Bill O'Reilly Proves the Existence of God


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Keith Olbermann also (predictably) jumped upon this truly embarrassing segment where O'Reilly asserts that atheists are defeated because they cannot explain what causes tides. :huh: Apparently never having heard about the moon's gravitational effect, he thinks it's God causing tides. :rolleyes::lol:

O'Reilly's guest, a spokesman for American Atheists, has this incredulous look upon his face after hearing this "argument", as if he cannot believe that his host is offering that as a refutation of atheism. :wacko:

There's nothing that the Left, especially their MSM, loves to do more than to use ridicule as a weapon to make it look like only idiots would oppose their "Progressive" views.

And then O'Reilly eagerly proves them right! :blush:

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O'Reilly has immortalized the Argument from Ignorance. He has given it prime time coverage.

In a way he was right. Can an atheist say why there is a moon and why there is gravity?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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O'Reilly has immortalized the Argument from Ignorance. He has given it prime time coverage.

In a way he was right. Can an atheist say why there is a moon and why there is gravity?

Ba'al Chatzaf

Bob:

Ahh, I was wondering when someone was going to bring up that obvious point.

So we then walk it back to spontaneous existence popping out of nothing or ______________ fill in the blank...a sentient entity called a God, or an unconcerned watchmaker who just creates a watch and lets it tick away?

It sure does seem to get down to accepting one paradigm or another on faith though.

Adam

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Gosh! :huh: Just when I thought that a forum called "Objectivist Living" would be composed largely of people who actually call themselves Objectivists or at least are familiar with and in basic agreement with Objectivist metaphysics.

Or at least have a minimum understanding of the science of Physics...maybe might have heard of Newton (not "Fig Newton," Isaac Newton!) etc.

Hmmm, maybe not. :unsure: :unsure: Slept through those boring Physics lectures, huh? :blink:

Or, what is your alternate explanation of what causes tides? God? Other spiritual entities? Moon-unit Zappa? The ghosts of William Jennings Bryan and Jerry Falwell?, other?

If you don't believe that modern physics can "explain" gravity or the action of the tides being caused by the moon's gravitational force, please provide references to physicists or astronomers that have alternate explanations.

Or, are you guys just putting me on? :blush:

Edited by Jerry Biggers
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I read a response by Nathaniel Branden, in answer to a readers question about the existence of God, in the Objectivist Newsletter, or The Objectivist, years ago. I believe the question went something like this: Since everything in the universe requires a cause, must not the universe itself require a cause? Branden's response was pure logic. I was stunned. At that moment I no longer was a theist.

Anyone have a link to Branden's article. I'd love to read it again.

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I read a response by Nathaniel Branden, in answer to a readers question about the existence of God, in the Objectivist Newsletter, or The Objectivist, years ago. I believe the question went something like this: Since everything in the universe requires a cause, must not the universe itself require a cause? Branden's response was pure logic. I was stunned. At that moment I no longer was a theist.

Anyone have a link to Branden's article. I'd love to read it again.

I found it!

Question: Since everything in the universe requires a cause, must not the universe itself have a cause, which is god?

Answer:

There are two basic fallacies in this argument. The first is the assumption that, if the universe required a causal explanation, the positing of a "god" would provide it. To posit god as the creator of the universe is only to push the problem back one step farther: Who then created the god? Was there still an earlier god who created the god in question? We are thus led to an infinite regress - the very dilemma that the positing of a "god" was intended to solve. But if it is argued that no one created god, that god does not require a cause, that god has existed eternally - then on what grounds is it denied that the universe has existed eternally?

It is true that there cannot be an infinite series of antecedent causes. But recognition of this fact should lead one to reappraise the validity of the initial question, not to attempt to answer it by stepping outside the universe into some gratuitously invented supernatural dimension.

This leads to the second and more fundamental fallacy in this argument: the assumption that the universe as a whole requires a causal explanation. It does not. The universe is the total of that which exists. Within the universe, the emergence of new entities can be explained in terms of the actions of entities that already exist: The cause of a tree is the seed of the parent tree; the cause of a machine is the purposeful reshaping of matter by men. All actions presuppose the existence of entities - and all emergences of new entities presuppose the existence of entities that caused their emergence. All causality presupposes the existence of something that acts as a cause. To demand a cause for all of existence is to demand a contradiction: if the cause exists, it is part of existence; if it does not exist, it cannot be a cause. Nothing cannot be the cause of something. Nothing does not exist. Causality presupposes existence; existence does not presuppose causality. There can be no cause "outside" of existence or "anterior" to it. The forms of existence may change and evolve, but the fact of existence is the irreducible primary at the base of all causal chains. Existence - not "god" - is the First Cause.

Just as the concept of causality applies to events and entities within the universe, but not to the universe as a whole - so the concept of time applies to events and entities within the universe, but not to the universe as a whole. The universe did not "begin" - it did not, at some point in time "spring into being." Time is a measurement of motion. Motion presupposes entities that move. If nothing existed, there could be no time. Time is "in" the universe; the universe is not "in" time.

The man who asks, "Where did existence come from?" or "What caused it?" is the man who has never grasped that existence exists. This is the mentality of a savage or a mystic who regards existence as some sort of incomprehensible miracle - and seeks to "explain" it by reference to non-existence.

Existence is all that exists, the nonexistent does not exist; there is nothing for existence to have come out of - and nothing means nothing. If you are tempted to ask, "What's outside the universe?" - recognize that you are asking, "What's outside of existence?" and that the idea of "something outside of existence" is a contradiction in terms; nothing is outside of existence, and "nothing" is not just another kind of "something" - it is nothing. Existence exists: you cannot go outside it; you cannot get under it, on top of it, or behind it. Existence exists - and only existence exists: There is nowhere else to go.

-- Nathaniel Branden

http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/branden.htm

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I read a response by Nathaniel Branden, in answer to a readers question about the existence of God, in the Objectivist Newsletter, or The Objectivist, years ago. I believe the question went something like this: Since everything in the universe requires a cause, must not the universe itself require a cause? Branden's response was pure logic. I was stunned. At that moment I no longer was a theist.

Anyone have a link to Branden's article. I'd love to read it again.

The article that you are referring to was incorporated into Lecture 4: The Concept of God, in the NBI lecture course, Basic Principles of Objectivism (now available in print as The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism. [2009, Cobden Press/Laissez Faire Books]).

Incidentally, arguments presented in that lecture were later given a much more detailed presentation in a chapter using the same title, "The Concept of God," in George H. Smith's Atheism: The Case Against God(Nash Publishing, 1974 and Prometheus Books, 1979).

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I read a response by Nathaniel Branden, in answer to a readers question about the existence of God, in the Objectivist Newsletter, or The Objectivist, years ago. I believe the question went something like this: Since everything in the universe requires a cause, must not the universe itself require a cause? Branden's response was pure logic. I was stunned. At that moment I no longer was a theist.

Anyone have a link to Branden's article. I'd love to read it again.

The article that you are referring to was incorporated into Lecture 4: The Concept of God, in the NBI lecture course, Basic Principles of Objectivism (now available in print as The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism. [2009, Cobden Press/Laissez Faire Books]).

Incidentally, arguments presented in that lecture were later given a much more detailed presentation in a chapter using the same title, "The Concept of God," in George H. Smith's Atheism: The Case Against God(Nash Publishing, 1974 and Prometheus Books, 1979).

Thanks Jerry.

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It sure does seem to get down to accepting one paradigm or another on faith though.

Adam

Every physicist I have met believes in the uniformity of physical laws. I say believes. Why. Because no physicist I have met has been everywhere and everywhen to empirically see for himself that physical law is uniform throughout space and time. So why do physicists believe in the uniformity of physical law? Simple. In order to do physics you have to assume the uniformity of physical laws at some level of abstraction. Without an underlying invariance of principle it is logically impossible to do empirically based science.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I read a response by Nathaniel Branden, in answer to a readers question about the existence of God, in the Objectivist Newsletter, or The Objectivist, years ago. I believe the question went something like this: Since everything in the universe requires a cause, must not the universe itself require a cause? Branden's response was pure logic. I was stunned. At that moment I no longer was a theist.

Anyone have a link to Branden's article. I'd love to read it again.

The same argument is made in VoS and was what converted me to atheism from deism after a few days of thinking about it.

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It sure does seem to get down to accepting one paradigm or another on faith though.

Adam

Every physicist I have met believes in the uniformity of physical laws. I say believes. Why. Because no physicist I have met has been everywhere and everywhen to empirically see for himself that physical law is uniform throughout space and time. So why do physicists believe in the uniformity of physical law? Simple. In order to do physics you have to assume the uniformity of physical laws at some level of abstraction. Without an underlying invariance of principle it is logically impossible to do empirically based science.

I am sorry, but in which direction have astronomers looked where the same laws of physics which apply here don't apply there? Your statement is profoundly silly. Not only is it empirical fact that everywhere we look the laws of physics are uniform, even if they did vary that would simply be their nature, that they would vary. The very notion that the nature of things could differ from the nature of things is arbitrary (no evidence) and incoherent. To call this a "belief" is to fail to understand the difference between knowledge and faith.

Edited by Ted Keer
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It sure does seem to get down to accepting one paradigm or another on faith though.

Adam

Every physicist I have met believes in the uniformity of physical laws. I say believes. Why. Because no physicist I have met has been everywhere and everywhen to empirically see for himself that physical law is uniform throughout space and time. So why do physicists believe in the uniformity of physical law? Simple. In order to do physics you have to assume the uniformity of physical laws at some level of abstraction. Without an underlying invariance of principle it is logically impossible to do empirically based science.

I am sorry, but in which direction have astronomers looked where the same laws of physics which apply here don't apply there?

They interpret the view through the telescope in terms of the physical laws they hold. The observation is inherently theory laden.

In addition to which astronomers cannot observe processes at the sub-atomic level at that distance. They would have to go where they are looking with all their equipment to verify that ALL the physical laws hold at a distance. In addition they assume conservation of momentum which implies translational invariance of physical laws. The assumption is that moving ones equipment in a straight line from here to there does not change its operations. Conservation of momentum has been observed close up by measurement and is assumed to hold far far away. But if one has not gone far far away to check, what you have is an assumption.

In fact the simplest measurements are theory laden. Measure a book shelf in your room. Then carry the ruler to another room and measure a book shelf there. You have assumed the trip has not distorted the ruler. If you say you can check, this then you would need another ruler. How do you know the other ruler was not distorted when it was moved. Again the the symmetry of physical law and process under a translation is assumed. We assume our measuring rods are sufficiently rigid to give consistent measurements here and there.

So far no one has made an observation in which the conservation of momentum (or equivalently, the covariance of physical law under translation) is falsified. Is this guaranteed in a very strong gravitational field? No one has gone just shy of the event horizon of a Black Hole to find out.

And if you think I am being unnecessarily skeptical think of what happened when Fritz Zwicky and Vera Rubin found the rotation curves of stars on the rim of distant galaxies exhibited non-Keplarian motion. Surprise! That is why the provisional hypothesis of dark matter has been proposed. In order to maintain the uniformity of physical law. Look it up.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotation_curves

Ba'al Chatzaf

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It sure does seem to get down to accepting one paradigm or another on faith though.

Adam

Every physicist I have met believes in the uniformity of physical laws. I say believes. Why. Because no physicist I have met has been everywhere and everywhen to empirically see for himself that physical law is uniform throughout space and time. So why do physicists believe in the uniformity of physical law? Simple. In order to do physics you have to assume the uniformity of physical laws at some level of abstraction. Without an underlying invariance of principle it is logically impossible to do empirically based science.

I am sorry, but in which direction have astronomers looked where the same laws of physics which apply here don't apply there?

They interpret the view through the telescope in terms of the physical laws they hold. The observation is inherently theory laden.

In addition to which astronomers cannot observe processes at the sub-atomic level at that distance. They would have to go where they are looking with all their equipment to verify that ALL the physical laws hold at a distance. In addition they assume conservation of momentum which implies translational invariance of physical laws. The assumption is that moving ones equipment in a straight line from here to there does not change its operations. Conservation of momentum has been observed close up by measurement and is assumed to hold far far away. But if one has not gone far far away to check, what you have is an assumption.

In fact the simplest measurements are theory laden. Measure a book shelf in your room. Then carry the ruler to another room and measure a book shelf there. You have assumed the trip has not distorted the ruler. If you say you can check, this then you would need another ruler. How do you know the other ruler was not distorted when it was moved. Again the the symmetry of physical law and process under a translation is assumed. We assume our measuring rods are sufficiently rigid to give consistent measurements here and there.

So far no one has made an observation in which the conservation of momentum (or equivalently, the covariance of physical law under translation) is falsified. Is this guaranteed in a very strong gravitational field? No one has gone just shy of the event horizon of a Black Hole to find out.

And if you think I am being unnecessarily skeptical think of what happened when Fritz Zwicky and Vera Rubin found the rotation curves of stars on the rim of distant galaxies exhibited non-Keplarian motion. Surprise! That is why the provisional hypothesis of dark matter has been proposed. In order to maintain the uniformity of physical law. Look it up.

See http://en.wikipedia....Rotation_curves

Ba'al Chatzaf

Yes, the spectra of stars on the other side of the universe show the same lines as our sun and chemicals on the earth not because the physics is the same but because our theories make it so.

I suppose the existence of Helium, which was discovered first by its spectral presence in the light of the sun, and only later discovered as a gas here on earth, was necessitated not by the reality to which you just pledged fealty:

My system of metaphysics, if you want to call it that is very simple:

There is an Out There out there and neurologically competent human beings can grasp enough of it to survive.

but by the notions in the minds of scientists?

You are tied up in contradictions and chock full of shit.

You depend on the presumed ignorance of your audience and their lack of attention span from post to post and thread to thread for the fraud you try to perpetrate.

Edited by Ted Keer
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but by the notions in the minds of scientists?

You are tied up in contradictions and chock full of shit.

You depend on the presumed ignorance of your audience and their lack of attention span from post to post and thread to thread for the fraud you try to perpetrate.

Any conclusions a scientist makes is TESTED under stringent conditions. If the results are false to observed fact or incoherent with previously established conclusions then the hypothesis being tested is falsified. It is experiment, measurement and observation that keeps science from becoming the world game that unscientific philosophy is. The facts keep the scientists honest. And THAT is the difference between science and philosophy.

The result: Science delivers. It delivers coherent descriptions of the the world and consequentially it helps delivers the technology that makes us prosperous and healthy. On the other hand what has philosophy produced? Confusion and contradictions. And very little that is of practical use, such as a computer or an A-bomb.

By the way, I give references (which you don't). I give pointers into the literature (which you don't). I am not depending on ignorance at all. I expect people to read the references I provide. If you are referring to the reference to rotation curves, they are as good as can be. Follow the pointers into the literature on the subject. The astronomers peered into the heavens and found non-Keplerian motion. Surprise! Kepler's third law is falsified or rendered moot, perhaps by the presence of matter not heretofore detected. There may be stuff out there that is pulling on the stars other than other stars such as Kepler and Newton supposed. As Haldane once said: the Universe is not only queerer than than we suppose, it is queerer than we can suppose. Nature is uniform we have yet to establish that uniformity absolutely by direct observation. We cannot see everything there is. The Universe is big and our lifetime is short. The Uniformity of Nature is a heuristic supposition. It has been supported thus far by looking and it is something that we must suppose if we are to go on looking.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf
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I read a response by Nathaniel Branden, in answer to a readers question about the existence of God, in the Objectivist Newsletter, or The Objectivist, years ago. I believe the question went something like this: Since everything in the universe requires a cause, must not the universe itself require a cause? Branden's response was pure logic. I was stunned. At that moment I no longer was a theist.

Anyone have a link to Branden's article. I'd love to read it again.

The article that you are referring to was incorporated into Lecture 4: The Concept of God, in the NBI lecture course, Basic Principles of Objectivism (now available in print as The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism. [2009, Cobden Press/Laissez Faire Books]).

Incidentally, arguments presented in that lecture were later given a much more detailed presentation in a chapter using the same title, "The Concept of God," in George H. Smith's Atheism: The Case Against God(Nash Publishing, 1974 and Prometheus Books, 1979).

Thanks Jerry.

You are welcome. Here is an excerpt from that chapter where Branden discusses the "First Cause Argument:"

Perhaps the most well known of such arguments goes as follows: since everything in the universe requires a cause, must not the universe itself have a cause, which is God? This is best known as the First Cause Argument. Let us consider it.

Since everything in the universe requires a cause, this argument goes, must not the universe itself have a cause, which is God? There are two fallacies in this argument. The first is the assumption that if the universe required a causal explanation, the positing of a God would provide it. To posit God as the Creator of the universe is only to push the problem back one step farther. Who, then, created God? Was there a still-earlier God, who created the God in question? We are thus led to an infinite regress, the very dilemma that the positing of a God was intended to solve. But if it is argued that no one created God, that God does not require a cause, that God has existed eternally, then on what grounds is it denied that the universe has existed causally? In other words, once one grasps the concept and necessity of “something that always existed, but that was not brought into existence,” one has overthrown the need for the concept of “God” and can recognize that the universe has existed eternally.

However, there is a second and more fundamental fallacy in this argument, and that is the assumption that the universe as a whole requires a causal explanation. It does not. What is the universe? The universe is the total of that which exists. Within the universe, the emergence of new entities can be explained in terms of the actions of entities that already exist. For example, the cause of a tree is the seed of the parent tree.

The cause of a machine is the purposeful reshaping of matter by man. All actions presuppose the existence of entities, and all emergences of new entities presuppose the existence of entities that cause their emergence. All causality presupposes the existence of something that acts as a cause. To demand a cause for all of existence is to demand a contradiction. If the cause exists, it is part of existence. If it does not exist, it cannot be a cause. Nothing cannot be the cause of something. Nothing does not exist. Causality presupposes existence; existence does not presuppose causality. There can be no cause outside of existence or anterior to it. The forms of existence may change and evolve; but the fact of existence is the irreducible primary at the base of all causal chains.

Just as the concept of “causality” applies to events and entities within the universe, but not to the universe as a whole, so the concept of “time” applies to events and entities within the universe, but not to the universe as a whole. In other words, the universe did not “begin.” It did not, at some point in time, spring into being. Time is a measurement of motion. Motion presupposes entities that move. If nothing existed, there could be no time. Time is in the universe; the universe is not "in" time.

The person who asks: “Where did Existence come from?” or, “What caused it?” is the man who has never grasped that Existence exists. This is the mentality of a savage or a mystic, who regards existence as some sort of incomprehensible miracle, and who seeks to explain it by reference to non-existence. Existence is all that exists. The non-existent does not exist. There is nothing for existence to have come out of, and nothing means nothing!

If you are tempted to ask: “What’s outside the universe?”, recognize that you are asking: “What’s outside of existence?”, and that the idea of “something outside of existence” is a contradiction in terms. Nothing is outside of existence, and nothing is not just another kind of “something,” It is nothing. Existence exists. You cannot go outside it. You cannot get under, on top of it, or behind it. Existence exists, and only existence exists. There is nowhere else to go.

(emphases added from the original audio version). Chapter 4 The Concept of God, The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism (2009, Cobden Press/Laissez Faire Books)

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If you don't believe that modern physics can "explain" gravity or the action of the tides being caused by the moon's gravitational force, please provide references to physicists or astronomers that have alternate explanations.

Or, are you guys just putting me on? :blush:

Physics has not provided a cause or origin of gravitation. What it has provided is a set of physical laws which adequately describe the effects of gravitation. Isaac Newton famously punted on the cause of gravitation. In Book III of -Principia Mathematic- he wrote "hypotheses non fingo..." I feign no hypothesis. Newton could not come up with a causal hypothesis for gravitation that flowed from the phenomena. Einstein did not do much better. He characterized gravitation as a curvature in the four dimensional manifold, such curvature produced by mass, but he never said why mass curves the spacetime conintuum.

Not to worry. Just because we do not know how gravitation originated or what causes does not mean we cannot steer our space ships among the planets.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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