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Author Topic:   The Kalam cosmological argument
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16099
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 61 of 177 (654524)
03-02-2012 12:53 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by Shimbabwe
02-29-2012 7:28 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
Very well then; the answer is no. The other candidates are ruled out as ultimate causes because they are neither timeless, nor beginningless, nor immaterial, and are consequently subject to all the laws of nature, as well as to temporal becoming. I have yet to suggest they be eliminated as secondary states, secondary events, or proximate causes.

Why can't a state be timeless, beginningless, and immaterial?

Can the state of being God have these properties?

As for your objection to volition, perhaps one may posit an immaterial, transcendent, beginningless, changeless, and powerful, entity that brought the universe into existence (ex nihilo) without volition; but, I have no idea what that might be.

No, you don't. Let's call it slud; and let's call such an entity but with volition Bob (so as not to prejudge the theological case).

Neither of us knows much about slud or about Bob, or which if either of them is responsible for the universe.

And we are in a particularly poor position to find out. If I had spent my whole life inside a large hollow tree, how much do you suppose I would know about the origin of trees? What could I know? In order to find that out I'd have to escape to the wider world in which trees are situated. If I supposed that they were built by something much like myself, this would be all very anthropomorphic, and a great sop to my vanity, but it would also be completely wrong. And if you showed me a tiny seed, I suspect that I would laugh at you ... but so it is, that's how it works.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by Shimbabwe, posted 02-29-2012 7:28 PM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-03-2012 9:28 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15370
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 62 of 177 (654546)
03-02-2012 2:06 AM
Reply to: Message 60 by Shimbabwe
03-01-2012 9:51 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
quote:

You may have scored points with your audience on this remark. My omission of the qualifier secondary was a simple copy and paste error; I must have inadvertently hit the space bar as I changed adjectives. You certainly don't think I would contend that states are not states, do you? Thanks for pointing out the typo, nonetheless. I won't return the favor. By the by, the sentence will be edited to match my earlier statement in this thread, lest I be indicted on further equivocation charges. I assume by your silence in relation to the paragraph as a whole that you agree with the first premise of the KCA.

This really makes no sense at all. Firstly, pointing out a major error on your part is not playing to the audience as you seem to think. Secondly, your "correction" in no way addresses the point nor does it improve your argument which remains an irrrational mess for the reason already stated. And thirdly it would be a ridiculous non-sequitur to claim that I agreed with the first premise of the Kalam argument on the basis that I noticed that your "argument" was nonsense. In fact I maintain that the first premise is problematic if taken in conjunction with the premise that there was no time preceding the universe.

quote:

I have not yet rejected the idea. You have failed to articulate a view at all on the idea of timelessness. Simply taking swipes at straw men will not ameliorate this glaring problem.

Again a response that makes no sense. It seems to be just lashing out, complete with the usual false accusation.

quote:

I don't hold the view that timeless events are possible, nor have I suggested you hold this view

In fact you did suggest it as I have already pointed out. You claimed that your timeless cause was capable of volition and when I pointed out the problem that volitional decisions could be seen as events, raising a question about this claim you merely said that you would accept this for the sake of argument with no further discussion. The obvious inference is that you reject the problem on the ground that you believe in the possibility of timeless events.

quote:

Moreover, any event taking place must, I believe, be in time. This intuition is neither problematic nor illogical on my view. Even on A theory of time, events may be simultaneous with their cause(s). On a static view this is even less problematic. My reply also addresses your assumption that the cause need (already) be temporal prior to the event. This is simply not true, e.g. A volitional act may be simultaneous with an event. You seem to infer a passage of time between the cause and event. I disagree with this assessment.

And as we see you still fail to address the issue preferring instead to put words in my mouth.

quote:

This is a common materialist misconception; conferring states upon the absence of such, e.g. the state of nothingness. This, I suspect, is why you have difficulty espousing or perhaps understanding the KCA.

Again a completely irrational reply which fails to address the issue. One one thing I am clear, nothingness cannot itself have states - but things and collections of things can and do - and in fact must have states. And you have failed to offer any reason at all to think otherwise.

quote:

I have not implied this. Again, you fail to understand my view.

And yet you have implied it, and I have explained exactly how you implied it - and you have offered no refutation.

quote:

One final note:My rejection of particular causes--whether they are state, event, or agent causes--need not consign me to the position that all such causes be eliminated

And yet you cannot address the central point of this discussion.

How can you eliminate state and agent causes as possible causes of our universe without also eliminating agent causes - especially given the assumption of timelessness.

You claim that the Kalam argument accomplishes it. It should be simple for someone who understands the Kalam argument to explain it. You only have to quote the relevant portion or lay out your own understanding of this argument.

But you won't do it. You absolutely refuse to do it.

quote:

This illogical proposition would eliminate any and all causes.

So agent causes are not so distinct from event and state causes...Well that's progress of a sort, in that you are conceding that much. But it still doesn't get us any closer.

However, since you deny the existence of states AND events in your timeless realm you already HAVE denied the possibility of event and state causes in that realm. At least you understand that you are being illogical in doing so.

quote:

Why should I not eliminate material causes as primary on my view for reasons already discussed? Material entities simply don't arise spontaneously, quantum fluctuation models notwithstanding; nor do they exist infinitely in the past.

The question really at hand is why you should spend time producing additional arguments against a subset of causes while NOT producing arguments against possibilities that have not yet been considered at all. Why waste time with redundant arguments while neglecting those that need to be made ?

quote:

I granted that timelessness is a state for arguments sake, and you wish to press me on this issue.

I didn't notice you doing so, nor did I make any such claim.

quote:

I simply will not espouse the proposition that the causal entity I infer existed in a timeless state, temporally prior to its effect, the effect in this case being the inception of the universe. I have addressed this concern on a number of occasions, and maintain my position that it is a non sequitur

The only question is why you would bother on "insisting" a point which is completely irrelevant to the discussion. I have never claimed that your timeless realm is temporally prior to our universe. It has never been an issue in the discussion.

How odd that you should spend so much time addressing non-issues while refusing to address points that are essential to the discussion.

I suggest that you consider the implications of your behaviour.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-01-2012 9:51 PM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 63 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-03-2012 10:37 AM PaulK has responded

    
Shimbabwe
Member (Idle past 2124 days)
Posts: 47
From: Murfreesboro, TN USA
Joined: 09-11-2003


Message 63 of 177 (654726)
03-03-2012 10:37 AM
Reply to: Message 62 by PaulK
03-02-2012 2:06 AM


Re: Reply to PAulK
Hello PaulK, my new internet friend. I am sorry if you were offended by my behavior, which was in jest. You can rest assured that offending was not my intent. I was simply returning tit for tat; as I felt you were being facetious. Now back to the discussion. Perhaps I should refocus on the two premises of the KCA.

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence.

What is your opinion on this premiss? Why is it problematic—as you have indicated—on your view?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by PaulK, posted 03-02-2012 2:06 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 64 by Percy, posted 03-03-2012 11:44 AM Shimbabwe has responded
 Message 67 by PaulK, posted 03-03-2012 4:57 PM Shimbabwe has responded
 Message 68 by Dr Adequate, posted 03-03-2012 5:28 PM Shimbabwe has not yet responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 18842
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 64 of 177 (654728)
03-03-2012 11:44 AM
Reply to: Message 63 by Shimbabwe
03-03-2012 10:37 AM


Re: Reply to PAulK
Shimbabwe writes:

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence.

This is falsified by the existence of virtual particles that flit in and out of existence with no cause whatsoever.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-03-2012 10:37 AM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by kbertsche, posted 03-03-2012 2:04 PM Percy has responded
 Message 69 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-03-2012 9:14 PM Percy has responded

    
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 386 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 65 of 177 (654738)
03-03-2012 2:04 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by Percy
03-03-2012 11:44 AM


Re: Reply to PAulK
Shimbabwe writes:


1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence.

Percy writes:

This is falsified by the existence of virtual particles that flit in and out of existence with no cause whatsoever.

--Percy


Couldn't we say that the "cause" of these virtual particles is the nature of the vacuum and the nature of quantum mechanics? If so, they DO have a cause.

"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 64 by Percy, posted 03-03-2012 11:44 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by Percy, posted 03-03-2012 2:57 PM kbertsche has responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 18842
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 66 of 177 (654741)
03-03-2012 2:57 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by kbertsche
03-03-2012 2:04 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
kbertsche writes:

Couldn't we say that the "cause" of these virtual particles is the nature of the vacuum and the nature of quantum mechanics? If so, they DO have a cause.

Sure, we could say that. And we could say that the cause of the universe is the nature of nothingness. It's just another way of saying you don't know the cause.

Causation means one event causes another event. One billiard ball striking another billiard ball causes it to move. Phenomena like the Casimir effect, virtual particles and radioactive decay have no cause. Some things have a cause, some things don't.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by kbertsche, posted 03-03-2012 2:04 PM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 76 by kbertsche, posted 03-04-2012 11:13 AM Percy has responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15370
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 67 of 177 (654749)
03-03-2012 4:57 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Shimbabwe
03-03-2012 10:37 AM


Re: Reply to PAulK
quote:

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence.

This is problematic because it is essentially an intuitive idea, because the relationship between having a beginning and having a cause is unexplained, and because the concept of "beginning" is not adequately defined.

This means that in precisely the case we wish to consider - the zero point of time - we cannot be sure if this claim is applicable or not. 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 ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-03-2012 10:37 AM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 78 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-04-2012 11:30 PM PaulK has responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16099
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 68 of 177 (654750)
03-03-2012 5:28 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Shimbabwe
03-03-2012 10:37 AM


Weasel Words
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence.

What is your opinion on this premiss? Why is it problematic—as you have indicated—on your view?

Well in addition to Paul's objection, which I agree with, I have another, which is that the premise has been carefully weaseled: it purports to be an empirical statement about causality but omits facts equally empirical.

For example, it could just as well read: "Everything has a cause", only theists wouldn't like that, so they stick in "that begins to exist", with no particular reason for adding that qualification except saving their theology.

It could, furthermore, read: "Everything has a cause which is prior to it in time", only that would never do --- 'cos then what happens to God sitting off in eternity? If we used that premise, which is supported by exactly the same observations as the original statement, then we'd come to quite a different conclusion, one unpalatable to the users of the KCA.

It reminds me rather of the creationists' restatement of Pasteur's results as "life comes from life" --- they've stated it so that it would include God (who is by hypothesis alive in some sense) magicking into existence everything from aardvarks to zebras. (If it comes to that, it would include the spontaneous generation of fleas on dogs.)

Now they could with equal empiricism and much greater accuracy say: "Every organism comes from the reproduction (perhaps with variation) of one or more similar (though not necessarily identical) organisms". Only they couldn't say that, because although it has the same empirical support as their vague mantra, they couldn't use it as a supporting argument for their belief in special creation, which would constitute an exception to this rule rather than an instance of it.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-03-2012 10:37 AM Shimbabwe has not yet responded

  
Shimbabwe
Member (Idle past 2124 days)
Posts: 47
From: Murfreesboro, TN USA
Joined: 09-11-2003


Message 69 of 177 (654761)
03-03-2012 9:14 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by Percy
03-03-2012 11:44 AM


Re: Reply to PAulK
Percy writes:

This is falsified by the existence of virtual particles that flit in and out of existence with no cause whatsoever.

The evidence for short lived virtual particles on vacuum fluctuation models is not a refutation of the first premiss. These particles, though indeterminate on Heisenberg, are subsumed in a vast sea of energy—which is not nothing— and do not come to exist at any specific point. Effectively, they already exist in the vacuum. Moreover, indeterminacy isn’t the only game in town, though I concede here it is the prevailing view.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 64 by Percy, posted 03-03-2012 11:44 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by Percy, posted 03-03-2012 9:21 PM Shimbabwe has responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 18842
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 70 of 177 (654762)
03-03-2012 9:21 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by Shimbabwe
03-03-2012 9:14 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
But everything has a cause, right? What causes virtual particles to flit into existence?

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-03-2012 9:14 PM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 72 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-03-2012 10:54 PM Percy has responded

    
Shimbabwe
Member (Idle past 2124 days)
Posts: 47
From: Murfreesboro, TN USA
Joined: 09-11-2003


Message 71 of 177 (654763)
03-03-2012 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Dr Adequate
03-02-2012 12:53 AM


Re: Reply to PAulK
Dr. Adequate writes:

And we are in a particularly poor position to find out. If I had spent my whole life inside a large hollow tree, how much do you suppose I would know about the origin of trees? What could I know? In order to find that out I'd have to escape to the wider world in which trees are situated. If I supposed that they were built by something much like myself, this would be all very anthropomorphic, and a great sop to my vanity, but it would also be completely wrong. And if you showed me a tiny seed, I suspect that I would laugh at you ... but so it is, that's how it works.

I won’t attempt to chop down this tree analogy, as I take great liberty with it in making a point. It actually quite strengthens my view. It is conceded here that the intention of your analogy may be viewed, in some sense, as a mark against theism. On closer examination, however, this is not necessarily the case. For this analogy to hold, the tree-universe must be at least observable from the inside.

We could deduce—perhaps over a vast amount of time and many generations—that our tree-universe were expanding, decaying etc. Much like our real universe, we may be able to extrapolate from these known facts, among others, that our tree-universe had a beginning and that it is not future eternal. Perhaps the seed, which you have shown me, would be meaningless—an event horizon precluding my certainty. This, however, would be irrelevant to my inferring that this tree-universe had an absolute beginning, irrespective of the number of other tree-universes existing outside the purview of my knowledge.

To posit a tree-multiverse at this point would be highly speculative, though in your analogy it would be true. It could just as easily be false—we wouldn’t know. The tree-universe in which I found myself may be the only one. If more than one tree-universe existed, or even a tree-multiverse, this would in no way lessen the need to explain the tree-universe planter. Additionally, the tree-universe planter would be unknowable—a point for agnosticism—unless the tree-universe planter wished to poke a hole in the side of my tree-universe and reveal itself. Agent causation in the ultimate sense would be plausible in that case.

Edited by Shimbabwe, : formatting error-squigglies


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Dr Adequate, posted 03-02-2012 12:53 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 74 by Dr Adequate, posted 03-04-2012 2:13 AM Shimbabwe has not yet responded

    
Shimbabwe
Member (Idle past 2124 days)
Posts: 47
From: Murfreesboro, TN USA
Joined: 09-11-2003


Message 72 of 177 (654766)
03-03-2012 10:54 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by Percy
03-03-2012 9:21 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
Percy writes:

But everything has a cause, right? What causes virtual particles to flit into existence?

At the expense of appearing petty, I will say no. Everything that BEGINS to exist has a cause according to Kalam. I suppose the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument would address this issue, but that is not up for discussion. It is not within the purview of the KCA to do so.

As to what causes virtual particles to flit into existence? I have virtually no idea.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by Percy, posted 03-03-2012 9:21 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 73 by Evlreala, posted 03-03-2012 11:41 PM Shimbabwe has not yet responded
 Message 75 by Percy, posted 03-04-2012 8:07 AM Shimbabwe has not yet responded

    
Evlreala
Member (Idle past 1330 days)
Posts: 88
From: Portland, OR United States of America
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 73 of 177 (654768)
03-03-2012 11:41 PM
Reply to: Message 72 by Shimbabwe
03-03-2012 10:54 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
Considering your take on the issue of virtual particles;

Can you demonstrate something beginning to exist?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 72 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-03-2012 10:54 PM Shimbabwe has not yet responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16099
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 74 of 177 (654771)
03-04-2012 2:13 AM
Reply to: Message 71 by Shimbabwe
03-03-2012 9:28 PM


From Inside The Tree
This, however, would be irrelevant to my inferring that this tree-universe had an absolute beginning, irrespective of the number of other tree-universes existing outside the purview of my knowledge.

Perhaps you could, but this is hardly the point.

The point is that here we sit, inside the universe, and having knowledge only of the sorts of things that are inside the universe with us. We have little basis, then, for knowing what might be outside; or even what kinds of things might be outside.

The theists tell me that what is outside the universe is a kind of thing that is so like me that it is meaningful to say that I am made in the image of that thing, and that it is appropriate to refer to that thing in the masculine gender. But this is not clear. It might be something more like an acorn. Or a floozedrucket, or a snig. It's not clear that it even exists in the same way that things in the universe exists, or is a cause in the same sense that things in the universe are causes.

Here we are, inside the tree. Can we conceive of an acorn? Can we conceive of the wonderful and diverse planet that the tree grows on? Can we conceive of the sun which that planet orbits, and of the vast galaxy in which that sun is set? No, we cannot. We can, however, conceive of the idea that the tree was built by a man who is like me except for being clever enough to build trees; but as it happens that idea has nothing to recommend it except that we can conceive of that, whereas we can't conceive of the truth, 'cos of being inside a tree.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-03-2012 9:28 PM Shimbabwe has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 18842
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 75 of 177 (654779)
03-04-2012 8:07 AM
Reply to: Message 72 by Shimbabwe
03-03-2012 10:54 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
Shimbabwe writes:

Everything that BEGINS to exist has a cause according to Kalam...

Yes, that's fine.

As to what causes virtual particles to flit into existence? I have virtually no idea.

Then isn't it possible that there is no cause to their existence, contradicting the first principle of the Kalam argument?

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 72 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-03-2012 10:54 PM Shimbabwe has not yet responded

    
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