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Author Topic:   The Kalam cosmological argument
PaulK
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(1)
Message 4 of 177 (573938)
08-13-2010 7:57 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Deleted
08-13-2010 5:47 AM


I've discussed the Kalam argument before. IMHO the biggest problem is the attempt to move beyond the idea that the universe has a cause to the idea that that cause must be God. However, there are some awkward points even in this version.

May I ask if English is not your native language ? I ask because it is usual to use "begins" or "has a beginning" rather than "starts" in the Kalam argument, and "begins" is a better choice of word - although the distinction is one that a non-native speaker might easily miss. Not that your English is bad - it's certainly understandable

quote:

Syllogism 1
Premise 1: Entropy always grows (second law of thermodynamics)
Premise 2: The universe has not reached total entropy.
Conclusion :The universe has started/has not excisted for an infinite amount of time.

This raises some issues for later points Either past time is finite or the 2LoT only applies within our universe and not to any hypothetical reality beyond our universe.

quote:

Syllogism 2
Premise 1: The universe has started
Premise 2: Everything that happens/starts has a cause.
Conclusion : The universe has a cause (to excist/what started it)

Premise 2 is questionable, but there are some subtle issues here.
If past time is finite, then it may be the case that the universe has existed for all time - there was never a time when it did not exist. Is Premise 2 true in that case ? Can we even call that a beginning, since it is so different from the beginnings we are familiar with ?

And we should point out that Premise 2 is what is often called "the law of cause and effect" and therefore Premise 2 must insist that this law applies outside of our universe.

quote:

Syllogism 3
Premise 1: The universe has a cause
Premise 2: Within spacetime there is the law of causality (cause and effect)
Conclusion: The "First cause" isnt inside spacetime.

This is just invalid. If Premise 2 is meant to claim that cause and effect only apply within spacetime then the conclusion must be that the universe exists within spacetime - and presumably its cause would, too. We cannot have causes without cause and effect.

However, if our universe is not embedded in a surrounding spacetime, and everything beyond it is timeless then the existence of the universe must also be timeless - time is something that only applies within the universe. And how can we have cause and effect without time ? With no time there can be no change, with no change there can be no effects.

Thus it seems that the best options are either a cause within spacetime or a universe that exists timelessly (as seen from "outside") with time merely a feature within it - an uncaused universe.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Deleted, posted 08-13-2010 5:47 AM Deleted has acknowledged this reply

  
PaulK
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Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 48 of 177 (654127)
02-27-2012 1:54 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by Shimbabwe
02-26-2012 2:35 PM


Re: Reply to cavediver and nwr
quote:

I wholeheartedly disagree—90% caused me to chuckle a bit. I think the terms are quite clear; though I will stop short of asserting they are univocal.

Based on my personal experience I am afraid that I have to say that most supporters of the Kalam argument seem to view "timeless" as a meaningless label, a label that is only used because it is theologically convenient.

For instance consider the premise that "everything that begins to exist has a cause". If there is no time prior to the universe does it really "begin to exist" as we would normally understand it ? Can we really extend an intuitive claim to a situation that is radically different from our experience in a way that directly challenges that intuition ?

Consider also how the notion of timelessness affects our ideas of causation. Is a timeless agent cause significantly different from state causation ? I would think not.

I would also like to point out that the multiple-universe scenarios are not proposed simply to explain "fine tuning". They are a consequence of theoretical work - speculative, yes, but so are all competing hypotheses. This in itself puts it above the "fine tuner" idea which has no such basis (and has other problems, too). Really you are treading very close to rejecting multiple universes BECAUSE they explain "fine tuning" which is obviously not a valid position.


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PaulK
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Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 51 of 177 (654213)
02-28-2012 1:37 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by Shimbabwe
02-27-2012 6:29 PM


Re: Reply to cavediver and nwr
quote:

An agent—whom I reckon as a thing, of course—need not be exempt from reasoning. The difference is that it may act volitionally. This capability is necessary if the being is to perform creative act(s). There is nothing inherently unreasonable about a being who acts volitionally in a non – deterministic fashion.

Personally I find it very questionable to assume that personal agents and only personal agents are capable of truly random behaviour. The assumption of near-universal determinism with a sole exemption for personal agents does not seem very reasonable to me.

But that is not the point. The point, which you have evaded is how an agent - especially a timeless agent - escapes the objections that rule out both event and state causation. An argument by elimination that relies on NOT examining the preferred option (because it would also be eliminated) is not reasonable at all. It is not even honest.

quote:

Granted your assertion about states or events may be true—I’m not sure about that. I would argue that no events occurred before the universe. It is also plausible that no physical state of affairs exists outside the universe; whereas an immaterial entity—that exists timelessly without the universe in an undifferentiated state—may will to create time and matter and space etc.

I think that there is an equivocation here. A non-physical state is still a state - you can't rule out state causation simply by ruling out a physical state as cause (and you can't even do that). The existence of a non-physical entity necessarily entails the existence of non-physical states, so if you want to rule out state causation you cannot appeal to the assumption that there is no physical state that could be responsible.

And would not a volitional decision count as an event ? In ruling out events are you not ruling out volition as we understand it ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by Shimbabwe, posted 02-27-2012 6:29 PM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 52 by Shimbabwe, posted 02-28-2012 9:55 AM PaulK has responded

  
PaulK
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Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 54 of 177 (654250)
02-28-2012 12:21 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by Shimbabwe
02-28-2012 9:55 AM


Re: Reply to PAulK
Now, the question at hand is how you eliminate agent and state causes without also eliminating agent causes - especially timeless agent causes (if such a thing even makes sense).

With that in mind:

quote:

Perhaps I have not articulated this point well. I am not asserting that random behavior is a property of personal beings exclusively.

OK, maybe I jumped the gun a little, although that is certainly one of Craig's arguments. But this leaves open the question of why you think that you need to invoke volition at all.

This seems to be the next thing that is possibly relevant:

quote:

The cause cannot be an eternally existing physical state or its effect would also be eternal

Does "eternal" essentially mean "timeless" here ? If not, how is it relevant ? And if it does mean "timeless" doesn't it rule out any timeless cause ?

quote:

For the sake of argument, I’ll grant that the act of volition is an event(This is currently debated among philosophers.). Why then cannot the act of volition be the first event?

This utterly fails to address the question. The question is how do you rule out event causes without ruling out volition.

quote:

Moreover, I argue, with William Lane Craig et al, that it doesn’t make sense to ask, what is the state prior to the universe? There simply is no prior in the temporal sense.

I didn't raise the issue of priority. But since you do, Craig invokes the notion of logical priority instead of temporal priority. If your proposed cause is not even logically prior to the universe, how can you say that it is a cause at all ?

quote:

As for the physical state, it is precluded already by the above argument inferred from KCA. There is no equivocation

Again a complete failure to address the point. The equivocation is in arguing solely against physical states when attempting to rule out all state causes - including non-physical state causes. Simply reiterating that you are arguing against a physical state cause - when you should be arguing against all state causes - hardly contradicts that.

So, what is your argument against a non-physical, logically prior state cause ?


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 Message 52 by Shimbabwe, posted 02-28-2012 9:55 AM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 55 by Shimbabwe, posted 02-29-2012 9:49 AM PaulK has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


(1)
Message 56 of 177 (654349)
02-29-2012 12:27 PM
Reply to: Message 55 by Shimbabwe
02-29-2012 9:49 AM


Re: Reply to PAulK
quote:

I must admit here, I don’t feel the force of this objection

It's a question, not an objection. And one you seem unable or unwilling to answer.
Of course, it could lead to the objection that your position was logically inconsistent, which would seem to have adequate force.

quote:

Moreover, it is not within the purview of KCA to preclude causal states or causal events, only to show that they are contingent upon and subordinate to an ultimate

Then let me remind you of what we are discussing. You claimed that:


The theist in this context would, nevertheless, assert that there are three primary types of causation, state, event, or agent—some would argue only two. By default agent causation is the only viable candidate for the theist because the other alternatives would necessarily introduce an infinite regress of events or an eternal universe, both of which are untenable according to the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

The question here is whether the same arguments that eliminate state and event causation would also apply to your preferred option, causation by a timeless agent. If they do then your position is logically inconsistent and must contain some error.

Now let us note that you certainly assume the existence of states and apparently even the existence of events in your logically prior timeless realm. And you need to be able to eliminate these possibilities for your claim to be true. It is very odd then, that these are completely ignored in all your discussion, because they are the most important cases to be dealt with.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 55 by Shimbabwe, posted 02-29-2012 9:49 AM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 57 by Shimbabwe, posted 02-29-2012 7:28 PM PaulK has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


(1)
Message 58 of 177 (654403)
03-01-2012 1:54 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by Shimbabwe
02-29-2012 7:28 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
quote:

If my attempts to clarify thus far have failed, perhaps I am unable to answer it.

I would say that you have yet to even offer a genuine attempt at answering the question. Whether that is because you don't understand the Kalam argument or because the answer would reveal a problem in your position I cannot know,

quote:

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 states, events, or proximate causes.

The "other candidates" are state and event causation. This argument is, therefore, clearly nonsense.

quote:

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.

More likely we will reject the idea of an timeless cause altogether, since it is deeply problematic. Which may well be the reason that you won't discuss it - or perhaps it is simply beyond your understanding.

quote:

I think my views are implicit in my replies thus far.

What I find implicit in your answers is an inability to discuss the Kalam argument.

quote:

So, I briefly mentioned the position you describe, which is held by some theologians, in an earlier post; however, I reject this view on philosophical grounds. I don’t hold the view that a succession of events (cognitive or otherwise) can take place timelessly without the universe. You have ascribed it to me. I maintain the position, as before, that this is an unintelligible proposition equivalent to asserting that some thing existed before anything existed. My somewhat curt reply seems the only alternative for making the point.

Now you are badly misrepresenting the discussion. All that was said was that I regarded a volitional decision as an event and you said that you were willing to accept that. Since you regard the creation of our universe as a volitional act it would seem to follow that you accept the possibility of timeless events. I did NOT claim to believe in timeless events myself (and in fact I reject the idea).

quote:

Moreover, I don’t think the position I hold is illogical. I do not confer state-ness on an immaterial, timeless, beginningless, entity as you claim.

Well there we see the problem. You claim that your position is not illogical and then go on to make a completely illogical claim... Of course an immaterial, timeless, beginningless entity will have states - indeed it's existence itself would be considered a state or part of one.

quote:

I am asserting that states—and events, as a matter of fact— exist in time. If you wish to confer state-ness to this first cause, that is your prerogative—and you may very well be justified. I think, conversely, this is tantamount to assigning the property of nothingness to nothing. Therefore, I have not suggested the idea in any of my replies. If so, I erred in making the assertion.

If you feel that it is absurd to state that your "first cause" exists, then so be it.

quote:

The uncaused cause did not exist in a state of timelessness as it were, biding its “time” until the moment of creation. There is no before state. Some have trouble conceptualizing the idea—I am not suggesting you do. And, for this reason, I think, Dr. Dawkins (erroneously) contends, as he has remarked on occasion, that the universe must first exist if the gods are to have a place to stand. I reject this notion, even if he is half joking.

I don't see any point in raising an objection that you don't feel applies. And I suspect that you fail to understand Dawkins' point (which at the least is sensible in that an absence of space entails the absence of any places to be).

quote:

I agree with the scientific evidence on the standard model that nothing exists temporally prior to the universe. This is not mere word play. Dr. Craig (et al) suggests that the proposed ultimate cause is timeless without the universe and temporal in relation to the universe. I have not explored this option fully; but, I see no reason to reject it. The agent may be changeless but not immutable in that case.

I would see a fundamental problem with it. Change (unlike states) would seem to be necessarily temporal. Thus to cease being timeless and become temporal would - in being a change - require that the entity is ALREADY temporal.

I suspect that Craig introduced the idea because a changeless cause must of necessity be always producing it's effect which in Craig's view requires that the effect must be eternal. This seems to involve an badly mistaken view of eternity, but unfortunately the error is intrinsic to Craig's version of the Kalam argument so he cannot admit it and deal with it.

Another fundamental problem is how we may infer a timeless cause, something I have already alluded to. If there is no time prior to the existence of our universe (a speculative idea at this point) then it follows that our universe has "always" existed (for all of time) - it has never failed to exist. THerefore we cannot require a cause to bring it into existence because it never was brought into existence. This leaves the Kalam argument dead in the water. Indeed, it follows that our universe must exist timelessly - time is something within our universe not something that can be taken as an "external" perspective. You can argue that a cause might somehow be possible, but even if you can that is a long way from successfully arguing that there IS a cause (and if timelessly existing entities can be caused then you cannot rely on the invocation of timelessness to assume that the cause of our universe did not itself have a cause).

quote:

All this being said, I speak merely as a layman on these topics; so, my assumptions are to be taken as that. I am open to other views, including yours. On balance, there remain scores of people who are not convinced by the Kalam argument. I happen to believe that it is not only logically sound, but that it is a good argument. The KCA is but one element of a comprehensive proposal for theism. Even so, I find it convincing as a standalone argument.

I believe that you have done a good job of showing that cavediver was correct, at least to the point of providing yet more evidence that those who think that the Kalam argument is a good argument do not understand it (and I would include Craig in that).


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 60 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-01-2012 9:51 PM PaulK has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


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

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


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

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 81 of 177 (654834)
03-05-2012 1:37 AM
Reply to: Message 78 by Shimbabwe
03-04-2012 11:30 PM


Re: Reply to PAulK
quote:

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.

The Kalam argument clearly disagrees since it both insists that our universe has always existed in precisely the sense I used AND that our universe requires a cause.

quote:

Nevertheless, I agree that this argument—as is the case with any philosophical proposal—is intuitive as such and relies on a number of presuppositions. It is, nevertheless, rooted in the metaphysical principle that something cannot come from nothing.

But, of course, this principle is only applicable to something which comes into existence. According to the Kalam argument there never was a time when our universe did not exist, and therefore our universe did not come into existence. Which clearly illustrates my point - an intuitive idea is being extended into a situation where it very likely does not apply.

quote:

Simply asserting that the argument is intuitive does not lead to the conclusion that the first premiss is false. As a matter of fact, intuition plays a necessary role in apprehending any and all propositional truths.

The point is that intuition is inferior to understanding and may lead us to false conclusions - and very likely will do in situations that are radically different from our normal experience in ways that are directly relevant to the question at hand. Let us also note that the "gambler's fallacy" is a perfectly intuitive idea - but it is wrong, even in ordinary experience. A proper understanding of probability saves us from that error.

quote:

I agree with you that there was not a time when nothing existed. If time—cosmological time as it were—began to exist, simultaneous with, as a constituent of, and in relation to, all reality; then your assessment is in fact correct. We may, though, infer that at T-0 there was an absolute beginning of the universe; and this accords with the Borde, Guth, Vilenkin theorem, irrespective of the physical description of the universe or of the space-time boundary.

Which again illustrates the problem. You apparently take the view that our universe has a beginning but does not require a cause, rejecting the very premise we are discussing. But you could also have argues for a different idea of a beginning - one that rules other the specific case we are discussing - and retained the premise. Which goes back to my point that the idea of "beginning" as it appears in the Kalam argument is poorly defined.

quote:

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.

Obviously simply saying that YOU can define"beginning" does not mean that the Kalam argument itself contains a clear definition. Nor does it mean that the definition you offer is the one that the Kalam argument uses - and in fact it cannot be.

According to your definition, given a finite past anything that exists at T=0 has a beginning, as does anything which comes into existence later. Thus the premise "everything that has a beginning has a cause" becomes "anything that exists has a cause" (assuming a finite past). This contradicts both the Kalam argument and your own statement in your first paragraph. So I must thank you again for illustrating my point so clearly. If "beginning" was well-defined in the Kalam argument this level of confusion would simply not be possible.

ABE: Try this alternative definition. A thing has a beginning if it exists at time T, and there is a prior time T' when it does not exist.
Can you give any reason for thinking that this definition is any less accurate than yours ?

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-04-2012 11:30 PM Shimbabwe has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 90 by Shimbabwe, posted 03-11-2012 9:06 PM PaulK has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 87 of 177 (654905)
03-05-2012 12:24 PM
Reply to: Message 85 by kbertsche
03-05-2012 9:58 AM


Re: Reply to PAulK
quote:

My point is that if we are discussing a philosophical claim (which Kalaam is) we need careful philosophical definitions of our terms.

I'm glad that you've come to realise that. It's a major failing of the Kalam argument that it avoids giving careful definitions of it's terms.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 85 by kbertsche, posted 03-05-2012 9:58 AM kbertsche has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


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

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


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

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


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

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


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

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16989
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 109 of 177 (655894)
03-14-2012 12:11 PM
Reply to: Message 106 by kbertsche
03-14-2012 11:36 AM


Re: Always existing.
quote:

It would be nonsense to say that something infinitely old (e.g. God) ever "began to exist".

If past time is finite, as claimed by the Kalam argument it is impossible for anything to be infinitely old. I suppose, in that case your claim is only true in that something that has never existed cannot have "begun to exist"

quote:

But it seems quite reasonable to say that something with a finite age (e.g. the universe) "began to exist."

But only if we ignore the fact that we are speaking of something that has always existed....


This message is a reply to:
 Message 106 by kbertsche, posted 03-14-2012 11:36 AM kbertsche has acknowledged this reply

  
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