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The cosmological argument

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In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jun 2013 10:58:47 BDT
Drew Jones says:
"Truths may be discovered or realised. Just as it is true i like peanut butter, but before i experienced it it could not be so."
But, to use it in the way Kreet and Tacelli do is to think of this newly realised truth as something you created that now resides in your brain, which is just odd and gets odder the more you apply those sorts of terms to a truth.

I think this highlights a bgger problem I've realised*, that dispite all their complaints about how uncouth and base a materialistic view of the universe is the critics of this view probably 'suffer' from it worst of all as their descriptions of their belief unwittingly drip with highly physical properties from the new-agers and their energies to theists who talk of their god acting on/using nothing as if it is a property to make a universe from and truths that are some sort of object that "resides" in minds and are maintained beyond human individual realisation by being safeguarded in an eternal mind.

* created and stored in my mind!

Posted on 25 Jun 2013 11:26:09 BDT
AJ Murray says:
Kreeft/Tacelli's twelfth argument come from Descartes:

12. The Argument from the Origin of the Idea of God

1. We have ideas of many things.
2. These ideas must arise either from ourselves or from things outside us.
3. One of the ideas we have is the idea of God-an infinite, all-perfect being.
4. This idea could not have been caused by ourselves, because we know ourselves to be limited and imperfect, and no effect can be greater than its cause.
5. Therefore, the idea must have been caused by something outside us which has nothing less than the qualities contained in the idea of God.
6. But only God himself has those qualities.
7. Therefore God himself must be the cause of the idea we have of him.
8. Therefore God exists.


Several problems immediately come to the fore. The premise that God is an 'infinite, all-perfect being' is contradictory. Infinity is not some fixed quantity, and the concept of perfection entails a fixed quantity, for how can perfection be maintained if there is something greater than it?

There is also a problem with the principle of 'no effect can be greater than its cause' which seems to mean that we cannot ever conceive of something greater than ourselves, an unsafe assumption especially as we can extrapolate from existing attributes and regularly do so. Giants are the obvious example of us conceiving something that is effectively greater than ourselves. We take the standard human model and exaggerate the scale upwards. Yet Giants need not exist for us to do this. This holds true for other mythological beings, whereby attributes from several different animals are combined into another; the Griffon, The Sphinx, The Centaur, yet under this argument such mythological beings must exist for us to come up with these ideas. We are also familiar with the idea of mass. We can imagine ever greater quantities of mass. So can extrapolate to the extreme idea of an infinite mass. But does this mean that this infinite mass exists? We do not immediately suppose that it does nor do we assume that this infinite mass inhabits some Platonic realm and impinges itself onto our consciousness from outside yet that is the exact form of this argument and so we may wonder why does God (and only this one concept) is forced into this argument. For if we were being logically consistent all manner of concepts greater than ourselves must necessarily have their counterparts in some external realm - yet since they do not - so we know this argument is flawed.

It also ignores another observed effect that the sum of parts may be greater than the whole. For instance one water molecule is not wet yet get enough together and we may be become drenched. This is what is known as an emergent property so how does the argument deal with this objection?

Unfortunately Kreeft/Tacelli simply ignore that part.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2013 12:43:56 BDT
Ian says:
"3. One of the ideas we have is the idea of God-an infinite, all-perfect being.
4. This idea could not have been caused by ourselves, because we know ourselves to be limited and imperfect, and no effect can be greater than its cause."

I know myself to have only one head, but I can imagine a creature with 3 heads. Therefore a creature with 3 heads must exist.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2013 15:23:48 BDT
AJ Murray says:
It's how easily these arguments can be co-opted to 'prove' whatever article you desire that, to me, shows the contrivance behind them. Even in the above argument the starting premises are two attributes plucked from nowhere; an infinite and perfect being. It seems backward to assign these attributes and *then* to argue for existence off the back of those. Why not just assign existence as the starting attribute in the first place? Too obvious?
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  46
Total posts:  1129
Initial post:  20 Apr 2012
Latest post:  25 Jun 2013

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