I Am “Talking Out Of My Ass”, Apparently.

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A passerby courteously suggests that I may have, in this post, spoken out of the lower part of my alimentary canal (read: ass):

“Miguel, with all due respect, you’re talking out of your ass.”

Contra to my claim in the post, passerby says Aquinas does in fact use the idea “everything has a cause” as a starting premise for his cosmological argument, and is therefore open to the ‘what caused God?’ rebuttal.

Of course, Aquinas does no such thing.

Passerby quotes Aquinas himself to show that I have indeed been articulating out of my own posterior, but I won’t bore you with that, since none of what he quotes from Aquinas means what he says they mean.

And, of course, because I very much doubt passerby, or anyone else for that matter, will go through the trouble of scanning the Summa Theologica to see what Aquinas himself argues, these short quotes from the pages of Stanford’s philosophical encyclopedia that detail the history of the cosmological argument should suffice to show who between us is in fact verbalizing from his anus:

“Thomas Aquinas held that among the things whose existence needs explanation are contingent beings that depend for their existence upon other beings..

[..]

Aquinas argued that we need a causal explanation for things in motion, things that are caused, and contingent beings.

[..]

Once Aquinas concludes that necessary beings exist, he then goes on to ask whether these beings have their existence from themselves or from another. If from another, then we have an unsatisfactory infinite regress of explanations. Hence, there must be something whose necessity is uncaused.”

That all can be found here: http://stanford.io/1h5F2Gk

There it is from Stanford’s online Philosophical Encyclopedia itself.

Unfortunately for passerby, Aquinas, and no theologian in the history of Christendom for that matter, argues that “everything has a cause”. Rather, what they argue is that whatever begins to exist has a cause for it’s existence, or what ever is contingent has a cause.

So, yes, Sam Harris was strawmanning the cosmological argument. Deal with it already.

That’s all really quite simple to understand. You’d think it would all be something easily fathomable by the people who “fucking love science”.

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Posted on May 20, 2014, in apologetics, philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hi Miguel,

    Perhaps it would be more productive if you would explain the difference between “everything” and “whatever begins to exist.”

    In other words, doesn’t the phrase “whatever begins to exist” cover “everything?” In what way are they different?

    Of course, you could argue that there is a being that didn’t begin to exist, and that we call God — but that sounds like you’re simply setting things up or playing with words.

    Andy

    • As you wish, Andy.

      No, it’s the other way around; ‘everything’ covers both ‘whatever begins to exist’ and what exists out of a necessity of it’s own nature (God), so if you start a cosmological argument with “everything has a cause”, then you will be open to the often-used rebuttal ‘well what caused God?’

      In other words, the very crude and–Aquinas would say–lazy, summation of his cosmological argument would be this: contingent things are contingent and therefore owe their existence to something else. Somewhere down the line there must have been something non-contingent — i.e., it exists out of a necessity of its own nature — that, to quote that philosophically ignorant scientismist Stephen Hawking, lit the blue touch paper.

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