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I'm Not Championing The Prime Mover Argument

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Posted by Hilbert Space on November 3, 2004 00:58:55 UTC

I pretty much agree with you on this Mario.

I wasn't selling Duane my own position, I was simply asserting to him that the notion of God as a pre-Big Bang First Cause (or "Prime Mover") is a position that (unlike young earth creationism) allows the theist to retain his theism in a way that is compatible with science.

Although as you say it merely pushes the question back, it does push it far enough back that it ends up squarely in the domain of philosophy where scientists don't bother treading -- at least not while they're practicing science. My point was that against the prevailing onslaught of science, the First Cause argument is one of the only "safe-zones" that the theist can defensibly occupy.

If you examine the 350 year old memetic struggle between science and religion, religion has retreated from a Ptolemeic earth-centered cosmogeny to an acceptance of the Copernican view; then from "evolution is a lie" to "micro-evolution occurred but macro-evolution is a lie"; and finally to its current position (held by more and more progressive Christian-scientists) that evolution is accepted but "intelligent design" is put forth as its cause.

Although I say that it is philosophically defensible position, I don't make the further claim that it explains anything.

My own position is a bit more complex, and maybe I'll get into it later, so suffice it to say that it's merely as devil's advocate that I claim God as First Cause is as philosophically valid as claiming that he is not.

The latter still forces the question of where all this came from.

Personally, I'm not too far from the pantheistic view, but it's just as ontologically unsatisfying as the Prime Mover position. Although I think that pantheism can succesfully answer the penultimate question of how things are, it still leaves the ultimate question of how things came to be unanswered.

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