WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

Craig's arguments for God, Pt 2

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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#101  Postby Scar » Jun 02, 2011 6:44 am

O look, Craig responds by straw-manning his way out of it:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZabnReL224[/youtube]


Anyone surprised?
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#102  Postby Will S » Jul 09, 2011 10:34 am

Am I missing something here? (Open question - because it's quite possible that I am)

Leaving aside for the moment, the 'begins to exist' issue, a not overly bright theist might field an argument of this kind:

He begins by asserting: 'Everything that exists has a cause'

He then introduces other facts and deductions, and, finally, arrives at the conclusion:

'Therefore, there exists a God, and he has no cause'

Clearly, there must be something wrong with this argument, because the conclusion flatly contradicts one of the assumptions on which the argument is based. You can't make the assumption 'X is always the case' and use it to deliver the conclusion 'But sometimes X isn't the case'!

So it's easy to see why some theists use a weaker, alternative starting point and say:

'Everything that begins to exist has a cause.'

If you say that, you're admitting the possibility that there might exist things which always existed, and never, ever began to exist. By allowing for the possibility of a God who never began to exist, it may look as if you're removing the objection to the first version of the argument.

But, if the theist does this, he saws off the branch he's sitting on. For he immediately lets in the possibility that the universe (or some multiverse or megaverse which includes what we call the universe) is one of these possible things which have always existed and never began to exist. So the theist's argument ploughs into the sand because it's no longer necessary to invoke God as the cause of the universe /multiverse / megaverse.

(Obvious aside: if the theist tries to tighten up the statement he starts with, and says 'Everything, except God, has a cause', then he's begged the entire question: he's begun by assuming that there's a God. And the moment he admits that there might be other uncaused things, then it becomes possible that the universe/multiverse/megaverse is one of them.)

In sum: the first version of the argument is self-contradictory, and the second version is incapable of delivering the conclusion which the theist wants.

Seriously, theists, is your argument open to such an clear-cut, and damning, objection?
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#103  Postby hackenslash » Jul 09, 2011 11:26 am

Indeed, the 'begins to exist' clause is a later addition to the argument that is basically erected to circumvent the special pleading fallacy.

In the end, though, the argument stands of falls on a single issue, namely what constitutes the universe. Any robust treatment of this word renders the entirety of existence, which means that magic man is necessarily a subset thereof and contingent thereupon.

There's also the fallacy of equivocation with regard to 'beginning to exist'. The theist attempts to cite examples of things that are basically emergent, and then flips to the universe not being emergent from a prior state but arising ex nihilo.

Ultimately, the entire thing commits a fallacy of composition anyway, in asserting that whatever is the case in the universe must apply to the universe itself. We can demonstrate that there are features of spacetime that do not apply to the cosmos, such as the inability to breach c, which the expansion of the cosmos is not subject to.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#104  Postby Will S » Jul 09, 2011 11:44 am

hackenslash wrote:Ultimately, the entire thing commits a fallacy of composition anyway, in asserting that whatever is the case in the universe must apply to the universe itself.

Yes. Didn't Bertrand Russell expose this one by saying that, although every human being has a father, it doesn't follow that the species H. sapiens has a father?
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#105  Postby THWOTH » Jul 09, 2011 12:26 pm

Scar wrote:O look, Craig responds by straw-manning his way out of it:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZabnReL224[/youtube]


Anyone surprised?

Nah, par for the course really.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#106  Postby hackenslash » Jul 09, 2011 12:27 pm

Will S wrote:Yes. Didn't Bertrand Russell expose this one by saying that, although every human being has a father, it doesn't follow that the species H. sapiens has a father?


Indeed. Frankly, the argument is so riddled with fallacies that it's only the fallacies holding it together. I struggle to understand why even some ostensibly intelligent people find this horseshit convincing.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#107  Postby THWOTH » Jul 09, 2011 12:35 pm

hackenslash wrote:
Will S wrote:Yes. Didn't Bertrand Russell expose this one by saying that, although every human being has a father, it doesn't follow that the species H. sapiens has a father?


Indeed. Frankly, the argument is so riddled with fallacies that it's only the fallacies holding it together. I struggle to understand why even some ostensibly intelligent people find this horseshit convincing.

Yes, it's fallacies all the way down. :shifty:
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#108  Postby hackenslash » Jul 09, 2011 12:59 pm

:rofl:
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#109  Postby Jireh » Jul 10, 2011 11:10 am

Will S wrote:Am I missing something here? (Open question - because it's quite possible that I am)

Leaving aside for the moment, the 'begins to exist' issue, a not overly bright theist might field an argument of this kind:

He begins by asserting: 'Everything that exists has a cause'

He then introduces other facts and deductions, and, finally, arrives at the conclusion:

'Therefore, there exists a God, and he has no cause'

Clearly, there must be something wrong with this argument, because the conclusion flatly contradicts one of the assumptions on which the argument is based. You can't make the assumption 'X is always the case' and use it to deliver the conclusion 'But sometimes X isn't the case'!

So it's easy to see why some theists use a weaker, alternative starting point and say:

'Everything that begins to exist has a cause.'

If you say that, you're admitting the possibility that there might exist things which always existed, and never, ever began to exist. By allowing for the possibility of a God who never began to exist, it may look as if you're removing the objection to the first version of the argument.

But, if the theist does this, he saws off the branch he's sitting on. For he immediately lets in the possibility that the universe (or some multiverse or megaverse which includes what we call the universe) is one of these possible things which have always existed and never began to exist. So the theist's argument ploughs into the sand because it's no longer necessary to invoke God as the cause of the universe /multiverse / megaverse.

(Obvious aside: if the theist tries to tighten up the statement he starts with, and says 'Everything, except God, has a cause', then he's begged the entire question: he's begun by assuming that there's a God. And the moment he admits that there might be other uncaused things, then it becomes possible that the universe/multiverse/megaverse is one of them.)

In sum: the first version of the argument is self-contradictory, and the second version is incapable of delivering the conclusion which the theist wants.

Seriously, theists, is your argument open to such an clear-cut, and damning, objection?


your problem is to explain, how the universe could be eternal , without beginning. Craig explains why it is not possible.

1. Because of the second laws of thermodynamics
2. you cannot get infinity by a succession of addition of time.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#110  Postby Shrunk » Jul 10, 2011 12:04 pm

Jireh wrote: your problem is to explain, how the universe could be eternal , without beginning. Craig explains why it is not possible.

1. Because of the second laws of thermodynamics
2. you cannot get infinity by a succession of addition of time.


You wish.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#111  Postby hackenslash » Jul 10, 2011 2:13 pm

Jireh wrote:your problem is to explain, how the universe could be eternal , without beginning. Craig explains why it is not possible.


No. he merely asserts this, in the same manner that he asserts premises 1 and 2 of the Kalam fallacy.

1. Because of the second laws of thermodynamics


How many second laws of thermodynamics are there?

In any event, the second law does not demonstrate that the universe had to have a beginning, and more importantly, the first law of thermodynamics demonstrates that it could not have had one, so where does that leave us?

2. you cannot get infinity by a succession of addition of time.


Who's doing the adding here? Do you even know what infinity is? It is simply an unquantifiable amount. A number that we have no means of dealing with. Certainly we can't reach infinity by the successive addition of integers, but that doesn't mean that infinity can never be reached by accumulation, because that would render infinity absurd.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#112  Postby Shrunk » Jul 10, 2011 2:59 pm

hackenslash wrote: Who's doing the adding here? Do you even know what infinity is? It is simply an unquantifiable amount. A number that we have no means of dealing with. Certainly we can't reach infinity by the successive addition of integers, but that doesn't mean that infinity can never be reached by accumulation, because that would render infinity absurd.


Exactly. Craig's childish little mind games are no different than Zeno's paradoxes of motion. In theory, of course, the parodoxes are difficult to resolve. But we know as an empricial fact that the faster runner catches the slower runner, a passenger always gets to a stationary bus, and an arrow always reaches its destination. According to Craig's line of thinking, none of those things happen.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#113  Postby josephchoi » Jul 10, 2011 6:38 pm

:coffee:
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#114  Postby THWOTH » Jul 11, 2011 10:24 am

Shrunk wrote:
hackenslash wrote: Who's doing the adding here? Do you even know what infinity is? It is simply an unquantifiable amount. A number that we have no means of dealing with. Certainly we can't reach infinity by the successive addition of integers, but that doesn't mean that infinity can never be reached by accumulation, because that would render infinity absurd.


Exactly. Craig's childish little mind games are no different than Zeno's paradoxes of motion. In theory, of course, the parodoxes are difficult to resolve. But we know as an empricial fact that the faster runner catches the slower runner, a passenger always gets to a stationary bus, and an arrow always reaches its destination. According to Craig's line of thinking, none of those things happen.

Well I think Craig's line of thinking is that none of these things can logically happen, but they do by the grace of God. As we know, God is absolved of the responsibility of being a logically coherent entity; He just is. :D

BTW: If anyone is interested in 'causes' but has not read Mr Almond's excellent exposition 'On Double Standards About Causes In Religious Apologetics (2008)' I can heartily recommend it. You can read it here or on his website in either MS Word .doc or .PDF format.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#115  Postby Shrunk » Jul 11, 2011 3:53 pm

THWOTH wrote:Well I think Craig's line of thinking is that none of these things can logically happen, but they do by the grace of God. As we know, God is absolved of the responsibility of being a logically coherent entity; He just is. :D


To clarify: Craig doesn't really think it is a miracle that someone can catch a bus that is sitting there waiting, does he?
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#116  Postby THWOTH » Jul 11, 2011 4:04 pm

Shrunk wrote:
THWOTH wrote:Well I think Craig's line of thinking is that none of these things can logically happen, but they do by the grace of God. As we know, God is absolved of the responsibility of being a logically coherent entity; He just is. :D


To clarify: Craig doesn't really think it is a miracle that someone can catch a bus that is sitting there waiting, does he?

Well no, he's a sophist, Zeno's paradox suits his discursive purpose only in as much as it shores his argument. I'm sure he doesn't really think that it's impossible to pick up his coffee cup or for his turds to hit the water, or that it's a midscale of God that it he can and it does.

It's a fair cop, I was just pulling the chain on his argument...
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#117  Postby Shrunk » Jul 11, 2011 4:23 pm

THWOTH wrote:Well no, he's a sophist, Zeno's paradox suits his discursive purpose only in as much as it shores his argument.


But how does it "shore up his argument"? It seems to me it does just the opposite. The thought experiments in Zeno's paradoxes lead to conclusions that, from empirical experience, we know to be false. Therefore it seems that that is an argument against Craig's using similar thought experiments, like Hilbert's hotel, to draw conclusions about the nature of physical reality.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#118  Postby Mick » Jul 11, 2011 4:40 pm

Will S wrote:

So it's easy to see why some theists use a weaker, alternative starting point and say:

'Everything that begins to exist has a cause.'

If you say that, you're admitting the possibility that there might exist things which always existed, and never, ever began to exist.




The possibility of this is not admitted from asserting that premise. Logically speaking, It's an open question whether it's possible for something to exist without beginning to exist. The premise, (x)Bx--->Cx does not entail <>(Ex)~Bx.


But, if the theist does this, he saws off the branch he's sitting on. For he immediately lets in the possibility that the universe (or some multiverse or megaverse which includes what we call the universe) is one of these possible things which have always existed and never began to exist. So the theist's argument ploughs into the sand because it's no longer necessary to invoke God as the cause of the universe /multiverse / megaverse.


But why would the universe also be "let in"? You didn't explain this.


(Obvious aside: if the theist tries to tighten up the statement he starts with, and says 'Everything, except God, has a cause', then he's begged the entire question: he's begun by assuming that there's a God. And the moment he admits that there might be other uncaused things, then it becomes possible that the universe/multiverse/megaverse is one of them.)



He'd merely have to reword it: Unless there exists an x such that x is God, everything is uncaused.

Here there is no existential import for God.


Seriously, theists, is your argument open to such an clear-cut, and damning, objection?

lol.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#119  Postby Mick » Jul 11, 2011 4:51 pm

THWOTH wrote:
Shrunk wrote:
hackenslash wrote: Who's doing the adding here? Do you even know what infinity is? It is simply an unquantifiable amount. A number that we have no means of dealing with. Certainly we can't reach infinity by the successive addition of integers, but that doesn't mean that infinity can never be reached by accumulation, because that would render infinity absurd.


Exactly. Craig's childish little mind games are no different than Zeno's paradoxes of motion. In theory, of course, the parodoxes are difficult to resolve. But we know as an empricial fact that the faster runner catches the slower runner, a passenger always gets to a stationary bus, and an arrow always reaches its destination. According to Craig's line of thinking, none of those things happen.

Well I think Craig's line of thinking is that none of these things can logically happen, but they do by the grace of God. As we know, God is absolved of the responsibility of being a logically coherent entity; He just is. :D

BTW: If anyone is interested in 'causes' but has not read Mr Almond's excellent exposition 'On Double Standards About Causes In Religious Apologetics (2008)' I can heartily recommend it. You can read it here or on his website in either MS Word .doc or .PDF format.




Hi, I did a quick a 30 scan of the article, and I will look over the rest soon. But here's something which caught my attention:

The theistic arguments being considered here are ones which claim that there is a first thing or event in the universe, and then try to show that God is the direct cause of that thing or event. For example, William Lane Craig’s Kalam cosmological argument, is supposed to prove that the universe was caused by a non-contingent, personal entity. Such things are clearly outside the realm of our everyday or scientific experience. You do not observe things being caused by non-contingent, personal entities that exist outside space-time (or whatever is being claimed) while waiting to pay for your shopping, nor do you observe such things in scientific experiments.


Craig's Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God does not argue that God or whatever caused the universe is non-contingent. There are cosmological arguments which argue that God is a necessary existent (which is something a more accurate than saying non-contingent since impossible existents are also non-contingent), but Craig's Kalam argument is not one of them.

Moreover, all causal interactions are beyond the purview of direct human experience, and this has been largely affirmed by empiricists ever since Hume had his major influence. Given this, I wonder what Almond would have us do?
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#120  Postby Mick » Jul 11, 2011 4:56 pm

Will S wrote:
hackenslash wrote:Ultimately, the entire thing commits a fallacy of composition anyway, in asserting that whatever is the case in the universe must apply to the universe itself.

Yes. Didn't Bertrand Russell expose this one by saying that, although every human being has a father, it doesn't follow that the species H. sapiens has a father?



No, it does not state that. Nowhere does Craig use the modal idiom 'must'. The fallacy of composition is an informal fallacy: it is correctly applied only in certain circumstances an contexts. It's not always applicable. For instance, when i infer that a table is wooden because all of its parts are wooden, i make no clear fallacy of composition. In fact, it seems quite right, doesn't it?
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