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arguments for God, Cosmological Arguments, philosophy, The Kalam Cosmological Argument

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

One of the most frequently cited and debated arguments for the existence of God is the Kalam Cosmological Argument. I have not written on the argument before because there is simply so much good material on it out there that I don’t think I can add anything new. I have, however, run into numerous people with questions on the argument recently, and felt the need to finally get around to a post on the Kalam. Those interested in the argument are highly encouraged to read the links included at the end.

The argument

The argument itself is quite simple:

1) Everything that began to exist has a cause

2) The universe began to exist

3) Therefore, the universe has a cause

The argument is deductively valid, so the question is whether the premises are true. If true, the conclusion is certain.

Defense of Premise 1

Why should we think that whatever began to exist has a cause? First, it seems a denial of this principle would undermine science. Science is an investigation of causation. If the anti-theist wishes to deny this premise, she is committed to a fallacy similar to that which she calls the “goddidit” fallacy: dismissing explanation for an event. (Interestingly, saying “God did it” is not a dismissal of explanation: it is, itself, an explanation. It’s saying the explanation which best fits the evidence is theism.)

Suppose premise 1 were false. In that case, things could and would be coming into existence for no reason whatsoever out of nothing. We would observe a remarkably different universe than that which we do, in fact, observe. A tiger would miraculously materialize in my room and eat me.

Now, it must be noted that some appeal to quantum physics in order to say this premise is false. They hold that certain quantum events bring things into existence without reason. Such an interpretation seems misguided at best, however, for a few reasons. First, the event would seem to have an explanation, namely, that it is a quantum phenomena of type x. Second, even were one to deny that this is a form of explanation or causation, the fact remains that these quantum events don’t originate from nothing. They originate from the laws and systems present within our universe. Third, these quantum events, on an examination of quantum theory, are not uncaused; they are merely spheres of probability. Finally, an exclusion of causal chains seems to undermine quantum theory itself or at least make it difficult to correctly interpret (on this, see William Wharton’s paper “Causation with Quantum Mechanics”). Like Wharton, I think the main reason causation is sometimes excluded from interpretations of QM is because of an avoidance of “metaphysical first causes.” Obviously, if this is the motivation for avoiding causation, it is not spurred by a commitment to science, but a commitment to avoiding the metaphysical implications of science.

Finally, consider what Wintery Knight points out about QM and the Kalam:

First, quantum mechanics is not going to save the atheist here. In QM, virtual particles come into being in a vacuum. The vacuum is sparked by a scientist. The particles exist for a period of time inversely proportional to their mass. But in the case of the big bang, there is no vacuum – there’s nothing. There is no scientist – there’s nothing. And the universe is far too massive to last 14 billion years as a virtual particle. (Wintery Knight, “How to defend the kalam cosmological argument just like William Lane Craig” April 8th, 2009).

The quantum events observed are caused: by the scientist. Therefore, they don’t undermine premise 1.

To sum up, the reasons for thinking the first premise true are clear: 1) to deny it undercuts science; 2) we don’t observe a universe with uncaused events; 3) the only reason found to deny the premise is an a priori commitment to anti-theism.

Defense of Premise 2

Did the universe begin? There are many arguments to support the premise that the universe did, in fact, begin, but I’m going to focus on only two: the impossibility of an infinite past and the empirical evidence of a finite past.

Impossibility of an infinite past

If the past is infinite, then we will have had to cross an infinite number of moments of time in order to come to the present moment. However, for any finite number of moments in time, x, there will always be a moment such that x+1 does not equal infinity. There is no way to start at any arbitrary moment in the supposedly infinite past and then add enough successive moments to arrive at the present moment. As such, it would be impossible to experience the present moment. However, we are experiencing the present moment, therefore, the past is finite.

Empirical evidence for a finite past

Despite misgivings from some Christians about the Big Bang theory, it has proven to be eminently valuable for arguments like the Kalam. I would go so far as to say the Big Bang serves as powerful evidence for a creator.

The reasoning behind this is that when we measure cosmic background radiation we can measure the expansion of the universe. Extrapolating backwards leads us to the conclusion that at some point in the finite past, the universe began to exist.

Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that both premise 1 and 2 are true. However, because the argument is deductively valid, it follows that the universe has a cause.

Conclusions

Okay, so the universe has a cause. That doesn’t prove God exists! Well no, it doesn’t, but it does show that whatever caused the universe has many of the attributes classical theism has attributed to God, and therefore lends credence to the claim God exists. For whatever caused the universe must have extraordinary power (omnipotence);  it must have made a choice to create the universe out of nothing (personal causation/agency); it must have been outside of time (the universe came into existence along with space and time); it must have been outside of space; and it must exist necessarily. As such, the Kalam doesn’t prove Christianity true instantly; it just proves theism is more plausible than atheism. Not only that, but it does show that whatever caused the universe is remarkably similar to the God Christians claim exists.

Appendix: Who made God?

Perhaps the most common objection to the argument outlined above is “Okay, well who made God?” This common retort can be answered after a minute of reflection. Classical theism holds that God exists necessarily, which means that God is eternal and beginningless. The first premise asserts that “whatever begins to exist…” therefore, it doesn’t apply to God. Is this a mere ad hoc fix on theism? No, because it isn’t saying God has no explanation for His existence (which reason is found in His necessary existence); it is saying that he did not begin, and is therefore uncaused. The detractor at this point would have to establish that “everything which exists is caused”–a much more difficult claim to defend than the claim that “everything which began to exist has a cause.” In fact, the anti-theistic claim seems necessarily false, for things which don’t begin are uncaused.

Links

Answers to objections towards the Kalam Cosmological Argument from Richard Dawkins and Graham Oppy

Did the multiverse create itself? Who made God?– more objections to the KCA are answered.

Sites

Wintery Knight  “How to defend the kalam cosmological argument just like William Lane Craig”

Thinking Matters “The Kalam Cosmological Argument”

Wintery Knight, “The kalam cosmological argument defended in a peer-reviewed science journal”

Books

The Kalam Cosmological Argument by William Lane Craig

The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology edited by Craig and J.P. Moreland

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

29 thoughts on “The Kalam Cosmological Argument

  1. jw, another interesting post. I’ll try to be a little shorter on this one.

    With regard to causation I think the most useful part in this piece was “these quantum events don’t originate from nothing. They originate from the laws and systems present within our universe.” I think this is touching on something really important. It is the idea that ‘laws and systems’ can be engines of causality. The reason we often refer to quantum events as uncaused is that they happen spontaneously, with out any apparent precursors that allow prediction. If a system of physical laws can allow things to happen without precursors, then in a sense these events are “caused” by the physical law. (Note that whether we call it ‘physical law’ or ‘God’ or ‘magick’ or whatever, the salient feature is that we have reached the point at which we are just giving names to patterns of observations. When we talk about the law of gravity, there’s no thing called gravity we’re pointing to – modulo gravitons – we’re just naming the observation that matter attracts itself in certain ways).

    Now lets think about the beginning of the universe. Could there be a system of background laws and principles at work that necessitate the big bang? In other words, could it be a “law of physics” that in the absence of matter & space & time, a big bang will happen? Or could it be a law of physics that infinitely many big bangs are happening simultaneously? There’s an infinite number of ways we could postulate a background system of law that would yield a big bang. I agree this would seem pretty ad hoc, but we’re getting into a realm where we must think carefully about what presuppositions we can bring with us. And also we have to admit that when we talk about physical law (or god if you want to call it that), we’re just talking about ‘the observations we don’t explain with other observations.’

    You write “For whatever caused the universe must have extraordinary power (omnipotence); it must have made a choice to create the universe out of nothing (personal causation/agency); it must have been outside of time (the universe came into existence along with space and time); it must have been outside of space; and it must exist necessarily.” If we grant that the universe had a beginning, I agree with every one of these points except for the ‘choice.’ That’s the only difference between the ontological commitments of atheists and theists. What if God exists and created the universe, but doesn’t have much of a mind? What if he’s just a force rolling forward blindly necessarily causing creation with vast amounts of it being dark energy dark matter and other unobserved things which have nothing whatsoever to do with us? At some point, this vague conception of God would simply give way to physical principles of some kind.

    Now the begining of the universe: I really really don’t like your conclusion that history must be finite otherwise we never would have gotten to the present. I’m not committed to an infinite history, but the argument you’ve presented against it is completely riddled with an observer based perspective that really just doesn’t hold up when talking about infinity. I can use a similar argument to prove that you never move forward in time at all:
    1) It is impossible to jump forward in time. Time must be traversed in a continuous fashion.
    2) Given any time interval, it can be subdivided into (infinitely) smaller intervals.
    3) To traverse any interval of time is to traverse infinitely many intervals of time.
    4) Since you cannot jump forward in time, you cannot traverse infinitely many intervals of time instantaneously, so you can never traverse an interval of time.

    Now obviously there are bogus assumptions built into these premises, and that’s my point. When humans lean back in their chairs and think about infinity (let alone infinity coupled to philosophy of time), we almost always get it wrong. My argument is that while we can think and reason about time, we must not make gross extrapolations outside of our domain experience.

    There is also an alternative to the infinite history / caused begining that I’d like to introduce. It could be that history is finite, but didn’t have a beginning. It may have a limiting beginning point, but at no point in actual history was that point ever realized. Think about any asymptotic function.

    Posted by JWW | April 30, 2011, 5:33 PM
    • JWW^2 (ha!), I must say thank you for your constantly thoughtful comments. I apologize if I don’t always cover them point-by-point.

      You wrote, “Could there be a system of background laws and principles at work that necessitate the big bang? In other words, could it be a “law of physics” that in the absence of matter & space & time, a big bang will happen? Or could it be a law of physics that infinitely many big bangs are happening simultaneously? There’s an infinite number of ways we could postulate a background system of law that would yield a big bang.”

      Readily, you admit this may be ad hoc. I think it is not only ad hoc, but it is also a huge amount of metaphysical baggage. Which is more parsimonious: deity as the explanation, or an infinite multiverse with infinite big bangs happening simultaneously and infinite sets of background laws? Not only that, but what evidence do we have for any of these postulations? Such extrapolations are metaphysical leaps of faith–desires to get around God at any cost. Rather than accept a cause of the universe which would be transcendent, personal, etc.; one proposes an infinite multiverse, or further physical laws. It also seems as though those physical laws would also cry out for explanation. Why these laws and not others? But I think what it boils down to is this: what evidence do you have for an infinite multiverse? That is, other than the desire to avoid the conclusion of this argument.

      You wrote, “That’s the only difference between the ontological commitments of atheists and theists. What if God exists and created the universe, but doesn’t have much of a mind? What if he’s just a force rolling forward blindly necessarily causing creation with vast amounts of it being dark energy dark matter and other unobserved things which have nothing whatsoever to do with us? At some point, this vague conception of God would simply give way to physical principles of some kind.”

      You raise a fantastic point here; one which is perhaps the most challenging as far as drawing conclusions from this argument. I’d first like to note that regardless of conclusions about this portion, the argument itself would be sound (the universe has a cause). Therefore, we’re getting into a discussion over what this cause is like. I think the reason I would favor a personal cause is due (in part) to other arguments for the existence of God bolstering this interpretation (i.e. argument from design leads to intelligence and agency; ontological towards personal nature and other perfections, etc.). So I agree that this is not a knock-down conclusion. I think it is warranted in that if you do indeed grant omnipotence, transcendence of space and time, and necessary existence, it seems as though such a being would have to have made a decision to bring about the existence of a contingent universe, rather than necessarily generating it.

      Your argument about infinitude of time has an interesting parallel in Zeno’s paradox. I must note the similarities because they are both solved by the same distinction: namely, the distinction between a conceptual and actual infinite. In other words, when I move forward in time (or space as in Zeno’s paradox), I do cross a potentially infinitely divisible space/time, but I don’t cross an actually infinite space/time. Think about it, your premise (2) I wholeheartedly agree with, but it doesn’t follow from it that there is an actually infinite number of moments between one and the next. All you’re saying is that we can divide it into increasingly small (finite) quantities. But again, these won’t “add up” or equal an actually infinite number. So I think your example is interesting, but it misses this important distinction. If the past is infinite, we aren’t talking about a conceptual or potential infinity; we’re talking about an actually infinite past. And such a past would be unable to be traversed.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | April 30, 2011, 11:07 PM
  2. Couple quick responses:
    “Which is more parsimonious: deity as the explanation, or an infinite multiverse with infinite big bangs happening simultaneously and infinite sets of background laws?”
    Good point, and answering it would take us into other topics. In short, I think God seems much more parsimonious to people than he actually would be, since the only personal agents we’ve actually encountered are physically complex beings that have been evolved over billions of years. Probably not worth getting completely into here though. Also the theories I proposed are not serious theories, just a demonstration that we have no authority to judge the big bang to be inexplicable by physics. To argue that God caused the big bang, I think we need evidence that the cause of the big bang had agency.

    “I think it is warranted in that if you do indeed grant omnipotence, transcendence of space and time, and necessary existence, it seems as though such a being would have to have made a decision to bring about the existence of a contingent universe, rather than necessarily generating it.”

    Its not clear to me that this follows. I only meant to grant great power by human standards (the same way hurricane’s have great power by human standards). I don’t think I’d grant full blown technical omnipotence. I think that would indeed imply ontologically an ability to make choices.

    “And such a past would be unable to be traversed.” Interesting… On atheism, there’s nobody who would need to traverse it.

    Posted by JWW | May 1, 2011, 11:17 AM
    • Again, thanks for your thought-provoking comments.

      You wrote, “I think God seems much more parsimonious to people than he actually would be, since the only personal agents we’ve actually encountered are physically complex beings that have been evolved over billions of years.”

      I’d like to counter this by two points:
      1) Classical theism has held that God is “omnia-simplex”–the simplest possible being. On some readings, this means God’s existence is identical to His nature, but there are other explications of this account. My main point here is that it seems question begging for the anti-theist to assert that God is complex, when, in order to meaningfully use the title/referent “God” he/she is granting the concept of God of classical theism. In other words, theists say God is maximally simple, and the counter seems to be “no he isn’t.” That’s why I say it begs the question against theism.

      2) I find this flaw more fundamental: the assumption that somehow a divine agent would be more complex than an infinite multiverse. How would an infinite multiverse (which would, by definition, be infinitely complex) be more parsimonious than the God of classical theism (who is said to be maximally simple)? Now suppose you modify the account and make it a finite multiverse rather than an infinite one: why should the multiverse be fine-tuned in such a way? Either way, the complexity is heightened immensely by a multiverse hypothesis.

      Finally, you wrote, “On atheism, there’s nobody who would need to traverse it.” Well yes, if the past is infinite, then there must have been an infinite number of physical events before the current physical event tooked place. When I say “we would have had to traverse infinity” I am using “we” in the sense of “the universe as a whole.” But then the absurdities follow.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 1, 2011, 5:48 PM
      • Ohh we’re getting into the meaty stuff now, haha.

        your point 1) The problem with merely defining god as simple is that we actually have some experience with personal agency, and whatever you make of it we’re not simple beings. We’ve never found a decision making agent that was ‘simple.’ So there is a firm ledge to stand on and say that the idea of a simple god is a collusion of properties which don’t seem to exist together in reality.

        2) an infinite universe might be infinitely complex, but the principles underlying it need not be (again I feel myself getting sucked into the rabbit hole of asking ‘what is a cause, REALLY’).

        Posted by JWW | May 2, 2011, 8:18 AM
      • JWW,

        Sorry for taking a bit to get back to you. I think your problem with 1) is that it begs the question in assuming that agency as we’ve observed is the only way agency could occur. A disembodied mind would at least be seemingly much more simple than our brains.

        As for 2) you grant that the infinite universe is infinitely complex. I don’t see any reason to then assert that that would be more parsimonious.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 10, 2011, 11:22 AM
  3. to 1) this is where you enter russel’s teapot land. One can beg any question you like, but this is a pretty large departure from agency as it presents itself in the real world. Show me a report of a disembodied mind/ghost/spirit and I’ll show you some people short on information who really want to believe what they say. We can postulate any starting conditions for the universe we like – its there to be imagined and then discovered. Why assume a mechanism (agency) that in reality seems to have required 4 billion years of evolution to come into existence? How about omnia simplex non-physical platonic waterfalls that poured the universe into existence? If you deny it as rediculous, perhaps your just begging the question. Or maybe its just a metaphor. Or maybe its a mash up of both. Take your pick – its metaphysics after all.

    A disembodied mind sure would seem simple, and that’s where I say so many people go wrong. Our own minds ‘seem’ simple, but obviously they arn’t. They can be molded or broken in a million ways, and seem to depend to a large extent on having a hundred trillion synapses humming away efficiently in your skull that took 4 billion years of complex chemistry and evolution to get to this point.

    to 2) A universe created by god might be infinitely complex as well. The question is what the underlying principles are and how complex and revisionist they are, not how much complexity they result in.

    Posted by JWW | May 14, 2011, 2:12 PM
    • In answer to 1: the problem is that there is other evidence for the God of classical theism, as opposed to the teacup. Craig pointed this out elsewhere, but your point in 1 definitely begs the question against evidence for theism.

      Also, it seems you’ve begged the question for physicalism by assuming that a mind is necessarily physical.

      Finally, you keep positing some kind of “underlying principles.” It seems in this response you believe the underlying principles would also govern God’s ontology and possibility, which is false given classical theism. In that case, you’re not arguing against my position. But if you’re only asserting that there could be underlying principles which govern a naturalistic universe–then I challenge you to present a single scrap of evidence for these principles. What principles, on naturalism, are beyond the universe we observe? How can we know about them apart from merely metaphysical extrapolation? It seems to me that you’ve created some kind of metaphysical answer to the problem (i.e. “underlying principles which could have caused the universe”) and then simply assumed your imagined principles are more parsimonious or logically possible than theism. I don’t see any reason to accept such a position.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 19, 2011, 4:23 PM
      • “the problem is that there is other evidence for the God of classical theism” Ok then, instead of a teacup how about a ghost in the sun fissioning the hydrogen. We have evidence for this: hydrogen is fissioning in the sun. One problem with that is we know that creatures as we understand them can’t live in the core of stars.

        I have been careful to avoid a flat out assumption of physicalism since I know that will get us into another discussion. Instead I’m just pointing out that the only place agency has ever been found is in the presence of brains, and changes in those brains manifests with very distinct changes in the minds. Postulating a mind completely independent of a brain begs the question the same way postulating a rock without mass would. Its just something which doesn’t seem to exist in the real world.

        As for underlying principles: All I’m postulating is more as yet undiscovered physics. I fail to see how that is unjustified metaphysical extrapolation. What seems unjustified to me is asserting that a ghost made the universe. As much as we hear about ghosts and as certain as so many people are about their existence, we’ve never found a “single scrap of evidence” for them.

        I’m not assuming physics would apply to God if he exists. I’m saying that we’ve never seen anything remotely like a God of classical theism; a God would be a departure from everything empirical we know about reality; and so when you postulate one I’m justified in dismissing it like I dismiss the gremlin in the sun. Its simply outside the ballpark of ideas that hold themselves accountable to the real world.

        Posted by JWW | May 20, 2011, 8:49 AM
      • “I have been careful to avoid a flat out assumption of physicalism since I know that will get us into another discussion. Instead I’m just pointing out that the only place agency has ever been found is in the presence of brains, and changes in those brains manifests with very distinct changes in the minds. Postulating a mind completely independent of a brain begs the question the same way postulating a rock without mass would. Its just something which doesn’t seem to exist in the real world.”

        This would segway us into an extremely complex discussion of the nature of inference. For now I think it is sufficient to say that “all x has been observed as y” does not entail the stronger statement “all x is y” by necessity. Inference needs more than just repeated observations. Not only that, but this kind of objection begs the question against the theist, who explicitly claims “there is an unembodied mind, namely, God” (along with angels and demons, and the souls of the dead awaiting the end). So your objection seems to merely say “God can’t be a disembodied mind” by fiat.

        Consider the reason we are in this discussion: I am claiming that God, being disembodied mind, is not complex and clearly not physical. Your objection is, basically, “All minds we [that is, non theists, apparently] observe are physical and complex.” Okay, and how does that undermine my claim at all? It simply begs the question, particularly because my case was that “A disembodied mind would not be as complex as an embodied mind” (and it certainly wouldn’t be infinitely complex).

        Thus, I will move back to our discussion with the claim: God, being a disembodied mind, is not as complex as an infinite multiverse.

        Now, you wrote “All I’m postulating is more as yet undiscovered physics. I fail to see how that is unjustified metaphysical extrapolation.”

        Okay, so you’re postulating an unobserved entity to explain the observed? And this is supposed to preclude theism?

        “I’m not assuming physics would apply to God if he exists. I’m saying that we’ve never seen anything remotely like a God of classical theism; a God would be a departure from everything empirical we know about reality; and so when you postulate one I’m justified in dismissing it like I dismiss the gremlin in the sun. Its simply outside the ballpark of ideas that hold themselves accountable to the real world.”

        Again, I think you should qualify this statement, due to the enormous number of people throughout history, across cultural (and even religious) boundaries who have claimed to experience just such a being. Therefore, your statement should be more like “I’ve never seen anything like…” Of course, that would eliminate its value as an objection.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 23, 2011, 11:04 AM
  4. The very existence of personal agency, the existence of the mind, seems to contradict what should exist given a solely physical universe. You argue that the mind is complex, relying on trillions of synapses firing, having uniquely evolved over billions of years to become what it is. However, I see a disconnect because the mind formed in a purely physical universe set in motion by a big bang is not a true causative agent. Rather, this mind is subject to the thoughts and actions determined by the movement of matter and energy. The agency that you speak of which presents itself in the real world is really no different than a leaf swaying in the wind.

    Show me one reason to believe agency exists in a purely physical universe, and I’ll show you someone who HAD to have that thought and could not have thought otherwise.

    Posted by Aperson | May 17, 2011, 11:41 PM
  5. I don’t believe in an atomized ‘self’ if that’s what you’re getting at. I do view agency as a large scale phenomenon built from lots of smaller parts.

    I’m not sure I understand the question – regardless of what agency is at bottom we can still pay attention to where and how it shows up.

    Posted by JWW | May 19, 2011, 10:00 AM
    • Earlier you stated that we actually have experience with personal agency. I’m saying that, given naturalism, we can reduce this phenomenon to nothing more than mindstates determined to happen in reaction to the movement of matter and energy from the big bang. Therefore, what you call personal agency is not true personal agency because we have no choice in experiencing it. It follows that under a naturalistic worldview, we actually have no experience with decision-making agents.

      Posted by Aperson | May 21, 2011, 12:25 AM
  6. JW, There was no reply button at the bottom of your comment, sorry for posting this out of order.

    In any case, I think this discussion is probably finished because things are taking on a decidedly circular structure. I will just say in closing that I think all the questions you’re begging are questions that nobody ever begs in any other context, because they could justify belief in just about anything.

    I’m still confounded that you think assuming a physics for something you don’t understand is unparsimonious or unjustified. Physics is probably the most parsimonious epistemology humans have ever come up with, and it successfully explains just about every event we see.

    As an aside, physicist Sean Carroll has an interesting article I’d recommend in scientific american out today about this mind/body relationship and some of the other topics we’ve been dancing around. I don’t mean to plug stuff on your blog, but I was struck by how closely it resembled much of the discussion we’ve had.

    Posted by JWW | May 24, 2011, 9:25 AM
  7. J.W.,

    Sorry I am 2 months late to the party on this one. Of course your defense of Kalam is admirable and rooted in the deductive reasoning that such an argument demands. I didn’t read through all of the comments, but I figured I’d suggest a couple of links to add to the bottom of your post to make it even more complete. This is my own defense of premise 2 based on the empirical evidence, as your premise 1 defense stands on its own I think.

    Here is an excellent post about what defines “nothing,” and the best part is that it is written by an atheist, so it’s not like he’s trying to damage atheism here.

    And finally as to God’s need to be explained, this video is Craig’s response to Dawkins’ “Who Designed the Designer?” argument.

    All three of these links I think would add quite nicely to your ensemble here. Glad to get to re-connect with you. Hope you are doing well, friend!

    Posted by sabepashubbo | June 28, 2011, 11:22 AM
  8. One is using the argument from ignorance to defend that disembodied agency rather than finding evidence for it! We have only evidence for physical minds as the argument from physical minds so states. And to defend the disembodied agency, one is also using the it may be or it must be of guesswork theology!
    Without an emprirical basis, His attributes have no basis. What are the facts for his omni-attributes? Again, guesswork!
    As Kyle Williams notes, and as Aquinas knew, each day arrives on time for eternity so they’ve always have been coming. The potential eternity is the actual one, because as one adds in succession, one never arrives at a completed eternity, which is a contradiction anyway; rather that is the nature of infiniity that it continually happens. Craig begs the question of that starting point! His perplexity at observing infinite parts being the same as infinite wholes does not present any contradiction! His Hilbert’s Hotel and so forth reflect ignoratio elenchis- red herrings.
    To prattle that one can exempt God from what made or designed Him and to aver that such questions are multiple questions, themselves beg the question and special plead for that exemption! Why beg the question of and special plead for His being the Necessary Being?
    We know of contingency, but so what, when the eternal quantum fields in accordance with the law of conservation give rise to the transformation of previous energy.,multiverse or not,
    Supernaturalists ever use the fallacies of personal incredulity and from ignorance! ” Logic is the bane of theists.” Fr.Griggs
    Yes, Craig is right that the void is full of energy, but erringly finds that supernatural cause for it.Astrophysicists are the ones who will find out how the quantum fields play into that transformation of radiant energy, and as Dawkins notes, ti’s they to whom we should defer rather than to theologians!
    Please check out my Fr. Griggs website and any others of mine noted there.

    Posted by Fr.Griggs | July 19, 2011, 6:42 PM
    • Looks like you have many misunderstandings of modern cosmology and philosophy. Take your statement that the argument for disembodied agency. You write that it is an argument from ignorance, so apparently you have no knowledge of the extended arguments for this very position (cf. Swinburne’s “Evolution of the Soul” for one extended argument for the affirmative).

      You write that God’s attributes have no basis without an empirical basis. Indeed? Why should I believe that? What evidence do you have to support that claim?

      You wrote that “each day arrives on time for eternity so they’ve always been coming.” Really? That seems to go against cosmic background radiation which takes time back to a single origin event during which time and space both came into being.

      The other things you wrote are so off mark I doubt I need much to rebut them. The “who made God” question should be readily solved by anyone even vaguely familiar with philosophy. God is a necessary being. That’s not special pleading, it’s a philosophical claim. If God is necessary, no one can make God. There is a reason that atheists like Mackie do not bring up this supposed rebuttal to these types of arguments.

      Looks to me like you’re the one doing guesswork.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | July 19, 2011, 10:56 PM
  9. I’ll have to study the two articles about Swinburne’s position @ FRDB Library.
    I need no evidence to support the claim that no evidence exist for His attributes,for supernaturalists present no empirical basis for them, albeit those postulating limited God do rely on the problem of evil as evidence to limit His abilities.
    No, cause, event, time and presence presuppose previous ones per Angeles’s^ infinite regress argument that most physicists imply.
    Not only, do supernaturalists special plead for His being that Necessary Being, they beg the question thereof as both Kai Nielsen and Malcolm Diamond note in their introductory books on the philosophy of religion.
    How could He be that Being when science reveals no evidence requiring transcendent support for the Cosmos. That is just Aquinas’s begging the question about contingency being dependent on a transcendent being, and again, science itself declares that the eternal quantum fluctuations require no cause!
    Mackie indeed argues at length against the Necessary Being.
    Thus, we can further these arguments.
    I combine and permute my arguments at my blogs and elsewhere on the www.
    http://naturalistgriggsy.blogspot.com
    http://carenadesh.blogspot.com
    http://lucretiusofga.blogspot.com
    http:leusippusofga.blogs.fi
    http://fathergriggs.wordpress.com http://morgantheatheologian.tumblr.com
    http://carneades.aimoo.com
    I have many and cross-reference them.
    Peter Angeles ” The Problem of God,: a Short Introduction,” but weighty in argumentation!
    I’ll have to get again “Logic and Theism” and ” Arguing about Gods. I’ll get Gregory Dawes’s book on God and explanation.

    Posted by Fr.Griggs | July 27, 2011, 8:33 PM
  10. Nice post! I like cosmological arguments, maybe you can give me your opinion on this cosmos argument for Bare theism:

    (1) Assume that causal explanations do not entail their explanandums, or that causes do not necessitate their effects.

    (2) Assume that causal explanations minimally remove puzzlement about why their explanandums obtain or hold.

    (3) Assume mereological universalism.

    (4) Therefore, there is an U such that U is a maximal aggregate of all contingent states of affairs. (from (3) and take this to be a premise)

    (5) For any contingent state of affairs x, if x, then possibly x has a causal explanation (Premise)

    (6) it is impossible for any contingent concrete object to provide a causal explanantion of U’s obtaining. (Premise)

    1. If U were causally explained by some contingent state of affairs C, some part of U would causally explain the whole (that is U). (Premise)

    2. If some contingent state of affairs C causally explains the whole that is U, then it casually explains itself (i.e., C causally explains itself.) (Premise)

    3. For any causal explanation x, if x causally explains some state of affairs SOA, then it is not the case that x entails that SOA obtains “From our agreed upon assumption about causal explanation viz., that causal explanations (and causes) don’t necessitate their effects)

    4. If some contingent state of affairs C causally explains itself, then it entails that itself (C) obtains. (Premise, but this follows from our agreed upon assumption regarding causal explanation, that when C causally explains SOA, C removes puzzlement about why SOA obtains. This assumption entails that SOA causally explained obtains, and it obtains due to C (in some discernible way, though it need not be the case that C is alone responsible)

    5. Therefore, if U were causally explained by some contingent state of affairs C, then C causally explains itself (i.e., C explains itself). (From (1) and (2) by Hypothetical Syllogism)

    6. Assume that U is causally explained by some contingent state of affairs C.

    7. Therefore, C causally explains itself. (from 5 and 6 by modus ponens)

    8. Therefore, C entails that C obtains (From 4 and 7 by modus ponens)

    9. If C causally explains some state of affairs C, then it is not the case that C entails that C obtains. (From 3 by UI 2x)

    10. Therefore, it is not the case that C entails that C obtains. (From 7, 9 by Modus Ponens)

    11. Therefore, both C entails that C obtains, and it is not the case that C entails that C obtains (From 8, and 10 by conjunction)

    12. Therefore, it is not the case that U is causally explained by some contingent state of affairs C. (from 6-11 by conditional proof and reductio)

    (7) Possibly, U’s obtaining has a causal explanation. (by UI from (5) and modus ponens from (4) and UI-ed (5))

    (8) Therefore, it is possible that U has has a causal explanation, then it is possible for there to be a contingent object that is not contingent ( from 6 and 7 by normal modal logic)

    (9) Therefore, it is possible that there is a concrete object that is not contingent (From (7) and (8) by modus ponens)

    (10) Therefore, there is a concrete object that is not contingent (From (9) by S5 modal logic)

    Conclusion: Therefore, there is a necessary concrete object (From (10) by normal modal logic).

    Posted by philosophiachristi | June 17, 2012, 9:17 AM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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