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Is there a God? The Cosmological Argument (Section 1)

  • Feb 24, 2013 · 6:30 PM
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In our last meet up, we introduced the subject of metaphysics. We discussed the questions such as "What is really real?", "What is ultimate reality?", "Why is there something rather than nothing?", "Where did we come from?", and Why are we here?". Of course, this naturally leads to the question of the existence of a supreme self-existent personal being. "Is there really a God?" So in this meeting, we will discuss some of the evidence for and against the idea of God.

Over the next couple months, I would like volunteers to make brief presentations making a case for God, and also volunteers willing to challenge the case for God. Let me know soon if you would like to make a presentation. In this next meet up, I would like the one making a case for the existence of God to focus on the cosmological argument.

Regarding attendance, sign up for either section 1 or section 2. Thanks!

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  • A former member
    A former member

    I’ve noticed of the last few days that the discussion has become more like philosophy 101. I would think that most of the members were not philosophy majors and may not be able to follow arguments based on current or past philosophy.
    My point is that, many members may be lost, if members turn this into a philosophy lesson. I would not want to bring in a dictionary to follow the arguments.
    I see philosophy as a way to discuss ideas that cannot be proven with facts but a way for dealing with human problems. Issues like what is evil or are all men created equal and what is justice is where philosophy is at its best.

    March 9, 2013

    • Jay

      David,

      Makes sense to me. Some of us forgot this is MEETUP.com, not PHILOSOPHY.com.

      Contents of *Thoughts for Sam* and the links to it have been removed.

      March 9, 2013

  • Sue

    Enjoyed the conversation, learned lot about the thought processes behind the Cosmological Argument!

    February 25, 2013

    • Jay

      Nice outline for discussion. Was this handed out at the second session as well?

      March 1, 2013

  • Mark B.

    Thanks for coming, everyone! I'm impressed with how well everyone interacted with the subject and with each other. I will post materials from the meetings after the second meeting Tuesday.

    February 25, 2013

  • Sue

    Pateresa, here is the other class I was talking about which, starts next week. Know Thyself, an investigation of the nature and limits of self-knowledge:
    https://www.coursera.org/course/knowthyself

    February 25, 2013

  • Eric

    Good conversation and fellowship. Thanks!

    February 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Another social engagement of mine went longer than planned this evening. Apologizes that I was unable to change my RSVP status earlier.

    February 24, 2013

  • Doug S.

    Very sorry to miss. Car problems.

    February 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Have to work

    February 24, 2013

  • Jay

    I note the terms "debate" and "discussion" are used somewhat interchangingly on this board as though these were synonyms. Are we intent on debating the cosmological argument or discussing it? I note that the cosmological argument may or may not be connected to the establishment of a God concept, of course.

    Perhaps we need also note that the Cosmological Argument, at least Aristotle's version, is not an argument that in any manner tries to establish the Unmoved Mover as a creator, he merely attempts to establish cause of how the universe, namely nature, is the way it is, moves, etc. The power behind the throne as it were. At least that is what I was taught ... years ago.

    February 24, 2013

  • Doug S.

    Here is an interesting debate that talks about this topic:
    http://intelligencesquaredus.org/iq2-tv/item/828-science-refutes-god-edited-for-pbs

    February 19, 2013

    • Sue

      I enjoyed this debate more than most because all the participants were speaking the same language! (When its's theologians vs. scientists they are each speaking a different language and having different debates!) I thought each side had some good arguments but the "winning" side was a little more convincing. I think it all hung on the definition of "refute."

      February 24, 2013

  • Donald R.

    I'm out of town and may not make it back in town.

    February 23, 2013

  • Jay

    David,

    I will grant that you have a point about god(s). But that is only because we have already confused two distinct inquiries. I'll suggest the following:

    What the nature of God might be, that is what the term 'God' refers to, is traditionally a separate argument from the arguments put forth for the existence of God. Specifically, cosmological arguments are purely an attempt to establish what we typically call a "first cause," what (might have) caused the universe and usually, but not always, also imply what sustains it. It is important to note this distinction: establishing a first cause and establishing that the first cause is (a) "god" are two different arguments. It is also important to note that Mark's definition here includes the word "personal," which is not usually included within the standard definition of cosmological argument.

    That being said, Sue's definition seems fair enough, and may also be found here:

    http://tinyurl.com/8xkm72n

    February 14, 2013

    • Jay

      Dink to this argument is: http://tinyurl.com/a4...­

      February 21, 2013

    • Mark B.

      As I posted in that discussion board, it might be a good move for us to analyze the cosmological argument to see what, if anything, it proves. If it demonstrates an uncaused cause, then we could examine how this may or may not help support the idea of God as traditionally understood and agreed upon by the great monotheistic religions.

      February 21, 2013

  • Mark B.

    Thanks for all the good input so far. The cosmological argument is simply intended to prove a self-existent, Independent, uncaused Cause (and that is God by definition). I think the case for an uncaused Cause implies Someone with infinite power and intelligence to be an adequate explanation for what we see in the universe. It seems like the cosmological argument argues for an agent exercising a will. But we can debate that as well. Certainly the teleological and moral arguments (which we will get into later) argue for an intelligent first cause so ultimately I believe the debate is about a personal God.

    1 · February 17, 2013

    • matthew

      I think I'll opt out then. I have no interest in cosmological or teleological arguments, for or against, especially without a clear understanding of what it means to say one "believes in God".

      February 19, 2013

    • Mark B.

      Oh. Of course we will spend some time discussing the definition of God. That is part of the "debate".

      February 20, 2013

  • Eric

    I look forward to great discussion

    February 19, 2013

  • Steve S.

    Had to change to the meeting on the 26th due to a schedule conflict

    February 19, 2013

  • Shriram K.

    Need to attend a family event.

    February 19, 2013

  • Jay

    David,
    I think that is Mark's call. To tell you the truth I've been a member since early '07 and have never figured that out.

    February 15, 2013

  • Sue

    I think "personal god" means God as a being rather than a vague concept. I also think this discussion is intended as the cosmological argument as proof of God. I will present a brief rebuttal to this.

    February 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Jay,
    If I understand the debate will be on each personal god that we have and defend?

    February 14, 2013

  • Sue

    Mark referred to "a supreme self-existent personal being." I usually define this as "a supernatural being who intentionally created the universe and us," which covers most of the major world religions. Maybe Mark can come up with a comprehensive definition of exactly what we are debating the existence of!

    February 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I think before we can debate if God does or does not exist, we first must define who and what is God. Can we have more than one, male female? Who’s God are we talking about, the Jewish God, or some force within the universe that is self-aware or not self-aware?

    2 · February 12, 2013

  • Sue

    So what would you like the case "against" to focus on?

    1 · February 12, 2013

  • Jay

    To say the least, the cosmological argument has been around for a long time. Interestingly enough it is one of the few of the arguments for the existence of God that has survived well. It has been subject to both a lot of investigation and a lot of criticism but is still being bantered around quite a bit as contrasted with, say, the ontological argument which most feel has long been laid to rest by Kant even though it is being argued still. With all the developments in more modern science many scientific developments seem to sometimes contrast with theological views, particularly those of some of the Christian churches. The following article from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy may help as a good starting point for a constructive modern discussion as to how the traditional cosmological argument may meld with such subjects as the Big Bang Theory and The Standard Model, etc. Have fun in your discussion. Wish I were able to attend. Best to all.

    http://tinyurl.com/coo9jcn

    February 11, 2013

  • Robert H.

    This is an interesting subject. I am assuming some study of Aquinas and subsequent philosophers that appeal to Aristotelian thought...ie William Lane Craig and others.

    February 11, 2013

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