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Author Topic:   The Kalam cosmological argument
PaulK
Member
Posts: 12438
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 136 of 177 (656158)
03-16-2012 6:41 PM
Reply to: Message 135 by Shimbabwe
03-16-2012 6:17 PM


Re: Objections to premiss one
quote:

We have seen a number of attempts to so define the beginning of the universe on such terms as to imply that the universe has always existed AND that it had an absolute beginning in the finite past. Under close examination this refutation of the causal principle (premiss one of the KCA) may be reduced to a mere tautology, e.g. the universe has existed as long as it has existed—in effect, for all TIME.

More correctly, we have seen an examination of the Kalam argument which SHOWS that given the assumptions of the argument, the universe has always existed. The Kalam argument denies that there ever was a time when the universe did not exist therefore according to the Kalam argument the universe has always existed.

Sadly supporters of the Kalam argument have great difficulty coming to grips with this simple fact. And I think it is not going too far to say that their inability is due to the fact that this point poses a serious problem for the Kalam argument that they cannot address.

quote:

One can similarly argue that my own consciousness had a beginning—whether shortly after birth, or at two years of age, or any other arbitrary time along the way—AND that it has always existed, so long as I have been aware. Nevertheless, no one I know—aside from a mystic—would assert that my conscience self has always existed.

Of course this is NOT analogous. It is not analogous because there was a time BEFORE your consciousness existed. Your consciosuness has NOT existed for all time.

quote:

In the same way the universe can be said to be known finite to observers, and yet have existed for all TIME

But this is not the objection that is being made. The objection is that since there is never a time when the universe did not exist, the universe has always existed. From this we question why the universe should require a cause. And you agreed that anything which existed at the first moment of time did NOT require a cause.

quote:

The objection is not a very strong one, and presents a false dilemma for the first premiss. (Bear in mind that this example has already considered the objection of fallacy of composition, and is immune because it is merely presented as an analogy.)

Your strawman objection and your false analogy do nothing to diminish the strength of the actual objection.

The real question before us is, given the assumption of the Kalam argument that the universe has always existed, did it have a beginning or "begin to exist" in a sense which requires a cause as the Kalam argument claims ? So far there has been no progress on demonstrating this at all.

So at this point I believe that I can fairly say that the Kalam argument is dead, at least so far as the discussion here is concerned. The supporters of the argument have been unable to rationally defend it and by all the evidence they are incapable of doing so.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 135 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-16-2012 6:17 PM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 137 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-16-2012 7:23 PM PaulK has responded

    
Shimbabwe
Member (Idle past 1220 days)
Posts: 47
From: Murfreesboro, TN USA
Joined: 09-11-2003


Message 137 of 177 (656165)
03-16-2012 7:23 PM
Reply to: Message 136 by PaulK
03-16-2012 6:41 PM


Re: Objections to premiss one
PaulK writes:

More correctly, we have seen an examination of the Kalam argument which SHOWS that given the assumptions of the argument, the universe has always existed. The Kalam argument denies that there ever was a time when the universe did not exist therefore according to the Kalam argument the universe has always existed.
Sadly supporters of the Kalam argument have great difficulty coming to grips with this simple fact. And I think it is not going too far to say that their inability is due to the fact that this point poses a serious problem for the Kalam argument that they cannot address.

Hello again PaulK. You are quickly becoming my favorite non-theist, as I enjoy your quick retorts. Sadly, I doubt we can discuss the entire Kalam Argument before this thread ends because of the vast chasm between our philosophical views. Hopefully, though, we can explore most of the objections levied toward the first premiss. You are a formidable opponent; I only wish you would address the first premiss specifically before going after the argument as a whole.

Shimbabwe writes:

One can similarly argue that my own consciousness had a beginningwhether shortly after birth, or at two years of age, or any other arbitrary time along the wayAND that it has always existed, so long as I have been aware. Nevertheless, no one I knowaside from a mysticwould assert that my conscience self has always existed.

PaulK writes:

Of course this is NOT analogous. It is not analogous because there was a time BEFORE your consciousness existed. Your consciosuness has NOT existed for all time.

Of course it has in the very same way you have continually asserted that the universe has always existed, i.e. as a sole observer of my conscious self, I adamantly claim that it has always existed in the very same manner you claim the universe has. The universe doesnt gain an exemption because it has multiple observers.

Shimbabwe writes:

In the same way the universe can be said to be known finite to observers, and yet have existed for all TIME

PaulK writes:

But this is not the objection that is being made. The objection is that since there is never a time when the universe did not exist, the universe has always existed. From this we question why the universe should require a cause. And you agreed that anything which existed at the first moment of time did NOT require a cause.

I have not stated anywhere in my replies that the universe did not require a causeyou have inferred thisI simply granted that there was no TIME BEFORE the universe, which is perfectly congruent with my view of a causally prior entity.

PaulK writes:

Your strawman objection and your false analogy do nothing to diminish the strength of the actual objection.
The real question before us is, given the assumption of the Kalam argument that the universe has always existed, did it have a beginning or "begin to exist" in a sense which requires a cause as the Kalam argument claims? So far there has been no progress on demonstrating this at all.
So at this point I believe that I can fairly say that the Kalam argument is dead, at least so far as the discussion here is concerned. The supporters of the argument have been unable to rationally defend it and by all the evidence they are incapable of doing so.

The answer here is, quite simply, yes. The universe does require a cause. But that is for later, in the discussion on premiss two.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 136 by PaulK, posted 03-16-2012 6:41 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 138 by PaulK, posted 03-16-2012 7:49 PM Shimbabwe has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 12438
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 138 of 177 (656170)
03-16-2012 7:49 PM
Reply to: Message 137 by Shimbabwe
03-16-2012 7:23 PM


Re: Objections to premiss one
quote:

Of course it has in the very same way you have continually asserted that the universe has always existed, i.e. as a sole observer of my conscious self, I adamantly claim that it has always existed in the very same manner you claim the universe has. The universe doesnt gain an exemption because it has multiple observers.

This is just obviously false, as I have already explained First, it is the Kalam argument that makes the claim, not I., Secondly the claim of the Kalam argument is that there never was a time when the universe did not exist - which is exactly the same as saying that the universe always existed. And THIS point is missing from your strawman.

quote:

I have not stated anywhere in my replies that the universe did not require a causeyou have inferred thisI simply granted that there was no TIME BEFORE the universe, which is perfectly congruent with my view of a causally prior entity.

This is also false.

In Message 78 you replied to my question:


Does something that has always existed (in that there is no time when it did not exist) have a beginning ? Is it does, then does it require a cause, and if so, why ?

With:


I would say no. Something that has always existed is beginningless by definition and would require neither a cause nor an explanation of its existence on the Kalam argument

So you explicitly stated that if there is never a time when a thing does not exist, it is beginningless and requires neither cause nor explanation.

quote:

The answer here is, quite simply, yes. The universe does require a cause. But that is for later, in the discussion on premiss two.

My point is that the the premises need to be discussed together to avoid equivocation and contradiction. We've seen enough of that already. Apologists have a slippery habit of taking points in isolation and producing answers that don't fit together - and that seems to be the approach you want to take.

I'e said what is required to make the argument sound - at least on these issues. And it really is necessary. If you can't provide it, then the argument is dead, exactly as I said.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-16-2012 7:23 PM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 139 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-16-2012 8:58 PM PaulK has responded

    
Shimbabwe
Member (Idle past 1220 days)
Posts: 47
From: Murfreesboro, TN USA
Joined: 09-11-2003


Message 139 of 177 (656184)
03-16-2012 8:58 PM
Reply to: Message 138 by PaulK
03-16-2012 7:49 PM


Re: Objections to premiss one
Shimbabwe writes:

Of course it has in the very same way you have continually asserted that the universe has always existed, i.e. as a sole observer of my conscious self, I adamantly claim that it has always existed in the very same manner you claim the universe has. The universe doesnt gain an exemption because it has multiple observers.

PaulK writes:

This is just obviously false, as I have already explained First, it is the Kalam argument that makes the claim, not I., Secondly the claim of the Kalam argument is that there never was a time when the universe did not exist - which is exactly the same as saying that the universe always existed. And THIS point is missing from your strawman.

Ill be sure to add it then. Not really, because my version of the Kalam is the 12th century version propounded by Al Ghazali that certainly could not have foreseen your objection, which is based on modern cosmology. Consequently, it did not make the claims you are assigning iteven though I clearly understand your objection. I just dont think the objection is as strong as you would like to believe, or the argument would certainly be dead in the water.

Shimbabwe writes:

I have not stated anywhere in my replies that the universe did not require a causeyou have inferred thisI simply granted that there was no TIME BEFORE the universe, which is perfectly congruent with my view of a causally prior entity.

PaulK writes:

This is also false.
In Message 78 you replied to my question:

Does something that has always existed (in that there is no time when it did not exist) have a beginning ? Is it does, then does it require a cause, and if so, why ?
With:

I would say no. Something that has always existed is beginningless by definition and would require neither a cause nor an explanation of its existence on the Kalam argument
So you explicitly stated that if there is never a time when a thing does not exist, it is beginningless and requires neither cause nor explanation.

So now I am a liar? Just kidding. Be careful here. I am stating that a beginningless entity need not have an explanationor else one starts on the slippery slope of explaining the explanation ad infinitum. The universe may have existed for all TIME and yet require an explanation. An ultimate causal entity need not require an explanation. If the universe is the ultimate, I concede that it requires no cause. This however, has not been demonstrated.

The answer here is, quite simply, yes. The universe does require a cause. But that is for later, in the discussion on premiss two.

PaulK writes:

My point is that the the premises need to be discussed together to avoid equivocation and contradiction. We've seen enough of that already. Apologists have a slippery habit of taking points in isolation and producing answers that don't fit together - and that seems to be the approach you want to take.

Fair enough then. I accept your criticism, but can assure you I am not being intentionally equivocal. And in some way, it seems easier to discussnot just better for meon individual parts, as opposed to answering every objection to the entire argument, which you must admit are multifarious. I think philosophical arguments in general can sometimes appear equivocal. However, the same can be true of opposing disciplines. People in all fields tend to have serious biases regarding their favored discipline. As a non physicist, I think mathematically constructed parallel universes are incredibly far-fetched, primarily because they dont appeal to me. That aside, each premiss must be plausible for the whole to be sound. If one premiss is false, then the arguments conclusion is obviously false. All one need do is demonstrate how ANYTHING begins to exist without a cause to falsify premiss one.

PaulK writes:

I'e said what is required to make the argument sound - at least on these issues. And it really is necessary. If you can't provide it, then the argument is dead, exactly as I said.

Maybe so, we havent concluded that yet. I still think it is sound. By the way, we are a long, long, way from proving anything at this point. Nevertheless, I think we are on the right course. My goal is not at all to prove that the argument is irrefutable; but, only that it is plausible. Other arguments exist that I think are more convincing. There is, however, no need to throw the baby out just yet.

By the way, I must go. I am working twelve hour shifts lately, and must leave the discussion for now. Undoubtedly, I can look forward to an inbox full of replies.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 138 by PaulK, posted 03-16-2012 7:49 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 140 by Dr Adequate, posted 03-16-2012 11:35 PM Shimbabwe has responded
 Message 141 by PaulK, posted 03-17-2012 3:48 AM Shimbabwe has responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15474
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 140 of 177 (656211)
03-16-2012 11:35 PM
Reply to: Message 139 by Shimbabwe
03-16-2012 8:58 PM


Re: Objections to premiss one
I just dont think the objection is as strong as you would like to believe, or the argument would certainly be dead in the water.

Well, perhaps it is dead in the water, and Paul and I are the philosophical equivalent of the neighborhood boys poking the body with a stick.

I am stating that a beginningless entity need not have an explanationor else one starts on the slippery slope of explaining the explanation ad infinitum.

Well, a couple of points. Firstly, there is no logical reason why we should not get onto that slippery slope. There is a theological reason --- theists don't like that sort of talk. For them it's a slippery slope, for someone who looks at it dispassionately it's not a problem.

Second, there's no logical reason why looking one step back before the creator of the universe should lead us to an infinite chain. We can conceive of a situation where Fred created the universe, Bob created Fred, and Bob is the "ultimate causal entity". Again, why not? If we can look one step behind the universe, then we can at least consider that there's something one step behind that.

As a non physicist, I think mathematically constructed parallel universes are incredibly far-fetched, primarily because they dont appeal to me.

Well, that's not an argument.

If one premiss is false, then the arguments conclusion is obviously false.

Nuh-uh.

Premise 1: I am Penn Gilette.
Premise 2: Penn Gilette lives in Las Vegas.
Conclusion: I live in Las Vegas.

Premise 1 is false. The conclusion is true.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-16-2012 8:58 PM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 146 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-17-2012 1:36 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 12438
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 141 of 177 (656228)
03-17-2012 3:48 AM
Reply to: Message 139 by Shimbabwe
03-16-2012 8:58 PM


Re: Objections to premiss one
quote:

Ill be sure to add it then. Not really, because my version of the Kalam is the 12th century version propounded by Al Ghazali that certainly could not have foreseen your objection, which is based on modern cosmology.

Let us be clear, my argument is not directly based on modern cosmology, it is simply repeating the claims made by the Kalam argument. And you have definitely referred to Craig far more often that Al Ghazali, and agreed with this point. So suddenly implying that you don't accept Craig's version and wish to discard this point seems to be a bit of a turnaround.

quote:

Consequently, it did not make the claims you are assigning iteven though I clearly understand your objection. I just dont think the objection is as strong as you would like to believe, or the argument would certainly be dead in the water.

If you are prepared to claim that there was a time prior to the existence of the universe, and hence lose Craig's argument that the cause of the universe must be timeless that is your choice. But certainly if you do so, that aspect of Craig's argument is dead. And you'd also have to take other cosmologies more seriously, when now you reject them apparently because you find them unfavourable to your views.

quote:

So now I am a liar? Just kidding. Be careful here. I am stating that a beginningless entity need not have an explanationor else one starts on the slippery slope of explaining the explanation ad infinitum. The universe may have existed for all TIME and yet require an explanation. An ultimate causal entity need not require an explanation. If the universe is the ultimate, I concede that it requires no cause. This however, has not been demonstrated.

Of course you contradict yourself here, because you stated that if the universe existed for all of time it would be beginningless and did not require an explanation.

quote:

The answer here is, quite simply, yes. The universe does require a cause. But that is for later, in the discussion on premiss two.

Again I think it bad to split the discussion up in this way because of the likelihood of equivocation. However, your own statement that if the universe had existed for all of time it would be beginningless itself would seem to deny premise 1. Unless you are willing to drop the assumption that there is no time prior to the universe, despite adamantly maintaining it up until now.

quote:

Fair enough then. I accept your criticism, but can assure you I am not being intentionally equivocal. And in some way, it seems easier to discussnot just better for meon individual parts, as opposed to answering every objection to the entire argument, which you must admit are multifarious. I think philosophical arguments in general can sometimes appear equivocal.

My point is that the whole concept is being kept vague, and we really need - as Kbertsche says - more precision. If we had an agreed concept of "beginning" or "beginning to exist" - whichever you wish to use - THEN we might discuss the premises individually. But it seems that you can't agree even with yourself on the matter. This is really such a key consideration that I can't understand the reluctance to address it - assuming that we are having an honest, rational investigation of the argument.

quote:

I think philosophical arguments in general can sometimes appear equivocal. However, the same can be true of opposing disciplines. People in all fields tend to have serious biases regarding their favored discipline. As a non physicist, I think mathematically constructed parallel universes are incredibly far-fetched, primarily because they dont appeal to me. That aside, each premiss must be plausible for the whole to be sound. If one premiss is false, then the arguments conclusion is obviously false. All one need do is demonstrate how ANYTHING begins to exist without a cause to falsify premiss one.

Well to call something far-fetched because it doesn't appeal to you is perhaps an expression of prejudice. And it is entirely separate from the use of equivocation . However, it is worth noting that other universes are a consequence of serious ideas in cosmology and are not simply invoked ad hoc to answer theistic arguments.

But I will add that we cannot reasonably be expected to tell if a premise is false without understanding the meaning of it. And that is where we are right now. Indeed, even you are there right now.

quote:

Maybe so, we havent concluded that yet. I still think it is sound.

For the argument to be sound you need to show that the universe has a "beginning" or "begins to exist" in a way that requires a cause and which - if you are using Craig's version or keeping your own ideas about cosmology - must also be consistent with the idea that there is no time prior to the existence of our universe. Since you have earlier said that the latter concern renders the universe "beginningless' and leaves it with no requirement for a cause it seems rather clear that this is a problematic issue even for you.

quote:

By the way, we are a long, long, way from proving anything at this point. Nevertheless, I think we are on the right course. My goal is not at all to prove that the argument is irrefutable; but, only that it is plausible. Other arguments exist that I think are more convincing. There is, however, no need to throw the baby out just yet.

I have to say that the only development I see that looks at all promising from your perspective is the implication that you intend to argue that there WAS a time prior to our universe which would eliminate some of the problems - but that would also eliminate Craig's argument for a timeless cause and require you to change your views on cosmology, so even that course has problems for you. However, without such a change, you would seem to be stuck.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-16-2012 8:58 PM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 147 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-17-2012 1:39 PM PaulK has responded

    
kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1345
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 142 of 177 (656267)
03-17-2012 11:42 AM
Reply to: Message 132 by PaulK
03-16-2012 1:48 PM


Re: Always existing.
PaulK writes:

And the contradiction is really obvious. The age of a thing - any thing - is the amount of time it has existed for. Infinite age is only possible if time is infinite. But the Kalam argument insists that time is finite - in fact it includes a sub-argument that (if it works at all) rules out the possibility of infinite age.


Where/how does the Kalaam argument insist that time is finite?

As I understand it, the Kalaam argument only insists that anything which began to exist (e.g. the universe) cannot be infinitely old.

The conclusion that time is finite comes from modern cosmology. As such, the claim is restricted to the universe itself. It says nothing about the possibility of transcendent beings or truths, and says nothing about what "time" would mean for them.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 132 by PaulK, posted 03-16-2012 1:48 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 144 by PaulK, posted 03-17-2012 12:48 PM kbertsche has responded

    
kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1345
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 143 of 177 (656271)
03-17-2012 11:54 AM
Reply to: Message 133 by Theodoric
03-16-2012 2:02 PM


Re: Always existing.
Theodoric writes:

But this means nothing. It is mumbo-jumbo and word salad. The words all have meaning but how you have put them together means nothing?


The concept of something "transcending the universe" is "mumbo-jumbo and word salad" to you? Are you so wedded to a naturalistic worldview that you can't even conceive of such a thing?

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 133 by Theodoric, posted 03-16-2012 2:02 PM Theodoric has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 150 by Theodoric, posted 03-17-2012 9:56 PM kbertsche has acknowledged this reply

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 12438
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 144 of 177 (656277)
03-17-2012 12:48 PM
Reply to: Message 142 by kbertsche
03-17-2012 11:42 AM


Re: Always existing.
quote:

Where/how does the Kalaam argument insist that time is finite?

I am surprised that you have suddenly decided to raise this objection after so much discussion in this thread and others.

And I am even more surprised that you are unaware of this staple of Craig's version of the argument which is the main basis for insisting on a timeless cause of the universe.

So are you now prepared to say whether you insist on a finite or infinite past instead of choosing whichever is convenient to you at the time ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 142 by kbertsche, posted 03-17-2012 11:42 AM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 145 by kbertsche, posted 03-17-2012 1:20 PM PaulK has responded

    
kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1345
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 145 of 177 (656283)
03-17-2012 1:20 PM
Reply to: Message 144 by PaulK
03-17-2012 12:48 PM


Re: Always existing.
PaulK writes:

KBertsche writes:


Where/how does the Kalaam argument insist that time is finite?


I am surprised that you have suddenly decided to raise this objection after so much discussion in this thread and others.

And I am even more surprised that you are unaware of this staple of Craig's version of the argument which is the main basis for insisting on a timeless cause of the universe.

So are you now prepared to say whether you insist on a finite or infinite past instead of choosing whichever is convenient to you at the time ?


Please answer my question, if possible, rather than trying to deflect it.

Where/how does the Kalaam argument insist that time is finite? Please provide a reference. Thank you.

(Note: as I've already said, we both agree that modern cosmology concludes time is finite. But this refers to time in the physical universe. This cosmological argument cannot be applied to time in a more general, philosophical sense without further justification.)

Second note: though WLC seems to lean toward the view that time began with the universe, he also claims that his formulation of the Kalaam argument does NOT depend on a "beginning to time itself":

William Lane Craig, The Kalaam Cosmological Argument (MacMillan 1979), p. 106 writes:


There is one additional issue that I would like to comment on at this point, however, and that is whether our argument necessitates a beginning to time itself. ... The answer to this problem is: it all depends. If a person believes that time exists apart from events such that if there were no events there still would be time, then our argument does not entail prima facie a beginning to time. On the other hand, if one accepts that time cannot exist apart from events, then a beginning of events would entail a beginning of time as well.

Edited by kbertsche, : added note

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.

Edited by kbertsche, : Added second note and WLC quote.

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 144 by PaulK, posted 03-17-2012 12:48 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 162 by PaulK, posted 03-23-2012 10:59 AM kbertsche has responded

    
Shimbabwe
Member (Idle past 1220 days)
Posts: 47
From: Murfreesboro, TN USA
Joined: 09-11-2003


Message 146 of 177 (656286)
03-17-2012 1:36 PM
Reply to: Message 140 by Dr Adequate
03-16-2012 11:35 PM


Re: Objections to premiss one
Shimbabwe writes:

I am stating that a beginningless entity need not have an explanationor else one starts on the slippery slope of explaining the explanation ad infinitum.


Dr Adequate writes:

Well, a couple of points. Firstly, there is no logical reason why we should not get onto that slippery slope. There is a theological reason --- theists don't like that sort of talk. For them it's a slippery slope, for someone who looks at it dispassionately it's not a problem.

Perhaps this is true. As a theist, my bias has not been hidden. Nevertheless, the point remains.

Dr Adequate writes:

Second, there's no logical reason why looking one step back before the creator of the universe should lead us to an infinite chain. We can conceive of a situation where Fred created the universe, Bob created Fred, and Bob is the "ultimate causal entity". Again, why not? If we can look one step behind the universe, then we can at least consider that there's something one step behind that

.

Yes of course. One step plainly doesnt constitute a slippery slope. The argument is just not advanced in any meaningful way. There really would be no point in stepping back multiple times until we reached the ultimate cause. I think we can agree on that, even if 50 steps were necessary. Although one may argue that there need be 50 steps, we would just as well remain agnostic on the point being considering. I would argue that we could reach a non arbitrary stoppingor starting point long before that.

Shimbabwe writes:

As a non physicist, I think mathematically constructed parallel universes are incredibly far-fetched, primarily because they dont appeal to me.


Dr Adequate writes:

Well, that's not an argument.

You are correct. My intention was not to argue a point, but to simply reveal my own bias toward other disciplines, namely physics. That does not mean I think it is dubious as a field of study. I very much enjoy reading Hawking, Tegmark etc. I find their ideas fascinating.

ShImbabwe writes:

If one premiss is false, then the arguments conclusion is obviously false.


Dr Adequate writes:

Nuh-uh.
Premise 1: I am Penn Gilette.
Premise 2: Penn Gilette lives in Las Vegas.
Conclusion: I live in Las Vegas.
Premise 1 is false. The conclusion is true.

Oops! In my haste I missed that one. Thanks for catching it. I needed to state then, that if both premises are true and the argument is validthe logic soundthen the argument is a good one. The Kalam meets these criteria. In your case the argument is valid, but it is based on a false premiss, which is indeed difficult to argue against in the absence of more facts; nevertheless, one could expose your sleight of hand (your next -door neighbor, for example) in this case. Your argument would then be significantly weakened, even though your conclusion would still be true. This is the point I am hoping to make. I will grant that this is a point in favor of discussing the argument as a whole. I still believe it is far more difficult to do so, in light of the broad scope.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 140 by Dr Adequate, posted 03-16-2012 11:35 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 148 by Dr Adequate, posted 03-17-2012 2:19 PM Shimbabwe has responded

    
Shimbabwe
Member (Idle past 1220 days)
Posts: 47
From: Murfreesboro, TN USA
Joined: 09-11-2003


Message 147 of 177 (656287)
03-17-2012 1:39 PM
Reply to: Message 141 by PaulK
03-17-2012 3:48 AM


Re: Objections to premiss one
PaulK writes:

Let us be clear, my argument is not directly based on modern cosmology, it is simply repeating the claims made by the Kalam argument. And you have definitely referred to Craig far more often that Al Ghazali, and agreed with this point. So suddenly implying that you don't accept Craig's version and wish to discard this point seems to be a bit of a turnaround.

Very well then, I want to also be clear. On my view, there isnt a nickels worth of difference between the two, at least in regard to the premisses as stated. In that sense I agree with both versions. Dr. Craigs version uses the term WHATEVER as opposed to Al Ghazalis ANY BEINGwhich may be viewed as antiquated. The terms are synonymous, along with the commonly used ANYTHING. Therefore, I see no problems with equivocation on the usage of these interchangeable terms. As to your contentions not being based on current cosmology, I simply erred. What I really intended was to make note of the fact that we are in a cosmologically superior position to AlGhazali, who would not have foreseen many of the objections raised here. The point is not entirely relevant at this juncture, but will be useful later.

PaulK writes:

If you are prepared to claim that there was a time prior to the existence of the universe, and hence lose Craig's argument that the cause of the universe must be timeless that is your choice. But certainly if you do so, that aspect of Craig's argument is dead. And you'd also have to take other cosmologies more seriously, when now you reject them apparently because you find them unfavourable to your views.

You seem to be reading much more into my replies than I am actually stating. I agree with Dr. Craig on this point with reservations. I categorically reject the idea of time before the universe, and have stated as much in many of my replies. The Kalam need not address this issue except on a causal basis. One need not postulatewith cosmologistsnumerous entities without our universe, when a single, causally prior, simultaneous, entity will suffice. Hume was correct in this regard.

My rejection of current cosmologies was simply to make a point on biases in general, and should not be interpreted as disdain. I enjoy reading articles and books on recent advancements, and find them quite fascinating.

PaulK writes:

Of course you contradict yourself here, because you stated that if the universe existed for all of time it would be beginningless and did not require an explanation.

Again PaulK, you linked timeless with beginningless in my statement. I did not. Even in reply number 78 that you quoted, I simply did not. You have inferred it. Why cant you accept the fact that I agree with you that the universe has existed for all TIME, and yet has an absolute beginning, whichin my opinion requires a cause. All are perfectly consonant with my view and with current cosmology. Could not a causally priornot temporally prior entity be a plausible explanation for the universe?

PaulK writes:

My point is that the whole concept is being kept vague, and we really need - as Kbertsche says - more precision. If we had an agreed concept of "beginning" or "beginning to exist" - whichever you wish to use - THEN we might discuss the premises individually. But it seems that you can't agree even with yourself on the matter. This is really such a key consideration that I can't understand the reluctance to address it - assuming that we are having an honest, rational investigation of the argument.

I dont think anyone is being intentionally vague. Some concepts are necessarily vague. Trying to explain BEGINS TO EXIST in the sense I hope to convey has a whole lot to do with ones own definition of time, which in itself can be quite difficult to articulate. Think of the definition of mind, for example. The .other issue is that a misused word may be construed as an espousal of a certain view; consequently, one is reluctant to use terms that may be seized upon by the opposition as it were. For example, I believe in a timeless, beginningless, causally prior, immaterial, efficient, cause of the universe. This may be quite difficult to articulate, and for some difficult to conceptualize. Nevertheless, many theists have held this view in one form or another most of their lives. It would be disingenuous to assume that a every naturalist, for example, would readily accept the concept with no such framework. The converse is also true, I suspect.

I suppose then that your point is made here, and the chasm is not easily bridged. One side may engage the other and find common ground, nonetheless. The definition you proposed earlier was unacceptable to me, and mine to you. Perhaps a compromise can be reached.

PaulK writes:

Well to call something far-fetched because it doesn't appeal to you is perhaps an expression of prejudice. And it is entirely separate from the use of equivocation . However, it is worth noting that other universes are a consequence of serious ideas in cosmology and are not simply invoked ad hoc to answer theistic arguments.

My point here was obviously not lost on you. I dont hold the view that these current cosmological theories are necessarily ad hoc, as Dr. Craig and others seem to. I simply dont find the evidence totally convincing, possibly because of my ignorance.

PaulK writes:

But I will add that we cannot reasonably be expected to tell if a premise is false without understanding the meaning of it. And that is where we are right now. Indeed, even you are there right now.

Fair enough. However, I think we both have a better understanding of the argument than you are admitting. I also think the stakes are much higher for you. If the first premiss is true, it will be difficult to resist the second. So, the argument as a whole tack is a good one for you.

PaulK writes:

For the argument to be sound you need to show that the universe has a "beginning" or "begins to exist" in a way that requires a cause and which - if you are using Craig's version or keeping your own ideas about cosmology - must also be consistent with the idea that there is no time prior to the existence of our universe. Since you have earlier said that the latter concern renders the universe "beginningless' and leaves it with no requirement for a cause it seems rather clear that this is a problematic issue even for you.

This issue has been addressed multiple times.

PaulK writes:

I have to say that the only development I see that looks at all promising from your perspective is the implication that you intend to argue that there WAS a time prior to our universe which would eliminate some of the problems - but that would also eliminate Craig's argument for a timeless cause and require you to change your views on cosmology, so even that course has problems for you. However, without such a change, you would seem to be stuck.

Ibid.

Edited by Shimbabwe, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 141 by PaulK, posted 03-17-2012 3:48 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 149 by PaulK, posted 03-17-2012 2:20 PM Shimbabwe has not yet responded
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15474
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 148 of 177 (656292)
03-17-2012 2:19 PM
Reply to: Message 146 by Shimbabwe
03-17-2012 1:36 PM


Slippery Slope
Perhaps this is true. As a theist, my bias has not been hidden. Nevertheless, the point remains.

Nevertheless, it doesn't. If there's no logical reason to stay off the slippery slope, then we might as well get on it and slide all the way down shouting "wheeeeeeeeeee!"

The argument is just not advanced in any meaningful way. There really would be no point in stepping back multiple times until we reached the ultimate cause. I think we can agree on that, even if 50 steps were necessary.

Well, if there was an ultimate cause and it was fifty steps back, wouldn't we still want to know about it? But even if, as a matter of personal preference, you wouldn't want to go back that far, it is still the case that it is legitimate to inquire into what caused the cause of the universe, even if for some reason you didn't want to. I'd want to; and what I would need is some valid argument why there is some particular place where I should stop and say: "But this thing doesn't require a cause."

You should have been here for my thread on: "Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing", but it was nearly over when you joined the forum.

In your case the argument is valid, but it is based on a false premiss, which is indeed difficult to argue against in the absence of more facts; nevertheless, one could expose your sleight of hand ...

I can't do sleight of hand. You must be confusing me with Penn Jillette.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 146 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-17-2012 1:36 PM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 151 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-18-2012 10:00 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 12438
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 149 of 177 (656293)
03-17-2012 2:20 PM
Reply to: Message 147 by Shimbabwe
03-17-2012 1:39 PM


Re: Objections to premiss one
quote:

Very well then, I want to also be clear. On my view, there isnt a nickels worth of difference between the two, at least in regard to the premisses as stated.

Which only makes it even stranger that you should suddenly switch from talking about Craig to Al Ghazali. If there is no relevant difference, why the sudden switch ?

quote:

You seem to be reading much more into my replies than I am actually stating

I don't think so. It was you who suddenly decided to switch to Al Ghazali's argument instead of Craig's simply because it lacked that aspect of the argument. At the least it implies that your intended answer to the objection was to drop that part of Craig's argument altogether.

quote:

The Kalam need not address this issue except on a causal basis. One need not postulatewith cosmologistsnumerous entities without our universe, when a single, causally prior, simultaneous, entity will suffice. Hume was correct in this regard.

Of course your opinion on the matter - prejudiced as it is - is completely beside the point. It remains true that you reject cosmologies which depict a time before the universe, so that if you accepted that to answer my objection it would cause problems for you in other aspects of your argument.

quote:

Again PaulK, you linked timeless with beginningless in my statement.

Of course I have not done this even once. The fact remains that you stated that something that had existed for all of time was beginningless and required no cause. And that's what I said, and quoted you as saying.

quote:

Why cant you accept the fact that I agree with you that the universe has existed for all TIME, and yet has an absolute beginning, whichin my opinion requires a cause

For a start you are NOT agreeing with me, I am simply accepting the point for the sake of argument and to show the problems it creates for the Kalam argument. And I don't see how anything wrong with pointing out that you explicitly agreed with me that a thing that has existed for all time it did not require a cause.

quote:

Could not a causally priornot temporally prior entity be a plausible explanation for the universe?

I have not yet argued that the universe CANNOT have a cause, merely that it does not REQUIRE one. My point is to refute the Kalam argument, not construct an atheological argument from it's premises.

quote:

I dont think anyone is being intentionally vague.

When a thread has gone on for so long - and when at least one preceding thread also tried to tackle the issue - without clarification being provided I have to wonder about that.

quote:

Some concepts are necessarily vague. Trying to explain BEGINS TO EXIST in the sense I hope to convey has a whole lot to do with ones own definition of time, which in itself can be quite difficult to articulate

BUt this is part of my point against the argument. Bringing the beginning of time into things DOES confuse the issues, DOES call doubt on to the claims of the Kalam argument. But not doing so also brings problems to the Kalam argument. And this problem is exactly why I see your confidence in the Kalam argument as unfounded. You do not have a clear grasp of the issues.

quote:

or example, I believe in a timeless, beginningless, causally prior, immaterial, efficient, cause of the universe. This may be quite difficult to articulate, and for some difficult to conceptualize. Nevertheless, many theists have held this view in one form or another most of their lives. It would be disingenuous to assume that a every naturalist, for example, would readily accept the concept with no such framework. The converse is also true, I suspect.

I would maintain that you accepted it as words, but without adequate comprehension. One who does not accept it as words, will wish to understand it before accepting it, and see the problems.

quote:

Fair enough. However, I think we both have a better understanding of the argument than you are admitting. I also think the stakes are much higher for you. If the first premiss is true, it will be difficult to resist the second. So, the argument as a whole tack is a good one for you.

For me, the main issue is avoiding deception. I see the Kalam argument - at least in Craig's version as primarily a deception which only appears superficially reasonable (Plantinga's Modal Ontological Argument is even worse in this regard). And this is what motivates me to get the terms clearly defined.

But I would say that the stakes are very high for you, too. You clearly have a huge regard for the Kalam argument and for it to be shown to be rationally indefensible would be a severe blow.

quote:

This issue has been addressed multiple times.

The important part has not been adequately addressed even once:


For the argument to be sound you need to show that the universe has a "beginning" or "begins to exist" in a way that requires a cause and which - if you are using Craig's version or keeping your own ideas about cosmology - must also be consistent with the idea that there is no time prior to the existence of our universe.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 147 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-17-2012 1:39 PM Shimbabwe has not yet responded

    
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5700
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 150 of 177 (656356)
03-17-2012 9:56 PM
Reply to: Message 143 by kbertsche
03-17-2012 11:54 AM


Re: Always existing.
The concept of something "transcending the universe" is "mumbo-jumbo and word salad" to you?

Yup
Are you so wedded to a naturalistic worldview that you can't even conceive of such a thing?

Well I am sure if you could tell me what it means I could conceive of it, but unless there is evidence the conception is meaningless.

I can conceive such a thing as the world of Harry Potter and the Muppets and even Brothers Grimm, but there is no evidence for them either.

Do you believe in alchemy too?


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

This message is a reply to:
 Message 143 by kbertsche, posted 03-17-2012 11:54 AM kbertsche has acknowledged this reply

    
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