Thursday, February 02, 2006

Brian Holtz vs. Glenn Miller on Causation

Glenn M. Miller (http://Christian-thinktank.com) states the following in his excellent essay at http://www.christian-thinktank.com/nextseat.html:
There is something 'beyond' the physical universe -- something that
'caused' this one.

Brian Holtz, in a rebuttal, says:

Why stop there? Why do you not believe there is *another* something beyond (and
that caused) *your* "something"?

There cannot be an infinite regress of causes. We stop at this ultimate uncaused Cause, God, the "uncaused, personal Creator of the universe, who sans creation is 'beginningless,' changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent." [1]

Miller states that

pre-historic burial practices evidence a belief in a 'life beyond this one'

In reply, Holtz says:

It must be a "life beyond this one" only for men, because I've read that
pre-historic humans only sent men to the beyond through burial, and never women.

Where is that literature? If true, there was a belief in an afterlife nonetheless.

Miller: the notion of a First Cause (to start the whole thing) that
is itself "un-caused" seems much less problematic than
some "infinite regress" chain of causes
Holtz: If you look at an infinite regress from a perspective "outside" time,
then an uncaused (or self-causing) regress might seem no more problematic than
an uncaused (or self-causing) first cause. And again: the universe as a whole
could be as uncaused or self-causing as any alleged god.

An entity cannot be self-caused. The finite universe even as a whole cannot be uncaused [2] or self-caused and needs an uncaused Cause outside itself. Infinite regress is impossible. Mathematically infinite series are possible, not actual ones; math series are abstract/theoretical whereas a series of causes of existence is made of actual entities. An infinite series of simultaneous and existentially dependent causes is impossible.

More points will be refuted soon.

[1] http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2006/01/here-is-sound-argument-for-existence.html

[2] http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/smith.html