Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Discussion of articles that appear in the magazine.

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uwot
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by uwot »

BishBoshMcCosh wrote:The requirement for the initial condition of the universe to be an effect is met by the fact that something caused the universe, is it not?
Only if it is a fact.
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:Or do you think that the universe can exist without cause? If not, do we not need to address the problem that an infinite regression in a causal chain is logically impossible because it wouldn't contain a cause?
I have no idea whether the universe had a cause. As Russell pointed out, there is nothing in logic that rules out the possibility that the universe popped into existence 5 minutes ago, complete with all our memories and, as he put it, the holes in his socks. Krauss believes that there is some eternal, possibly mathematical, quantum field and that what we perceive, and indeed our perceptions are simply fluctuations in that field. That may be so. It may also be the case that there is some god that is responsible. At present, we simply don't have the means of finding out. It's all a bit of a lark until some busybody starts telling us we must live according to their version of creation.
BishBoshMcCosh
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by BishBoshMcCosh »

uwot wrote: I have no idea whether the universe had a cause. As Russell pointed out, there is nothing in logic that rules out the possibility that the universe popped into existence 5 minutes ago, complete with all our memories and, as he put it, the holes in his socks. Krauss believes that there is some eternal, possibly mathematical, quantum field and that what we perceive, and indeed our perceptions are simply fluctuations in that field. That may be so. It may also be the case that there is some god that is responsible. At present, we simply don't have the means of finding out. It's all a bit of a lark until some busybody starts telling us we must live according to their version of creation.
The logic is that everything that exists has a cause. If you disagree and think that the universe could pop into existence without a cause, aren't you simply agreeing that something could exist without a cause? In that case, why can't God exist without a cause? (And then have created the universe)

I'm aware that Krauss thinks that Quantum physics supports that something can come from nothing (I don't pretend to understand the physics involved) but again, that thing could be god.
uwot
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by uwot »

BishBoshMcCosh wrote:The logic is that everything that exists has a cause.
That is a premise, it is not a logical argument. As I said, it may be true, but we don't have the means to find out for now.
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:If you disagree and think that the universe could pop into existence without a cause, aren't you simply agreeing that something could exist without a cause? In that case, why can't God exist without a cause? (And then have created the universe)
I thought I made it clear that I don't know, and that I accept that there may be a god.
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:I'm aware that Krauss thinks that Quantum physics supports that something can come from nothing (I don't pretend to understand the physics involved) but again, that thing could be god.
It's not really physics, it's more maths. The argument is essentially that -1+1=0. Theoretically, you can tear apart nothing and get matter and antimatter. This is demonstrably so, but it doesn't follow that this physical potential is that is the case in our universe was always the case. Personally, I don't think you can extrapolate from conditions that exist now, a universe flooded by one or more field of potential, to conditions prior to this universe existing.
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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

uwot wrote:
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:The logic is that everything that exists has a cause.
That is a premise, it is not a logical argument. As I said, it may be true, but we don't have the means to find out for now..
As I said just moments ago most people, even most on this forum have no idea what is the use, the value and purpose of LOGIC.

I think it's because they were all brought up on Mr. Spock from Star Trek, who abused the term in almost every episode.
BishBoshMcCosh
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by BishBoshMcCosh »

uwot wrote:
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:The logic is that everything that exists has a cause.
That is a premise, it is not a logical argument. As I said, it may be true, but we don't have the means to find out for now.
It was shorthand...

P1) Everything that exists has a cause
P2) The universe exists
C) The universe has a cause.

That's the full argument, the 'logic'.
uwot wrote: I thought I made it clear that I don't know, and that I accept that there may be a god.
We don't need to 'know' to agree that if the universe can pop into existence without cause, then so could something else. 'We don't know that it couldn't happen' is virtually an argument from ignorance.
uwot
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by uwot »

BishBoshMcCosh wrote:P1) Everything that exists has a cause
P2) The universe exists
C) The universe has a cause.

That's the full argument, the 'logic'.
Well, yes, there is "everything that exists has a cause" as P1. So now it is a premise in a valid argument, but we're still none the wiser as to it's truth value.
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:We don't need to 'know' to agree that if the universe can pop into existence without cause, then so could something else. 'We don't know that it couldn't happen' is virtually an argument from ignorance.
I'm not actually putting forward an argument to support any particular view about the origin of the universe, but I freely admit my ignorance. The evidence currently available, strongly implies that there was a big bang 13.78 billion years ago. All hypotheses about what went bang, in what environment, are of necessity speculative. You can make up absolutely any story you like, because there is no current data to contradict it. If it pleases you, go ahead and believe it.
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

BishBoshMcCosh wrote:
uwot wrote:
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:The logic is that everything that exists has a cause.
That is a premise, it is not a logical argument. As I said, it may be true, but we don't have the means to find out for now.
It was shorthand...

P1) Everything that exists has a cause
P2) The universe exists
C) The universe has a cause.
C2 Either god does not exist, or God also has a cause.
BishBoshMcCosh
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by BishBoshMcCosh »

uwot wrote: Well, yes, there is "everything that exists has a cause" as P1. So now it is a premise in a valid argument, but we're still none the wiser as to it's truth value.
Sure. That's what the whole conversation has been about.
uwot wrote: I'm not actually putting forward an argument to support any particular view about the origin of the universe, but I freely admit my ignorance. The evidence currently available, strongly implies that there was a big bang 13.78 billion years ago. All hypotheses about what went bang, in what environment, are of necessity speculative. You can make up absolutely any story you like, because there is no current data to contradict it. If it pleases you, go ahead and believe it.
It doesn't matter what I believe or don't believe, I'm examining P1 in that argument and struggling to understand why it isn't wrong. Everything that exists can't have a cause or we end up in an infinite chain of causality and that is logically impossible because it would never have a cause in it. So, there must be a first uncaused cause, a cause of an effect (the universe existing) that didn't itself have a cause.
Londoner
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by Londoner »

P1) Everything that exists has a cause
Just one cause?

I think that if we ask for, or point out, a cause, we are making a selection. Perhaps we are drawing attention to a connection that isn't immediately obvious. For example; 'The moon causes the tides'.

But we are not saying that it is the only cause; the tides are also caused because the temperature means the sea water is liquid, or because a body collided with the earth (the debris forming the moon), or because of gravity, or the conservation of energy and so on. A full explanation for 'What causes the tides?' would have to include everything in the universe. And of course everything in the universe would also be an 'effect'.

Thus, the cause of everything would be everything.

Another way of putting it would be to point out that 'everything' is not the name of a thing. It is just a placeholder for particular things. A particular thing, like the tides, has causes, but an 'everything' does not.

So I do not think P1 is a proposition. It has no truth value.
BishBoshMcCosh
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by BishBoshMcCosh »

Londoner wrote:
P1) Everything that exists has a cause
Just one cause?

I think that if we ask for, or point out, a cause, we are making a selection. Perhaps we are drawing attention to a connection that isn't immediately obvious. For example; 'The moon causes the tides'.

But we are not saying that it is the only cause; the tides are also caused because the temperature means the sea water is liquid, or because a body collided with the earth (the debris forming the moon), or because of gravity, or the conservation of energy and so on. A full explanation for 'What causes the tides?' would have to include everything in the universe. And of course everything in the universe would also be an 'effect'.

Thus, the cause of everything would be everything.

Another way of putting it would be to point out that 'everything' is not the name of a thing. It is just a placeholder for particular things. A particular thing, like the tides, has causes, but an 'everything' does not.

So I do not think P1 is a proposition. It has no truth value.
Not sure that changes anything. What if it was 'p1) Everything that exists has at least one cause' I still think that this must be wrong for the reasons that it would be wrong if it was a single cause.
uwot
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by uwot »

BishBoshMcCosh wrote:It doesn't matter what I believe or don't believe, I'm examining P1 in that argument and struggling to understand why it isn't wrong.
As I keep saying, we simply don't know if it is or isn't wrong. It isn't the role of logic to discover whether the premises are right or wrong, logic simply tells you whether an argument is valid or not.
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:[Everything that exists can't have a cause or we end up in an infinite chain of causality and that is logically impossible because it would never have a cause in it.
Well, again, it is beyond the reach of logic to determine whether everything that exists has a cause. Of the premises in your argument, only P2 is sound, the 'universe' in some shape or form definitely exists. This has been known since Parmenides pointed it out two and a half thousand years ago. It is, in my view, what Kant thought impossible, an analytic a posteriori fact. That there is experience necessarily means that something exists, if only experience, which was essentially Descartes' point in I think therefore I am.
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:So, there must be a first uncaused cause, a cause of an effect (the universe existing) that didn't itself have a cause.
This just isn't logically necessary in itself, you are assuming the premise 'Everything that exists has a cause' is true. We don't know if that is so.
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

Londoner wrote:
P1) Everything that exists has a cause
Just one cause? .
This is a very good point. All effects are the result of multiple causes. And in every example we have, we can only speak about changes and never creation. Nothing is ever created, all things are modifications of somethings else, in an infinitely definable multiplicity of causality.

Many falsely use this rather silly methodology (here described) to posit A 'god' - whatever that is, yet we have not more reason to posit one as many. And we have more reason to posit none.
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by BishBoshMcCosh »

uwot wrote: As I keep saying, we simply don't know if it is or isn't wrong. It isn't the role of logic to discover whether the premises are right or wrong, logic simply tells you whether an argument is valid or not.
I think that this is to misunderstand what logic is. It also helps you to reason your way to what is possible. The argument is valid and can therefore be part of a process of reasoning. Once we've established Validity, we can then assess the premises for truth, that's what I'm doing, in order to establish if the argument is Sound.
uwot wrote: Well, again, it is beyond the reach of logic to determine whether everything that exists has a cause. Of the premises in your argument, only P2 is sound, the 'universe' in some shape or form definitely exists. This has been known since Parmenides pointed it out two and a half thousand years ago. It is, in my view, what Kant thought impossible, an analytic a posteriori fact. That there is experience necessarily means that something exists, if only experience, which was essentially Descartes' point in I think therefore I am.
Nothing is 'beyond the reach of logic'.
uwot wrote: This just isn't logically necessary in itself, you are assuming the premise 'Everything that exists has a cause' is true. We don't know if that is so.
No I'm not, I'm trying to establish the truth of it.
osgart
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by osgart »

science should stick to solving physical reality problems.
You can logically come to conclusions that a creator intelligent reality exists but an all powerful god is totally refutable. Especially a benevolent one. It would be more interesting to ask is their a spiritual non physical reality that is intelligent. Why? Because quantum entanglement reactions breaks all physical rules and limitations. Ockhams razor proves we live in a highly manipulated reality. A reality that only is violent and indifferent to life. It makes you wonder about extra dimensions to reality. Crossover realms of high intelligence is very plausible. The unseen reality might have an intelligent code too it and that might be working grounds for science in light of what james gates found mathematically inherent in reality. Life is far beyond a miracle if intelligence isnt a part of reality.
BishBoshMcCosh
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by BishBoshMcCosh »

osgart wrote:Ockhams razor proves we live in a highly manipulated reality. .
No it doesn't. Ockham's razor is a tool, a principle, not a hard and fast rule that the second something appears more complex than it needs to be, there must be manipulation going on. Plus, the universe may only appear complex to us when in fact it isn't.
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