Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Tell That To The Mouse

Share
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Flipboard
Print
Email

StephenB takes down a materialist in five words:

Feser:

Take a few bits of metal, work them into various shapes, and attach them to a piece of wood. Voila! A mousetrap.

Attach? Voila? There are millions of ways to attach pieces of metal to wood. Only one of those combinations will trap a mouse. The trick is to arrange those pieces so that they will function as a mousetrap.

Or so we call it. But objectively, apart from human interests, the object is “nothing but” a collection of wood and metal parts.

Tell that to the mouse . . .

Oh my sides . . . gasp . . .

Comments
Box
Feser conflates creating and sustaining. [...] This doesn’t make sense if we are allowed to think of creating and sustaining as two distinct acts.
Now all that is left for you to do is argue that we should consider creating and sustaining as two distinct acts. I don't see why we should. Feser sometimes mentions God's timeless act of creation. I don't know how strongly Aquinas makes this point (of timeless act of creation), but the seeming conflation of creating makes perfect sense given timeless act of creation. Timelessness or eternity is God's perspective. It's the human perspective which should recede as soon as divine perspective becomes understood.E.Seigner
October 25, 2014
October
10
Oct
25
25
2014
10:15 AM
10
10
15
AM
PST
Correction post #63: It is not the case that apples fell from trees exclusively in the past, [on the contrary] apples taste great always.Box
October 25, 2014
October
10
Oct
25
25
2014
08:52 AM
8
08
52
AM
PST
Feser: For classical theism, to say that God creates the world is not merely, and indeed not primarily, to say that He got it going at some time in the past. It is more fundamentally to say the He keeps it going now, and at any moment at which it exists at all. As Aquinas says, to say that God makes the world is not like saying that a blacksmith made a horseshoe – where the horseshoe might persist even if the blacksmith died – but rather like saying that a musician makes music, where the music would stop if the musician stopped playing.
Feser conflates creating and sustaining. Let's see how he does it:
Feser: For classical theism, to say that God creates the world is not merely, and indeed not primarily, to say that He got it going at some time in the past.
[God did not create exclusively in the past]
Feser: It is more fundamentally to say the He keeps it going now, and at any moment at which it exists at all.
[God also sustains at any moment] This doesn't make sense if we are allowed to think of creating and sustaining as two distinct acts. It is not the case that apples fell from trees exclusively in the past, but they taste great always.
Feser: As Aquinas says, to say that God makes the world is not like saying that a blacksmith made a horseshoe – where the horseshoe might persist even if the blacksmith died – but rather like saying that a musician makes music, where the music would stop if the musician stopped playing.
Allow me to come up with another comparrison: a thinker who thinks a thought, where the thought would stop if the thinker stopped thinking. Now it is clear that determining what to think - the creative process - is distinct from - the act of upholding the thought into existence by the thinker. A simular line of reasoning is applicable for the musician example of course. So, I hold that StephenB is again perfectly right when het writes in post #48:
Feser is quite good until he comes to the subject of Intelligent Design, at which time his anti-ID bias adversely affects his scholarship. The problem is not what Aquinas says in this one passage, which is evident enough. The problem is in the way Feser interprets it.
Box
October 25, 2014
October
10
Oct
25
25
2014
08:40 AM
8
08
40
AM
PST
StephenB
My disapproval of his irrational stance toward ID, and science in general, does not cloud my judgment about his meaningful contributions to scholastic philosophy. We need to bring more of that back (but not as a weapon with which to attack ID).
This is kind fo interesting. What are your reasons to approve ID? What makes ID rational or scientific?E.Seigner
October 25, 2014
October
10
Oct
25
25
2014
12:41 AM
12
12
41
AM
PST
So was I wrong to question your previously stated opinion about Feser?
I think that Feser is a faithful Thomist with the exception of those times in which he criticizes ID in Aquinas' name, which really isn't that often. My disapproval of his irrational stance toward ID, and science in general, does not cloud my judgment about his meaningful contributions to scholastic philosophy. We need to bring more of that back (but not as a weapon with which to attack ID).StephenB
October 24, 2014
October
10
Oct
24
24
2014
08:26 PM
8
08
26
PM
PST
SB: "I would say that Feser is not a Thomist in that sense." Yes, that is my view. Feser is not a Thomist "in that sense." That is not the same as saying he is not a Thomist. I also said that Feser is not a Thomist "in the sense" that he temporarily abandons substance theory and embraces bundle theory in order to attack ID. Mung, you appear to have totally ignored my arguments. That is why I asked you a few relevant questions in order to understand why you seem to be objecting to my comments.StephenB
October 24, 2014
October
10
Oct
24
24
2014
08:16 PM
8
08
16
PM
PST
Mung:
You’ve taken two positions, both of which are questionable: 1.) St. Thomas Aquinas was a Young Earth Creationist. 2.) Anyone who is not a Young Earth Creationist is not a Thomist.
I didn't argue, not do I believe, that it is necessary to be a YEC to be a Thomist. You misunderstood my comments.
Where does Aquinas address the age of the earth?
He quotes, with approval, the words of Jerome: "Six thousand years of our time have not elapsed [since the creation of the corporeal world]."
In your classification of Aquinas as a YEC, why don’t you think his position on the actual age of the earth is relevant?
I definitely think it is relevant. That is why I brought it up, and why I asked you why you didn't think it was relevant (not realizing that you agreed that it was)StephenB
October 24, 2014
October
10
Oct
24
24
2014
08:06 PM
8
08
06
PM
PST
StephenB:
Ed Feser is a faithful Thomist and an excellent writer.
So was I wrong to question your previously stated opinion about Feser? StephenB:
For the record, Aquinas believed that God created man directly and in finished form. Feser would disagree, I think. That is an important thing to disagree about. So much so, that I would say that Feser is not a Thomist in that sense.
Feser is a faithful Thomist. Or not.Mung
October 24, 2014
October
10
Oct
24
24
2014
07:50 PM
7
07
50
PM
PST
StephenB:
Why do you say that the age of the earth is not relevant?
You've taken two positions, both of which are questionable: 1.) St. Thomas Aquinas was a Young Earth Creationist. 2.) Anyone who is not a Young Earth Creationist is not a Thomist. StephenB:
Why do you say that the age of the earth is not relevant?
I didn't say it's not relevant. I think it is relevant. I wonder why it is that in your classification of Aquinas as a YEC you've failed to state his position on the actual age of the earth. I was pointing out your failure to consider the actual age of the earth in your classification of Aquinas as a YEC. Mung:
You didn’t give any reason for why you said Aquinas was a YEC. Is that the lacunae in your argument you claim I pole vaulted over?
StephenB:
I didn’t claim to give any reasons.
I know. That's one reason why I was objecting. What was it that I "pole vaulted" over? Your failure to give any reason? Really? Stephenb:
I didn’t claim to give any reasons. I just said that he was a YEC, which is a perfectly legitimate characterization of his position.
Given that you admit that you failed to present any evidence whatsoever about Aquinas's views on the actual age of the earth, I fail to see how you have presented "a perfectly legitimate characterization of his position" when you assert that Aquinas was a YEC. You have presented a representation of Aquinas as a YEC in which the actual age of the earth is irrelevant. I'm not saying the age of the earth is irrelevant. I'm asking why you don't consider it relevant. Where does Aquinas address the age of the earth? In your classification of Aquinas as a YEC, why don't you think his position on the actual age of the earth is relevant?Mung
October 24, 2014
October
10
Oct
24
24
2014
07:35 PM
7
07
35
PM
PST
StephenB
Ed Feser is a faithful Thomist and an excellent writer. In most respects, he is a sound thinker. For some reason, though, he has no interest in science. He seems to disdain information theory in general, and he certainly disdains ID theory in particular.
Or maybe he disdains the way ID theory misapplies information theory. This is certainly my own problem with ID (among others). Feser says: "[Dembski] uses the term “information” (in The Design Revolution and elsewhere) in several different senses and freely slides from one to another without always making it clear which one is supposed to be doing the work in a given argument." In fact, Dembski does this to pretty much every concept he uses. I have found that equivocations and other fallacies is what ID stands on. Usually scientific theories can be improved by clearing away the fallacies, but ID totally collapses when this is attempted. For example, one of my first objections against ID concerned the phrase "detect intelligence". Anyone familiar with the basic metaphysical division of object and subject (where intelligence is firmly on the subject side) would be unable to use such a phrase, but the ID community here throws this phrase around as if it made sense, scientifically or philosophically or even both. In the course of debates, the worst hunches I had about this phrase got confirmed: ID proponents genuinely believe intelligence can be quantified and "detected" in any object. All attempts to clarify the terms only muddled the issue further. No ID proponent has any real idea what the terms mean and how the process works. And this is precisely the way they like it, because this is indeed what Dembski teaches. Sound thinkers can only disdain this.E.Seigner
October 24, 2014
October
10
Oct
24
24
2014
09:16 AM
9
09
16
AM
PST
I have nothing else to say since I have more than made my case. I am a both a Thomist and an ID proponent. There is no reason why someone cannot be both. As far as I am concerned, Saint Thomas Aquinas is the greatest thinker who ever lived. I am with him in most things. ID theory does not rise to his level, but it is useful for out time. Ed Feser is a faithful Thomist and an excellent writer. In most respects, he is a sound thinker. For some reason, though, he has no interest in science. He seems to disdain information theory in general, and he certainly disdains ID theory in particular. His master, St. Thomas, would not have agreed with him in this respect. The Angelic Doctor absorbed all the knowledge around him and all that came before him. The principles that come from sound philosophy can always be reconciled with a reasonable interpretation of the scientific evidence. We should be leery of those who run away from scientific evidence, and we should always be leery of those who run away from sound philosophy. Philosophy is the more important of the two disciplines, but it cannot stand alone. Feser is wrong to play it that way.StephenB
October 24, 2014
October
10
Oct
24
24
2014
07:06 AM
7
07
06
AM
PST
StephenB
Every other scholastic, mystic, and church father does NOT view it that way at all. Why do you try to bluff your way through these discussions.
I happen to have read a bunch, for example Augustine. I just never got to Aquinas. What I have been reading about Aquinas thus far confirms my impression. StephenB
Since you don’t know how to read Aquinas (after lecturing me about him as if you did), he first presents objections to his position, followed by his own views, beginning with the words, “I answer that,” followed by an answer to the objections.
Many others write the same way. It's a tradition at least from Plato's dialogues, if not before. In the text you quote, "immediately" and "not immediately" means something quite different from what you mean by "directly" and "indirectly". You clearly indicated that by "indirectly" you meant natural formation, but here "not immediately" means participation of any instrumentality, for example angels or heavenly bodies. When God acts on matter and when angels act on matter, the effects would be, for humans, indistinguishable. At best, by mere observation, humans would be able to figure there was something miraculous (supernatural, not merely natural) going on, but would you be able to tell if it was God or angels or demons? And this is the distinction of "immediately" and "not immediately" here. The distinction is not God versus natural formation/chance as you made above. Aquinas is making an argument against that the first man was formed by angels or heavenly bodies, whereas you made the argument against evolution. You are not making the same argument. And Feser would of course notice it much better and elaborate on this much clearer than I do. Earlier I have already noted that Aquinas, perfectly in line with scholastics in general, sees design as a universal, not as something distinguishable from non-design. Everything is designed. The view that Aquinas supports ID is sheer delusion, but it's a delusion you are free to have. StephenB
I have presented evidence from the Universal Catechsim–the official document of the Church to which Feser and myself are both morally obligated to accept–to show that the act by which God creates out of nothing takes logical precedence over the act by which God sustains that which He has already created.
I think you mean here the longer quote from the thing called Catechesis, because from Catechism you quoted briefly and it definitely did not say anything even remotely in the direction that creation ex nihilo takes precedence over the sustaining action. Catechesis makes it clearer that creation ex nihilo is important, but I still see no indication that it would take logical precedence over sustaining the creation. Logically, if creation is out of nothing, then it necessarily follows that creation inevitably needs constant sustaining, and this connection means the two events are on a par, logically equal. This would be logical. If you claim that one takes precedence over the other, then the precedence can only be doctrinal, not logical. And whichever one take precedence doctrinally in Catholicism, I am ready to grant you that - as soon as you show me the quote (brief enough, not a whole book page or more). And then I will take it up with Feser to see what he makes of it. I personally am not even Christian, so I don't care much about the intricacies of this doctrine, but it's quite important to tell doctrinal statements apart from logical metaphysical conclusions. StephenB
I fuss over this distinction only because Feser’s claim to the contrary is one rationale he uses to attack ID.
I notice that, and you should take care that it not color your own interpretation of Aquinas. Anyway, I may have come across as a Feser fanboy, but I don't even hold to the same metaphysics. For example, Aristotelian concept of artefact, which is one that Feser uses to argue against ID, is not a reason for me. I would reject Aristotelian concept of artefact altogether. I have my own independent reasons to reject ID. It's just that Feser's logic makes sense, while ID has no logic at all. "ID makes no assumptions about the designer and has no metaphysical commitments." It's obviously full of assumptions and commitments. StephenB
To say that Thomas is systemically anti-evolution, which he is, and to say that Feser is systemically pro-evolution, which he seems to be,...
Only if anti-ID equals pro-evo, which it doesn't. But I know it does for pro-IDists. And this is another flaw in their logic. StephenB
To say that Thomas is a substance theorist, which he is, and to say that Feser abandons substance theory for bundle theory when attacking ID, which he often does,...
Aristotle was a substance theorist and had the concept of artefact, which Feser uses to argue against ID. Maybe it doesn't look consistent with your idea of substance theory, but it is consistent with Aristotelianism.E.Seigner
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
10:13 PM
10
10
13
PM
PST
Mung
The AGE OF THE EARTH is not relevant, and that’s your criterion for asserting that Aquinas was a YEC? Seems a bit odd to me.
Why do you say that the age of the earth is not relevant?StephenB
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
06:55 PM
6
06
55
PM
PST
Mung
You didn’t give any reason for why you said Aquinas was a YEC. Is that the lacunae in your argument you claim I pole vaulted over?
I didn't claim to give any reasons. I just said that he was a YEC, which is a perfectly legitimate characterization of his position. So, yes, you pole vaulted to a conclusion. For some reason, you are ignoring my main arguments. Why?StephenB
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
06:54 PM
6
06
54
PM
PST
Mung
Feser probably also does not follow Aquinas on his beliefs about sperm and menstrual blood. So much so, that I would say that Feser is not a Thomist in that sense.
And you would be right, if that "sense" was significant, which it isn't. Accordingly, I think that Feser is, for the most part, a Thomist. HOWEVER, To say that Thomas is systemically anti-evolution, which he is, and to say that Feser is systemically pro-evolution, which he seems to be, then...... do I really need to finish the sentence? To say that Thomas is a substance theorist, which he is, and to say that Feser abandons substance theory for bundle theory when attacking ID, which he often does, .....do I really need to finish that sentence. What is your answer to these ironies?StephenB
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
06:48 PM
6
06
48
PM
PST
StephenB:
You don’t jump to conclusions, you pole vault. I said that Aquinas was a YEC. I didn’t say he was a YEC because he believed in direct creation.
You didn't give any reason for why you said Aquinas was a YEC. Is that the lacunae in your argument you claim I pole vaulted over? StephenB:
I characterized Aquinas as a YEC because he believed in direct creation AND because he held that the days of creation were literal 24 days. I am discussing only the former point.
Is that what it means to be a Young Earth Creationist? I'm just trying to understand. The AGE OF THE EARTH is not relevant, and that's your criterion for asserting that Aquinas was a YEC? Seems a bit odd to me.Mung
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
06:32 PM
6
06
32
PM
PST
Mung
St. Thomas Aquinas was a Young Earth Creationist because he believed that God created man through a direct act? That’s all it takes to make Aquinas a Young Earth Creationist? That’s pretty flimsy.
You don't jump to conclusions, you pole vault. I said that Aquinas was a YEC. I didn't say he was a YEC because he believed in direct creation. I characterized Aquinas as a YEC because he believed in direct creation AND because he held that the days of creation were literal 24 days. I am discussing only the former point.StephenB
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
06:19 PM
6
06
19
PM
PST
E. Seigner
What I am saying is that the singular act of shaping Adam is in no way primary. You can call it direct all you want, but the sustaining action is and remains more direct and primary.
Frankly, I don't care what you call it as long as you understand the difference between forming Adam's body directly and forming it indirectly through a secondary process.
I have not read Aquinas (and won’t, unless quoted at me), but every other scholastic, mystic, and church father views it this way and no one among them views it the other way, so I take it as a given that Aquinas also views it the same way.
Every other scholastic, mystic, and church father does NOT view it that way at all. Why do you try to bluff your way through these discussions. I realize that facts in evidence mean nothing you, but here is Aquinas' view anyway. Since you don't know how to read Aquinas (after lecturing me about him as if you did), he first presents objections to his position, followed by his own views, beginning with the words, "I answer that," followed by an answer to the objections. Article 2. Whether the human body was immediately produced by God? Objection 1. It would seem that the human body was not produced by God immediately. For Augustine says (De Trin. iii, 4), that "corporeal things are disposed by God through the angels." But the human body was made of corporeal matter, as stated above (Article 1). Therefore it was produced by the instrumentality of the angels, and not immediately by God. Objection 2. Further, whatever can be made by a created power, is not necessarily produced immediately by God. But the human body can be produced by the created power of a heavenly body; for even certain animals are produced from putrefaction by the active power of a heavenly body; and Albumazar says that man is not generated where heat and cold are extreme, but only in temperate regions. Therefore the human body was not necessarily produced immediately by God. Objection 3. Further, nothing is made of corporeal matter except by some material change. But all corporeal change is caused by a movement of a heavenly body, which is the first movement. Therefore, since the human body was produced from corporeal matter, it seems that a heavenly body had part in its production. Objection 4. Further, Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. vii, 24) that man's body was made during the work of the six days, according to the causal virtues which God inserted in corporeal creatures; and that afterwards it was actually produced. But what pre-exists in the corporeal creature by reason of causal virtues can be produced by some corporeal body. Therefore the human body was produced by some created power, and not immediately by God. On the contrary, It is written (Sirach 17:1): "God created man out of the earth." I answer that, The first formation of the human body could not be by the instrumentality of any created power, but was immediately from God. Some, indeed, supposed that the forms which are in corporeal matter are derived from some immaterial forms; but the Philosopher refutes this opinion (Metaph. vii), for the reason that forms cannot be made in themselves, but only in the composite, as we have explained (65, 4); and because the agent must be like its effect, it is not fitting that a pure form, not existing in matter, should produce a form which is in matter, and which form is only made by the fact that the composite is made. So a form which is in matter can only be the cause of another form that is in matter, according as composite is made by composite. Now God, though He is absolutely immaterial, can alone by His own power produce matter by creation: wherefore He alone can produce a form in matter, without the aid of any preceding material form. For this reason the angels cannot transform a body except by making use of something in the nature of a seed, as Augustine says (De Trin. iii, 19). Therefore as no pre-existing body has been formed whereby another body of the same species could be generated, the first human body was of necessity made immediately by God. Reply to Objection 1. Although the angels are the ministers of God, as regards what He does in bodies, yet God does something in bodies beyond the angels' power, as, for instance, raising the dead, or giving sight to the blind: and by this power He formed the body of the first man from the slime of the earth. Nevertheless the angels could act as ministers in the formation of the body of the first man, in the same way as they will do at the last resurrection by collecting the dust. Reply to Objection 2. Perfect animals, produced from seed, cannot be made by the sole power of a heavenly body, as Avicenna imagined; although the power of a heavenly body may assist by co-operation in the work of natural generation, as the Philosopher says (Phys. ii, 26), "man and the sun beget man from matter." For this reason, a place of moderate temperature is required for the production of man and other animals. But the power of heavenly bodies suffices for the production of some imperfect animals from properly disposed matter: for it is clear that more conditions are required to produce a perfect than an imperfect thing. Reply to Objection 3. The movement of the heavens causes natural changes; but not changes that surpass the order of nature, and are caused by the Divine Power alone, as for the dead to be raised to life, or the blind to see: like to which also is the making of man from the slime of the earth. Reply to Objection 4. An effect may be said to pre-exist in the causal virtues of creatures, in two ways. First, both in active and in passive potentiality, so that not only can it be produced out of pre-existing matter, but also that some pre-existing creature can produce it. Secondly, in passive potentiality only; that is, that out of pre-existing matter it can be produced by God. In this sense, according to Augustine, the human body pre-existed in the previous work in their causal virtues. ---------------------------------------------------------------
I tend to trust that Feser knows what Aquinas holds: “As Aquinas says, to say that God makes the world is not like saying that a blacksmith made a horseshoe – where the horseshoe might persist even if the blacksmith died – but rather like saying that a musician makes music, where the music would stop if the musician stopped playing.”
Feser is quite good until he comes to the subject of Intelligent Design, at which time his anti-ID bias adversely affects his scholarship. The problem is not what Aquinas says in this one passage, which is evident enough. The problem is in the way Feser interprets it.
It’s a valuable intro to what Feser holds and what he thinks Aquinas holds.
I have presented evidence from the Universal Catechsim--the official document of the Church to which Feser and myself are both morally obligated to accept--to show that the act by which God creates out of nothing takes logical precedence over the act by which God sustains that which He has already created. I am not saying that the act of sustaining is not important and vital. Obviously it is. I am saying, and Feser's Chursh is saying, that the act of Creating cannot be conflated with or subsumed into the act of sustaining. I fuss over this distinction only because Feser's claim to the contrary is one rationale he uses to attack ID. Otherwise, I would give him a pass since I think he is, for the most part, an excellent author who usually gets is right in his analysis of Aquinas.StephenB
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
05:59 PM
5
05
59
PM
PST
StephenB:
St. Thomas Aquinas was a Young Earth Creationist.
St. Thomas Aquinas was a Young Earth Creationist because he believed that God created man through a direct act? That's all it takes to make Aquinas a Young Earth Creationist? That's pretty flimsy.Mung
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
05:25 PM
5
05
25
PM
PST
E.Seigner:
And I resent the mischaracterization of my argument as some sort of denial of the difference between a dump of sand and a sand castle. I have not said they are the same. I simply attribute radically less meaning to the difference. Their substance is the same, the shape differs. This is a rational moderate common-sense view of both their sameness and of their difference. All you do is look at the difference and disregard the sameness.
Great Progress! When first asked how you would describe the difference, you seemed reticent to do so. So now you say, they have a different shape. So now we can ask, how so? What shape does the pile of sand have, and what shape does the sand castle have? E.Seigner:
All you do is look at the difference and disregard the sameness.
Are you claiming that we disregard that the sand castle is made of sand? Really?Mung
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
05:17 PM
5
05
17
PM
PST
StephenB:
For the record, Aquinas believed that God created man directly and in finished form. Feser would disagree, I think. That is an important thing to disagree about. So much so, that I would say that Feser is not a Thomist in that sense.
Oh please. Feser probably also does not follow Aquinas on his beliefs about sperm and menstrual blood. So much so, that I would say that Feser is not a Thomist in that sense. How many of these do we need to add up in order to conclude that Feser is not a Thomist in any meaningful sense?Mung
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
05:06 PM
5
05
06
PM
PST
StephenB
You still don’t understand the difference between the direct act of creation by which God takes dirt out of the earth and forms Adam vs the indirect act of supervising an evolutionary process that takes millions of years to produce the same persom.
Of course I understand the difference. What I am saying is that the singular act of shaping Adam is in no way primary. You can call it direct all you want, but the sustaining action is and remains more direct and primary. I have not read Aquinas (and won't, unless quoted at me), but every other scholastic, mystic, and church father views it this way and no one among them views it the other way, so I take it as a given that Aquinas also views it the same way. StephenB
St. Thomas Aquinas held to the first way; Ed Feser holds to the second. They are not on the same page. You are trying to escape from the facts.
I tend to trust that Feser knows what Aquinas holds: "As Aquinas says, to say that God makes the world is not like saying that a blacksmith made a horseshoe – where the horseshoe might persist even if the blacksmith died – but rather like saying that a musician makes music, where the music would stop if the musician stopped playing." This is quoted from #35 in this thread, found by Box in Feser's blog post titled Classical Theism. It's a valuable intro to what Feser holds and what he thinks Aquinas holds.E.Seigner
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
09:33 AM
9
09
33
AM
PST
StephenB was initially rather full of it, for example when saying “He could fashion man indirectly through an evolutionary process.” Evolutionary process, if it needs constant sustaining by God, is not at all indirect, but the opposite – it’s more direct than “fashioning man directly” and the next moment leaving him to his own devices. (I’m not saying that evolutionary process should be prioritized over the view of creation where things pop into existence, but I am saying that the sustaining action is the primary aspect of creative activity.
You still don't understand the difference between the direct act of creation by which God takes dirt out of the earth and forms Adam vs the indirect act of supervising an evolutionary process that takes millions of years to produce the same persom. The former is primary causation and the latter is secondary causation. St. Thomas Aquinas held to the first way; Ed Feser holds to the second. They are not on the same page. You are trying to escape from the facts.StephenB
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
07:52 AM
7
07
52
AM
PST
ES
StephenB’s catechism also emphasizes the upholding and sustaining action over the once-upon-a-time view.
Incorrect. Creating is emphasized far more than sustaining. Sustaining is a fact, but it is considered separately and last: . CATECHESIS ON CREATION 282 Catechesis on creation is of major importance. It concerns the very foundations of human and Christian life: for it makes explicit the response of the Christian faith to the basic question that men of all times have asked themselves:120 "Where do we come from?" "Where are we going?" "What is our origin?" "What is our end?" "Where does everything that exists come from and where is it going?" The two questions, the first about the origin and the second about the end, are inseparable. They are decisive for the meaning and orientation of our life and actions. 283 The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers. With Solomon they can say: "It is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements. . . for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me."121 284 The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin: is the universe governed by chance, blind fate, anonymous necessity, or by a transcendent, intelligent and good Being called "God"? And if the world does come from God's wisdom and goodness, why is there evil? Where does it come from? Who is responsible for it? Is there any liberation from it? 285 Since the beginning the Christian faith has been challenged by responses to the question of origins that differ from its own. Ancient religions and cultures produced many myths concerning origins. Some philosophers have said that everything is God, that the world is God, or that the development of the world is the development of God (Pantheism). Others have said that the world is a necessary emanation arising from God and returning to him. Still others have affirmed the existence of two eternal principles, Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, locked, in permanent conflict (Dualism, Manichaeism). According to some of these conceptions, the world (at least the physical world) is evil, the product of a fall, and is thus to be rejected or left behind (Gnosticism). Some admit that the world was made by God, but as by a watch-maker who, once he has made a watch, abandons it to itself (Deism). Finally, others reject any transcendent origin for the world, but see it as merely the interplay of matter that has always existed (Materialism). All these attempts bear witness to the permanence and universality of the question of origins. This inquiry is distinctively human. 286 Human intelligence is surely already capable of finding a response to the question of origins. The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason,122 even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error. This is why faith comes to confirm and enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth: "By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear."123 287 The truth about creation is so important for all of human life that God in his tenderness wanted to reveal to his People everything that is salutary to know on the subject. Beyond the natural knowledge that every man can have of the Creator,124 God progressively revealed to Israel the mystery of creation. He who chose the patriarchs, who brought Israel out of Egypt, and who by choosing Israel created and formed it, this same God reveals himself as the One to whom belong all the peoples of the earth, and the whole earth itself; he is the One who alone "made heaven and earth".125 288 Thus the revelation of creation is inseparable from the revelation and forging of the covenant of the one God with his People. Creation is revealed as the first step towards this covenant, the first and universal witness to God's all-powerful love.126 And so, the truth of creation is also expressed with growing vigor in the message of the prophets, the prayer of the psalms and the liturgy, and in the wisdom sayings of the Chosen People.127 289 Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place. From a literary standpoint these texts may have had diverse sources. The inspired authors have placed them at the beginning of Scripture to express in their solemn language the truths of creation - its origin and its end in God, its order and goodness, the vocation of man, and finally the drama of sin and the hope of salvation. Read in the light of Christ, within the unity of Sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church, these texts remain the principal source for catechesis on the mysteries of the "beginning": creation, fall, and promise of salvation. II. CREATION - WORK OF THE HOLY TRINITY 290 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth":128 three things are affirmed in these first words of Scripture: the eternal God gave a beginning to all that exists outside of himself; he alone is Creator (the verb "create" - Hebrew bara - always has God for its subject). The totality of what exists (expressed by the formula "the heavens and the earth") depends on the One who gives it being. 291 "In the beginning was the Word. . . and the Word was God. . . all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made."129 The New Testament reveals that God created everything by the eternal Word, his beloved Son. In him "all things were created, in heaven and on earth.. . all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."130 The Church's faith likewise confesses the creative action of the Holy Spirit, the "giver of life", "the Creator Spirit" (Veni, Creator Spiritus), the "source of every good".131 292 The Old Testament suggests and the New Covenant reveals the creative action of the Son and the Spirit,132 inseparably one with that of the Father. This creative co-operation is clearly affirmed in the Church's rule of faith: "There exists but one God. . . he is the Father, God, the Creator, the author, the giver of order. He made all things by himself, that is, by his Word and by his Wisdom", "by the Son and the Spirit" who, so to speak, are "his hands".133 Creation is the common work of the Holy Trinity. III. "THE WORLD WAS CREATED FOR THE GLORY OF GOD" 293 Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: "The world was made for the glory of God."134 St. Bonaventure explains that God created all things "not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it",135 for God has no other reason for creating than his love and goodness: "Creatures came into existence when the key of love opened his hand."136 The First Vatican Council explains: This one, true God, of his own goodness and "almighty power", not for increasing his own beatitude, nor for attaining his perfection, but in order to manifest this perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures, with absolute freedom of counsel "and from the beginning of time, made out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal. . ."137 294 The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us "to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace",138 for "the glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man's life is the vision of God: if God's revelation through creation has already obtained life for all the beings that dwell on earth, how much more will the Word's manifestation of the Father obtain life for those who see God."139 The ultimate purpose of creation is that God "who is the creator of all things may at last become "all in all", thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude."140 IV. THE MYSTERY OF CREATION God creates by wisdom and love 295 We believe that God created the world according to his wisdom.141 It is not the product of any necessity whatever, nor of blind fate or chance. We believe that it proceeds from God's free will; he wanted to make his creatures share in his being, wisdom and goodness: "For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."142 Therefore the Psalmist exclaims: "O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all"; and "The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made."143 God creates "out of nothing" 296 We believe that God needs no pre-existent thing or any help in order to create, nor is creation any sort of necessary emanation from the divine substance.144 God creates freely "out of nothing":145 If God had drawn the world from pre-existent matter, what would be so extraordinary in that? A human artisan makes from a given material whatever he wants, while God shows his power by starting from nothing to make all he wants.146 297 Scripture bears witness to faith in creation "out of nothing" as a truth full of promise and hope. Thus the mother of seven sons encourages them for martyrdom: I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws. . . Look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being.147 298 Since God could create everything out of nothing, he can also, through the Holy Spirit, give spiritual life to sinners by creating a pure heart in them,148 and bodily life to the dead through the Resurrection. God "gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist."149 And since God was able to make light shine in darkness by his Word, he can also give the light of faith to those who do not yet know him.150 God creates an ordered and good world 299 Because God creates through wisdom, his creation is ordered: "You have arranged all things by measure and number and weight."151 The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, the "image of the invisible God", is destined for and addressed to man, himself created in the "image of God" and called to a personal relationship with God.152 Our human understanding, which shares in the light of the divine intellect, can understand what God tells us by means of his creation, though not without great effort and only in a spirit of humility and respect before the Creator and his work.153 Because creation comes forth from God's goodness, it shares in that goodness - "And God saw that it was good. . . very good"154- for God willed creation as a gift addressed to man, an inheritance destined for and entrusted to him. On many occasions the Church has had to defend the goodness of creation, including that of the physical world.155 God transcends creation and is present to it. 300 God is infinitely greater than all his works: "You have set your glory above the heavens."156 Indeed, God's "greatness is unsearchable".157 But because he is the free and sovereign Creator, the first cause of all that exists, God is present to his creatures' inmost being: "In him we live and move and have our being."158 In the words of St. Augustine, God is "higher than my highest and more inward than my innermost self".159 God upholds and sustains creation. 301 With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence: For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living.160 ----------------------------------------------------------- Clearly creating and sustaining are not the same act. Feser is Catholic and so am I. So the Cathechism is the source for deciding which of us is right.StephenB
October 23, 2014
October
10
Oct
23
23
2014
07:37 AM
7
07
37
AM
PST
Box
E.Seigner, you are being uncharitable here. Clearly StephenB points out a logical or explanatory priority of creation over sustainment, not just a chronological priority.
Yes, he is - by means of emphasizing tenses in English language, a human construct over universals. Scholastics argue that universals are closer to God and therefore have explanatory priority. Sustainment is eternal and constant, therefore more general or universal compared to the once-upon-a-time view of creation. Therefore I am not granting to StephenB the way he prioritizes. StephenB's catechism also emphasizes the upholding and sustaining action over the once-upon-a-time view. With the latter view, modern people in particular tend to think that God left nature to its own devices after the beginning. StephenB was initially rather full of it, for example when saying "He could fashion man indirectly through an evolutionary process." Evolutionary process, if it needs constant sustaining by God, is not at all indirect, but the opposite - it's more direct than "fashioning man directly" and the next moment leaving him to his own devices. (I'm not saying that evolutionary process should be prioritized over the view of creation where things pop into existence, but I am saying that the sustaining action is the primary aspect of creative activity. Human way of creating, such as a potter making a pot and then the pot is given away to various customers, is a very incomplete approximation to the way God creates.)E.Seigner
October 22, 2014
October
10
Oct
22
22
2014
09:48 PM
9
09
48
PM
PST
ES
It’s precisely the other way.
Let me explain it another way. St. Thomas Aquinas was a Young Earth Creationist. Feser's philosophy leaves no room for that position. In any case, the take home point is that ID does not make any metaphysical commitments. ES
You are using temporal terms, clearly not understanding the concept of timeless creation.
(From the Universal Catechism): God upholds and sustains creation. 301 With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence: Clearly, creating and sustaining are not the same act.StephenB
October 22, 2014
October
10
Oct
22
22
2014
04:40 PM
4
04
40
PM
PST
Feser usually does a good job of explaining classical theism, but he has erred in this case. God created and sustains the world. Notice that the first word is past tense and the second word is present tense. It is impossible to keep something going that has not first been brought into existence. The creation precedes the maintenance, which means that they cannot be the same thing. Aquinas’ point is that God creates and then sustains. He is not saying that to create is to sustain. God brought time and space into existence out of nothing; He does not sustain them out of nothing.
E.Seigner: You are using temporal terms, clearly not understanding the concept of timeless creation.
E.Seigner, you are being uncharitable here. Clearly StephenB points out a logical or explanatory priority of creation over sustainment, not just a chronological priority.Box
October 22, 2014
October
10
Oct
22
22
2014
03:08 PM
3
03
08
PM
PST
StephenB
The nature of the process consists either of direct causation in the form of external design, which is immediate, or indirect causation by way of internal design, which is gradual. That is the difference between art and nature. Feser argues for indirect causation by way of internal causality–nature; Aquinas argued for direct causation by way of external causality–art. They are not on the same page.
It's precisely the other way. The external causation is indirect, and the internal one is direct. Why? Because natural order is divinely guided and divinely maintained, therefore universal, i.e. immanent to the universe and interdependent with regard to natural entities, not external to them. Natural order is natural to things. To be natural is to be in accordance with divine guidance, and naturalness is not imposed from outside. All medievals argue this way. And it's easy to illustrate. One billiard ball hits the other and makes the other move. This is external causation. If you say this is direct in the relevant sense, then what about live entities, say plants, that have internal tendencies, that develop towards a goal or end? If anything, the causes operating in live entities are even more direct than between inert billiard balls, not indirect. StephenB
God created and sustains the world. Notice that the first word is past tense and the second word is present tense. It is impossible to keep something going that has not first been brought into existence.
You are using temporal terms, clearly not understanding the concept of timeless creation.E.Seigner
October 22, 2014
October
10
Oct
22
22
2014
11:47 AM
11
11
47
AM
PST
Feser:
For classical theism, to say that God creates the world is not merely, and indeed not primarily, to say that He got it going at some time in the past. It is more fundamentally to say the He keeps it going now, and at any moment at which it exists at all. As Aquinas says, to say that God makes the world is not like saying that a blacksmith made a horseshoe – where the horseshoe might persist even if the blacksmith died – but rather like saying that a musician makes music, where the music would stop if the musician stopped playing.
Feser usually does a good job of explaining classical theism, but he has erred in this case. God created and sustains the world. Notice that the first word is past tense and the second word is present tense. It is impossible to keep something going that has not first been brought into existence. The creation precedes the maintenance, which means that they cannot be the same thing. Aquinas' point is that God creates and then sustains. He is not saying that to create is to sustain. God brought time and space into existence out of nothing; He does not sustain them out of nothing.StephenB
October 22, 2014
October
10
Oct
22
22
2014
11:03 AM
11
11
03
AM
PST
ES
"I thinks this is a bad argument, because unless we’ve seen God make an artefact the way man does it, all we know about God’s creation is nature."
Irrelevant to the argument. It has nothing to do with the nature of creation.
>And I resent the mischaracterization of my argument as some sort of denial of the difference between a dump of sand and a sand castle. I have not said they are the same.
' Sorry if it causes resentment. You have said that the design in the sand castle is undetectable. That is the position that is being lampooned and deservedly so. It is obviously wrong. I don't believe you when you say that the design in a sand castle s not obvious to you, independent of any cultural preparation. I just don't believe you.
That information [kairosfocus flow chart] sucks and blows in many diverse ways. And I don’t want to go over that again either.
You didn't go over it the first time. You choose to remain ignorant of the information, just as Feser chooses to remain ignorant of the information. As a result of that choice, you don't understand ID's argument. If you had to explain it to a third party, you could not do it. Even so, that does not stop you from trying to criticize what you don't understand.
You would have a point, if Feser understood God’s sustaining power as distinct from creative activity. But Feser would argue that God’s sustaining power is creative activity.
That isn't the issue. Everyone knows that the process must created and sustained. They are not the same thing, but I don't want to get into that. We are discussing the nature of the process by which life comes to exist, not the fact that it must be sustained, which no one disputes. The nature of the process consists either of direct causation in the form of external design, which is immediate, or indirect causation by way of internal design, which is gradual. That is the difference between art and nature. Feser argues for indirect causation by way of internal causality--nature; Aquinas argued for direct causation by way of external causality--art. They are not on the same page.StephenB
October 22, 2014
October
10
Oct
22
22
2014
10:44 AM
10
10
44
AM
PST
1 2 3

Leave a Reply