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Metaphysics (Philosophy of Matter) - What Is Matter and Existence? What Are We? Where Did Everything Come From?

A branch of philosophy pertaining to existence, nature, and the universe - how everything got here and where it came from. There are many sub-categories of metaphysics, the most mentioned being cosmology - the study of the cosmos - how did the universe begin. Metaphysics deals with the origin of life in its most minute forms (quark) or its most vast and expansive form (the universe) this element of our world view is hotly debated between theists and atheists today.

What is matter and existence?
  1. Realism – All things exist independently of our perception, beliefs, reasoning

  2. Determinism – All things were brought by cause and effect beginning with the Big Bang.

  3. Dualism – Some things are physical in nature and other things are spiritual in nature and are generally separate from each other. Although each can affect or impact the other.

  4. Monism – Everything is composed of one fundamental kind of “stuff”. All is one without division. There is no “mind” separate from body nor anything of a “spiritual” nature

  5. Reductionism – Everything is a collection of basic substances that behave in regular ways

  6. Physicalism – All matter and existence is nothing more than physical properties which are better understood over the course of time by the physical sciences.

  7. Biblical (Realism+Dualism) – All things which are seen are physical substance things unseen (apart from God), some of which are spiritual, are created entities by God and exist independently of our perception, beliefs, and reasoning and are sustained by God

  8. Materialism: All things are composed of material substance and all phenomena is simply the interaction material entities.

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What are we?
  1. Monism: We are a collection of physio-chemical entities like atoms and/or molecules

  2. Existentialism: I am a product of my own experiences and I provide the meaning and authenticity for my own existence.

  3. Physicalism: I am nothing more than a physical construct of physical substance.

  4. Materialism: I am material substance only without spirit or consciousness.

  5. Naturalism: We are the product of nature which is the only thing that exists. I do not have a soul or spirit, there is no God or “super” natural existence or phenomena, just nature.

  6. Biblical: We are created beings from the dust of the earth with body, soul (mind), & spirit

Where did everything come from?
  1. Naturalism/Atheism: Big Bang or similar theory whereby all life evolved

  2. Theism: A Creator of some kind

  3. Nihilism/Agnosticism: Can’t know the answer to this question

  4. Mormonism: Everything always existed in some way, shape, or form

  5. Deism: A Creator started it but turned it over to run itself like a clock or machine.

Some common world views pertaining to metaphysics

  1. Theist Creationism

    1. Judaeo - Christian: Believes that all things seen and unseen including the smallest of particles to the largest of entities, were all created by the very word of God (Christianity/Judaism)
      1. Gen 1:1-5 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the [b]surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the [d]surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

    2. Deist Creationism - All things seen and unseen were created by an unknown and unknowable deity who put it all into motion like a giant watch run by “laws” of nature that it (god) put into place to govern the machine - i.e. the “Watchmaker” god. This deity has had nor will have anything to do with this universe machine it has created and set in motion as that would violate the laws that the deity put in place. i.e. the supernatural is not possible nor accepted due to the nature of the machine. Most of the founders of the United States: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and others were Deists and the deity they speak of is an impersonal and non-miraculous one - that the God of the Bible

    3. Pantheistic Creationism

    4. Polytheistic Creationism

  2. Nihilist - The second definition of nihilism in this case can also be considered a sub-category of metaphysics in the sense that it asserts that nothing in the world has a real existence to begin with and therefore it comes from nowhere and cannot relate to anything as it is not real. Some early strands of Gnosticism might be considered nihilist in approach in that the material is an illusion and only the spiritual is real. Some Chinese traditional religions are somewhat nihilist in a metaphysical sense by way of denying that the pleasures of this life are an illusion and must be disregarded. i.e. Taoism.

  3. Naturalist / Atheist – Evolutionists – Darwinists - currently believe that the entire universe was compacted and contracted into a massively dense dot about the size of a period on this page and, massively expanded and exploded outwardly into beautifully formed stars, solar systems and planets, including one that is perfectly suited to sustain life. Because this particular metaphysical worldview is being pushed on school-aged children as a “scientific” worldview, I would like to point out the following clarifications or “problems” with this worldview that need examination before disallowing all other options or views:

    1. Fossil Problem– No transitional fossils can be found despite multiple efforts to ‘create’ one like Nebraska Man or Piltdown man - both of which have been exposed as frauds yet still appear in textbooks without mentioning their discredit.

    2. Cosmological Problem – Science has shown repeatedly that nothing comes from nothing. If nothing exists then nothing can emerge yet the cosmology of naturalism claims that nothing came from nothing and the “exploding dot” which would have required a massive external or internal source of energy to expand, is claimed to have done so, out of nothing and by the action of nothing.

    3. Radioactive Dating Problem – To utilise carbon 14 dating, the archaeologist must provide an approximate date for the carbon 14 technician to date it properly. To get this date, the archaeologist must consult the geologist who asks in which layer the bones were found. This geological “layer” is determined by asking archaeologists, which items have been found in which layer of earth. This is clearly circular reasoning - both schools of “science” are reliant upon one another whereby an item dates a layer and the layer dates an item. The other issue with carbon 14 dating is that it presumes that the level of carbon 14 buildup is based on a unchanging ecosystem - yet - scientists argue for government control because of the ever-changing ecosystem. Clearly this system of dating is flawed as demonstrated when a living snail was dated as being 2500 years old.

    4. Mutations Problem – The sheer amount of “perfectly coordinated” mutations required to result in a complex organism like a brain, or an eye, or a nervous system are mathematically impossible - even with billions of years. Mutations are also counter-Darwinist in that a fish with a mutated nub - which is presumed to be an early leg forming - would swim slower and less effective to compete for food to survive (Darwin’s survival of the fittest) also the nub bumped fish would be easier prey for other fish and upon its being gobbled up, millions of years of “perfectly coordinated” mutation resulting in a half-leg are instantly gone forever.

    5. Scientific Method Problem – It is impossible to re-create the “Big Bang” as no one has or can observe such a phenomena taking place. Only speculation can be offered which is NOT the scientific method. It requires faith to embrace the Big Bang and it is faith which is supposedly so contrary to the scientific method (according to naturalist scientists). This same problem can be applied to the process of macro evolution i.e. one species changing to become an entirely different species. It hasn’t ever been observed and therefore cannot be replicated by scientists for observation and therefore is arrived at only by speculation and not the scientific method - it is believed by “faith” and not scientific experiment and observation

  4. Deconstructionism

  5. Conceptualism

  6. Accidentalism

  7. Reductionism – A concept that claims that complex systems whether objects, phenomena, explanation, or theory are nothing more than the sum of its parts. A physicalist may describe the brain in such a way – chemicals transporting thought communications along the corpus callosum etc. – no general view of this

  8. Physicalism

  9. Atomism

  10. Comtism - Social science that can be used for social reconstruction

  11. Realism - The doctrine that universals or abstract concepts have an objective or absolute existence. The theory that universals have their own reality is sometimes called Platonic realism because it was first outlined by Plato's doctrine of “forms” or ideas. Often contrasted with nominalism. The doctrine that matter as the object of perception has real existence and is neither reducible to universal mind or spirit nor dependent on a perceiving agent. Often contrasted with idealism (sense 2).

  12. Idealism - A type of philosophy in which Ideas are the basic or ultimate reality

  13. Nominalism - Universals or general ideas are mere names without any corresponding reality, and that only particular objects exist; properties, numbers, and sets are thought of as merely features of the way of considering the things that exist. Important in medieval scholastic thought, nominalism is associated particularly with William of Occam. Often contrasted with realism

  14. Dualism – Two basic entities to life – spirit and material. Spirit is good, pure, right and material is bad, corrupt, and wrong. Some early strands of Gnosticism are dualists.

  15. Monism

  16. Holism

Now that you’ve examined Metaphysics, have a look at the other elements that comprise your world view:

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