apologetics

William Lane Craig vs. Lawrence Krauss-Thoughts and links

The debate took place on March 30th. I recently watched it and wanted to share my own comments, along with some others’ excellent thoughts.

First, the audio of the debate: here.

Second, William Lane Craig’s “Post Mortem”: here.

Third, Wintery Knight posted an excellent summary of Krauss’ “arguments”. I highly recommend reading it: here.

Fourth, the video is here.

Fifth, cosmologist Luke Barnes writes on Krauss’ misrepresentation of “nothing” here.

Sixth, Craig responds to Krauss’ extensive critique here.

DISCLAIMER: This post has been linked to by PZ Myers as a post which demonstrates the “dishonest distortions of some attendees.” For clarification: I did not attend the  debate, but rather watched it online. Further, I answer Myers’ discussion of Bayes in a comment in response to a visitor below. Krauss definitely mistreprents Bayesian theorems in a way which undermines his own position. Finally, Myers’ ad hominem attacks upon Craig do little to back up Krauss’ self-defeating debate. For example, Myers writes that Craig is a “vacuous moron”; he rails against theists who “reject the atheist without thinking”; and he calls me dishonest, though admittedly only through linking to my site. Myers, in other words, uses the same strategy Krauss did in his debate: Calls himself smart, calls his opponents dumb, and declares “win” on the internet.

My thoughts:

Craig Opening

Craig went through his standard 5 arguments set, which remains as powerful as ever. The reason he doesn’t change his opening statement (unless the debate is about something other than the existence of God) is because he doesn’t need to fix what “ain’t broke”.

Krauss Opening

Krauss’ opening statement is simply awful. He starts off by saying Craig is a “professional debater” which is an obvious jab, because Craig is a professional philosopher who is world-renowned in both philosophy of religion and philosophy of time. Krauss goes on to bash logic and philosophy. Against Craig’s argument from contingency, he asserts that some contingent events happen causelessly. For example, he argues that “accidents happen all the time,” and seems to think that this shows that things can happen without cause. Against the Kalam, he argues that the universe is big, and concludes the argument is false. He also says that 2+2=5. He further argues that we can deal mathematically with infinities–something Craig agrees with and in fact deals with in extensive detail in his literature (specifically, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, and elsewhere).

Krauss also seems to argue that Craig’s evidence is not falsifiable, which is strange, considering every argument Craig offered is falsifiable simply by disproving one of the premises. He went on to assert that the universe came into existence out of nothing, for which he provides no evidence. Then he argues that “We don’t know!” if the universe is infinitely old (which runs smack in the face of the Big Bang).  We also “don’t know” if there are objective moral values.

So, summing up Krauss’ opening, we have: logic doesn’t work, things pop into existence out of nothing, things can cause themselves, 2+2=5, and we don’t know anything.

Craig 2

Craig pointed out that you can’t deny logic without using logic to come to that conclusion, therefore defeating Krauss’ schoolyard “reasoning”. Craig then destroys Krauss’ argument from Hume, by pointing out Hume didn’t even have access to the probability calculus utilized in arguments from miracles. He goes on to point out that Krauss’ argument that “accidents just happen” as a way to get around causal reasoning is ridiculous–the example of a friend falling out of bed and breaking a leg is not causeless–he broke his leg because he fell out of bed in such and such a way! He also points out that we certainly can add infinites together (again, if Krauss had actually done any research, he’d have known Craig already responded to this argument), but that actual infinites are impossible because it leads to contradictions. Craig goes on to quote George Ellis, a cosmologist, as an expert who disagrees with Krauss.

Craig then pointed out that there’s a difference in terminology between what Krauss said is “nothing” and actual “nothing.” Krauss simply misrepresented what is meant by “nothing” comes from “nothing.” The quantum vacuum, for example, is not “nothing”. He then quoted Krauss on the very topic, pointing out that Krauss clearly intended to distort the meaning of “nothing.” Nothing, Craig explains, means actually nothing–no quantum vacuum, no energy, no matter: nothing. So Krauss has to point out that the universe can come from actual nothing. He then points out that Krauss doesn’t even argue against moral values, and has to go on to quote Krauss’ body of work to point out his only response to the argument, which is that there is no freedom of the will. So Krauss has to argue that there’s no freedom of the will in order to get around Craig’s argument. Finally, Craig nicely shows Krauss how to logically get to God from Christ, since apparently Krauss was unable to make that same inference.

Krauss 2

Krauss starts off by holding that empty space is not empty–something Craig agrees with, which is the entire point of the argument! Craig has been arguing that there was nothing before the universe–something the Big Bang also leads to, but Krauss either can’t fit his mind around this simple concept (before the universe there was actually nothing) or he is blatantly misrepresenting the argument. My bets are on the latter. Krauss says the beginning of the universe is “fascinating” and we should try to understand it, and then argues that it’s possible to not believe in God. (Fantastic reasoning). He then makes another jab at Craig by saying “he’s not an expert” …but well, maybe he is “because he’s read my stuff.”

Krauss interestingly points out there was a time when there was no space and time, and then it came into existence. He holds that this is for no reason, out of nothing.

He goes on to make what I call the “observer’s fallacy”: claiming that because we’re here, we don’t need to explain why we’re here. As with many terrible arguments, the “observer’s fallacy” proves too much–we’re here to observe x, therefore x is probable or had to happen (and therefore we don’t need to speculate about a cause–or there is no cause). Anything can be plugged in. I’m here to observe the hamburger in front of me to eat, therefore it is uncaused!

Krauss’ argument about “empty space” holds that these quantum events happen with different laws at different times. He then concludes that therefore, these are uncaused or undesigned, there is no God. But the obvious flaw in this reasoning is that he already noted that these quantum events happen due to laws, which then precludes his argument against logic in science. He argues that physics has different, random kinds of laws across an unobservable multiverse which we can’t test. Nice bit of metaphysical baggage to add on there.

Krauss also makes the absurd error of equating mathematical probability with epistemic probability. Krauss is correct in saying that if something is 50% likely, that’s just a chance, not a reason to believe it’s true or that it’s the case. However, he misunderstands (I say this because it’s clear so far that he doesn’t know what epistemic probability is) epistemic probability. One example could be drawn from Robin Collins about the thesis of common descent–if I think it is more likely than another theory, I’m not saying that it has a 60% chance, whereas other theories have a 30% or 20% chance… no, I’m saying that given the evidence, it seems as though the thesis of common descent has more epistemic weight than its rivals–it is more likely epistemically. I doubt Krauss will address this in any way through the rest of the debate, because I really do think, judging by his strategy so far, he doesn’t have the philosophical know-how to do so.

In summary, Krauss’ response to Craig’s rejoinder is: “Everything is random! HA! Also, things happen due to causes, but they are uncaused! I’m here to observe things, so they are uncaused!”

Craig 3

Craig now has to get to the point of debating someone who denies logic. Not an enviable position.

Craig starts off by refocusing the debate on whether there is evidence for God or not–“is it the case that God’s existence is more probable” given the evidence presented “than not.” He points out that Krauss didn’t engage Craig’s theses, but rather went off on tangents. For example, Krauss did not deny that he was using the taxicab fallacy–the idea that everything needs an explanation, but once we get to the universe, it needs no explanation. Then Craig argues that the scientific evidence supports the beginning of the universe, using the same paper Krauss argued had nothing to do with God. Craig’s only intent is to use the research to point to a beginning of the universe, so Krauss was again mistaken in his response.

Craig challenges Krauss to present any evidence to suggest the universe is past-eternal. I sincerely doubt Krauss will do anything of the sort, given how evasive he’s been to this point. Craig also challenges Krauss to actually address the fine-tuning argument and present some reason as to why we should believe in the multiverse which we can’t observe. Then Craig points out that most scientists agree the universe is fine-tuned for life, contra Krauss’ denial earlier.

Finally, Craig points out that Krauss misrepresents the moral argument because God’s nature is necessarily such that the divine commands He issues cannot be evil.

Summary: Craig has challenged Krauss to deal with the evidence at hand.

Krauss 3

Not that it is unexpected, but Krauss starts off by outlining just how clear it is that he doesn’t understand epistemic probability. He continues to think that it is reducible to mathematic probability. Plus, his example is simply wrong. Krauss says (paraphrased) “You wanna talk about probability, how bout we ask some scientists if God exists!” He then says that 90% of the National Academy of scientists are atheists. Okay… so how is this probability? It’s a statistic. Apparently Krauss is unaware of the fact that to have a probability, you must, you know, draw a conclusion. He could have said “The chance for me to pull an atheist out of the National Academy of Scientists is 9/10″ but simply saying that 90% of them are atheists is not a probability. Not only that, but Krauss is clearly being disingenuous. Also, he clearly doesn’t understand epistemic probability.

Krauss then randomly brought up the “Old Testament God” and says He’s clearly not compassionate.

He hints at the Euthyphro dilemma… but then says “rationality defines morality.” How?

Closing Statements

Craig simply points out Krauss hasn’t refuted any argument.

Krauss resorts to saying “We don’t know x, we don’t know y, we don’t know z.” Then he makes the infamous “We’re all atheists” argument that is the subject of this post and one I will write soon.

Final Thoughts

Imagine a theist/Christian came to a debate and, in order to establish his point, stood up and said “Well logic doesn’t work. Logic isn’t reality. Philosophy is dumb. Theology is better. Theology isn’t governed by logic. Logic is dumb. Logic can’t prove anything about the universe [this latter is a direct quote from Krauss].”

The Christian would be laughed out of the building. But an atheist can stand up and say “logic doesn’t prove anything… Logic isn’t reality… etc.” and people take them seriously. It’s another example of “atheism at any cost.” Rather than acknowledge the existence of God, to which logic and sound reasoning continue to lead us, atheists reject logic and sound reasoning. Krauss, to his credit, did manage to demonstrate this with profound success: atheism is irrational.

SDG.

——

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

102 thoughts on “William Lane Craig vs. Lawrence Krauss-Thoughts and links

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head, so I won’t say anything about Krauss other than…wow…just a brutal showing. What a weird debate this was.

    If I were Craig I think I may have been tempted to ditch the resurrection and the moral argument and just hammer on the cosmological arguments and fine-tuning, using those beat Krauss in the field of his own expertise. It played to his advantage in a way – no one really looks good denying objective moral values and duties, and Craig can debate anyone on the resurrection – but I think Craig could have went even deeper than he did on the teleological and cosmological arguments than he did.

    BTW, JW – what Craig debates would you recommend most? I haven’t listened to that many yet. So far, I’ve listened to Hitchens, Crossan, Borg, Ehrman and Crossley. So far the Hitchens and Ehrman ones have been the most entertaining.

    Posted by erik | April 1, 2011, 9:17 PM
    • Erik,

      I personally really enjoy Craig’s debate with Anthony Flew because you can see how it is one of the steps on his way to changing his mind about atheism.

      Also, I do think Craig destroyed Krauss in his own field–quoting works, pointing out the illogic of his position, etc. The main thing is, as I pointed out, Krauss had to withdraw to irrationality to try to beat Craig. Debate over.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 1, 2011, 9:25 PM
      • “Also, I do think Craig destroyed Krauss in his own field–quoting works, pointing out the illogic of his position, etc. ”

        This is the trouble with you theists. You believe that God gave us logic and it is perfect and if something is not logical it is not true. So, as soon as someone shows you something which is not logical in mature, you reject it. And say things like this:
        “Krauss had to withdraw to irrationality to try to beat Craig. Debate over.”
        As Krauss tried to explain, observed facts beat logic every time. That is science all about. Scientific method help us to work out that what our logic tell us true or not. He gave a few examples to show that logic gave us wrong conclusions. Of course those gone over your heads, because you are only interested in one thing, to justify your faith. If someone give you some logic to that effect, you gobble it up even if it is not agreeing with observed facts.

        Logic is not God given because it is not perfect. So is math. How do we know logic and math are not perfect? By logical and mathematical paradoxes. (See Kurt Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems )

        Theists say: you cannot disprove logic, because you have to use logic to do it. But the reverse is true also: You cannot prove logic with logic. Because you have to prove first that logic is perfect. A theist may says: God proves logic to be perfect. But you have to prove that God exists and He is perfect, without using logic, before you can use Him to prove logic. What else we can use to prove logic. Well, we can use observations. We can make predictions by using logic and observe the outcome and see if it is the same as what logic predicted. That is, we can use science, or the scientific method to prove logic.
        Of course, we do this all the time, and have found that logic some times fails. So it is not perfect.

        Should we throw away logic and math, because they are not perfect? No! They are very good tools, but not for proving God. We can use logic and math as part of the scientific method, to find out things about the universe. But of course, we have to keep it in our minds that our tools are not perfect and we cannot be absolutely sure in the results. That is why we have “theories” and not absolute “laws”. That is why we have peer reviews and repeated tests .. etc. As we learn more about our universe, we correct our mistakes and flawed results. Science is a self correcting system. Not perfect, but the best we have to find out about reality.

        Krauss did not go there to win the debate, as he said so. I think he went there to have fun and that he had. OK, he did not prepare for the debate. He did not read and listened to everything what WLC. wrote or said. So what, why would he? He was not going to loose his job if he loose the debate, in the eyes of the believers. On the other hand, I am not sure about WLC. I do not know how many debates he has to loose before believers stop buying his books or looses his job. After all, this is his job, writing books and having debates. Krauss has his real job, and it is not depends on him loosing a debate or two on God.

        Posted by Hairy H. | January 3, 2012, 9:43 PM
      • Once you say that things can “beat logic” you must deny the law of noncontradiction.

        Therefore, because you allow for contradictions to be true, I am happy to say we are in agreement that Krauss was wrong to deny logic.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 3, 2012, 11:23 PM
  2. Great analysis of the debate! Better than mine (which I threw up there within 45 mins of the Q and A ending). I personally think it was an embarrassment for atheists everywhere, and that, as a theist, I find Austin Dacey to be the best opponent of Craig I have seen (though it’s worth noting by Craig’s second rebuttal [his third speech overall] he has him nailed).

    Posted by Randy Everist | April 1, 2011, 10:28 PM
  3. I read your review of the debate earlier, Joseph, but haven’t had a chance to download or listen to the debate itself yet. But I gotta tell ya, I giggled while reading this, especially your terse and very brief summaries of the arguments. :) I can hardly wait to hear the debate for myself.

    Posted by Disciple | April 2, 2011, 12:11 AM
  4. Amazing how different people can listen to the same words and get completely different outcomes from the debate. What I heard was a very measured Krauss debating against an infantile Craig, who, typically has to rely upon semantics to create his position, and then a wilfull disregard for the scientific method to ignore the points raised against the mutlitude of false assumptions he claims. Having listened to a few Craig debates he seems to feel that repeating claims over and over somehow makes them stronger. He does this to the extent that one has to begin to question his integrity. He is quite comfortable to lie constantly.

    Posted by Guy | April 5, 2011, 9:54 AM
    • It is quite interesting that so many atheists seem to think Craig is a liar. I’ve never seen any reasoning to back it up. It is just said that “Craig’s a liar! Ha!”

      Disagreeing with someone does not mean they are lying.

      Further, it is interesting to me that you question Craig’s position on the scientific method, when it is Krauss who undermines science by arguing that logic need not apply to the conclusions of science. That is the very basis of science. For example, I recently was discussing the debate with a colleague and they mentioned that they saw no reason to assume that everything has a reason for its existence (the Leibnizian Cosmological argument). I found this extremely paradoxical, because the person is an ardent empiricist who claims science is the only way to find truth. But if that is the case, the very basis of science is searching for explanation. It assumes that things happen for reasons, or that things happen due to causes. That is the very nature of the scientific method: “Why does this happen?” So when Krauss came out firing against logic, and even went so far as to say that we have to go against logic because of science, it exposed him as either being unfamiliar with philosophy of science, which is highly likely, or meant that he simply rejects the scientific method (which I find very unlikely).

      So I see no reason to think Krauss argued in a “measured” fashion when his very arguments undermined the philosophical foundations of his position.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 5, 2011, 2:58 PM
    • Furthermore, calling “semantics! semantics! you lose!”, is not an argument. Semantics is about meaning; one needs to be clear about what one means. Craig was, Krauss was not and, moreover, Krauss contradicted himself.

      If, however, you mean that Craig was equivocating or being ambiguous or vague, then you need to provide evidence that he was.

      J.

      Posted by John I. | April 7, 2011, 10:21 AM
  5. I don’t really know why Krauss entered this debate in the first place. The whole topic is biased in Craig’s favour.
    The scientist is always bound by logic and facts while the creationist gets to make stuff up. Craig offered absolutely no evidence but rather gave a few philosophical discussion topics. Craig’s argument, as always, boils down to if he doesn’t understand something then god did it.

    Posted by Nosmo King | April 5, 2011, 11:06 AM
    • I think you’re absolutely right in saying that the scientist is bound by logic and facts. That’s exactly what Craig was arguing, and what Krauss denied. Something which was extremely shocking to me, in fact.

      Now I see no reason to say Craig just made things up (nor would I call him a creationist in the sense that it is most likely intended, given that he is an advocate of ID theory, not scientific creationism). He presented logically valid arguments for the existence of God, argued to establish the premises, and then waited for Krauss to respond. Krauss’ response is “Logic doesn’t work!” I think it is clear who won, and it is even more clear whose position is reasonable.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 5, 2011, 3:01 PM
    • You’re also making the mistake of assuming somehow that creationism was even relevant to the topic. You also make the same mistake as Krauss in assuming that somehow logically-valid syllogisms mean “if we don’t understand it, God did it.” After all, how do you reduce “whatever begins to exist had a cause, the universe began to exist, therefore the universe had a cause” to that?

      Posted by Randy Everist | April 5, 2011, 4:48 PM
      • Clearly, your argument is talking about a creator. That where I got creationism from. As for your syllogism, you state that the universe had a cause but you have no idea what that cause was therefore you assume god. That is an absolutely baseless assumption.

        Posted by Nosmo King | April 5, 2011, 9:44 PM
  6. I listened to the debate and I must say that while I was not that impressed with Krauss, I was left befuddled, jaw on the floor, at the inanity of Craig’s “evidence.”

    Jesus’ tomb was found empty, therefore God is real?

    I’m sorry, that is not evidence of anything except that some people wrote stories in which they claim they found an empty tomb.

    If, by employing some contorted ‘logic’ and twisted statistics, you can come up with a 50% or so chance that God exists, this is evidence that God exists.

    Whaaa???

    That might convince people that don’t understand statistics or who believe that to begin with, but I just found it pathetically simplistic and indefensible.

    I always hear that Craig is this great mind and such, and he came off to me more of a huckster, a carnival barker of sorts.

    It seems that you already have to agree with Craig’s position in order to think that his arguments were convincing. Which is why public debates on these issues are wastes of time.

    Posted by derwood | April 5, 2011, 12:56 PM
    • Thanks for your comment! I think that the 50% thing is interesting in that it actually does apply to the debate. It should be noted that the debate topic was “Is there evidence for God?” It doesn’t ask whether the is sufficient evidence (as the moderator incorrectly stated it). The argument was about whether there was or was not evidence for God. Well, clearly, anything which would make it more probable than not that God exists could serve as evidence. In fact, evidence which would be better explained by God than by rival explanations would serve as evidence. It doesn’t have to prove God’s existence–that debate would have a different subject.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 5, 2011, 3:18 PM
  7. JW,

    Before you and your theistic friends get all puffed up from the perceived success William Lane Craig in his debate, you may want to read this response from Lawrence Krauss:

    “Dealing with William Lane Craig”
    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/612104-dealing-with-william-lane-craig

    The first mistake that Craig and others seem to be making on your blog is thinking that Bronze-age mythology is an accurate portrayal of history.

    The second mistake is confusing perceived “point-scoring” in debates for actual intellectual inquiry.

    Since you’re so interested in debates, you may want to check out this transcript of a debate between William Lane Craig and Bart Ehrman:

    “Is There Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus?”
    http://academics.holycross.edu/files/crec/resurrection-debate-transcript.pdf

    Take care,
    Steve

    Posted by Steve Caldwell | April 5, 2011, 12:58 PM
    • Steve, thanks for your comment and for taking the time to seek out those links. I’ve already listened to the debate between Craig and Ehrman. Both Ehrman and Krauss utilize strategies to undermine the Gospel accounts which, if correct, would serve to undermine everything else we know about ancient history. So I see no reason to accept their hyper-critical methods which are clearly devised to overthrow the accuracy of the Gospels at any cost–even at the cost of the entire corpus of ancient literature.

      Further, Krauss reiterates his lack of knowledge about epistemic probability as opposed to mathematical probability in the link you posted, which makes the link valuable to me. As Krauss demonstrated by arguing against logic (which serves as the basis for science and therefore Krauss undermines his own position by trying to defeat it), it seems as though he could use a good education in philosophy of science and epistemology. He, like Hume before him, is totally unfamiliar with epistemic probability such as Bayesian probabilities. In Krauss’ post he seems to think that Bayesian probability leads to mathematical probabilities only, as opposed to being a theory of epistemology. For example, he writes, “The problem is that using mathematical probabilities in this fashion ONLY makes sense if you have a well defined probability measure, and if one can check that the conclusions one draws are not sensitive to one’s priors.” Well that’s simply false. Bayesian theory allows us to hold positions not based upon mathematical probabilities but by weighing the evidence.

      For example, stealing from Robin Collins’ example in the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, suppose I think the thesis of common descent (TCD) is more probable than its rivals. I’m not asserting that TCD has a some arbitrary mathematical probability and then comparing it to some baseline probability–as Krauss seems to think would have to be the case. Rather, I am asserting that given the evidence, I find TCD to be more epistemically probable than its rivals–it seems as though it better serves to explain the evidence at hand.

      And again, I find Krauss’ argument style here self-defeating because it undermines induction, which is the basis of the scientific method. When scientific hypotheses are tested and weighed, they aren’t assigned probabilities and then the one with the highest percentage wins, rather, it is a kind of epistemic induction and weighing which happens and allows scientists to draw the conclusions they do. So Krauss’ railing against probability was a bit off; as it undermines everything he at least appeared to hold dear.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 5, 2011, 3:27 PM
  8. erik,

    If you want a brutal beatdown administered by Craig, maybe the worst I’ve ever seen, check out his debate with Peter Atkins.

    Posted by Rhology | April 5, 2011, 1:49 PM
  9. “Well, clearly, anything which would make it more probable than not that God exists could serve as evidence”

    The problem that I find with this is that you can take out the word god and put in anything else. Vishnu. Amon Ra. Thor. and get the exact same argument. Despite the fact that no one (almost no one anyways) still believes in Thor.

    Posted by greame | April 5, 2011, 4:01 PM
    • That’s actually a misrepresentation of the evidence, to be honest. For example, Vishnu, (not sure about Amon Ra) and Thor are not seen as transendent deities who created the universe ex nihilo, which means cosmological arguments don’t apply to them. Further, Greek philosophers clearly make it shown that the gods aren’t seen as a source of objective morals (moral argument doesn’t apply). The disanalogies could be multiplied at will.

      Not only that, but a diversity of possibilities does not show that all are false. For example, I hate to use a political example, but it just comes to mind: there are many different beliefs about Barack Obama: some say he’s Muslim, some say he’s not a U.S. Citizen, others say he’s Christian, or that its obvious he’s a U.S. Citizen (I think that this is the case). A mere diversity of beliefs doesn’t serve up a reason to deny all of them. I think it is the case that Barack Obama is a U.S. Citizen, and because he said he’s a Christian and I see no overriding reason to think he’s lying, I believe him. Diversity of beliefs does not demonstrate falsity of all.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 5, 2011, 4:08 PM
    • JFYI your use of ‘Vishnu’ is incorrect, because in the trinity, Brahma is the creator, Vishnu the sustainer, Shiva the destroyer. So God would in that case be Brahma, Vishnu would be both Jusus+holy spirit, and although there is no explicit destroyer in christianity, i guess that position could be taken up by Lucifer.
      JFYI i am not a believer in either, but an explorer of all there is.
      “A believer is a bird in a cage. A freethinker is an eagle parting the clouds with tireless wings.” …….Robert Ingersoll

      Posted by G RYDER | July 29, 2012, 8:23 AM
  10. As a trained philosopher and a professor of religion and philosophy myself, I prefer debates between philosophers, and I am very much looking forward to the debate between Harris and Craig. I have begun posting refutations to Craigs arguments on my blog at [site link taken down until credentials proven--per site editor. See comments below.] Comments are welcome.

    Posted by Cathy Cooper | April 5, 2011, 7:43 PM
    • Thanks for your comment and the kind nature of your response. I agree with you on the debates between philosophers, though I would extend that to any field. I’d prefer a debate between two microbiologists to a debate between a microbiologist and an astrophysicist.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 12:11 AM
  11. “Logic can’t prove anything about the universe [this latter is a direct quote from Krauss].”

    That’s quite correct. Aristotle made many logical arguments about the universe – unfortunately, as we know now, you need more than logic!

    You need evidence, and so far all of your logic (read “noises in the wind”) is meaningless since you have no evidence to support your claims. The problem one encounters when arguing with a philosopher is that argument is the philosopher’s profession. They are trained to make impressively convoluted arguments, but are not trained to have any connection to reality.

    Posted by Chris L | April 5, 2011, 10:16 PM
  12. To clarify something that you incessantly misrepresent — Dr. Krauss does not deny logic. He NEVER claimed to. He merely stated that, in order to make claims about the nature of the universe/multiverse, one needs actual evidence of those claims. One cannot make philosophical arguments only and claim that these are true evidence regarding the nature of the universe/multiverse since these arguments are merely reflections of the minds of men. The properties of the universe/multiverse are not determined by the presuppositions, imaginations, or intuition. They merely are what they are, whether humans have any intuitive sense of them or not, and the only way to determine them is to test for them. Again, logic exists, but one must reach beyond human thought constructs and actually measure the properties of the universe to claim evidence of the nature of the universe.

    Posted by Jeremy | April 5, 2011, 10:49 PM
  13. I would also like to note that 2+2=5 is a math/science nerd joke, and not a literal belief of sorts, which you obviously don’t get. It alludes to the fact that nothing can be precisely measured and that there is always round-off error. Always. If you round at the integer, values of 2.48 and 2.49 will be rounded to 2. However, when these values are summed, 4.97 will be rounded to 5. In this case, it will appear that 2+2=5. I find it rather funny that your lack of understanding of this point is a sense of pride or something.

    Posted by Jeremy | April 5, 2011, 10:56 PM
  14. He [Krauss] also says that 2+2=5.

    No, he doesn’t. He was wearing a T-shirt that said “2+2=5 for very large values of 2“.

    I take it you either didn’t listen to Krauss’s side of the debate, or don’t get math humor.

    Posted by arensb | April 5, 2011, 11:18 PM
    • I suppose I should probably place a response directly under your response to assist you in figuring out the message. Dr. Krauss was trying to explain that the Universe confronts us with realities that do not make sense to us intuitively. The “2+2=5, for large values of 2″ joke is an example of this. If the best we can measure 2.48 or 2.49 is simply 2, then the sum will surprise us when we measure 4.97 to be 5. “Large values of 2″ are values at the upper-bound of what we would still consider to be “2”.

      Since the Universe can present us with evidence that contradicts our “sensibilities”, we must learn to accept the evidence the universe gives us and not merely trust what we’d like to think about it.

      Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 12:24 AM
      • Right, I would agree with Krauss if that were his intent, but it seems he is equivocating Craig’s arguments with “sensibilities.” However, Craig’s arguments are deductively valid arguments for their conclusions, so it isn’t “sensibility”; it is necessity. Deductive arguments, if sound, demonstrate their conclusion. So again, Krauss is merely equivocating.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 12:27 AM
      • That WAS his intent. Krauss merely calls out Craig on claiming that his assertions are valid truths about the nature of the universe. Craig never really defines what god is in any coherent sense, which renders any claim that a piece of “evidence” raises the probability of “god” as useless. Craig’s arguments are merely assertions based on his presupposition that some form of god exists, and that form tends to neatly fill the gap in the knowledge of the subject matter. His arguments are “valid” only once you clearly define “god”, and only then if they still hold up in the face of ALL the evidence. Merely stating that “god” is the only thing that can be “eternal” is pointless and unsupported, since “god is not a clearly defined concept. If one can claim that “god” is eternal, why not the multiverse, as Krauss asked? Each person may indeed by referring to the exact same “thing”. However, Krauss refers to something that is at least close to being defined, while Craig refers to something that is wildly inconsistent.

        Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 12:50 AM
  15. I guess once I start picking at points, it’s hard to stop. I’m also highly amused that certain Christians today think that by taking a position on “god” such as the one taken by William Lane Craig, they are the most reasoned and enlightened, while yet still claiming to be Christian. There is nothing in the Bible to support anything that Craig claims about the nature of god. The God of the Bible claims to be “jealous”, orders the rape and murder of entire populations, prescribes death for trivial offenses, prefers blood sacrifice (due to pleasing odors), orders the mauling of children by bears for a verbal insult, permits and lays down rules for proper slavery, and commits other moral atrocities. I’m sure at the time these things were considered moral, but the zeitgeist has changed and these things are now abhorrent, and rightfully so. This points not to “god’s just and moral nature”, but rather the development of secular ethics. It is secular ethics that has been the measuring post for human action, not those advocated by religion. The golden rule was postulated long before Jesus, and thus cannot be attributed to him. The Bible attributes human emotions to God, as well as implies that God takes a human appearance. The Bible claims humans and all other life were created specially in an instant by the direct will of God in a nonsensical order. God is said to not only have created everything but actively intervenes in the world, even at whim of human prayers. How do any of the attributes of the god of the Bible align with Craig’s that “god” is merely an ultimate metaphysical cause? This describes Deism much more than Christianity, though Craig attempts to skirt that label by claiming the divinity of Jesus.

    I suppose the original point I was looking to make is that ANY religion can claim to be the “enlightened” view if they drop all the superstitious nonsense and trade their god for a watchmaker. Just because Craig does it doesn’t mean that Christianity is inherently “reasonable.” Christianity still requires an original sin committed by a real Adam and Eve, who were deceived by a talking snake to eat magical fruit, which was then passed down through all of humanity, supposedly requiring a blood sacrifice (Jesus) to scapegoat away to attain the forgiveness of god. Who actually believes in the truth in the Genesis story? Think about it. If there were no Adam and Eve, there is no original sin (unless God made sin an intrinsic feature of his “design”, which would then make it cruel to demand we purify ourselves of it under penalty of eternal punishment), and no need for Jesus.

    Though theological inconsistency is not evidence against God, it certainly doesn’t help advocate the religion being pushed.

    I can’t stop. How can anyone claim that the God of the Bible is “intrinsically good and can do no evil by his nature?” Let’s say that you just throw the entire Old Testament out, which is obviously ripe with counter-examples. The whole idea of Jesus’ story is an abomination. If you killed your neighbor, but a completely innocent third party steps up and volunteers to stand in your place on death row, how does this absolve you of your own guilt? Why is the death of an innocent “good” on any level? Vicarious atonement is an abomination of logic and morality, and the story of Jesus is precisely that. Not to mention that his story very closely resembles those of other messianic deities of the Mediterranean at the time, namely Horus of Egypt, who was also born of a virgin, performed miracles, was crucified and resurrected after three days, and that it was written 70+ years after the supposed events took place. Not to mention the various accounts are inconsistent and can’t even agree upon a proper timeline of the birth of Jesus. Not to mention that no non-gospel sources for even the historical existence of Jesus exist, save vague references to “Christ” (anointed one) by 3 and Josephus, whose writings often show obvious tampering by revisionists.

    No one is reading this anymore. I’m done.

    Posted by Jeremy | April 5, 2011, 11:36 PM
  16. I swear this is my last comment since I’ve wasted enough time on this already.
    William Lane Craig claims that the ONLY possible explanations for the origins of the universe are numbers or “god”, and thus chooses “god”. He claims this as if it were self-evident, but it rather betrays Craig’s use of “god” as merely the default explanation for that which cannot be currently explained. If “god” is to be invoked as a plausible cause for ANYTHING, a coherent description of “god” must first be made. What is god? Claiming such platitudes as “God is love”, “god is the metaphysical ultimate” does not actually answer this question. Is god merely a force? Then why use the term god, since by the same logic, electromagnetism could be better be called the “son of god”. Is god a sentient being? With human emotions and desires? What is “his” mechanism for interacting with the universe? Does this being actively watch over a realm called heaven while listening to the murmurs of humans on Earth? Is god omniscient, while at the same time omnipotent? Does he have the power to stop evil, but does not know how? Does he know how to stop evil, but cannot do it? Does he neither know how to stop evil or have the power to do so? The properties attributed to “god” are contradictory, and the list goes on. Does god have any kind of physical presence? If not, then how did he take physical forms in the world in the Bible, have a son, or interact with the physical universe? What is the purpose of god having a seemingly biological sex, usually male? ESPECIALLY if “god” is merely the “ultimate cause”.

    How can Craig claim that something raises the probability of “god” without actually defining what he is raising the probability of, besides the catch-all term “god”? He certainly does not increase the likelihood of the Bible being true. To those who would say otherwise, I would ask why it is okay for Craig to selectively choose his dogmatic assertions as “clearly” the true account, while discounting all other similar claims made by other religions? As Krauss alluded to, a Muslim could be up there claiming that the account in the Quaran of Muhammad ascending to heaven on a winged horse could only “best” be described as a work of god, who must thus necessarily exist. The Muslim would be making the exact style argument, yet if he is correct, Craig is merely worshiping creation instead of the Creator and will burn in hell for his heresy.

    Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 12:06 AM
    • Thanks for your comments! I don’t have the time to spare to write out a full blown defense on the entirety of your arguments (throughout your comments), but I do think they have all been sufficiently answered. To take a stab at one point, the idea that Craig’s argument doesn’t argue for the Christian God: it’s true his argument doesn’t show “God did it” it merely shows a transcendent, personal (had to make a decision to cause the universe), exceedingly powerful (omnipotent), entity made the universe, which already has several attributes of the Christian God covered. For thoughts on that specific objection, see here. Feel free to browse the rest of my site, I would be happy to respond to more concise, individual arguments (for which I would have time throughout the day).

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 12:25 AM
      • Simply claiming that god is omnipotent or “personal” is nothing special to any version of a “Christian” god. This is a quality that any of the monotheistic versions of god are said to have. However, claiming a being as “omnipotent”, but only attributing the power to cause the chain-reaction beginning of the Universe, is not omnipotence. It is the laziest version of god imaginable, and is nothing more than Deism. A god who in no way guides the evolution of the universe and it’s contents after an initial bringing of the conditions (possibly quantum vacuum of sorts) is not omnipotent. Omnipotence implies that “god” could square a circle and design a universe free of evil. Many contradictions arise from such a power, such as the classic “could god create a rock so heavy that even he could not lift it” scenario. I challenge you to find or craft yourself ANY coherent explanation of how a being could sensibly be omnipotent, specifically one that supposedly governs the Universe that we observe. As for your claim that “god” is “personal” in that he/she/it had to make a conscious decision to create the Universe, what was “god” doing before he bothered to kick off the party? Postulating the Universe was created with intent only pushes the argument a step further. At this point, claiming “god” has to be an eternal being with infinitely many “years” before creating anything at all by his “intrinsic nature” is merely a circular argument. “God is eternal because God is eternal.”

        Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 11:33 AM
      • So are you claiming that arguing the universe is caused by a transcendent being with the capacity to bring the universe into existence ex nihilo and with a personal nature does not help in any way to establish Christian theism?

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 11:34 AM
      • Yes. A being that merely initiates the initial conditions required for the creation of universes would only meet the definition of a deistic creator. Simply claiming that the creator intended to create his creation does not stray from Deism into Theism. In order to establish truth to Christian theism, you must prove that the creator takes a special interest in the personal lives of human beings, actively intervenes in the universe, presides over a special realm deemed “heaven”, answers prayers, is roughly humanoid, etc.

        This is indeed asking a lot, but Christianity claims to KNOW many aspects of, assuming one exists, the creator. If “god” exists, I would argue that it is rather impious to assume the knowledge of it’s intent and capabilities through our clearly fallible “prophets”, which have been more numerous than can be counted.

        Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 12:04 PM
      • So as I mentioned before this is the rather strange argument that “You’re only arguing for deism.” I’ve addressed this elsewhere and I see no reason to go further than I did in this post.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 1:05 PM
      • **I know this is posted above. I apologize. I accidentally went one post too high click “reply” to.

        I feel I should clarify a point. A creator who intends to create the universe/multiverse does not mean that said creator takes a personal interest in the lives of humans on one planet in one solar system in one galaxy in one universe. Humans are not a necessary outcome of our universe. Any slight modification of the evolutionary events leading to our existence could very well have meant that no humans would ever exist to wonder if a divine being cares about them personally. It is a long stretch to go from claiming that the creator intended to create the conditions necessary for the creation of universes to the creator takes a personal interest in a contingent human species.

        Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 12:12 PM
  17. “For very large values of 2″ means precisely values of “2” which contain large remainders due to the imprecision of measurement. Thank you for pointing out your zeal to completely miss the point. It’s a well known joke! He didn’t design that t-shirt himself. What have I said that contradicts anything that Krauss said about it? That is all he meant by saying that sometimes 2+2 can equal 5, for very large values of 2. A value that is rounded down to 2 is still considered 2, though it has the potential to yield unexpected results due to imprecision.

    Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 12:11 AM
    • And yet that’s not 2+2=5, but rather 2.something+2.something=4.something (or5.something). The specific axioms of mathematics when one isn’t equivocating necessarily entail that 2+2=4.

      Hint for Krauss’ next debate, don’t “joke around” by attacking classical logic.

      Posted by bossmanham | April 6, 2011, 1:56 AM
      • What we can observe is only as accurate as the tools we have to measure reality. No one is claiming that we consciously commit round-off error just to ignore it in order to make a seemingly nonsensical claim. If the most accurate measurement of something we observe yields nonsensical results, it does not necessarily mean that the evidence is wrong, but that the precision with which we measure our observations needs to be improved. You don’t just stop there and claim the evidence is thus of a supernatural origin, but you delve deeper and discover the true cause. There are some questions that may in the end still come to that conclusion, but no mystery every solved in the history of mankind has ever done so yet. Every phenomena has been found to be of natural means, and there is no good reason why this trend would not continue in future discoveries.

        Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 11:42 AM
      • So apparently our observations have a privileged position: That which we observe with our potentially accurate tools composes the sum of reality. We have found that phenomena frequently (to asset “every” demands some kind of proof) have natural means, so we should assume that is all there is to the universe. Mankind is the measure of all things. An interesting view.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 11:48 AM
      • You are twisting what I am saying to create a strawman. I am not saying that man is the measurement of all things in the universe. In fact, I am saying exactly the opposite! The Universe is the measure of all things in the Universe. If what we discover through our means does not initially appear to make sense, we do NOT trust only our own sensibilities, but instead trust the universe. When our ability to be more precise in our observations of reality allows us to find the proper explanation, the evidence will make more sense.

        I repeat. Our observations are NOT privileged. You want proof that every mystery ever solved has been shown to be not magic, but to be of natural origin? Name one phenomena that has been proved to be magic. There are none. I’m not claiming that there CAN’T be, but merely that the realm of “supernatural” has shrunk considerably as the knowledge of mankind advances, and that there is no reason to suspect this trend won’t continue as we can more and more precisely observe the universe.

        Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 12:19 PM
      • Who is creating a straw man? Please point out where I have been arguing for magic.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 1:06 PM
  18. Jeremy,

    I’ve been reading posts here, and found yours very interesting. In particular, I would like to quote:

    “The God of the Bible claims to be “jealous”, orders the rape and murder of entire populations, prescribes death for trivial offenses, prefers blood sacrifice (due to pleasing odors), orders the mauling of children by bears for a verbal insult, permits and lays down rules for proper slavery, and commits other moral atrocities. I’m sure at the time these things were considered moral, but the zeitgeist has changed and these things are now abhorrent, and rightfully so. This points not to “god’s just and moral nature”, but rather the development of secular ethics. It is secular ethics that has been the measuring post for human action, not those advocated by religion.”

    So “these things are NOW abhorrent”? Well, assuming that you have correctly interpreted the biblical accounts of these actions and commands of God (an assumption which I do not actually hold), what would that prove?

    Either these things are objectively wrong, or they are mere “abhorrent” to our current, purely subjective sensibilities. If they are only subjectively offensive to us, they do not serve as evidence against God. If they are objectively immoral, however, they serve as evidence that there is an objective moral standard – and thus an objective moral standard-giver. So in neither case does this argument work to support atheism.

    Now, of course, the Christian theist (and the Jewish theist, since these are examples from the Hebrew Scriptures) does have to try to reconcile these seemingly immoral acts and commands of God with God’s perfect moral righteousness. So it does pose something of a problem for us. However, astute students of Christian apologetics will be well aware that several thoughtful and insightful defenders of the faith have addressed some or all of these difficulties.

    Finally, I find it most telling that atheists and secularists are so quick to try to take credit for the moral progress brought about primarily by Christians, operating out of a biblical worldview. It was Christians like William Wilberforce in England who worked to end the practice of slavery in that country (a practice supposedly countenanced in the Bible according to your post). It was Christians, citing the Bible, who called for the abolition of slavery in the United States as well. It was the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist minister, who lead the Civil Rights movement in America. His writings, contrary to the claims of Christopher Hitchens, were replete with Scriptural quotations and allusions. Indeed, he cited a variation of Craig’s moral law argument as his justification for civil disobedience. He said that civil rights protesters, by violating the laws of the land when they are unjust, are showing loyalty to a higher law.

    Hmm? A higher law than the laws of man? When man is the highest being there is? Gee, hardly sounds like a humanist thought, as Hitchens claims.

    Modern western atheists have been brought up in cultures steeped in Christian traditions and values, to the point where these things are almost taken for granted. Then, they have the nerve to condemn the tree whose branches they are seated upon!

    Posted by Dean | April 6, 2011, 7:50 AM
    • The claim that Christians have been the force for ethical morality is a bold face lie, particularly that it was Christians who worked to end slavery in the United States. It was Christianity that Southern separatists turned to JUSTIFY slavery. Arguments against slavery were in no way Biblically based, but were based on the religiously-neutral idea that humans have equal rights to life and liberty. This can be deduced by the fact that all people have emotions, thoughts, and dreams, and for a certain person or group of people to limit or destroy the life or liberty of others can thus be shown to be wrong without alluding to the supernatural. Secular ethics is based around a version of this principle: “Ethical behavior is that which one would wish to be a sort of law, such that everyone else did the same.” Or, “do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” You do no murder since you do not wish to live in a society of murderers, since it would not be desirable to be murdered one’s self. The golden rule was not established by Jesus, but rather long before. As this principle was developed by the Greeks and refined in the Enligtenment, society has moved to a morality that can be said to maximize the happiness of all while minimizing the suffering of as many as possible. Again, no appeal to the supernatural is needed for this to hold.

      Christians and other theists can indeed be a force for good, but are no more capable than the secularist. However, the theist can and has turned to a belief in the knowledge of the mind of the supernatural to justify acts against the well-being of others.

      I wish I could expound upon this point much further, but I have to leave. Suffice it to say that no Biblically based morality has ever been established to relieve suffering, but has rather worked to increase it wherever this morality steps outside the bounds of secular ethics. The justification of slavery, the justification of witch burning, the justification of the inquisition, the justification of racism (“Blacks carry the mark of Cain, God intended not for the “races”, decended from Noah, to mix, as they were sent their separate ways…”), and so on, are attributed to theistic morality.

      Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 1:00 PM
      • The key difference is theists have grounds for moral and ethical systems, while atheists merely say “I believe that x is correct because I say so.” On this, see here and here.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 1:15 PM
      • Or instead, you could actually ask an atheist such as I.

        We can all agree that humans feel emotions, have hopes and dreams, have an affinity for pleasure, and avoid pain and hardship. Each individual increases their own well-being when their life is not threatened, when their property is not threatened, and when those most important to them is not threatened. Secular ethics is based upon a very basic principle. Maximize your well-being while not undermining the well-being of others, or otherwise not increasing their suffering. What grounds do we have to say this? It is clear that we do not wish to have our own well-being threatened. If we do not wish to have our own well-being threatened, we therefore wish to live in an environment that does not threaten our well-being. Since we cannot fully control the forces of nature, and that other human are a part of our environment, it is thus necessary that other human beings do not threaten your well-being. Therefore, a society in which people do not threaten the well-being of others minimizes suffering. People are then free to maximize their own well-being while not infringing upon others. There is no need for supernatural punishments or rewards.

        On another note, which I believe has been touched upon but is relevant here, “god” itself cannot be the source of morals. If “god” decides what is moral, then anything it “commands” is then moral. Since these commands may undermine the well-being of others, even without the benefit of actually increasing the well-being of anyone in even close to a comparable degree, we can see them as “immoral”. Examples, such as God’s commandments to Moses to kill every Midian male, burn all of their cities, take the women for themselves (killing the non-virgins) along with their children, and sacrificing a portion in “thanks” to God, come to mind. There is gross suffering found here thanks to the commandments of God, and thus this act can be seen as immoral. It can only be said that “god” “commands” people to do good, or otherwise increase the well-being of others, and not undermine the well-being of others. If the god of the Bible is indeed correct, I find this hypocritical, but nonetheless a valid system for a stable society. If god cannot change what is moral, this undermines his “omnipotence”, as another side note.

        Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 3:54 PM
      • As with Sam Harris, your answer for the grounding of morality begs the question. It assumes that well-being is a kind of ontologically good thing without argument. That’s exactly what the question is though, how is it grounded? You can’t just stipulate that maximizing human well-being is objectively good any more than I can just stipulate that God exists.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 3:58 PM
      • The very idea that it doesn’t make sense to want to enjoy your life without there being a god is ridiculous and offensive.

        Yes, I admit that I believe in a Universe that has no ultimate purpose, but this does not mean that we cannot find meaning in our own lives. Life can be an enjoyable adventure, and even if in the end your consciousness returns to a nonexistence much like the time before you are born, I can still decide that the adventure is worth it. Of the billions and even trillions of possible different combinations of DNA, an arrangement arose such that I was created. Only a tiny fraction of “possible people” ever come into existence, and I consider it a privilege to experience it.
        Our brains have been selected for in a way that the preservation of self and those closest to us are striven for, and we feel pleasure in a physical or emotional sense when we take action to satisfy these “goals”. When we don’t, we, either physically or emotionally, feel suffering. These feelings are hard-wired to our biology, and cannot be denied. We have come to discover that the way in which we can best

        Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 4:37 PM
      • I didn’t say it didn’t make sense to want to enjoy your life. I said that it is groundless to simply stipulate that human well-being is objectively good. Again, as I charged before, please show me where I stated what you’re arguing against.

        You admit that the universe has no ultimate purpose, which means you’ve already granted my argument. On atheism, life is [ultimately] meaningless. Next you argue that man can find his own meaning in an objectively purposeless universe. As I’ve written elsewhere, standing up and saying “I have meaning because I say so” does not make the statement true. On atheism, as I argue, meaning is either illusory (in that it only exists by stipulation of individuals) or vacant. You’ve granted the second part of my argument by saying the universe has no ultimate purpose, and I charge that subjective purpose is, on atheism, meaningless also. Why should I think that someone saying “I have purpose” means they actually do?

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 4:41 PM
      • …amplify feelings of well-being and minimize suffering is to build societies where we “agree” not to increase the suffering of others while trying to maximize our own well-being.

        We DO have grounds for wishing this, since humans are born with an innate desire to live and live well. This is not due to some supernatural force or being, but the naturally selected brains we possess.

        Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 4:41 PM
      • So I am to believe that innate desires are to be the grounds of purpose and desire? On that view it is mere subjectivism. It is possible that our innate desires could have been to kill and eat our neighbors, so I see no reason to accept objective grounding of human worth in evolutionary theory.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 4:43 PM
      • Sure, you can continue to ignore half of whatever I say, or you can actually take the full measure and try to understand me. Would you yourself wish to be eaten or killed? No, since this violates your innately-felt desire for well-being. Societies in which this would be acceptable behavior would quickly fall apart, and no one would want to live in them.

        I can hardly keep track of any responses on this site now since it is so cluttered, so I apologize if I miss responses. I just noticed one in which you claimed that you are not arguing for magic. By this I simply meant supernatural force. A supernatural force is exactly what you are arguing for, while no supernatural force has ever been shown to be the correct explanation for anything. While there may indeed be something supernatural out there, there is no reason to hold stake in it since what has been believed to be supernatural in the past has so far always managed to find a natural cause. It could also be argued that nothing supernatural can interact with our physical universe, since in order to do so a mechanism of interaction must be established. This mechanism would have to be measurable in its effects, and since it can be detected and measured, it would be a natural cause.

        Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 4:56 PM
    • To clarify, well-being is “good” since it satisfies our innate desire to live and enjoy well-being. By recognizing that others are in the same boat as you, you realize that hardships placed upon them by you is a “bad” thing since if someone did it to you, you would suffer.

      Again, secular ethics is grounded upon innate biological needs and desires. I would further argue that it is not truly moral to act out of fear of punishment or wish for reward, as you are implying with a “only a god can create morality” argument.

      Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 4:47 PM
      • Again, please show me where I have argued that “only God can create morality”. As you’ve done more than once now, you assume an argument I have not stated. In fact, I think “only God can create morality” is patently false. I think it is true that “only God can ground morality” but that would be a side issue right now, as we were discussing the atheistic possibility of meaning.

        You wrote, ‘To clarify, well-being is “good” since it satisfies our innate desire to live and enjoy well-being. By recognizing that others are in the same boat as you, you realize that hardships placed upon them by you is a “bad” thing since if someone did it to you, you would suffer.’

        But as I said before, I see no reason how this objectively grounds moral judgments. Why should I assume that innate desires reflect something actual? Further, why should I equivocate desires with moral “oughts”? I can desire many things, but that doesn’t mean others are obligated to go along with me. And even if a group of people share the same desires, there is no ontological obligation to act in certain ways in order to further those desires. Finally, why should I value others over myself? Why could I not instead construct my morality upon egoism and assert that only my desires matter?

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 4:52 PM
      • By arguing that only a god can ground morality, you are indeed necessarily arguing that only god can create morality, if you take that idea to it’s logical conclusion. With no god, you are arguing that people have no possible reason to not resort to behavior that is antagonistic to others. This would mean that the only way in which people wouldn’t be antagonistic to each other is if a god exists to tell them not to be, or else is the only way in which people could agree not to be antagonistic to each other. By “create” morality, I mean the ability to instill people with a sense of right and wrong, though this has proven throughout history to be subjective to culture. Before you try to exploit this point, note that I don’t believe in “black and white” morality. There are certainly choices that are “morally grey”, and these tend to arise when suffering at some level cannot be avoided.

        I argue that “right and wrong” can be instilled through the acknowledgement of other people living on this planet. I don’t understand why you insist that there has to be some cosmic purpose in order for people to build stable societies. Again, before you object, this is a logical conclusion. Societies in which behavior that brings suffering to others is permissible will be unstable, and by living in one, you risk your own well-being. Why should you not consider yourself to be the only thing that matters? How would you like to live in a society in which everyone else thought the same thing? Even if this does not entail actually harming others directly but instead simply ignoring them, you eliminate the possibility that others could help you in a time of need, and you thus risk your own well-being. If you do harm others in this pursuit, others would do the same, and again, you risk your own well-being. A society in which people do not take actions that harm others is one that minimizes harm to each person’s own well-being. We have police and a justice system to help ensure that “cheaters” of this system are dealt with in a way so as to allow people who don’t cheat the system to have a reasonable expectation that others will follow the “code”.

        Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 5:17 PM
  19. I don’t think you review was quite accurate so I would like to say a few things:

    Krauss Opening

    When Krauss said “the universe is not logical“ he did not mean that it could not be described by laws. He meant that the universe behaves in ways that are counterintuitive or against common sense which he also demonstrated with the double slit experiment.

    “the universe is infinitely old (which runs smack in the face of the Big Bang)“
    This is of course wrong. Interesting to note but not suprising that a student of theology claims to know more about the big bang than a professor of theoretical physics who probably even lectures about big bang theory.

    “He further argues that we can deal mathematically with infinities”

    If pyhsics has to deal with infinities than that means they occur in nature at least if you assume a realistic interpretation of the laws of physics. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renormalization

    Krauss 2

    “But the obvious flaw in this reasoning is that he already noted that these quantum events happen due to laws “

    He explicitly said that space-time and energy can come from nothing except for the laws which you conveniently didn’t mention. Dr. Craig already admitted that the explanation of the universe could be an abstract object. Abstract objects – laws – funny isn’t it?

    Anonymous atheist

    Posted by anon atheist | April 6, 2011, 1:03 PM
    • Craig agrees that we can mathematically deal with infinities, that doesn’t mean they dont entail contradictions in the physical world. I’d suggest checking out Craig’s works on the topic. Or, if you against looking through his works simply check out stuff from Hilbert like Hilbert’s Hotel.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 1:18 PM
  20. For those interested, check out this blog: http://letterstonature.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/of-nothing/#more-1445 for an atheist’s analysis of how Krauss misrepresented “nothing” in his argument.

    Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 6, 2011, 3:59 PM
  21. Since we have totally destroyed any semblance of order in your comments section, if you wish to reply to any of my posts, I vote that we continue below

    ……..HERE……

    Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 4:58 PM
  22. Before I lose it, I wanted to respond to this:
    “I didn’t say it didn’t make sense to want to enjoy your life. I said that it is groundless to simply stipulate that human well-being is objectively good. Again, as I charged before, please show me where I stated what you’re arguing against.

    You admit that the universe has no ultimate purpose, which means you’ve already granted my argument. On atheism, life is [ultimately] meaningless. Next you argue that man can find his own meaning in an objectively purposeless universe. As I’ve written elsewhere, standing up and saying “I have meaning because I say so” does not make the statement true. On atheism, as I argue, meaning is either illusory (in that it only exists by stipulation of individuals) or vacant. You’ve granted the second part of my argument by saying the universe has no ultimate purpose, and I charge that subjective purpose is, on atheism, meaningless also. Why should I think that someone saying “I have purpose” means they actually do?”

    I don’t necessarily state that “human well-being is good” in some cosmic sense. The Universe could care less if we were around. I base my “entity deserving of moral treatment” to be directly proportional to the entity’s capacity to think and feel pain. Before you ask then why I would bother to minimize pain, the quick answer is that it is not desirable to feel pain one’s self. People, or at least MOST non-sociopathic people, feel empathy. It actually makes us feel bad when we know we cause suffering. I do not attribute empathy to any supernatural being, but rather as a naturally selected emotion based on reciprocal altruism. Whoops, I have to go.

    Posted by Jeremy | April 6, 2011, 5:25 PM
    • My apologies for your frustrations with the format on wordpress comments. I conveniently have them lined up on my dashboard so I don’t get confused. Sorry for any difficulty this may have caused. You keep starting new strings of comments rather than simply replying to individual comments, so it might be worth clicking the “reply” immediately underneath whatever comment you are referencing.

      You wrote, “Sure, you can continue to ignore half of whatever I say, or you can actually take the full measure and try to understand me.”

      An interesting complaint. I’m not sure what I’m ignoring, I’m trying to keep the discussion on track as opposed to chasing after whatever argument strikes one’s fancy. As can be seen in the following, you’ve opened up several different arguments, so it is hard to adequately reply to each one as you continue to introduce new ones. I’d ask that you try to stay on the topic at hand before turning to new arguments.

      Anyway, you wrote, “I just noticed one in which you claimed that you are not arguing for magic. By this I simply meant supernatural force.”

      So it seems as though here, as elsewhere, your argument is “I stipulate that I can define x as y, therefore x is y.” In this case it is “I stipulate that anything supernatural is magic. Therefore, supernatural is magic.” I don’t think I need to do anything to point out the question begging nature of this.

      You wrote, “It could also be argued that nothing supernatural can interact with our physical universe, since in order to do so a mechanism of interaction must be established. This mechanism would have to be measurable in its effects, and since it can be detected and measured, it would be a natural cause.”

      I’ve run into this argument before and it again is a matter of presumption. On this argument, it seems:
      1) If an entity interacts in the physical realm, it must be physical.
      2) God interacts in the physical realm.
      3) therefore, God is physical.

      Or to nuance it for your argument as presented:
      4) Necessarily, if an entity interacts in the physical universe, it must be measurable
      5) On Christian theism, God interacts in the physical universe
      6) Therefore, God would have to be measurable
      7) Therefore, God would not be supernatural.

      Now the key premise in either argument is the first. It shows an important assumption: that the physical universe is a causally closed thing–nothing can causally interact with the physical universe from beyond the physical universe. But this is merely an assumption, and there is no argument to support it. Therefore, I see no reason to think that 1) or 4) are true, and the argument is unsound. Why should I think that the universe is causally closed?

      You wrote, “By arguing that only a god can ground morality, you are indeed necessarily arguing that only god can create morality, if you take that idea to it’s logical conclusion. ”

      Here again you argue by stipulation. Interestingly, earlier you complained I was trying to create a straw man, yet you have now come full circle and literally told me what I’m arguing. So now I apparently cannot even argue for the premises I want, because I will be told I am arguing for something else! You must forgive me if I seem a bit flustered by this. If I can’t even argue for the premises I desire to establish, the discussion must end. I don’t see any reason to continue a discussion with someone who literally comes out and tells me what I can and cannot argue.

      But let’s examine the rest of the argument. “By ‘create’ morality, I mean the ability to instill people with a sense of right and wrong, though this has proven throughout history to be subjective to culture.”

      Right, and I’ve said before I explicitly deny that God “creates” morality. Your definition does not seem to actually adequately meet the meaning of “create” morality. For I do agree that God has created a conscience–an intuitive sense in us that allows us to sense in some ways what is right and wrong, but that isn’t a “created morality”, it is a created “sense of morality.”

      I’ve already said I explicitly deny that God “creates morality.” What I mean by “create” morality is negatively defined as this: What is good is not good merely because God commands it (brings it into being, etc.). I explicitly deny this view. Your response to my denial was to say that I don’t deny it, so I hope that I’ll be allowed to actually hold the view I ascribe to in the future.

      Instead, I know of no better way to phrase my view than Robert Merrihew Adams’ terminology in Finite and Infinite Goods, “The role that belongs to the Form of the Good in Plato’s thought is assigned to God, and the goodness of other things is understood in terms of their standing in some relation, usually conceived as a sort of resemblance, to God” (14). So this view does not say God creates morality in any sense. It says that when we say something is good, what that means is that it resembles God. If I take an action which is “good” then it is like God. So, if I love my neighbor, the goodness of this action is not drawn from God’s command to love my neighbor; rather the objective goodness lies in its resemblance to the very nature of God, who is a pseudo-neoplatonist Form of Good, as far as his omnibenevolence is concerned. Therefore, your pseudo-Euthyphro type of argument simply does not apply to the type of grounds for morality I am asserting, as I do not argue that an action is (merely) good because God commands it. An action is good because it is like God.

      You wrote, “I argue that ‘right and wrong’ can be instilled through the acknowledgement of other people living on this planet. I don’t understand why you insist that there has to be some cosmic purpose in order for people to build stable societies. Again, before you object, this is a logical conclusion.”

      First, I’d like to note that saying “this is a logical conclusion” does not make it a logical conclusion. I could similarly say “God exists. This is a logical conclusion.”

      Second, as you’ve done numerous times now, you’ve put words into my “mouth.” Please show me where I said “there has to be some cosmic purpose in order for people to build stable societies.” I have never asserted this, and as I’ve shown more than once, you simply tell me what I’m arguing and then argue against it. Again, interesting that you earlier complained I was trying to build a straw man, yet continue to tell me what my arguments are.

      In fact, I explicitly deny that statement as well. I think people are capable of building stable societies without cosmic purpose. I just argue they have no objective reason to do so. There is no rational way to assert that someone “should” build a stable society if there is no God. Certainly, people can do it, and they/we might like it, but it does not mean they “ought” to do so. That’s what you have yet to establish, and I still await a reason: why “ought” I do anything?

      You wrote, “Why should you not consider yourself to be the only thing that matters? How would you like to live in a society in which everyone else thought the same thing?”

      A great example of a tu quoque! Not only that, but it doesn’t really undermine the point in any way. Suppose I said “I don’t care if everyone else thought the same thing. I think everyone should look out only for themselves!” I am still waiting to see some grounds for the atheist to say “No, that is an actually, objectively wrong state of affairs.” I’ve argued throughout that the atheist cannot do this, and your best response so far has been to say “How would you like it?” Whether I like something or not does not establish its truth or falsity.

      You wrote, “…you thus risk your own well-being. If you do harm others in this pursuit, others would do the same, and again, you risk your own well-being.”

      Right, and my question throughout this has been “Why should I, or anyone, care about their own or my well-being?” or, if you prefer “What objective reason can you give me for having concern for human well being?” So far it seems your best shot has been that “this violates your innately-felt desire for well-being”. That’s obviously only subjectivism. Suppose I don’t care about my innately-felt desires. How do these desires provide “oughts” for my behavior? They might mean I like certain things, and don’t like others, but that doesn’t mean there is something actually wrong about a state of affairs which goes against them. As I’ve noted elsewhere (see comments here), this amounts to me saying “I said I don’t like this action, so it is bad!” or, “I have meaning because I said so!” I see no reason to even consider this line of reasoning.

      Finally, your last ditch attempt to ground morality, “I don’t necessarily state that ‘human well-being is good’ in some cosmic sense. The Universe could care less if we were around. I base my ‘entity deserving of moral treatment’ to be directly proportional to the entity’s capacity to think and feel pain. Before you ask then why I would bother to minimize pain, the quick answer is that it is not desirable to feel pain one’s self. People, or at least MOST non-sociopathic people, feel empathy. It actually makes us feel bad when we know we cause suffering. I do not attribute empathy to any supernatural being, but rather as a naturally selected emotion based on reciprocal altruism.”

      I agree with the first part, but then you get to the point where you say that an “entity deserving of moral treatment” is “directly proportional to the entity’s capacity to think and feel pain.” Well the key point is that you prefaced this with “I base my ‘entity… treatment’ to be…” So what you’ve done is said “We should value well-being because I say so.” as I said in one of my first responses, this amounts to another case of your favored argument style, which appears to be “I stipulate that x is y, therefore x is y.” Here it is “I base value upon a beings capacity to think and feel pain. Therefore, it is based upon this.” To be fair, you do attempt to justify the position by saying “it is not desirable to feel pain one’s self” but as I’ve continually pressed, why should I care about things “other” than myself? And is it wrong for me to not care about myself, were that the case? And this doesn’t even save you from the problem, because the only reason you’ve given for valuing other pain-capable beings is that you find them valuable because you wouldn’t want to feel pain. Why should anyone else take this as a grounds for morality?

      So, to sum up, almost every one of your arguments has amounted to a mere presumption, begging the question. First, you say supernatural forces are magic because that’s how you define them. Second, you assume the universe is causally closed without argument. Third, you distort my argument about theistic grounding of morality so as to effectively counter it with a pseudo-Euthyphro dilemma (which fails because I explicitly deny the type of theistic grounding you are arguing against). Fourth, you told me that I’m arguing there must be cosmic purpose for stable societies, which is false. Fifth, your response to show how to ground morals on atheism is to ground them precisely in subjectivism (to quote, “How would you like to live…”; “your innately felt desire”; “I base my ‘entity of deserving moral treatment'”; “it is not desirable to feel pain one’s self”). Therefore, it seems the arguments so far are either question begging or simply fail.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 7, 2011, 12:12 AM
  23. Just wanted to throw this out there for whoever bites…

    It seemed that what Krauss was describing as “logic”, was actually Craig’s use of the objection to actual infinities.

    I understand what Krauss means by our intuitions being faulty in the past, ie: thinking about heavier objects, aristotilean logic, etc.

    But does this mean that there is no real problem with an *actual* infinite sequence of events?

    To the atheists out there on Krauss’ side: did Krauss actually address the problem of an actual infinity, or did he merely brush it aside?

    I want to reiterate, that the problem of an actual infinity is NOT the same as thinking, “I don’t understand how X works, therefore X can’t work.”

    Posted by John C. | April 7, 2011, 10:45 AM
    • An interesting analysis of Krauss’ usage. I’ve kind of tried to note in the comments thus far that it was a bit unclear about what exactly Krauss meant by “logic” to begin with, because, to his credit, he agrees that the law of non-contradiction holds. He seemed to mean “intuition” when he said “logic.”

      Thanks for your comment!

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 7, 2011, 11:07 AM
  24. “Rather than acknowledge the existence of God, to which logic and sound reasoning continue to lead us…”

    Could you present this topic in laymens terms? People keep claiming this, but no-one ever seems to be able to explain it when pressed. As someone who believes in God, I am starting to become unsettled by the lack of cogent reasoning on my side of the fence.

    Posted by Someone | April 12, 2011, 1:47 AM
    • One quick introduction would be here. I would also recommend to you C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity as well as William Lane Craig’s book, On Guard.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 12, 2011, 8:13 AM
    • They can reply but they will merely submit arguments that have already been refuted, and they simply ignore the refutations. If you go to my blog, you will see refutations of the arguments from. If you want to see these arguments debunked and refuted, please go to my blog. I am a philosophy and religion professor. [link to site taken down until credentials have been proven--per site editor]

      I have recently posted several posts on WL Craig’s arguments. My last post on Dr Craig is in reference to a statement he made to atheists being “uneducated.” And prior to that, I refuted his arguments for Contingent Beings and Objective Morality.

      Posted by Cathy Cooper | April 12, 2011, 8:42 AM
      • I think that your rebuttals have been answered and overcome by Craig. I’d reference the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology as one place where your objections are overcome. Also, you say you’re a philosophy and religion professor–at which university do you teach?

        To take just one of your arguments–against the argument from contingency, you wrote “”What explanation can be offered to explain god?” and proceeded from there. I don’t honestly see how a philosophy professor would miss that necessary beings do have their explanation in their own existence. Have you been exposed to metaphysics in your studies? I’m not asking to be spiteful, I’m merely curious. Your entire rebuttal to the argument from contingency makes the assumption that even necessary beings are caused, and you conflate the usage of “explanation” with “cause.”

        So forgive me, I’m not trying to insult your claimed academic standing, but I am a bit skeptical when your blog fails to acknowledge the nature of metaphysical necessity and seems incapable of distinguishing between “explanation” and “cause” when used in metaphysical terms.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 12, 2011, 8:57 AM
      • Hmm, it appears as though you’ve been using your alleged credentials elsewhere too, but when asked “Where do you teach?” there is no response: here. Where do you teach, and what is your answer to the charge of conflation and misunderstanding of metaphysical necessity?

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 12, 2011, 9:10 AM
  25. All your questions about me are not related to the argument, and are irrelevant. Now, first of all I did not argue against Craig’s claim that god exists, I merely assumed what Craig said was true, and then showed that the explanation for the existence of the universe is “in its own nature,” and that this explanation is a viable, if not better explanation than Craig’s explanation that god is the best explanation. That being the case, Craig’s P3 failed. Your statements do not address the argument. If you notice, one of the commentators to my post, Hume, addressed the necessity issue. Note, I did not need to address the necessity issue, as I did not reject the idea that a gods’ existence is in “its own nature.” I merely showed that this can be applied to the universe, and that the explanation of the universe’s existence being “in its own nature” is as viable, if not a better explanation due to science, and in particular, the Laws of Conservation of Energy, and Quantum Mechanics. Even though my explanation needs no explanation, as Craig pointed out…

    Again, note, my credentials are neither here nor there. That is a a red herring on your part. Note, if I was given arguments from a high school drop out who was now a bum, I would judge his arguments based on their validity and soundness, the same way I would judge arguments from Harvard scholars.

    Posted by Cathy Cooper | April 12, 2011, 9:41 AM
    • If the universe is necessary, then it would be past eternal, which entails absurdities and goes against the evidence we have for the beginning of the universe from the Big Bang. I see no coherent way to hold the universe is past eternal, nor do I find any reason to deny the empirical data from the Big Bang.

      As far as your credentials, notice an interesting problem with your counter: the high school drop out is not claiming to be a professor in order to try to build credibility.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 12, 2011, 9:45 AM
  26. Clearly, again, you have not addressed the argument, as in the post you will see the fact that the universe is expanding does not mean the universe does not exist eternally. (see the various arguments to this point) It is consistent with the science and quantum mechanics. The Big Bang is consistent with the explanation of the universe being “in its own nature” and is consistent with science, and in particular, quantum mechanics.

    Posted by Cathy Cooper | April 12, 2011, 9:50 AM
  27. For your reference, in case you did not read the comments to my post:

    http://sites.google.com/site/jdquirk/articles/circular-causality

    “Circular Causality
    A Physical Hypothesis of Eternal Recurrence:

    Let us speculate freely a bit on the nature of Nature. The basis of the “time-loop” hypothesis I propose in this essay is a relatively new perspective in quantum theory put forth by physicist John Cramer. While not universally accepted, his approach has enjoyed some success in scientific circles. In short, Cramer’s Transactional Interpretation of quantum physics states that at such a time as the wave function of a given quantum mechanical object such as a subatomic particle collapses due to its having assumed a definite state, that particle emits an “advanced wave” which travels backward in time to the instant of the particle’s creation and determines its future course. The present, then, is determined not only by the past, but by the future as well.”

    There are more references in the post.

    Posted by Cathy Cooper | April 12, 2011, 9:56 AM
    • Even were I to grant that the Big Bang is consistence with a past-eternal universe, that still doesn’t deal with the contradictions of past eternality. How would we get to the present moment? We’d have to have crossed an infinite series of temporal moments successively, which is impossible. Not only that, but:
      1) a necessary universe would be necessarily changeless, there would be no freedom of the will
      2) it would also be ultimately a brute fact
      3) there is no clear reason to see why the universe would be metaphysically necessary other than as an ad hoc modification to avoid the argument from contingency
      4) an eternal, necessary universe would imply that change and the temporal nature of becoming are illusory: for the universe itself would be without change and time.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 12, 2011, 10:02 AM
      • Also, still waiting for the credentials. Another quote from the blog “Jesus is either a liar, or a lunatic, or a lord, or a swindler and con artist.”

        I fail to see how “liar” is a different category from “swindler/con artist”; but I’m not a philosophy professor.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 12, 2011, 10:11 AM
  28. It definitely is not impossible, given the explanation of Conservation of Energy and Quantum Mechanics–time’s arrow could be infinite. I have already provided you with links to support this claim. Again, I will point you to this site, as it has excellent graphics.

    http://everythingforever.com/st_order.htm

    Your number 1 ignores the arguments and explanations you have already read. As hume said on my post, and it also applies to your number 1 above:

    “Question: isn’t saying that God’s existence is necessary and the universe’s existence is not, holding the universe to a standard of logical necessity while God is only held to a standard of metaphysical necessity? Eric, you say earlier, “To say that the universe exists necessarily is to say, as Matthew pointed out, that the proposition, “the universe could not have existed” is contradictory. But we can say “God could not have existed” without contradicting ourselves as well. In my view, it’s not clear at all that the God is metaphysically necessary and the universe isn’t (i.e. metaphysically contingent).

    Moreover, saying that the proposition that the universe’s existence is necessary requires that every component of the universe be necessary is to commit a fallacy of division.”

    With regards to your number 2, I take that as a compliment, and supportive of the fact that my explanation of the existence of the universe is “in its own nature” as the best explanation. It being a “brute fact” would also be consistent with Craig’s claim that the best explanation does not require an explanation, as that leads to an infinite regress.

    With regards to your number 3, i have already answered your objection to number 3, when I answered your objection in number 1 (as hume said). Therefore, it is not ad hoc, if anything, it would be ad hoc to say that god is metaphysically necessary, and is only used to try to save the argument from contingency–which still fails either way.

    In regards to your number 4, I have already refuted twice, with a reference that shows that there are no inconsistencies to show that the universe is eternal. There is also no inconsistency in the claim that the universe is finite and infinite–as it would have a circular causality which would lead to an eternal recurrence.
    (http://sites.google.com/site/jdquirk/articles/circular-causality)

    As a last note, in the Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, which may be one of the best explanations of quantum mechanics, we can see that quanta may also be eternal, indivisible, beyond space and time and pure act such as Christians say about their god.

    A.) If God is His own Act of Being, then God is Act. Given my explanation above of the universe and quantum mechanics, one plausible explanation is that the universe is its own “ACT of being.” I pointed out above that this might be explained by quantum mechanics.

    B.) God is said to be indivisible. Quanta, one of the major components of quantum mechanics are indivisible within any theory that invokes them, and provides further support to a circular conception of time and the potentiality that the universe is finite and infinite.

    C.) God is said to be outside of time. Quanta,is said to outside of time.

    D.) God is said not to be in place, therefore God is not in the universe nor outside of it. Quanta are claimed to be space-less, and therefore quanta is not in the universe nor outside of it.

    E.) God is said to be everywhere. Quanta is said to be everywhere.

    And so on, and so on…..

    Posted by Cathy Cooper | April 12, 2011, 12:42 PM
    • First, my apologies for the delay in posting your comment. I had to go to work, so I didn’t get to it until now.

      Second, your argument for saying an infinite universe is possible merely addresses the physical possibility, not the ontological possibility. I’m claiming the concept is contradictory, and you’ve yet to circumvent this argument.

      Third, you seemingly agree with the statement you quoted, namely, “saying that the proposition that the universe’s existence is necessary requires that every component of the universe be necessary is to commit a fallacy of division.” I think this response would work if you’re assuming the universe is not a space-time continuum (in other words, you’re holding an A-theory of time), but in order to argue the universe is necessary it seems you would have to hold that the B-theory is true–that the universe is in some sense a space-time bloc. And if that is the case, then it is, in its entirety and its parts, necessary. I leave it to you to defend the claim that A-theory can be true given a necessary universe.

      Fourth, your response to #3 is a tu qouque argument. I quote, “if anything, it would be ad hoc to say that god is metaphysically necessary”. I see no reason to accept this fallacious reasoning. Not only that, but your argument against #1 must be grounded in a theory of space-time which is very implausible, given the metaphysical assumptions you’re making (i.e. necessary universe).

      Fifth, circular causation is highly contentious, and you can hardly think that one link from a blog establishes its credibility.

      Sixth, I see no reason to actually believe circular causation is possible. The link you provided provides no evidence for such a claim, it merely provides speculation. To whit, “There are an infinite number of universes creating themselves an infinite number of times over – a logical conclusion if one is trying to envision the greatest reality imaginable.”; “If my speculations are anywhere near accurate (which is of course quite debatable), we may have glimpsed the ‘Omniverse,’ an endless interconnected whole that is truly infinite in scope.” In all seriousness, you can hardly expect anyone to accept your argument simply because someone speculating on a blog thinks it is possible.

      Seventh, saying “I have already refuted twice [sic]” does not mean you have. My argument is that a past infinite is impossible to cross. Your response is “it is possible, circular causation!” That doesn’t rebut my assertion. I’m saying we cannot cross an actually infinite series of events to get to the present moment. You have yet to respond to this argument, other than to say “I have already refuted twice”.

      Eighth, you can’t expect me to browse through all the comments on your site and respond to each in turn. I ask that you simply state your points rather than reference comments.

      Finally, until you actually establish your credentials “I am a professor of philosophy and religion”, I am going to take it as a concession on your part that you have been lying merely to appeal to authority and give your arguments some extra weight. Given that your argument style thus far has been to utilize tu quoque arguments, misunderstanding the nature of necessity, and equivocate between causation and explanation, I sincerely doubt you are a professor. And given you are unable to name the institution at which you teach, I think I have good reason to think that this is another example of atheistic gusto. You’ve argued that your credentials “don’t matter” to your arguments, but they do when you are clearly using them across various blogs to try to establish credibility. Prove that you are who you claim to be, and this discussion can continue. Until then, I take it that you got called on your bluff, and are unwilling to admit it.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 12, 2011, 11:51 PM
  29. As an ex-atheist, now a Christian theist, it is great to see debates like this that clearly show atheism is based on blind faith while Christian theism is based on evidence. Clearly atheism will be declining as this trend continues. Christian theism is having a major come back and atheism is on the ropes. With modern science now showing powerful evidence that the Universe had a beginning and with the discovery of DNA and the fine tuning of the Universe. It appears atheism is a dying world view. I for one am glad to see it go. Let lies die. Let truth live.

    Posted by ChristininUSA | June 8, 2011, 3:27 PM
  30. JW: “Once you say that things can “beat logic” you must deny the law of noncontradiction.

    Therefore, because you allow for contradictions to be true, I am happy to say we are in agreement that Krauss was wrong to deny logic.”

    You are misrepresenting Krauss and me! By saying observed facts beat logical conclusions, he does not deny the law of non-contradiction. And I am not in agreement with you.

    In fact Christian theists deny the law of non-contradiction, by saying Jesus is 100% God and 100% Man.
    As someone puts it, from the Bible.
    1.) God is not a man.
    2.) Man is not God.
    3.) Jesus fully (100%) God.
    4.) Jesus fully (100%) Man.
    Q.E.D..) Either the the law non-contradiction is not true, or Jesus is not what the Bible tell us about Him.

    Posted by Hairy H. | January 4, 2012, 9:23 PM
    • If a conclusion is logical, that means it must be sound, which means it must be true. If one believes that observed facts beat logical conclusions, they are asserting that “Observed facts beat sound conclusions.” Which is equivalent to: “Observed facts falsify true statements.” This is, of course, contradictory.

      Your argument about the nature of the Incarnate Christ is A) a red herring; B) a tu quoque; and C) logically fallacious. If one wants that argument to work one would have to show that it is logically impossible for God to become incarnate. I doubt that one who makes an argument of this sort has any familiarity with analytic theology, but I’d challenge you to look into the numerous solutions to this supposed problem.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 5, 2012, 1:44 AM
      • So which one is it? a) The law of non-contradiction/identity A=A is not true. or b) Jesus is not 100% God and 100% Man.

        Do not forget the law of excluded middle.
        After answering the above, go right ahead and solve ALL the logical paradoxes. If you or someone else done that, I will trust logic over observed facts. Until then I give priority to observed facts if they conflict with logical conclusions.

        Posted by Hairy H. | January 8, 2012, 1:29 AM
  31. I would like to Say that the whole argument of evolution and everything else is purely just as much as a “faith” as beleiving in a god you cant prove that the BBT happened or that evolution is true untill you find the impossible missing links neither can christianity prove without faith taht god is true

    Posted by philospher | January 24, 2014, 2:15 AM
  32. The link to the video of the debate (#4 in the beginning of this post) no longer exists. I think I have found it elsewhere but you would need to confirm that this is the debate your are writing about and update links accordingly.

    Posted by Andrew | February 2, 2014, 2:52 PM

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  7. Pingback: William Lane Craig vs. Peter Millican- Thoughts and Links « J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - October 27, 2011

  8. Pingback: William Lane Craig vs. Peter Millican- Thoughts and Links - November 2, 2011

  9. Pingback: Evolution versus Creationism - Page 20 - May 12, 2012

  10. Pingback: William Lane Craig debates Lawrence Krauss in North Carolina: Does God Exist? | Wintery Knight - January 16, 2014

  11. Pingback: Lawrence Krauss vs. John Lennox on science and faith | J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - January 29, 2014

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