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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bringing on CARM...Cosmological and Teleological arguments

I like being me.  I hope you like being you.  One thing that is gratifying about being me is that I have had the opportunity to work with, learn from and teach very smart people.   I have had students who are smarter than me.  Then again, the concept of "smart" is debatable.   Is smart the ability to do well at tests?   Is it having a large vocabulary?  Does it mean you learn concepts quickly, or is it a matter of being able to absorb and memorize information?   Should smart be a matter of verbal and writing and reading skills?  Lots of very gifted people do not test well on IQ tests.   Probably IQ tests are the best predictors of who can do well at taking tests.   Some of the results of IQ tests are related to the desire to succeed by the individual taking the test.

I've known people who were not particularly good or enthusiastic readers who were very adept at higher math.  There have been people who had a knack for languages.  Some have been particularly good singers and/or musicians.   Some have been exceedingly good artists or artisans.   Some who did not test well on standard intelligence tests are brilliant when working on a transmission or crafting a sculpture.   Some of our children are talented artists.   My wife is a talented artist.  Not me.  If I tried to paint an oil painting it would be a waste of good paint and canvas.   We have a son who hand-crafts a certain style of butterfly knives.   He is brilliant at that.  We have kids who are comfortable teaching and writing and public speaking and singing and acting.   But not all of them.  

For me to get in front of a crowd and speak or sing?  I feel at home.  Put a microphone in my hand and a band behind me and I feel like I was born to it.   But after all these years I find I don't need to do it anymore.  So I don't do much of it now.  I am so naturally gifted with booming voice that I usually teach classes and youth group without a microphone.   I have taken a break from singing for awhile.   So I concentrate on work and family and some blogging on the side.  Plus I sing around the house all the time.   Or whistle sometimes.  My wife likes hearing me sing or whistle, poor thing.

Life has been interesting.   Not that it is over right this second.   Breathe in, breathe out.   For all I know I might last another 30 years.   If it all ended today there would be no regrets.  I had a lot of sinful years without Christ but God is in the business of forgiving sins.   I have had over three decades of serving God.  Lots of family and friends all over the planet now.   I know someone on every continent other than Antarctica who would be glad to see me show up at their doorway...or in one case, hut.   I have been blessed beyond measure by the things that are important and none of them begin with $.   If $ is what matters, I have been pretty disappointing.   I have less in the bank that the average NBA ballplayer gets paid for playing one game.  Wow. 

My house is no where near the nicest on the block, my newest automobile was made in 2000, we usually buy things on sale or at Target or resale shops.   I keep repairing and maintaining vehicles and computers and anything I can rather than buy new.   We will buy the cheap lawnmower on sale and make it last for at least a decade before it wears out.   Most of our neighbors have big riding mowers.   I am not jealous at all.   When our kids want to drive, they have to pay for the insurance.   If they want to live at home, they chip in to the family pot until it is time for them to move out.   I am fine with all of my kids staying at home until they get married and they are fine with it, too.   Because we all love and trust each other.   Wallets can sit out, doors remain unlocked within the home, no one hides from each other and we all get on the internet out where other people can walk by and see.

Real Christianity lived out by real people means being transparent and real.   Be happy when you are happy and sad when you are sad, but always have access to the Joy of God.   Give out of love, not to get something back.   Work hard at work time.   Like what you like.   My favorite music is hard rock music and much of my Christian music is stuff like White Heart and Guardian and Whitecross and Bloodgood and Petra and Newsboys.   I sometimes want to listen to Jethro Tull or Robin Trower or Cream or King Crimson.  You could find lyrics to songs I like because of my upbringing that are not really appropriate.   But I am who I am.  I make sure my kids know this.   I make sure my students know this.  My friends know.   I don't hide my warts nor do I paint them orange and shine spotlights on them.  


Christianity is about restoring relationship with God.   You are like a jewel hidden within a rock.   God want's to discover you and set you free from the rock that surrounds you.   In that scenario the rock is your sin and unbelief.   Give the Jesus concept a fair chance by studying and considering...You can be a jewel who shines with the light of God's grace if you will let God remove the rock that surrounds you.   You don't just say a prayer or sign a sheet and become a Christian.   See what Spurgeon said...

Well?


Ah, my friends, be who you are and admit it.  Anything else is hypocrisy and it is completely and pathetically foolish.   God knows who you are and you know who you are.   Be who you are, it saves brain space for learning things instead of having to remember a bunch of lies and stories.   Be sure of one thing, when someone on the comments thread accuses me of lying, you can count on it, they are wrong.   They must not have much of an argument.   I can be mistaken and I can be wrong and I can forget something but there is no point at all in lying.   Lying is stupid.   Maybe I am not the ultimate genius of the world but I am not stupid.  I am not going to lie to you.  Might as well lie to myself as to do that.   

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But I do admit that I don't like to let sleeping dogs lie.   Darwinism is a sleeping dog - asleep when it comes to evidence and doggedly determined to defend idiocy anyway.   So back to it, shall we?

Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry

The Cosmological Argument



The Cosmological Argument attempts to prove that God exists by showing that there cannot be an infinite number of regressions of causes to things that exist.  It states that there must be a final uncaused-cause of all things.  This uncaused-cause is asserted to be God.

The Cosmological Argument takes several forms but is basically represented below.

Cosmological Argument

  1. Things exist.
  2. It is possible for those things to not exist.
  3. Whatever has the possibility of non existence, yet exists, has been caused to exist.
    1. Something cannot bring itself into existence, since it must exist to bring itself into existence, which is illogical.
  4. There cannot be an infinite number of causes to bring something into existence.
    1. An infinite regression of causes ultimately has no initial cause, which means there is no cause of existence.
    2. Since the universe exists, it must have a cause.
  5. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause of all things.
  6. The uncaused cause must be God.
Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) had a version of the Cosmological Argument called the Argument from Motion.  He stated that things in motion could not have brought themselves into motion but must be caused to move.  There cannot be an infinite regression of movers.  Therefore, there must be an Unmoved Mover.  This Unmoved Mover is God.

Strengths of the argument

The strengths of the Cosmological Argument lie in both its simplicity and easily comprehensible concept that there cannot be an infinite number of causes to an event.  Some arguments for God's existence require more thought and training in terms and concepts, but this argument is basic and simple.  Also, it is perfectly logical to assert that objects do not bring themselves into existence and must, therefore, have causes.

Weaknesses of the argument

One of the weaknesses of the argument is that if all things need a cause to exist, then God Himself must also, by definition, need a cause to exist.  But this only pushes causation back and implies that there must be an infinite number of causes, which cannot be.

Also, by definition, God is uncaused.

___________________
Sources:



  • Douglas, J.D. The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1978.







  • Frame, John. Apologetics to the Glory of God, Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1994.







  • Geisler, Norman. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1999.







  • _____. Christian Apologetics, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1976.







  • Runes, Dagobert D. Dictionary of Philosophy, New York, NY: Philosophical Library, 1942. 






  • Me - God is supernatural and not material and therefore that is why He is not bound by material laws and time.   He invented both.  The only logical cause exists outside of the existence that includes our concept of a cause.

    And - The Cosmological Argument



    The argument to be made here is a form of the cosmological argument which originated in the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, and was refined by Thomas Aquinas. With the advances of modern science, the version I will provide will be perhaps clearer for some than the form set forth by Aquinas. It is a composite of Aquinas’ vertical cosmological argument and the Kalam cosmological argument:
    1. Everything that has a beginning needs a cause.
    2. The universe had a beginning.
    3. The universe needs a cause.
    4. There cannot be an infinite regress of caused causes.
    5. There must be a cause for all else which has no beginning and needs no cause for its own existence.
    Premise #1 is self-evident. A thing cannot bring about its own existence, since it cannot be before itself. But if it began to exist, it cannot have popped up from nothing and from nowhere; nothing produces nothing.
    There are several pieces of evidence that support the contention of Premise #2 that the universe had a beginning. The scientific community has long since accepted the beginning of the universe via the big bang.  To quote from Norman Geisler, “Logically and mathematically, the evidence for the big bang suggests that originally there was no space, no time, and no matter.” (Geisler, 1999)  Here are some much summarized points to demonstrate why the universe is thought to have begun, most of which was set forth by astronomer Robert Jastrow (Jastrow, 1982), and some of which has been subsequently discovered:
    1. The second law of thermodynamics shows that usable energy is running down, which means there had to be a time when the process started. If not (if there was infinite time before us), all the energy in the universe would have been used up, and we would not be here.
    2. The universe is expanding. Traced backward, there would have to be a place it started to expand.  The universe cannot be continually expanding and retracting, since it would eventually run out of energy and collapse on itself.
    3. If the universe were eternal, time would also be eternal. But we could never have gotten to this point if time were infinite. Time measures the intervals between movements. There was no movement until the universe began, therefore there was no time. It would be impossible to traverse an infinite amount of time.
    4. We see matter continually degrading rather than becoming more complex. If things fall apart when left to themselves, the world could not be infinite. It would already be destroyed. Only that which is self-sufficient and self-sustaining can be infinite.
    5. There is a radiation “echo” throughout the universe which scientists at first thought was merely static or a malfunction of their equipment. This emanation of radiation is consistent with what would be expected of an enormous explosion in the past, down to the wavelength that should be produces by such light and heat.
    6. After the big bang theory became the predominant view of the universe’s origin, scientists began looking for a large mass of matter associated with the original explosion, but none could be found until the Hubble made it possible to find it. One astronomer, Michael Lemonick said “by peering back into the beginning of time, a satellite finds the oldest structure ever observed—evidence of how the universe took shape 15 billion years ago.” (Lemonick, 1993) This was exactly what they were looking for, if the theory were to be shown to be true beyond a reasonable doubt.
    Premise #3 is true by the laws of logic if the first two points are true. I will quote a fellow student, Glenn Smith, on this point: “Everything we currently observe depends on something else. This includes sub-atomic particles, our planet's atmosphere, the sun, and everything observable. If it weren't for our atmosphere, you and your computer would vaporize. So if everything in the universe is currently dependent, the whole universe is currently dependent.”

    Premise #4: One cannot posit an unending string of caused causes. This just seems obvious, but if you need some reasons why this is so, I will try, though it seems the more obvious something is, the more difficult it is to explain. If the causes of the universe itself needed a cause, and the cause of that cause needed a cause, ad infinitum, the string of causes could never be put into motion. An infinite series is impossible because one more moment (or cause) could always be added. But it is impossible to add to an infinite. Plus, if there were an infinite number of causes, there would be an infinite number of moments in which the act of causation took place. But if there were infinite moments, the current moment could have never arrived, since it is impossible to traverse an infinite number of moments. Quantitative infinity is merely a convention of mathematics, but has no metaphysical counterpart. Without a first cause, there is no causality in the series.

    Conlusion (#5): If the universe needs a cause for its existence, and there cannot be an unending string of contingent causes, there must be a Cause whose existence is necessary. (“Necessary” is used in opposition to “contingent,” in which a contingent being needs a cause for its existence, and a necessary Being has no cause, and no beginning.) Something must be eternal for anything else to exist. For nothing produces nothing. If nothing ever existed, then nothing could exist. But the universe, as you have seen, is not eternal; it began to exist. So, there must be something else, or someone else, who does not depend upon any other for existence, but exists by virtue of itself.  This is beyond human understanding (because we have never experienced anything that is beginning-less), but it is not contradictory to logic for there to be a being without a beginning. As I hope to have shown, no other state of affairs is possible, for if something is not eternal, than nothing could have ever existed at all.

    This has been a brief account of the cosmological argument. It has not taken into consideration certain objections. These objections are dealt with well in Norman Geisler’s Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics in the article “Cosmological Argument.”  This argument does not, in itself, produce the Christian God, but leads to it if one follows all of the implications and other evidence for the God of the Bible, which cannot be provided in one article. This argument is merely an attempt to show that there is a Supreme Being to which the universe owes its existence.

    Sources
    • Geisler, N. (1999). "Kalam Cosmological Argument." In Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (p. 400). Grand Rapids: Baker Books.
    • Jastrow, R. (1982). "A Scientist Caught Between Two Faiths: Interview with Robert Jastrow." Christianity Today.
    • Lemonick, M. D. (1993). Echoes of the Big Bang. Time.

    The Teleological Argument



    The Teleological Argument is also known as the "argument from design."  Quite simply, it states that a designer must exist since the universe and living things exhibit marks of design in their order, consistency, unity, and pattern.

    A typical analogy of this is the Watchmaker Argument, which was given by William Paley (1743-1805).  The argument goes as follows.  If you found a watch in an empty field, you would logically conclude that it was designed and not the product of random formation.  Likewise, when we look at life and the universe, it is natural to conclude there is a designer since we see how perfectly the universe and life forms operate.  The eye is typically used as an example of design.  It is a marvelous development.  In order for it to work, there must be many different convergent parts that individually have no function but have value only in a designed whole.  It is only in the combined total that they exhibit their total function.  This function is by design.

    Paley's argument is as follows:

    1. Human artifacts are products of intelligent design.
    2. The universe resembles human artifacts.
    3. Therefore the universe is a product of intelligent design.
    4. But the universe is complex and gigantic, in comparison to human artifacts.
    5. Therefore, there probably is a powerful and vastly intelligent designer who created the universe.

    Strengths of the argument

    This argument is simple to understand and has merit, since humans are designers by nature and it is natural to think in terms of things having purpose.  It is also consistent with Rom. 1:20:
    "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."
    I think the teleological argument carries weight because it is consistent with Scripture.  The Bible states that we are made in God's image.  Therefore, there are certain things with which we will resonate.  Even though the unbeliever suppresses the truth of God in his unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18-32), the truth is still there.
    Additionally, evolutionists have difficulty accounting for apparent design in objects like the eye, the heart, and the brain where many different parts come together to form the whole.  These individual parts have no purpose except in the function of the whole.  How can evolution account for these detailed congruent occurrences?  So far, it can't.

    Weaknesses of the argument

    The idea that the universe is designed is subjective.  Different observations in the natural world can produce different theories to account for their existence.  Also, this proof is built upon an analogy.  If we find things in the universe that are chaotic, then by analogy, that would imply there is no designer.

    ___________________
    Sources:



  • Douglas, J.D. The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1978.







  • Geisler, Norman. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1999.







  • _____. Christian Apologetics, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1976.





  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theism/cosmological.html

    Happy reading!