concrete example, they don’t understand the subject at all, in spite of all their protests to the contrary. If, without oversimplifying, a person cannot distill a difficult principle into its simplest essence such that a twelve year old could understand it, he doesn’t know what he is talking about. He is bluffing.

    C.S. Lewis said, to paraphrase, that if a man couldn’t explain what he meant in plain language, then he really didn’t know what he meant. R0b and Diffaxial remind me of John Wither from Lewis’s book That Hideous Strength, where they intentionally use vague language instead of concrete terms and propositions. It’s a common tactic, but I’ve never seen it so eloquently displayed as it is in the character of John Wither.

  207. —Rob: “Being born in Texas is sufficient to attain American citizenship. Therefore, if you have American citizenship, you must have been born in Texas”

    Your example doesn’t show the tension between necessary and sufficient.

    Here is a better offering, using my infamous “streets getting wet” example.

    Without the presence of water molecules the streets cannot get wet [necessary cause]

    Rain is sufficient to cause the streets to get wet [sufficient cause]\

    A water sprinkler is sufficient to cause the streets to get wet [sufficient cause]

    Therefore if the event occurs, [if the streets get wet], then at least one sufficient cause had to happen.

    See how that works.

  208. Clive,

    R0b and Diffaxial remind me of John Wither from Lewis’s book That Hideous Strength, where they intentionally use vague language instead of concrete terms and propositions.

    What? Are you accusing ROb of using “vague language”? I find his posts very clear and understandable. Maybe I’m missing something.

  209. —Rob: “LOL. Whatever. Here’s a proof of a logical principle, StephenB-style:”

    After you study 207 in order to grasp the relationship between necessary and sufficient causes, hearken back to my examples and find fault with them.

    Here’s one you can comment on.

    Principle: No physical event can occur without a cause.”

    Example: Your paragraph did not write itself.

    By your lights, that application cannot be made.

    —-Logic: If all x are y, then all y are x.

    —-Validation: All binary digits are bits, and all bits are binary digits

    Nope. That is not a logical principle. That is a bi-conditional expression which does not qualify as a principle. Biconditionals are seldom the case. Usually, IF X then Y does not translate into If Y, then X. On the other hand, you are apparently unaware that, rarely, biconditional expressions actually do apply. You labor under the illusion that they never do.

    You simply don’t know how to apply logic. Sorry. To be more precise, you do not understand the concept of a logical principle. Try again.

  210. R0b and Diffaxial remind me of John Wither from Lewis’s book That Hideous Strength, where they intentionally use vague language instead of concrete terms and propositions.

    Clive, can you be less vague about this? Please tell me where I’ve been vague so I can make it more explicit for you.

    In 101 and 176 I laid out the relevant logic formally. There is no way to make logic less vague than to formalize it. And I have seen nothing in Diffaxial’s comments that needs disambiguation. Point to any of his comments, and I can tell you what he’s saying.

    If StephenB would admit to not understanding something, I would gladly explain it. It’s absurd to conclude that someone is bluffing because they haven’t explained something such that StephenB understands it. I don’t understand the proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, but it would be arrogant in the extreme for me to conclude from this that Andrew Wiles is bluffing.

  211. StephenB @ 209:

    —-Validation: All binary digits are bits, and all bits are binary digits

    Nope. That is not a logical principle. That is a bi-conditional expression which does not qualify as a principle. Biconditionals are seldom the case. Usually, IF X then Y does not translate into If Y, then X. On the other hand, you are apparently unaware that, rarely, biconditional expressions actually do apply. You labor under the illusion that they never do.

    You simply don’t know how to apply logic. Sorry. To be more precise, you do not understand the concept of a logical principle. Try again.

    Pssst. Stephen. Pssst. No, don’t look this way. Act nateral (I mean, real stiff).

    R0bs’s example vis bits is a parody. Don’t tell him I told you.

  212. StephenB:

    By your lights, that application cannot be made.

    Completely false. I have never said or implied that logic can’t be applied.

    That is a bi-conditional expression which does not qualify as a principle.

    Can you define your usage of “principle”? (Note that I’m asking for a definition, not an example.)

    Usually, IF X then Y does not translate into If Y, then X.

    Hallelujah! Now you can apply that principle statement to sufficiency and finally understand that “the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y” does not imply “the presence of y necessarily implies the presence of x”.

    On the other hand, you are apparently unaware that, rarely, biconditional expressions actually do apply. You labor under the illusion that they never do..

    For heaven’s sakes, StephenB, I used the example of bits and binary digits precisely because they are biconditionally related.

  213. —Diffaxial: “Pssst. Stephen. Pssst. No, don’t look this way. Act nateral (I mean, real stiff).”

    Sorry to disturb your meditation: Let it be so: Causes come and go–let it be so; causes come and go–let it be so; causes come and go–Oh please let it be so. Repeat and rinse.

  214. —Rob: “For heaven’s sakes, StephenB, I used the example of bits and binary digits precisely because they are biconditionally related.”

    For heavens sake, Rob, I know. It doesn’t apply to the situation. Once again, by the numbers.

    Without the presence of water molecules the streets cannot get wet [necessary cause]

    Rain is sufficient to cause the streets to get wet [sufficient cause]\

    A water sprinkler is sufficient to cause the streets to get wet [sufficient cause]

    Therefore if the event occurs, [if the streets get wet], then at least one sufficient cause had to happen.

    Absorb, absorb, absorb.

  215. StephenB:

    Without the presence of water molecules the streets cannot get wet [necessary cause]

    Rain is sufficient to cause the streets to get wet [sufficient cause]\

    A water sprinkler is sufficient to cause the streets to get wet [sufficient cause]

    Therefore if the event occurs, [if the streets get wet], then at least one sufficient cause had to happen.

    See how that works.

    No I don’t, because it does not work. Your conclusion is a non sequitur. “Therefore if the event occurs, then at least one sufficient cause had to happen” does not follow from the preceding statements. (And please don’t pretend that I’m saying that the conclusion wrt streets getting wet is false.)

    If you knew how to construct formal proofs, and if your logic were valid, you could prove it formally and there would be no disagreement. Unfortunately, neither of those necessary conditions obtains.

    Here’s another example:
    (1) In order for a particle to pass through slit A in a double-slit experiment, it must be emitted from the source. (Necessary condition)

    (2) There are conditions under which the particle would be guaranteed to go through slit A. (Sufficient conditions)

    (3) Therefore, if the particle goes through slit A, conditions existed such that the particle was guaranteed to go through slit A.

    This is an invalid argument. You have to add another premise, namely hidden variables, in order to make the argument valid.

  216. —Rob: “Can you define your usage of “principle”? (Note that I’m asking for a definition, not an example.)”

    Wow, you catch on quick. Back to the drawing board to a question I asked long ago–[about PRINCIPLES] Did I say that loud enough.

    Here are a few: [not all]

    [a.] something cannot come from nothing, yes or no. Diffaxial thinks it can.

    [b.] physical events cannot occur without causes, yes or no. Diffaxial says physical events can occur without causes.

    [c] a thing cannot be and not be, yes or no. [Your phrasing A or not A has limited value but it does not address the point whether you think it applies to the real world. Diffaxial says it doesn't apply to the real world.] What do you think?

    [d] a proposition cannot be true and false at the same time and under the same formal circumstances. Yes or no.

    [e.] the whole is always greater than any one of its parts. Diffaxial, as far as I know, is stuck on the meaning of “greater.” Where are you at.

    Before you tell me you need further definitions, be advised that no one else, except Darwinists looking for loopholes, has any difficulty answering these questions as asked. On the whole/part relationship, Wikipedia had no difficulty understanding what it meant solely on those terms.

  217. —Rob: “No I don’t, because it does not work. Your conclusion is a non sequitur. “Therefore if the event occurs, then at least one sufficient cause had to happen” does not follow from the preceding statements. (And please don’t pretend that I’m saying that the conclusion wrt streets getting wet is false.”

    If you don’t like the word “therefore,” throw it out.

    Here we go again:

    Without the presence of water molecules the streets cannot get wet [necessary cause]

    Rain is sufficient to cause the streets to get wet [sufficient cause]\

    A water sprinkler is sufficient to cause the streets to get wet [sufficient cause]

    If the event occurs, [if the streets get wet], then at least one sufficient cause had to happen.

  218. On 217. Please don’t ask me to add all the other possible sufficient causes. The point is, if the event occurs A sufficient cause must be present.

  219. StephenB, why did you give me five examples of principles when I explicitly asked for your definition of “principle” rather than examples?

    If you don’t like the word “therefore,” throw it out.

    You can’t cure a non sequitur by throwing out the word “therefore”. Sorry. The argument is still invalid. To make it valid, you could replace “sufficient to cause” with “necessary to cause” or “sufficient and necessary to cause”.

  220. Me:

    To make it valid, you could replace “sufficient to cause” with “necessary to cause” or “sufficient and necessary to cause”.

    Sorry, on reading the argument, that obviously wouldn’t work. My bad.

    You could always add the premise of strict determinism, but then your conclusion follows immediately from that premise.

  221. —Rob: “You can’t cure a non sequitur by throwing out the word “therefore”. Sorry. The argument is still invalid. To make it valid, you could replace “sufficient to cause” with “necessary to cause” or “sufficient and necessary to cause”.

    Two simple yes or no’s will suffice. No formal arguments needed.

    [A] Can physical events occur without causes?

    [B] In the example cited, the wet streets, is a sufficient cause required.

  222. —Rob: “StephenB, why did you give me five examples of principles when I explicitly asked for your definition of “principle” rather than examples”

    You used the example of a biconditional logical formulation. On the other hand, logical principles are those rules by which logic operates. Without them, there is no logic. In other words, it is the principle of non-contradiction that supports the biconditional that you put forth. OK now?

    Given that you now understand the definition of a logical principle, would you now comment on the five I listed.

    Here are a few: [not all]

    [a.] something cannot come from nothing, yes or no. Diffaxial thinks it can.

    [b.] physical events cannot occur without causes, yes or no. Diffaxial says physical events can occur without causes.

    [c] a thing cannot be and not be, yes or no. [Your phrasing A or not A has limited value but it does not address the point whether you think it applies to the real world. Diffaxial says it doesn't apply to the real world.] What do you think?

    [d] a proposition cannot be true and false at the same time and under the same formal circumstances. Yes or no.

    [e.] the whole is always greater than any one of its parts. Diffaxial, as far as I know, is stuck on the meaning of “greater.” Where are you on this one?

  223. It’s getting late, so I am going to sum this thing up. Let’s use alternating sufficient causes and frame them in such a way that they cannot be interpreted as necessary causes. [I really do want to go on vacation]

    [A] Without the presence of water molecules the streets cannot get wet [necessary cause]

    Rain [sufficient cause]\ or perhaps

    A water sprinkler [sufficient cause] —or perhaps

    Children running up and down the street with water jugs [sufficient cause] —or perhaps

    something else.

    IF the event occurs, [if the streets get wet], then at least one sufficient cause had to happen.

    [B] Unless the adolescent is alive, he cannot obtain a high school degree [necessary cause]

    He may satisfy all the requirements of the institution [sufficient cause]— or perhaps

    He may obtain a GDE [sufficient cause] — or perhaps

    He may take an equivalency exam in the military [sufficient cause]

    IF the event occurs, [graduation], then at least on sufficient cause had to happen.

    So, when I wrote that, “If the physical event occurs,” it was, or should have been understood that a sufficient cause had to happen. This has nothing to do with the formally necessary cause indicated. As should be clear by now, I have never believed that an event can occur except when a necessary AND a sufficient cause are present, nor did I write anything that can rightly be understood that way once one understands that any physical event requires a sufficient cause.

    Now the error everyone has been making with this X.y Y.x business is this: One cannot say that a given sufficient cause [as in THE sufficient cause] is required because there are many possible candidates. On the other hand, one can always say that A sufficient cause is required. This is not even close to being a bi-conditional logical expression.

    Many unkind things have been said on this thread. On the one hand, I didn’t like being told that I said something that I didn’t say. On the other hand, I didn’t help matters much by using the L—word. So, if Rob or Diffaxial will acknowledge that I did not say that physical events can occur without sufficient causes, I will extend my apologies for escalating the dialogue to new levels and retract all personal comments. From there, we can begin the road back to civility and courtesy.

  224. “R0b and Diffaxial remind me of John Wither from Lewis’s book That Hideous Strength, where they intentionally use vague language instead of concrete terms and propositions.”

    Clive,

    I know the natural tendency for all of us is to support those that agree with us and oppose those who do not and I certainly do not want to alienate my pro ID friends. However I do not share the view that Rob is intentionally being vague. I think the old adage “the devils in the details” require boring down into what may appear to be minutia when in fact it is in the minutia where differences are resolved.

    I am a big fan of StephenB but that doesnt mean I cannot stick up for someone because I disagree with the person. There is probably little that Rob and I agree on but my sense of Rob is that purposeful intellectual dishonesty is not part of his DNA.

    Vivid

  225. After giving this matter a good deal of thought, I have concluded that I have a point, and my critics have a point.

    On the one hand, I am right to this extent: Once the phrase “if the event occurs” is added, sufficient conditions are automatically implied. So, in that sense, it is impossible for me to argue that an event can occur solely as a result of necessary causes, since no event can occur without a sufficient cause by virtue of the definition of sufficient. My models show that. Rob and Diffaxial have not been attentive enough to that point.

    On the other hand, my critics are right in another important way: The sentence is misleading as the words, “under the circumstances,” by which I meant to convey “if, as it turns out,” easily translates into “according to the conditions just mentioned,” which would make it appear that I am arguing that events can occur solely through natural causes. I mistakenly assumed that my readers understood that all physical events automatically require sufficient causes, so I should have bridged that gap by using a different transitional phrase. I have not been attentive enough to that point.

    So, in the spirit of clarification, I think I will make the following change:

    If an event requires certain physically necessary conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not sufficient for its occurrence, then that event is only potentially possible until sufficient conditions arise and the event actually does occur, in which case it will be both unpredictable and uncaused.

    That means, of course, that I owe Rob and Diffaxial apologies for my half of the misunderstanding and the attendant allusions to dishonesty.

    On the other matter, the problematic Darwinist approach to causality persists and I am still not getting straight answers to straight questions. I hope that will change.

  226. —Oops, I mean:

    If an event requires certain physically necessary conditions to occur, but if those conditions are not sufficient for its occurrence, then that event is only potentially possible until sufficient conditions arise and the event actually does occur, in which case it will be both unpredictable and [caused].

  227. Stephen:

    You caught your slip.

    Uncaused events would have to have neither necessary nor sufficient causal factors at work.

    And I repeat from 76 (amplified at 135) for reminder:

    1] Unless all NECESSARY causal factors are present, an event CANNOT happen.

    2] If SUFFICIENT causal factors are present, the even WILL happen.

    3] If an event DID happen, sufficient causal factors, AND necessary causal factors had to be present. (The two sets of factors need not be equivalent. Overkill is possible.)

    GEM of TKI

  228. —kairosfocus: “Uncaused events would have to have neither necessary nor sufficient causal factors at work.”

    Actually, I pointed that out

    ….”when a particle appears in a quantum vacuum, it is spontaneous but not uncaused because it has many necessary conditions. To be uncaused, it must have NO NECESSARY OR SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS whatsoever. In other words, something cannot come from nothing.”

    The problem was in the communication.

  229. StephenB (228),

    What are the “necessary conditions” that you think cause particles to appear in a quantum vacuum?

  230. Evidently, StephenB considers it civil discourse to characterize another person’s beliefs as “irrational,” because those beliefs don’t share the presuppositions of the his particular beliefs.

    I was brought up to consider such behavior bad manners. It discredits the perpetrator while adding nothing of substance to his argument.

  231. That means, of course, that I owe Rob and Diffaxial apologies for my half of the misunderstanding and the attendant allusions to dishonesty.

    I accept that.

    It is worth noting that I have made close to zero personal comments about you or anyone else in this discussion (other than “get some therapy” and addressing you as “dummy”). You and yours, however, have frequently characterized me as dishonest, irrational, as a liar, as lacking intellectual honesty and courage, as a coward, as displaying weakness, and so forth, with similar remarks directed to R0b. I think you embarrass yourselves with those remarks, which is why I pass over them without comment and decline to be baited into responding in kind. Fair to say that similar restraint characterizes R0b’s superior contributions. I gather the purpose of these personal characterizations is to spin “onlooker’s” impressions of the flow of the debate, but I’d be willing to bet they often have a very different impact than you imagine.

    You offered a sort of exchange:

    if Rob or Diffaxial will acknowledge that I did not say that physical events can occur without sufficient causes, I will extend my apologies for escalating the dialogue to new levels and retract all personal comments.

    I don’t care about retraction of personal comments. Readers can judge for themselves the honesty (etc.) of my contributions. The exchange that interests me is that you cease repeating misleading characterizations of prior conversations to score rhetorical points. In exchange I will drop that issue, as well as questions surrounding the interpretation of your ambiguous statement vis necessary versus sufficient causes. I can’t stop believing what I believe about your statement (and to say otherwise would be dishonest), but I can certainly stop commenting upon it. I’ll allow you the same slack: You needn’t concede anything about your prior statements. Just agree to stop making them.

  232. StephenB, I sincerely appreciate the olive branch. Diffaxial’s response is mine also. I regret my uncharitable bluntness, and while I can’t think of anything that I can honestly retract, I’d be more than happy with a bilateral agreement to drop the subject.

  233. vividbleau, thank you for the kind words @ 224.

  234. What makes her think we are the last bleep in the cosmic history?

  235. She must mean that we are the latest bleep in the cosmic history while I interpreted it to mean the final bleep in the cosmic history.

  236. I am gratified that we appear to be back on the road to civility. A few additional comments are in order. [At least from my perspective]

    Understand that the personal exchanges followed accusations that I have changed my position on necessary and sufficient charges. Although the infamous dangling prepositional phrase may have left that impression, it continues not to be the case. That is made clear by the meaning of the word sufficient, as I have pointed out several times. It is impossible to accept the notion of sufficient causes and then argue that physical events can occur without them. Hence, my final paragraph which, understood in context, made the point explicit. My critics persistently left that out. It was that omission that prompted my personal responses, and I still believe it to be unfair. Even now, no one seems to acknowledge that point or understand its significance. This misunderstanding was a two-way street, and both sides contributed to it.

    With regard to the broader charge, the points made still stand. By rejecting reason’s first principles, or pleading ignorance about what they mean, materialist Darwinists do indeed, embrace irrationality. I don’t apologize for raising that issue because it is a fair point. To reject reason’s principles is to reject reason itself. Some have tried to rationalize the point, but it cannot be justified. Rob has yet to answer questions about his position on causality and Diffaxial failed to address his problem of selective causality. Some think it is uncivil to press the issue. I think it is irresponsible not to. It is probably too late to address these issues on this thread because most of it has been devoted to a single sentence I once wrote.

    Diffaxial has suggested that I misrepresent the nature of past conversations. It is interesting that when it is I who claim to have been misunderstood, the formulation of the words mean everything while context and intent mean nothing, but when others claim to have been misunderstood, the formulation of the words mean nothing while context and intent mean everything. I don’t accept that double standard. Here is another way of looking at this. In some cases, when others fail to answer questions or consistently leave out important information, I try, as accurately as I can, to connect the dots that they refuse to connect. I know of no other way to persuade them to abandon their “strategic ambiguity,” which manifests itself in a number of ways that I will not go into. Some think I am rude to take that approach. I, the other hand, think it is rude for my adversaries to make it necessary. To each his own.

  237. ” my position on necessary and sufficient [causes]“

  238. StephenB

    By rejecting reason’s first principles, or pleading ignorance about what they mean, materialist Darwinists do indeed, embrace irrationality.

    Given that, irrationality seems to be doing well. Things are being discovered, reports are, well, being reported. Journals seem to have no end of novel, useful results to share.

    If Darwinist scientists were to embrace rationality what changes would you expect to see in research direction, the scientific method etc etc?

    Are do you think that Darwinists in general are aware that they embrace irrationality or is it an unconscious thing?

    Is it all scientists or just Darwinists? Scientists working in Nuclear Physics, do they embrace irrationality too?

    Or is it just biologists?

  239. StephenB @ 236:

    I don’t accept that double standard.

    Nor is there any way to adjudicate which is correct.

    But do you accept the suggested exchange? No need to accept any particular standards, or further re-hash these issues to do so.

  240. In keeping with your previous point, I don’t know if there is any way to adjudicate our respective, and possibly contrary interpretations of the word “misrepresent.” Another approach might be for both sides to simply refrain from reaching back into the archives at all, focusing solely on the subject matter under consideration and the comments being made at that time.

  241. StephenB

    focusing solely on the subject matter under consideration and the comments being made at that time.

    Is that your way of saying you’ll be ignoring my comment at 238 regarding those irrational darwinists then?

    Funny that…

  242. —Blue Lotus: “Is that your way of saying you’ll be ignoring my comment at 238 regarding those irrational darwinists then?”

    No, I can certainly give you some answers, but I don’t think I want to start another long round of volleys.

    —”Given that, irrationality seems to be doing well. Things are being discovered, reports are, well, being reported. Journals seem to have no end of novel, useful results to share.”

    What does the irrationality of Darwinism have to do with the rationality of legitimate science?

    —”If Darwinist scientists were to embrace rationality what changes would you expect to see in research direction, the scientific method etc etc?”

    They would follow where the evidence leads and abandon their paradigm.

    —”Do you think that Darwinists in general are aware that they embrace irrationality or is it an unconscious thing?”

    I think it is unconscious until I point it out to them, then it becomes conscious.

    Example:

    Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

    The universe began to exist

    Therefore, the universe had a cause.

    Darwinists here reject that premise, presumably because they don’t like the conclusion. That is irrational.

    —”Is it all scientists or just Darwinists? Scientists working in Nuclear Physics, do they embrace irrationality too?”

    Anyone who rejects causality or posits infinite multiple universes to avoid evidence for design is irrational. I don’t think all scientsits do that, meaning that there are plenty of rational scientists around.

  243. StephemB

    What does the irrationality of Darwinism have to do with the rationality of legitimate science?

    This worries me. A few questions.

    How many “Darwinists” are there?

    How do you determine who is doing “legitimate science” and who is a “Darwinist”?

    What is your test for “legitimate science”? If it supports a conclusion favoured by you it is “legitimate”? What?

    Give me a specific example of a scientist doing irrational science please.

    They would follow where the evidence leads and abandon their paradigm.

    And then what? Tell me StephenB, who do you think is stopping people following where the evidence leads? Some kind of “science mafia”? Or is it simply the “Steinberg/Expelled” fear you can conjure up? If so, well, even in that case I hear Dr Dembski just got an ID supporting paper peer reviewed and published and according to the DI the list is only growing. So, given their example would these scientists you claim are not following where the evidence leads not simply release their evidence of ID whatever the consequences? After all, they would be, as far as they are concerned, providing evidence for the existence of their god and what believer would possibly hesistate? Somewhat unlikely that all of them would remain silent?

    I think it is unconscious until I point it out to them, then it becomes conscious.

    Ah, here it is. Are you saying these scientists can’t see the light for themselves? That you are the one? I hope not!
    So, how many Darwinist scientists have you converted to the rationality of legitimate science? 1? 10? It must be at least one!

    then it becomes conscious.

    So it’s happened at least once then? And tell me, StephenB, what changed for that person in their research after you opened their eyes? What change in direction did you produce? Any hints?

    Example:

    Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

    The universe began to exist

    Therefore, the universe had a cause.

    Darwinists here reject that premise, presumably because they don’t like the conclusion. That is irrational.

    How nice. And the cause to the universe did not “begin” to exist so it presumably always existed and had no need to come into existence and so you’ve not need to think about how it came into existence because you can use a few flimsy words and just shrug the whole mess off into a convenient bucket marked “don’t look in here”.

    How nice for you!

    Darwinists here reject that premise, presumably because they don’t like the conclusion. That is irrational.

    How many of the Darwinist scientists that you’ve converted started off rejecting your premise and how many supported it after? I want numbers!

    Anyone who rejects causality or posits infinite multiple universes to avoid evidence for design is irrational. I don’t think all scientists do that, meaning that there are plenty of rational scientists around.

    And there are more and more for every one you convert for every one you convert converts two and so on and so forth until all are converted and the world rejects Darwinistm! Is that it?

    So, these “plenty of” rational scientists who, by you definition are “following where the evidence leads” and have accepted your paradigm. What results have they produced that you can point to that supports the existence of an Intelligent Designer of any sort??

  244. With regard to the broader charge, the points made still stand.

    Not at all. See, for example, Diffaxial [180].

    By rejecting reason’s first principles, or pleading ignorance about what they mean, materialist Darwinists do indeed, embrace irrationality.

    The issue is not settled: It is your first principles that are in question. Your defense of them has been found wanting.

    I don’t apologize for raising that issue because it is a fair point. To reject reason’s principles is to reject reason itself.

    Again, you are assuming the validity of your side of the argument.

    Some have tried to rationalize the point, but it cannot be justified. Rob has yet to answer questions about his position on causality and Diffaxial failed to address his problem of selective causality. Some think it is uncivil to press the issue.

    That’s my position: you are uncivil. To justify your claim of irrationality, you have to cite independent empirical evidence of mental incapacity. One is not irrational simply because he doesn’t accept your argument.

  245. Anyone who rejects causality or posits infinite multiple universes to avoid evidence for design is irrational.

    Evidence for “design” is one of the issues under discussion. Scientists don’t see it. They don’t need to postulate “infinite multiple universes” to avoid seeing what isn’t there.

  246. Stephen @ 240:

    Another approach might be for both sides to simply refrain from reaching back into the archives at all, focusing solely on the subject matter under consideration and the comments being made at that time.

    I don’t think we need be that restrictive. An alternative is to always include quotes including sufficient context, with appropriate links, when attributing statements and viewpoints to others. Then, when there are differences in interpretation, readers my follow those links and judge for themselves the intent of the writer.

    More generally, the use of such references to characterize participants in the debate (e.g., Darwinists “can’t think” is the thrust of y) seems fated to receive a strong response and result in a dysfunctional conversation, and should be omitted.

  247. Ooops – hit return somehow. The parenthetical comment in the last paragraph above was to be:

    (e.g., Darwinists “can’t think is the thrust of your initial post on this thread)

  248. Er…

    (e.g., Darwinists “can’t think” is the thrust of your initial post on this thread).

    (They sure can’t type.)

  249. Adel Dibagnio:

    Blue Lotus:

    Your questions make no sense. Sorry to be so “uncivil.” Why not just give each other high fives for getting in the last word, which I am sure you will

  250. StephenB @ 236:

    Diffaxial failed to address his problem of selective causality.

    Actually, I’ve been completely clear. From 67, above:

    What you want to say is that it follows from the claim that there is an element of acausality/indeterminism at the quantum level vis, for example, timing of particle decay, that streets can “really just get wet.” Further, you want to say that that an individual who asserts that elements of quantum indeterminacy amount to a limited domain of acausality is being inconsistent in denying that that “streets can really just get wet.”

    But the physics itself tells us that that doesn’t follow: the indeterminacy and profound randomness of quantum events is displayed at the quantum level to degrees that can be predicted probabilistically with great precision, probabilities that render meaningful macrophysical violations a non factor in our experience of and reasoning over ordinary macrophysical events. Macrophysical events (such as the wetting of streets) obey classical causality with a fidelity sufficient to prompt us all, Darwinists and those among us who are less bright alike, to always expect that macrophysical events have macrophysical causes.

    Note that I didn’t merely say “expect”; I said “always expect.” The physics that discloses quantum indeterminacy also constrains that indeterminacy to an precisely delimited scope. Therefore it is simply false that it follows from my position that macroscopic violations of causality can occur anytime, or any time it is convenient for me. The physics says otherwise. That’s good enough for me. I rely on modern physics to tell me what is, and is not, physically possible, and indeed lack the expertise to do otherwise.

    Can the face of a statue of the Virgin Mary simply become wet without cause?

  251. 251

    StephenB,

    I’d just like to say: I have followed your contributions to UD for some time now (nearly a year?), and your posts/discussions on philosophy and theology are some of the most competent and illuminating to read. So for that, I thank you.

    Oh, and have a good vacation. You’ll need it after this.

  252. Echoing HSR’s statement, StephenB. Hope you have a good time, and as always, damn good read.

  253. House Street Room: Thanks for the kind words. I have begun a mini-vacation and will extend it into a full vacation very shortly. [That means ignoring insignificant questions].

  254. nullasalus, thanks also for the kind words.

  255. Diffaxial: The problem I had in mind is this: How do you reconcile rationality and science with your proposition that causeless events can occur? If a causeless event can occur in one context, why not another? How do you determine when causality is in play and when it is not. It does no good to appeal to the evidence, because we judge evidence on the assumption of an uncompromised causality.

  256. As a point of clarification on 255, I acknowledge that an “event” can be uncaused if we define an event as a change of movement, which understood on those terms would not violate the principle of causality. If, however, we describe an event as something coming into existence from nothing, then the principle of causality would be violated. Thus, the question framed in philosophical/scientific terms would be this: If something can come into existence without a cause in one context, why not another? How would you determine which ones that came into existence were caused and which ones were not?

  257. StephenB

    Your questions make no sense. Sorry to be so “uncivil.” Why not just give each other high fives for getting in the last word, which I am sure you will

    How nice for you. You are by no means being “uncivil”.

    Let’s take the questions one at a time shall we? See if they make any sense if examined one at a time.

    I think it is unconscious until I point it out to them, then it becomes conscious.

    Q: How many Darwinists have you converted from “irrational” science to “rational” science.

    Your statement implys such conversion of at least one. Is it just the one or many?

    And lets try one more question.

    So, these “plenty of” rational scientists who, by you definition are “following where the evidence leads” and have accepted your paradigm.

    Q: What results have they produced that you can point to that supports the existence of an Intelligent Designer of any sort?

  258. StephenB (256),

    “Thus, the question framed in philosophical/scientific terms would be this: If something can come into existence without a cause in one context, why not another? How would you determine which ones that came into existence were caused and which ones were not?”

    It’s a good question, and you may find the answer (part of it at any rate) here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....al_physics

    In practice, you’d never be able to tell for sure, but in practice probabilities come into play. At the levels at which quantum mechanics dominates, events can really only be handled in a probabilistic manner. Cause and effect break down – we’ve discussed radioactivity before, and it’s raised here too on this webpage.

    Once you get to macro levels (such as us) the probabilistic effect is swamped by the sheer mass of particles involved. For example, we can tell when half of a lump of uranium will decay to another element because we know the half-life (even though we can’t tell which atomes within it will disintegrate).

  259. StephenB @ 256:

    As a point of clarification on 255, I acknowledge that an “event” can be uncaused if we define an event as a change of movement, which understood on those terms would not violate the principle of causality. If, however, we describe an event as something coming into existence from nothing, then the principle of causality would be violated.

    That seems like thin ice indeed. Most accounts of “cause and effect” (and of “event”) count the cue ball knocking the eight ball into the corner pocket (which entails a change of movement of the eight ball) as an event reflecting a real cause and a real effect, indeed as a model of cause and effect. Yet no somethings have appeared from nothing; only changes in movement have occurred.

    After all of the foregoing, are now saying that if the eight ball simply began moving across the table uncaused that this would NOT count as a violation of causality, because something didn’t appear from nothing?

  260. Gaz: The link you recommended deals with the subject of “determinism,” which is not the same thing as causality. Determinism places cognition in a physical causal chain along with everything else, ruling out the possibility that intelligence can also be a cause and disavowing any kind of free will. The rule of causality is not nearly as severe as all that, arguing, among other things, that nothing can come into existence without a previous cause. In a general sense, it just means that one thing depends on another, even if we don’t know which thing depends on what other thing, and/or even if we can’t identify the causal event in causal terms.

    Science must assume causality to function, that is, it must assume that everything that comes into existence had a cause. Indeed, is the assumption of causality that allowed us to posit the counterintuitive phenomenon we find in quantum mechanics. We were surprised at what we found only because we had a consistent standard of causality that allowed us to be surprised. We rightly assumed causation as the requisite standard of rationality and science, yet we noticed that quantum particles “appeared” not to have a cause. It was our rational assumption about causality that helped us to make the more sophisticated observation that the quantum event is unpredictable but not uncaused. Thus, we know more than what we would have known if we had taken the anti—intellectual posture that something can come from nothing.

    Without the assumption of causality, we would, and some do, take on the simplistic and erroneous conclusion that not only the changed position of the particles is uncaused [possible and reasonable] but also the existence of the particles was uncaused [not reasonable]. Nothing that exists is uncaused, and if it could be, rationality and science would collapse. If we abandon causality even once, there is no reason why we cannot abandon it again each time we fail to identify a specific cause in causal terms—the very opposite of the rational standard that brought us to where we are.

  261. —Diffaxial “That seems like thin ice indeed. Most accounts of “cause and effect” (and of “event”) count the cue ball knocking the eight ball into the corner pocket (which entails a change of movement of the eight ball) as an event reflecting a real cause and a real effect, indeed as a model of cause and effect. Yet no somethings have appeared from nothing; only changes in movement have occurred”

    I don’t think causality can be defined that narrowly. With that constricted definition, acausal events could possibly happen at the quantum level. If a quantum particle changes location, it is conceivable to me that such an “event,” if that is what we mean by event, could be causeless because I don’t think the law of causality forbids it.

    In my attempt to use familiar scientific terms, I have stated that no physical event can occur without a cause. On the other hand, I didn’t sufficiently define physical event, which could be understood either as movement or as something coming into existence. In keeping with that point, I have come to understand that I cannot argue effectively using scientific terminology– it is only in the language of the philosophy of science that can I sufficiently make the point. So, I think that from this point, I should specifically associate the law of causality with the “beginning of existence,” a formulation than cannot possibly be misunderstood, rather than in terms of “physical events,” which can.

    Again, I submit that any competent philosopher of science would acknowledge “conditions” as a cause for quantum events. As I have said previously, an event can be causeless only when no necessary or sufficient conditions are present. Formally stated, the law of causality is this: Anything that begins to exist must have a cause. I say that to deny that is to deny rationality, and I include any attempt to reduce quantum events to the level of “acausal” insofar as they reflect the proposition that the “existence” of quantum particles is uncaused.

  262. StephenB,

    I’d mention that quite a lot of this QM talk is tremendously speculative – there’s a wide variety of interpretations and measurement issues, each of which conflict with each other over what’s “really” going on. I think anyone positively and certainly affirming “these events are uncaused!” has as much standing as, say, someone affirming “we’re in a computer simulation and we’re seeing the point where programming takes over!” or “occassionalism is true!” or various other conclusions. I know of one physicist who has become convinced of Berkeleyan idealism (and in the process, God’s existence) based on QM.

    I mean, if we’re going to question causality, let’s not pretend only one answer runs through that particular open door.

  263. StephenB @ 261:

    I don’t think causality can be defined that narrowly. With that constricted definition, acausal events could possibly happen at the quantum level. If a quantum particle changes location, it is conceivable to me that such an “event,” if that is what we mean by event, could be causeless because I don’t think the law of causality forbids it.

    I am not stating that the prototype instance of “cause and effect” (cue ball strikes eight ball; eight ball falls into corner pocket) is the only sort of event that displays causality. Objects being caused to exist is certainly another. It is your definition that is restrictive: it includes the latter, but excludes the former.

    The example of cue ball -> eight ball -> pocket is certainly among the relationships conventionally designated as “cause and effect” in any discussion I have read, and in many discussions is cited as prototypical. To exclude such changes of motion and position from the definition of “event” is very idiosyncratic. Rather inescapably, you are re-defining causality in such a way to exclude quantum events that clearly DO violate causality as conventionally construed (I don’t think at all successfully, but that is another topic). You simply redefine “event” in such a way that (you hope) will compel your “law of causality” to remain true in the face of the realities of quantum indeterminacy. It also seems rather transparent that your motivation to do so is to preserve your ability to announce specific conclusions regarding what can and cannot characterize cosmological origins.

    If that is a demonstration of the application of an “self-evident, unchanging truth” – one in which definitions are pulled like taffy to force certain over-valued conclusions – I’m not impressed. Since there is obviously a deeply interpretive dimension to the application of such “truths” (as, for example, you define and redefine terms until you attain the conclusion you sought from the outset), they simply cannot provide the “self-evident” foundations for scientific epistemology that you claim they can.

  264. Diffaxial,

    “The realities of quantum indeterminacy”? That’s a funny way to put it.

    Maybe I missed this answer somewhere in the backlog, but: When you claim that the quantum world shows that causality is violated, are you honestly and truly saying “something is coming from nothing”? If so, I’d like to know what sort of evidence you’re rallying to support this claim – as everything I’ve read on quantum physics (and what I read could be wrong, of course) indicates that such questions are unanswered by experiment or observation. (Really, how could they be answered? Observing something coming from literally and truly nothing is impossible. At best, it’s an inference – and a metaphysical inference at that.)

  265. —Diffaxial: “If that is a demonstration of the application of an “self-evident, unchanging truth” – one in which definitions are pulled like taffy to force certain over-valued conclusions – I’m not impressed. Since there is obviously a deeply interpretive dimension to the application of such “truths” (as, for example, you define and redefine terms until you attain the conclusion you sought from the outset), they simply cannot provide the “self-evident” foundations for scientific epistemology that you claim they can.”

    The demonstration of the self-evident truth is made manifest in the consequences of denying it.

    Point at issue: Once you deny causality at any level, you have opened the door to deny it in any way and any time that you choose. Indeed, those who deny causality at the quantum level are conspicuous for denying it at macro-level as well, as in, positing that universes arise out of nothing, matter arises from non-matter, life arises from matter, and so on. Call it selective causality, if you like. It makes no sense at all, and you have made no case for it.

    Another point at issue: You have yet to tell my why causality doesn’t count when you don’t want it to count and it does count when you want it to count. The view needs defending a whole lot more than my traditional view that everything that begins to exist requires a cause. So far, you haven’t touched that problem even at the most superficial level.
    Rather than accept reason’s principles, materialists make a mockery of science as they propose irrational and speculative alternatives to the first cause principle positing such comical notions of infinite multiple universes, Cosmic rebound theories, and other such nonsense—anything to avoid the testimony of reason.

    As much as anything else, science is a search for causes. It is comical to watch atheists loosen up on the principle of natural causality when the big bang points to God and then tighten it up again when ID suggests that intelligence may also be a cause. It is either negotiable to the extreme or non-negotiable to the extreme, depending on which aspect of their ideology they are trying to defend. Whatever it is that drives that ideology, it sure isn’t reason.

  266. —Diffaxial: “It is your definition that is restrictive: it includes the latter, but excludes the former.”

    No, it doesn’t. My understanding of cause allows for both the cause of movement and the cause of existence. To say that something cannot come from nothing is not to say that causality doesn’t also affect movement. So, from a quantum perspective, I submit that the existence of the particle was caused and the movement of the particle may or may not have been caused.

    As far as I can tell, it is you who accept only one aspect of causality, namely the cause of movement. Thus, for you, if the movement of the particle is, in your judgment, uncaused, the discussion is over. Causes for existence need not apply.

  267. “Observing something coming from literally and truly nothing is impossible.”

    Perhaps Diff can explain how one goes about observing that which is unobservable.

    Vivid

  268. Hehe. I am almost shocked at the amount of discussion about, quite literally, nothing.

  269. StephenB @ 265:

    You have yet to tell my why causality doesn’t count when you don’t want it to count and it does count when you want it to count.

    Actually, I have explained several times that the physics permits acausality/indeterminacy under only very specific circumstances. You need to explain why that isn’t a sufficient response. Characterizing it as “superficial” simply restates that you don’t find it sufficient.

    In any event, YOU now have the same problem, although must justify your assertion bereft of the physics, because you are making distinctions in order to rescue your first principles that are not found in the physics. You have to explain why causality is absolute and inviolable with respect to some classes of phenomena (something coming into existence, which is when you REALLY want it to count), but optional with respect to others (position and momentum, otherwise known as “movement”).

    To say that something cannot come from nothing is not to say that causality doesn’t also affect movement. So, from a quantum perspective, I submit that the existence of the particle was caused and the movement of the particle may or may not have been caused.

    “May or may not” allows for uncaused events at the quantum level. We needn’t require that all changes of momentum be uncaused in order to say that some are uncaused, and that your law is therefore violated.

    Thus, for you, if the movement of the particle is, in your judgment, uncaused, the discussion is over. Causes for existence need not apply.

    If some changes in position/momentum without cause are permitted, then the discussion is over regarding this assertion: “cause and effect break down at the quantum level.” You are now allowing at least one instance in which events may be uncaused. Your law has been broken. Your solution has been to idiosyncratically redefine “causality” and “event” such that “changes in movement” at the quantum level are not events to which causality necessarily applies, so that you can then declare that no violations of causality have been observed. Really no more than an invocation of No True Scotsman.

    The fact that you are now permitting exceptions, and doing so by redefining “cause and effect” such that these events exhibit acausality that nevertheless is not in violation of Version 3.0* of the law of causality, speaks to a remark I made in an earlier thread:

    What does NOT follow is that “effect” is the only or the best descriptor of all events, because the dictionary can’t tell us whether and how the conceptual tool “cause and effect” actually attaches to objects in the world, or to the universe as a whole. While generally applicable and helpful vis-a-vis macroscopic events with which we have direct experience, it clearly breaks down at the quantum level, and it may also break down with respect to the universe as a whole. Its status as “tautologically true,” the only sense in which it is “self-evidently true,” doesn’t help with that question. Therefore, while the statement that “all effects have causes” is true, by definition (and is therefore tautologically true), it does not follow that the application of this conceptual tool in every instance is necessary or helpful.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-318794

    I would add that you have already stated that “all causes have effects” is tautological (in 103 above), and have yet to explain why “all effects have causes” is not therefore also tautological, other than to discuss the fog on the bluff.

    Bottom line: You are now also allowing quantum events (changes in position and momentum) that may sometimes be uncaused. Scotsmen can’t help you.

    *Version history:

    Version 1.0: “All effects have causes.”

    Version 2.0: “All physical events have causes.”

    Version 3.0: “All beginnings of existence have causes.”

    “Unchanging.” Peh.

  270. —-Diffaxial: “Actually, I have explained several times that the physics permits acausality/indeterminacy under only very specific circumstances. You need to explain why that isn’t a sufficient response. Characterizing it as “superficial” simply restates that you don’t find it sufficient.”

    Physics doesn’t decide the laws of causality it assumes them apriori. You have insisted that physics “permits” acausality/indeterminancy,” apparently without understanding that acausality is not necessarily synonymous with indeterminancy, so combining the terms hardly helps your case. Further, you have yet to explain why you think the universe itself can come into existence without a cause, or why matter can come from non-matter, or why mind can come from matter, or why life can come from non-life. By your lights, physics “permits” the suspension of causality any time and any place of your choosing, not just in the area of quantum mechanics. So why imply that quantum mechanics is an exception to the rule for you? If you can suspect causality for the beginning of a universe, why can you not suspend it any time for any reason?

    —–“In any event, YOU now have the same problem, although must justify your assertion bereft of the physics, because you are making distinctions in order to rescue your first principles that are not found in the physics.”

    Do you really want to go on record saying that physics does not depend on first principles?” You think that science just hangs out there on its own without any logical base, do you?

    —-“You have to explain why causality is absolute and inviolable with respect to some classes of phenomena (something coming into existence, which is when you REALLY want it to count), but optional with respect to others (position and momentum, otherwise known as “movement”).”

    There is nothing to explain. Causality is multi-dimensional. Aristotle once described four types of causes. The problem is not that I am to generous with its definitions but that you are too lax with your applications, allowing for the prospect that something can come from nothing.

    To say that something cannot come from nothing is not to say that causality doesn’t also affect movement. So, from a quantum perspective, I submit that the existence of the particle was caused and the movement of the particle may or may not have been caused. That is the scientifically and philosophically reasonable position. You think that quantum particles, and universes, can come into existence without a cause. That is not a scientifically and philosophically respectable position.

    —-“May or may not” allows for uncaused events at the quantum level. We needn’t require that all changes of momentum be uncaused in order to say that some are uncaused, and that your law is therefore violated.”

    You seem to have misread what was said. Causality, at the quantum level, and with respect to movement, may or may not HAVE been violated because we simply don’t know for sure. On the other hand, there is no reason, in principle, why it cannot be suspended in that context because there is no firm law that can either forbid it or mandate it. Causality with respect to the cause of existence cannot be suspended. That latter statement needs no justification any more than the law of non-contradiction needs any justification.

    —–“If some changes in position/momentum without cause are permitted, then the discussion is over regarding this assertion: “cause and effect break down at the quantum level.” You are now allowing at least one instance in which events may be uncaused. Your law has been broken.”

    No, it has not. As stated, the law applies to existence, not to movement.

    —-Diffaxial: “While generally applicable and helpful vis-a-vis macroscopic events with which we have direct experience, it clearly breaks down at the quantum level, and it may also break down with respect to the universe as a whole. Its status as “tautologically true,” the only sense in which it is “self-evidently true,” doesn’t help with that question.”

    Yes, what you say does follow. If causality breaks down at the quantum level, it may also break down with respect to the universe as a whole. Thank you. Now explain how it is that science is possible if causality can break down at any time.

    —-“I would add that you have already stated that “all causes have effects” is tautological (in 103 above), and have yet to explain why “all effects have causes” is not therefore also tautological, other than to discuss the fog on the bluff.”

    There is nothing to explain. “All effects have causes” is equally tautological. Another strawman bites the dust.

    —-“Bottom line: You are now also allowing quantum events (changes in position and momentum) that may sometimes be uncaused. Scotsmen can’t help you.”

    Here we go again. Quantum events (changes in momentum and position) can be uncaused in that sense. Quantum particles coming from nothing cannot be uncaused in that sense. You position is that both aspects of causality can be violated yet you defend the latter by referring to the former. That is not a defense; it is a distraction.

    —–*Version history:
    —–Version 1.0: “All effects have causes.”
    —–Version 2.0: “All physical events have causes.”
    —–Version 3.0: “All beginnings of existence have causes.”

    Version one is descriptive and clearly true, trivial or not. It was conceived to remind one of the law of non-contradiction, which, incredibly, some dispute. Thus, the tautology serves the purpose in some contexts, because there are some who will deny even the tautology, not knowing that tautologies are undeniably true—though trivial.

    Version two was always, when possible, placed along side the proposition that “something cannot come from nothing.”

    What you must defend is your unscientific and anti-intellectual proposition that something can come from nothing—and that clearly is your position.

    Put another way, you think that some beginnings need not have causes. You have insisted that causality can be violated without even bothering to define causality. It was I who accepted the burden of defining terms.

    So you should worry less about your perception of my history and more about the question on the table.

  271. —Correction: “If you can [suspend} the law of causality for the beginning of a universe, why can you not suspend it at any time for any reason?”

  272. StephenB (269),

    “No, it has not. As stated, the law applies to existence, not to movement.”

    With statements like that, I’m beginning to think that you don’t actually mean “causality” – what you are talking about seems to me to be a statement of the law of conservation of energy (i.e. something can’t come out of nothing because that requires energy existing when it hadn’t existed before). Is that what you are getting at?

    In a similar vein, your statement here is wrong:

    “Further, you have yet to explain why you think the universe itself can come into existence without a cause, or why matter can come from non-matter, or why mind can come from matter, or why life can come from non-life.”

    It’s wrong in the respect (at least) that matter can actually come from non-matter. I’ve seen it many times – or at any rate, I’ve seen it recorded photographically – in particle physics experiments. Mostly I was looking at muon decays, pions also frequently, but as far as this discussion goes the
    “matter coming from non-matter” was electron/positron pairs (matter)arising from photons (energy). So it does happen. I think you might mean “energy can’t arise from nothing”, in view of the mass/energy equivalence arising from relativity, and that agin bring syou back to the law of conservation of energy.

    I guess you have a similar argument about the universe (another energy conservation problem). Intersetingly, it appears that the amount of energy currently in the universe, as established by observations of the universe, is very simlar to the gravitational potential energy of the universe (a quantity typically having a negative sign because it is a potential rather than kinetic or mass/energy). The rough equivalence suggests that the two quantities may cancel each other out – one being positive and the other negative – to give a net energy for the universe of zero (i.e. the universe itself would not violate the law of the conservation energy if that is the case). I’m not saying it explains the singularity that resulted in the universe, but it’s an interesting observation nonetheless.

    I won’t address the mind/matter issue, because I know from previous discussions we won’t see eye to eye. On the life not arising from non-life claim, I suspect Craig Venter may have more to say on that in the coming months.

  273. StephenB @ 269:

    You seem to have misread what was said. Causality, at the quantum level, and with respect to movement, may or may not HAVE been violated because we simply don’t know for sure. On the other hand, there is no reason, in principle, why it cannot be suspended in that context because there is no firm law that can either forbid it or mandate it.

    Again, there you have it. Having stated “no firm law that can either forbid it or mandate it,” you concede that your law of causality does not forbid uncaused events at the quantum level. And, like it or not, we do know “for sure” in this instance. I agree that the fact that you concede these acausal phenomena is silent on the question of whether “something can come from nothing.”

    You have insisted that physics “permits” acausality/indeterminancy,” apparently without understanding that acausality is not necessarily synonymous with indeterminancy, so combining the terms hardly helps your case.

    The point is moot, in that you have stated above that, so far as the “law of causality” is concerned, some quantum events, such as changes in position/momentum (movement), may be uncaused.

    Further, you have yet to explain why you think the universe itself can come into existence without a cause…

    That would be because I have taken no position on the subject. I haven’t the faintest idea how the universe came into existence. What I do believe is that uncertainty regarding such questions cannot be reduced by reciting premodern first principles in one’s armchair, as those premodern principles depend upon intuitions derived from macroscopic experiences that may have no relevance at the quantum level. Example:

    The best example of somethings coming from nothings are pairs of virtual particles emerging from the quantum vacuum. Your response has been that a quantum vacuum isn’t “nothing,” and that as a something it provides the necessary conditions for the emergence of such particles. But I see problems with this rejoinder

    - I find it very problematic to refer to the quantum vacuum as a “necessary condition,” because it isn’t conditional at all. The quantum vacuum is omnipresent, and cannot be present in one instance and not in another, or give rise to fluctuations in one instance but not another.

    - The fact that the quantum vacuum isn’t conditional, and hence is omnipresent, amounts to the statement that “nothing” has no referent at the quantum level. The quantum vacuum precludes “nothing.” Therefore the entire argument that “something cannot come from nothing” becomes irrelevant at the quantum level because, at that level, there is no “nothing.”

    The question then becomes, “what can emerge from the quantum vacuum?” One response is that virtual particles can emerge from the quantum vacuum due to the uncertainty principle, a fact that is amply empirically confirmed. Another answer that remains theoretical is, “a quantum singularity that gave rise to the universe” may emerge as a fluctuation in the quantum vacuum. You may respond that this reflects “something coming from nothing” and is therefore irrational. But as we have just established, there is no “nothing,” and the rule “something cannot come from nothing” has no referent at the quantum level. Therefore this theory of the origin of the universe is therefore not in violation of that “law.”

    or why life can come from non-life.

    This is an historical question of a wholly different order than that of cosmological origins. I expect a naturalistic account of the origins of life to emerge, although probably not within my lifetime. That account will not describe “something coming from nothing,” as no researcher in the field would be satisfied with that. Rather, it will describe the organization of physiochemical events that enabled self-replicating processes to emerge. What that solution will be remains to be discovered.

    Why mind can come from matter

    Big topic.

    By your lights, physics “permits” the suspension of causality any time and any place of your choosing, not just in the area of quantum mechanics.

    I have shined my meager light on this very topic several times on this very thread (e.g. in 67 and 111 above, for example), and each time have stated that, to whatever degree quantum physics allows acausality, it also constrains the domains within which that acausality may be manifest (namely to the level of certain quantum events.) That constraint rules out the causal anarchy you describe. Why you ignore those statements and attribute to me opposite assertions, well, there is another topic vis which I haven’t a clue.

    Version one is descriptive and clearly true, trivial or not. It was conceived to remind one of the law of non-contradiction, which, incredibly, some dispute. Thus, the tautology serves the purpose in some contexts, because there are some who will deny even the tautology, not knowing that tautologies are undeniably true—though trivial…you should worry less about your perception of my history and more about the question on the table

    You have, in an offhand way, made many remarkable concessions on this thread. The latest is that “every effect has a cause” is tautological, and that “self-evidence” derived from tautology is trivial. I agree: because in this instance the self-evidence arises from the definitions of “cause” and “effect,” it therefore has no necessary bearing upon the world (it doesn’t follow that the the bare assertion that remains once the tautological “self-evidence” is subtracted is necessarily false). Moreover, with respect to the remaining parcel of bare assertion, which requires empirical confirmation (having been stripped of its tautological self-evidence), you also now concede above that there are (or at least can be, although the facts say “are”) quantum events (changes in position and momentum, otherwise known as “movement”) that are acausal. Lastly, you’ve demonstrated that unchanging principles change, as demonstrated by the above version history. I understand why you would wish to divert attention from that.

    What’s left?

  274. —-Diffaxial: “Again, there you have it. Having stated “no firm law that can either forbid it or mandate it,” you concede that your law of causality does not forbid uncaused events at the quantum level. And, like it or not, we do know “for sure” in this instance. I agree that the fact that you concede these acausal phenomena is silent on the question of whether “something can come from nothing.”

    That simply is not true. I have stated categorically that causation is multifaceted and, more to the point, an event cannot be acausal unless no necessary or sufficient conditions are present.

    You ignore all my questions, misrepresent what I do say, and labor endlessly on irrelevant trivialities, apparantly in an attempt to create the illusion that you a presenting reasoned arguments, which you are not. Rather than accuse you of being dishonest for a second time on the same thread, I will simply assert that you are evading all the hard questions because you can provide no rational defense for your position. Evasion is permitted on this site, so there is nothing to be done about it.

    Since you have apparently decided to argue by attrition, getting in the last word would be important for you. So, I think I will grant it.

  275. StephenB,

    I am surprised by your post at 274, because I always thought you a decent, intelligent and articulate poster. But Diffaxial doesn’t deserve your comments. Insofar as I have read, I haven’t seen him ignore you or misrepresent you. As for the “irrelevant trivialities”, in my view his points have always been relevant. Certainly, they may be detailed points, but that as they say is where the devil is, and arguements usually tend to stand or fall on the detail points. He’s entirely right to raise them. He has a rigour to his arguments that IDists would do well to achieve.

    I hope you’ll reconsider your decision, because it looked to me as if you were both getting somewhere with the discussion – and that is very unusual for this site.

  276. Gaz,

    I hope you’ll reconsider your decision, because it looked to me as if you were both getting somewhere with the discussion – and that is very unusual for this site.

    It is only as unusual as closed minded folks like darwinists make it my friend.

  277. Clive Hayden (276),

    “It is only as unusual as closed minded folks like darwinists make it my friend.”

    It takes two to tango, darling.

  278. Gaz,

    It takes two to tango, darling.

    It takes only one to stop a tango, dear. And evolutionists are the reason why the tango doesn’t flow on this site.

  279. “And evolutionists are the reason why the tango doesn’t flow on this site.”

    Why? What steps do they refuse to do?

  280. Gaz,

    Why? What steps do they refuse to do?

    Being open minded and open to the possibility that the design inference is valid and that evolution, no matter what it claims in just so stories, cannot explain all of what we see with living organisms. That’s what they usually refuse to do. It is the ID folks that are open-minded and more reasonable, in my opinion. You’ll probably disagree with me, which evidences my point even more.

  281. StephenB @ 275:

    Since you have apparently decided to argue by attrition, getting in the last word would be important for you. So, I think I will grant it.

    OK.

    “Rutabaga.”

    P.S. Thanks, Gaz.

  282. Clive Hayden (280),

    “Being open minded and open to the possibility that the design inference is valid”

    Let me put your mind at ease. I am open to the possibility. The trouble is, there is no evidnce for it. That’s all IDists have to provide. So far they haven’t.

    “and that evolution, no matter what it claims in just so stories, cannot explain all of what we see with living organisms.”

    Again, I am open to the possibility that evolution can’t explain all of what we see in biology. So far, though, it has an excellent track record.

    “That’s what they usually refuse to do.”

    Nope, they just want evidence. That’s all

    “It is the ID folks that are open-minded and more reasonable, in my opinion. You’ll probably disagree with me, which evidences my point even more.”

    The alternative explanation, of course, is that it is the IDists that are closed minded. The fact that you consider my disagreement with you to be evidence for the closed-mindedness of evolutionists suggests that you consider yourself to have the absolute answer, and is in indication that the reality is diametrically opposed to your view point.

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