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Motion in the First Way

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
    What did Aquinas mean?

    -------------

    Is the first way of Aquinas about scientific motion? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    So many times, when I encounter atheists on the internet and they want to know why I believe in God, I ask them a simple question. I want to start with the first of the five ways of Thomas Aquinas. I don’t want to know what you think of the argument first. I just want you to tell me what the argument is.

    It happened again yesterday with someone making a statement not just about what the first way was, but about all the ways of Aquinas and why they are all wrong. Again, not what I had asked for. It’s really a simple request. First, tell me what the argument is so we can make sure we’re discussing the same argument.

    The number of atheists that have met this request so far is zero.

    Not only that, but what they think are devastating objections are really the same ones I hear all the time and one of the most popular ones is that this is bad science. We understand motion differently now. So what’s wrong with that?

    For a start, let’s look at the argument itself.
    The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.



    Aquinas tells us what motion is in this. It is the reduction of potentiality to actuality. What does that mean? Think of actuality as what is. Think of potentiality as what could be. That what could be is also not necessarily good or bad. I am sitting down right now in actuality. I have the potential to stand up and I could do so. On the other hand, I am alive in actuality right now, and I have the potential to be dead. Let’s hope that’s not any time soon.

    So what is motion? Pretty much, any kind of change whatsoever.

    “Okay. But the objection still seems valid. Isn’t physical change a kind of change?”

    Of course, it is. The problem is that the objection acts as if that is the only kind of change Aquinas has in mind. It is not. Just my mind going from one idea to another is from potentiality to actuality. Let’s take a look at another example. Angels.

    At this, an atheist can say “But angels aren’t real!”

    Irrelevant question. If we are studying Aquinas’s system, we have to realize that he thought they were real. So what does he say?

    Prima Pars. Question 53. Article 2.
    On the contrary, If the angel be moved from one place to another, then, when he is in the term “whither,” he is no longer in motion, but is changed. But a process of changing precedes every actual change: consequently he was being moved while existing in some place. But he was not moved so long as he was in the term “whence.” Therefore, he was moved while he was in mid-space: and so it was necessary for him to pass through intervening space.

    I answer that, As was observed above in the preceding article, the local motion of an angel can be continuous, and non-continuous. If it be continuous, the angel cannot pass from one extreme to another without passing through the mid-space; because, as is said by the Philosopher (Phys. v, text 22; vi, text 77), “The middle is that into which a thing which is continually moved comes, before arriving at the last into which it is moved”; because the order of first and last in continuous movement, is according to the order of the first and last in magnitude, as he says (Phys. iv, text 99).



    The technical stuff doesn’t really matter at this point. What does matter is that Aquinas speaks of motion twice. He speaks of that for angels. In Q. 50 and Article 2, he quotes Dionysus to make his point.
    On the contrary, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv): “The first creatures are understood to be as immaterial as they are incorporeal.”



    Thus, motion plays to things that are not physical as well. Laws of science do not change that. We could hypothetically have a world where we were all angels and a group of holy angels and a group of fallen angels got together to discuss ultimate reality and there are somehow atheist fallen angels. The argument would still work.

    This is also why science cannot touch this argument at all. As long as you have any change going on, you have the motion that is needed in the argument. Those who jump to science misunderstand the argument greatly.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters
    (And I affirm the virgin birth)
    And what moved the god "the hypothetical first mover" from potential mover to actual mover?
    Last edited by JimL; 11-29-2023, 09:57 AM.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Starlight View Post
      If you're not going to bother to read the thread enough to post a coherent comment, maybe don't bother? AP is the one trying to reinterpret Aquinas. I am the one barely caring about the subject.
      Looks to me like you are doing exactly what AP is talking about in the OP to me.

      Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix
      So many times, when I encounter atheists on the internet and they want to know why I believe in God, I ask them a simple question. I want to start with the first of the five ways of Thomas Aquinas. I don’t want to know what you think of the argument first. I just want you to tell me what the argument is.

      It happened again yesterday with someone making a statement not just about what the first way was, but about all the ways of Aquinas and why they are all wrong. Again, not what I had asked for. It’s really a simple request. First, tell me what the argument is so we can make sure we’re discussing the same argument.

      The number of atheists that have met this request so far is zero.
      Score remains zero.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
        Score remains zero.
        Awesome.

        I particularly liked how the OP claimed he asks atheists a "simple question", then failed to state any question.
        "I hate him passionately", he's "a demonic force" - Tucker Carlson, in private, on Donald Trump
        "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism" - George Orwell
        "[Capitalism] as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evils. I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy" - Albert Einstein

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Starlight View Post
          Awesome.

          I particularly liked how the OP claimed he asks atheists a "simple question", then failed to state any question.
          It's not phrased directly as a question, with a question mark, but it's there.

          Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix
          So many times, when I encounter atheists on the internet and they want to know why I believe in God, I ask them a simple question. I want to start with the first of the five ways of Thomas Aquinas. I don’t want to know what you think of the argument first. I just want you to tell me what the argument is.
          ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
            It's not phrased directly as a question, with a question mark, but it's there.

            ...I just want you to tell me what the argument is.
            The first 80% of my first post in this thread seems to have done exactly that, because I happened to think that Nick's writing style was rather unclear and that clarification of his position was important if I wanted to discuss anything further with him.

            In general I don't view people as having any right to make arbitrary demands on other respondents. If I say "can you go out and run 10,000km before replying to this post, and make the first item in your reply a video of you doing it?", people are going to quite reasonably entirely ignore such a demand. Nick seems excessively arrogant in thinking he has any such right to make such arbitrary demands and have any reasonable expectation that the other person will give two figs. While it's slightly amusing that my first reply actually did as he requested without intending to, it's also pleasing to hear that other atheists he has talked to in the past weren't willing to give in to his arbitrary selfish demands about what they say and how they reply to him.
            "I hate him passionately", he's "a demonic force" - Tucker Carlson, in private, on Donald Trump
            "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism" - George Orwell
            "[Capitalism] as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evils. I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy" - Albert Einstein

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Starlight View Post
              If I say "can you go out and run 10,000km before replying to this post, and make the first item in your reply a video of you doing it?", people are going to quite reasonably entirely ignore such a demand.
              That's hardly the same as asking someone to phrase the argument under consideration as a means to detect a strawman. Your incredulity knows no bounds it seems.
              P1) If , then I win.

              P2)

              C) I win.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Diogenes View Post

                That's hardly the same as asking someone to phrase the argument under consideration as a means to detect a strawman. Your incredulity knows no bounds it seems.
                Yep. It's just awful that if we are discussing an argument, let's make sure we agree on what it is before proceeding.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                  The first 80% of my first post in this thread seems to have done exactly that, because I happened to think that Nick's writing style was rather unclear and that clarification of his position was important if I wanted to discuss anything further with him.

                  In general I don't view people as having any right to make arbitrary demands on other respondents. If I say "can you go out and run 10,000km before replying to this post, and make the first item in your reply a video of you doing it?", people are going to quite reasonably entirely ignore such a demand. Nick seems excessively arrogant in thinking he has any such right to make such arbitrary demands and have any reasonable expectation that the other person will give two figs. While it's slightly amusing that my first reply actually did as he requested without intending to, it's also pleasing to hear that other atheists he has talked to in the past weren't willing to give in to his arbitrary selfish demands about what they say and how they reply to him.
                  You told us what you thought about the argument and that Nick was "changing it", not what the argument was (other than in a mocking way: (??? -> motion -> motion -> motion -> motion -> ...The "???" is God.)

                  Originally posted by Nick
                  I don’t want to know what you think of the argument first. I just want you to tell me what the argument is.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Diogenes View Post







                    You seem deficient, much like your understanding of American politics despite years of observation..
                    It's what happens when one cherry picks their sources and information rather than seeking out both sides if for no other reason than to see what the side you disagree with is actually saying and not just what their opponents claim they are saying.

                    It's why I regularly read the NYT and WaPo and watch MSNBC.

                    I'm always still in trouble again

                    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                      The first 80% of my first post in this thread seems to have done exactly that, because I happened to think that Nick's writing style was rather unclear and that clarification of his position was important if I wanted to discuss anything further with him.

                      In general I don't view people as having any right to make arbitrary demands on other respondents. If I say "can you go out and run 10,000km before replying to this post, and make the first item in your reply a video of you doing it?", people are going to quite reasonably entirely ignore such a demand. Nick seems excessively arrogant in thinking he has any such right to make such arbitrary demands and have any reasonable expectation that the other person will give two figs. While it's slightly amusing that my first reply actually did as he requested without intending to, it's also pleasing to hear that other atheists he has talked to in the past weren't willing to give in to his arbitrary selfish demands about what they say and how they reply to him.
                      That's a strange comparison. Asking to check whether one adequately understands the subject at hand before engaging in indepth discussion is quite reasonable, unlike the arbitrary nature of requiring one to do a long distance run.
                      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                        You told us what you thought about the argument and that Nick was "changing it"
                        Yay for me.

                        not what the argument was (other than in a mocking way: (??? -> motion -> motion -> motion -> motion -> ...The "???" is God.)
                        That was not intended as mocking, it was intended as being as concise and clear explanation of the argument as possible.

                        As I have said, I generally think the cosmological argument works fine at proving a first cause. Thus there would be little point in me mocking it. The arrow and dot-dot-dot format is how I would write any long series.

                        To the extent I mock anything about any cosmological argument, it's the add-on that gets used at the end, where people take the 'first cause' conclusion of the argument, and then go around pretending that the 'first cause' is 'God'. Generally speaking I would say it is impossible for a first cause to be God, for a variety of reasons. A big reason is that God is conceived of having a high level of intelligence, and intelligence involves structured links between concepts, whereas the first cause needs to be something truly simple with no structure. So the first cause is going to be something on the level of 1+1=2, something fundamentally simple and limited in scope that other things build on. An intelligence is not simple.

                        Yes, I am 100% aware that Catholic theology asserts that God is "simple", but they give the complete lie to that assertion when they start piling on all the other attributes that God allegedly has. They make me start laughing at them at the point where they start piling on the attributes: You can either have something that is simple and without many attributes, or you can start piling them on, but you can't have both.

                        And an intelligence inherently needs complex structure to be an intelligence, which is why neurons are connected in complex ways, and why artificial intelligences involves complex algorithms about connection, and why Turing machines in theoretical computer science have structure, because intelligences fundamentally need to draw connections between concepts and organize information, and hence fundamentally have a need for complex structure otherwise they wouldn't be intelligences. Yes, I am 100% aware that Catholic theology asserts that angels and God have completely different types of intelligence to humans. Them piling on such unevidenced claims, that we have zero reason to think are at all actually possible, just makes me laugh at them more.
                        "I hate him passionately", he's "a demonic force" - Tucker Carlson, in private, on Donald Trump
                        "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism" - George Orwell
                        "[Capitalism] as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evils. I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy" - Albert Einstein

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                          Yay for me.

                          That was not intended as mocking, it was intended as being as concise and clear explanation of the argument as possible.

                          As I have said, I generally think the cosmological argument works fine at proving a first cause. Thus there would be little point in me mocking it. The arrow and dot-dot-dot format is how I would write any long series.

                          To the extent I mock anything about any cosmological argument, it's the add-on that gets used at the end, where people take the 'first cause' conclusion of the argument, and then go around pretending that the 'first cause' is 'God'. Generally speaking I would say it is impossible for a first cause to be God, for a variety of reasons. A big reason is that God is conceived of having a high level of intelligence, and intelligence involves structured links between concepts, whereas the first cause needs to be something truly simple with no structure. So the first cause is going to be something on the level of 1+1=2, something fundamentally simple and limited in scope that other things build on. An intelligence is not simple.

                          Yes, I am 100% aware that Catholic theology asserts that God is "simple", but they give the complete lie to that assertion when they start piling on all the other attributes that God allegedly has. They make me start laughing at them at the point where they start piling on the attributes: You can either have something that is simple and without many attributes, or you can start piling them on, but you can't have both.

                          And an intelligence inherently needs complex structure to be an intelligence, which is why neurons are connected in complex ways, and why artificial intelligences involves complex algorithms about connection, and why Turing machines in theoretical computer science have structure, because intelligences fundamentally need to draw connections between concepts and organize information, and hence fundamentally have a need for complex structure otherwise they wouldn't be intelligences. Yes, I am 100% aware that Catholic theology asserts that angels and God have completely different types of intelligence to humans. Them piling on such unevidenced claims, that we have zero reason to think are at all actually possible, just makes me laugh at them more.
                          And now you are going off on a tangent about the structure of God? And you still haven't done what Nick wants: "tell me what the argument is so we can make sure we’re discussing the same argument."

                          Thus my comment that the score is still zero.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                            And you still haven't done what Nick wants: "tell me what the argument is so we can make sure we’re discussing the same argument."

                            Thus my comment that the score is still zero.
                            Did you hit your head badly? It was the first thing I did in my first post.
                            "I hate him passionately", he's "a demonic force" - Tucker Carlson, in private, on Donald Trump
                            "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism" - George Orwell
                            "[Capitalism] as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evils. I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy" - Albert Einstein

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post

                              Yep. It's just awful that if we are discussing an argument, let's make sure we agree on what it is before proceeding.
                              Then spit it out man. If you don't think anyone knows the argument then lets hear it from you. Your demand makes one think it's you who doesn't know what the argument is. Spit it out man, so that we all can see that you know what you're talking about.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by JimL View Post

                                Then spit it out man. If you don't think anyone knows the argument then lets hear it from you. Your demand makes one think it's you who doesn't know what the argument is. Spit it out man, so that we all can see that you know what you're talking about.
                                The purpose of this thread is not to debate it. It is to discuss how he goes about debating it. Therefore, for him to explain it to you would be outside the purpose of this thread. If you want to debate it, start a new thread.
                                "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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