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Author Topic:   Chance as a sole-product of the Universe
mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 1 of 263 (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:
 Message 3 by PaulK, posted 06-05-2006 9:28 AM mike the wiz has responded
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 Message 16 by ramoss, posted 06-05-2006 3:27 PM mike the wiz has not yet responded
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mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 5 of 263 (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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mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 28 of 263 (318224)
06-06-2006 8:24 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by ramoss
06-05-2006 3:29 PM


Let's see.. a designer needed to design the designer.. which needed a designer to design it.. which needed a designer to design it.
It's turtles,all the way down.

Unless, you want to get into the logical fallacy for a 'special pleading' for the existance of the 'first designer'.

As far as I can tell, you're in the same boat.

Infact the first mover is God, eternal, from a philosophical perspective.

Claiming it was chance would be;

chance = universe. Where did chance come from? From other matter? Where did that other matter come from? From chance?

If chance is eternal but God can't be then that's a double standard.

If chance isn't eternal then what caused the first thing?

So, in my opinion, it's far more difficult for the none-believer because essentially, you're not providing a philosophical reason for existence. All you can say is that chance influenced some kind of multiple big bang scenario.

PHILOSOPHICALLY, it seems impossible that anything other than God could be the first mover, as it answers, gives a good reason, and makes sense.

NOTE TO ALL: My claim was that there is enough to prove God philosophically, NOT scientifically. This thread is about the philosophy. My aim is to solve the problem philosophically, because science can't tell us.

i.e. It's not so much about claims and backing them up, as it is about giving good reasons. "Why" if you like, rather than "how".


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mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 29 of 263 (318236)
06-06-2006 8:48 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by PaulK
06-05-2006 11:11 AM


Re: What do you mean by chance ?
Percy's kind of right, but I would say that you are trying complicate things anyway with bizarre limite choices, rather than trying to understand and be open minded about a Theistic position.

If you wanted to understand, then you wouldn't say "answer A or B".

DO you really think that I believe that you don't know what I'm talking about when I say "chance"?

Can you please answer my question ?

I wasn't being purposefully ambigious, it's that the site had the same problem as me. That is, we were trying to define chance as randomness. My own description would be something like; the potential for random events AND randomness. My only avoidance is the circular definiton, hence my boredom with the semantics, and my concentration on the pragmatics.

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

This isn't a strawman because the ones who assert that reality came about via multiple big bangs, or simply by chance, obviously REQUIRE chance to firstly exist independent of the universe, which as far as I know IS reality. As far as I know, chance is a product of the universe, the same as time and planets etc.

I am not saying that you now have to prove otherwise to my declarations, because if you didn't, that wouldn't mean I was correct anyway. That would be an AFI.

But rather, I am adressing the apparently atheistic universe people seem to easily assume is the case these days, without thinking about it.

Infact, it's only from a scientific and parsimonious perspective, that the universe seems atheist. Philosophically, the philosophers conclude God. Their reasoning, as far as I can see, is better, because the whole point is to provide good reasons/reasoning.

Edited by mike the wiz, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by PaulK, posted 06-05-2006 11:11 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by PaulK, posted 06-06-2006 9:01 AM mike the wiz has responded

  
mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 33 of 263 (318252)
06-06-2006 9:52 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by PaulK
06-06-2006 9:01 AM


Re: What do you mean by chance ?
And I've yet to see a good philosphical argument for the existence of a God

I haven't seen a good philosophical argument for the none existence of God, but let's not change the topic.

All that is necessary is that God is a good answer to the problem that makes philosophical sense.

He is simply put, the best answer, unless you care to enlighten us on some other answer that doesn't involve chance/randomness.

I tell you what, we can call it the magic ingredient that makes atheism work.

The closest I can think of is the idea of a space of zero volume inflating to become a universe like ours - but even then we have something that is not "nothing" in the absolute sense that your argument would require.

What causes that? And if it's not nothing, then has there always been something, and if so why? This is philosophy remember.

All I require is that chance doesn't exist outside of this reality, therefore multiple big bangs couldn't have caused the universe. i.e. hinderance of the popular atheist position.

Without chance, there can be no atheistic scenario worth a damn. I don't see any valid reason to assume chance exists outside of the universe.

Clearly tell us all how the universe came about without chance, and how that is possible, naturalistically. Yet isn't that what every natural explanation depends on? Otherwise just admitt I have a good point; that a none-believing position would surely depend on chance.

That's the first definition I offered.

I mentioned randomness on my first reply to you.

Edited by mike the wiz, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by PaulK, posted 06-06-2006 9:01 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by PaulK, posted 06-06-2006 10:05 AM mike the wiz has responded
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mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 35 of 263 (318259)
06-06-2006 10:11 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by ikabod
06-06-2006 3:51 AM


Aren't you talking more about probability?

for all we know "nothing" is very unstable and the chance of a " big bang " event is 0.000000000000000000001%
But as we do not know the physical laws that govern nothing we can not predict .
But given that we are here we can say that the universe did start and the chance of the universe starting and producing us is 100% .. cos its happened

But us knowing the Big Bang happened doesn't mean that chance allowed it to happen.

For all you know, there is 0% chance of the Big Bang event happening by chance/randomness alone. That we are here, doesn't prove that it did happen by chance. It proves that we are here.

It is interesting though, to ponder the possibility of chance always being there. One must ask, why? Why would anything be there?

The fact is that that any philosophical evaluation leads us to conclude that if there is no reason for it to be there, then it wouldn't be there. This is because the nature of all things show purpose. I mentioned this in the O.P.

Think about formal causes. Is there not a reason for time, a potential? For things to happen in! Is there a reason for friction? To hold things together! Is there a reason for a vacuum? To radiate heat! And so on. One can see that the nature of all things has a good reasoning behind it that can be voiced in the deducing of the formal cause.

If there is no reason for chance then why would it exist? The reason for this universe can be seen in all things and in all potential things.


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mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 38 of 263 (318268)
06-06-2006 10:30 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by PaulK
06-06-2006 10:05 AM


Re: What do you mean by chance ?
No, God is a very bad answer to the question of why our universe exists, because it assumes more than it is trying to explain.

In what way? You're stating a lot but not showing much.

If you look at my previous post, you'll see that God infact is the best parsimonious answer to all things, from an OVERALL perspective.

He is one entity. Any atheistic explanation I have seen, depends on big numbers.i.e. many more entities. How can you claim to observe parsimony? I don't think anybody I have argued with has actually understood the principle.

I think parsimony doesn't actually favour the atheist position because you must argue from the fallacy of composition.

That is, because things are answered individually, as scientific and natural, then THE WHOLE is explained thus, similarly. AGAIN ANY ATHEIST POSITION must then rely on chance otherwise there could be no atheist position because it depends on a being not being involved.

To highlight the mistake, I shall give an example of the problem;

I don't need Paul K to wash my underwear, therefore he doesn't exist.

As you can see, the parsimony in the situation, bares no relevance to the existence of the entity but only to it's requirement in regards to the matter.

That is; you are not required in order for me to wash my underwear, but that by no means means that your actual existence is somehow conflated with this matter. For all we know, the washing of my underwear merely isn't important to you.

Likewise, any parsimonious explanation in regards to the universe, cannot be conflated with the matter of God's existence.

If anything, my preceding post shows how God is very necessary anyway, unless chance exists independent of the universe.

God is a brilliant answer. A conscious entity will always be an excellent answer because it answers all the questions. This doesn't mean it is true, but I think you underestimate it's genuine philosophical credence, because you conflate God with religion.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by PaulK, posted 06-06-2006 10:05 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
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mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 45 of 263 (318295)
06-06-2006 11:55 AM
Reply to: Message 42 by PaulK
06-06-2006 10:54 AM


Re: What do you mean by chance ?
Google "The principle of Parsimony", and the emphasis on extra entities.

Any atheistic explanation of the universe requires more entities than the entity, God.

No, I don't see any such thing.

From reading your post, I would say that you don't see many things, including all of the points I was making.

. If the universe requires an explanation then so does God for the same reasons.

Fallacious. Only atheism shifts the cause. God is the eternal prime mover.

If I need to know why my plumming is playing up, that doesn't mean I need an explanation for why the bad plummer exists. The error is to assume equivalent circumstances.

Atheism= The universe exists, via natural means, natural means exist, via some other inexplicable or natural means add infinity.

Let's say the big bangs happen in a place that has chance.

chance -> place of BBs -> chance -> universe -> chance, and so on. All you do is shift the problem and find no ultimate cause. God infact answers the problem because he doesn't need a cause.

The problem in hand is the universe, BECAUSE it hasn't always existed.

Something that has always existed (God), by definition, requires no explanatory causes.

I see no point in continuing this debate with you. I'd rather have a productive discussion with someone else.

Edited by mike the wiz, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by PaulK, posted 06-06-2006 10:54 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by sidelined, posted 06-06-2006 12:02 PM mike the wiz has not yet responded
 Message 48 by PaulK, posted 06-06-2006 12:20 PM mike the wiz has responded
 Message 49 by cavediver, posted 06-06-2006 12:22 PM mike the wiz has responded

  
mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 47 of 263 (318307)
06-06-2006 12:08 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by sidelined
06-06-2006 11:28 AM


Sorry if I haven't responded to your posts enough.

Since the cotention he makes is that God is the formal cause then we must apply the same consideration to God, namely what caused God?

God himself doesn't require a purpose because he is God. He has no cause because he never wasn't. Think about it. God, never was not.

What I mean by formal causes present in the designer, is a very specific logical point I have not expounded on. I shall now explain;

I mentioned that things such as time, planets, stars, friction, vacuum, etc.. all have an observable purpose.

Name the formal cause of each thing of itself. Example;

a house, the formal cause is the idea/design of the house.

BUT, the problem is, if the universe is atheist, then where does the formal causes of the major laws come from?

Let's now name one law, such as time. The formal cause of time, according to Aristotle's four causes, would be the plan/intention for events to unfold.

Now here's the philosophical/logical problem for atheism: if the formal causes can be found for such things as time and friction, gravity etc, then we have a formal cause, but if the universe is atheist, then there shouldn't be a formal cause present in any component of the universe.

If the universe was random, then there shouldn't be any formal cause for a thing. But there is for every thing.

Unless there was a cause preceding the universe, WHICH KNEW THE FORMAL CAUSES. This is very exciting philosophically, because it almost gurantees that the Big Bang was planned.

I am very excited by this.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by sidelined, posted 06-06-2006 11:28 AM sidelined has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 51 by sidelined, posted 06-06-2006 12:32 PM mike the wiz has responded

  
mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 50 of 263 (318317)
06-06-2006 12:31 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by PaulK
06-06-2006 12:20 PM


Re: What do you mean by chance ?
That's a strawman.

No. Many atheist beleive in a multiple big bang scenario. That and chance are the only answer for the somewhat tuned nature of the universe.

If you don't take the position, then there is no plausable scenario for atheism. It's that simple.

Answer yes or no. Do you believe the universe came about randomly?

If yes, fair enough. If no, there is no intellectual reason to be atheist because it is then unreasonable to dogmatically disbeleive in entities.

It's soooo funny that you apparently won't admitt to the one thing that makes all the theories co-exist happily with atheism.

I am better-informed on these issues than you and I've probably put more thought into my position. If you really care about honing your arguments then you really should be listening to what I say.

Lol.

I see that it's an ego-contest with you, as usual, rather than a search for a reasonable position.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by PaulK, posted 06-06-2006 12:20 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by PaulK, posted 06-06-2006 12:56 PM mike the wiz has responded

  
mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 52 of 263 (318325)
06-06-2006 12:47 PM
Reply to: Message 49 by cavediver
06-06-2006 12:22 PM


Re: What do you mean by chance ?
Hi.

Similarly with God. God requires no explanatory cause as we define him as that entity which has no prior cause

That's what I said, the prime mover.

He doesn't need a cause or an explanation. This doesn't mean Theists don't try and explain why God exists anyway. Nor is it wrong to not have an explanation . God's character means that he is the ultimate meaning of Himself.

The difference is that a conscious being explains a great deal of things in a superior way to a string of endless natural causes, which is a none-explanation because you could just move the goal posts forever.

Anyone with an intellectual inkling can see that a conscious entity would explain the formal causes present in the major laws. Only big numbers working from chance, could be another explanation of why this is so, and that requires many more extra assumptions/entities. Call it what you like. You can call it extra pudding. Whatever it is, it requires more pudding than the prime mover-explanation.


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mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 53 of 263 (318329)
06-06-2006 12:52 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by sidelined
06-06-2006 12:32 PM


But God can not have a purpose and it wouldn't matter. You try to get me to then explain God, but what is required is that I explain the universe.

God didn't have a cause, therefore, by definition he could have no purpose and what? So what! it wouldn't even matter. it's just an attempt to say "so if you can explain the cause explain the cause of the cause".

No! There is no cause. He is the answer.:) It is a misunderstanding.

Likewise, you're in the same boat. Your atheist answer is what exactly? What caused the cause? If it is an eternal atheist universe, why is it?

If God is eternal, we have a reason, because he is an entity. No person needs an extra reason to be special. If I met you, because you are a person, you are already special. if you are a random happening, then why would you exist?

I know why entities exist. I have no reason to think that things would just randomly exist. How silly, when everything has a formal cause except for the causer!

Get thee down, thou cannot refute the irrefutable one. :)

Edited by mike the wiz, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 56 by sidelined, posted 06-06-2006 1:12 PM mike the wiz has responded

  
mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 55 of 263 (318334)
06-06-2006 12:57 PM


This isn't a "mike explain God" thread
ADDENDUM: This topic isn't about what caused God. Mike is too clever to get dragged into having to explain why God exists. No, you are the ones who must explain, according to the O.P., why the formal causes exist, and why I should assume chance could have created the universe. That is the topic in hand! It is you who must answer. I shall now reiterate on the topic theme;

I've tried some more formal causes of things;

Time: An intention for events to unfold. (which then means that events are one of the intentions of the designer)

Gravity: the plan is that it should hold things down

Friction: so that things won't slide infinitely. :)

the vacuum of space: the plan is that a vacuum radiates heat, so that lifeforms won't be burnt so that planets can orbit at a correct path, so that water isn't boiled.

Light/star: The plan would be to give energy and heat to life.

Since time shows that it's only reason is for events to unfold, then it is reasonable to make the leap to say that these other laws will work for events to unfold. Even so, without making this leap anybody can see that these statements are true.

Now for each thing one would have to say that every single formal cause is a coincidence. LOl!

Why do that when the clear logical inference is to say that these formal causes show an intention. It is highly unreasonable to pass off every single thing's formal cause as some kind of freak coincidence. The major laws cannot be disputed. For I have stated a fact when I says such things as, "time is that events should unfold". If that is not what you see, and you disagree that gravity holds things down and that the sun isn't energy etc..then that is a crazy thing to suggest.

TH ONLY other thing that could provide a universe which shows this order, would be chance creating multiple big bangs. OTHERWISE there would be no explanation as to why the formal causes are present.

The formal cause is also watertight because a formal cause doesn't have to be a designer.

link writes:

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. That pre-existence consists of the essential capacity of the specific genome to co-exist with the human in a very significant and specific way.

LINK

So you can see, it cannot be argues that I am arguing that there is a desing to all things, because a formal cause can be a natural design aswell. So as far as I know, this is pretty much watertight stuff.


Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by ikabod, posted 06-07-2006 3:37 AM mike the wiz has responded

  
mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 57 of 263 (318341)
06-06-2006 1:12 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by PaulK
06-06-2006 12:56 PM


Re: What do you mean by chance ?
No Paul, it was an attempt to claim superiority. That wouldn't be a valid logical reason to listen to someone as that doesn't prove the person correct anyway. Why surely you knew that?

I am better-informed on these issues than you and I've probably put more thought into my position. If you really care about honing your arguments then you really should be listening to what I say.

Since I have a good knowledge of reasoning and argumentation, and haven't made any errors, then I fail to see why I should listen to you. but that assumes I am interested in "honing" my arguments.

"Honing" is defined as perfecting. That assumes that my arguments need perfecting, Watson.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by PaulK, posted 06-06-2006 12:56 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
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mike the wiz
Member (Idle past 41 days)
Posts: 4718
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 58 of 263 (318343)
06-06-2006 1:14 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by sidelined
06-06-2006 1:12 PM


You have to remember that it is not my choice that makes God transcend the universe, and all it's possibilities.

The natural universe isn't equivalent to a supernatural being.

The natural universe can make logical sense. I would suggest it is futile to explain a supernatural reality. I really must request that you make a new thread on it, at this stage.


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