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Author Topic:   The Kalam cosmological argument
PaulK
Member
Posts: 12680
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 91 of 177 (655622)
03-12-2012 3:26 AM
Reply to: Message 90 by Shimbabwe
03-11-2012 9:06 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
quote:

I don’t think this is true at all, or else the second premiss of the KCA would refute the first premiss. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

It is certainly true. You KNOW that the Kalam argument says that there was no time before our universe existed. Therefore according to the Kalam argument our universe has always existed in precisely the sense I used. You say that that means that the Kalam argument is wrong and I agree.

quote:

Intuitive it may be; but, please don’t misconstrue the argument. We’re only discussing premiss one here; however, I must list premiss two and the conclusion in order to make my point. Even on a liberal reading of the premisses, it would be difficult to reconcile your assertions above with the Kalam Argument.

Analysing an argument and finding flaws in it is not a misconstrual.

quote:

I do agree that the premiss is only applicable to things that begin to exist. Premiss one is quite clear on that. With all due respect however, your assertion that the Kalam implies BOTH AND seems incorrect in light of the fact that the argument explicitly states; the universe began to exist…in premiss 2. How could it then explicate the converse? It would obviously be self-refuting.

In other words you are denying that the Kalam argument claims that there was no time prior to our universe on the grounds that that would contradict your version of Premise 2 of the argument..

However, since we know that the Kalam argument DOES make that claim then the real answer is that my point is correct. The argument is taking a dubious concept of "begin to exist" which does include things which have never failed to exist.

quote:

I suppose this is true if the relevant parameters are accessible; if not, intuition—however unreliable on your view— may be the only way to attain some understanding of the data in question. Of course, empirically verifiable facts are preferred whenever possible. This fact in no way depreciates the employment of intuitive inferences. I have no way to prove I am a self, yet I have good reasons to infer it.

However, from your statements above it seems quite clear that in reality you agree with my assessment and think that the Kalam argument has misapplied Premise 1, by assuming a situation where the universe did not "begin to exist" as you would conceive it.

quote:

It simply does not follow from my statements that the universe came to exist without a cause. I merely stated that there was no TIME—in the temporally prior sense—before the universe. This in no way excludes a causally—or on your words, logically—prior entity. I qualified the statement so as to be clear.

However you also stated that in this case the universe did not REQUIRE a cause. In your words the universe would "require neither a cause nor an explanation of its existence on the Kalam argument"

quote:

I understand, on your construal of the premiss, anything that could bring the universe into existence is simply defined away. It seems to me that your interpretation—even if logically sound—could be problematic. It is in fact based on your intuition that no causally prior entity exists.

This is simply false. I clearly state that on YOUR view the universe does not REQUIRE a cause, which is certainly different from asserting that the universe CANNOT have a cause. I don't think that attacking my alleged "assumptions" and "views" (which you made up) is very relevant when I'm simply agreeing with one of YOUR claims !

The point is that you have stated that given that there is no prior time, our universe did not begin to exist. From that it follows that the Kalam argument must be using a different idea of "begin to exist" - and you didn't even know it !

quote:

I think this definition comports with a standard usage of begins to exist. The Kalam may well imply the same. I see no reason why it can’t. The definition is not a sophisticated one that would be foreign to anyone who is capable of discussing the KCA.

Whether it is a standard view or not, both you and the Kalam argument reject it - for different reasons. You because you believe that it does not apply to anything that exists at T=0, the Kalam argument because it would apply to EVERYTHING that exists (including God, if God existed).

quote:

This again does not follow. Neither the definition nor I affirm that anything that exists has a cause. In fact, if something could exist, without time, causally prior to the universe, as the Kalam implicitly affirms, it would not require a cause.

I'm afraid that it does follow. According to your later definition all that is required is that a thing exists at a time, T and at no prior point in time. If a thing exists at T=0 it clearly fulfils the first condition, and there is no prior time at which it could possibly exist, so it must also meets the second. Therefore it "begins to exist" and must have a cause by the Kalam argument.

quote:

In that case, you’re quite welcome. I think you may well be illustrating my point—by taking a position at all on the Kalam. If the argument were self-refuting, it would be quite obvious, and there would be little need for discussion.

Of course, I'm not claiming that it is self refuting. I claim that it has serious problems and that on analysis it is not even a very good argument. And the problems you are running into - where you take points of view that clearly DO contradict the Kalam argument - illustrates that point.

And of course it may be the case that we are having this discussion because you place a huge amount of faith in the Kalam argument, so much so that you have great difficulty seeing its flaws even when they have been made obvious. Which indeed seems to be the case.

quote:

Absolutely, I can. Aside from the fact that it lends itself to special pleading for the universe;

How does it lend itself to special pleading regarding our universe ?

quote:

and, it may be question begging in favor of naturalism, which are very good reasons,

How could this possibly be true ?

quote:

I reject it on theological grounds, in that it precludes any entity that could conceivably exist without time.

Well that's a blatant falsehood. It says no such thing. It would however deny that anything which did exist without time had a beginning - where your definition would insist otherwise - so it would seem to be theologically preferable to your definition - at least to most believers in the Kalam argument !

quote:

You may wish to show that such an entity does not exist; but, defining it away isn’t quite reasonable. Moreover, numbers and (other) abstract entities would necessarily be excluded on your definition. Therefore, it would be quite troublesome to many philosophers and theologians, and especially mathematicians.

Unless you rest your argument on the unstated assumption that anything that does not have a beginning does not exist, I cannot see how you can honestly make these claims.

In fact it seems to me that you are reduced to inventing excuses to reject my definition solely because it is problematic to the Kalam argument - despite the fact that it is better than your definition even by your own standards.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-11-2012 9:06 PM Shimbabwe has not yet responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15921
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.8


(2)
Message 92 of 177 (655624)
03-12-2012 4:30 AM
Reply to: Message 78 by Shimbabwe
03-04-2012 11:30 PM


Beginnings
As to your assertion that the premiss is equivocal, I disagree. The first premiss does not commit the fallacy of equivocation since begins to exist may be defined univocally in the following manner; X begins to exist at T, if and only if X exists at T, and X does not exist at any time prior to T.

I think there is some equivocation, though it is subtle.

Roughly speaking:

* You wish to say that a thing x began to have property P iff P(x) at time t, and there is no time t' < t at which P(x).

* Paul wishes to say that a thing x began to have property P iff P(x) at time t, and there is a time t' < t at which ~P(x).

I could formalize that better, but that'll do for now.

Now, the trouble is that the claim that "everything that begins to exist has a cause" is supposed to be empirical. But all the data we have relate only to things that begin to exist in Paul's sense --- we have no data on anything that began to exist in your sense but not in Paul's.

So there seems to be some equivocation here. Our only reason for taking (1) as a premise is exclusively as a result of observing Paulesque beginnings of things. But then you want to use this to draw conclusions about non-Paulesque beginnings of things. But I don't see that we have any warrant to do so given that none of our data is about "beginnings" in this sense.

---

Suppose one man defines an equid as a member of the genus Equus, while another defines it as any horse-shaped animal, with whatever evolutionary history, living on any planet.

The first man is entitled to say that all known equids can digest cellulose, and is empirically on good ground if he wants to deduce that as-yet undiscovered equids (if there are any) will also have this property. The second man can also say that all known equids can digest cellulose, but he is on much shakier ground if he wants to derive the same conclusion about equids in his sense, since all the equids forming his data set are equids in the first and narrower sense. Does he really have warrant to draw the conclusion that all equids (in the second sense) can digest cellulose, based on data exclusively about equids in the first sense?

Both men are reasoning from a data set consisting of all the equids (in their respective senses) that anyone has ever been able to study, and yet the second man is much less well-justified in his deduction.

This is not a perfect analogy, with time I might come up with a better one, but I think it illustrates the sort of problem you're running into.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-04-2012 11:30 PM Shimbabwe has not yet responded

  
Pressie
Member
Posts: 1605
From: Pretoria, SA
Joined: 06-18-2010
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 93 of 177 (655626)
03-12-2012 8:11 AM
Reply to: Message 90 by Shimbabwe
03-11-2012 9:06 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
quote:
1. Every being which begins to exist has a cause for its existence
Therefore, any god postulated must also have a cause for it's existence, another greater god, maybe? In the end its turtles, all the way down. Unless you want to employ special pleading.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-11-2012 9:06 PM Shimbabwe has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11343
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 94 of 177 (655679)
03-12-2012 4:23 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by Shimbabwe
03-11-2012 9:06 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
2. The universe is a being which began to exist

That implies a point in time where the universe did not exist... but we ain't got one of those.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-11-2012 9:06 PM Shimbabwe has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11343
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 95 of 177 (655680)
03-12-2012 4:24 PM
Reply to: Message 93 by Pressie
03-12-2012 8:11 AM


Re: Reply to PAulK
quote:
1. Every being which begins to exist has a cause for its existence
Therefore, any god postulated must also have a cause for it's existence, another greater god, maybe? In the end its turtles, all the way down. Unless you want to employ special pleading.

You could postulate a god that always existed and therefore did not begin to exist. Just sayin'.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 93 by Pressie, posted 03-12-2012 8:11 AM Pressie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 96 by Evlreala, posted 03-13-2012 11:55 PM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 98 by Pressie, posted 03-14-2012 12:39 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Evlreala
Member (Idle past 483 days)
Posts: 88
From: Portland, OR United States of America
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 96 of 177 (655841)
03-13-2012 11:55 PM
Reply to: Message 95 by New Cat's Eye
03-12-2012 4:24 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
Catholic Scientist writes:

You could postulate a god that always existed and therefore did not begin to exist. Just sayin'.

You could apply Occam's razer, postulate a universe that always existed and therefore did not begin to exist or require a creator to create it, as well.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by New Cat's Eye, posted 03-12-2012 4:24 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 97 by kbertsche, posted 03-14-2012 12:17 AM Evlreala has acknowledged this reply
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kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1359
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 97 of 177 (655842)
03-14-2012 12:17 AM
Reply to: Message 96 by Evlreala
03-13-2012 11:55 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
quote:
You could apply Occam's razer, postulate a universe that always existed and therefore did not begin to exist or require a creator to create it, as well.

Yes, people have done this for centuries. It became much more difficult after Penzias and Wilson found observational evidence that the universe had a beginning.

"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 96 by Evlreala, posted 03-13-2012 11:55 PM Evlreala has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 99 by PaulK, posted 03-14-2012 2:28 AM kbertsche has responded
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Pressie
Member
Posts: 1605
From: Pretoria, SA
Joined: 06-18-2010
Member Rating: 2.3


(1)
Message 98 of 177 (655844)
03-14-2012 12:39 AM
Reply to: Message 95 by New Cat's Eye
03-12-2012 4:24 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
catholic scientist writes:

You could postulate a god that always existed and therefore did not begin to exist. Just sayin'.

Special pleading again. Everything, except a god....

However, you could postulate that matter and energy always existed. We have evidence for the existence of matter and energy. Nothing for the existence of a god.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by New Cat's Eye, posted 03-12-2012 4:24 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 100 by New Cat's Eye, posted 03-14-2012 9:47 AM Pressie has not yet responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 12680
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 99 of 177 (655845)
03-14-2012 2:28 AM
Reply to: Message 97 by kbertsche
03-14-2012 12:17 AM


Always existing.
If Penzias and Wilson proved that there was a time BEFORE the universe existed it's news to me. Are you going to tell Shimbabwe that the Kalam argument is wrong on that point ?

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 97 by kbertsche, posted 03-14-2012 12:17 AM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 102 by kbertsche, posted 03-14-2012 10:32 AM PaulK has responded

    
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11343
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 100 of 177 (655869)
03-14-2012 9:47 AM
Reply to: Message 98 by Pressie
03-14-2012 12:39 AM


quote:
1. Every being which begins to exist has a cause for its existence
Therefore, any god postulated must also have a cause for it's existence, another greater god, maybe? In the end its turtles, all the way down. Unless you want to employ special pleading.

You could postulate a god that always existed and therefore did not begin to exist. Just sayin'.

Special pleading again. Everything, except a god....
However, you could postulate that matter and energy always existed. We have evidence for the existence of matter and energy. Nothing for the existence of a god.

Well sure, but you were the one who brought up god. I was responding specifically to this claim:

quote:
any god postulated must also have a cause for it's existence

That's just not true, for the reason I offered.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 98 by Pressie, posted 03-14-2012 12:39 AM Pressie has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11343
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 101 of 177 (655870)
03-14-2012 9:48 AM
Reply to: Message 96 by Evlreala
03-13-2012 11:55 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
Catholic Scientist writes:

You could postulate a god that always existed and therefore did not begin to exist. Just sayin'.


You could apply Occam's razer, postulate a universe that always existed and therefore did not begin to exist or require a creator to create it, as well.

So?

That's beside the point that there are gods that can be postulated that didn't begin to exist.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Evlreala, posted 03-13-2012 11:55 PM Evlreala has responded

Replies to this message:
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kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1359
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 102 of 177 (655876)
03-14-2012 10:32 AM
Reply to: Message 99 by PaulK
03-14-2012 2:28 AM


Re: Always existing.
quote:

If Penzias and Wilson proved that there was a time BEFORE the universe existed it's news to me. Are you going to tell Shimbabwe that the Kalam argument is wrong on that point ?


???

I wrote that "Penzias and Wilson found observational evidence that the universe had a beginning."

I did NOT write that "Penzias and Wilson proved that there was a time BEFORE the universe existed."


"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 99 by PaulK, posted 03-14-2012 2:28 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 103 by PaulK, posted 03-14-2012 10:44 AM kbertsche has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 12680
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 103 of 177 (655878)
03-14-2012 10:44 AM
Reply to: Message 102 by kbertsche
03-14-2012 10:32 AM


Re: Always existing.
quote:

I wrote that "Penzias and Wilson found observational evidence that the universe had a beginning."

No, you wrote that it was harder to argue that the universe had always existed after Penzias and Wilson. Therefore you are, at the least, implying that Penzias and Wilson's work supports the idea that there was a time before the universe existed, contrary to the Kalam argument.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 102 by kbertsche, posted 03-14-2012 10:32 AM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 104 by kbertsche, posted 03-14-2012 10:56 AM PaulK has responded

    
kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1359
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 104 of 177 (655882)
03-14-2012 10:56 AM
Reply to: Message 103 by PaulK
03-14-2012 10:44 AM


Re: Always existing.
quote:
No, you wrote that it was harder to argue that the universe had always existed after Penzias and Wilson. Therefore you are, at the least, implying that Penzias and Wilson's work supports the idea that there was a time before the universe existed, contrary to the Kalam argument.


False. I have repeated my words twice. Please go back and re-read them.

(My comments regard Evlreala's conclusion "and therefore did not begin to exist", i.e. ONLY whether or not the universe had a beginning, not whether or not the universe has always existed.)

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 103 by PaulK, posted 03-14-2012 10:44 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 105 by PaulK, posted 03-14-2012 11:09 AM kbertsche has responded
 Message 115 by Dr Adequate, posted 03-14-2012 7:39 PM kbertsche has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 12680
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 105 of 177 (655884)
03-14-2012 11:09 AM
Reply to: Message 104 by kbertsche
03-14-2012 10:56 AM


Re: Always existing.
quote:

False. I have repeated my words twice. Please go back and re-read them.

I have reread your words and it seems quite clear that what I said is a perfectly sensible reading.

quote:

(My comments regard Evlreala's conclusion "and therefore did not begin to exist", i.e. ONLY whether or not the universe had a beginning, not whether or not the universe has always existed.)

Which assumes that it is sensible to say that something that has always existed began to exist. That is far from obvious (in fact Shimbabwe rejected it as absurd and he supports the Kalam argument). Indeed, as I have already pointed out, everything must begin to exist if you allow existing at T=0 to be "beginning to exist".


This message is a reply to:
 Message 104 by kbertsche, posted 03-14-2012 10:56 AM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 106 by kbertsche, posted 03-14-2012 11:36 AM PaulK has responded

    
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