1. Standard memberknightmeister
    knightmeister
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    27 Jan '09 23:08
    Existence is a mystery. It has to be.

    If existence came from nothing then we'll never figure out how that happening because there's nothing there to figure out or explain.

    If it came from something then that something begs a further question ad infinitum and we have a never ending series of questions which cannot be fathomed.

    If that something just "IS" - like God or something like a God then that's a mystery also. How can something just "BE" - why is it there?

    Either way , being a mystic seems like a pretty sane choice because logically existence can never be explained or fathomed.

    Science seems to have the view that everything can be explained, understood or work out to find the reason behind it. I know quantum physics throws things out - but quantum physics just begs more and more questions and is mysterious in itself.

    I've come to the conclusion that existence itself is unfathomable at some ultimate level ....which ever way you toast your muffin.
  2. Standard memberDavid C
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    27 Jan '09 23:142 edits
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    I've come to the conclusion that existence itself is unfathomable at some ultimate level ....which ever way you toast your muffin.
    OK, how about this? It's all really just a hologram.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126911.300-our-world-may-be-a-giant-hologram.html?full=true&print=true
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    27 Jan '09 23:151 edit
    Existence is a mystery. It has to be...

    Agreed, and I'm not bothered by the mystery of it. I won't figure it out in my lifetime or in this existence and that's ok. I'm totally down with knowing that I don't know.
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    28 Jan '09 00:27
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    Existence is a mystery. It has to be.

    If existence came from nothing then we'll never figure out how that happening because there's nothing there to figure out or explain.

    If it came from something then that something begs a further question ad infinitum and we have a never ending series of questions which cannot be fathomed.

    If that someth ...[text shortened]... itself is unfathomable at some ultimate level ....which ever way you toast your muffin.
    ====================================
    Science seems to have the view that everything can be explained, understood or work out to find the reason behind it. I know quantum physics throws things out - but quantum physics just begs more and more questions and is mysterious in itself.
    =========================================


    That must mean that why Einstien could not remain faithful to his first wife, but left her, will remain shrouded in mystery.
  5. Cape Town
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    28 Jan '09 06:42
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    Existence is a mystery. It has to be.
    The mystery is why you are incapable of seeing beyond your two choices:
    1. The universe came from nothing.
    2. The universe came from something.
    Even more of a mystery is why you keep including 1. when you have previously admitted that you don't hold it to be logically sound and everyone else has agreed with you on that point.

    And why is something being a mystery equivalent to not knowing its past? Doesn't the fact that we don't know the future also make existence a mystery?[/b]
  6. Joined
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    28 Jan '09 07:171 edit
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    Existence is a mystery. It has to be.

    If existence came from nothing then we'll never figure out how that happening because there's nothing there to figure out or explain.

    If it came from something then that something begs a further question ad infinitum and we have a never ending series of questions which cannot be fathomed.

    If that someth itself is unfathomable at some ultimate level ....which ever way you toast your muffin.
    I think I pretty much agree with you. I think there very likely exists at least one brute fact, and I see no reason to accept any strong version of the principle of sufficient reason. However, I do not consider that this makes me a 'mystic', and I am totally confused by your use of the term. But whatever. So I do not agree that each of your points implicates 'mysticism' (on my understanding of that term) or that they implicate a 'mystery'; however, I do agree that each implicates the existence of at least one brute fact:

    If existence came from nothing then we'll never figure out how that happening because there's nothing there to figure out or explain.

    If there simply is no explanation for a fact, then it is a brute fact.

    If (existence) came from something then that something begs a further question ad infinitum and we have a never ending series of questions which cannot be fathomed.

    In the catch-all way you use the term 'existence', I think the idea of existence "coming from" something is incoherent. Beyond that, however, I think I understand your point: if it turns out to be a never-ending line of dependent entities, then that still leaves us with at least one brute fact (something like that there are and always have been dependent entities). So, again, we would have a brute fact.

    If that something just "IS" - like God or something like a God then that's a mystery also. How can something just "BE" - why is it there?

    I think the notion of a self-existent entity (as in an entity whose existence is explained by its own nature) is nonsense, and I think many such notions are refuted by considerations that show that existence is not a predicate. If, on the other hand, someone wants to say that X is a necessary entity (or exists necessarily), then at best I think that still leaves us with a brute fact. It seems that the most explanation we could give about this is that it simply could not be otherwise or that it just simply exists (in other words, there is no non-ersatz explanation -- its existence is a brute fact).
  7. Cape Town
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    28 Jan '09 07:40
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    If there simply is no explanation for a fact, then it is a brute fact.
    An excellent post.
    I just want to explore the issues further.
    A large part of what knightmeister is struggling with is his belief that everything has a cause and that existence consists of causal chains. I simply don't think we have good reason for such belief. His belief in causes leads him to see anything with out a known cause has having an unknown cause - he simply cannot visualize the possibility that no cause exists.

    The interesting consequence is that he must necessarily apply those beliefs to free will ie a free will choice must be the terminus of a causal chain with a mysterious origin.

    If it is determined that quantum events are random and without cause could we not then call all quantum events 'brute facts'?
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    28 Jan '09 18:25
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    An excellent post.
    I just want to explore the issues further.
    A large part of what knightmeister is struggling with is his belief that everything has a cause and that existence consists of causal chains. I simply don't think we have good reason for such belief. His belief in causes leads him to see anything with out a known cause has having an unknown c ...[text shortened]... events are random and without cause could we not then call all quantum events 'brute facts'?
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    An excellent post.
    I just want to explore the issues further.
    A large part of what knightmeister is struggling with is his belief that everything has a cause and that existence consists of causal chains. I simply don't think we have good reason for such belief. His belief in causes leads him to see anything with out a known cause has having an unknown cause - he simply cannot visualize the possibility that no cause exists.


    I don't know if anyone can really visualize this - the whole idea of something existing or occurring without any cause totally defies rational thought. Everything seems to be explainable in terms of a set of causes - although there is this concept of "randomness" that may or may not be reducible to a set of causes.

    And yet, logical reasoning requires that there must either be a "first cause" or an infinite chain of causation with no beginning - and both of these violates logic. Which is where the mystery comes in. It's not just that science hasn't found an answer yet, it's that the rules of logic themselves fall apart when trying to explain how "reality" came into being.

    The interesting consequence is that he must necessarily apply those beliefs to free will ie a free will choice must be the terminus of a causal chain with a mysterious origin.

    I argue that we do have free will - in the sense that we can do anything that we want (assuming we're capable of doing it) - but do we really choose what it is that we want or don't want? -- for example: you discover the game of chess and find it to be enjoyable and you choose to devote much time to it -- but did you ever "choose" to like chess? - You were simply one of those who "found" it to be enjoyable, unlike others who found it to be boring and moved on to something else.
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    28 Jan '09 18:43
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    An excellent post.
    I just want to explore the issues further.
    A large part of what knightmeister is struggling with is his belief that everything has a cause and that existence consists of causal chains. I simply don't think we have good reason for such belief. His belief in causes leads him to see anything with out a known cause has having an unknown c ...[text shortened]... events are random and without cause could we not then call all quantum events 'brute facts'?
    If it is determined that quantum events are random and without cause could we not then call all quantum events 'brute facts'?

    Perhaps. But as food for thought, I think many would dispute that, based on considerations of what constitutes explanation. Brute facts are facts that have no explanation; and some would argue that quantum events do not automatically fit this category since even causal explanation does not necessarily require deterministic cause. For example, suppose you have some system that exhibits quantum indeterminacy. Then there is no full explanation based on deterministic causes in the sense of causally sufficient antecedents. But, again, some would deny that this leaves "no explanation". For instance, if there is stochastic patterning; or if it can be attributed to the system a property or natural propensity to exhibit certain patterns; then they might claim that this is explanatory on at least some level even though it does not rely on deterministic causes. Honestly, I am not quite sure what to make of this, but I would say that it is not entirely clear to me that effects that involve indeterminacy should automatically qualify as brute.
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    28 Jan '09 18:561 edit
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    An excellent post.
    I just want to explore the issues further.
    A large part of what knightmeister is struggling with is his belief that everything has a cause and that existence consists of causal chains. I simply don't think we have good reason for such belief. His belief in causes leads him to see anything wit oyable, unlike others who found it to be boring and moved on to something else.
    but do we really choose what it is that we want or don't want?

    Free will doesn't require that we have ultimate control over our dispositional sets. It's still compatible with our free will that there be any number of causal antecedents well beyond any active control of ours that have shaped our characters, dispositional traits, etc. The point of free will is not that we have ultimate control over who we are; it is that we have personal autonomy, the ability to act from reason in accordance with our practical identities. Even if who you are has been in large part shaped by antecedents well beyond your control (as more or less must be the case), that doesn't preclude there being a genuine relationship between who you are and your choices/actions. So I am not sure why you think this line of questioning is all that relevant.
  11. Joined
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    28 Jan '09 20:224 edits
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    [b]An excellent post.
    I just want to explore the issues further.
    A large part of what knightmeister is struggling with is his belief that everything has a cause and that existence consists of causal chains. I simply don't think we have good reason for such belief. His belief in causes leads him to see anything wit oyable, unlike others who found it to be boring and moved on to something else.
    …I don't know if anyone can really visualize this - the whole idea of something existing or occurring without any cause totally defies rational thought.
    ...…[/b]

    How so? -are you vaguely thinking along the lines “if you cannot imagine it then it makes no sense”?
    -my body is made of billions of atoms -I cannot mentally “visualise” exactly a billion of anything let alone billions of atoms that make up my body. Yet I presume you wouldn’t say the idea of my body being made of billions of atoms as something that “totally defies rational thought”?

    ….Everything seems to be explainable in terms of a set of causes .….

    -with relatively ‘large’ things that you see every day -yes. But note that it is a logically unjustified extrapolation to assume you can just extrapolate this to ANY scale no matter how big or small because you cannot rationally know that different rules and different physics apply to a totally different set of scales than your everyday set of scales you mentally deal with in your everyday life and which your intuition has got used to.
    -so there is no rational reason to believe that, on the quantum scale, everything should behave like your and my intuition says it should -and that includes the intuitive assumption that everything has a cause.

    ….And yet, logical reasoning requires that there must either be a "first cause" .…

    If you are talking about the beginning of the universe -yes. There is no rational reason to believe that the beginning of a universe MUST have had a “cause” -and yet it caused every event that followed.

    ….or an infinite chain of causation with no beginning - and both of these violates logic...…

    Firstly, why should there be a “infinite chain of causation with no beginning”?
    Does anything in science or logic suggest this?

    Secondly, how does there being a "first cause" (or should I say, "first causes"? ) “violate logic”?

    …Which is where the mystery comes in. It's not just that science hasn't found an answer yet, it's that the rules of logic themselves fall apart when trying to explain how "reality" came into being. ..…

    Err, no. The “rules of logic themselves” do not “fall apart” when trying to explain anything. Pure deductive logic has never been demonstrated to be wrong or have been demonstrated to “fall apart” while inductive logic doesn’t give conclusions with absolute certainty and only deals with probability thus is not itself proven “wrong” when one of its conclusions of what it says is 'probably' so is demonstrated to be false. -so, whether you are talking about deductive logic or inductive logic -neither can “fall apart”.
  12. Standard memberknightmeister
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    28 Jan '09 22:23
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    An excellent post.
    I just want to explore the issues further.
    A large part of what knightmeister is struggling with is his belief that everything has a cause and that existence consists of causal chains. I simply don't think we have good reason for such belief. His belief in causes leads him to see anything with out a known cause has having an unknown c ...[text shortened]... events are random and without cause could we not then call all quantum events 'brute facts'?
    he simply cannot visualize the possibility that no cause exists.
    ------------whitey--------------------------------------------

    Rubbish! I believe God is the Uncaused Cause of everything. I have no problem with a causeless entity or phenomena. All I am saying is this " boy , what an unfathomable mystery that is ".

    There's no explaining it or understanding it. It's you that seems to have the problem because you talk about a causeless existence as if it's just a run of the mill thing without realise the mystery of it.
  13. Standard memberknightmeister
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    28 Jan '09 22:30
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    I think I pretty much agree with you. I think there very likely exists at least one brute fact, and I see no reason to accept any strong version of the principle of sufficient reason. However, I do not consider that this makes me a 'mystic', and I am totally confused by your use of the term. But whatever. So I do not agree that each of your points imp ...[text shortened]... er words, there is no non-ersatz explanation -- its existence is a brute fact).
    think the notion of a self-existent entity (as in an entity whose existence is explained by its own nature) is nonsense,------------------------------------lemon--------------------

    Really? Isn't any "brute fact" a self existent entity or phenomenon?

    One could say that a brute fact just "IS" . Like the universe just started existing and that's just the way it "IS" - To me that's still a very mysterious brute fact. Ultimately existence boils down to one brute fact and whatever that brute fact is cannot be explainable or understood - it just "IS". That's the mystery - we can never ever find an explanation.
  14. Donationbuckky
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    28 Jan '09 22:42
    It's all the dream of God. Wake up to the surreal news.
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    28 Jan '09 23:223 edits
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    think the notion of a self-existent entity (as in an entity whose existence is explained by its own nature) is nonsense,------------------------------------lemon--------------------

    Really? Isn't any "brute fact" a self existent entity or phenomenon?

    One could say that a brute fact just "IS" . Like the universe just started existing and that's j erstood - it just "IS". That's the mystery - we can never ever find an explanation.
    Isn't any "brute fact" a self existent entity or phenomenon?

    For the last time, no. We've had this discussion before and I still do not understand why you cannot grasp the conceptual distinction between the two. A brute entity simply has no explanation. In contrast, a self-existent entity putatively has explanation unto itself -- the point of 'self-existence' is that the entity putatively explains itself (for instance, its existence is putatively explained by its nature). The two are obviously not the same.

    I'm not sure what your hang-up is on this point. But within the context of some common versions of the cosmological argument, if person 1 claims that there exists some brute entity; and if person 2 claims that there exists some self-existent entity; these two persons have claimed very different things. In particular, it presumably will be taken within context that person 1 is also denying some version of the principle of sufficient reason, whereas person 2 is not denying the same version of PSR.

    Also, if your view is that God's existence is brute, then your view is very different from many theists who hold that God is self-existent. You would do well to start understanding the distinction between the two. Otherwise, you are seriously going to mistake a person's position as it relates to such discussions if you take it to be the case that their claiming that a self-existent entity exists thereby commits them to the existence of a brute fact (or vice versa).

    On the other hand, if you are saying that when one claims "God just is" (or some such) he is committing himself to a brute fact, that may well be correct. I already basically agreed with that in my first post, but I what I am trying to say is that by 'self-existent' one may have a particular concept in mind that is not meant to report the existence of brute fact.

    That's the mystery - we can never ever find an explanation.

    Supposing that there is no explanation to find, how is it then mysterious that we cannot find an explanation? As far as I can tell, there is nothing mysterious about that. I don't agree here with your use of 'mystery' or 'mystic' or the like, but I think I understand why you use the term. Let's just say that I choose not to call myself a mystic just because I think it is likely that at least one brute fact exists.
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