My son, who is now studying philosophy, explained the argument from contingency
Now, I don't find it a very convincing proof of the existence of God, except for very loose definitions of God, but at the same time, the basic principle seems sound - things are either necessary (they always existed) or they are contingent (caused by something else), ergo if the universe is contingent, then something else must be necessary.
What is the general response to this? My own take/questions are as follows:
- Something triggered the big bang, but just because we don't know what it is, we shouldn't call it God
- The principle depends on linear time, but there was no time before the BB, so the principle is meaningless - time started with the universe, so the universe is, in essence, necessary
Oh, yes. That events have causes is all well and good, but one should not assume that an unknown cause is necessarily God. Those labels do not exactly mean the same things.
What caused the big bang? Who the hell knows. It's not as if we have any meaningful way to examine what happened before it. I mean, interesting ideas have been postulated, such as each universe inevitibly creating the next somehow, but...that's pretty pie in the sky. It has an appeal to it in terms of symmetry, but we certainly cannot prove it, or even make a very persuasive case for it, given the available data. At a certain point you have to accept that you do not have sufficient data for a meaningful answer with any real confidence.
Or maybe we're just a simulation, in which case, the cause is a bored student who fell asleep at the keyboard.
How would we really test for the differences between those? Calling them all god is merely obscuring the problem, not answering it.
And, it seems very unpersuasive to argue that everything MUST have a cause...but then immediately deny that God had a cause. You're shooting a hole in yer own argument that way. With or without a God, you've still got an origin without a cause itself. You're just inserting "God" in the chain for no real reason.
doogly wrote:No, I'm dismissing the dribblings of christians who puff up their piety with the pretense of philosophy. One need not spend a year of philosophy gargling such errors.
I suppose it's rather necessary to understand the history of philosophy that one explore the various popular past ideas. If nothing more, it will cement in the wise student's mind a certain sense of humility as he realizes how the future will likely look back upon his great ideas.
A year seems rather long, though.