Sunday, August 12, 2012

Keith Ward on the Origin and Nature of the Universe

"To the majority of those who have reflected deeply and written about the origin and nature of the universe, it has seemed that it points beyond itself to a source which is non-physical and of great intelligence and power. Almost all of the great classical philosophers — certainly Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Locke, Berkeley — saw the origin of the universe as lying in a transcendent reality. They had different specific ideas of this reality, and different ways of approaching it; but that the universe is not self-explanatory, and that it requires some explanation beyond itself, was something they accepted as fairly obvious."

Keith Ward
God Chance and Necessity, Oxford, One World Publications, 1996 p.1. 

8 comments :

Gillian Atherstone said...

Thank you for this link; reading a few pages from the preview one can see he is a master intellect who has an amazing facility with words. Thank you again, wish we could obtain the book in this part of the world!

Sarah K. said...

Whatever the other philosophers thought of a "transcendent reality" as the origin of the universe, this statement is certainly not "certain" concerning Spinoza or Bekelely, both of whom asserted that there was no separation between God and the universe. The former outright denied that God was transcendent, arguing explicitly in *the first few pages* of his magnum opus that, verbatim, "God is the immanent, and not the transcendant, cause of all things" (Ethics, Pt. 1, prop. 18). If I'm not mistaken, Kant found the cosmological argument to be unsound in the Critique of Pure Reason (cf. A606/B634ff). Of Hegel's "Absolute," it is decidedly not "certain" that it is a creative, personal, or "intelligent" force. Though probably appropriate for Descartes, Locke, and Leibniz, the mere fact that the nature or origin of Plato's demiurge or Aristole's prime mover as really "transcendent" is a thick and ongoing matter of scholarly dispute, Ward's statement above is either hyperbolic, ignorant, or outrught false for a good number of those names cited. You don't rally allies to your view (or even make it more plausable!) simply by scattershot, lazy name-dropping.

BGR said...

I know what Stephen Hawking would say.

Anonymous said...

The universe exists because the state of "nothing" is UNSTABLE. Quantum Physics tells us that the state of “nothing” does not stay “nothing” for long. A true nothing means no energy, no space and no time. The state of nothing can be thought of as a sphere of zero radius with nothing around it. Once a quantum event occurs inside this sphere (and it will according to physics) the radius of this sphere expands slightly causing the pressure ratio of the inside pressure to the outside pressure (zero) to be infinite. Remember that a number divided by zero is INFINITY. This infinite pressure ratio causes a rapid expansion resulting in the Big Bang explosion. If we put a partially filled balloon in a vacuum chamber, it expands rapidly and bursts since the internal pressure is greater than the external pressure. Inserting this same balloon into a state of true “nothing” is even more explosive. The key to understanding creation is in knowing that gravity is actually negative energy allowing a creation from nothing where the total energy of the universe remains at zero. Matter is the balancing positive energy. Since the state of “nothing” is unstable, the stuff around us is the result of nature seeking stability. I find the book “The Origin of the Universe – Case Closed” to be compelling. It has easy to follow math in the Appendix to back up its claims. It is hard to argue with math! It’s an easy read with many pictures.

Brian Auten said...

Out of nothing, nothing comes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by1LJ1lil1Y

Anonymous said...

Brian Auten - I'm thinking you were being ironic there. Clearly something just came out of the nothing inside you head!

Russ Anderson said...

Brian Auten - I'm thinking you were being ironic there. Clearly something just came out of the nothing inside you head!

Typical response from someone who goes by "Anonymous". It sure is wonderful that the internet has made it possible for cowards to indulge in their narcissism.

Your above response (I assume it's yours) seems to miss the point all together. This equivocation on "nothing" dodges the theistic question. Theists have always maintained that the universe came from nothing, despite the fact that it wasn't popular. Then we find out that it seems that it did come from nothing. So how do the non-theists handle this? They change the definition of nothing...into something. So now we have something coming from nothing (which is really something). And all of this will happen according to the physics which just happen to be there. You clearly have a knowledge of physics much better than mine. However, you seem to miss the philosophical point that Craig is making. You can call nothing "a sphere of zero radius with nothing around it" if you want, but you still don't answer the question of why and how it's there and why there are physics that create a quantum event inside it.

Anonymous said...

"...this statement is certainly not "certain" concerning Spinoza or Bekelely, both of whom asserted that there was no separation between God and the universe."

Wrong. See http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/berkeley/#3.1.3 and do more research.

"If I'm not mistaken, Kant found the cosmological argument to be unsound in the Critique of Pure Reason (cf. A606/B634ff)."

Another mistake.

Aquinas found Anselm's ontological argument unsound. Does that make him a non-theist? Of course not! Kant stated the practical necessity for a belief in God in his Critique of Practical Reason. While he found other arguments deficient, he gave his very *own* well-known argument for the existence of God. Perhaps you should do a little bit of reading yourself, before accusing Keith Ward's statement as being "hyperbolic, ignorant, or outrught (sic) false"? It might land you into a less embarassing situation next time.

"Brian Auten - I'm thinking you were being ironic there. Clearly something just came out of the nothing inside you head!"

The perfect example of an empty, pointless reply written by a empty, witless mind.

"You don't rally allies to your view (or even make it more plausable!) simply by scattershot, lazy name-dropping."

Really? Your reply could have fooled me!

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment. By posting your comment you are agreeing to the comment policy.

Blog Archive

Amz