Monday, January 7, 2019

Comments at The Secular Outpost’s evaluation of Kreeft’s Case for God

It is an initially interesting series consisting of several parts which, unfortunately, at least in the case of challenging [1] the premise of Platonism and [2] the premise that Christian philosophers really do claim to lay out the full force of a sound and robust Christian metaphysic in “….two pages or less…”, so to speak, is not welcoming to dissenting voices which demand precision and follow-through (…moderation even deleting such content…).

The “part 8” and so on refer to which part of the series the comments are found. A fuller development of various premises was – given deleted comments by the moderator – not possible.

[Comment 1 (in part 8)]

"Having the tendency to become" The error in this analysis by Bowen is that he stacks up multiple X's (....a movie star without the potential to have gotten there gets there...and all his other examples...) and then just defines "Many-X's" as "One-X" and fallaciously concludes that Feser does the same. But of course the array of X's involved in that path from "Ugly and Non-Star" to "Famous Movie Star" must all be accounted for, from the beginning of one's T.O.E. to the end of one's T.O.E. But that *array* is missing and is even clumped together "as-if" it were all "One-X". Therefore Bowen's analysis is misguided on a huge chunk about change, or rather about becoming period. It's an incomplete analysis and one which lacks any attempt to actually address the reality of becoming. Perhaps Bowen can look into the various approaches to [A] Eternalism vs. [B] Presentism and start there, or end there, or something, as so far what is given has been either uninformed, incomplete, or both.

[Comment 2 (in part 8)]

Frame of Reference: While Physics-Full-Stop is good as far as it goes, it's just not the stopping point of the rational mind. It's peculiar that many, in fact all, of the premises of the Non-Theists here so far are defining one's T.O.E. by contingent reference frames rather than by the Absolute's Reference Frame (...which cannot be anything other than Self-Reference...), which is in the end irrational. Also their premises seem to assert that the Christian metaphysic falls into the same sorts of category errors and conflations, which is, again, in the end irrational.

As per the discussion in https://strangenotions.com/... and also as per the discussion in https://strangenotions.com/...

[Comment 3 (in part 9)]

The review of Kreeft's premises here could gain traction if Kreeft's premises summed to Occasionalism. But the A.T. Meta premises with respect to change yield no such terminus. Hence traction is missing. A bit more: http://disq.us/p/1prxnb5

[Comment 4 (in part 12)]

God does not cause the collection of particles we term "plant" to change. With respect to the content of the universe Kreeft's premises not only do not begin in Occasionalism, they do not end in Occasionalism either. That is why the A.T-Meta platform does not mind granting the past eternal universe, as doing so makes no difference whatsoever to the *actual* arguments vis-à-vis change. Time is a funny thing and it seems some of (not all of) the error here in the analysis of Kreeft is that it makes of "Time" some sort of Absolute Reference Frame, but Time is not the Reference Frame of the Absolute. The Christian and the Non-Theist both know that with respect to their differing explanatory termini. For that reason, and for the fallacy of Occasionalism, the analysis of Kreeft is misguided from the get-go, in that the following is *not* Kreeft's premise: "What caused the change in the man or the plant? God did!" Perhaps one should drop Occasionalism, embrace a past eternal universe, and, then, begin again with "what-it-is" vis-à-vis change and A.T. Meta premises. Brief looks at causality "definitions" as it were are in the content of http://disq.us/p/1lwnawv (..including a link to "occasionalism" and so on...).

[Comment 5 (in part 12)]

See the link to “Occasionalism”. It and and the rest of the comment both simply serve in clarifying that change inside the universe does not require God -- which is why Feser and others are happy to simply grant the past eternal universe. Also, the nuance of Occasionalism (as per the link etc.) is important as that is another segue into linking change inside the universe to God's proverbial finger (fallaciously). Those two nuances have far reaching consequences with respect to the analysis presented so far.

[Comment 6 (in part 12)]

It seems replies to Gabe and Ryan addressing Platonism, Mind, God, and Causality were deemed as not aimed at clarifying intellectual points relative to your premises. The following seems too off-topic and seems to have been deleted for a time. If it returns then perhaps one can point out where your premises are not being addressed:

On Time there are a few items, but, first, two brief observations:
“…radioactive decay appears to be random. There is apparently no prior physical event that triggers the radioactive decay event. So there does not seem to be “a thing” that causes the decay to occur at the specific time that it occurs…”
This is not related to your question on Time (…that’s two paragraphs down…), but, rather, it is mentioned only to point out that it misses the mark. As per Feser’s book Five Proofs as well as two threads, Part 1 http://edwardfeser.blogspot... and Part 2 http://edwardfeser.blogspot...
“….The number five does not have any temporal characteristics (it has no beginning, no end, no duration, and is unaffected by the passing of time). The number five thus appears to be something that is outside matter, and outside space, and outside time; therefore, the number five is “outside the material universe”. Thus, (3a) appears to be TRUE, even though Kreeft’s argument for (3a) FAILS. One important point to note about this concession that (3a) appears to be TRUE: if my reasoning is correct, then the same reasoning can be used to PROVE that (6a) is FALSE and that (8a) is FALSE. There are, after all, many numbers, not just one number. Thus, there are MANY things that are “outside the material universe”, such as the number one, the number two, the number three, etc. Therefore, premise (8a) is not just dubious, it is (according to this reasoning) FALSE, and we can PROVE it to be false….”
This is not related to your question on Time, but, rather, it is mentioned only to point out that you’re equating the metaphysical content of “God / Being Itself” to the content of Platonism. Hence your analysis here too misses the mark in that it is arguing against something which the proverbial A.T. Meta rejects – and – even worse – should one embrace Platonism then one must show where “that” gets it right with respect to causal ecosystems in juxtaposition to where “Being Itself” (…and so on…) gets it wrong with respect to causal ecosystems.

Abstract objects and so on both upstream and downstream are fine to posit as concrete objects, or whatever, but, you'll have to show that "that' in fact "works" and that you are justified in *equating* that content to the content of the Christian metaphysic. Mind, Divine Mind, Contingent Minds, and so on press in there, and you've not really followed through.

With respect to Time and Reference Frame:

I didn’t mean that you claimed Kreeft makes Time his A – Z and I should have been more clear on that. Rather, I mean that your body of premises aimed to argue against the proverbial A.T. Meta Proofs treat Time that way. As in:

The reason that Time is, so far at least, your A and your Z (so far) is that your entire analysis has discussed change from the perspective of contingent frames of reference. Which is to say you’ve not even discussed whether or not temporal becoming is real or illusory. That is to say you’ve not gone far enough upstream or downstream with whatever your own paradigm’s explanatory termini happen to be to discover whether or not the A.T Meta’s explanatory termini are in fact coherent or not.

Part of the problem which “Change In The Universe” faces is [A] it’s irrelevant to the proverbial Proofs vis-à-vis change which is why Feser and others are happy to grant the past eternal universe and [B] whether or not it (temporal becoming) is even *real* or *actual* in the first place. If it is real (actual), well then we are back to [A]. If is not real (if it is non-actual), well then we are back at [B] and Eternalism / Presentism arrive on scene. Therefore, Time is left just dangling in midair, as if it were the A – Z of one’s entire T.O.E.

To address Change without addressing Temporal Becoming is to address Change without addressing Time – and to stop “there” is to fail to address God, or, rather, the Divine Mind as per the Christian metaphysic. Not only that, but it also commits you to Time as your terminus of explanation on all points in this entire discussion of Proofs – which is – in the end – to define one’s T.O.E. by this or that contingent Reference Frame – which as pointed out does not go far enough and which is – in the end – irrational.

The Self-Explanatory comes in and by the Absolute's Frame of Reference, which cannot be less than Self-Reference. Where and how the Trinitarian Life subsumes all points there is another discussion but it is worth pointing out that the curious affair of short-circuiting reason's demands for lucidity within contingent reference frames just won't do.

Edit:

A few clarifying comments have been deleted by the Moderator it seems. Perhaps clarification isn't deemed helpful? Gabe's "Wow" content was replied to, and, that too was deleted. Ryan's request for clarification of intellectual points was replied to with content specific to radioactive decay, Platonism, and more. It seems to have been deleted now too. A few of those replies are copied in the thread of http://edwardfeser.blogspot... as that thread was linked to in a deleted comment here given its overlapping content as to the distinction between Physics and Metaphysics, the Empirical and Abstraction, and so on (...and hence Platonism, God, Mind, etc...).

Given Ryan's typical mode he does *not* seem like the sort who favors a mere Echo Chamber. However, in this thread, not so much.

[Comment 7 (in part 12)]

It seems that addressing premises isn’t welcome, and, then, that clarification of oneself is also not welcomed. Nonetheless:

Clarification:

I stated “The Self-Explanatory comes in and by the Absolute's Frame of Reference, which cannot be less than Self-Reference. Where and how the Trinitarian Life subsumes all points there is another discussion but it is worth pointing out that the curious affair of short-circuiting reason's demands for lucidity within contingent reference frames just won't do.”

However, by “short-circuiting reason's demands for lucidity within contingent reference frames just won't do” I am not referring to reason’s demands for lucidity within contingent reference frames, for, obviously, Reason in her proper role as truth-finder demands lucidity “there too” so to speak. Rather, what the comment references is Reason’s demands for lucidity not “just within this box” (so to speak) but in fact she reaches outward into all possible reference frames – to Totality. But of course Time is neither Absolute nor is Time The Absolute’s Own Reference Frame. Therein Physics as such leads the rational mind to that which is beyond physics – just as – in the Contingent Being – the contingent affairs of reason itself leads the rational mind beyond itself and into Reason Itself. The Divine Mind presses in.

As Dennis Bonnette points out, “…....perception-dependent judgments and calculations cannot possibly be ontological in nature….” Any contingent frame of reference necessarily fails to be self-justifying. As in self-explanatory. Any such Reference Frame leads one beyond itself, and into the Absolute's Reference Frame which cannot be other than Unconditional Self Reference amid the Infinite Knower, the Infinitely Known, and all Communique therein, as the triune topography of Infinite Consciousness – of the Divine Mind – presses in (https://www.metachristianit... ..). With respect to Physics, Time, and our own reason vis-à-vis our own contingent reference frame:

[1] http://disq.us/p/1o5v88h
[2] http://disq.us/p/1pn13tf
[3] http://disq.us/p/1or4mzh

The reality of temporal becoming is in fact actual or else it is in fact illusory. If the later: well then there is that discussion and the Non-Theist must deny change all together (...the discussions amid Eternalism, Presentism, and so on...). If the former: well then we arrive at Feser's (and others) seemingly odd willingness to just GRANT the Non-Theist his past-eternal universe for, as that odd willingness tells us, it grants *no* relief to the troubles which Non-Theism faces amid temporal becoming and the causal ecosystems therein.

[Comment 8 (in part 12)]

Radioactive Decay, Word Salad, and Wider Discussions:

What is it about the following which motivates you to expunge its content from the topics under review:

It is claimed that radioactive decay presents a problem. That is fine as far as it goes. However, to defend that one will need to address the three sources of Feser which refute that claim, namely the two blog posts (...linked to earlier...) and, then, if one has a digital copy of Five Proofs one can search for the word "radio" or "radioactive" and, the several hits which one finds will also have to be addressed. As for what is called word-salad, that is a discussion on the wider arena surrounding causation and change which have to be -- at some point -- "pulled in" as it were and shown to "fit" or else "not fit" into the argument. That is true for any argument, not just Non-Theistic or Theistic. Sure, expanding the lens of this discussion to point out that "this box" cannot be coherent if it fails to hold up "further out" (so to speak) may seem like "world salad" to some, but that is a mark of one's unawareness of why and how any particular "narrow slice" of observational reality is but a part of much larger, wider, discussions. And those discussions are not mine, but are in fact held by both Non-Theistic and Theistic thinkers alike in what is a rather interesting array of descriptions of reality's fundamental, or irreducible, nature. The fundamental nature of Time, Change, and Becoming are in fact inter-related (...perhaps intra-related is better...?) and are in fact relevant to this discussion and, therefore, all the affairs of "Reference Frame" necessarily weigh in.

A segue of sorts comes through observations of Abstractions and the Empirical: http://edwardfeser.blogspot...

The Wider, Thicker "metaphysic" surrounding radioactive decay cannot be defined as "word salad" if one wants to address the *actual* definitions (...premises...) put forth by the Christian metaphysic. To discount such definitions and premises in that manner leads one to misread the actual claims and to then embark on presenting arguments against this or that straw-man. Hence the problem of radioactive decay, causal ecosystems, temporal becoming, reference frame, and so on.

[Comment 9 (in part 12)]

[A] You specifically referred to Platonism. And opined. Therefore:

Immaterial numbers exist and therefore there is more than One Immaterial some-thing outside the universe. Therefore Kreeft errors. And Etc. Very well. You embrace that line of argument. Agree with it. The premises I introduce surrounding it sum to word salad. Completely unrelated to B.’s argument. The term “Being Itself” is also word salad — is also unrelated to the argument. Abstractions and Mind also have nothing to do with the arguments surrounding Platonism, God, Causation, and so on — it’s all unrelated — you say.
________________

[B] I’m not arguing the points. I’m merely making an observation of your content.

[Comment 10 (in part 12)]

I'm curious on your thoughts about Bradley's argument from Platonism. The intellectual points I raised were described by Gabe as unrelated to that argument, though they are presented to clarify the deficiencies in that argument. Platonism used the way Bradley used it is interesting, but it has several problems. A few of those relate directly to the nature of abstraction and mind, and the (radical) differences between Platonism vs. "God" or "Being Itself" as per the Kreeft/Feser body of premises. Perhaps you can share where this is all out of bounds with respect to clarifying some key intellectual points in the use of Platonism in that rather unique fashion by Bradley.

Also, for some reason, my initial comment which Bradley replied to, and which was present for over a day, is now missing. However, the content of that is helpful in giving the context of his question and of my reply (that thread). For example the link to "Occasionalism" is now missing, though it is a key intellectual point in need of clarifying.

[Comment 11 (in part 12)]

You seem to affirm Presentism, which is to say you seem to affirm that temporal becoming is real and not illusion, which is fine. Or: Tensed Time wins out over the Tenseless Block Universe. Which is fine.

However, Tenseless or Tensed, either way, such is an odd place to stop. As per http://disq.us/p/1ptuiad

[Comment 12 (in part 14)]

The errors there are the same which led you to conclude that radioactive decay is somehow problematic for the A.T. Meta landscape. Yet you didn’t address the premises behind Feser’s model in which radioactive decay isn’t problematic. Here you’ve now gone further downstream following that same, earlier, current, a current which several exits ago proved problematic for your line of reasoning.
I suppose I can again provide the three links to radioactive decay with respect to causality and then here, as there a few weeks ago, be charged with infusing *unrelated* content. Or not. Existence, change, being, and becoming seem relevant, though you may disagree.

Additionally, you left out the many arguments which describe just why it is a logical (...and metaphysical...) absurdity to claim that more than one [Being-Itself] exists or can possibly exist. You’ve merely stated K. hasn’t provided them. Let’s grant that. Is that then your “stopping point”? It out not be.

[Comment 13 (in part 14 and Deleted)]
....One cannot infer that “there is exactly one thing on which all things that need a present cause outside of themselves in order to exist are dependent for their existence right now.” For one thing, (5a) does not imply that there is EXACTLY ONE THING, at least not in any obvious way....
You are claiming that there is a problem and the reason for the problem is that, for all we know, since K. has not shown otherwise, there very well may be [A] more than one [Being-Itself] which exist or [B] which possibly exist (...and I suppose we can add [C] does not exist at all...).

A, B, and C are logical impossibilities (...metaphysical absurdities...) given the Christian metaphysic and what it means by the term [Being-Itself].

It's like the term "Reality". It is an absurdity to opine that there just may be, for all we know, since we've not been shown otherwise, 1.000089 "Realities", or 2, or 5. Of course, definitions matter and we've got to be careful not to conflate, equivocate, or expunge key layers.

It's also like the term or referent of "....the metaphysical wellspring of all ontic-possibility...". It is an absurdity to opine that there just may be, for all we know, since we've not been shown otherwise, not "1" or "One", but, instead, somehow, for all we know, this:

[1.000089] X [Said Fountainhead]

Another inroad perhaps: The claim of, "But K. has not shown otherwise...." seems trivial at best. First of all, as said already, definitions matter and we've got to be careful not to conflate, equivocate, or expunge key layers. Secondly: Reality, whatever it is, has but one true narrative and your insistence upon "Exactly One" as somehow problematic is itself problematic. The metaphysical fountainhead of all ontic-possibility, in fact Being Itself, is K.'s paradigmatic explanatory terminus. But your premise is that "1" is, for all we know, wrong and K's failure to show otherwise leaves that possibility open. It is your premise, there, which is busily claiming that something other than "1" is logically possible. It is at that point that the problem (...logical absurdity...) becomes yours and not K.'s for you are either setting up a straw-man and tearing it down or else you really do believe that something other than "1" is possible.

[Comment 14 (in part 14 and Deleted)]
....by subbing in values for x such as "Being Itself", but this does nothing to Bradley's critique unless Kreeft is using the same terms you do in the same arguments Bradley critiques....Craig does not.... S. does not....
It won't do for you to insist that Craig and K. and S. plug in something other than God as the ground of all being, just as it won't do to insist that Craig and K. and S. plug in something other than God as the proverbial Fountainhead of all ontic-possibility.

Instead one will have to address the whole show, one will have to connect the dots all the way to such explanatory termini and, then, loop it back around to Bradley's concern that there may be, there at the end of the line, at said Fountainhead, an open door to <1 or to >1.

To "slice out" one "part" of a much wider body of claims and to ban them, as you are here, is your choice. It guarantees success with said slice. Or, instead.... pushing one's margins outward to test them.... to see if they hold.... and all that...

[Comment 15 (for part 14 but not permitted)]
…..Kreeft is a fool for thinking he can make a reasonable case for God by writing about two pages each on twenty separate arguments. Kreeft's case is a JOKE; it is an invitation to IGNORANCE and STUPIDITY, it is an embarrassment to the philosophy of religion; it is a MODEL example of how NOT to think about the question "Does God exist?"….
And of course no one expects to draw out any thorough-going argument in a page or two. “Stupidity” would be precise but you must honestly believe Kreeft fully intends to lay out the full force of such topography and in fact believes he has done so in “….about two pages each….”

We can only believe, based on your tone and terms such as stupid / ignorant / embarrassment, that you really do believe that. Have you ever seen, or heard of, “concise” and/or “condensed” essays given not to do the *work* of the proverbial unabridged work but *rather* to introduce several layers within that larger body, so to speak? We can only believe, based on your tone, that you really never have heard of nor seen any such thing. Well, not really. Of course you have. But perhaps the attraction of a few hollow sound-bites in a blurb over in a blog is good enough. We all trip up there perhaps from time to time.  Which is unfortunate.

“Carrier Carries On” is at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2018/03/carrier-carries-on.html and like Carrier you take [Not-A] and equate it to [A] and then go on about how the Christian's premise of [A] is incoherent.

Perhaps in your own way you've given the Christian good evidence for his (the Christian's) own "QED", so to speak, regarding the topic of the thread. It approximates self-deception on the part of the Non-Theist in his (the Non-Theist's) pretend analysis of the Christian metaphysic.

E. Feser comments on a few basic criteria in the landscape of self-deception:

[1] http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/10/walter-mitty-atheism.html?showComment=1444541683395#c5184040431704814012

[2] http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/10/walter-mitty-atheism.html?showComment=1444541694376#c6385469427809387454



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