Uncaused cause

A chain of reasoning ~(not necessarily mine)

  1. Everything has a cause, as a general rule.

  2. Therefore, the universe has a cause

  3. Which is god

  4. Who must be either uncaused or have its own cause

  5. 4 contradicts 1; “god” is included in “everything”, so by stating that god is uncaused you undermine your original premise by inserting exceptions, by which act you allow for further exceptions - allowing the universe itself to be uncaused and not requiring a god as an instigator.
    However, if god has a cause itself, then it is not the originator of all things and consequently not god.

So, in order to make sense of this, you’re obliged to say that god is somehow “other” with respect to the universe and does not follow causality. Even though the idea itself stems from causality. By doing this, you completely break the rules of your original premise in order to fulfill the reasoining behind this premise - that there is a god.

Where to go from here?

The general problem with the logic of “everything has a cause” is assuming that everything is caused by something else, and not by something that already is.

The ‘cause’ you’re referring to can only be that which ‘everything’ is compared to, namely, everything else.

If this is the definition of god you are proposing for the purposes of this particular discussion, I accept.

Which assumes that there cannot be a third ontological category. This is god we’re talking about here. Perhaps there is a third thing: somethingness, nothingness, and god. I’m not saying I believe this per se, I’m just pointing out that there is some logical oversight here.

Again, not necessarily an ‘exception’ if we introduce it as a distinct ontological category.

I also think it worth noting that it’s possible a ‘god’ might continually be its own ‘cause’ - with every moment a successive iteration based upon, but wholly new and separate from that which it came from one moment previous. This describes both the universe, and god, in which we find that they are one and the same (as has so often been suggested).

If god is the meta-consciousness, the whole of all being, and our consciousness is a subset of this whole, then god can be ‘other’ without being separate. Just because you are a part of the economy doesn’t mean you understand it, or even that it is possible to understand from our limited perspective. Same goes for culture/society/civilization in general. Same goes for god.

I think your notion of causality as a uni-directional influence on the movements of the universe is a false premise. This is where you are encountering a logical roadblock.

When all possible hypotheses are proven false, it is your question that was formulated incorrectly.

We see cause and effect because we are inferior, because we are weak.

God is a stranger to us.

Could a weak entity who knows he is weak make such confident assertions?

Can a man confidently assert that he will die when he knows nothing other than life?

I think that the assumption that you can reason over such fundamental aspects of the cosmos is somewhat similar to the assumption that you can figure out the chicken-and-egg problem by using only logical deduction.

That depends on what you are searching for, but I think that the third category Mr Shambles mentioned would probably be the most logical way to go next.

@thestumps:

Self-causation?

@mrshambles:

There isn’t any nothing; even a vacuum has space-time dimensions. Can you conceive of nothing? What is “nothing”? How can we perceive something that does not exist? Does it abut our reality; is there a border? A border isn’t nothing. For there to be a border there must be something beyond the border.
Nothing is an absence and thus relative.

And there isn’t any supernaturality. What happens it is possible to understand. What doesn’t happen, doesn’t happen.

There is only this - one category.

I do not, however, assert that we possess all -or even most- of the knowledge pertaining to this category. Of course.
But everything must come to be humanly comprehendable, humanly understandable.

Basing a theory upon the power of the unknown is basing it upon the power of nothing. If there are other ontological categories, demonstrate them.

If.

You agreed that the working definition of “god” for the purposes of this discussion was “creator of all”. If this god is “all” then this would entail it created itself.

Now, I know you want exceptions to rules here, but that is stretching it.
There is no suggestion, in the entirety of human experience, of something causing itself - that I know of. It’s not possible. I am trying to base my understanding of this upon what is known; not what is supposed, inferred, or desired.
Therefore, god is impossible. It’s got to break the rules of reality in order for people to believe in its existence. In order for its existence to make logical sense.

Why do humans create the idea of a god as creator? Is it not because a cause is needed to make everything that bit more manageable? But this cause, invented to provide an explanation to the natural rules of causation, does not -by necessity- follow the rules of causation. This is the problem I have with it. It is self-contradictory and as a direct result is un-needed - because if the rules of causality are breakable then an original cause (god) is not needed.

If there is an exception, apply the exception everywhere. If causation is not necessary, then the universe can itself have no cause. If god, the creator, has a cause, then it isn’t the originator. It had a cause. And that cause had a cause. It goes in circles.

Infinity. What if the universe was not created, but is actually in an eternal process of expansion and contraction? Big Bang, followed by Big Crunch, forever.
Or, what if this one iteration of the material was one, just ONE, occurence in an infinite space-time continuum; there was nothing, forever, before and there will be nothing, forever, afterward.
On the other hand, would it be conceivable for something that is infinite to be uncaused? Or can something have a beginning and no end, or no beginning and an end?

Fuck, I’m rambling. There is so much general ignorance on the nature of reality that formulating any sort of hypothesis is immediately hampered by ones own lack of knowledge. I speculate.

Could there be exceptions to causality, and if so why is “god” as a concept needed?
If you could explain god, cage it and experiment upon it, would you still call it god?

@a student:

Egg evolved before chicken. Was used by other organisms before chicken was … achieved.

I am trying to make sense of things - forgive me for it. But do you think that assuming that certain knowledge is “unknowable” is a responsible position to take?

I was not talking about the specific egg-chicken instance of that problem, but the idea in general. With respect to chickens, you would have to consider chicken-eggs only in your explanation.

That’s what every philosopher is trying to do, and that is a good thing.

Well, I think that defining an abstract concept as being unknowable can be useful for certain analysis. Many religious systems use such a principle, and so does modal logic, and even physics. However, when I am interested in something, considering it as unknowable would remove much of that interest.

double post

Not if he considers himself weak he can’t. Your analogy is missing that piece. And I took weak not in the literal sense of, for example, not being able to lift really heavy things.

Well if the Bible is your source of correct axioms you can figure it out: one deduces that the chicken came first.
If you believe in evolutionary theory, then again you can figure it out by deduction: the egg came first.

Yes, if you assume that you live in a closed world (either the Bible is correct, or evolution is, not both because they appear to be contradictory), then the outcome of the problem follows from the perspective you choose to take. Open-minded people can take contradictory perspectives into account, but they will not reach a definite conclusion and as far as I know only few philosophers are truly open-minded.

Other than a few fragments in a philosophy course and stories told by my grandfather when I was very young, I’m not really familiar with the Bible, so I’ll just assume that you are right on that. With respect to evolution, personally I would say that it probably all started with some hybrid form of the egg-and-egg-producer. In the context of evolution, micro organisms were obviously the first organisms on earth, so for analyzing the creative aspect of life we’re probably best off looking at those who started with it in the first place. This hybrid form is the third ontological category Mr Shambles was talking about, and I think it is the best approach for this problem.

Well, yeah. Precisely.

And a vaccuum isn’t nothing.

It doesn’t require my ability to cognize it to have rational ‘existence’. Neither does infinity.

The inverse of infinity. Somethingness is ‘1’, nothingness is ‘0’. But in another sense, without changing the meaning of the equation, nothingness is ‘0’ but somethingness is infinity. Existence can only occur in a thing by that which it may be compared to. So to what do we compare existence itself? To non-existence. Words break down if you try to define it any further than that. Words define our world, therefore to define ‘nothingness’ brings it into our world, into somethingness.

We can’t, because it does not ‘exist’, it is nothing. The border is the very line at which words fail, where perception and understanding fall away. Physical abutment is as nonsense as a description as any other because the ‘border’ is, as you say, a thing in itself, a word, and therefore irrelevant. However, since the only way to attempt to conceive it is through language, I will make a vain attempt at encircling nothing, so perhaps you can get a glimpse of what I’m talking about.

The border is infinite because somethingness is infinite. It encompasses all that ‘is’. But in another sense it is a singularity, and there is no measurable ‘perimeter.’ This duality is also the case for nothingness. In another sense, the equation can also run that somethingness is infinity, and nothingness is negative infinity, its inverse.

This relationship is an organic one. The answer is ‘both/and’ not ‘either/or’, as is the case with so many fundamental aspects of the structure of the world (particle/wave, entropy/novelty, matter/energy). Without nothingness, something has no rational existence. Likewise, for somethingness to make the shift from one to infinity, it must diversify within itself, for that is all there is, and allow that which rests ‘within’ it to compare itself to itself. These juxtapositions are what the entire universe rest upon. At the center of it all is still that naked, unvariegated singularity, in which we are all indistinct from one another, from the godhead, from the whole of all being.

Of course there is no ‘supernaturality’ because if it happens, it is natural. However, this does not mean that it requires our ability to wrap words around it. Words are a simulation of what happens in the world, not the real thing. They can never become the thing itself. Your(our) understanding is irrelevant.

By what criteria is this a ‘requirement’? I would be more inclined to accept your assertion if you had rather said ‘consciousness’ than human. Aside from this, even if you go back to the god-consciousness, the naked singularity, the whole of all being, you find that even it cannot understand. It cannot create a word for a thing because that word would have to lie outside of itself, separate from the thing itself, but the thing is all there is. The creation of the word is the first moment of diversification. There is the object, and the word for the object. These two things may compare themselves to one another, but each now experiences a different perspective, a different vantage on the world, and are therefore each ‘less’ that the prime singularity. This process, the splitting of things by words, the dissemination and propagation of information, repeats ad infinitum, and then you find yourself rapping away on a keyboard, a billion miles from god yet still an unwitting participant in the game, unaware of ‘how deep the rabbit hole goes’ and incapable of perceiving the totality of the complexity of the system.

I would, in fact, take the precise opposite assertion as irrefutable: There is no such thing as understanding. It can never, in its totality, exist. Understanding is limited to experience, and experience is, by definition, limited.

I disdain flipping a challenge back at someone, but by the very rules I’ve set up above for the pursuit of truth in this matter, the burden of proof lies rather with you. My ‘nothingness’ cannot be defined, but I would like to be shown how your ‘somethingness’ can exist without it.

This is a limited perspective. You have introduced implicit assumptions of ‘before’ and ‘after’ into what would rationally be timeless. What does ‘create’ mean outside the context of time? ‘Is’ is the only relevant term.

I don’t ‘want’ anything. I just call it like I see it.

It remains that the dichotomy between something and nothing is the only supposition that I find particularly defensible. You can simply shrug me off for not defining half of the system I have proposed. The system continues not to require your agreement or understanding, nor mine. From all my explorations, I have found that ‘creation’ is a wan word. Nothing is really ever created, nor destroyed. It blossoms, comes to fruition, by ever mounting complexity. The scaffolds and tiers of reality are ten-dimensional fractals (which, poignantly enough are defined as an object with infinite perimeter, so there’s your ‘border’). All consciousness is contained within the swirling storm of the ever-shifting amoebic god of ‘Yes’ (as opposed to ‘no’, 0 and 1).

In spite of its supreme beauty, Yes still cannot exist without no. Nor can black without white, good without evil, whatever. Nothing exists except by that which it is compared to. There is no such thing as creation. Just ‘is’ and ‘isn’t’

Much like reality doesn’t require our understanding, faith does not require logic. Who cares what anyone believes, really? No one, not one single human on this planet, really gets the totality of everything. The Dalai Lama would be the first in line to agree. We all must believe something, this is what defines our perspective, our consciousness.

Our causal brains are a product of evolutionary pressures. Seeking the cause to an effect is an exceptionally important survival strategy (was the cause of that twig snapping a tiger creeping up behind me?) We do this automatically and unthinkingly. ‘God’ in the religious sense is sort of a teleological ‘unexplained’ folder into which we put everything we don’t understand, and then praise it as the unfailing mystery of the universe. Guess what? The mystery really is unfailing, and it will not go away. Not ever.

It doesn’t go in circles when you take the wider view of a timeless universe. Creation is not required in a scenario with no before or after.
The Hindus have this cosmology wrapped up quite neatly. Brahman, (the equivalent of the Yes I’ve been talking about) splits himself into three: creation (Brahma), sustenance (Vishnu) and destruction (Shiva). Yet, in many ways, none of their spheres of influence have any differentiation, they are still one-and-the-same. Every ‘moment’ encompasses a complete destruction and a ‘subsequent’ complete re-creation of the entirety of the universe. First of all, given that your consciousness is in a momentary state, you have no rational evidence of continuity from moment to moment, of the ‘progression’ of time, of cause-and-effect, nor of creation and destruction. The inception of the concept of creation/destruction was also the inception of time itself. It cannot exist without that by which it is compared to.

Speculation is all we have I suppose. But then, there are way to experience higher segments of reality directly. Ecstasy (the experience, not the party drug) can be sought out in many ways. Lifelong meditation or a handful of mushrooms are equally worthwhile. Every person has moments in their life there are no words for. That is ecstasy. We cannot bring it back with us because words are only a simulation, not the real thing. Of course, from all the above you’d think I brought all the words back with me. But I’ve spent years working on surrounding all this with words. It’s the only way I can share the journeys that I have had. Words are the only way we can know the perspective of another, but it will always only be a simulation.

Exceptions are laid out above. No, god would cease to be a useful term. But then, god is a word, a simulation, so when it ceases to simulate the thing we attempt to point its ‘meaning’ toward, it is either re-assigned or a new word takes its place. God, Infinity, The Whole-of-all-Being, The Prime Singularity, Yes. What’s the difference, so long as we share some vague notion of the object we are discussing, which I think we can all agree will never be ‘seen’ beyond our lame linguistic simulations.

With regard to “nothing”, allow me to furnish you with a quote from another user:

But I’ll say it again; nothingness is an absence and thus relative. It is a concept used always in relation to another concept and has no meaning in itself. Even your own example does this. 0 is relative to 1 because it is possible for us to conceive firstly of a thing and secondly of the absence of that thing. But 0 on its own is meaningless.

Nothing is a word. Of course words don’t represent what they describe - they’re labels, used solely by social organisms in order to communicate ideas, intentions, etc, because of the existence of these other organisms. Were you or I eternally alone, such things would not be required.
To say “rock” is not to “know” rock. To know rock, one would have to be the rock and since rocks are not capable of conscious self-awareness, it is impossible to “know” what it is to be a rock.

I agree with your statements with regard to understanding.

But what you are doing is interpreting imprecise, relative concepts such as words literally.
What is “inside”? What is “outside”? How can there be an outside to infinity?

It is a self-contradicting idea. The concept of infinity is limitless and so does not have a demarcation line at which it is possible to describe as being outside of. Yet it is possible to construct ideas through language of such a concept.

Another one is “the smell of yellow” or a right-angle triangle.

Or an uncaused cause.

How can there be a beginning or an end to infinity? Since within (!?) this infinity there is cause and effect, was this infinity itself an effect with a cause? A cause originating from the “somewhere” beyond the infinity. If not, it is plain as I have stated that causation is not required for an effect to be effected. Which means that anything can happen and we know nothing.

The limit here is our human inclination to create dichotomies where there are none. There is no black/white, something/nothing - there is only relationships and patterns, a process of constant change of space, matter time and whatever, eternally. I am beginning to think that there was no beginning and there will be no end.
Did I suddenly pop into existence when I was born? No, I was atoms in space once, then I was formed into an interstellar dust cloud, then this dustcloud through gravitation formed a solar system. At some point in time, all my constituent parts met up on a planet that a certain mammal species would come to call “Earth”. After some more time, “I” was assembled as a foetus in my mothers womb. This creature then grew, assembling further material to fuel its purposes.
And here I am.
“I” am the effect of my body. I am my body. I will not cease when I die, merely change, decompose, fragment. In fact there is no “I” (another language construct) - just the effect. To be alive or dead is not a dichotomy; it is a condition of the material. A condition of material formulated into an organism, however briefly and however uniquely.

But the extent of my ignorance is such that what “I” was doing before the drifting atoms phase is a complete mystery.
Simply because we are ignorant of this part does not require that we should invent alternate realities, exception to causation or self-contradictory models of spacetime involving the universe “existing within an envelope of nothingness”.
Perhaps the simplest answer is the right one.

The universe is eternal?

That is not necessarily-true. God is within and beyond Everything & Nothing, indescribable, incomprehensible to the human mind.

So ‘god’ is not necessarily-included in ‘everything’. It is probable, but not definitive. You would first have to know Everything.

Here is a good exercise when thinking about god, or God, or First Cause:

Imagine every word ever written throughout the History of Mankind.

Imagine every implied meaning of every implied word.

Imagine every combination of those words possible.

If you can do this without going crazy then you will begin to fathom what a ‘god’ may or may not be.

I don’t think we’re disagreeing really, except in the conceptual conclusion of the paradigm. If there is such a ‘thing’ as nothingness (which by definition there cannot be) then it ‘exists’, but existence is a busted concept relative to what we’re trying to describe. Of course nothing does not exist, its whole purpose is non-existence. However, I maintain that infinity could not exist except by comparison to its inverse. This comparison does not require our rationalization, nor our linguistic encoding. We don’t have to be able to ‘picture’ what nothingness would look like. Infinity, too, lies beyond the scope of our conceptualization. Can you not see how the two are twins, in this way?

Eternal is another busted concept. It presupposes time, which is proven to be neither eternal nor universal.

I think it’s ‘always’ ‘been there’, simply because there is no other way for it to be.

Yeah, the definition of eternal pretty much covers that concept. His use of the language seems proper barring some pretty absurd semantic arguments about what the definition of eternal covers.

Seems within the realm of acceptable use. even if the word was used to mean, as you so elequently stated, “always been there”

You have something to say, Cyrene?