Monday, September 10, 2012

The Paradox of Motion and the Motion Maker

 Another argument offered by theists as evidence of God is the argument from motion. This argument says that, because things move, God must have moved them. God, so the reasoning goes, is the "unmoved mover" who makes all things move. God, in other words, is the Motion Maker.
On its face, this argument relies implicitly on the division made between potential vs. actual motion, which is a division based on an Aristotelian world view.  This world view, however, is as outdated a belief as that of a geocentric universe.  "The Michelson-Moreley Experiment of 1887 undid much of Aristotle’s world view" and, by extension, Aquinas’s argument (since the latter is premised on the accuracy of the former). "Special relativity further explained how “motion” is no longer a property of just “one thing” – the observer or the object – but of both the observer and the object," independently or simultaneously.  Special relativity, then, helped show how the belief in an “unmoved mover” is either an unfounded premise that defies the laws of physics, or, if such an “unmoved mover” does exist, it does so wholly outside of any human understanding or experience of time and space. This latter point means that, even if an “unmoved mover” exists, we have no ability to argue for that 'thing,s' existence using properties that “it” necessarily operates wholly outside of. Otherwise, we are like fish arguing for the existence of a falcon by using only the properties of water.  

 Additionally, why must we assume that “motion” has an origin and not a genealogy?  The "unmoved mover” hypothesis simply assumes that all motion must, necessarily, have a starting point. But  how do we really know if there was ever any such starting point? Perhaps there is only perpetual motion, in one form or another. That we cannot imagine perpetual, or 'infinite,' motion speaks more to the limits of human imagination than to the existence of an "unmoved mover."  As such, this argument asks us, indeed it requires us, to accept a belief in "the finite nature of motion" so we will further accept a belief in the existence of "an infinite motion maker."  This transfer of "infinity" from the former to the latter creates a kind of seesaw relationship between the words "motion" and "unmoved mover." A more narrow definition of the term "motion" increases the need for an "unmoved mover" while a more broad definition of "motion" decreases that need. Thus, there is a transference of the "infinite" from motion itself to an “unmoved mover” who causes that motion. Yet why we must swap the latter for the former is predicated on a presumption about the nature of the "universe," even as it ignore how that universe may be to a multiverse what cells are to the human body.

  Hence, this argument simply proves God by asking us to believe that motion must fine and the motion-maker infinite. This, then, asks us to accept the assumption that one must therefore be "caused" by an “act” of the other.  It is to assume that "infinite motion" is impossible, in other words, so that the existence of an "infinite unmoved-motion-maker" is inescapable.   But why, if something (indeed, if anything) exists outside of all time, space, and motion, must that “something” be a God and not Gods or God's cat, coughing up a hair ball, or simply infinite “stuff” that we know nothing about - period? After all, ANYTHING outside of time and space would equally qualify as "unmoved," no matter what "it" is.

 This argument, therefore, assumes something "must" be true (there "must" be an "unmoved mover") and then proceeds to conclude that the assumption we are forced to accept as "true" must necessarily be "God," even though we are debating the question of God to begin with.

Theists use this argument by claiming that God is "unmoved" because He is immaterial, and therefore outside of "time and space"  This puts the embodiment of God into the "space" outside of space, however, and then denies that such a space or embodiment exists.  It is to claim, in other words, that the theist knows exactly what and where God was before God could have been anything or anywhere the theist could possibly understand. It calls any mystery one encounters God, and with so doing, concludes that every mystery is fully solved by virtue of being fully unsolvable.It is to invite the wondering philosopher to perform calculus equations on a roller coaster so that he may conclude from the dizzying experience that God created Disney World. 


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