I received a reply. Here is my response to the reply I received:
Issue 7 – Does God need “special pleading” to avoid the arguments against naturalism?
It is necessarily true that in any universe where matter decays it must also have a beginning. Thus, even if we say there was something prior to the universe, we’re still left with the problem of infinite regress – at some point, there has to be something beginning everything.
Except for God right? He gets a special pass.
That would be the Special Pleading Logical Fallacy i think
I thought I did a good job explaining why God is not subject to the problems listed in the original post. As I stated:
If the universe requires a beginning, then it requires an immaterial, eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful mind to bring the physical world about. All of these would be part of the nature of the being that caused the universe, thus satisfying the requirement of premise (1). The universe, as it is, fits none of the above descriptors, thus requiring an explanation.
The special pleading fallacy only occurs when an object is put under the same circumstances, but is not held to those circumstances. Thus, as follows:
1) Joe accepts standards S and applies them in other circumstances C
2) Joe is in circumstance C
3) Therefore, Joe is exempt from S
A better example is if you believe that everyone who speeds, regardless of reason, deserves a speeding ticket. You get caught speeding and get a ticket. You turn around and say you don’t deserve the ticket because you can’t afford it right now. That is special pleading.
Special pleading deals more with ethics than it does metaphysics. Regardless, even if we apply this to a metaphysical application, it still doesn’t work in the case of God vs. naturalism. The reason is God doesn’t meet premise (2). God doesn’t fall under C, therefore He is not subject to S. Naturalism has certain rules to follow (rules you didn’t contest), one of which being that it simply cannot be an infinite series of events. Since God is not found in C, He is not subject to S.
We know this because the naturalistic universe is (i) material, (ii) subject to decay, (iii) finite, (iv) impersonal, (v) unintelligent, etc. That would constitute the first circumstance (C1). God, however, is (vi) immaterial, (vii) incorruptible, (viii) infinite, (ix) personal, and (x) intelligent. This would constitute the second circumstance (C2).
S will differ depending on the circumstance. Thus, S1 corresponds to C1 and S2 corresponds to C2. It is illogical to take S1, show that being A violates S1, all the while knowing that A is in C2 and not C1. In order to properly show that A is violating S1 (thus, begetting the special pleading fallacy), one must first show that A exists within C2.
For our debate then, you would have to show that God is under the same circumstances as the naturalistic world. If you accomplished this, however, you would have to use a definition other than God, in which case you’re using a straw man fallacy. In other words, the only possible way you could justify “special pleading” when it comes to God being eternal and the universe not being eternal is if you were to commit a logical fallacy yourself; two logical fallacies don’t make a right.
In all of this, however, you didn’t address the attacks against naturalism. Even if all of the above were false and these were a case of special pleading, this would lead us into extreme skepticism about God and the natural world. We would be in a worse situation than before, so your arguments really accomplish nothing for the case of naturalism. It’s simply a red herring.
Issue 8 – Can there be a naturalistic cause?
So yes, it is necessarily true that the universe has a finite beginning point in which time, matter, energy, etc came into existence..
Yup…we call it the Big Bang. But that doesn’t necesarily mean there was nothing there before. And in a situation wherein there is no space/time then surely any interpretation we place on it is bound to fail. Infinity is a measure of time and space (or concept of such), but if time and space don’t exist? Can we apply infinity?
This actually feeds right into my argument. If there were a “time” where space and time didn’t exist, then yes, infinity couldn’t go back to that point. But this actually harms a belief in the physical universe. In order for material to exist, there has to be at least space (I would argue for time as well, based on the arguments I gave in my previous response). If there is no space then there is no material, So this time you refer to would require an immaterial existence that caused a material existence.
Issue 9 – Does it matter that some scientists believe in an infinite universe?
The bigger problem is that scientifically this can’t work
I think the great many highly educated minds that have looked in great detail of this issue would perhaps have a different opinion. I hadn’t realized you had a working and detailed professional knowledge of current big bang theory.
I’m sure Steven Hawking would be interested to see your thesis.
Talk about logical fallacies! It’s a false appeal to authority. “Because person/people A believe subject S, S is true because A says it is true.” A person’s authority on a subject says little to nothing about the truthfulness of a certain belief. It might say a bit about qualifications or epistemic justification for a belief, but it says nothing about the truthfulness of a belief.
You appeal to these authorities, but offer no retort to anything I said. This is a logical fallacy in that anything I say, no matter how brilliant or detailed it may be, will simply be brushed aside because there are others who disagree. If this were the case, if this is how science is to operate, scientific progress would be impossible.
As a side note, I’m using some of Hawking’s arguments on how the Big Bang proves the universe has a finite beginning. However, he came out with his Quantum Gravity Model. The problem, which even Hawking admits, is that his theory relies on imaginary numbers in order to work. Once we plug in real, definable, testable numbers, his model falls apart. In other words, the closest explanation we have on how the universe could exist naturally can only work if we plug imaginary numbers into an equation. In fact, in his book Brief History of Time, he says, “When one goes back to the real time in which we live, however, there will still appear to be singularities.” (pg. 139).
So I’m not really concerned with what they say; if they attempt to show that the universe is eternal or infinite (which, I can’t think of a single mathematician or physicist that does, hence the recent number of theories attempting to find a way to have a closed system, but an infinite universe), then they’re wrong. Their multiple attempts (all of which have utterly failed) to show how the system is closed, but infinite is a back-handed insult on my own position; apparently there’s enough evidence in my court that they have to come up with theories to explain away the evidence.
Issue 10 – What of the second law of thermodynamics?
In short, the universe should be “winding down” as it reaches its equilibrium, indicating that it had to be “wound up” at some point.
And it is. Check out the universe heat death theory.
Exactly my point. We’re moving toward equilibrium, which poses a problem for a belief in an infinite universe.
Issue 11 – Is there a double standard in the argument?
That’s really an absurd argument. It ignores the premise given – everything that has a cause began to exist.
Its OK for God to be outside time (whatever that actually means) and still somehow be able to function, but its not OK for the origins of our universe to be outside time (which they are by definition).
Double standard there i think.
It’s not a double standard at all. I must ask – did you even read my criticisms against a belief in an infinite universe? In order for material to exist, there must be time and space. In order for a mind, or immaterial being, to exist, time and space are not a requirement.
We all know that the Big Bang is a series of events, or at least begins a series of events and – under your argument – was preceded by a series of events. The problem with this is that it’s mathematically impossible. If I want to get from 1-10, but there is an infinite number of events preceding 1 and proceeding 10, then mathematically I’ll never reach 10. That is, if the universe is truly infinite then the present shouldn’t be happening, because the series of events prior to it is infinite. For instance, a man claims he has been counting down from infinity. He reaches 0 today, but we can never really say (a) when he began to count or (b) why he didn’t finish yesterday, last year, or 100 years ago. If a thing is infinite, then the events coming after the infinite events should never actualize.
Material simply cannot be stagnant. It is always moving due to energy. Thus, for material to come about, there must always be a series of events prior to that material. Material M1 requires cause C. In order from M1 to move or become M2, it requires C. Thus, for M1 to get to M2, C must be present. However, M1 required M0, M(-1), M(-2), and so on. C was required for all of these. So if material is infinite, then it runs into the problem I listed above.
God, however, is not material and does not require a cause. That is what the premise stated – anything that begins to exist has a cause. God did not begin to exist because, being immaterial, does not have an existence contingent upon space and time. Material existence is contingent upon space and time, thus running into a problem when we begin to speak of “infinite” or “eternal.” God’s existence isn’t contingent upon space and time, so the problem doesn’t come up.
Issue 12 – Doesn’t a belief in a creator God lead to irrational beliefs?
That’s a bit childish. Everyone knows the universe exists. Even Hindus, who’s entire belief system is based on the physical world not existing, will not drink rat poison nor will he leap of tall buildings in an attempt to fly. We can believe all we want that the universe doesn’t exist, but we all know that if we perform action A will be end up with consequence B.
But in a universe where supreme creator beings exist (yours) then how do you know God didn’t just create everything 10 seconds ago? You don’t.
If you presuppose the answer, why ask the question?
Regardless, we know a priori that existence didn’t just come into being a few seconds ago. There is a long complex argument that goes with it, but it boils down to the nature of God. From what we know about the nature of God, historical knowledge, free will, and a whole host of other things – not to mention our own a priori intuition – it’s illogical to believe everything came about 10 seconds ago.
Furthermore, such an argument is a red herring. Even if a belief in God allowed for the belief that everything came into existence 10 seconds ago, this does absolutely nothing to prove that naturalism is a better or more true alternative. All it does it show that we are open to some weird options – it says nothing about the validity of naturalism. This too is a logical fallacy – by appealing the consequence or potential consequence of the belief, you’re only pointing out that weird beliefs will be allowed. It says nothing in favor of naturalism, which we already know to be mathematically, scientifically, and logically absurd.