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Author Topic:   Chance as a sole-product of the Universe
mike the wiz
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Posts: 4545
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 1 of 168 (316570)
05-31-2006 1:01 PM


I have applied the four causes of Aristotle to chance, because it is difficult to define. But nevertheless, an atheist/agnostic position must assume that chance was an apparent characteristic that preceded the universe and can exist without matter. As it must exist without matter in order to cause the first ever thing, in reality. I am arguing that chance is infact inherent to the universe.

It strikes me that chance, as a somewhat mysterious element of the universe, cannot be supported as being the cause of the universe anymore than a planet can. Chance, like that of a planet, is one product of THIS universe.

To give an example; suppose you produce a magnificent work of art. Does this mean that you can then infer that this work of art could have preceded the person, or in some manner predate him?

It seems to be a faulty position. If we apply Aristotle's four causes, chance's material cause is not apparent, or there isn't one, as it isn't tangeable. It's efficienct cause is the beginning of time and space. It's formal cause, or it's intended function, is that it seems to allow for events to randomly happen so that order can be found. i.e. it serves as a helper of potential events.(This is evident from observation of the evidence).

link writes:

Formal cause could only refer to the essential quality of causation. A deeper contemplation reveals a formal cause as the ever existing truth of capacity. Thus, the capacity of the human genome to accompany the existence of a human being presumes that the capacity to be a human being pre-exists the human being.

LINK

The final cause of chance is that it allows for life and planets and star systems to evolve so that life and order can dwell. It apparent random and meaningless nature is infact a necessary characteristic as we observe order in big numbers.

I don't think the final cause can be disputed, because all of the evidence is that this is reality (the universe), and that there is an observable purpose to the system. Assuming chance could create other realities, goes against the evidence that this is reality in it's full purpose/causes and that it is a cohesive system. The evidence shows this.

Philosophically, there's enough to conclude a designer.

Chance, like time, is part of space/time, but it didn't precede space time, as far as I know, as it was all created at the same time. The formal causes of these major laws, could only be present in a designer.

Edited by mike the wiz, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
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Message 2 of 168 (317858)
06-05-2006 9:00 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
PaulK
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Message 3 of 168 (317869)
06-05-2006 9:28 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
05-31-2006 1:01 PM


What do you mean by chance ?
At this point is it unclear it could mean

1) "chance" as in non-deterministic behaviour

Or

2) "chance" in opposition to intent.

In either case the idea that chance is only an element of this universe, rather than a general principle that is at least potentially applicable to anything else that might exist is far from self-evident and requires support.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by mike the wiz, posted 05-31-2006 1:01 PM mike the wiz has responded

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sidelined 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 4 of 168 (317900)
06-05-2006 10:17 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
05-31-2006 1:01 PM


mike the wiz

Philosophically, there's enough to conclude a designer.

Does the designer you conclude exists do so as a consequence of chance or design then?

If I ask you to predict the outcome of the location of a golfball before I hit it can you do so? Not likely. Can you do so after it lands? Most definitely. In each case the chance is the same for the outcome. If you make the prediction after the fact though, { as we do for a universe already in existence} then you are operating from the location of a universe in which certain occurences have already happened.


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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4545
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 5 of 168 (317912)
06-05-2006 10:43 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by PaulK
06-05-2006 9:28 AM


Re: What do you mean by chance ?
Wiki said it's hard to not be circular in regards to randomness. I suspect the semantical aspect is a useless position. The pragmatics are all that matters. I.e. we all know what I mean.

In either case the idea that chance is only an element of this universe, rather than a general principle that is at least potentially applicable to anything else that might exist is far from self-evident and requires support.

I would say that the opposite requires support. That is, if you are going to argue that a universal characteristic operates outside of the universe, then that is truly the burden of proof, because we are not obliged to assume there is anything, other than reality.

The naturalistic position of assuming multiple big bangs in some kind of outer reality, is infact dependent upon chance existing in that system.

As far as the evidence goes, it looks like the BIg Bang itself produced everything;

Cause --> Matter--> Time/space/chance.

I would say that this evidence is enough to support it. But what evidence backs this scenario;

Cause (chance) --> Matter --> Time/space

Unless chance WAS a reality without a universe, then chance wouldn't be produced, but I fail to see how chance would be an eternal characteristic that exists where nothing exists.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by PaulK, posted 06-05-2006 9:28 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by PaulK, posted 06-05-2006 11:11 AM mike the wiz has responded
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GDR
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Posts: 4240
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 6 of 168 (317917)
06-05-2006 10:53 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by sidelined
06-05-2006 10:17 AM


sidelined writes:

If I ask you to predict the outcome of the location of a golfball before I hit it can you do so? Not likely. Can you do so after it lands? Most definitely. In each case the chance is the same for the outcome.

It seems to me that just makes the wiz's point. The chance that the ball was going to land anywhere doesn't exist until you hit it. You had to put the ball in play before any chance exists.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 12442
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 7 of 168 (317922)
06-05-2006 11:11 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by mike the wiz
06-05-2006 10:43 AM


Re: What do you mean by chance ?
Can you please answer my question ? Unless you answer I don't see how I am supposed to argue that "chance" applies outside the universe because I literally do not know what your "chance" is. Not that I should have to produce such an argument - it is your job to support your claims and if you cannot then you should admit it and retract the assertion, rather than trying to shift the burden of proof

I would further like you to substantiate your claim that anyone asserts that chance exists when absolutely nothing exists.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by mike the wiz, posted 06-05-2006 10:43 AM mike the wiz has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Admin, posted 06-05-2006 11:57 AM PaulK has responded
 Message 29 by mike the wiz, posted 06-06-2006 8:48 AM PaulK has responded

    
sidelined 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 8 of 168 (317930)
06-05-2006 11:46 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by GDR
06-05-2006 10:53 AM


GDR

It seems to me that just makes the wiz's point. The chance that the ball was going to land anywhere doesn't exist until you hit it.

If I were to hit a hole in one and claim it to be a miracle would you agree this to be the case? Or would you say that it was just chance that allowed for it to happen? If the Universe has the properties it does how is this evidence of design since it has to end up with properties of some sort or other?

The point is that before an event the chance of anything occuring is random while after the event we can marvel at the order it has only if we neglect that had it occured otherwise we could have marvelled at the order that that outcome produced.

AbE To be consistent with the notion of design we cannot help but ask what designed the designer of the universe.

Edited by sidelined, : No reason given.


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(1)
Message 9 of 168 (317932)
06-05-2006 11:57 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by PaulK
06-05-2006 11:11 AM


Re: What do you mean by chance ?
Keep in mind that it might not be that Mike is ignoring your questions, but that he can't answer them because the significance of the distinction you're drawing isn't obvious to him. You question probably makes no sense to him. He may be following a website whose content he doesn't fully understand yet, and so while he's advocating their position, he can't really defend it.

I wasn't able to make grammatical sense of your last sentence.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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GDR
Member
Posts: 4240
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


(1)
Message 10 of 168 (317934)
06-05-2006 12:02 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by sidelined
06-05-2006 11:46 AM


sidelined writes:

If I were to hit a hole in one and claim it to be a miracle would you agree this to be the case? Or would you say that it was just chance that allowed for it to happen? If the Universe has the properties it does how is this evidence of design since it has to end up with properties of some sort or other?

The point is that before an event the chance of anything occuring is random while after the event we can marvel at the order it has only if we neglect that had it occured otherwise we could have marvelled at the order that that outcome produced.

The hole in one is by chance, but the chance didn't exist until someone hit the ball. How can there be a chance of anything happening until an initiating event has occured.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
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PaulK
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Posts: 12442
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 11 of 168 (317935)
06-05-2006 12:08 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Admin
06-05-2006 11:57 AM


Re: What do you mean by chance ?
I hope that Mike at least understands the question and even if he doesn't understand the alternatives I suggested he should be able to answer it in his own words.

As for the last sentence, I suspect that this:

quote:

...I fail to see how chance would be an eternal characteristic that exists where nothing exists.


may be a strawman - it argues against a position which isn't actually held. So I want Mike to procide an example of somebody who actually claims that "chance...[is] an eternal characteristic that exists where nothing exists"
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Admin
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Posts: 12390
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 12 of 168 (317943)
06-05-2006 12:44 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by PaulK
06-05-2006 12:08 PM


Re: What do you mean by chance ?
PaulK writes:

So I want Mike to procide an example of somebody who actually claims that "chance...[is] an eternal characteristic that exists where nothing exists"

A reasonable question, but only if Mike actually understands what his words mean. It's fine to continue to pursue an answer, but don't get frustrated if it appears Mike is ignoring you. I don't he is. I think he's responding to what he understands.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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sidelined 
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Message 13 of 168 (317949)
06-05-2006 12:58 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by GDR
06-05-2006 12:02 PM


GDR

. How can there be a chance of anything happening until an initiating event has occured.

We know that the universe happened We cannot predict the chances of something occuring after it has already happened since the chance of it occuring are now certain.
The original difficulty that MTW presented was this

mike the wiz writes:

Chance, like time, is part of space/time, but it didn't precede space time, as far as I know, as it was all created at the same time. The formal causes of these major laws, could only be present in a designer.

He has not solved the difficulty because we must now apply the same logic to the designer.Since we have taken the assumption {a la MTW} that an initiating event is required we must now apply the same criteria to the designer. This leads to the a paradox of ad infinitum and we end up having answered nothing.


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GDR
Member
Posts: 4240
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 14 of 168 (317972)
06-05-2006 1:44 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by sidelined
06-05-2006 12:58 PM


sidelined writes:

He has not solved the difficulty because we must now apply the same logic to the designer.Since we have taken the assumption {a la MTW} that an initiating event is required we must now apply the same criteria to the designer. This leads to the a paradox of ad infinitum and we end up having answered nothing.

So what if the designer did need a designer. We build machinery designed to manufacture widgets. The widget, (if it were sentinent) can look back and say that the machinery was god because the machinery created it. The fact that the machine needed a creator does not negate the fact that the widget was created by the machinery.

Frankly I don't believe that God is a created being but it does not change the fact that whether He is or isn't a created intelligence isn't relevent to whether we are created or not.

From a totally different perspective the Christian argument is that we see time as being a part of our creation and that God is outside of time. Creation requires a point in time for it to happen. Creation in a world outside of time has no meaning.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)
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sidelined 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 15 of 168 (317981)
06-05-2006 2:53 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by GDR
06-05-2006 1:44 PM


GDR

From a totally different perspective the Christian argument is that we see time as being a part of our creation and that God is outside of time. Creation requires a point in time for it to happen. Creation in a world outside of time has no meaning.

Creation in a world outside of time has no meaning.God is outside of time,therefore, God creating the world can have no meaning.

Perhaps you would care to structure the arguement differently.


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