WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Craig's arguments for God, Pt 2

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

Moderators: Blip, DarthHelmet86

WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#1  Postby Shrunk » Apr 07, 2011 3:47 pm

William Lane Craig seems to be one of the most frequently discussed apolgists for theism on this board. His reputation largely rests on a series of five arguments for the existence of God, which feature regularly in his writings, public speeches and debates. Since these arguments so often arise in discussion on this board, I thought it would be a good idea to have separate threads devoted to each of these to allow discussion of these by those who support Craig, and those who would refute his arguments.

A full discussion of these arguments can be found in Craig's article here. What follows is the introductory paragraph from that article.

2. The Kalam Cosmological Argument Based on the Beginning of the UniverseHere’s a different version of the cosmological argument, which I have called the kalam cosmological argument in honor of its medieval Muslim proponents (kalam is the Arabic word for theology):

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Once we reach the conclusion that the universe has a cause, we can then analyze what properties such a cause must have and assess its theological significance.
Now again the argument is logically ironclad. So the only question is whether the two premises are more plausibly true than their denials.
"A community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime." -Oscar Wilde
User avatar
Shrunk
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 26170
Age: 54
Male

Country: Canada
Canada (ca)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#2  Postby Scar » Apr 07, 2011 4:15 pm

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

Unsupported assertion.
Also, lots of stuff at the quantum level seems not to have a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

Unsupported assertion, mis-representation of the big bang (which is not shown, or thought to be the actual beginning of things) and conflation of the terms "universe" and "cosmos".

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Does not follow.
Image
User avatar
Scar
 
Name: Michael
Posts: 3967
Age: 33
Male

Country: Germany
Germany (de)
Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#3  Postby John P. M. » Apr 07, 2011 4:23 pm

Insufficient data, cannot compute. :tongue:
No, but to say that the universe began to exist, as from literally nothing, poofed into existence through magic, is, to say the least, premature.
Should it be the case that the universe has one cause, I can't see how one could derive any theological significance from that fact in and of itself.
Also, to simply decide to terminate the unwanted infinite regress with God seems arbitrary to me. If a highly intelligent entity can be said to exist eternally, then whatever constitutes the universe in various states can too, and be much more parsimonious.
An infinite, intelligent God would - unless it was 100% rigid, but then it wouldn't be intelligent - also have an infinite amount of states, so you bump into infinite regress with God as well.

IMO.
User avatar
John P. M.
RS Donator
 
Posts: 2913
Male

Country: Norway
Norway (no)
Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#4  Postby HughMcB » Apr 07, 2011 4:35 pm

There is no proof that the universe "began to exist", only that our current observable universe did.
"So we're just done with phrasing?"
User avatar
HughMcB
RS Donator
 
Posts: 19113
Age: 35
Male

Country: Canada
Ireland (ie)
Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#5  Postby Teuton » Apr 07, 2011 4:55 pm

See the argument maps for Craig's Kalam Cosmological Argument in order to understand its logical structure:

http://www.davidccook.com/catalog/resou ... Images.pdf
"Perception does not exhaust our contact with reality; we can think too." – Timothy Williamson
User avatar
Teuton
 
Posts: 5461

Germany (de)
Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#6  Postby Paul Almond » Apr 07, 2011 4:58 pm

I'll contribute an objection I made to the Kalam cosmological argument in an article I wrote, On Double Standards About Causes in Religious Apologetics, but so that people don't have to read the full article (unless they really want to), I will give the abstract and conclusion, which summarize the objection, here.

Here is the abstract from the article.

Paul Almond in On Double Standards About Causes in Religious Apologetics, p.1 wrote:Some arguments for the existence of God, such as William Lane Craig’s Kalam cosmological argument, assume, or try to show, that the universe has a start, before arguing that anything which begins to exist has a cause. The cause is claimed to be God. There are problems with justifying the assertion of a universal rule that everything that begins has a cause. Asserting such a rule would need to be justified on the grounds that some philosophical view requires it or that our experience of the world shows it to be the case. Such justifications, when explored in more detail, would eliminate God as easily as they eliminate an uncaused thing or event – if the reasoning behind them is even valid. Claiming that everything that begins has a cause in a proof of God therefore involves a double standard.


and here is the conclusion.

Paul Almond in On Double Standards About Causes in Religious Apologetics, pp.25-27 wrote:Some attempted proofs of the existence of God claim that everything that begins has a cause. It is then argued that the universe had a beginning, that the first thing or event in the universe needs a cause, and therefore that the start of the universe was caused by God. An example of such an attempted proof is the Kalam cosmological argument from William Lane Craig. Many objections can be made against these kinds of proof, but in this article the objection has been about just one issue: the claim that everything that begins has a cause and the problem of a double standard being shown by theistic apologists who claim both that an uncaused event cannot occur and that an event caused by a God can, and did, occur, as if this is more plausible.

When theistic apologists claim that everything that begins has a cause they are asserting a universal rule. This is a quite extraordinary claim to make, and it needs justification. Unfortunately, the kinds of justification provided by theists are weak, taking forms like “Everyone knows that…”, “It is stupid to think that…” “It would be like magic if…”. None of these are valid justifications. They are merely statements about the theist’s incredulity that an uncaused event could ever happen. They do not justify such incredulity.

There are two obvious ways in which someone may try to justify the claim that everything that begins has a cause.
One way is by claiming that it is “philosophically required” somehow, for example by suggesting that if the non-believer subscribes to “materialism” or a “physicalist” view of the world, he/she must believe that everything that begins must have a cause. The problem with this is that, whatever view the theistic apologist thinks the non-believer has, the non-believer has every right to hold a view which does not involve taking the apologist’s god seriously, and yet which still does not hold the idea that the requirement for things to have causes must be universal. For example, someone could take the view that temporal relationships could be a special case of relationships between things. Alternatively, someone could just take the view that temporal relationships are only relevant to events which are not at the start of the universe, and that no more sophisticated cosmology is necessary. Whether such a view would be described by the word “materialism” is irrelevant: The definition of a word will not prove anything. Ultimately, the non-believer does not have the responsibility of describing a world view in which it is not universally required for everything with a beginning to have a cause. The theistic apologist is making the claim and, if it is true, should be able to demonstrate this without his/her opponent providing anything. Even if there is an answer to this, there is another problem. If the theistic apologist is supporting the idea that everything has a cause with an appeal to some philosophical position such as “materialism” or “physicality” that the non-believer is supposed to have, and if nothing better can be provided, he/she is effectively assuming that some philosophical position like “materialism” applies. I will not argue about exactly what a word like “materialism” means here, but after assuming such a restrictive position, the “proof” then goes on to “prove” that God exists, and it is likely that a philosophical view called something like “materialism” or “physicalism” that is restrictive enough to disallow uncaused things or events will also disallow something like God. Theists are trying to have it both ways here: They are projecting a restrictive, “scientific” (in their opinion) philosophical view onto their opponents to support the premises for an argument to prove that something outside that restrictive philosophical view exists – meaning that the restrictive philosophical view on which the premises were based could no longer justifiably be held. An argument like this, with a premise justified like this, can never prove the existence of God. At most, even if the rest of the argument were valid, it might show that a particular philosophical view was too restrictive.

The other way in which someone may try to justify the claim that everything that begins has a cause is by reference to our experience. The idea would be that all of our experience of reality tells us that everything that begins has a cause. The theistic apologist has already set his/her sights low by using this justification, because it amounts to an attempt to give empirical justification to a premise in a “proof”, meaning that at best the argument would not really be a proof, but just something that is suggested by our empirical observation of reality. If we stated this as a general principle it would be relying on what I have called the principle of “It just doesn’t happen” – the idea that things cannot exist, or events cannot occur, if they are different, in a profound way, from things in our everyday or scientific experience. The problem with such a principle is that using it to rule out uncaused things, but not theistic claims, is a double standard. Claiming a first thing or event at all is claiming a very special case, profoundly outside our experience by definition: None of us has ever observed a first thing or event. There is only one such thing or event and it is about as unusual as a thing or event could be. When a thing or event caused by God, or God himself, is claimed this is also making a claim for something profoundly outside our experience. In everyday life, we do not see God causing things, nor do we have any scientific experience of this. A consistent application of the principle of “It just doesn’t happen” would rule such things out. Theistic apologists, however, do not apply this principle consistently. They apply it just to uncaused things or events, claiming that everything in our experience tells us they do not exist or happen, while ignoring the fact that if our experience justified such assertions, there is no place for an event caused by God in reality either.

This problem becomes still worse if we consider particular properties of God. For example, God is supposed to have a mind with no physical substrate or body. When have we ever experienced anything remotely like that? Now, I am not saying that this principle of “It just doesn’t happen” is valid – I happen to think it is not – but whether it is invalid, or valid and applied inconsistently, it does not help a “proof” of God.

Objections like this make some attempted proofs of God, like William Lane Craig’s Kalam cosmological argument, worthless. Such arguments are based on nothing more than universal assertions about what can and cannot exist, which conveniently rule out things that the theistic apologist does not want to exist, and allow something that the theistic apologist really, really wants to exist. One feature of this type of argument that should stand out is its self-serving nature in displaying such a double standard.
I have objected to theistic apologists applying the principle of “It just doesn’t happen” inconsistently, and this article is about inconsistency, but I am not trying to argue for consistent application of the principle of “It just doesn’t happen”. I do not need to: All I need do is point out the inconsistency in its use and theists can sort the problem out, or not, as they wish.


This is the reference for the full article from which the above was taken:

Almond, P., 2010. On Double Standards About Causes in Religious Apologetics. [Online] paul-almond.com. Available at: http://www.paul-almond.com/DoubleStandardsCauses.pdf or http://www.paul-almond.com/DoubleStandardsCauses.doc [Accessed 7 April 2011].

I have also written another article objecting to the Kalam cosmological argument, Craig is using Hilbert’s hotel as a flawed intuition pump. This article is much shorter, so I will simply provide it in full here. The abstract is as follows:

Paul Almond in Craig is using Hilbert's hotel as a flawed intuition pump, p.1 wrote:William Lane Craig’s Kalam cosmological argument is an attempted proof of the existence of God which relies on the idea that an actual infinity cannot exist to show that the universe had a start, and therefore requires a creator. As part of the argument intended to show that an actual infinity cannot exist, Craig uses Hilbert's paradox of the Grand Hotel, a scenario involving a hotel with an infinity of rooms, all of which are occupied. Various situations are described, which are counter-intuitive to many people. Craig uses all this to try to show that an actual infinity leads to absurdities, and therefore that an actual infinity could never really exist. It is shown that Craig is using Hilbert’s hotel as a flawed intuition pump. This is done by means of a different version of the scenario that has the main features of Hilbert’s hotel, but which does not import intuition relating specifically to hotels into the situation. It is also shown that relativity means that even if the problem claimed to exist by Craig were real, whether it existed or not would depend on an observer’s point of view, which should make us skeptical of the idea that there is any problem.


and the main part of the article is as follows.

Paul Almond in Craig is using Hilbert's hotel as a flawed intuition pump, pp.2-4 wrote:William Lane Craig’s Kalam cosmological argument (Craig, 1979) is an attempted proof of the existence of God which relies on the idea that an actual infinity cannot exist to show that the universe had a start, and therefore requires a creator.

As part of the argument intended to show that an actual infinity cannot exist, Craig uses Hilbert's paradox of the Grand Hotel, a scenario involving a hotel with an infinity of rooms, all of which are occupied. Various situations are described, which are counter-intuitive to many people. Craig uses all this to try to show that an actual infinity leads to absurdities, and therefore that an actual infinity could never really exist.

One of the supposedly absurd situations with the hotel is as follows.

The hotel is full. A guest arrives and wants a room. The manager asks the occupant of Room 1 to move to Room 2, the occupant of Room 2 to move to Room 3, the occupant of Room 3 to move to Room 4, and so on... so the occupant of any room, N, is asked to move to Room N+1. This leaves Room 1 vacant, and the new guest can be accommodated in it. But hang on: The hotel was full! From where did the extra room come? This is absurd, says Craig, and it shows that actual infinities cannot exist.

Normally, you might expect many pages of argument from me attempting to take this apart, but I will be dealing with things a bit differently this time. Craig is using Hilbert’s hotel as a very bad intuition pump, and I am going to approach this from an intuitive perspective.

We can construct an alternative scenario which is essentially the same, as follows.

You are standing in an endless desert by the side of a road. The road stretches both ahead of and behind you without limit: The road is endless in both directions. A steady stream of cars is driving along the road. The cars are appearing from behind you, driving past you, and driving off into the distance in front of you. Each car is ten metres from the car in front of it. Every car has a car in front of it and a car behind it, and the stream of cars goes on endlessly in both directions. All the cars are moving at 20mph.

Now, does that seem disturbing? I suggest it is not as disturbing as Hilbert’s hotel. It is just an endless road with cars driving endlessly down it. It does not have the same “getting something for nothing” aspect that the hotel seems to have. Our intuition about hotels should not be getting activated here.

Now, imagine the section of road in front of you. That section of road is “full”, in that all of that section of road is occupied by the continuous line of cars, going at 20mph, 10 metres apart: Every “slot” in the road that can hold a car has one in it. However, cars are continually driving from the section of road behind you onto the section of road in front of you. This could never happen if the cars in front of you were stopped: There would be a pile-up. It is only possible for a car to drive onto the section of road in front of you because the traffic is moving: All the other cars are continually moving out of the way to make room. When a car passes you, it moves along and a space is available for the car behind it, and so on – and this applies all the way along the line of cars. Are many people going to say, “Where do you get the extra road from when the road is full?” I think fewer people are going to say that than would object about the hotel, because you can see what is happening here. It is just cars moving and the concept of “full” is not really relevant.
This scenario is essentially the same as Hilbert’s hotel, except that without the hotel rooms, guests, asking guests to move, alleged magical creation of rooms and other add-ons, it should not appear remotely as strange. Craig's use of Hilbert’s hotel is nothing more than a flawed intuition pump, which relies on people’s intuition about how a hotel should work, and the limitations on hotels, and the issues with them becoming full, to get an unjustified idea accepted by feeding our intuition about hotels into an issue about reality in general.

Advocates of Craig’s argument would, of course, just say that the problem that they claim that Hilbert’s hotel shows us is still there with the cars: that “slots” for cars are being created from nowhere on a full road. I maintain that there is no such problem: that the intuition wrongfully pumped into the situation using the hotel should be gone now. Furthermore, if we are to say that a “slot” for a car is magically created, in defiance of reason, every time a car passes you, what is so important about passing you? You are just standing at an arbitrary point along the road. Nevertheless, to weaken this objection, I will now present a modified version of the scenario.
Imagine the scenario with the line of cars, but now moved out into space: The cars are spaceships. You are floating alongside a line of spaceships that extends endlessly in front of you and behind you. The spaceships are all moving at 20 mph, relative to you, and are 10 metres apart, just as the cars were. As with the cars, the spaceships behind you are moving towards you, and eventually passing you, and the ones in front of you are disappearing into the distance.

As before, we have the similarity with Hilbert’s hotel, and of course an advocate of Craig’s argument would claim this is just as bad, and that each time a spaceship passes us a “slot” comes from nowhere. There is, however, a way we can easily remove any such problem (not that I admit there is one): Just start to move forward at the same speed as the spaceships. Suppose you are wearing some kind of personal propulsion device: something like NASA’s manned manoeuvring unit (MMU). You use it to accelerate yourself, increasing your speed by 20mph in the direction in which the spaceships are moving, so that you are all moving at the same speed. Of course, speed is relative, so all that matters now is that, from your perspective, the spaceships are all stationary alongside you. Any issues caused by the movement of the spaceships are now gone: It makes no sense to talk of “slots” for spaceships being magically created as they pass you, because they are not passing you anymore. How is it that a problem that was supposed to exist when the spaceships were passing you at 20mph has ceased to exist merely by accelerating yourself a bit so that your point of view changes? It will be obvious now, to some people at least, that the problem can disappear when your point of view changes because there never was a problem. The whole issue was just one of intuition being wrongly directed by Craig.

Bibliography

Craig, W. L. (2000). The Kalam Cosmological Argument. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers. (Originally published: 1979, London: Macmillan, New York: Barns and Noble).


Here is the reference for the above article:

Almond, P., 2010. Craig is using Hilbert's hotel as a flawed intuition pump.. [Online] paul-almond.com. Available at: http://www.paul-almond.com/Craig.pdf or http://www.paul-almond.com/Craig.doc [Accessed 7 April 2011].

(Note: I will be clear again that I am the author of the two articles mentioned here to avoid any misunderstanding about sources.)

EDIT: There is an extensive list of resources about the Kalam Cosmological argument, prepared by LukeProg (Luke Muehlhauser). The introduction of Muehlhauser's list is as follows.

I am currently mapping William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God, along with all its supporting arguments, counter-arguments, counter-counter-arguments, and so on.

This page serves as an under-construction bibliography of academic books, chapters, and journal articles written about the points defended in Craig’s version of the Kalam since he introduced it in 1979.


and here is the reference for it.

Muehlhauser, L., 2009-. The Kalam Cosmological Argument: Bibliography. [Online] Common Sense Atheism. Available at: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=1637 [Accessed 7 April 2011].
Last edited by Paul Almond on Apr 07, 2011 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Paul Almond
 
Name: Paul Almond
Posts: 1541
Male

Country: United Kingdom
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#7  Postby Bribase » Apr 07, 2011 5:07 pm

I've been thinking about this lately and would like to check this for consistency.

In this post, Hackenslash points out that we do not witness things coming into existence at all, only different states of pre-existing matter and energy. Hack is right on a macro level of course, but we have good reason to say that on the sub-atomic level things genuinely do pop into existence as a product of stochasticity.

So if we take Scar's point upthread and run with it we can construct a syllogism (although only as logically sound as WLC's) based on our observations.

1. All things that have been oberved to come into existence do so uncaused.
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe is uncaused

Of course it would be very stupid to employ this kind of argument since one point does not follow from the next in Kalam nor my own syllogism, it is only really useful to employ WLC's own appeal to intuition (Which is essentially what Kalam is) against him. Kalam makes about as much sense as the syllogism:

1. All men have a mother
2. Therefore, mankind has a mother.

What do you reckon?
User avatar
Bribase
 
Posts: 2671
Age: 38
Male

Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#8  Postby Shrunk » Apr 07, 2011 5:08 pm

Though it's long, I suggest people read the full section of article before replying to the brief summary I've excerpted here, to make sure you are not raising a point that Craig has already addressed.
"A community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime." -Oscar Wilde
User avatar
Shrunk
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 26170
Age: 54
Male

Country: Canada
Canada (ca)
Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#9  Postby Bribase » Apr 07, 2011 5:30 pm

From WLC's Article:

- 6 -
2.1. Premise 1
Premise 1 seems obviously true—at the least, more so than its negation. First, it’s rooted in the necessary truth that something cannot come into being uncaused from nothing. To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is literally worse than magic. Second, if things really could come into being uncaused out of nothing, then it’s inexplicable why just anything and everything do not come into existence uncaused from nothing. Third, premise 1 is constantly confirmed in our experience as we see things that begin to exist being brought about by prior causes.


Seriously? :crazy:
User avatar
Bribase
 
Posts: 2671
Age: 38
Male

Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#10  Postby colubridae » Apr 07, 2011 6:12 pm

Shrunk wrote:William Lane Craig seems to be one of the most frequently discussed apolgists for theism on this board. His reputation largely rests on a series of five arguments for the existence of God, which feature regularly in his writings, public speeches and debates. Since these arguments so often arise in discussion on this board, I thought it would be a good idea to have separate threads devoted to each of these to allow discussion of these by those who support Craig, and those who would refute his arguments.

A full discussion of these arguments can be found in Craig's article here. What follows is the introductory paragraph from that article.

2. The Kalam Cosmological Argument Based on the Beginning of the UniverseHere’s a different version of the cosmological argument, which I have called the kalam cosmological argument in honor of its medieval Muslim proponents (kalam is the Arabic word for theology):

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Once we reach the conclusion that the universe has a cause, we can then analyze what properties such a cause must have and assess its theological significance.
Now again the argument is logically ironclad. So the only question is whether the two premises are more plausibly true than their denials.


in addition:-
The red bit is a nasty little attempt at shifting the onus.
No-one has to provide evidence for a denial of 1,2 or 3.
The onus is on the claimant to provide evidence.
"You can fuck the fuck off, you fucking fucker" - L. Salander
User avatar
colubridae
 
Posts: 312
Age: 69

Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#11  Postby Teuton » Apr 07, 2011 6:16 pm

colubridae wrote:
The red bit is a nasty little attempt at shifting the onus.
No-one has to provide evidence for a denial of 1,2 or 3.
The onus is on the claimant to provide evidence.


The chapter on the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) in the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology has 100 pages. There you find all of Craig's supporting arguments that he thinks render the KCA sound.
"Perception does not exhaust our contact with reality; we can think too." – Timothy Williamson
User avatar
Teuton
 
Posts: 5461

Germany (de)
Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#12  Postby colubridae » Apr 07, 2011 6:20 pm

Teuton wrote:
colubridae wrote:

No-one has to provide evidence for a denial of 1,2 or 3.
The onus is on the claimant to provide evidence.


The chapter on the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) in the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology has 100 pages. There you find all of Craig's supporting arguments that he thinks render the KCA sound.



I couldn't give a flying fuck.

The red bit is still a nasty little attempt at shifting the onus.

Dishonesty is dishonesty.
"You can fuck the fuck off, you fucking fucker" - L. Salander
User avatar
colubridae
 
Posts: 312
Age: 69

Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#13  Postby Oldskeptic » Apr 07, 2011 6:38 pm

Shrunk wrote:William Lane Craig seems to be one of the most frequently discussed apolgists for theism on this board. His reputation largely rests on a series of five arguments for the existence of God, which feature regularly in his writings, public speeches and debates. Since these arguments so often arise in discussion on this board, I thought it would be a good idea to have separate threads devoted to each of these to allow discussion of these by those who support Craig, and those who would refute his arguments.

A full discussion of these arguments can be found in Craig's article here. What follows is the introductory paragraph from that article.

2. The Kalam Cosmological Argument Based on the Beginning of the UniverseHere’s a different version of the cosmological argument, which I have called the kalam cosmological argument in honor of its medieval Muslim proponents (kalam is the Arabic word for theology):


1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

Craig needs to define what he means by, "begins to exist." If he means "begins to exist out of a philosophical absolute absence of anything," the he needs to start with a premise that says something like this, "Things can be come into existence out of the absolute absence of anything," without invoking or assuming an omnipotent creator that can do this.

2. The universe began to exist.

Again Craig needs to define what he means. Began to exist in what way? As a rearrangement of existing stuff, or again out of an absolute absence of everything? If he means a rearrangement then his "creator" god is unnecessary. If he means out of an absolute lack of anything then he needs to confront the first law of thermodynamics. And invoking or assuming this creator god can suspend the first law doesn't work because that is what his argument is trying to prove.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

This is just jumping to a conclusion without a good reason to do so other than having set the premises to lead to the conclusion desired

This is how Craig's argument should go to be anywhere near rational.

1. Everything that begins to exist might have a cause.

2. The universe might have began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe might have had a cause.

4. And I call this hypothetical cause that might exist God.
There is nothing so absurd that some philosopher will not say it - Cicero.

Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead - Stephen Hawking
User avatar
Oldskeptic
 
Posts: 7395
Age: 62
Male

Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#14  Postby Teuton » Apr 07, 2011 7:03 pm

colubridae wrote:
I couldn't give a flying fuck.


The argumentational force of ignorance is zero.

colubridae wrote:
The red bit is still a nasty little attempt at shifting the onus.


You may have failed to notice that Craig does present a complex cumulative positive case for the soundness of KCA.
If you think that KCA's premises are (probably) false or implausible, then it's up to you to present counterarguments!
"Perception does not exhaust our contact with reality; we can think too." – Timothy Williamson
User avatar
Teuton
 
Posts: 5461

Germany (de)
Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#15  Postby hotshoe » Apr 07, 2011 7:04 pm

Teuton wrote:
colubridae wrote:
The red bit is a nasty little attempt at shifting the onus.
No-one has to provide evidence for a denial of 1,2 or 3.
The onus is on the claimant to provide evidence.


The chapter on the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) in the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology has 100 pages. There you find all of Craig's supporting arguments that he thinks render the KCA sound.


Supporting arguments? In other words, it takes 100 pages of obfuscation and sophistry to obscure the simple fact, observed just above here, that little Willy can't provide any actual, err, evidence.

And hopes that by going on to such an extent everyone will get lost in his blather and forget that little fact. It's just another, longer, attempt to dishonestly define something into existence.
Now, when I talked to God I knew he'd understand
He said, "Stick by my side and I'll be your guiding hand
But don't ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to"
hotshoe
 
Posts: 3177

United States (us)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#16  Postby Teuton » Apr 07, 2011 7:19 pm

Oldskeptic wrote:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

Craig needs to define what he means by, "begins to exist."


See: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/New ... le&id=8243

"The kalam cosmological argument uses the phrase 'begins to exist.' For those who wonder what that means I sometimes use the expression 'comes into being' as a synonym. We can explicate this last notion as follows: for any entity e and time t,

e comes into being at t if and only if (i) e exists at t, (ii) t is the first time at which e exists, (iii) there is no state of affairs in the actual world in which e exists timelessly, and (iv) e’s existing at t is a tensed fact."


Oldskeptic wrote:
2. The universe began to exist.

Again Craig needs to define what he means. Began to exist in what way? As a rearrangement of existing stuff, or again out of an absolute absence of everything? If he means a rearrangement then his "creator" god is unnecessary. If he means out of an absolute lack of anything then he needs to confront the first law of thermodynamics.


If the physical universe as a whole began to exist, then it must have come into being out of nothing, i.e. not out of any pre-existing physical stuff. Such an existence beginning ex nulla materia is not restricted by any physical laws, since there were no such laws before the physical universe began to exist.

Oldskeptic wrote:
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

This is just jumping to a conclusion without a good reason to do so other than having set the premises to lead to the conclusion desired.


The simple argument is logically valid, and Craig has argued at length why he thinks that its premises are true or at least much more plausible than their negations.
"Perception does not exhaust our contact with reality; we can think too." – Timothy Williamson
User avatar
Teuton
 
Posts: 5461

Germany (de)
Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#17  Postby IIzO » Apr 07, 2011 7:36 pm

Craig's kalam is predicated in denying two things:
An infinite past-temporality because a substance transforming forever isn't necesseraly self consciouss and omnipotent.
Nothing natural can't be timeless or uncaused , because something natural isn't necesseraly self consciouss and omnipotent.
I personaly don't understand the argument against past infinities that Craig uses ,namely that the present can't exist if a past infinity exists.
As for natural can't be timeless there are simply no reasons to reject a timeless no consciouss being wich causal powers ,at least not for someone who argues that such a thing can exists with more features like god.
And there are real exemple of seemingly uncaused natural events like Radioactive decay .
Craig's premises are a long way from being necessary .
Between what i think , what i want to say ,what i believe i say ,what i say , what you want to hear , what you hear ,what you understand...there are lots of possibilities that we might have some problem communicating.But let's try anyway.
Bernard Werber
User avatar
IIzO
 
Posts: 2182

Country: La France , evidement.
France (fr)
Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#18  Postby Mononoke » Apr 07, 2011 7:53 pm

the 1st premise becomes very dodgy when you consider something like beta decay.
User avatar
Mononoke
 
Posts: 3830
Age: 32
Male

Sri Lanka (lk)
Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#19  Postby Teuton » Apr 07, 2011 8:14 pm

hotshoe wrote:
Supporting arguments? In other words, it takes 100 pages of obfuscation and sophistry to obscure the simple fact, observed just above here, that little Willy can't provide any actual, err, evidence.


"Inasmuch as evidence is the sort of thing which confers justification, the concept of evidence is closely related to other fundamental normative concepts such as the concept of a reason. Indeed, it is natural to think that ‘reason to believe’ and ‘evidence’ are more or less synonymous, being distinguished chiefly by the fact that the former functions grammatically as a count noun while the latter functions as a mass term.
Note:
Perhaps ‘evidence’ also has something of an empirical connotation that ‘reason to believe’ lacks: it sounds more natural, at least to some ears, to describe a priori philosophical considerations as reasons to believe some philosophical thesis than as evidence for that thesis."


(http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evidence)

Craig offers both a-priori, rational reasons to believe in KCA's soundness and a-posteriori, empirical reasons to believe in KCA's soundness.
"Perception does not exhaust our contact with reality; we can think too." – Timothy Williamson
User avatar
Teuton
 
Posts: 5461

Germany (de)
Print view this post

Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#20  Postby hotshoe » Apr 07, 2011 9:51 pm

Sorry, Teuton, that's just more of that sophistimacated lying-by-definition that sucks fools into thinking that, since little Willy claims he's got "reasons to believe", then he's got evidence. If you've been taken in by it, too, well sorry for you, and if you haven't been taken in by Craig's congame, then I really can't imagine why you keep presenting this nonsense without disclaimer. In fact, since you claim that his empirical reasons are so sound, why aren't you a believer yourself ?

Let's check the real world difference between "reasons to believe" and "evidence". Listen to any politician who is trying to smear his opponent, as in: We have reasons to believe that Mr. Obama was born in Kenya and is a secret Muslim. :shock:

Why don't WE believe him when he says that ? Because he doesn't have evidence!

To conflate the two is wrong, even if the conflating is done by a respected philosophical encyclopedia.

Kalamity Kraig believes in the god of the bible. He believes in an active universe-starting, miracle-working, breath-life-into-dust, diddle-with-DNA, raise-people-from-the-dead, heal-amputees (oh, oops, no healing amputees :thumbdown: ), type deity. Now whether we picture that deity as a bearded man (like Jesus, hmm) or an
"extraspatiotemporal/extraspatial immaterial person" (as you said on the other thread) then that so-called immaterial entity has to interact with the material world (HOW? that's a whole 'nuther problem) and that interaction has to leave evidence around.

No one would NEED "reasons to believe" if there were any actual, umm, you know, evidence of god's existence. I might be able to choose not to worship the god of the bible if there were evidence, but I would not be able to choose to disbelieve, any more than I can choose to disbelieve in the existence of the sun, given the evidence ...

Little Willy's "reasons to believe" have only one purpose - to reassure other believers that someone sophistimacated-sounding has got their back. Yep, that's right, folks, not only did god create the universe, but he answered your prayer for a parking space near the mall for Christmas shopping. You don't have to worry, it's OK to keep believing in god because little Willy proved it exists.

Well, there is one other purpose - to make money for slick Willy - but that's more of a bonus side effect; a man as glib and unscrupulous as he would have risen to the top of the Wall Street crooks if money were his main motivation.
Now, when I talked to God I knew he'd understand
He said, "Stick by my side and I'll be your guiding hand
But don't ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to"
hotshoe
 
Posts: 3177

United States (us)
Print view this post

Next

Return to Christianity

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 3 guests