Attn Ridgeback..from Prof.

Ridgeback,

Among Keefer's arguments is the "Argument from first cause." Even though there are problems with the basic premise of the first cause, let's grant the premise anyway: Let's say, as theists say, that there must be a first cause, which itself must be uncaused. As keefer puts it: "Such a being would have to be God, of course. If we can prove there is such a first cause, we will have proved there is a God. "

The first philosophically unwarranted leap in logic is to assume the first cause is a "being" (implying consciousness).

There is plenty of evidence and scientific insight supporting that we human beings with our complex brains and creative powers originated from simpler non-conscious causes. For instance, evolutionary theory traces the existence of our brains back to simple organic forms that could not "think." As well, in big bang theory the universe's origin is traced to an infinitely small, dense non-sentient "singularity," which has none of the properties we would associate with a "mind." It's expansion is said to have "caused" our universe, with new properties emerging as it expanded.

So there is no warrant to insist that a "first cause" must be intelligent or represent a "mind" of any sort, as many fundamental causes are posited to be non-sentient.

And those first causes can be even simpler in character than the later effects. Therefore the logical link between this philosophical first cause and a "creating, thinking, being" is not there. And even further removed is the link between first cause to the specific character of the Christian God. And I have never, ever heard a Christian apologist of any status make a valid connection between the first cause argument and a sentient God, neverless the Christian God. (And having read keefer's expansion of the argument from first cause on his web-site, I note he fails to make the connection too...only arbitrarily asserting "God-hood" to this first cause).

Some theists like to work first from the character of the Christian God, saying his attributes must make him the first cause. However, this is nothing but a set of arbitrary assertions, in which a character (God) is defined as being, among other things, the "first cause." That He is "uncaused," the "greatest good" the "necessary being" is an arbitrary assertion, not a necessary provable one.

Keefer uses the Argument From Design too. Philosopher David Hume did a great job of tearing that apart centuries ago (in his "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion").. Evolutionary theory also takes the carpet out from the feet of that argument as well (in terms of the design of living things, from which the Argument From Design typically gets it's cue). He also asserts "the human brain is the most carefully designed thing in the universe." First, he assumes what he wants to assume: that the brain had a designer. Secondly, he's flat out wrong about the brain. It is full of "poor design." (The list could be a long one, but one example: it was designed "too large," in that it is so big, necessitating a skull so large, that a baby traversing down the birth canal is both excruciatingly painful for the mother and hazardous to both the health of the mother and the infant...there is a reason why the death rate of infants and mothers was so high before modern medicine could deal with these hazards).

The argument that probably irks the most is the argument from morality. First the theist posits that an objective source of morality exists, (Christian God) which he can't prove. Then he posits that there is an objective morality detectable in humanity - which he emphatically can not prove (even Christians can't agree on many moral issues). Then he posits that no morality can be had without the Christian God, which is contradicted by every non-Christian who acts morally (such as myself). People make moral choices for reasons. If we say someone "should" make a "moral" choice it means there is a reason someone should make a moral choice. You don't simply say: "You should do X." "Why?" "Oh, I don't know, you just should." That is not the basis of a moral system. A moral system incorporates a set of consequences for not carrying out those moral choices. The Christian has his set of reasons for making his moral choices, the non-Christian has his reasons.
I have yet to see a Christian show his reasons are "more moral" than my reasons. There have been many secular systems of morality, based upon reasoning, not simply on fear of or love for a God. There is so much wrong with the assertion that morality, value or "meaning" must come from a God...but I've run out of time for now...

Later,

Prof.

"There is plenty of evidence and scientific insight supporting that human beings with consciousness originated from simpler non-consciousness. For instance, evolutionary theory traces the existence of our brains back to simple organic forms that could not "think.""

Could you give some specifics here?

Fudo, before your post (or before I saw your post) I had actually re-written that to:

"There is plenty of evidence and scientific insight supporting that we human beings with our complex brains and creative powers originated from simpler non-conscious causes."

By "causes" I actually meant "previous states or previous forms." (Which I admit is still sort of bad wording...although I could also submit that by causes I include the interaction of apparently blind physical laws that provided for evolution).

In other words the simpler organisms from which evolutionary theory posits all life on earth evolved. Specifics would be all that evidence and reasoning supporting the theory of "common descent," in which the origins of present life forms are traced back to shared ancestry with earlier primitive life forms.

A nice, simple chronology here:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/link/hist_nf.html

These simple plants, single-celled organisms, amoebas etc. were simpler forms than we are, and would not have "minds" "intelligence" or "self-consciousness" in the way either theists or most non-theists would define the word.

I'm sure you must be familiar with the theory.

Prof.

Prof,
Thank you for the comments. If you get a chance to read the very long debate I put up a link to let me know. I think you would really enjoy it because it is much more science-dense and I think that this particular debater poses more water-tight arguments than Dr. Kreeft. I am still reading it because it is a ten part debate between an atheist and christian and some of the posts are like short books.

  I also think you would have done a better job debating him than the atheist did.  He was weak on his science and that hurt him. 

Prof,
Thank you for the comments. If you get a chance to read the very long debate I put up a link to let me know. I think you would really enjoy it because it is much more science-dense and I think that this particular debater poses more water-tight arguments than Dr. Kreeft. I am still reading it because it is a ten part debate between an atheist and christian and some of the posts are like short books.

  I also think you would have done a better job debating him than the atheist did.  He was weak on his science and that hurt him. 

Here's the link again:

http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=7709

By the way, the reason I am not debating your points is that A. I am not interested in arguing for someone else who can do their own arguing and B. I am more interested in finding the holes or objections right now. When I debate something I like to do it off the cuff and even though I do it sometimes I hate it when other people say "just read what this guy said he explains it all". I think if a person can't express their own beliefs clearly they need to keep studying. I don't have an issue with links to research or evidence but just passing off the whole debate to another thinker. Some info is too complex to put in a post.

 If you don't have time or an interest in reading this monstrosity that is no problem.  I have been reading for hours and I am still not done.

Ooops double post.

"These simple plants, single-celled organisms, amoebas etc. were simpler forms than we are, and would not have "minds" "intelligence" or "self-consciousness" in the way either theists or most non-theists would define the word. "

I know from previous discussions, your view on the philosophy of Mind, but still it´s an unsolved problem for Physicalism, how the qualititalively different dimension of counsciouness could evolve from something without a counsciounness.

Fudo,

The mind/body problem doesn't play into the argument I'm making either way. It's about whether the "cause" of the complexity we see in the universe and in ourselves need be complex itself.

As I said my argument was that "there is no warrant to insist that a 'first cause' must be intelligent or represent a "mind" of any sort,"...

So I pointed out there are evidentially supported theories that posit the complexity we see originated from simpler, non-"thinking" states - i.e from nothing resembling a complex "mind."

Prof.