May 8th, 2013
(I’d like to note that someone who is actually making this objection is quite removed from the field of the philosophy of religion.)
Today, we look back on the ancients and ridicule them for thinking that volcanic eruptions were the result of the will of the gods. We now know the geological structure of the planet and how tectonic activity functions and tends to behave in certain areas and layers of the earth. We can see the effect of the volcano’s eruption and extrapolate the causes to the movement of the iron core of the earth. Our scientific knowledge in the field of geology and volcanology have progressed since the ancients. So, has our scientific knowledge of the universe, of all that there is, progressed to the point that we can explain all that there is without having to invoke an uncaused causal agency? First, before one proceeds with any scientific account for an explanation, one must notice the metaphysical aspect of the question. This question is a philosophical question, not a scientific question. Can we extrapolate all causes to have the first cause be self-caused? Using something within the system of “all that there is” to explain the system itself (“all that there is”) is circular. The whole notion is self-defeating.
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April 5th, 2013
The following argument is an abductive Thomistic cosmological argument from contingency, which I presented at my recent Ratio Christi debate.
- There are contingent constituents to the universe.
- Given the contingent constituents of the universe, the existence of the universe (U) is very, very unlikely under the hypothesis that these constituents are themselves uncaused or self-caused (~Cu): that is, P(U|~Cu & k) ≪ 1.
- Given the contingent constituents of the universe, the existence of the universe is not unlikely under the hypothesis of a first uncaused cause (Cu): that is, ~P(U|Cu & k) ≪ 1.
- Therefore, U strongly supports Cu over ~Cu.
The constituents of the universe include galaxies, planets, stars, cars, humans, leptons, bosons, and other particles. For the constituents of the universe to be uncaused that would mean it is metaphysically necessary. For something to be metaphysically necessary that means that it could not have failed to exist—it exists in every possible world.
For something to be self-caused it must be simultaneously antecedent to itself to produce itself as its own effect. But this contradictory. This would be akin to the ultimate bootstrapping trick.
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December 14th, 2012
On 8 November 2012 I did a presentation to the Ratio Christi club at Liberty University on how to argue for the existence of God. It was designed to be a smaller training session for the Ratio Christi members. I discussed the importance of apologetics and the difference between knowing your faith to be true and showing your faith to be true. That was the followed by methodological differences and my use of the classical approach.
I then gave three arguments: 1) Thomas’ cosmological argument from contingency, 2) the abductive fine-tuning argument, and 3) the abductive moral argument (or as I like to say, the new moral argument).
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October 25th, 2012
Below is the link for the audio of the VT debate on the existence of God I was a part of earlier this year.
Also, for more information and my take on the debate you can view the video and comments through the link below.
September 10th, 2012
Hume asks the question of how a finite effect can have an infinite cause. Kant says that you can base it on the moral argument. If you are explaining the subsets, you have the explanation of the infinite set (according to Hume). However, in explaining the first member of a finite set, one must go out of that set. Focus on a series in which a member’s existence is explained by the preceding cause. In explaining a set you go outside of the set. The point is not if it’s an infinite set but if it gets outside of the set (relies on PSRb in a way–that there must be some sufficient reasons for any positive fact and denies brute facts.)
Hume also argues against the CA on a priori grounds. He formulates the CA in a way that combines causal (Thomistic or kalam) and reason (Leibnizian). He considers the causal closure of the universe. Under his idea of how the universe is he considers it to be a causally closed system, which, by definition, rules out any external causation. Any a priori argument is absurd to Hume—it’s impossible to deduce the existence of God from fixed necessary premises or Kantian/Newtonian spacetime intuitions.
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