Atheism Intelligent Design Philosophy theism

At Mind Matters News: 4: Egnor now tries to find out what Dillahunty actually knows…

Spread the love

About philosophical arguments for the existence of God, as he begins a rebuttal:

Readers and viewers who have been following this debate, “Does God exist?” (September 17, 2021), between theist neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and atheist broadcaster Matt Dillahunty may recall that it opened with Egnor explaining why, as former atheist, he became a theist. Then Dillahunty explained why, as a former theist, he became an atheist.

Michael Egnor then stated his case, offering ten proofs for the existence of God. Matt Dillahunty responded that they were all unfalsifiable propositions. Now it is Egnor’s turn to rebut Dillahunty. The conversation was somewhat rambunctious and has been condensed for print:

News, “4: Egnor now tries to find out what Dillahunty actually knows…” at Mind Matters News (September 27, 2021)

A partial transcript (beginning at 36:30) and notes follow:


Michael Egnor: Which one of the 10 arguments that I gave you do you understand? [00:38:30]

Matt Dillahunty: If you ask me a question and I start to … Am I going to get to answer your question? Let’s assume that I don’t understand any of them.

Michael Egnor: All right. So then why do you think they’re wrong?

Matt Dillahunty: Well, I’ve evaluated each of them at different times, and found them wanting. [00:39:00]

Michael Egnor: So you used to understand them, but you forgot them.

Matt Dillahunty: See, the whole point of tonight’s debate is to demonstrate that a God exists, and all I did was point out about where a burden of proof is, and you immediately start to suggest that I don’t understand what I’m talking about, which may be fine, and it may be fair, but it doesn’t do anything to prove your God. If you think that you proved your God by rattling off short intro to philosophy versions of arguments that have long been debated, you don’t understand the robustness of this. [00:39:30]

Michael Egnor: Matt, I’ll be happy to give you these arguments in detail. What I want to establish before that is that your arguments are not based on any actual knowledge. You don’t know the arguments for God’s existence. So your claim that they’re not true…

Matt Dillahunty: Which of my arguments do you reject? The argument from divine hiddenness is the only one I presented. The argument from divine hiddenness isn’t based on an understanding of any of your arguments, so please, tell me where my argument’s wrong. [00:40:00]

Michael Egnor: No, your argument is that God’s existence has not been proven.

Matt Dillahunty: Correct.

Michael Egnor: You don’t understand the arguments for God’s existence. So

Michael Egnor: Tell me Aquinas’s Second Way. What’s the second way?

Matt Dillahunty: The argument from causation and it has to do with causal change. But there’s a problem with causal change, because you cannot demonstrate that causal change extend beyond… We can’t explore the universe prior to the Planck time. So the fact that there are causal chains within the universe don’t mean that there are causal chains out of the universe that operate in the same way. As a matter of fact, if you start talking about something that exists outside of time, you’ve already made an error, because existence is necessarily temporal. It doesn’t mean anything to say that something exists for no period of time. [00:40:30]

Michael Egnor: That has nothing to do with Aquinas’s Second Way, or his First Way, or anything. [00:41:00]

Matt Dillahunty: Well, I didn’t show up to debate Aquinas, and he’s not here to defend it. So either you can tell me…

Michael Egnor: No, but you showed up to debate …

Matt Dillahunty: … you can either debate it and tell me I’m wrong, or you can just assert that I’m wrong, which is what you’ve done from the beginning. You’ve made nothing but assertions. “Here’s a whole bunch of arguments, I’m going to assert that these arguments make the case, and I’m going to do no work.” That’s what you did from the start.

Michael Egnor: Matt, the argument that I’m making is actually fairly simple, and you’re blowing smoke. [00:41:30]

More.


Takehome: Atheist Dillahunty appears unable to recall the philosophical arguments for God’s existence, which poses a challenge for Egnor in rebutting him.

The debate to date:

  1. Debate: Former atheist neurosurgeon vs. former Christian activist. At Theology Unleashed, each gets a chance to state his case and interrogate the other. In a lively debate at Theology Unleashed, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and broadcaster Matt Dillahunty clash over the existence of God.
  2. A neurosurgeon’s ten proofs for the existence of God. First, how did a medic, formerly an atheist, who cuts open people’s brains for a living, come to be sure there is irrefutable proof for God? In a lively debate at Theology Unleashed, Michael Egnor and Matt Dillahunty clash over “Does God exist?” Egnor starts off.
  3. Atheist Dillahunty spots fallacies in Christian Egnor’s views. “My position is that it’s unacceptable to believe something if the available evidence does not support it.” Dillahunty: We can’t conclusively disprove an unfalsifiable proposition. And that is what most “God” definitions, at least as far as I can tell, are.

You may also wish to read:

Atheist spokesman Matt Dillahunty refuses to debate me again Although he has said that he finds debates “incredibly valuable,” he is — despite much urging — making an exception in this case. Why? For millennia, theists have thought meticulously about God’s existence. New Atheists merely deny any need to make a case. That’s partly why I dumped atheism. (Michael Egnor)

30 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: 4: Egnor now tries to find out what Dillahunty actually knows…

  1. 1
    jerry says:

    One has to only read The NY Times comments to know atheists have no idea what an argument supporting atheism is. This should be the gold standard in an educated atheistic audience. But they too are shallow when pushed.

    The only commonality is a disdain for those who believe. In other words it’s an emotionally based position stemming from a dislike of a certain group of people.

    In this particular case (Matt Dillahunty), all that is needed is to be intellectually bankrupt.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    The arguments in favor of atheism are the weakness of the arguments offered as proofs of God, such as Egnor’s ten proofs.

  3. 3
    Truth Will Set You Free says:

    Wow, Egnor really exposed Dillahunty for lying about knowing Aquinas’s Second Way. What a liar. What a fraud.

    Atheism is dying (good riddance) because it is absolutely bankrupt of worthwhile ideas. This guy Dillahunty is a great example of that.

    Atheists have nothing to offer humanity except nihilism and despair. It is a hopeless worldview. Indeed, it is a worthless worldview.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Hmmm,

    Michael Egnor: You don’t understand the arguments for God’s existence. Tell me Aquinas’s Second Way. What’s the second way?
    Matt Dillahunty: The argument from causation and it has to do with causal change. But there’s a problem with causal change, because you cannot demonstrate that causal change extend beyond… We can’t explore the universe prior to the Planck time. So the fact that there are causal chains within the universe don’t mean that there are causal chains out of the universe that operate in the same way. As a matter of fact, if you start talking about something that exists outside of time, you’ve already made an error, because existence is necessarily temporal. It doesn’t mean anything to say that something exists for no period of time. [00:40:30]
    Michael Egnor: That has nothing to do with Aquinas’s Second Way, or his First Way, or anything. [00:41:00]
    Matt Dillahunty: Well, I didn’t show up to debate Aquinas, and he’s not here to defend it. So either you can tell me…
    Michael Egnor: No, but you showed up to debate …

    OUCH! It almost makes you feel sorry for Matt.

    No wonder Matt refused to debate Egnor ever again and said “No Mas!”

    Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto “No Mas” Duran
    https://youtu.be/5tq6b_hDvUA?t=9

  5. 5
    zweston says:

    Sev @ 2… You made a claim, but didn’t substantiate it. MD didn’t even know the argument, so how can he proceed to shut it down?

    MD has to do zero prep for his debates, I’m almost certain. Shows up and waits to just say that isn’t evidence or that’s not convincing. I’m pretty confident he would never debate that God doesn’t exist because if his epistemology is applied in critique of his view, he would look really bad.

    Sev, if you are willing, what do you think are the strongest arguments for the existence of God? Have you ever in recent times doubted Darwin? How much of your darwinist belief is due to your worldview vs. evidence?

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    Okay, let’s take a look at Egnor’s ten proofs:

    Instrumental change is a chain where each cause needs to continue to exist to cause the next cause. A good example — one that Aristotle used — was a man pushing a rock with a stick. The stick is a cause, of sorts, but there needs to be a hand pushing the stick. The stick doesn’t have the ability] to cause things by itself… When you have a chain of possibilities, there has to be something that causes the whole thing to start happening. And that is what all men call God.

    In other words, the only way to put a stop to an infinite chain of causation is to assert an Uncaused First Cause, which is what Christians call God.

    But if all other events in the natural world have a cause, why doesn’t God, other than you need Him to be uncaused to prevent an infinite causal regress?

    The Second Way has to do with causation — as opposed to change itself:

    Note: “There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible… But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.” — Aquinas, Lycaeum All activity requires something to start it and all causes require a First Cause.

    That’s effectively a re-statement of the first proof. Just repeating an argument doesn’t make it any better.

    The Third Way is the argument that in order for anything to exist contingently — that is, it might not exist, but it does exist — there must be one thing that necessarily exists. For example, I might not exist. I might die, or I might never have been born. Everything can’t be contingent, everything can’t depend on everything else, because then you get circular reasoning. So there must be a necessary existence for anything contingent to exist. [00:11:00]

    Existence is not a thing or a property. What this says is that for every contingent thing – something that depends on something else for it to exist – there must ultimately be a necessary thing that doesn’t depend on anything else to exist, an Uncaused First Cause. Yet again, just another way of stating the first proof

    The Fourth Way is that we recognize degrees of perfection in reality. These degrees of perfection point to an ultimate perfection, because you can’t really talk about degrees of perfection unless there’s an extreme to which those degrees point. And that degree of perfection is God.

    Degrees of perfection? Something’s either perfect or it isn’t. Something can’t be a bit perfect any more than someone can be a bit pregnant. The fact we can conceive of perfection as an ideal doesn’t mean it must exist just as people believing in their ideal deity means it must exist just because they believe in it. For a long time, a lot of people used to think the Sun went around the Earth but that didn’t make it so.

    The Fifth Way is the teleological proof — inanimate things in nature follow patterns of behavior. Rocks, when we drop them, fall down. They don’t fall up. Electrons go around protons. They don’t just shoot off into space for no reason. Nature is full of natural laws that have consistency. But the things that obey these laws don’t have minds. They’re not capable of knowing what they’re supposed to do. A rock doesn’t know it’s supposed to go down when you let it go instead of going up. And the fact that inanimate things don’t know what to do but do it anyway implies that there is a mind guiding things. This is kind of an intelligent design argument, that nature shows this elegant example of design of purpose. [00:12:00

    Yes, there is order in Nature. We can all agree on that. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t so. That observed order also requires explanation. One possibility, which can’t be ruled out, is some sort of intelligent agency. But evidence specifically of the Christian God, not really.

    The sixth proof is something that’s called the Thomistic proof and it differs from the first five. The sixth proof is the notion that the essence of something — what something is — and the fact that it exists, are two separate things. I can describe something without it actually existing or I can point to the fact that it actually exists. And there needs to be something outside of the system that connects possibilities with actualities of existence. There needs to be something that is, essentially, existence itself. And that is what all men call God.

    Yes, we can describe the essential properties of a fictional or factual entity because both exist as models in our conscious minds. None of that entails the existence of a god of any stripe. In fact, does it mean anything to say that existence exists? Isn’t it a tautology? When I say my computer exists, aren’t I just saying that there is a computer? If there wasn’t, I wouldn’t say that there is a non-existent computer here. When we have said that truly nothing might have existed aren’t we actually stating a contradiction? fascinating philosophical questions but they in no way necessarily entail the Christian God.

    The seventh proof is sometimes called the Neoplatonic proof: There needs to be a singular, infinitely powerful cause of the organization of objects in the world. That is objects bear relationships to one another. They bear geometrical relationships, they bear causal relationships. And to put this whole orchestra together requires an infinitely powerful, metaphysically simple entity, which is God. [

    This looks just another way of stating the Fifth Way, that there must be an underlying reason for the order we observe which, for a Christian, must be God. For the non-Christian, it ain’t necessarily so.

    The eighth proof is the Augustinian proof. And that is the proof that concepts such as mathematical concepts and universals like justice and mercy clearly have some kind of real existence that’s independent of human minds. Otherwise, we couldn’t communicate them to one another. The realm in which these exist, Plato called the world of forms. And St. Augustine made the argument — I think a very good argument — that a much more reasonable way to understand this is that universals exist in the mind of God. So they do have a real existence and their existence is in the divine intellect.

    I don’t see that concepts such as justice and mercy – or mathematics – have any existence independent of the human mind. I think that if a passing asteroid impact took us out for good, our justice and mercy and mathematics would disappear along with us. If there are no Platonic universals independent of human consciousness there is no need to invoke a God to be a repository for them. In other words it falls somewhat short as a proof of Egnor’s God.

    The ninth proof is sometimes called the rationalist proof. And the rationalist proof, which was championed by Leibniz several hundred years ago, is the notion that everything that exists necessarily has some explanation for why it exists the way it does. That is that things don’t exist for no reason. [00:14:30]

    That doesn’t mean that we can know the reasons, the reasons may be obscure. But it doesn’t make any sense to say that something exists and there is no reason for it. And that implies that there is an ultimate explanation that is outside of nature and is in itself not in need of explanation. And that is God.

    And which, yet again, is a restatement of the necessity of an Uncaused First Cause

    It also exposes the contradiction embedded in the argument. First the claim that “it doesn’t make any sense to say that something exists and there is no reason for it” then the assertion of exactly that, the existence of something, God, for which there is no reason.

    The tenth proof — which I think is a very powerful way that we often overlook — is the existence of moral law. We all acknowledge in our daily life implicitly, and we should do it explicitly, that there is an objective morality out there that’s separate from our minds. That is, we all acknowledge for example, that it’s not okay to kill innocent people.

    And that’s not just an opinion. It’s not as if, “Well, I don’t think it’s okay to kill innocent people, but hey, if the guy next to me thinks it’s okay, well, who knows?” We all acknowledge that certain things are right and wrong in objective ways that are beyond human opinion.

    And of course, if there is a moral law that manifests objective right and wrong, then that moral law has to exist in the mind outside of man, which means God’s mind. To deny his existence is to deny the existence of any objective moral law

    Past human societies practiced human sacrifice, probably to propitiate their gods, slavery, treated women as chattel and sent small children out to work in extremely hazardous conditions. We no longer consider such practices as morally acceptable. And, as contributors here well know, the Christian God and his proxies are reported in the Old Testament to have behaved in ways that we judge to be immoral.

    Yes, most if not all human societies have developed moral codes of some sort but they have not all been the same and they have clearly evolved (sorry) over time. So the idea of some universal moral code embedded somehow in the fabric of the universe does not stand up to scrutiny.

    Of Egnor’s ten proofs, four are effectively different ways of stating pretty much the same argument about an Uncaused First Cause, two are based on the observation of an ordered universe. The remainder, taken singly or together, don’t amount to proof of the Christian God’s existence except to confirmed believers. I’d say MD was being quite tolerant of Egnor under the circumstances.

  7. 7
    jerry says:

    I’d say MD was being quite tolerant of Egnor under the circumstances

    You just said a creator is highly likely. So how is MD tolerant?

  8. 8
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Dillahunty says:

    As a matter of fact, if you start talking about something that exists outside of time, you’ve already made an error, because existence is necessarily temporal. It doesn’t mean anything to say that something exists for no period of time.

    In the previous statement he contradicted himself:

    We can’t explore the universe prior to the Planck time.

    The phrase “prior to the Planck time” points to an existent entity – that’s why he uses the phrase as his argument, and that’s why we know what he is talking about. But, obvioiusly, the existent entity “prior to the Planck time” is something that exists for no period of time – a thing that he denies in the very next statements.

    As all atheists, he’s totally confused and scrambling for some kind of rationality and reason – searching for meaning while he claims there is none. Expressing his self-worth (wanting to win an argument) while arguing for nihilism.

    So the fact that there are causal chains within the universe don’t mean that there are causal chains out of the universe that operate in the same way.

    The idea of “out of the universe” has nothing to do with Aquinas’ arguments, as Dr. Egnor already stated. Aquinas, in fact, to make his proofs stronger – used Aristotle’s idea of an eternal universe (even though Aquinas believed the universe was created). The argument from change is not about a chain of causes and effects over time, but the present moment shows things which exist, which need some explanation. They all derive “actualized existence” from some source. That source must be self-actualized, fullness of being – otherwise you end up with an infinite regress.

  9. 9
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    But if all other events in the natural world have a cause, why doesn’t God, other than you need Him to be uncaused to prevent an infinite causal regress?

    Because you cannot have the existence of infinite quantity of beings, none of which have the power to confer being — but only derivative of being. You have to have a being that is non-derivative with the power to confer existence. That being has the power to actualize potential from it’s own actual existence. Otherwise, you have dependency with nothing to be dependent upon.

    Also, preventing an infinite regress means establishing a rational foundation for one’s position.

  10. 10
    chuckdarwin says:

    Seversky’s observation that Dillahunty “was being quite tolerant of Egnor under the circumstances” is a huge understatement. Egnor was nothing short of boorish during this “debate.” Perhaps that is the neurosurgeon training coming through. Or perhaps the insufferable certitude of a convert who has been given a new shiny toy–in this case, Thomism.

  11. 11
    Truth Will Set You Free says:

    Dillahunty deserved to be exposed as a liar (he knew nothing about Aquinas’s Second Way) and a fraud (he comes to debunk, not debate).

    Bravo, Michael Egnor!

  12. 12
    ET says:

    seversky:

    In other words, the only way to put a stop to an infinite chain of causation is to assert an Uncaused First Cause, which is what Christians call God.

    And what do materialists do?

    But if all other events in the natural world have a cause, why doesn’t God, other than you need Him to be uncaused to prevent an infinite causal regress?

    God is not of nor from the natural world.

  13. 13
    johnnyb says:

    For those interested, I have an apologetics series that deals with some of this. See the third video in the series:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8TQCb2-U9Q&list=PL2Ky2_VcYEd1dsx_VkyebLWB1LNgFgjdU&index=3

  14. 14
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    Degrees of perfection? Something’s either perfect or it isn’t. Something can’t be a bit perfect any more than someone can be a bit pregnant. The fact we can conceive of perfection as an ideal doesn’t mean it must exist just as people believing in their ideal deity means it must exist just because they believe in it.

    The more we think about and understand and internalize “perfection” the more we are thinking about God. So, this is a topic we should meditate on since it provides the source of greatness in our life.
    You say that something is perfect or not with no degrees, but that’s not true.
    We can measure perfection through a negative approach. Perfection is the absence of flaws, defects, deficiencies. That which is perfect does not lack anything of excellence – it has all goodness and nothing to find fault with.
    So, the very fact that we find a defect in something, is a measure of perfection. We are measuring things against a scale, with the highest point as perfection. Things can be closer or farther from absolute perfection. That’s why we criticize things or observe defects in them.
    We can say something is perfect within a context – the door fits the frame perfectly. But absolute perfection removes all deficiencies, all weaknesses – there can be nothing greater.
    Perfection is a universal concept – known by all humans. That’s why we can find some fault with everything in the material order. We know what perfection is.
    In the same way, we know universals – we know what a triangle is. We can think of a triangle as independent of any specific three-sided object and know it exists.
    Perfection is the same – it’s a universal that exists — it references something that we couldn’t know if it was not existent in reality.
    This traces to causality also. We observe degrees of perfection – greatness or excellence, more or less. But those perfections have to have a source.
    All of that which is good and excellent, must come from a source that is the ultimate of goodness.
    So, perfection as a real source of being must necessarily exist.

  15. 15
    ram says:

    Seversky: But if all other events in the natural world have a cause, why doesn’t God, other than you need Him to be uncaused to prevent an infinite causal regress?

    Put “God” aside for a second. Something has to be uncaused. Whether it is some transcendent intelligent “God” or some non-intelligent system, such as “the multiverse.” Whatever that uncaused thing is, it is meaningless to ask “why doesn’t that uncaused thing have a cause?” There cannot be an answer to that “why?” It is a meaningless question. If you understood its nature, you would know why it is meaningless.

    And here you run into the hard limit of human reason. Frustrating yes. We understand.

  16. 16
    ram says:

    Silver Asiatic @8: That source must be self-actualized

    I don’t care for that kind of language, because it sounds like the Absolute was actualized, the object of a verb, which is not the case. Better to simply say, The Absolute Is.

  17. 17
    ram says:

    Seversky,

    If you believe the universe is all there is, think about how meaningless it is to ask, “where is the universe?”

    Once you intuit the light of that, you may be able to intuit that “how” and “why” are meaningless with regards to the uncreated.

  18. 18
    ram says:

    Seversky,

    What do you hope to gain by your participation on this website?

    I’ve read a lot of your posts and I’m curious.

    Are you searching for “truth”?

    Are you a troll?

    You don’t seem to be in a position of giving anything of value.

    You don’t seem to harmonize with the typical poster here.

    So what is the attraction?

    What is the motive?

    Taking?

    Taking what?

    What’s your game here?

    Your humble servant.

    Peace.

  19. 19
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Ram

    I don’t care for that kind of language, because it sounds like the Absolute was actualized, the object of a verb, which is not the case. Better to simply say, The Absolute Is.

    That’s a good correction – yes. The correct way to say it would be that “something must be purely actual”. Right because self-actualizing would suggest a movement towards Being – whereas your statement “the Absolute is” indicates fullness of Being, eternally – thus just totally Actual with no unfulfilled potential.

  20. 20
    Silver Asiatic says:

    I was going to say – I agree that Dr. Egnor shouldn’t have just thrown 10 individual arguments as his proposal. But reading his follow-up was important:
    https://mindmatters.ai/2021/09/atheist-spokesman-matt-dillahunty-refuses-to-debate-me-again/

    A better way is to come up with one, conclusive argument with a number of corollaries.
    I would also frame the argument as a choice between alternatives. Therefore, part of the argument for the existence of God is the absurdity of atheism as an alternative view. So, even if a person isn’t totally convinced by the argument for God, a reasonable person will realize it is by far the best option.
    The questions that the existence of God answers include all of what the proofs show:

    The origin of:
    Matter, space, time, the universe
    Life
    Human consciousness, intelligence, moral awareness
    The religious orientation of human culture from the very beginning
    Rationality, truth, logic, language
    Universals (perfection, goodness, beauty, being)
    The value of truth versus falsehood – the value of goodness vs evil
    Causality, change, design
    Destiny, purpose, meaning – that all things act towards an end

    So, God is the answer to the origin and existence of all those things.
    Atheism proposes blind, purposeless, unintelligence — or else just nothingness

  21. 21
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Following up the above – I was a bit hasty in criticizing Dr. Egnor’s approach. He had done a good job looking for the target of this debate:

    https://mindmatters.ai/2021/09/atheist-spokesman-matt-dillahunty-refuses-to-debate-me-again/

    Of course, for meaningful debate, both debaters must understand the arguments and I thought a good place to start would be to see if Dillahunty did indeed understand any of the arguments that he claimed to reject. He admitted that he didn’t. His ignorance of the arguments for God’s existence became even more clear as the debate went on.

    That actually was a great idea by Dr. Egnor and he totally exposed Dillahunty’s ignorance on the basics of the arguments. Dr. Egnor had to press him on it – and that caused a heated response, but it was necessary.

    Dillahunty’s invocation of fairies and leprechauns demonstrates his ignorance of the arguments for God’s existence.

    That alone showed the childishness of Dillahunty’s approach – and yes, the total ignorance of the arguments for origins.

    Dillahunty’s characterization of these arguments as invocation of ‘fairies and leprechauns’ is an admission on his part of his complete ignorance as to their content.

    As above, that revealed just about everything one needed to know about Dillahunty.

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, I clip MD:

    Normally I point out in these debates that I’m not here to defend a no because the burden of proof is on those who say there is a yes. It’s not up to atheists to prove that a God doesn’t exist. So today I’m just going to say, no, there’s not a God, in the same way that there aren’t leprechauns or fairies.

    Not, when it comes to fundamental worldviews matters, every tub must stand on its own bottom. Here, why is there something rather than utter non-being, the true nothing. Which as SA etc hint at, points to the role of a necessary being as world root. Were there ever utter non being such would forever obtain. As a world now is, something necessary and framework to worlds, always was. The issue is, what is the key candidate.

    In that context, when MD says “no, there’s not a God, in the same way that there aren’t leprechauns or fairies” that tells me he does not recognise the logic of being issue at stake. God is a serious candidate necessary being, I am willing to entertain there are possible worlds with leprechauns etc, but such are contingent. They are not in the same category of candidacy as God.

    Unless MD et al have good reason to show God is not a serious candidate, or is an impossible candidate [like a square circle], God is credibly a successful candidate to be root of reality containing a world with responsible, rationally free morally governed creatures. Us.

    The former standard atheistical objection failed 50 years ago due to Plantinga’s free will defence: freedom is really important and pivotal to a whole order of good, virtues. What we see today are the onward consequences.

    KF

  23. 23
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    Here, why is there something rather than utter non-being, the true nothing.

    That is a great and essential point in the debate. The atheist claims that he has a default position that does not need an explanation or defense – that our “natural condition” is atheism and that God is something additional to this that has to be proven.
    But a necessary being, and that reality is grounded in something, rather than nothing — is the basic, universal, rational and intuitive response. Claiming that everything came from nothing, or that as you say – at root, there is total nothingness – is irrational and cannot be a default position. It certainly requires a robust defense since on its own it fails miserably.

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, nothing, non-being can have no causal properties. To claim nothingness, proper sense, is responsible for worlds such as our own, is absurdity of the highest order. Further, no finite stage, stepwise causal succession [let’s say years for convenience] can actually traverse an explicitly or implicitly transfinite span, the difference between potential and completed infinity. That requires using R* to see most clearly, but its meaning is clear too, there is no infinite actual past of this world. KF

  25. 25
    ram says:

    I feel the need to reiterate…

    Something has to be uncaused. Whatever that uncaused thing is, it is meaningless to ask “why doesn’t that uncaused thing have a cause?” It is a meaningless question. Obviously so.

    So even if “the universe” or “the multiverse” (or ___fill in the blank___) is your tea of choice in this matter, the point is that something is uncaused. How can anyone make any philosophical progress in this area if one does not acknowledge that as the first step?

    For the philosophical newbies:

    #1 Something is uncaused and forms the foundation for every differentiated object.

  26. 26
    ram says:

    Now, I would stay the second philosophical step is this:

    Whatever the uncaused reality is, it has tremendous power and the ability to generate objects within it that have what we would call “intelligence.” That is, understanding of relations of objects and abstractions/information, will, intent, foresight. All the things humans possess, and other animals to a lesser extent. All springing from the uncaused thing.

    It starts to sound likes some kind of …. God. Not the lesser gods of Greek myth, but the Brahman. The All in All, as religious philosophers propound.

    Something to think about.

  27. 27
    ram says:

    Whatever the Uncreated is, it has the power and capacity to generate, what we call, “intelligence.” It is encumbant on the “atheist” philosophers to demonstrate how intelligence could conceiveably spring from non-intelligence. Just-so stories won’t do. Let’s have a detailed breakdown.

  28. 28
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    I think you mentioned elsewhere also that over the course of an infinite span (if it could be traversed), whatever is possible must necessarily occur – and non-existence is a possibility, so the universe would have entered that state already by now.

  29. 29
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Ram

    Good points.

    It is encumbant on the “atheist” philosophers to demonstrate how intelligence could conceiveably spring from non-intelligence.

    It’s interesting. They cannot even show the products of intelligence from a blind, unintelligent source – but yes, they need to go farther and show the intelligence itself.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    Ram, actually, better, some things are necessary, world framework entities, without which there can be no worlds. KF

Leave a Reply