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Old 09-20-2020, 11:47 AM   #126
Aaron W.
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Re: Something from nothing

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Originally Posted by John21 View Post
Seems like we could avoid all that by arguing something like:

P: Nothing(ness) is impossible.
C: Necessarily, something exists.
This falls back into the same category as my first response to MB:

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
This is pretty uninteresting because you have more or less assumed the conclusion. You've also got some work to do in the definition of "nothing."
There's a full SEP article on just this idea alone: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nothingness/
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Old 09-20-2020, 03:42 PM   #127
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Re: Something from nothing

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Originally Posted by lagtight View Post
Why is "nothingness" impossible?

I don't see the logical necessity of existence.
It wasn't meant to be a standalone argument. It follows from tacitly accepting MB's P1 and P2. For if we accept (P1) something cannot come from nothing, we're also accepting that something cannot be reduced to nothing as well. So once (P2) there is something, nothingness becomes impossible.
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Old 09-20-2020, 03:57 PM   #128
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Re: Something from nothing

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
This falls back into the same category as my first response to MB:
I agree, hence my truncated argument. And I agree with you that MB's argument is invalid but not hopelessly so. I just don't think it's saying anything different than the theists arguments but more near a sub-argument of theirs like Aristotle's Prime Mover argument.

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There's a full SEP article on just this idea alone: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nothingness/
They could have left the page blank just for fun.

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Originally Posted by SEP
2. Is there at most one empty world?
Most philosophers would grant Peter van Inwagen’s premise that there is no more than one empty world.
I've never been able to wrap my mind around that concept. An inventory of all possible worlds contains a non-existent item?

Clerk: Hi, what can I get for you today?
Customer: Nothing.
Clerk: I'm sorry, we're out of nothing is there something else you'd like?
Customer: No thanks. If you don't have nothing I don't want anything at all.
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Old 09-21-2020, 01:25 AM   #129
Aaron W.
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Re: Something from nothing

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Originally Posted by John21 View Post
They could have left the page blank just for fun.
LOL.

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I just don't think it's saying anything different than the theists arguments but more near a sub-argument of theirs like Aristotle's Prime Mover argument.
MB's argument is sort of similar, but it's dissimilar in an important way.

MB's presentation is time-bound. That is, the only conclusion that can be reached is that if there exists something now, then there must have been something that existed before now. But you have no way to trace that backwards to any specific time. You just get "before." (He also referred to "periods where time doesn't exist" in Post #35, which would make everything fall apart because his argument is dependent upon time.)

The Prime Mover argument has the ability to trace back further because it isn't restricted with time-bound language. Instead, it uses ordinal language (first, second, third, etc.) to trace backwards. This means that you can move beyond "before" and get yourself all the way to "first." (Note that ordinal language does imply time in some sense if you reject backwards causality, so the use of ordinal language makes the statements stronger.)

The Kalam Cosmological argument is built on the Prime Mover argument, and so you're right to draw some parallels there. Here's SEP on the first mover in Aristotle's understanding:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-natphil/

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All this testifies to the exceptional status of the first movement, and behind it, of the first mover in the universe... [W]hat we hear in Metaphysics 12.6 is that the first mover moves as an object of love and striving, which comes perilously close to abandoning the claims of Physics bk. 8 to the effect that there is an unmoved mover serving as the efficient cause of the motions of the cosmos. Such doubts, however, should be dismissed. Aristotle is describing here in the terminology of his physics a supra-physical entity without which the universe could not function or persist. Small wonder if its mode of operation needs to subsume several different dimensions of physical causation.
The Kalam argument is structured around "things that began to exist have a cause" (with the universe being something that began to exist), and then the equivalent of the Prime Mover is "that which caused the universe to begin to exist." So it's similar, but still a little different and subject to slightly different questions. (For example, "Did the universe begin to exist?" I don't think this question has a good equivalent for the Prime Mover Argument.)

The Kalam argument also opens the door to asking more specifically about the nature of the thing that caused the universe to begin to exist (assuming that it did begin to exist). And in this way, it doesn't have to fit into Aristotle's natural philosophy for it to be addressed.
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Old 09-21-2020, 01:33 AM   #130
Aaron W.
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Re: Something from nothing

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Originally Posted by John21 View Post
It wasn't meant to be a standalone argument. It follows from tacitly accepting MB's P1 and P2. For if we accept (P1) something cannot come from nothing, we're also accepting that something cannot be reduced to nothing as well. So once (P2) there is something, nothingness becomes impossible.
I'm not sure that "we're also accepting that something cannot be reduced to nothing" follows from P1 and P2. Given that "something cannot come from nothing" I don't think that we can get that "nothing cannot come from something." In some sense, beginning to exist is more complicated than ceasing to exist.

However, if you accept something like there being only one possible universe, then since there is something (P2), I think you can conclude that nothingness is impossible, as there are no possible universes in which there is nothing. But I don't know if that's actually any better.
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Old 09-21-2020, 11:34 AM   #131
Aaron W.
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Re: Something from nothing

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Originally Posted by John21 View Post
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2. Is there at most one empty world?
Most philosophers would grant Peter van Inwagen’s premise that there is no more than one empty world.
I've never been able to wrap my mind around that concept. An inventory of all possible worlds contains a non-existent item?

Clerk: Hi, what can I get for you today?
Customer: Nothing.
Clerk: I'm sorry, we're out of nothing is there something else you'd like?
Customer: No thanks. If you don't have nothing I don't want anything at all.
If there is a store that sells blue balls and you buy none of them and someone else went to a store that sells red balls and you buy none of them, what happens if the two of you compare your purchases? Can you distinguish who went to which store based on the objects in your possession?

In math, we have an object called "the empty set" which is the set with no elements in it. We declare that this set is a subset of ALL possible sets, so that the nothingness of one set is equivalent to the nothingness of any other set.

That line of thinking is a bit closer to the concept presented here.
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Old 09-22-2020, 01:15 AM   #132
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Re: Something from nothing

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The Kalam argument also opens the door to asking more specifically about the nature of the thing that caused the universe to begin to exist (assuming that it did begin to exist). And in this way, it doesn't have to fit into Aristotle's natural philosophy for it to be addressed.
I think it does more than open the door to that. It also compels us to come up with something the nature of which meets certain requirements. For example, if for whatever reason we all agree that "Necessarily, something exists," I don't see how any of us can escape positing something ontologically akin to what you alluded to from Aristotle: "....a supra-physical entity...."

That's what I was getting at saying it's a sub-argument or probably more apt the beginning of the theist argument. The only real difference is that his formulation gets us to "Necessarily, something exists" instead of "Something necessarily exists." So while the argument gets us to the point where it need not be a deity, it also gets us to the point where it cannot be the 'physical' universe just like the theist arguments.

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
I'm not sure that "we're also accepting that something cannot be reduced to nothing" follows from P1 and P2. Given that "something cannot come from nothing" I don't think that we can get that "nothing cannot come from something." In some sense, beginning to exist is more complicated than ceasing to exist.
I agree that it's a whole lot easier to get a particular form to cease to exist than to be in the first place. But I have just as difficult time wondering how the totality of existence could cease as how it could come to be. For me, where it would go is just as hard to grasp as where it would come from.

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
If there is a store that sells blue balls and you buy none of them and someone else went to a store that sells red balls and you buy none of them, what happens if the two of you compare your purchases? Can you distinguish who went to which store based on the objects in your possession?

In math, we have an object called "the empty set" which is the set with no elements in it. We declare that this set is a subset of ALL possible sets, so that the nothingness of one set is equivalent to the nothingness of any other set.

That line of thinking is a bit closer to the concept presented here.
I get the one nothing part. But an empty set or an empty shopping cart are still somethings. The only difference is the latter is concrete and the former abstract. So we're still left with the underlying issue of justifying why the absence of being can become the presence of being through sheer thought.
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:08 AM   #133
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Re: Something from nothing

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
MB-C does not follow from MB-P1 and MB-P2. The fact that you have not addressed this even though it is among the first things I said to you (see Post #26) shows just how little you actually care about careful reasoning. All of the bluster shows that you also don't care about intellectual honesty. The combination of those two is why you've failed to make any progress as a thinker over all of these years.
The fact that you are still claiming that the OP argument is logically invalid when it isn't and trying to use an argument that itself is guilty of special pleading ["That something must have come from something else"]... whilst steadfastly refusing to continue the attempt you started to show how none of my beliefs are informed by formal logic... Just proves how dishonest you are.

I'm not really getting anything from pursuing this with you. Even the delight at you admitting that you don't think god can be proved with formal logic and the way you leapt at the chance to throw a fundamental Christian tenet under the bus just to prove me wrong... has worn off now. You don't really have anything of interest to say.
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:13 AM   #134
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Re: Something from nothing

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Nice. I agree.
There is a line between those two types of coming to a conclusion. That's why they're considered to be different schools of philosophy.

That's not to devalue either or that we can't use both though. I don't think that we have to choose between them. I regularly use both.

(With a caveat - that an Empirical ideal is impossible because we can't trust our perceptions.)
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:40 AM   #135
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Re: Something from nothing

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Originally Posted by lagtight View Post
Why is "nothingness" impossible?

I don't see the logical necessity of existence.
I'm not making that claim, or any claim about something or nothing. I'm taking a theistic claim that 'something can't come from nothing' which is used to suport that there must have been a 'first uncaused cause' and to refute the atheist claim that 'something can come from nothing'.

The purpose of the OP was not to prove the argument, it was to cause problems for that claim. Either I was going to be accused of special pleading, which would support my view that Kalam is guilty of special pleading, or 'nothing' would have to be redefined to cause problems for the OP argument but without causing problems for the theistic claim that caused me to post the argument, and I was intrigued to see if that was possible.

One result was Aaron admitting that he doesn't think that god can be proved using formal logic, that not all of this beliefs are logical, and that both the universe and God could always have existed (thus abandoning Creationism). You have to admit, that's not insignificant.... For my part, the OP has been very successful in forcing revelations like those.
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:42 AM   #136
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Re: Something from nothing

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Originally Posted by John21 View Post
It wasn't meant to be a standalone argument. It follows from tacitly accepting MB's P1 and P2. For if we accept (P1) something cannot come from nothing, we're also accepting that something cannot be reduced to nothing as well. So once (P2) there is something, nothingness becomes impossible.
I'd be happy for everyone to accept that something can come from nothing. But, that would present a number of very serious problems for the theist position.

Given what theists clearly mean by their claim, the argument is logically valid. I'm happy to examine the truth value of the premises.
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Old 09-25-2020, 03:28 PM   #137
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Re: Something from nothing

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
I'd be happy for everyone to accept that something can come from nothing. But, that would present a number of very serious problems for the theist position.
Obviously. But it wouldn't really present a problem to their argument in the way you're suggesting because they aren't claiming something cannot come from nothing, full stop, despite my attempts to make that work upthread.

What they're claiming is that something cannot come from nothing without violating the PSR. That's why I'm saying your argument is invalid but not hopelessly so because you could simply amend your conclusion to read: Therefore, there has never been nothing if the PSR holds. But as I said, that's just Aristotle's argument that plenty reject, apologetics aside.

This better articulates what I'm getting at:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sufficient-reason/
Quote:
Leibniz presents arguments for the existence of God from the PSR in a number of different places (for example, The Ultimate Origination of Things, G VII 302–3; L 486–8. Monadology §37). Suppose that God does not exist. If God does not exist, then the only things that exist are contingent beings. Would the entire series of contingent things have an explanation? The explanation of the entire series cannot be a member of the series since then it would explain itself and no contingent thing is self-explanatory. But the explanation cannot be outside of the series because we have assumed that there is no non-contingent being, i.e., God. Thus if God did not exist, there would be something unexplained: the series of contingent beings. Everything has an explanation. Therefore God exists.
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Old 09-25-2020, 07:35 PM   #138
Aaron W.
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Re: Something from nothing

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
The fact that you are still claiming that the OP argument is logically invalid when it isn't...
All you're doing is sitting there with your arms crossed saying nuh-uh.

I've given you an explicit demonstration of its failure. Tell me why the analysis of your argument that I provided failed. Show me how the presentation I've given uses something other than MB-P1 and MB-P2, or show me how the analysis fails to reach the conclusion I show that it does.

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... and trying to use an argument that itself is guilty of special pleading ["That something must have come from something else"]
Quote:
Originally Posted by MB's OP
P1) Nothing comes from nothing
That's YOUR premise MB-P1. It's not an argument. It's literally the first hypothesis. It's taken as true for sake of the argument.

Do you really not understand how syllogisms work after all these years? Do you not know what it means for an argument to be "valid"? Have you again confused yourself and are actually trying to show that the argument is "not sound"?

Last edited by Aaron W.; 09-25-2020 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 10-03-2020, 11:06 AM   #139
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Re: Something from nothing

So its might be fun reading Aaron pummel M'boosh into the ground without him noticing, but glad we're back to the OP.

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
P1) Nothing comes from nothing
P2) There is something
..C1) Therefore there has never been nothing
Assuming there is a hidden "always" in P1 it seems like a reasonable syllogism as far as it goes. Although there is a somewhat naive approach to what time is.

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
I've experienced a spike recently in the number of theists I encounter who are claiming that atheists believe that 'nothing created something' or 'nothing caused something'. Some might, but I don't.
The problem with the OP is not the syllogism but rather that it is a strawman. It is making assumptions about what theists and atheists believe and addressing these. However, atheists and theists here don't seem to hold these beliefs.

The OP's post would be best placed alongside the argument of the particular theist and atheist against which he is arguing. M'Boosh how about linking to the particular argument you are attempting to counter?
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Old 10-04-2020, 03:51 PM   #140
Aaron W.
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Re: Something from nothing

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Assuming there is a hidden "always" in P1 it seems like a reasonable syllogism as far as it goes. Although there is a somewhat naive approach to what time is.
Being reasonable and being logically valid are two different standards. As I pointed out with Zeno's paradox of the tortoise and Achilles, there's a reasonable argument that Achilles will never catch the tortoise. We would probably accept the logic as being valid if not for the argument from reality that Achilles can, in fact, catch up. That causes us to explore it more deeply.

The problem with the argument lies in the regression issue. The repeating of a step over and over again an infinite number of times is problematic. And that's precisely the same failure as MB's argument. The addition of "always" (which I consider implicit -- as the use of a "sometimes" in that spot would be an instant failure for the argument) doesn't change that.

There are two resolutions of the paradox. Either the argument is invalid or the argument is unsound (valid, but the premises are false). It's difficult to argue against the premises. In the amount of time it takes for Achilles to get to where the tortoise was, the tortoise would definitely have moved further ahead. And that's the heart of the argument.

So we conclude that the argument is invalid. And we can understand the invalidity of it because we are implicitly using an infinite regression process that crunches into the time concept of "Achilles can never catch up."

MB's argument runs into the same flaw. Repeating a process infinitely does not imply that you can move forward (or backwards) to any time value that you want.
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Old 10-14-2020, 06:56 AM   #141
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Re: Something from nothing

.....................

I read something somewhere from a scientist who said that 100 years from now we will have much better answers to questions about the origin of the the universe, and that we will have a strong scientific understanding of these great and overwhelming questions
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