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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2023 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure what the risk of a crossover with The Close when posting in The Close would be.

The Big Bang could be the uncaused cause. I wouldn't call the Big Bang God. You might want to. You might want to define God as "The uncaused cause." IMO, God generally means a thinking, powerful being, and, for the sake of easier communication, the word should not be used interchangeably with Big Bang.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2023 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Fist and Faith wrote:
Not sure what the risk of a crossover with The Close when posting in The Close would be.

[…]


Ummm … we're not in The Close.

FWIW.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2023 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL I didn't notice what button I pressed. You may be right.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2023 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's consider that proposition that every event has a cause.

It is the definition of the Big Bang that it occurred when there was no Space, no Dimension, no Time -- no Universe. People have even gone so far as to say that laws of physics don't hold at that time.

We hold true the Laws of Conservation of Matter and Energy. But we know at this asymptotic event that even these Laws do not hold. Matter and Energy came into being from nowhere.

If all this is true, then would the statement "every event must have a cause" (The Law of Conservation of Causality?) have to be true at that time? Might it not be?

Logic is a tricky thing. It's imperfect. There are any number of paradoxes that can be proven as true and false simultaneously using logic. To my mind, it works generally, but breaks down "at the edges".

And the Big Bang is a big edge.

And if it wasn't true at that time, then there need not be a "first cause".
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2023 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wosbald wrote:

Here, roughly summated, is the 2nd of Aquinas' Classical [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Ways_(Aquinas)]"Five Ways" (Quinque Viæ)[/url]:





Just sayin'.



This is just word play and false assumptions.

"Everything in the universe has a cause."

No, it doesn't. Particles and anti-particles spontaneously emerge and then annihilate each other all the the time, everywhere in the universe. "Spontaneous" here means "uncaused."

"Nothing can be the cause of itself"

Wouldn't this eliminate God as the uncaused cause? If he can't be the cause of himself, then something else caused him, and infinite regress. Regardless, the demonstrable fact of spontaneous particle generation contradicts this assumption.

"Without a cause there would be no subsequent effect."

That would be the word play. It depends upon an "effect" by definition being "something that is caused." Something can exist without being an effect (again: spontaneous particles).

"A must be false . . ."

Why? Why can't there be an infinite chain of causes? Pure assumption.

"Therefore: the universe must have a first cause which we call god."

This contradicts everything that went before: god is either uncaused or self-caused, both of which this argument denies as being impossible.

[psst . . . Fist, we're not in the Close.]
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2023 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
. . . not one of us would believe it if we were told any given watch was the result of random chance, and the laws of physics.
And yet according to reductive materialism, this is exactly what we'd have to conclude. If humans can be reduced to nothing more than matter + physical laws, then everything we do (and think) can also be thus reduced. Reductive materialism not only denies design in the universe, it denies design in design. As you say, we KNOW watches are designed because we design them. We can even show each other our designs before we put them into action (designs without which the watches would not exist). And yet this is entirely inexplicable--or even illusory--by trying to reduce it to its parts.

So in this case, the watch analogy isn't an analogy at all, it's a literal example of something that cannot be explained purely by the laws of physics and can only be explained by taking into account: purpose, design, awareness of the future, and teleological causation. The emergence of watches does not happen bottom-up but instead top-down.

Fist and Faith wrote:
We cannot compare watches with universes. We do not have data on the origin of our universe. If there was a big bang, the bang, itself, obliterated any trace of the conditions that allowed or required such an event. We have not seen other universes come into being, so can't use them to try to come up with general rules about how universes come to be.
I'm not so sure that the BB obliterated all traces of the conditions that allowed it, but I agree that analogies to watches are inapt.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2023 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Fist and Faith wrote:
LOL I didn't notice what button I pressed. You may be right.


Wink

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Zarathustra wrote:
Wosbald wrote:
[…]

Here, roughly summated, is the 2nd of Aquinas' Classical "Five Ways" (Quinque Viæ):




[…]


[…]

"Nothing can be the cause of itself"

Wouldn't this eliminate God as the uncaused cause? If he can't be the cause of himself, then something else caused him, and infinite regress. …

[…]

"Therefore: the universe must have a first cause which we call god."

This contradicts everything that went before: god is either uncaused or self-caused, both of which this argument denies as being impossible.

[…]

  • God is not included as being "in the Universe". Therefore, the argument doesn't contradict the Universal needfulness-of-causation adduced in 'P1'.
  • God is identified as being "uncaused". Therefore, the argument doesn't contradict the proscription against self-causation adduced in 'P2'.

One may not like the terms and/or structure of the argumentation. Nonetheless, that's what the (roughly summated) argument is, if one wants to deal with it on its own terms.



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2023 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Big Bang was uncaused. The uncaused cause.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2023 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Fist and Faith wrote:
The Big Bang was uncaused. The uncaused cause.


I hear ya. And perhaps relatedly to your point, I also intend to respond to WF's post.

But first, I'm gonna hafta get my ducks in a row.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2023 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

wayfriend wrote:
Let's consider that proposition that every event has a cause.

It is the definition of the Big Bang that it occurred when there was no Space, no Dimension, no Time -- no Universe. People have even gone so far as to say that laws of physics don't hold at that time.

We hold true the Laws of Conservation of Matter and Energy. But we know at this asymptotic event that even athese Laws do not hold. Matter and Energy came into being from nowhere.

If all this is true, then would the statement "every event must have a cause" (The Law of Conservation of Causality?) have to be true at that time? Might it not be?

Logic is a tricky thing. It's imperfect. There are any number of paradoxes that can be proven as true and false simultaneously using logic. To my mind, it works generally, but breaks down "at the edges".

And the Big Bang is a big edge.

And if it wasn't true at that time, then there need not be a "first cause".


Sorry for the gap before the response, but I had to condense some rather nuanced material into a succinct and — with the help of a couple of quickly-cobbled visual aids — a (hopefully!) easy-to-follow form.

I should preface by noting that the convo is now centered around two-ish different fields: 1) Science and 2) Philosophy/Theology. And also by noting that the Science does not pass seamlessly into the Philosophy/Theology and vice-versa.

Though the two fields may touch on some common themes, the Scientific speculation — even if current models were to be flatly taken as given — would not exhaust the need for the Philosophical heavy-lifting. The same can be said mutatis mutandis for the Philosophy with regard to the Science. The two disciplines simply don't answer equivalent sets of questions.

The upshot is that, while the Big Bang may well be a "big edge", this Scientific Edge is not the same as the Philosophical Edge demanded by Classicalism and Catholic Theology.

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Part 1: Chronological Priority

The Scientific Edge, when applied (as it often is in popular discourse) to a generalized Creation Narrative, yields a Cosmology in which God's Creative Action is part-&-parcel with the Causal Chain.

To wit:





One could call this schematic a "Narrative of Chronological Priority".

In this schematic, God is one-of-a-piece with the Universe and, by causing the Big Bang, kicks off the rest of the series akin to the first action in a Rube Goldberg Machine:





God is the duck which lays the egg of the Big Bang which rolls the cart which trips the lever which … yada-yada … and the boot finally kicks the switch actuating the lightbulb of the Entropic Heat Death of the Universe. IOW, this schematic portrays God as being fully implicated in the Chain-of-Causes. With God being portrayed as the First Cause in a Chronological sense, this Narrative is ever-susceptible to charges of question-begging as to what caused God.

But this is unacceptable for Catholic Teaching. Catholicity demands a certain element of incommensurability — a caesura or rupture — between the Creator and His Creation. God can't be nothing more than a bigger version of us.

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Part 2: Ontological Priority

Rather than this scientifically-flavored Chronological Priority, Classicalist Philosophy insists on what one might call a "Narrative of Ontological Priority", such that God's Creative Action is ontologically prior to the Causal Chain in its entirety.

Like this:





In this schematic, God is First Cause, not by being caught-up as just another link in the chain-of-causes, but rather, by being the Cause of Causality.

Here, God is "prior" to us living in The Now in the exact same sense as He is "prior" to the Big Bang and, again, in the exact same sense is "prior" to the Universe's Entropic Heat Death. IOW, God is immediately prior to the whole shebang all-at-once.

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Conclusion

To sum it all up, you could very well be completely correct regarding the astrophysical conditions and logical puzzles obtaining at the Big Bang (I'm not particularly competent to say either one way or the other), yet this would still not obviate the philosophico-theological need for a First Cause in the Classicalist sense. God's Creative Action would still be crucial for upholding the whole: i.e. for the wonky physics of the Big Bang, for the living conditions of "the We" flourishing in the Here-&-Now, and for the Entropic Abyss of the Universe's unravelling.

While my unsurety on the Astrophysics made me initially hang back from engaging deeply, F&F's use of the "Uncaused Cause" terminology piqued my ears, since that's precisely the sort of lingo with which I'm conversant. Having gotten my concerns cleared-up (I hope!), I can now quite easily return to silent-mode and let the science resume, if that's to people's liking.



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2023 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wosbald wrote:
God is not included as being "in the Universe". Therefore, the argument doesn't contradict the Universal needfulness-of-causation adduced in 'P1'.

One may not like the terms and/or structure of the argumentation. Nonetheless, that's what the (roughly summated) argument is, if one wants to deal with it on its own terms.


Oh, I dealt with it in its own terms. You might want to try it yourself.

Direct quote:

"P2: Nothing can be the cause of itself."

Each line in a logical argument must be treated as a discrete logical 'unit.' This line says nothing about the universe, much less the necessity of the things to which 'nothing' refers being 'things in the universe.' Therefore, there is nothing here to preclude 'God' being included in the totality of all things (whether in the universe or not), of which 'nothing' would signify the absolute exclusion.*

That's just the literal meaning of the words. You're adding to it your own assumptions, e.g. 'they must have been talking about god as outside of the universe.' Absolutely no line of this argument makes this statement, and yet you insert it willy-nilly and then lecture me for not dealing with the argument as it stands.

And then you do it again:

Wosbald wrote:
God is identified as being "uncaused". Therefore, the argument doesn't contradict the proscription against self-causation adduced in 'P2'.


So nothing can be uncaused . . . except god, simply because that's how you identify god as being? Ok. Which line makes this identification? Take your time. Read them closely.

If we can exclude things from logical necessity merely by identification, then we're already assuming that which we seek to prove, and there was no point in making the argument. You're just making an identification.

*[Edit: Nor is there any mention that being 'outside the universe' is (for some reason) a privileged state of being that confers specials powers like being exempt from either logic or causation. All these are assumptions you brought to the table.]
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2023 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
...then we're already assuming that which we seek to prove...
You may be on to something.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2023 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Zarathustra wrote:
Oh, I dealt with it in its own terms. …

[…]


You seem to be shuffling-up the terms. See below. (I'm gonna bold all the 'P's to aid clarity.)

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Zarathustra wrote:
Wosbald wrote:
God is not included as being "in the Universe". Therefore, the argument doesn't contradict the Universal needfulness-of-causation adduced in 'P1'.
[…]

Direct quote:

"P2: Nothing can be the cause of itself."

Each line in a logical argument must be treated as a discrete logical 'unit.' This line says nothing about the universe …

[…]


That's cuz it's 'P1' (not 'P2') which says something about the Universe.

"P1: Every event in the universe has a cause."

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Zarathustra wrote:
Wosbald wrote:
God is identified as being "uncaused". Therefore, the argument doesn't contradict the proscription against self-causation adduced in 'P2'.


So nothing can be uncaused . . . except god … ? …

[…]


'P2' says nothing can be self-caused. Not even God.

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

That better?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2023 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wosbald wrote:
P1: Every event in the universe has a cause.
This thought is flawed in two ways.

1) This is not proof that the universe, itself, has a cause. There is no known answer to the question of "Why is there something, rather than nothing?" If one does not take the position of an infinite chain of causes, then something was uncaused. It is no less reasonable to think that the uncaused thing is the universe then it is to think that the universe's cause, or its cause's cause, or its cause's cause's cause, ..., is the uncaused cause. "There is something, rather than nothing" can apply to any link in that chain.

2) #1 is the answer if P1 is accurate. But it is not. Every event in the universe does not have a cause. If every event in the universe does not need a cause, there is no reason to think the universe, itself, does.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
I'm not so sure that the BB obliterated all traces of the conditions that allowed it, but I agree that analogies to watches are inapt.
Have you heard of any evidence of anything prior to the BB? I have not. I do not expect we ever will. The theory I've heard is that there were nothing but primary particles immediately after the BB. If anything was there before, it was reduced to primary particles.

From a sci-fi pov, maybe the BB took place, and spacetime is expanding, within a prior reality. And we cannot perceive any hint of it because spacetime is either eating it up from within, or pushing it out as it (spacetime) expands.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Big Bang isn't the only theory out there.

There is the Oscillating Universe theory:

Quote:
The Oscillating model of the universe involved an endless series of Big Bangs, followed by Big Crunches that restarted the cycle, endlessly.

I mention this because, if you subscribe to this theory (and I think I do), there very much was something before the big bang. Although maybe not in the way you were thinking.

I have posited before that what we call an intelligent design may be a set of instructions laid in before the big bang.

Interestingly, the laws of physics need not be the same from one cycle to the next.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I've heard of that. But the Crunch-Bang obliterates any evidence of the previous, so we can't study anything.

Is the Oscillating Theory still considered a possibility? I haven't heard about it in a while. I thought they decided the rate of expansion is actually increasing, so maybe gravity won't be sufficient to draw it all back in for the Crunch?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theories have their trials and tribulations. Dark matter is not making O.U.T. look good. But you never know.

Still, it was just an example of the possibly that there was a Big Before of some kind.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wosbald wrote:
That's cuz it's 'P1' (not 'P2') which says something about the Universe.

"P1: Every event in the universe has a cause."


I fully understand that it was P1 that mentioned the universe. Why do you think I said each line must be treated as a discrete logical unit? {Have you ever studied propositional calculus? } If P2 makes no mention of the universe (which you acknowledge), then we can't assume that "Nothing" in P2 referred to the exclusion of things only in the universe, when the term itself naturally has a broader meaning. If there's a connection between P1's reference to "events in the universe" and P2's "nothing," this must either be explicitly stated in a separate line (as a premise) or derived from P1. Neither was done. You just inserted assumptions about god and the meaning of "nothing." And this ambiguity and loose usage of logic is why the argument has been compelling (to some) for centuries, while modern philosophers dismiss it as a historical curiosity with absolutely no logical weight or significance. At all. You learn how Aquinas's arguments don't work in freshman philosophy courses. It's pretty basic stuff.

Wosbald wrote:
'P2' says nothing can be self-caused. Not even God.
Well, it doesn't say that, but since God would be excluded (along w/everything else) by the term "nothing" this can be deduced. In a separate line. But since you've said that god is outside the universe and therefore "nothing can be self-caused" doesn't apply to him, it's curious that you are reversing your point to the exact opposite. You've now attributed "nothing" to both things exclusive to the universe and now a thing outside the universe. You're not even keeping what you've said straight, much less Aquinas.

And now we're in ANOTHER forum that's not the Close where you are arguing for religion.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2023 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
I'm not so sure that the BB obliterated all traces of the conditions that allowed it, but I agree that analogies to watches are inapt.
Have you heard of any evidence of anything prior to the BB? I have not. I do not expect we ever will. The theory I've heard is that there were nothing but primary particles immediately after the BB. If anything was there before, it was reduced to primary particles.

From a sci-fi pov, maybe the BB took place, and spacetime is expanding, within a prior reality. And we cannot perceive any hint of it because spacetime is either eating it up from within, or pushing it out as it (spacetime) expands.


Glimpse of Time Before Big Bang Possible
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