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Old 09-04-2016, 03:10 AM   #26
tame_deuces
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

I fail to see what is so hard to grasp about "we know there are beings who create stuff", "it is theoretically possible to create universes", "perhaps beings create universes". It seems like a perfectly fine line of rational reasoning.

Objecting that it is meaningless seems vicarious, a way to side-step discussion. The same line of logic used against people who once stood on beaches and wondered if there was land on the other side, who were probably told by many it was meaningless to dabble in such stupidity because there was no way to ever really know.

It's an idea, an imaginary conjecture. It was never presented as evidence, "answer" was put in quotation marks for a reason. Your logic implies that any idea that goes beyond the known is vacuous, and I find that kind of thinking to be intellectually lackluster. If your objection is simply "we can't know", then sure - that is even written explicitly in the OP.

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Old 09-04-2016, 03:54 AM   #27
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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Originally Posted by uke_master View Post
Tame is the one saying a more rational answer has been found. Presumably he means something more impactful than "isn't contradicted by an unconnected second statement".
Are you clear on what the comparison is between? Yes, he means something, and it does mean something more than that.

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If someone claims something is rational, you DON"T think they ought to provide any form of justification?
Not in the form you seem to be indicating. You claim to not be putting forth any expectation of a specific standard for justification, but that doesn't seem to be what you're actually doing. (See below.)

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The problem isn't one of english. It is clearly a syntactically correct sentence, with an object, verb and subject. It is clear what those words would mean in a sentence like "humans create sculptures". We have a wealth of contextual information to understand this situation. But if we extend the analogy to "beings create universes", do we have this wealth of contextual information? Do we understand what beings are in the context of universe creating things? Do we understand what "create" is in context where things like time and causality might not make any sense? And so forth. Sounds like a wishy washy utterance of a sentence that makes sense in a normal context, but which we aren't really doing anything meaningful when we utter it in this other context. A vague "consistent with our creation of objects" just doesn't seem all that interesting...but I guess /thread if this is the deep point to be made.
LOL at full on theological non-cognitivism. I don't know of anyone who takes that seriously. I know it was popular for a bit with the new atheist crowd, but I'm pretty sure it fell away because everyone realized that it's just sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "LALALALALALA."

It's just intellectual laziness.

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You can disagree - and present a meaningful case to the opposite - but to confuse this as an English language issue is hilarious bad. Even by your standards.
I can present a case, but not yet. You have to actually explain your confusion. You have accepted that the statement is syntactically meaningful. You've also accepted sentences of the exact same form with a different subject to be meaningful. So your only out right now is to reject that the term "god" is meaningful. But your argument doesn't say that. Your argument says "I don't know what type of object this might refer to." This is just stupidity.

The object is that which could have created the universe. One does not need to have full specificity of an object for it to be a meaningful subject. We talk about things like "consciousness" without having a full grasp of it. Yet we can use the term in a meaningful manner. That you lack the cognitive flexibility to draw the analogy and lack the intellectual depth to understand the idea is not a problem on our end.

Look at all the pieces you accept:
1) You accept that you have a concept of the universe.
2) You accept that you understand the concept of creation.
3) You accept that you understand the concept of a being creating an object

From these things, one can say that "a being created the universe" is a meaningful statement. I suspect that you've confused "logically justifiable" and "meaningless."

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I did?
Yes, you did create a dichotomy. I can quote you:

Quote:
Originally Posted by uke
I feel you are stuck between two extremes. Either you are saying nothing at all, you are just making a syntactically correct sentence but not transmitting cognitive content with it. Or you really ARE saying something nontrivial that I'm supposed to assent to, but to which you can't justify.
You have put forth the claim of this either-or dichotomy. It's unjustified. (And I'll enjoy watching you try to weasel your way out of this by claiming that you didn't use the word "incoherent" and only words that mean the exact same thing.) There third way out is that the statement is meaningful and logically consistent.

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Remember, I said nothing about coherence and how he might defend his statment until you - hilarious - made up that I was imposing justifying by "logical deduction" and rejecting "internal coherence".
Read your own words. You have asserted that one of the two ways to understand his position is that "can't be justified." What is unjustified about postulating by analogy the existence of a being of some sort that created the universe via analogy? The *ONLY* way that this can be unjustifiable is to demand conclusive evidence (which includes a logical deduction). Argument by analogy is a fine justification for holding a belief, especially in the absence of data to the contrary (ie, coherence model).

So you're not stuck in the following situation:

1) You've created a false dichotomy.
2) Your false dichotomy is based on your concept of "justification"
3) Your concept of "justification" is too rigid to accept the argument by analogy (which has ALREADY been presented in the OP) and a coherence model of understanding

I'm sorry you can't figure this out for yourself. But I guess that's your fault for diving in with the "I'm stupid" crowd and going with theological non-cognitivism.

PS - /thread indeed if you're coming in with theological non-cognitivsm. Basically, that's just running into the thread and shouting "I'm a moran! Listen to me ramble about how I can't understand what you're saying!" Do you have anything meaningful to say, or are you really just pinning your hopes on non-cognitivism?
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Old 09-04-2016, 10:31 AM   #28
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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LOL at full on theological non-cognitivism. I don't know of anyone who takes that seriously. I know it was popular for a bit with the new atheist crowd, but I'm pretty sure it fell away because everyone realized that it's just sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "LALALALALALA."

PS - /thread indeed if you're coming in with theological non-cognitivsm. Basically, that's just running into the thread and shouting "I'm a moran! Listen to me ramble about how I can't understand what you're saying!" Do you have anything meaningful to say, or are you really just pinning your hopes on non-cognitivism?

But I guess that's your fault for diving in with the "I'm stupid" crowd and going with theological non-cognitivism.
Uhhh....you've known me for years. We've debated this. I've leant non-cognitivist (and not just theologically) for ages. Your unbridled love of schoolyard insults and condescenion - pathetic though it is - is expected, but your surprise is not.

So sure, \thread. But is that not the case either way? Is the proponents of the guess of a possibility of a maybe that "beings created the universe" not running around shouting "I'm a moran! Listening to me ramble about my profoundly meaningful statement! LALALALALA!"?

Everyone seems to agree on the substance: We clearly understand humans created sculptures, a domain where we have a wealth of contextual information to understand it - your check list of things I understand is indeed understood in this domain. This is then extended by analogy to "beings create universe", a domain where it seems we agree it is rather unclear on contextual information like properties of what these beings might be, or what create means, or what even these "parent universes" might be like in this context. Where we disagree seems to be more about the attitude by which people want to refer to this. Do we call that scenario some deep and meaninful "rational" answer? Do we call it word salad?

And if I assent that "beings create universes" is meaningful...so what? Instant \thread, right? Feel free to try and launch some profound discussion that springs from this deeply meaninful phrase. But let's see how you expand:

Quote:
The object is that which could have created the universe
If I translate in your exact phrase for "being" what we get is "a guess of a possibility that maybe that which could have created the universe created the universe"

You want me to believe this has some deep meaning, is a rational answer?



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One does not need to have full specificity of an object for it to be a meaningful subject. We talk about things like "consciousness" without having a full grasp of it. Yet we can use the term in a meaningful manner.
Full grasp? Sure, not needed. Could you list say just a half dozen other properties of this object, the way we can with consciousness?




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What is unjustified about postulating by analogy the existence of a being of some sort that created the universe via analogy? The *ONLY* way that this can be unjustifiable is to demand conclusive evidence (which includes a logical deduction). Argument by analogy is a fine justification for holding a belief, especially in the absence of data to the contrary (ie, coherence model).
To leap that I was demanding conclusive evidence with logical deduction? Uh...that's all on you bud. Perhaps it's an error of being a mathematician where when you write "justify" on a test you mean it in the rigid mathematicial sense. I was never meaning more than a loose "defend" your point. Yes, I'm rejecting that his vague "humans create sculptures" to "beings create universes" analogy - sans anything else - does anything very meaningful. But demanding conclusive evidence with logical deducation. Just lol at you. What a wiff.
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Old 09-04-2016, 01:31 PM   #29
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

Sculptures was your analogy, not mine. I'd personally avoid using an actual object as an analogy.

I read a bit about non-cognitivism and verificationism. If its principles held true, then non-empirical research would implicitly have to be be gibberish, but from medicine for example we know that this is not the case. The opposite is in fact true, non-empirical medical research is very valuable because it often helps researchers understand patient needs better than instrumental readings. This is because people's cognitive reaction to similar stimuli (typically pain, but other things as well) are not identical.

If non-verifiable statements couldn't carry meaning, that couldn't be true - so it would seem non-cognitivism is falsified.
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Old 09-04-2016, 01:57 PM   #30
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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Originally Posted by tame_deuces View Post
Sculptures was your analogy, not mine. I'd personally avoid using an actual object as an analogy.

I read a bit about non-cognitivism and verificationism. If its principles held true, then non-empirical research would implicitly have to be be gibberish, but from medicine for example we know that this is not the case. The opposite is in fact true, non-empirical medical research is very valuable because it often helps researchers understand patient needs better than instrumental readings. This is because people's cognitive reaction to similar stimuli (typically pain, but other things as well) are not identical.

If non-verifiable statements couldn't carry meaning, that couldn't be true - so it would seem non-cognitivism is falsified.
Thought about this some more and realized that maybe some would reject the verificationist element. Which is sad because it is seems like one of the few substantial non-cognitivist claims

What makes it very ironic then however is that the only thing left is some bizarre reversed version of the cosmological argument. Theological non-cognitivism only allows "the universe" to make "first meaning", just like the cosmological argument only allows "God" to make "first creation".
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Old 09-04-2016, 02:37 PM   #31
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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Originally Posted by tame_deuces View Post
Sculptures was your analogy, not mine. I'd personally avoid using an actual object as an analogy.
Sure, but your argument IS an argument by analogy, correct? Aaron at least certainly thinks so. The point being that we understand what beings creating things is - we have a tonne of contextual information with scultures just one example - in our immediate lives. And your suggesting that maybe it works like that at the level of universes...maybe beings create universes analogously to how humans create sculptures. Is this not your position?

Perhaps I should put it like this: so what? I accept that "beings create universes" is syntactically correct. Let's set aside my objections that the words like "being" and "create" and your "parent universe" are all things I have basically zero understanding of in that larger universe creating context. Let's just assume it works analogously in some way. So what? What else can I say? Is there a next step? A broader framework we can develop involving this claim in some way? Or is it just "statement /thread"?


I'm not following your rejection of verificationism by examples from medicine at all. For instance, verificationists (not that I endorsed that view) can find that ethical statments might be meaningful in the sense of influencing behaviour, just that they don't hold truth values. I'd imagine the same would be true for alternative medicine....that someone finds a practice based on chakras or whatever helpful to patients doesn't negate verificationism.

I likewise don't follow your point about how theological noncognitivists are forced to be using that bizarre version of the cosmological argument. Non-cognitivism generally isn't imposing a particular metaphysical explanation for the universe as you suggest, it is merely about rejecting various metaphysical explanations as cognitively meaningful.
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Old 09-04-2016, 02:50 PM   #32
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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Originally Posted by uke_master View Post
Uhhh....you've known me for years. We've debated this. I've leant non-cognitivist (and not just theologically) for ages. Your unbridled love of schoolyard insults and condescenion - pathetic though it is - is expected, but your surprise is not.
Theological non-cognitivsm really is that. It doesn't feel like it at first, but if you start to lean on it, you'll find it really does just collapse into that.

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So sure, \thread. But is that not the case either way?
Isn't that the case with any cosmological argument thread? Were you expecting something different?

I thought the spin of the fact of positing humans as having access to a universe-creating process was an interesting angle that I hadn't seen before. But in the end, it's still just the same thing.

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Is the proponents of the guess of a possibility of a maybe that "beings created the universe" not running around shouting "I'm a moran! Listening to me ramble about my profoundly meaningful statement! LALALALALA!"?
Nope. But the people running around saying "I don't know what a creator is" are doing that.

All that's being said here is that "it's not unreasonable to think that there was a creator of some sort that created the universe." It's totally non-objectionable, runs into no particular intellectual problems, and is simply just a bland observation about how we understand things around us.

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Full grasp? Sure, not needed. Could you list say just a half dozen other properties of this object, the way we can with consciousness?
Like this, for example. I can give you lots and lots and lots of examples about creating things. So why is it so hard to accept another example of creating a something? It's just stupid.

Quote:
Yes, I'm rejecting that his vague "humans create sculptures" to "beings create universes" analogy - sans anything else - does anything very meaningful. But demanding conclusive evidence with logical deducation. Just lol at you. What a wiff.
Wiff as it may be, you're the one who is clearly just being intellectually obstinate by choosing non-cognitivism.
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Old 09-04-2016, 03:13 PM   #33
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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Theological non-cognitivsm really is that. It doesn't feel like it at first, but if you start to lean on it, you'll find it really does just collapse into that.
Even moral non-cognitivists don't deny the meaning of the words. They merely deny truth values. Then they go on to explain something like "moral statements are really expressions of preferences" or something like that.

But theological non-cognitivsts take the idea to a completely different place by trying to deny that the words have meaning. This is further than saying that the words refer to a non-existent referent. They simply say "I don't understand what that is" and think they've made an argument.

This is also different form the verificationist perspective, wherein it would be said that you won't assent that a statement has meaning unless it can be verified to be either true or false. If you were taking this position, then you would be denying *ANY* analogy and simply be asking for a demonstration of the specific claim.

I'm sorry to burst your theological non-cognitivism bubble, but it really is as bad as I'm making it out to be, and I'm not exaggerating its badness just for the fun of bluster.
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Old 09-04-2016, 03:51 PM   #34
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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Wiff as it may be, you're the one who is clearly just being intellectually obstinate by choosing non-cognitivism.
Lol. As great as it is that you have abandonded all your old attack lines and have reduced yourself to just guffawing at the very idea of non-cognitivism, I think it's worth repeating at least one point you completely ignored, given how devastating it is to your position.
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The object is that which could have created the universe
Quote:
If I translate in your exact phrase for "being" what we get is "a guess of a possibility that maybe that which could have created the universe created the universe"

You want me to believe this has some deep meaning, is a rational answer?
You call this "bland" but it seems rather less impactful than that, at least how you say it.


I think we mainly disagree on what to call it, not the substance. If we want to analyze the statement "beings create the universe" the only contextual information you have yet supplied is the "lots and lots of examples" analogous to "humans creating sculptures". No one is offering any shred of understanding about any properties of these universe creating beings beings, how "create" works in a universe creating thing where who knows what even happens to basic constructs like causality, who knows what these "parent universes" tame is talking about are like. We have no information, no context to interpret the statement, no fitting into larger frameworks of understanding. It just sits there, with nothing further to be said. Great! How rational! How deep! How profound! Your own omission is that it is effectively /thread after stating it. So our difference seems to mainly be that I don't find this to be particularly meaningful, but you insist that because of your many many examples of humans creating sculptures of course it must have meaning!
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Old 09-04-2016, 04:53 PM   #35
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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Originally Posted by uke_master View Post
Sure, but your argument IS an argument by analogy, correct? Aaron at least certainly thinks so. The point being that we understand what beings creating things is - we have a tonne of contextual information with scultures just one example - in our immediate lives. And your suggesting that maybe it works like that at the level of universes...maybe beings create universes analogously to how humans create sculptures. Is this not your position?

Perhaps I should put it like this: so what? I accept that "beings create universes" is syntactically correct. Let's set aside my objections that the words like "being" and "create" and your "parent universe" are all things I have basically zero understanding of in that larger universe creating context. Let's just assume it works analogously in some way. So what? What else can I say? Is there a next step? A broader framework we can develop involving this claim in some way? Or is it just "statement /thread"?


I'm not following your rejection of verificationism by examples from medicine at all. For instance, verificationists (not that I endorsed that view) can find that ethical statments might be meaningful in the sense of influencing behaviour, just that they don't hold truth values. I'd imagine the same would be true for alternative medicine....that someone finds a practice based on chakras or whatever helpful to patients doesn't negate verificationism.

I likewise don't follow your point about how theological noncognitivists are forced to be using that bizarre version of the cosmological argument. Non-cognitivism generally isn't imposing a particular metaphysical explanation for the universe as you suggest, it is merely about rejecting various metaphysical explanations as cognitively meaningful.
I guess it's not unreasonable to call it an argument of analogy, but not from act of creating a statue, but from our love for creation; we like to create stuff. Analogies to the handling of matter in our everyday lives would be a bad one, as this type of action is really transformation and not creation - and I have little interest in a debate along those veins. It's our drive for creation, illusory or not, that is the key element.

Like I said in my OP I said that I know humans like creating stuff and I know the creation of universes is a theoretical possibility (though certainly outlandish) and furthermore that I think that if we could create one, we would.

Verificationism -

I think that other venue of verificationism would fail in the opposite end, where it would ultimately have to admit that such stringent criteria would leave you unable to verify any statement, as there is always an element of interpretation. And that element is there regardless if you think the truth is separate from the observer.

Personally I think something alone the lines of Thomas Kuhn's ideas is more healthy, where idea and researcher / observer can never be separate.

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Old 09-04-2016, 05:13 PM   #36
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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Originally Posted by uke_master View Post
Lol. As great as it is that you have abandonded all your old attack lines and have reduced yourself to just guffawing at the very idea of non-cognitivism, I think it's worth repeating at least one point you completely ignored, given how devastating it is to your position.
My position from the start is that (edit: theological) non-cognitivism is moranic. I thought you were actually doing something a bit different, but when you verified that you're doing this, I don't need a movement in that particular direction.

Quote:
I think we mainly disagree on what to call it, not the substance. If we want to analyze the statement "beings create the universe" the only contextual information you have yet supplied is the "lots and lots of examples" analogous to "humans creating sculptures". No one is offering any shred of understanding about any properties of these universe creating beings beings, how "create" works in a universe creating thing where who knows what even happens to basic constructs like causality, who knows what these "parent universes" tame is talking about are like.
This is because one need not offer such things. This is patently obvious. We need not know anything about the tools that were used to construct buildings or statues to acknowledge that they were constructed.

Again, this is this abject stupidity of non-cognitivism. It forces you to raise these random objections that don't go anywhere, and objections that lack any merit. You are forced to just keep repeating "I'm too stupid to understand this thing."

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We have no information, no context to interpret the statement, no fitting into larger frameworks of understanding.
You say this, but it once again goes nowhere as an objection. You have the context of the universe. In this case, you even have the context of high level physics positing a mechanism through which one might possibly create miniature universes. So to pretend that this is some how so abstract as to have "no context to interpret the statement" once again just shows how badly this fails.

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It just sits there, with nothing further to be said. Great! How rational! How deep! How profound! Your own omission is that it is effectively /thread after stating it. So our difference seems to mainly be that I don't find this to be particularly meaningful, but you insist that because of your many many examples of humans creating sculptures of course it must have meaning!
And here is where you've once again failed. You are now conflating your concept of "meaning" with something else. The statement is meaningful. It carries cognitive content. You think that the object of that content doesn't exist (or at least you are not willing to assent that it does), but that's a different standard completely.

It has meaning if you're not an idiot. You know what the words mean, and you have examples of how those words are used together contextually. What you don't have is a defined referent. But that's not a problem of a lack of meaning. That's a different project entirely.

Edit: For example, we can look at a statue and think to ourselves "it looks like someone created this" without knowing anything about that someone. Maybe it was aliens. It just doesn't matter, because the statement is still meaningful.

Last edited by Aaron W.; 09-04-2016 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 09-04-2016, 05:34 PM   #37
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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Originally Posted by uke_master View Post
Your own omission is that it is effectively /thread after stating it. So our difference seems to mainly be that I don't find this to be particularly meaningful, but you insist that because of your many many examples of humans creating sculptures of course it must have meaning!
Incidentally, I had no interest in this thread because there's nothing much to say about it, until you came in and said something really ridiculous:

Quote:
Originally Posted by uke
the statement seems reasonable based on my experiences with beings and things not remotely like gods and universes.
You say this as if "beings" cannot possibly include "gods" or "things" cannot possibly be universes. It's literally* an English language fail.

(*I don't mean literally to mean figuratively.)
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:00 AM   #38
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

You both are taking rather different approaches down the line here. Aaron first:

Aaron defined the subject (he says object, but means subject) in "beings create universes" as "The object is that which could have created the universe". Directly substituting it in gives us assenting to the possibility that "that which could have created the universe created the universe". Now I get that you have ignored this every time since you first uttered. Maybe you'll ignore it again as a tactic to avoid such a devasting error. But safe it to say, its pretty easy to find such utterances not accomplishing a whole lot.

Aaron then goes a bit teleological at places, which is a bit of a strange way to defend the cosmological argument, but there you have it. Buildings, and statues, or the canonical watches, all are familiar objects in our lives we would recognize as designed, and it doesn't matter that we don't know the skin colour of the architect or artist. But is this true of the universe? When I don't know anything about the beings, anything about the "creating" - especially when who knows whether temporal causality is even a thing in this context - nothing about the "parent universes" tame deuces goes on....I'm less and less able to say I'm really doing something. Outside of creating a synatically correct sentence, which seems to be sufficient for you to be impressed.

You claim my position is that the "object of the content - subject! - doesn't exist". Not the case. In this thread, I've been rejecting that there is a well formed concept here...that your "that which could create the universe" isn't actually accomplishing anything. However, I get the impression you are ok with it. You seem to be happy to have me say it is synatically correct, and that the sort of day to day analogies make sense, and that is enough for you. OK. We agree that this is all you have, that it's /thread after here. You seem mainly mad that I'm not willing to characterize that is particularly meaningful.

************************************************** **********

In contrast, tame deuces is being specific more specific about the being. It isn't the philosophical "that which could have created the universe". It isn't some deity, it is something rather like humans doing experiments rather like the lancaster experiment. That's his added wrinkle to vanilla cosmological argument. It has the advantage, for him, of adding more understanding to the "being" side of it - we don't have to shake our heads wondering what on earth this could be as we do in Aaron's version. But it does leave me wondering on what basis do we have to rule that the beings are indeed somewhat like us. I suppose that's why we are in "a guess of a possibility of a maybe" territory. Sure, we might be plugged into the matrix too.

It's important we don't conflate what is interesting and what isn't here. As you both raised, a discussion about string theory and lancaster experiment and all of that - while probably over my head - would be fascinating and is something where a lot of nontrivial contemplation could occur. "Beings create universes" is not...its just a statement that sits there and doesn't do anything. Or at least we haven't seen anyone ITT try to do anything with it. As of yet, its isolated and hollow, not part of a richer framework of understanding.

Further, while Aaron is firmly on board with the sculpture analogy, tame is rejecting it as "a type of action is really transformation and not creation". Ok. But isn't basically every way we understand beings creating things in our lives - the basis by which you both claim "beings create universes" is supposed to be deeply meaningful - the former? That makes me think I understand even less what it mean by beings creating universes since the sense of "create" I see around me is people "creating" - transforming as you put it - statues.
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:15 AM   #39
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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Originally Posted by uke_master View Post
In contrast, tame deuces is being specific more specific about the being. It isn't the philosophical "that which could have created the universe". It isn't some deity, it is something rather like humans doing experiments rather like the lancaster experiment. That's his added wrinkle to vanilla cosmological argument. It has the advantage, for him, of adding more understanding to the "being" side of it - we don't have to shake our heads wondering what on earth this could be as we do in Aaron's version. But it does leave me wondering on what basis do we have to rule that the beings are indeed somewhat like us. I suppose that's why we are in "a guess of a possibility of a maybe" territory. Sure, we might be plugged into the matrix too.

It's important we don't conflate what is interesting and what isn't here. As you both raised, a discussion about string theory and lancaster experiment and all of that - while probably over my head - would be fascinating and is something where a lot of nontrivial contemplation could occur. "Beings create universes" is not...its just a statement that sits there and doesn't do anything. Or at least we haven't seen anyone ITT try to do anything with it. As of yet, its isolated and hollow, not part of a richer framework of understanding.

Further, while Aaron is firmly on board with the sculpture analogy, tame is rejecting it as "a type of action is really transformation and not creation". Ok. But isn't basically every way we understand beings creating things in our lives - the basis by which you both claim "beings create universes" is supposed to be deeply meaningful - the former? That makes me think I understand even less what it mean by beings creating universes since the sense of "create" I see around me is people "creating" - transforming as you put it - statues.
The transformation / creation debate is not very important, just something I would like to avoid to muddle the debate.

Furthermore, I have no idea what such a being would be like or what fundamental rules (if any) it would have to operate under. As a former computer programmer though, this is not problematic to me. Making worlds and using formal languages that operate under different rules that what we observe is a trivial concept in that discipline. We can even use deterministic computers to simulate non-deterministic computers (to a finite level) if we want to. We have even had and have renowned (though certainly disputed) physicists claiming the universe behaves like pieces of information, like John Archibald Wheeler.

The non-cognitive protest (and approach in general) makes little sense to me. However you twist and turn, it stands an absolute claim about the known world. One implicitly purports to know what meaning is, where it came from and that truth is objective, just like someone arguing the cosmological argument implicitly claims to know what causality is, where it came from and that logic is objective. I don't see either as strong approaches to knowledge. Non-cognitivisim seems superficially stronger because it sounds like "we don't know" (which is a very healthy stance), but in reality it says "we know because we don't know" (which is a very unhealthy stance).

I mean, if the big protest is that "you can't verify what you say!", then sure. That's true, it pretty much said so in my OP and every initial reply I made to you in this thread. That's why I have no issues with not believing my own presented conjencture, because right now it makes no difference either way. What I don't have, however, is a problem in imagining it or understanding the meaning in it.

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Old 09-05-2016, 11:49 AM   #40
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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Originally Posted by uke_master View Post
You both are taking rather different approaches down the line here. Aaron first:

Aaron defined the subject (he says object, but means subject) in "beings create universes" as "The object is that which could have created the universe". Directly substituting it in gives us assenting to the possibility that "that which could have created the universe created the universe". Now I get that you have ignored this every time since you first uttered. Maybe you'll ignore it again as a tactic to avoid such a devasting error. But safe it to say, its pretty easy to find such utterances not accomplishing a whole lot.
There's a difference between "accomplish a whole lot" and "meaningless." It's like you can't actually tell the difference between the many phrases you're using because your non-cognitivist angle is just turning your brain activity down to 0.

Your assertion is that this statement carries no cognitive content. That would be like saying "bachelors are unmarried men" carries no cognitive content. The statement is establishing cognitive content, and hence is meaningful.

From here, the argument by analogy begins. The word "bachelor" can carry with it various types of connotations. None of these are logical implications, but rather generalizations made via observations. And we can do the same thing with creators.

None of this should actually be controversial.

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Aaron then goes a bit teleological at places, which is a bit of a strange way to defend the cosmological argument, but there you have it. Buildings, and statues, or the canonical watches, all are familiar objects in our lives we would recognize as designed, and it doesn't matter that we don't know the skin colour of the architect or artist. But is this true of the universe?
Once again, you've moved the goalposts. Nothing about this argument has anything to do with truth values. Nobody is attempting to establish that something is "true" about the universe. It literally doesn't matter whether it's true or false (and the statement has already been admitted to being unverifiable). So that you keep coming back to this only shows how sideways you are in the conversation.

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When I don't know anything about the beings, anything about the "creating" - especially when who knows whether temporal causality is even a thing in this context - nothing about the "parent universes" tame deuces goes on....I'm less and less able to say I'm really doing something. Outside of creating a synatically correct sentence, which seems to be sufficient for you to be impressed.
Now you're just repeating that you're stupid. You keep trying to say you can't do anything, and nobody is disagreeing with you. But that's not the point. Your ability to do something is not what anyone would call "cognitive content."

Of course, you may be working with a wonky definition of "cognitive content." Again, I would say that the sentence "A bachelor is an unmarried man" as carrying cognitive content because it's a meaningful statement. Do you reject that claim?

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You claim my position is that the "object of the content - subject! - doesn't exist". Not the case. In this thread, I've been rejecting that there is a well formed concept here...that your "that which could create the universe" isn't actually accomplishing anything.
You say this, but you keep falling back onto talking about "true" and "false." Once again, it's as if you're trying to go verificationist, but you're presenting yourself as theological non-cognitivist. These aren't the same position. If you want to say that you will only accept statements as being meaningful if they can be shown to be true or false (and hence this conversation is not meaningful because the underlying statements cannot be shown true or false), then you've really butchered your argument completely. All of this analogy stuff that you've presented is worthless, and the conversation about "cognitive content" is a red herring to your own position. You've even stated that you don't even know if you can't even assent to logical possibility (which isn't even something a verificationist would say -- they would not get hung up on worrying about syntactically valid statements because they don't know what the words mean, but would rather accept whatever words are there and ask how they would show that statement to be true or false).

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However, I get the impression you are ok with it. You seem to be happy to have me say it is synatically correct, and that the sort of day to day analogies make sense, and that is enough for you. OK. We agree that this is all you have, that it's /thread after here. You seem mainly mad that I'm not willing to characterize that is particularly meaningful.
Not mad. Just amused at your inability to be coherent in this thread. It's really awful. If you were someone else looking in from the outside, you'd be able to see it.
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:58 AM   #41
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

edit: didn't see Aaron's post when posting this. It is a reply to tame.

I don't know about what anyone else says, but I don't see this "absolutetist claim about the known world" in what I've said. I'm unimpressed that you have done much meaningful. Some beings we have "no idea" about created, through some process we have no idea about, from some parent universe we have no idea about our universe. This just strikes me as basically doing nothing. We can't pick that up and carrying on a further conversation about it, can't analyze it further than noting its grammatical correctness, can't build it into a large framework of understanding. I just don't think you are really doing something. Maybe I'm wrong about that, and you and Aaron are about to launch into some deeper and more meaningful analysis of the phrase. But how do we get from that to me making an absoluting claim about the known world?

I don't follow the point about making computer models. I have no problem with that (and toy formal systems in mathematics are all kinds of fun). When someone writes such a thing there is all kinds of discussion and analysis we can talk about, analyzing the features of the toy world that is created. It isn't just "humans create world".
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:02 PM   #42
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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turning your brain activity down to 0.

Now you're just repeating that you're stupid.
**** off. If you are unwilling or unable to keep the schoolyard insults down, I've no interest in continuing.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:22 PM   #43
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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**** off. If you are unwilling or unable to keep the schoolyard insults down, I've no interest in continuing.
That's okay. Your entire position is premised on pretending to not know what's going on anyway.

Edit: This really is the heart of theological noncognitivism and why it's not a serious intellectual position. It just pretends that for this one particular type of thought, you're just too dumb to take part in the conversation. You're way better off just taking the verificationist perspective here. That one is at least moderately defensible in ways other than feigning a lack of intelligence.

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Old 09-05-2016, 04:45 PM   #44
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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edit: didn't see Aaron's post when posting this. It is a reply to tame.

I don't know about what anyone else says, but I don't see this "absolutetist claim about the known world" in what I've said. I'm unimpressed that you have done much meaningful. Some beings we have "no idea" about created, through some process we have no idea about, from some parent universe we have no idea about our universe. This just strikes me as basically doing nothing. We can't pick that up and carrying on a further conversation about it, can't analyze it further than noting its grammatical correctness, can't build it into a large framework of understanding. I just don't think you are really doing something. Maybe I'm wrong about that, and you and Aaron are about to launch into some deeper and more meaningful analysis of the phrase. But how do we get from that to me making an absoluting claim about the known world?

I don't follow the point about making computer models. I have no problem with that (and toy formal systems in mathematics are all kinds of fun). When someone writes such a thing there is all kinds of discussion and analysis we can talk about, analyzing the features of the toy world that is created. It isn't just "humans create world".
I'm a fan of translating positions or flipping them on their heads.

To me when the first thing I hear when I see this non-cognitivist position, is "our universe (somehow) made meaning." Now, I wouldn't disagree if someone inserted a "seemingly" or "as far as we know" in that bit.

The second thing I hear is "this meaning can only apply to things in this universe". This position is at its best completely unnecessary, and at its worst it is wrong. I don't mind guesses, but why assume something you can't know?

I mean, what is the most common protest against the cosmological argument? "If God can just pop into existence, why not a universe?" - this non-cognitivist position has the exact same counter... "If a universe can make meaning, why not a God?" (and yes, I realize a non-cognitivist would reject that due to the word "God", but that actually makes it worse, because now he is begging the question).
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:25 PM   #45
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

I agree with Uke.

The argument appears to be: if A and B are possible, then maybe A and B happened. And many physicists would argue that B is not impossible.

From the OP, "So I see nothing wrong with the notion that a being created our universe," weakly stated though it is, is fairly strong support for a notion that is on the same footing as "maybe in another universe, I'm 6' 10"; I've always wanted to be 6' 10"."

I can grant it for the sake of a discussion, but what does it give us? What do we do with that?
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:27 AM   #46
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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I agree with Uke.

The argument appears to be: if A and B are possible, then maybe A and B happened. And many physicists would argue that B is not impossible.

From the OP, "So I see nothing wrong with the notion that a being created our universe," weakly stated though it is, is fairly strong support for a notion that is on the same footing as "maybe in another universe, I'm 6' 10"; I've always wanted to be 6' 10"."

I can grant it for the sake of a discussion, but what does it give us? What do we do with that?
That's not agreeing with uke, that's agreeing with me. You are disagreeing with uke.

I'm the the one saying it doesn't matter either way.

Uke is saying the OP can't be understood as it holds no meaning.

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Old 09-06-2016, 01:45 AM   #47
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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I agree with Uke.

...

I can grant it for the sake of a discussion, but what does it give us? What do we do with that?
You don't agree with Uke on this point. He says he *can't* grant it because it he doesn't know how to interpret it. Non-cognitivism is the complete rejection of meaning. According to his view, we might as well be saying "FHUIHF KSDHFK SFCNXJ." (Well, not quite. He would at least grant that we have proper syntax, even if he can't grant us meaning.)

But one can also claim that "all unmarried men are bachelors" doesn't give you anything, and that you can't really do anything even if you grant that claim to be true. So there's still work to be done even with an uncontroversial claim.
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Old 09-06-2016, 02:25 AM   #48
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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Snip.
I should probably also have added this:

The reason "what ifs" hold merit because it means that one can reasonably argue that theism and atheism, while diametric opposites are not necessarily very different in practice. This tends to get a lot of panties in a twist of course, because people equate "theism" with their favorite religion to bash - but that's not correct. Theism at its basic core is merely "belief in god(s)".

It's how you arrived and what you derived at either view that is important and reasonable to debate.

An analogy can be that it isn't very important if Joe and Bob disagree on whether the basketball is in the garage, because it won't change where the basketball is. It's how they arrived at their respective conclusions, actions taken and evidence presented that matters.

So in essence my view is that if I were to debate Christianity with AaronW for example, it would hold no merit for me to reject "God" as a concept. It's the proposed effect of his God / religion and the evidence thereof I would hold as essential to the discussion.

And of course if I grant that I can reject "God" based on assumption about meaning, Aaron would get to do the same for "no God". Not a very healthy environment for debate.

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Old 09-06-2016, 07:27 AM   #49
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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The reason "what ifs" hold merit .
What ifs can be amusing entertainment, but uke might have a point in that what ifs kind of approach issues from the wrong direction.

To risk stating the obvious; If you want effective theories rather than fantasies the correct direction is from evidence to theory rather than from a priori assumptions to theory.
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:05 AM   #50
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Re: An alternate cosmological argument

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To me when the first thing I hear when I see this non-cognitivist position, is "our universe (somehow) made meaning." Now, I wouldn't disagree if someone inserted a "seemingly" or "as far as we know" in that bit.
I'm not sure why you hear this. Just for clarity, we aren't using "meaning" in the sense sort of like "purpose", this is not "my life has meaning". We are talking about whether words convey something. So I don't see how I'm suggesting anything of the sort that the universe made meaning?


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The second thing I hear is "this meaning can only apply to things in this universe". This position is at its best completely unnecessary, and at its worst it is wrong. I don't mind guesses, but why assume something you can't know?
I'm not stating or assuming this. Admittedly I quickly run into having no clue what you are talking about when it comes to things "outside" the universe, but that's because this is a domain I don't understand things in, not some sort of fundamental property of meaning i'm asserting.

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"If a universe can make meaning, why not a God?" (and yes, I realize a non-cognitivist would reject that due to the word "God", but that actually makes it worse, because now he is begging the question).
I've already rejected universes "making meaning", but "couldn't a god make meaning" seems like exactly the kind of sentence I don't understand wtf is meant by.

I"m curious: Aaron seems to believe that "beings create universes" means "that which could create a universes created a universes". And he wants me to call that meaningful in the way the vacuous "bachelors are married men" while not doing anything (unless as a definition) still is "meaningful" because it can be understood, pointless though it is. It seems to me like you have a wildly different view of your OP as saying something more than "bachelors are married men" which, hey, at least I understand what a bachelor is.
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