WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Craig's arguments for God, Pt 2

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2201  Postby GrahamH » Jan 05, 2015 2:14 pm

Rumraket wrote:Suppose knowledge is like having a giant list of true statements about everything there is to know about everything. Somewhere on the list is the statement "there is nothing more to be known than what is on this list". Well, we have defined the contents of the list to be true, but how would god know that they really are, beyond the statement on the list that they are? Can god have absolute certainty of that? I think these things would have to be brute facts about god. God just knows that they are true, and god just is absolutely certain about it. How? Inexplicable.



You might as well ask 'how does God know anything?' Clearly it could not be learned from experience since that entails initial ignorance. It is surely one of those absurd un-falsifiable assertions - God just knows everything. 'How?' is not an applicable question. An omniscient being has never been ignorant. It doesn't have any cause for doubt.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2202  Postby Thommo » Jan 05, 2015 2:15 pm

GrahamH wrote:Yes, of course, it was a typo. It should have been 'logically possible'. (Now corrected.)


Thanks. Just wanted to be sure.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2203  Postby Nicko » Jan 05, 2015 2:24 pm

Shrunk wrote:
THWOTH wrote:I think part of the reason these kinds of discussion drag on is becasue the God-narrative is such a well-established and ingrained cultural trope it seems to demand we go to more robust lengths in refutation than one would generally consider needed to refute the dragon-narrative, or the fairy-narrative, or even the god-narratives of more ancient or primitive cultures.


Yes. When someone says "There are no Tyrannosaurs rexes in existence," people don't typically respond "You can't say that. How do you know there is not an undiscovered island somewhere overrun with them? Or that some Jurassic Park-style scientist hasn't cloned them and hasn't yet revealed this to the world? Or that there isn't a distant planet somewhere where they still exist?" The context in which the person is making the statement is understood and accepted, as is the appropriate burden of proof. When God is involved, however, special pleading suddenly becomes the norm.


Exactly. A standard of precision, and level of qualification, not required in any other area is suddenly demanded.

If I were to say that I'm currently sitting at a desk typing words on a laptop, I don't have to qualify that with:

" ... unless I'm suffering from some form of mental illness that is causing me to imagine this is the case."

or

" ... unless space aliens are projecting an elaborate hard-light hologram of a laptop in front of me while they download the porn off the original on board their mothership."

or

" ... unless the fairies at the bottom of the garden are casting some magical illusion."

or

" ... unless I'm just a brain in a vat in the laboratory of a mad scientist."

All of which - as well as an infinite number of other scenarios - are at least as believable as "God exists".

The reason we don't acknowledge this infinite number of possibilities is of course that it would mean that anything we might want to say would take an infinite amount of time to say. Why should we make conversational allowances for the possibility that the "God Hypothesis" might be true when we habitually ignore the possibility of much more plausible "invalidators"?
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2204  Postby THWOTH » Jan 05, 2015 2:28 pm

I think you go too far in ridiculing the benevolent doctrine of alien proxy porn downloaders there. It's a divinely noble tradition that has been a great source of comfort to billions throughout the galaxy. Typical sceptic!
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2205  Postby Shrunk » Jan 05, 2015 2:29 pm

Nicko wrote:The beginning of the universe - if it ever happened - was also, by definition, the beginning of time. Any cause this event would have - assuming that it had a cause - would necessarily be atemporal. That is, if we are tracing the chain of causation back to the beginning of time the chain ends there. There is no "before" the beginning of time for a cause of the beginning of time to occupy.

Either we are dealing with some as-yet-to-be-explained kind of atemporal "cause" that somehow sidesteps this problem, or the beginning of time was a causeless event, or time has no beginning.

Given that no one has managed to put forth an idea of what the fuck an atemporal cause even is, the two latter options sound more plausible.


The more basic problem is that we just don't have the language to describe a universe in which time does not exist. It's just too alien to our experience. That's why Sean Carroll, in his debate w/ Craig, said Craig's claims are "not even wrong." Craig tries to apply the language of everyday experience for us here in middle earth to phenomena that are quite different from that. So the proper way to deal with the problem is to construct plausible models, generally involving complex mathematics, and generate predictions that can be tested to determine how well those models jibe with reality. Quaint notions like "cause" are just so 19th century.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2206  Postby John Platko » Jan 05, 2015 4:22 pm

Nicko wrote:
John Platko wrote:Could you explain what the atemporal causation in Craig's argument is? I understand how the Aquinas's argument is atemporal but I thought Craig's was more straight forward.


That's your response?


Yes, I'm easily confused by atemporal causation.



Okay.

The beginning of the universe - if it ever happened - was also, by definition, the beginning of time. Any cause this event would have - assuming that it had a cause - would necessarily be atemporal. That is, if we are tracing the chain of causation back to the beginning of time the chain ends there. There is no "before" the beginning of time for a cause of the beginning of time to occupy.

Either we are dealing with some as-yet-to-be-explained kind of atemporal "cause" that somehow sidesteps this problem, or the beginning of time was a causeless event, or time has no beginning.


Not that I want to defend WLC's argument, but when I hear it, I imagine a framework of time that is at a higher level than the time in our current universe. Taking God out of the picture for a moment. Imagine if our universe was cyclical, expanding from a point to an apex and then collapsing (this is just a thought experiment to explain the concept of hierarchal time) back to a point, over and over again forever. Then, each expansion would have a reference time, but in the bigger picture each expansion and collapse could be plotted on a higher time scale. I imagine WLC's argument of causation to be temporal with this big picture view of time in mind. In WLC's case, God's frame of reference for time.

And this is in contrast with St. Thomas Aquinas's view of causation which is simultaneous in time. That is, the cause and effect that many claim St. Thomas was referring to traces back to the prime mover in the same instant of time- which feels like a kind of atemporal cause and effect to me because there is no delta t in the before and after.



Given that no one has managed to put forth an idea of what the fuck an atemporal cause even is, the two latter options sound more plausible.


I think St. Thomas's (this too was probably one of Aristotle's ideas) notion of an effect that is simultaneous with cause is a pretty good stab at a concept of atemporal cause and effect.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2207  Postby murshid » Jan 05, 2015 5:31 pm

GrahamH wrote:If you can't show it to be logically impossible (it is not a contradiction), then it is logically possible.

No. It would just mean that we are unable to show it to be logically impossible. It might be logically impossible and we might just not be competent enough to demonstrate the impossibility.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2208  Postby Shrunk » Jan 05, 2015 5:32 pm

This might be helpful in understanding what time is:

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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2209  Postby GrahamH » Jan 05, 2015 6:25 pm

murshid wrote:
GrahamH wrote:If you can't show it to be logically impossible (it is not a contradiction), then it is logically possible.

No. It would just mean that we are unable to show it to be logically impossible. It might be logically impossible and we might just not be competent enough to demonstrate the impossibility.


If you can't logically rule it out then it is unsound to conclude it impossible and it must remain a logical possibility. That doesn't mean it's true, only that it has not been shown to be false. See the Wiki qoute in my post above. If you disagree with that please explain why.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2210  Postby John Platko » Jan 05, 2015 6:33 pm

This illustrates the concept of a bigger picture of time than the one we observe from our universe.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PL_nFU7 ... JqNhUPsz-4
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2211  Postby murshid » Jan 05, 2015 7:43 pm

GrahamH wrote:
murshid wrote:
GrahamH wrote:If you can't show it to be logically impossible (it is not a contradiction), then it is logically possible.

No. It would just mean that we are unable to show it to be logically impossible. It might be logically impossible and we might just not be competent enough to demonstrate the impossibility.


If you can't logically rule it out then it is unsound to conclude it impossible and it must remain a logical possibility. That doesn't mean it's true, only that it has not been shown to be false. See the Wiki qoute in my post above. If you disagree with that please explain why.

I understand what you're saying now. And I agree.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2212  Postby lucek » Jan 05, 2015 8:16 pm

Heard a take on the whole argument.

The universe is at least somewhat hospitable to life.

This can be due to chance necessity or design.

If a universe with life was due to chance or necessity then such a universe must be hospitable to life.

If we assume design an agent that could design a universe could make life in an inhospitable universe.

There for the universe is more probably not designed.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2213  Postby John Platko » Jan 05, 2015 8:26 pm

Shrunk wrote:This might be helpful in understanding what time is:



That was enjoyable. If anyone wants to go to the next level of understanding I suggest

Leonard Susskind's Cosmology course:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 05uD5cedO-
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2214  Postby THWOTH » Jan 05, 2015 8:53 pm

John Platko wrote:
Nicko wrote:
John Platko wrote:Could you explain what the atemporal causation in Craig's argument is? I understand how the Aquinas's argument is atemporal but I thought Craig's was more straight forward.


That's your response?


Yes, I'm easily confused by atemporal causation.



Okay.

The beginning of the universe - if it ever happened - was also, by definition, the beginning of time. Any cause this event would have - assuming that it had a cause - would necessarily be atemporal. That is, if we are tracing the chain of causation back to the beginning of time the chain ends there. There is no "before" the beginning of time for a cause of the beginning of time to occupy.

Either we are dealing with some as-yet-to-be-explained kind of atemporal "cause" that somehow sidesteps this problem, or the beginning of time was a causeless event, or time has no beginning.


Not that I want to defend WLC's argument, but when I hear it, I imagine a framework of time that is at a higher level than the time in our current universe. Taking God out of the picture for a moment. Imagine if our universe was cyclical, expanding from a point to an apex and then collapsing (this is just a thought experiment to explain the concept of hierarchal time) back to a point, over and over again forever. Then, each expansion would have a reference time, but in the bigger picture each expansion and collapse could be plotted on a higher time scale. I imagine WLC's argument of causation to be temporal with this big picture view of time in mind. In WLC's case, God's frame of reference for time.

And this is in contrast with St. Thomas Aquinas's view of causation which is simultaneous in time. That is, the cause and effect that many claim St. Thomas was referring to traces back to the prime mover in the same instant of time- which feels like a kind of atemporal cause and effect to me because there is no delta t in the before and after.



Given that no one has managed to put forth an idea of what the fuck an atemporal cause even is, the two latter options sound more plausible.


I think St. Thomas's (this too was probably one of Aristotle's ideas) notion of an effect that is simultaneous with cause is a pretty good stab at a concept of atemporal cause and effect.

Like Kant's cannonball on the cushion, each acting simulteneously, aa a cause and effect, on the other?







Which is bollocks of course.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2215  Postby John Platko » Jan 05, 2015 10:09 pm

THWOTH wrote:
John Platko wrote:
Nicko wrote:
John Platko wrote:Could you explain what the atemporal causation in Craig's argument is? I understand how the Aquinas's argument is atemporal but I thought Craig's was more straight forward.


That's your response?


Yes, I'm easily confused by atemporal causation.



Okay.

The beginning of the universe - if it ever happened - was also, by definition, the beginning of time. Any cause this event would have - assuming that it had a cause - would necessarily be atemporal. That is, if we are tracing the chain of causation back to the beginning of time the chain ends there. There is no "before" the beginning of time for a cause of the beginning of time to occupy.

Either we are dealing with some as-yet-to-be-explained kind of atemporal "cause" that somehow sidesteps this problem, or the beginning of time was a causeless event, or time has no beginning.


Not that I want to defend WLC's argument, but when I hear it, I imagine a framework of time that is at a higher level than the time in our current universe. Taking God out of the picture for a moment. Imagine if our universe was cyclical, expanding from a point to an apex and then collapsing (this is just a thought experiment to explain the concept of hierarchal time) back to a point, over and over again forever. Then, each expansion would have a reference time, but in the bigger picture each expansion and collapse could be plotted on a higher time scale. I imagine WLC's argument of causation to be temporal with this big picture view of time in mind. In WLC's case, God's frame of reference for time.

And this is in contrast with St. Thomas Aquinas's view of causation which is simultaneous in time. That is, the cause and effect that many claim St. Thomas was referring to traces back to the prime mover in the same instant of time- which feels like a kind of atemporal cause and effect to me because there is no delta t in the before and after.



Given that no one has managed to put forth an idea of what the fuck an atemporal cause even is, the two latter options sound more plausible.


I think St. Thomas's (this too was probably one of Aristotle's ideas) notion of an effect that is simultaneous with cause is a pretty good stab at a concept of atemporal cause and effect.

Like Kant's cannonball on the cushion, each acting simulteneously, aa a cause and effect, on the other?


Not exactly. As I understand it, Kant didn't give temporal priority to either the cannonball or the cushion, that is, in Kant's case there is no cause and effect that can be determined.

In the case of the Aquinas apologists, there is a cause and effect priority. Furthermore, this simultaneous cause and effect trace back to God. It goes something like: A ball is held up by the cushion it rests on, which is held up by the chair it rest on, which is held up by the floor it rests on, which is held up by the earth, which is ... God. When push comes to shove, this is the corner Aquinas apologists back into. Apparently, Aquinas didn't think one could use metaphysics to prove the universe had a beginning. He didn't believe that metaphysics could prove that a sequence like grandfather, father, son, etc. (what he and his bud Aristotle called an accidental series of causes) had to be finite. Which is odd because Aristotle made a fairly clever argument why it's impossible to traverse an infinite discrete series in finite time.


Which is bollocks of course.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2216  Postby Thommo » Jan 05, 2015 10:36 pm

lucek wrote:Heard a take on the whole argument.

The universe is at least somewhat hospitable to life.

This can be due to chance necessity or design.

If a universe with life was due to chance or necessity then such a universe must be hospitable to life.

If we assume design an agent that could design a universe could make life in an inhospitable universe.

There for the universe is more probably not designed.


You're aware this argument is fallacious, right? The conclusion does not follow from the premises.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2217  Postby Rumraket » Jan 06, 2015 2:33 am

lucek wrote:Heard a take on the whole argument.

The universe is at least somewhat hospitable to life.

This can be due to chance necessity or design.

If a universe with life was due to chance or necessity then such a universe must be hospitable to life.

If we assume design an agent that could design a universe could make life in an inhospitable universe.

There for the universe is more probably not designed.

I think I remember there's bayesian formulation of an argument like this that says the fine tuning of the universe is actually evidence against design by god: Putting it into words it goes something like this:

Either we're here

1. Because the universal constants were "fine tuned" for life (by god/design).

or

2. Because the properties of the universal constants just happened to be such that we came to exist and can live here (chance and/or necessity).

How would we observationally distinguish between the two? Well, it's obvious that can't be done because they'd potentially appear exactly the same.

So how do we determine which is more probably correct then? By comparing the odds of what we observe (the evidence, "fine-tuned constants") on the two different hypotheses (fine-tuning due to chance vs fine-tuning due to design), and what we get is this:

The probability life should come to find itself living in a fine-tuned universe, even if there is no god, is 100%. Think about it, where else could we live? That is, of life-permitting universes, the one we observe is of the sort we would expect if there was no fine-tuner in the sense that the laws and constants must be such that they allow for our existence. They would necessarily have to appear fine-tuned. Only a universe that had laws exactly such that life could originate and evolve, could produce life, if there was no god or fine-tuner.

But, the probability that life should come to find itself living in a universe fine-tuned for life with a god is NOT 100%, because a god could just as easily have chosen a scrambled mess of constants but decided to keep life in existence through a continuous divine intervention. Or god could have made two separate sets of physical laws, one that applied to inanimate matter and objects in general, and another set of constants that applied only to living organisms. For example, we could observe that life was in violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. But we don't.

Thus on the god-hypothesis there'd be some nonzero chance we'd discover a completely different set of rules governing life and living organisms, instead of what we have now: The same physical rules and constants governing both living and inanimate matter.
Thus, on the observation of fine-tuning alone, an actual fine-tuner is antecedently less probable, because what we observe is what we'd expect even without a fine-tuner, because that's the only sort of place we could exist without one!

On the other hand, with a god the universe didn't have to be fine-tuned with universal laws, that possibility is only a small subset of the total available models on the god hypothesis, so what we observe (the type of universe we observe) is less likely than 100%. Thus, given the observation of universally applicable seemingly fine-tuned laws, the probability they're due to design is less likely than they're due to chance/necessity. Isn't that brilliant?
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2218  Postby Thommo » Jan 06, 2015 5:52 am

Sorry, the conclusion doesn't follow there either.

The argument doesn't show anything about the relative probability of a God-designed universe compared to a not God-designed universe. At best all it shows is that the unknown probability of God's existence given the universe appears to sustain natural laws is lower than some other unknown probability of God's existence given an agnostic status about whether the universe appears to sustain natural laws.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2219  Postby Nicko » Jan 06, 2015 7:16 am

Shrunk wrote:Craig tries to apply the language of everyday experience for us here in middle earth to phenomena that are quite different from that.


Yep. When you are talking about an inherently unique event - an event totally outside the bounds of any human's experience - like the beginning of time/space itself, it's moronic to assume that event must conform to our sense of what is "normal". Particularly given that there are events occurring all the fucking time that defy that sense.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2220  Postby THWOTH » Jan 06, 2015 10:24 am

What we're dealing with are imaginable possibilities, of which there are many in the pantheon of creation mythology, and trying to quantify the probabilistic likelihood of this-or-that mythical creator existing appears very much like an exercise in determining the flavour of cremé d'rectal. Trying to take on this fine-tuning by designer hypothesis in these kind of terms is giving it far more credit than it deserves - after all, the point it is supporting is a patently fallacious self-referential assertion: The existence of all things are contingent on the existence of God; things exists therefore God exists necessarily.

OK, so if God exists and creates all things he's going to need some substrate in which to put them all (and he might create one for that purpose, or he could just borrow one, or get it from a catalogue perhaps), but God 'the creator' is indistinguishable in every regard from every and any other imaginable possibility framed in similar terms, so there is nothing particularly special or unique about God which demands we go to these extra lengths to refute the basic premise of the Abrahamic faiths; that we are created things in a universe created by an entity we are duty-bound to revere.

Edit: I guess what I'm saying is that I think it's important to avoid engaging in this 'debate' only on the apologists terms, as this can quickly drag us into a burden-shifted dead-end.
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