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The split between religion and science does not exist

Cosmological argument - begs the question

Would you mind explaining how it's question-begging? I'm not disagreeing with you or anything; I'm genuinely interested because I've seen objections to the argument but none to the effect that it begs the question.

Cosmological argument - begs the question

Would you mind explaining how it's question-begging? I'm not disagreeing with you or anything; I'm genuinely interested because I've seen objections to the argument but none to the effect that it begs the question.
Sure.  Thankfully, someone else has already done the work for me:
Quote from: some guy named Austin Cline
Other examples [of begging the question] aren’t quite so easy to spot because instead of assuming the conclusion, they are assuming a related but equally controversial premise to prove what is at question. For example:
8. The universe has a beginning. Every thing that has a beginning has a cause. Therefore, the universe has a cause called God.

Example #8 assumes (begs the question) two things: first, that the universe does indeed have a beginning and second, that all things that have a beginning have a cause. Both of these assumptions are at least as questionable as the point at hand: whether or not there is a god.

Has anyone watched this debate between Bertrand Russell and Frederick Copleston?  It is from the 1950s and is way better than any of the "debates" done today on the subject with people like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p20.htm

Cosmological argument - begs the question

Would you mind explaining how it's question-begging? I'm not disagreeing with you or anything; I'm genuinely interested because I've seen objections to the argument but none to the effect that it begs the question.
Sure.  Thankfully, someone else has already done the work for me:
Quote from: some guy named Austin Cline
Other examples [of begging the question] aren’t quite so easy to spot because instead of assuming the conclusion, they are assuming a related but equally controversial premise to prove what is at question. For example:
8. The universe has a beginning. Every thing that has a beginning has a cause. Therefore, the universe has a cause called God.

Example #8 assumes (begs the question) two things: first, that the universe does indeed have a beginning and second, that all things that have a beginning have a cause. Both of these assumptions are at least as questionable as the point at hand: whether or not there is a god.

I see, so it's not formally question-begging. I see what's meant there, but I've never seen the concept of begging the question used in that way.

I take issue with the claim that the assumption that all things have a beginning have a cause is at least as questionable as the conclusion of the argument. Isn't the assumption well-supported inductively? I've never seen any clear cases of uncaused events, but I've seen plenty of cases of caused events. It seems far more plausible to me than the claim that God exists.

I believe the point is that the cause is called God, regardless of the nature of God.

I don't understand your point. Please clarify.

Quote from: Ginnungafap
I see, so it's not formally question-begging. I see what's meant there, but I've never seen the concept of begging the question used in that way.
Correct, in the form presented it is not a formal example of question-begging.  However, it should be noted that the argument can be reworded such that it is a formal begging of the question.  This occurs when a specific God is defined in advanced (usually the Christian god) to give it the properties necessary to demostrate it exists.  So for example:
The God of Christianity is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, and eternal.  Everything that has a beginning has a cause.  The universe had a beginning.  The universe must have been created by something that has no cause.  Therefore, God must exist to have created the universe because he is eternal.
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I take issue with the claim that the assumption that all things have a beginning have a cause is at least as questionable as the conclusion of the argument. Isn't the assumption well-supported inductively? I've never seen any clear cases of uncaused events, but I've seen plenty of cases of caused events. It seems far more plausible to me than the claim that God exists.
I would have agreed with you before I began studying quantum physics.  Within quantum fields, uncaused events "appear" to happen all the time.  Whether or not these events are actually uncaused is obviously debatable.  Never the less, it certainly raises serious questions about our understanding of causality.

If you are already familiar with all of that, and would like to argue that the existence of God is still less plausible than the claim that everything that has a beginning has a cause, then I could respond two ways:
1.  They are not equally questionable, but the assumption is still in question and therefore the argument still performs informal question-begging.
2.  Admit I'm simply digging my own grave and should have conceded earlier that a different objection should have been used.
Naturally, I'll go with #1.

Erosion's on the right track re my hasty negation, and radiant responded far better than I could have hoped.
nigga I aim to please

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I don't have the time to argue this bollockery with you people fully - God exists, and nothing is changed, or he doesn't, and nothing is changed.? I prefer to consider God to exist because it ties in nicely with the concept of cosmic consciousness (such as was effectively proven by experiments in the field of Quantum Physics, that two particles having been together at one point will retain a "memory" of each other [more or less, paraphrasing here]).? There is an obvious order to this reality, and (for some reason) my ordered mind recognises similar processes between itself and its exterior.? I call this "God" - it's a good concept, which can be understood at many different levels, depending on the situation in which the concept arises (in everyday life, God is that which is beyond Man; in this discussion, God is reality exterior to my mind [these two different perspectives do not cancel each other out, but, of course, cannot coexist in a healthy mind]).
That's all fine, just know that positing the existence of a "god" will always confuse your understanding of reality. For a god to have real significance, it must in some way lie outside of our world. Otherwise, a god is just a configuration of particles and you mean something other than god -- at this point you are confusing yourself. However, the former case is logically impossible -- there is nothing that exists outside of the world. Anything that exists, exists in our world, including "alternate universes" or thoughts or extradimensional demons or other crap that supposedly exists "outside of our world." But that is somewhat beside the point.

I think your words show the intellectual problems with this belief: you say that God may have different understandings depending on the situation: this implies that the concept itself is vacant of any inherent meaning. You say "God is reality exterior to my mind" -- what the hell is this phrase supposed to mean? First of all, "mind" is merely a more muddled term for "brain;" using "mind" only obfuscates the discussion. If you meant "reality outside of my brain," which I don't think you did, it would mean anything that's not a brain. If you meant outside of the processing power of your brain, whatever you have to say on the subject is doomed to nonsense. Language does not allow us to speak of things outside of our understanding. See Wittgenstein:

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."

I know I'm not going to win any converts with this, but I think it is pretty clear that a belief in god is untenable from a strictly analytical level.

If I'm not overstepping my boundaries, I think that Cargest may be attempting to point out that thoughts and concepts have as much of an impact on reality, in a round-a-bout manner, as the interaction of physical elements. However, the idea of "everything" easily encompasses thought as well. Hey, isn't using the term everything kind of like using the term God? ABOLISH IT!
Thoughts are also the interaction of physical elements, for they are chemical and electrical reactions in a brain. Thus, they are a part of reality and effect it. That said, while the thought of owning a slave maid who performs fellatio on me every morning might be real, this maid does not actually exist. Just as you might daydream about Norwegian wolves running through the snow and howling at the pagan moon, these are not real wolves. They're creations of your brain. Now, I might be such a weak and infantile indivudual that believing in my slave maids may be necessary for my sanity, that I need to believe in their reality just to function properly, but I think any old schmuck would be perfectly in the right to mock me for this weakness.

And, no, the term "everything" is not like the term "god;" "everything" has an established meaning, while the term "god" does not, as any conversation on the subject will tell you. But nice try, bro!

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

God is an oversimplification, scientific research (once it reaches a level on which I, an outsider of the field, am involved) is little more than nomenclature.  If you get caught up in trying to define a "God" for yourself, or trying to decipher an agency behind experiential phenomena, you're bound to miss the point.

God is a polluted word, and no matter how much you struggle against the meanings attributed to it, it is more limiting than enlightening.

The difference between science and religion exists, but it depends on your perspective.  You can't use these blanket terms and expect to arrive at an accurate delineation of science, religion, or their relationship.

Has anyone watched this debate between Bertrand Russell and Frederick Copleston?  It is from the 1950s and is way better than any of the "debates" done today on the subject with people like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p20.htm

just a few idle musings on this as I am by no means qualified to adequately tackle the meat of the debate:

- Russell's comparison of moral distinctions to colors was particularly weak (and hypocritical if you know anything about Russell).
- As with so many academic texts or discussions from the period, the content more or less resolved itself in (or degenerated to) a discussion about Nazi culpability.  For any number of reasons, two Brits arguing morality in the aftermath of near-annihilation at the hands of Hitler by presenting their conqueror as the metric of ultimate evil holds little appeal for me.
- Though the majority of Coplestone's arguments seem like he's chasing his tail, the segment where he Russell attacks him by citing instances of people talking to demons portrayed Coplestone as a particularly stubborn and credulous christian.  Instead of positing that the existence of Satan is (a) essential to the existence of God, (b) a "necessary" antipode to the love of God, and (c) as "real" as God in the biblical sense of reality, he resorted to discrediting people who'd claimed to talk to "demons," and regrettably put himself in the "they're not part of my club" camp.  Russell (erroneously) used Satan and communication with him as an argument against God's existence.  Coplestone immediately went on the defensive.

That's all fine, just know that positing the existence of a "god" will always confuse your understanding of reality. For a god to have real significance, it must in some way lie outside of our world.

I would say that that which both includes and is everything must be outside of everything, and never would I disagree with this position.

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Otherwise, a god is just a configuration of particles and you mean something other than god -- at this point you are confusing yourself. However, the former case is logically impossible -- there is nothing that exists outside of the world.

Of course there are things which exist outside of the world.  Where is the world, but in a place (God) which includes it?

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Anything that exists, exists in our world, including "alternate universes" or thoughts or extradimensional demons or other crap that supposedly exists "outside of our world." But that is somewhat beside the point.

Relativity (not general or specialised, I mean simple relativity) is incredibly useful here.  Essentially, there are infinite levels to anything, and infinite levels to everything.  Reverse the directions of Achilles and the Tortoise.  Also, read "Goedel Escher Bach" by Douglas R. Hofstadter for some interesting revelations on the nature of infinity, as it applies to everything from Mathematics, through Music, to God, backwards and forwards, and even beyond.

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I think your words show the intellectual problems with this belief: you say that God may have different understandings depending on the situation: this implies that the concept itself is vacant of any inherent meaning.

Two things here.  Firstly, your statement is incorrect - as far as human understanding goes, absolutely everything is subject to perspective, though perspectives may be more or less or similarly though differently informed (PO).  Secondly, I assume that we are all, in some sense, "Nihilists", here - why should there be any inherent meaning to anything?  Surely there is no inherent meaning to anything?  If this is the case, then of course "God" has no meaning.

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You say "God is reality exterior to my mind" -- what the hell is this phrase supposed to mean?

The mind includes the self and the vision of the exterior, while the exterior is independent of the mind.  I thought it was quite a delightfully simple statement.

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First of all, "mind" is merely a more muddled term for "brain;" using "mind" only obfuscates the discussion.

Mind is separate from brain - I've argued this before, successfully, even on this very forum.  I think my general gist is often along the lines of self-conception etc. making mind greater than simple organic blah blah blah.  Generally, in my experience of other people's usage of these terms - both the initiated and the uninitiated - "Mind" is the "scientific" way of saying "soul", so as not to sound at all religious (because religion is stupid, since Science is real.  Duh :p).  The brain is an organ whose processes generate (in a healthy example) an entity known as "mind", which is made up... Consider ants.  Individually, they're fucking retarded.  If you get a handful of ants and drop them next to each other, they'll go off and die.  However, if you have a fully functioning colony, with the same number of (or more) ants, you will, effectively, have an organism, made of many smaller organisms.  The colony has certainly given itself purpose - mainly, self-preservation - and it will use its smaller parts to that goal.  Essentially, the brain is "ants", but the mind is "colony".  The colony is a quantifiable and qualifiable thing, it exists, and is separate from the parts which made it.  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, etc....  This is a very, very simple version of an incredibly complex and interesting analogy - once again, read Hofstadter's book.

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)If you meant "reality outside of my brain," which I don't think you did, it would mean anything that's not a brain. If you meant outside of the processing power of your brain, whatever you have to say on the subject is doomed to nonsense. Language does not allow us to speak of things outside of our understanding. See Wittgenstein:

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."

I've always seen Wittgenstein as being simple arguments against debating useless topics uselessly, which is why I generally stay out of these pointless discussions, unless it's two thirty in the morning and I have work in five hours but am so disturbingly bored and unable to sleep that I have to ramble on about God to people who have fundamentally different understandings of key words and concepts.

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I know I'm not going to win any converts with this, but I think it is pretty clear that a belief in god is untenable from a strictly analytical level.

Evidently not, given my responses :)

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If I'm not overstepping my boundaries, I think that Cargest may be attempting to point out that thoughts and concepts have as much of an impact on reality, in a round-a-bout manner, as the interaction of physical elements. However, the idea of "everything" easily encompasses thought as well. Hey, isn't using the term everything kind of like using the term God? ABOLISH IT!
Thoughts are also the interaction of physical elements, for they are chemical and electrical reactions in a brain. Thus, they are a part of reality and effect it. That said, while the thought of owning a slave maid who performs fellatio on me every morning might be real, this maid does not actually exist. Just as you might daydream about Norwegian wolves running through the snow and howling at the pagan moon, these are not real wolves. They're creations of your brain. Now, I might be such a weak and infantile indivudual that believing in my slave maids may be necessary for my sanity, that I need to believe in their reality just to function properly, but I think any old schmuck would be perfectly in the right to mock me for this weakness.

And, no, the term "everything" is not like the term "god;" "everything" has an established meaning, while the term "god" does not, as any conversation on the subject will tell you. But nice try, bro!

The most constructive thing to be doing right now then, rather than arguing about the existence or non-existence of a being, entity, state, or simple factor of existence, called "God", would be to be discovering and refining a general and overarching concept and understanding of what "God" can and cannot mean, and, from that, what it should mean to us.

But, for some reason, you've chosen, quite logically, not to believe in anything called "God", while I have chosen, quite logically, to believe in such a thing without question (primarily because, as stated before, it is pointless for me to question something which simply is, as far as my understanding allows).


I know I'm not going to win any converts with this, but I think it is pretty clear that a belief in god is untenable from a strictly analytical level.

Well there's your problem!

Society can't function if it thinks on a strictly analytical level - I don't think an individual can either. Groups of people cannot be rational, if even the beliefs they are provided with are.

I'm not specifically supporting god with this, just something to remember.

Someone blogged this The split between religion and science is over.
I simply had to announce my disapproval of that blog.  I expect better from Amerika.org.  Brett Stevens is clearly the brains of that operation.  He has the most lucidity, clarity, and insight.  That blog, on the other hand, is a mix of gibberish, unfounded assertion, and truism.