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

#41  Postby Teuton » Apr 09, 2011 2:11 pm

Matt_B wrote:
He certainly did; he explains how Craig is misrepresenting both Guth and Hawking about a minute and a half into this bit:


Krauss misleadingly claims that physicists have shown how it is possible for something to come from nothing. But what they have shown at best is how something can come from almost or virtually nothing; and nothing much is still something!
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#42  Postby Matt_B » Apr 09, 2011 7:20 pm

Teuton wrote:
Matt_B wrote:
He certainly did; he explains how Craig is misrepresenting both Guth and Hawking about a minute and a half into this bit:


Krauss misleadingly claims that physicists have shown how it is possible for something to come from nothing. But what they have shown at best is how something can come from almost or virtually nothing; and nothing much is still something!


Sure, it's still something, but when there's no such thing as "nothing" in the physical universe, it rather kicks any arguments for creatio ex nihilo into touch.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#43  Postby Oldskeptic » Apr 10, 2011 8:08 pm

Teuton wrote:
Matt_B wrote:
He certainly did; he explains how Craig is misrepresenting both Guth and Hawking about a minute and a half into this bit:


Krauss misleadingly claims that physicists have shown how it is possible for something to come from nothing. But what they have shown at best is how something can come from almost or virtually nothing; and nothing much is still something!


You're going back to this fucking nonsense again? An absolute lack of anything has been shown to be impossible. No physicist ever means this when they use the word nothing. You may not like physicists' definition of "nothing" but you and I are stuck with it until physicists come up with a better term, and it would be better for you to familiarize yourself with it than to keep posting this sort of nonsense.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#44  Postby Oldskeptic » Apr 10, 2011 8:25 pm

Teuton wrote:
Oldskeptic wrote:
No one is saying that the universe as a whole began to exist except Craig and those like him. And the idea that the universe is eternal is less of a problem that it coming into being out of absolutely no thing.


I'm inclined to believe that Mother Nature, i.e. the matter-energy-space-time world(s), is eternal and uncreated. But I'm aware that this is an article of materialist faith lacking any scientific confirmation.


I didn't claim that it was confirmed. I said that an eternal universe is less of a problem than it coming into being out of absolutely no thing. We have no ways to explain either scenario, but we have one law and one equation that seem to indicate that the universe is eternal; the 1st law of thermodynamics and E=MC^2.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#45  Postby Teuton » Apr 14, 2011 2:21 pm

Teuton wrote:
"[T]he scientific evidence of thermodynamics confirms the truth of the second premise of the kalam cosmological argument. This evidence is especially impressive because thermodynamics is so well understood by physicists that it is practically a completed field of science. This makes it highly unlikely that these findings will be reversed."
(Craig, William Lane. On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2010. p. 98)


"The only person who seems to have taken seriously the simple mathematical truth that the ever-increasing nature of the entropy did not imply that it had to have been zero a finite time ago was the Catholic physicist and historian of science Pierre Duhem (1861-1916). He refused to use it as an argument for the creation of the universe out of nothing in the finite past or the achievement of a total heat death in the future because the continuous increase of the entropy of the universe did not mean it had ever experienced a minimum value, or would ever reach a maximum value in the future."

(Barrow, John D. The Book of Universes. London: Bodley Head, 2011. pp. 39-40)

"[E]ven if we were to grant that the second law is universally applicable, we could not conclude from it that the universe necessarily began a finite time in the past. All that can be said is that the universal entropy has never been decreasing. For example, it may well be that the entropy has merely increased asymptotically from some definite minimum value in the infinite past and will continue to increase to some maximum value in the infinite future. This would be the case in a cosmological model such as Gamow's infinitely old contraction-expansion universe, described above. Thus the second law of thermodynamics by itself does not provide any independent evidence of a beginning of the universe a finite time ago. It can do that only when used in conjunction with a specific cosmological model."

(Byl, John. "On the Kalam Cosmological Argument." p. 12)

"At the very least it would seem wisest, if we no longer dogmatically assert that the principles of thermodynamics necessarily require a universe which was created at a finite time in the past and which is fated for stagnation and death in the future."

(Tolman, Richard C. Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1934. p. 444)
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#46  Postby Oldskeptic » Apr 14, 2011 11:10 pm

Teuton wrote:
Teuton wrote:
"[T]he scientific evidence of thermodynamics confirms the truth of the second premise of the kalam cosmological argument. This evidence is especially impressive because thermodynamics is so well understood by physicists that it is practically a completed field of science. This makes it highly unlikely that these findings will be reversed."
(Craig, William Lane. On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2010. p. 98)


It's nice that Craig thinks so highly of the laws of thermodynamics when he thinks that the 2nd supports his argument. Not so nice when he completely ignores the first law.


"The only person who seems to have taken seriously the simple mathematical truth that the ever-increasing nature of the entropy did not imply that it had to have been zero a finite time ago was the Catholic physicist and historian of science Pierre Duhem (1861-1916). He refused to use it as an argument for the creation of the universe out of nothing in the finite past or the achievement of a total heat death in the future because the continuous increase of the entropy of the universe did not mean it had ever experienced a minimum value, or would ever reach a maximum value in the future."

(Barrow, John D. The Book of Universes. London: Bodley Head, 2011. pp. 39-40)

"[E]ven if we were to grant that the second law is universally applicable, we could not conclude from it that the universe necessarily began a finite time in the past. All that can be said is that the universal entropy has never been decreasing. For example, it may well be that the entropy has merely increased asymptotically from some definite minimum value in the infinite past and will continue to increase to some maximum value in the infinite future. This would be the case in a cosmological model such as Gamow's infinitely old contraction-expansion universe, described above. Thus the second law of thermodynamics by itself does not provide any independent evidence of a beginning of the universe a finite time ago. It can do that only when used in conjunction with a specific cosmological model."

(Byl, John. "On the Kalam Cosmological Argument." p. 12)

"At the very least it would seem wisest, if we no longer dogmatically assert that the principles of thermodynamics necessarily require a universe which was created at a finite time in the past and which is fated for stagnation and death in the future."

(Tolman, Richard C. Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1934. p. 444)


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

#47  Postby hackenslash » Apr 14, 2011 11:40 pm

Bribase wrote: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.


A couple of things wrong with this, and while they are not huge errors, they are fundamental, and actually lend validity to the position you cited:

1. Stochasticity doesn't produce anything. Stochasticity is not a prescriptive principle, but a description of the evolution of certain types of system. The only sense in which it can be described as prescriptive is in the sense that the future evolution of the system is restricted by fixed parameters and 'adjacent space', which is to say the space of the adjacent possible. To simplify, a stochastic system is one in which the future emergence of the system is determined by the initial (current) state of the system and one or more random variables. Here, random is employed in the sense of 'statistical independence', which makes any given change in state of comparable probability to any other.

2. What happens on a quantum level is that particle pairs pop into existence, except that they don't actually pop into existence, they represent a change in state, governed only by the uncertainty principle.

Let's try to deal with this in a simple fashion, if that's possible. I'm not sure, because I have been honing my explanations of this for several years and I'm still struggling to encapsulate it in a snappy fashion that doesn't turn into tl:dr.

What virtual particle pairs represent is a change in state of energy, borrowed from the fabric of spacetime, essentially in the form of pure energy. They do not constitute 'something from nothing' and nor do they necessarily constitute entities that are 'uncaused'. What they do represent is a change in state, and thus come under the initial criticism of Kraig's first rectally extracted blind assertion, namely that anything, ever, began to exist.

Now bear in mind that Kraig is leaning heavily on several equivocation fallacies, firstly with 'beginning to exist', since he conflates a change in state with ex nihilo beginnings (shoehorning the latter in when the audience's back is turned, already blinded by the truly stunning obviousness and common sense of the statement 'everything that begins to exist has a cause' (and supposing that 'common sense' is of any utility in elucidating the principles on which the universe appears to operate)), and secondly with regard to his use of the word 'universe'.

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?


This is one of the hidden fallacies in Kraig's argument, namely the fallacy of composition. An informal fallacy, as it doesn't apply in all cases, but one of my major arguments against the Kalam Fallacy has always been that, while his point about beginnings may bear fruit (although as you can tell, I don't concede this point at all, for very good reasons that have bugger all to do with logic and everything to do with thermodynamics), applying a general property to entities existing within the universe to the universe itself is a folly, and for reasons that are demonstrable.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#48  Postby tnjrp » Apr 15, 2011 6:06 am

hackenslash wrote:2. What happens on a quantum level is that particle pairs pop into existence, except that they don't actually pop into existence, they represent a change in state, governed only by the uncertainty principle.
Indeed it is not actually in most cases relevant if you think of these virtual particles as popping into existence at all. They may in most cases (one notable exception being the so-far theoretical Hawking radiation of black holes) be seen as a modeling of the quantum vacuum fluctuations and their effect can indeed by and large be modeled by fields as well as particles.

However I'm not so sure about the "uncaused" part. There doesn't specifically appear to be a cause-and-effect relationship with vacuum fluctuations and something that would "cause" them to occur :think:
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#49  Postby hackenslash » Apr 15, 2011 6:15 am

Indeed, but that doesn't mean that they're uncaused. They are certainly entities for which we can point to no cause, but that's not quite the same thing.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#50  Postby Panderos » Apr 15, 2011 9:24 am

Hack's long post relates to a point I was trying to make on another thread, which is that even apparently simple philosophical arguments seem to me to be often loaded with hidden assumptions about the natural world, and can fall down because of it. Given we don't know everything about the natural world, and in the past have overthrown such apparently solid terms as 'time' and 'distance' and 'particle', and so on, there seems to me to be at least a some doubt associated with almost any such argument.

In other words, personally I'm very dubious about any argument that claimed to prove anything on purely logical grounds.

On a separate note, why do you call him Kraig, hack?
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#51  Postby IIzO » Apr 15, 2011 9:25 am

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb10QvaHpS4[/youtube]
Argument ad youtubum !
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#52  Postby tnjrp » Apr 15, 2011 9:35 am

Panderos wrote:On a separate note, why do you call him Kraig, hack?
I think it's a play of words come about because WLC is exceedingly fond of the Kalam cosmological argument: Hack's taken to calling him "Kalamity Kraig".
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#53  Postby IIzO » Apr 15, 2011 9:46 am

Argument ad youtum 2!
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9DLcTfYBcQ[/youtube]
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#54  Postby IIzO » Apr 15, 2011 9:57 am

Argument ad youtubum 3 !
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a50XrpoNElo[/youtube]
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#55  Postby Teuton » Apr 15, 2011 10:22 am

IIzO wrote:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb10QvaHpS4
Argument ad youtubum !


Dennett rejects Craig's claim that abstract entities do not and cannot cause anything. But Dennett is wrong because that is true by definition: it is simply part of the meaning of the concept <abstract entity> that, if there are any, they are essentially inactive due to a lack of intrinsic causal powers. Dennett says that the principle of triangulation, i.e. an abstract proposition, is involved in causal processes; but in fact it's not the principle itself but its practical physical application that is causally efficacious. So Dennett's objection to Craig's claim that if the physical universe has a transcendent cause, it must be a concrete immaterial entity, i.e. a spiritual agent, rather than an abstract immaterial entity such as a Platonic law fails.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#56  Postby Larkus » Apr 15, 2011 10:50 am

Craig writes:
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.


Ad (ii) Doesn't that mean, that - according to Craig's explanation - the universe did not begin to exist if there was no first time at which the universe existed?

Such as in cosmological models, that lack a first point of time?

Paul Davies writes in What Happened Before the Big Bang?:
Inevitably, scientists will not be content to leave it at that. We would like to flesh out the details of this profound concept. There is even a subject devoted to it, called quantum cosmology. Two famous quantum cosmologists, James Hartle and Stephen Hawking, came up with a clever idea that goes back to Einstein. Einstein not only found that space and time are part of the physical universe; he also found that they are linked in a very intimate way. In fact, space on its own and time on its own are no longer properly valid concepts. Instead, we must deal with a unified "space-time" continuum. Space has three dimensions, and time has one, so space-time is a four-dimensional continuum.

In spite of the space-time linkage, however, space is space and time is time under almost all circumstances. Whatever space-time distortions gravitation may produce, they never turn space into time or time into space. An exception arises, though, when quantum effects are taken into account. That all-important intrinsic uncertainty that afflicts quantum systems can be applied to space-time, too. In this case, the uncertainty can, under special circumstances, affect the identities of space and time. For a very, very brief duration, it is possible for time and space to merge in identity, for time to become, so to speak, spacelike-just another dimension of space.

The spatialization of time is not something abrupt; it is a continuous process. Viewed in reverse as the temporalization of (one dimension of) space, it implies that time can emerge out of space in a continuous process. (By continuous, I mean that the timelike quality of a dimension, as opposed to its spacelike quality, is not an all-or-nothing affair; there are shades in between. This vague statement can be made quite precise mathematically.)

The essence of the Hartle-Hawking idea is that the big bang was not the abrupt switching on of time at some singular first moment, but the emergence of time from space in an ultrarapid but nevertheless continuous manner. On a human time scale, the big bang was very much a sudden, explosive origin of space, time, and matter. But look very, very closely at that first tiny fraction of a second and you find that there was no precise and sudden beginning at all. So here we have a theory of the origin of the universe that seems to say two contradictory things: First, time did not always exist; and second, there was no first moment of time. Such are the oddities of quantum physics.


Ad (iii) Has Craig shown, that there is no state of affairs, in which the universe timelessly exists? Doesn't the above article suggest, that there might have been such a timeless state of the universe? In that case, the universe did not begin to exist, according to Craig's explanation of 'beginnning to exist'. Maybe a physicist could clear that up?

Ad (iv) Has Craig shown, that an A-theory of time is correct? Craig writes, that "[t]he kalam cosmological argument presupposes from start to finish an A-theory of time." On a B-theory of time however "[t]he universe began to exist only in the sense that the tenselessly existing block universe has a front edge. It has a beginning only in the sense that a yardstick has a beginning. There is in the actual world no state of affairs of God existing alone without the space-time universe. God never really brings the universe into being; as a whole it co-exists timelessly with Him." Only a minority of philosophers seems to support an A-theory of time. I wonder what that means for the support of the premise, that the universe began to exist.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#57  Postby IIzO » Apr 16, 2011 12:02 am

Teuton wrote:
Dennett rejects Craig's claim that abstract entities do not and cannot cause anything.

He pricesely ask "who say ?" ,that is a question of justification about the impossibility of causation.

But Dennett is wrong because that is true by definition: it is simply part of the meaning of the concept <abstract entity> that, if there are any, they are essentially inactive due to a lack of intrinsic causal powers.

And Dennett's "who say" is asking for the justification, if you justification is "per definition" then you are simply engaging in circular logic.

Dennett says that the principle of triangulation, i.e. an abstract proposition, is involved in causal processes; but in fact it's not the principle itself but its practical physical application that is causally efficacious.

You just made his point , it's not "physical causation" but we can't say that the abstract geometry is not responsible for the effect we decuded from it , namlely the greater solidity.You own wording "practical physical application" is the special causation link that we don't understand, wich ,for Dennett, arises when Craig tries to make sense of a changeless ,timeless causal agent named god.The comparaison between the principle and god works ,the only thing that changes about those two unthinkable things is that we can somehow think about the principle of triangulation by using symbols.


So Dennett's objection to Craig's claim that if the physical universe has a transcendent cause, it must be a concrete immaterial entity, i.e. a spiritual agent, rather than an abstract immaterial entity such as a Platonic law fails.

He doesn't say that you have to reject anything ,he says that if you can't consider the principle of triangulation as a causal abstract being then you can't consider a changeless timeless spaceless being as a causal being .
It's not a true rebutal ,it's more like a rethoric trap .
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#58  Postby THWOTH » Apr 17, 2011 12:39 am

WLC wrote:Premise 1 seems obviously true—at the least, more so than its negation...


Will S wrote:The only way out is to argue that even things which never began to exist must also have a cause - which lands the theist right back with the first, and obviously incorrect, version of the argument. :(

And so the long day wears on ....

...it certainly does.

The catch-all assumption at the heart of WLC's favoured first premise, the clause that things 'begin' to exist rather than simply existing, is designed specifically cast Mr God as an/the un-caused, non-beginning thing. This is necessary of course otherwise we have knotty questions like how did God's grandparents first meet, or some other expression of infinite regress. So he (supposedly) provides a logical proof for the existence of god by the universal condition that everything that exists has to begin to exist and then, once god has been handily proved, he simply exempts god from the condition necessary to his proof.

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

#59  Postby Paul Almond » Apr 17, 2011 1:17 am

One of the big pieces of dishonesty with William Lane Craig's argument - and I think it is the biggest - is one that is common to many theistic arguments: there is the assumption that personal entities have some special ontological status - that, somehow, just by being "personal" or a "mind", what is expected of a thing is utterly different from what is expected of everything else. In this way, the theist can erect problems that appear to have no solution until a personal entity, with its special ontological status, is parachuted in.

Let's assume (and I'm not saying that there is: this is just for the purpose of argument) that the world of space and time that we know is not everything - that there must be something outside this. Let's also assume that an explanation for the existence of the world of space and time must have an explanation that is based on something "outside". So far, we are not even close to requiring a god: all we have done is said that space and time is not everything and that an explanation of our world goes beyond space and time. So what? Some speculative cosmologies already entertain this idea. There is no reason to assume that anything like this would have to be beyond our understanding, or "supernatural" in any profound sense - in the way that theists use the word: we would simply have a lot more stuff - some of it non-spatio-temporal.

At this point Craig can throw in his usual nonsense about how actual infinities cannot exist. If reality was extended in some way that went beyond the spatial and the temporal, wouldn't we just have the same problem? e.g. suppose the explanation of the observable universe is some non-spatio-temporal entity A. What explains A? B? What explains B? etc.

Now, we could just allow some non-spatio-temporal entity that wasn't personal to just exist, outside causality itself, and not requring any cause- but Craig is obviously going to require that it has some explanation. He won't require such an explanation of his God. Further, we might say that there was an endless reality out there beyond space and time, with things being explained by still more things, etc. Craig would simply say that this was an actual infinity - but he gives his god a special status that escapes this. God is supposed to magically evade all these problems, purely by being a personal entity. We are supposed to accept God on his own terms without thinking that his own existence implies an actual infinity, even though Craig would never accept this of anything else? Why? We have absolutely no reason to think that personal entities achieve this. All the minds that we know of seem to have successions of mental states and they seem to be based on physical substrates that in turn suggest the need for explanation. Craig's argument is basically trying to pull off the trick of getting us to accept that there is a world beyond the world - one of non-spatio-temporal things - in which our world is embedded - and then to accept, for no good reason, that this extension to the world must consist of God.

Craig is assuming that a mind somehow has this special philosophical power - as if it is like the queen in a game of chess - yet this is without any justification at all. If the issues allegedly found by Craig were real, it would be as plausible to explain them with a magical golf ball or a magical tax return. Craig is merely giving minds powers that they don't have. Craig talks about minds as "efficient causes". When did we last see a mind achieving that? Has my mind ever done that, dependent as it is on the workings of my brain? Has yours? Has anyone's?

I despise everything the man writes, incidentally.
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Re: WL Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

#60  Postby THWOTH » Apr 17, 2011 1:59 am

Paul Almond wrote:...Craig is assuming that a mind somehow has this special philosophical power - as if it is like the queen in a game of chess - yet this is without any justification at all...

Very well put Paul. But you are forgetting that WLC does have a 'valid' fall-back justification, a tabernacular formula which holds true in every case: I know by the witness of the holy spirit in my heart that God exists and loves me and therefore Christianity is true.

Paul Almond wrote:I despise everything the man writes, incidentally.

You know, I was kinda picking up the vibes. :D
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