I am going to close my contribution to this thread. We've had a lot of room to explore the argument that I presented, and I think we all have some food for thought to go away with. If you felt like I didn't answer your question at all, or not adequately, it is probably because of one of the reasons below. Altogether there has been a confusion of method in the discussion, so I would like to address before I go two primary stumbling blocks to understanding that seem to stick out to me.
A misunderstanding of logical argumentation.
Natural science and philosophy of nature are two different type of pursuits of knowledge, with two different methods, and two different types of truths arrived at. Natural science has for its object and its goal the phenomena and processes of sensible being. Philosophy of nature has for its object the phenomena and processes of sensible being, while its goal is the essence and cause. Not phenomena as such, but being as such. The first method is called empiriological, while the second method is called ontological. The first reasons down, while the later reasons up. Both analyze to reach universal conclusions. Natural science deals with phenomena, so in its conclusions it never reaches beyond phenomena. It uses hypothesis, deductions, and the like to come to a probable explanation of phenomena. Philosophy of nature is simply the application of the intellect, in light of self-evident (obvious) truths, to an object offered it by experience until it finds a true principle by which it can understand the object. Infering what is necessarily implied by the facts, philosophy of nature comes to explanations which are necessary and "all or nothing". There can be a mistake in the premises somewhere, in which case the argument can be reformulated based on the new knowledge. Generally philosophy of nature handles matters which natural science take for granted. As long as one is not taken for the other, there is no real conflict between the two methods. Together they form a coherent view of existence.
So Thomas Aquinas argues that, given that we observe that things exist, undergo change, and exhibit final causes, there necessarily must be a God who maintains them in existence at every instant. Everyone has been looking at the conclusions (God, pure actuality), instead of addressing the premises, and the discussion hasn't really get off the ground.
An assumption/bias that scientific reasoning is superior to methaphysical reasoning. Or even that methaphysical reasoning has no value.
This view is called scientism or postivism. This view is problematic because the proponents of it never defend the claim, but just put it out there. In that case they are being just as dogmatic as any person they criticize for being dogmatic. Second the view they espouse is actually methaphysical, in that they would need to appeal to methaphysical reasoning to support it. As said earlier, natural science takes for granted propositions which philosophy of nature explain. Topics such as: there is a physical world existing independent of our minds, this world is characterized by various objective patterns and regularities, our senses are only partially reliable sources of information about this world, there are objective laws of logic and methematics that apply to the objective world outside our mind, etc. All these and other claims are methaphysical in nature and are presupposed by natural science. Scientism is there incoherent.
I wish you all well. I enjoyed the discussion. See you in another thread.