Thursday, 22 June 2017

Philosophy II

Poul Anderson's Ivar Frederiksen reflects that it is bleak to believe only in accident. I quote and reply here.

SM Stirling's Sandra Arminger reflects:

"'There are times when it's inconvenient to be an atheist...I simply don't have anyone to be thankful to. My eternal gratitude, O blind and ontologically empty dance of atoms just isn't very satisfying, somehow.'"
-SM Stirling, The Sword Of The Lady (New York, 2009), Chapter Eleven, p. 319.

I completely disagree. Who says that the only alternatives are theism and an empty dance of atoms? That is theist propaganda. "Dancing atoms" are mechanical materialism, not dynamic materialism. The ultimate reality, philosophically called "matter" or "being" because it is independent of consciousness, is energy which takes every form, including the forms both of atoms and of conscious beings.

Blindness is a defect in sighted organisms but not in being as such. In any case, being becomes conscious in animals and human beings. "Ontology" means "knowledge of being" and atoms are one form of being, thus are not "empty" of being. The Buddhist ontological category of "emptiness" means not that nothing exists but that every subject and object of consciouness is a transient interaction, not a permanent substance.

I am "atheist" towards monotheism and agnostic but sceptical towards polytheism and I feel gratitude towards:

being, which takes every form and knows itself through us;
whatever gods may be;
the ancestors without whom we would have nothing.

14 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    But I agree more with Lady Sandra than with you. I simply can't take mere "matter" or "energy" as our ultimate source. Because I don't believe those things are eternal. And, if not eternal, how did they come to exist in the first place? I think Plato/Aristotle's arguments that everything ultimately traces back to a First Cause they called God makes more sense.

    And I also disagree with the Buddhist concept of "emptiness," that everything is merely transient and will come to nothing in the end. Buddhism does not answer the questions of how matter, energy, intelligence even came to BE at all.

    Sean

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    Replies
    1. Sean,
      Beginningless - as God is believed to be?
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Yes, if God is to be GOD, He had to have no beginning or origin, to have existed from all eternity. Else He would not BE God.

      Sean

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    3. Sean,
      Yes but why can't matter/energy/being be beginningless or have begun in an uncaused quantum fluctuation?
      If Superman is to be Superman, then he must be able to fly but that does not answer the question whether there is anyone in the world who answers the description of Superman.
      Paul.

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    4. Kaor, Paul!

      But, how can a "thing" like matter or energy, however they are defined, be beginningless? What caused those things to exist? And how can an uncaused quantum fluctuation happen at all without something to cause it?

      If matter/energy/being had no origin how is that different from those things being God? I would say, rather, that they were created by God, at the Big Bang.

      Sean

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    5. Sean,
      If either matter or God is beginningless, then nothing caused it. In quantum mechanics, there are uncaused events. Logic says only that, in a single timeline, an event cannot both happen and not happen, not that it must have a cause. Beginningless matter might indeed be described as "God," i.e., as the object of religious experience, but it would like the divine qualities of omniscience etc.
      Paul.

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    6. Sean,
      Even if there is divine creation, it may not have been at the moment of the Big Bang, which could be part of a cycle. Divine creation would be an act of will causing our entire timeline to exist rather than not to exist.
      Paul.

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    7. Kaor, Paul!

      I think we agree God would have to have no origin in order to BE God. But, as for "matter," thought the "steady state," eternal universe advocated by Sir Fred Hoyle has been largely abandoned by cosmologists. Because the evidence in favor of the Big Bang was too convincing.

      I think you have the "oscillating universe" variant of the Big Bang in mind (see TAU ZERO). Yes, I can see the Divine acting to cause our timeline to exist as well as the cosmos.

      Sean

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    8. Sean,
      The oscillating universe could be beginningless? Although I wonder whether it contradicts the Second Law of Thermodynamics?
      Paul.

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    9. Sean,
      To say of God that, to be God, He has to have the qualities of God is a tautology which therefore does not get us anywhere. It is true of anything that, to be X, it has to have the qualities of X.
      Paul.

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    10. Kaor, Paul!

      Re the oscillating universe hypothesis: no, I don't that that could be eternal because the question of whether or when matter\energy BEGAN would still need to be addressed. So, I don't think the oscillating universe is eternal. If not eternal, then the Second Law of Thermodynamics would seem to be not contradicted.

      As for defining how God can be or is God, I would still argue for Him to be the Infinitely Transcendent Other. And that means He would need to be eternal, having no origin, omniscient and omnipotent, etc.

      Sean

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    11. Kaor, Paul@

      I would say, yes, He exists. And would argue that strictly philosophical arguments exist demonstrating it is not illogical to believe God exists. However, I think you would argue that monotheists can only hope, or have faith that He exists.

      Sean

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    12. Sean,
      Of course you believe that God exists but I mean it is necessary to prove that, not just to state that, if He exists, then He is as described by the concept, "God." Sometimes, I think that you are trying to mount an ontological argument, proving God's existence from the idea of God, e.g. God is all-perfect; existence is a perfection; therefore, God exists. Of course, "God is --" implies "God (exists and) is --" and therfore begs the question.
      Also, existence is not a perfection because it is not a property but the instantiation of properties. Thus, "a large white sphere exists" means that largeness, whiteness and sphericalness are instantiated, not that largeness, whiteness, sphericalness and existence are instantiated.
      Paul.

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