Author Topic: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.  (Read 1826 times)

Lespaul_Lover

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2017, 02:39:33 PM »
Interestingly enough, I was looking through some old podcasts and I found a section where Craig actually addresses this objection. Here is a copy of part of his response and the entire podcast transcript can be found here:

The fallacy of composition, as he says, is reasoning that because all of the parts of something have a certain property therefore the whole has that property. For example, if every little piece of an elephant is light in weight, then the whole elephant is light in weight. That would be committing the fallacy of composition. It is not true that because every part has a property that the whole thing composed of those parts has the property. I think, Kevin, the allegation here is supposed to be against the premise that says every thing that begins to exist has a cause. The reader apparently is under the impression that one justifies seeking a cause of the universe by arguing compositionally – that because everything in the universe has a cause, therefore the universe as a whole has a cause. That is just manifestly incorrect. That is the fallacy of composition. But if you read my work I think you will find nowhere in anything that I've ever written or published or said have I defended the causal principle or there being a cause of the universe by composition. That would be obviously fallacious. Rather what I argue is that the principle “everything that begins to exist, everything that comes into being at some point, must have a cause which brings it into existence.” This is rooted in the metaphysical truth that something can't come out of nothing. Moreover, I think that this principle is constantly confirmed in our experience. So I would not think to try to justify the kalam cosmological argument's conclusion by arguing from composition. That would just be wrong, but he is setting up a straw man here which no one has defended.

Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/more-objections-to-kalam#ixzz4cV1hPL1D

I think this applies well to the argument at hand but I should note that this is a podcast transcript and not a published article and so will not go into as much detail as we might like.

I'm not sure that Dr. Craig is correct that a compositional fallacies requires an argument made by compositional logic. I could be wrong, but i think all that is required is the assumption that a whole does not have any properties that it's parts do not have. In this case the inductive inference that everything that begins to exist must have a cause is based on our experience of proper parts of the universe, and then assumption is being made that the universe as a whole does not have a property, i.e., being uncaused that it's parts do not have. That seems close enough to being a compositional fallacy. But anyway, i don't think it matters too much because there are other problems with the argument that make this pretty much of a moot point.

So, if indeed it is questionable that there is a fallacy of composition at play, it can be stated as an equivocation, that is the beginning of the universe is not the same sort of beginning that informs the causal principle. That is the beginning of the universe is a beginning simultaneous with the beginning of time and it is the the beginning of the universe as a whole and not the rearrangement of preexisting matter, whereas the beginning of everything else is a beginning of a proper part of the universe, the rearrangement of preexisting matter, and cotemporaneous with the beginning of time itself.

bruce,
I am confused by your statement, "I'm not sure that Dr. Craig is correct that a compositional fallacies requires an argument made by compositional logic." What exactly do you mean by compositional logic? Could you elaborate on that? I think my core disagreement with your argument above is the section, "In this case the inductive inference that everything that begins to exist must have a cause is based on our experience of proper parts of the universe, and then assumption is being made that the universe as a whole does not have a property, i.e., being uncaused that it's parts do not have. That seems close enough to being a compositional fallacy."
I think that in regards to assumption that everything which begins must have a cause" is not rooted in the intuition or our perception of things coming into being but is rooted in the Causal Principle (or as he states in the transcript, "This is rooted in the metaphysical truth that something can't come out of nothing." So it seems, that Craig's point is that something cannot come out of nothing whatsoever, but, he explains that our intuitions and perception of universe around us do affirm this idea "Moreover, I think that this principle is constantly confirmed in our experience." The key phrase being "Moreover." I think in order to dismantle the argument like you seem to be doing, you need to have justification for denying the truth of premise 1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause and not just show the seeming invalidity of showing that some parts of the universe do not entirely conclude to the whole. Furthermore,I do believe that you actually betray your position with the last statement, " whereas the beginning of everything else is a beginning of a proper part of the universe, the rearrangement of preexisting matter, and cotemporaneous with the beginning of time itself." In saying that everything else in the universe is a rearrangement of preexisting matter, you are affirming the truth that something cannot come from nothing. Hence the verb rearrangement. I think this is a dangerous inconsistency. Moreover, I would also possibly see this as committing the taxicab fallacy as you can affirm the Casual Principle in regards to all of the parts of the universe but not to the universe as a whole itself. I hope that I did do justice to your post and if I have not, please let me know. I do appreciate your response.

Thank you. Very well put. What I am trying to get across in all of this is that the beginning of the universe is a unique sort of beginning unlike the beginning of everything else, which are all proper parts of the universe. I don't see this unique type of beginning as being something to which we can necessarily extend the inference of a need for a cause. Of course, that doesn't mean it doesn't have a cause, just that it is significantly enough different that I don't think we can say necessarily that it needs a cause.

You have to understand the point that when making an argument like the Kalam which is trying to prove that the universe is in need of a cause or in other words contingent, one cannot assume in arguing any of the premises that the universe does not exist as a matter of metaphysical necessity. To do so would be to beg the question, so it is necessary for the sake of the argument to assume that it is possible that it exists necessarily. As such, and since in arguing the Kalam Dr. Craig also argues that an infinite regress of is impossible, it follows logically that the universe necessarily has a beginning in time, and so given those assumptions it looks very much like the universe in it's initial condition could be the uncaused first cause of classical philosophy. Again, this is not a proof that that is the case just a plausibility argument for it being the case, but that is all that is needed to defeat the Kalam as a strict proof.

If it is possible that the universe is uncaused and has a metaphysically necessary beginning cotemporaneous with the beginning of time, then that beginning  cannot be considered proof that the universe is in need f cause for its existence.

bruce,
I am happy that we can have a good dialogue like this, I enjoy healthy discussion. So thanks for that :) First off, in regards to, "beginning of the universe is a unique sort of beginning unlike the beginning of everything else, which are all proper parts of the universe" can you provide some evidence to show that the beginning of the universe is unique unlike all of its parts which contribute to the whole? I don't mean to sound redundant but I still believe that the taxi cabbing fallacy applies here because you are applying the causal principle to every part of the universe but not to the whole of the universe. That seems like you are taxi cabbing. with your next sentence regarding the necessity of the universe not needing a cause, are you simply advocating that that premise 1 does not necessitate a cause of the universe? I would like to hear more about that.

I would completely agree with you that, "one cannot assume in arguing any of the premises that the universe does not exist as a matter of metaphysical necessity..." because that would be fallacious in begging the question as you have stated. Totally in conjunction with that. I am confused with the idea that Craig argues that an infinite regress is impossible, I have seen some of this idea in his scholarly articles but I haven't researched it. I know from his On Guard book he does ague that you cannot have an actual infinite, and that one cannot pass through an infinite amount of elements, so the idea that the universe exists eternally is thus defeated logically. I am not sure if necessity is equated with eternity, but I would think so. So as you rightly point out, Craig is not assuming that the universe is either necessary or contingent, but explores each side and from the philosophical and scientific evidence comes to see that the universe does exist contingently as it had a beginning. My biggest problem with your statement above is, "it looks very much like the universe in it's initial condition could be the uncaused first cause of classical philosophy." It seems as though your statement defeats itself because you say that the universe is the "uncaused first cause" which is a self defeater considering that the universe could not create itself if it is uncaused. Finally, you say that, "If it is possible that the universe is uncaused and has a metaphysically necessary beginning cotemporaneous with the beginning of time, then that beginning  cannot be considered proof that the universe is in need f cause for its existence." I see another self-defeating idea here in that you state that, "the universe is uncaused and has a metaphysically necessary beginning/b]" if something has a beginning it would have a cause as I argue for above. It seems as though you are possibly begging the question here by assuming that something can begin without a cause, with no evidence for that view, hence the assumption. As a side note, when I attack your arguments I am in no way attacking you, just ideas. If I seem too harsh or bashing in my critiques please tell me and I will adjust my wording.
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lucious

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2017, 09:42:56 PM »
This is what I've been saying all along--the difference does not seem to make any difference, there needs to be some compelling argument for this legitimates acausal becoming.

bruce culver

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #32 on: May 29, 2017, 12:12:44 PM »
I'm sorry I somehow missed this earlier and just now replying



Interestingly enough, I was looking through some old podcasts and I found a section where Craig actually addresses this objection. Here is a copy of part of his response and the entire podcast transcript can be found here:

The fallacy of composition, as he says, is reasoning that because all of the parts of something have a certain property therefore the whole has that property. For example, if every little piece of an elephant is light in weight, then the whole elephant is light in weight. That would be committing the fallacy of composition. It is not true that because every part has a property that the whole thing composed of those parts has the property. I think, Kevin, the allegation here is supposed to be against the premise that says every thing that begins to exist has a cause. The reader apparently is under the impression that one justifies seeking a cause of the universe by arguing compositionally – that because everything in the universe has a cause, therefore the universe as a whole has a cause. That is just manifestly incorrect. That is the fallacy of composition. But if you read my work I think you will find nowhere in anything that I've ever written or published or said have I defended the causal principle or there being a cause of the universe by composition. That would be obviously fallacious. Rather what I argue is that the principle “everything that begins to exist, everything that comes into being at some point, must have a cause which brings it into existence.” This is rooted in the metaphysical truth that something can't come out of nothing. Moreover, I think that this principle is constantly confirmed in our experience. So I would not think to try to justify the kalam cosmological argument's conclusion by arguing from composition. That would just be wrong, but he is setting up a straw man here which no one has defended.

Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/more-objections-to-kalam#ixzz4cV1hPL1D

I think this applies well to the argument at hand but I should note that this is a podcast transcript and not a published article and so will not go into as much detail as we might like.

I'm not sure that Dr. Craig is correct that a compositional fallacies requires an argument made by compositional logic. I could be wrong, but i think all that is required is the assumption that a whole does not have any properties that it's parts do not have. In this case the inductive inference that everything that begins to exist must have a cause is based on our experience of proper parts of the universe, and then assumption is being made that the universe as a whole does not have a property, i.e., being uncaused that it's parts do not have. That seems close enough to being a compositional fallacy. But anyway, i don't think it matters too much because there are other problems with the argument that make this pretty much of a moot point.

So, if indeed it is questionable that there is a fallacy of composition at play, it can be stated as an equivocation, that is the beginning of the universe is not the same sort of beginning that informs the causal principle. That is the beginning of the universe is a beginning simultaneous with the beginning of time and it is the the beginning of the universe as a whole and not the rearrangement of preexisting matter, whereas the beginning of everything else is a beginning of a proper part of the universe, the rearrangement of preexisting matter, and cotemporaneous with the beginning of time itself.

bruce,
I am confused by your statement, "I'm not sure that Dr. Craig is correct that a compositional fallacies requires an argument made by compositional logic." What exactly do you mean by compositional logic? Could you elaborate on that?
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That I think means that it is based on merelogical theory of the relation of parts to whole. In this case I think there is a compositional mistake being made in thinking that because complex proper parts of the universe always have some cause for their coming into existence that therefore the universe as a composition of those parts must also. But the universe in its initial condition was not a composition of its complex parts. In fact, it seems likely that in its initial condition, if the universe had any parts at all they were only simple parts (elementary particles). As such, I see no reason to think that the inductive inference in P1 of the KCA has any bearing on the universe in its initial condition. If it is not a compositional fallacy in the usual sense, it is something very much akin to one.

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I think my core disagreement with your argument above is the section, "In this case the inductive inference that everything that begins to exist must have a cause is based on our experience of proper parts of the universe, and then assumption is being made that the universe as a whole does not have a property, i.e., being uncaused that it's parts do not have. That seems close enough to being a compositional fallacy."
I think that in regards to assumption that everything which begins must have a cause" is not rooted in the intuition or our perception of things coming into being but is rooted in the Causal Principle (or as he states in the transcript, "This is rooted in the metaphysical truth that something can't come out of nothing."

I'm not sure these are really two different things. And even if they are, I have given a cogent argument that even if the universe in some sense "began to exist" and I think it did, in the sense of having a first moment of existence, it did NOT "come into being out of nothing". It did not "come into being" at all because that would imply there was some time at which it did not exist, which is a highly dubious proposition. This is difficult to conceive of, but that is all part and parcel of the utterly unique nature of the first moment of time and whatever existed at that first moment, IMO the universe in its initial condition.


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So it seems, that Craig's point is that something cannot come out of nothing whatsoever, but, he explains that our intuitions and perception of universe around us do affirm this idea "Moreover, I think that this principle is constantly confirmed in our experience." The key phrase being "Moreover." I think in order to dismantle the argument like you seem to be doing, you need to have justification for denying the truth of premise 1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause and not just show the seeming invalidity of showing that some parts of the universe do not entirely conclude to the whole. Furthermore,I do believe that you actually betray your position with the last statement, " whereas the beginning of everything else is a beginning of a proper part of the universe, the rearrangement of preexisting matter, and cotemporaneous with the beginning of time itself." In saying that everything else in the universe is a rearrangement of preexisting matter, you are affirming the truth that something cannot come from nothing. Hence the verb rearrangement. I think this is a dangerous inconsistency. Moreover, I would also possibly see this as committing the taxicab fallacy as you can affirm the Casual Principle in regards to all of the parts of the universe but not to the universe as a whole itself. I hope that I did do justice to your post and if I have not, please let me know. I do appreciate your response.

Sorry, I don't see any fallacy in my statement. I would stand by that.

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Thank you. Very well put. What I am trying to get across in all of this is that the beginning of the universe is a unique sort of beginning unlike the beginning of everything else, which are all proper parts of the universe. I don't see this unique type of beginning as being something to which we can necessarily extend the inference of a need for a cause. Of course, that doesn't mean it doesn't have a cause, just that it is significantly enough different that I don't think we can say necessarily that it needs a cause.

You have to understand the point that when making an argument like the Kalam which is trying to prove that the universe is in need of a cause or in other words contingent, one cannot assume in arguing any of the premises that the universe does not exist as a matter of metaphysical necessity. To do so would be to beg the question, so it is necessary for the sake of the argument to assume that it is possible that it exists necessarily. As such, and since in arguing the Kalam Dr. Craig also argues that an infinite regress of is impossible, it follows logically that the universe necessarily has a beginning in time, and so given those assumptions it looks very much like the universe in it's initial condition could be the uncaused first cause of classical philosophy. Again, this is not a proof that that is the case just a plausibility argument for it being the case, but that is all that is needed to defeat the Kalam as a strict proof.

If it is possible that the universe is uncaused and has a metaphysically necessary beginning cotemporaneous with the beginning of time, then that beginning  cannot be considered proof that the universe is in need f cause for its existence.

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bruce,
I am happy that we can have a good dialogue like this, I enjoy healthy discussion. So thanks for that :) First off, in regards to, "beginning of the universe is a unique sort of beginning unlike the beginning of everything else, which are all proper parts of the universe" can you provide some evidence to show that the beginning of the universe is unique unlike all of its parts which contribute to the whole? I don't mean to sound redundant but I still believe that the taxi cabbing fallacy applies here because you are applying the causal principle to every part of the universe but not to the whole of the universe. That seems like you are taxi cabbing. with your next sentence regarding the necessity of the universe not needing a cause, are you simply advocating that that premise 1 does not necessitate a cause of the universe? I would like to hear more about that.

It's not "taxi cabbing" because I have a very principled reason for getting out of the cab at that point. That is, it IS a unique event. I am not sure why I should need to provide an argument for that. It seems self-evident to me that there is only one first moment of the universe and that it is unlike any other moment in several ways. Mainly, there is no preceding moment. As Hawking puts it, to ask what came before that moment is like asking what is north of the North Pole.  It's not that there was some state of nothingness preceding that moment out of which popped the universe. There is no preceding moment at all.

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I would completely agree with you that, "one cannot assume in arguing any of the premises that the universe does not exist as a matter of metaphysical necessity..." because that would be fallacious in begging the question as you have stated. Totally in conjunction with that. I am confused with the idea that Craig argues that an infinite regress is impossible, I have seen some of this idea in his scholarly articles but I haven't researched it. I know from his On Guard book he does ague that you cannot have an actual infinite, and that one cannot pass through an infinite amount of elements, so the idea that the universe exists eternally is thus defeated logically. I am not sure if necessity is equated with eternity, but I would think so. So as you rightly point out, Craig is not assuming that the universe is either necessary or contingent, but explores each side and from the philosophical and scientific evidence comes to see that the universe does exist contingently as it had a beginning.


And I am precisely questioning this idea that having a beginning entails contingency. Yes, it does for complex proper parts of the universe, which all had a beginning and are all contingent, but it is not clear at all, and highly dubious IMO to extend that to the universe as a whole, which in its initial condition is not a composition of complex proper parts, but rather, if it has parts at all, it is a composition of simple parts.


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My biggest problem with your statement above is, "it looks very much like the universe in it's initial condition could be the uncaused first cause of classical philosophy." It seems as though your statement defeats itself because you say that the universe is the "uncaused first cause" which is a self defeater considering that the universe could not create itself if it is uncaused.

No, it could be uncaused in its initial condition and that initial condition would be the first cause of the universe in every other condition through its entire existence. There's nothing self-defeating in that idea.


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Finally, you say that, "If it is possible that the universe is uncaused and has a metaphysically necessary beginning cotemporaneous with the beginning of time, then that beginning  cannot be considered proof that the universe is in need f cause for its existence." I see another self-defeating idea here in that you state that, "the universe is uncaused and has a metaphysically necessary beginning/b]" if something has a beginning it would have a cause as I argue for above. It seems as though you are possibly begging the question here by assuming that something can begin without a cause, with no evidence for that view, hence the assumption. As a side note, when I attack your arguments I am in no way attacking you, just ideas. If I seem too harsh or bashing in my critiques please tell me and I will adjust my wording.

No, I don't feel bashed at all. You are very polite. I just don't think you are really considering my position rather than trying to find fault with it. I'm not beginning the question by assuming that universe can begin w/o a cause. I'm not even arguing that it necessarily could have begun w/o a cause. I am simply rejecting the idea that its having a beginning necessitates it having a cause.

My argument is quite simply a counter thesis, i.e., that the universe in its initial condition, at the beginning of time itself, conceivably is the uncaused first cause of the universe as it exists now and as it has existed and always will exist throughout time. That is, that the universe as a whole itself exists uncaused. As nobody doubts the existence of the universe, this seems to me to be a more parsimonious hypothesis than to posit that a timeless, immaterial person created the universe out of nothing. I don't see anything that that hypothesis adds to the picture that my hypothesis does not, and mine avoids an unnecessary multiplication of entities. According to Occam's razor: "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity" And I simply see no compelling reason to multiply entities to include a creator for the universe when I seen necessity for doing so.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 12:16:32 PM by bruce culver »
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Lespaul_Lover

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #33 on: May 30, 2017, 05:20:35 PM »
Bruce,
Thanks for posting a reply! It's good to discuss some more with you. Your post was very long, so I'll focus on what I think are the most crucial points in our discussion. Firstly, when it comes to the universe being the uncaused first cause as you have put it, I am confused as to how you have justification for getting out of the cab so to speak when it comes to the initial beginning of the universe but not anything within the universe. You state that the universe existing is an unique event and say that you do not see the need to argue for that. I think that my biggest issue with the universe being a unique event is that I am stuck on the idea that if all parts of the whole are contingent, then it is correct to infer that the whole is contingent as well. I could be thinking fallaciously here, so if I am, please point that out. From another point of view, if you do asset that the universe existing is a unique even, I struggle with that idea because it denies the causal principle, a metaphysical principle. I think that is why my doubt for that part of our argument comes out. Secondly, I would like some clarification on this statement you raise, "No, it could be uncaused in its initial condition and that initial condition would be the first cause of the universe in every other condition through its entire existence. There's nothing self-defeating in that idea." In using the term 'initial cause' are you using that to describe the universe itself or something else? I am confused by that statement and would like clarification. Finally, my major 'bone' if you will with your idea is with this statement, " that the universe in its initial condition, at the beginning of time itself, conceivably is the uncaused first cause of the universe as it exists now and as it has existed and always will exist throughout time. That is, that the universe as a whole itself exists uncaused." It seems as though you are saying that the universe during its specific or initial condition caused itself. If you are asserting that, I most definitely see that as self refuting as per this reasoning:

1) The universe was in an initial condition at the beginning of time
2) The condition was the cause of the universe as it is now, as it was and will ever be
3) The universe as a whole exists uncaused

This is viciously self-defeating because of two reasons, 1) something cannot create itself, for in order for something to create itself, it must have been present to do so, which is absurd. And 2) if something is caused it cannot be necessary. If something is caused it is contingent, not necessary. I think this may be where the source of our disagreement lies. To explain myself further I think that this quote from Craig's written work on the Kalam sums it up well, "Thus, if the universe began to exist, its lacks at least one of the essential properties of necessary existence-eternality." That is my point, that if something does exist because of something else (it was caused) it cannot be necessary because for something to be necessary it must exist eternally, or as Leibniz put it, by it's own nature. I think that this is why I have trouble seeing your side of things, because it seems very self-defeating. But I also know that I can be very stubborn and prideful so I will try and see things from your side. In all honesty, your argument for the universe's beginning being unique seemed good because you showed that there was no preceding moment which is unlike other events in the universe. Once again I hope I did justice to your side.
Brett

Here is the link to my source for the quote from Craig:
Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-ultimate-question-of-origins-god-and-the-beginning-of-the-universe#ixzz4ibRQDnSs
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igr

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2017, 02:39:38 AM »
So WLC concludes that "there exists a Personal Creator of the universe, who, sans the universe, is timeless, spaceless, beginningless, changeless, necessary, uncaused, and enormously powerful"

WLC claims that there must be a "personal agent who freely chooses to bring about an effect without antecedent determining conditions"

There is a problem here.  For the Personal Agent to be able to freely choose to bring about something, the Personal Agent cannot be timeless and changeless.  The actioning of that free choice is not possible even though that might be a characteristic of the Personal Agent.  If there is no time then there is no situation in which a free choice can be made.  If a free choice is made, that free choice is a change, which cannot occur in changelessness.

WLC states that the Personal Agent has "changeless intention of the will to create a universe", but must also have a changeless intention to freely choose to bring about the creation of the universe.  This requires an interruption from the state of timelessness/changelessness.  That interruption would come from the Personal Agent that is "frozen" and thus never able to action the interruption.

So this WLC solution is no solution at all.  The Personal Agent is "frozen" in timelessness and changelessness with no means of escape.

Lespaul_Lover

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2017, 02:55:52 PM »
igr,

Thanks for jumping into the conversation, you've brought up a really hard question. I want to first address your claim that, "  For the Personal Agent to be able to freely choose to bring about something, the Personal Agent cannot be timeless and changeless.  The actioning of that free choice is not possible even though that might be a characteristic of the Personal Agent.  If there is no time then there is no situation in which a free choice can be made.  If a free choice is made, that free choice is a change, which cannot occur in changelessness." If your statement about free choices only happening within time comes from our human intuition (I can type this message freely but only in time) then there is an issue because as you have said yourself, this being is timeless (outside of time) and so to say that it cannot freely do something is to compare it to a being that is constrained by time, which is fallacious. I believe you are making a false comparison.

Secondly, I believe that WLC does actually state that God can be changeless and in time in order to as you said, " This requires an interruption from the state of timelessness/changelessness." Here are some sources for my claims.

Here is one of Craig's written articles on God and time: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/god-and-the-beginning-of-time
And here is an talk/interview with Robert Kuhn on God's changelessness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9_B-Z1r0-I and timelessness:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3N_RAvksP4  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbirUdSnZLU

Hope I did justice to your view and answered it cordially. Looking forward to more discussion.
Brett
Proverbs 27:17- "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."

lucious

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #36 on: June 08, 2017, 07:39:45 AM »
The brute contingency of the first event suggests another state of affairs could have been in its place--another thing coming into being--hence, the first event was not determined.

bruce culver

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #37 on: June 08, 2017, 12:53:26 PM »
Bruce,
Thanks for posting a reply! It's good to discuss some more with you. Your post was very long, so I'll focus on what I think are the most crucial points in our discussion. Firstly, when it comes to the universe being the uncaused first cause as you have put it, I am confused as to how you have justification for getting out of the cab so to speak when it comes to the initial beginning of the universe but not anything within the universe. You state that the universe existing is an unique event and say that you do not see the need to argue for that. I think that my biggest issue with the universe being a unique event is that I am stuck on the idea that if all parts of the whole are contingent, then it is correct to infer that the whole is contingent as well. I could be thinking fallaciously here, so if I am, please point that out.

I think that is a mistake. The universe at the classical level is composed of simple and complex proper parts. The simples would be things like elementary particles, quarks, etc. The complex parts are the things of our common experience, rocks, trees, dogs, planets, stars, galaxies, etc. It seems quite reasonable to think that the way that the complex parts form, coming into and going out of existence, as various arrangements of simples, is contingent on the initial conditions of the universe, as some sort of singularity, and perhaps also a certain amount of chance, i.e., quantum indeterminacy. It does not at all follow that the universe in its initial conditions is was also contingent on anything beyond itself.

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From another point of view, if you do asset that the universe existing is a unique even, I struggle with that idea because it denies the causal principle, a metaphysical principle.

"Nothing from nothing comes." Don't deny that at all. The universe does not come into existence from nothing. It doesn't come into existence because it never was out of existence. There simply is no time before which it existed. This cannot be said of any proper complex part of the universe, and it is our experience of these things coming into existence that informs the "causal principle". I just don't see any reason to think that it pertains to the whole, and for the reasons already stated, I think there is good reason to think it does not.

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Secondly, I would like some clarification on this statement you raise, "No, it could be uncaused in its initial condition and that initial condition would be the first cause of the universe in every other condition through its entire existence. There's nothing self-defeating in that idea." In using the term 'initial cause' are you using that to describe the universe itself or something else?

Yes, the initial condition of the universe.

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Finally, my major 'bone' if you will with your idea is with this statement, " that the universe in its initial condition, at the beginning of time itself, conceivably is the uncaused first cause of the universe as it exists now and as it has existed and always will exist throughout time. That is, that the universe as a whole itself exists uncaused." It seems as though you are saying that the universe during its specific or initial condition caused itself. If you are asserting that, I most definitely see that as self refuting as per this reasoning:

1) The universe was in an initial condition at the beginning of time
2) The condition was the cause of the universe as it is now, as it was and will ever be
3) The universe as a whole exists uncaused

This is viciously self-defeating because of two reasons, 1) something cannot create itself, for in order for something to create itself, it must have been present to do so, which is absurd. And 2) if something is caused it cannot be necessary.

There are two aspects of the "universe as a whole." There is the universe as a composition of its simple parts, this is uncaused, self-existent. Then there is the universe as a composition of its complex proper parts, this is contingent upon the existence of the universe as composition of its simple parts as it existed in its initial condition, assuming it had any parts in its initial condition.

So, in a sense, yes, the universe in its initial condition causes the universe to exist as it does at present, but it is the same universe, just in different form. It may very well be exactly the same set of simple proper parts, just arranged in a much different way.


Quote
If something is caused it is contingent, not necessary. I think this may be where the source of our disagreement lies. To explain myself further I think that this quote from Craig's written work on the Kalam sums it up well, "Thus, if the universe began to exist, its lacks at least one of the essential properties of necessary existence-eternality." That is my point, that if something does exist because of something else (it was caused) it cannot be necessary because for something to be necessary it must exist eternally, or as Leibniz put it, by it's own nature. I think that this is why I have trouble seeing your side of things, because it seems very self-defeating. But I also know that I can be very stubborn and prideful so I will try and see things from your side. In all honesty, your argument for the universe's beginning being unique seemed good because you showed that there was no preceding moment which is unlike other events in the universe. Once again I hope I did justice to your side.
Brett

Yes, to accept my position you have to accept a somewhat different idea of eternality than either a timeless existence or a an infinite tensed past. If Dr. Craig is correct that an infinite regress is impossible, then an infinite tensed past is metaphysically impossible, and would be even for God. What I am suggesting is that timeless existence may also be metaphysically impossible. I certainly can't conceive of any such thing. That in itself doesn't allow me to say it is metaphysically impossible, but...Anyway, what I am proposing isa sense of "eternal" meaning "existing for all time" or if x is eternal "there is no time at which x does not exist." So, this does not preclude x from having a temporal beginning, in the sense of first moment of existence. And this is consistent with the metaphysical impossibility of an infinite regress. In fact, it would be metaphysically necessary for anything that exists temporally to have a first moment of existence. And as the existence of this eternal universe would be coextensive with the existence of time itself, there would be no "coming into being" of the universe, because x's "coming into being" presupposes there being a time at which x did not exist, and this would not be the case with the universe.

Sorry, I haven't been more timely with my replies. I've been busy with my garden and some other projects and don't have as much time for the forums as I did during the winter.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 12:57:25 PM by bruce culver »
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bruce culver

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #38 on: June 08, 2017, 01:06:45 PM »
The brute contingency of the first event suggests another state of affairs could have been in its place--another thing coming into being--hence, the first event was not determined.


What? If it is the first event, how can it be contingent? Sure, we can postulate that something may be causal prior to it w/o being temporally prior, but that territory is just as uncharted as universe's popping into existence out of nothing. But it's not necessary to go down either of those rabbit holes. If an infinite regress is impossible then and infinite regress of temporal moments is just as impossible as an infinite regress of causes, and hence we arrive at a necessary first moment of existence for a necessary first cause, and why cannot that simply be the universe in its initial condition? Neither brute, nor contingent.
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Lespaul_Lover

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #39 on: June 09, 2017, 11:08:30 AM »
Quote
I think that is a mistake. The universe at the classical level is composed of simple and complex proper parts. The simples would be things like elementary particles, quarks, etc. The complex parts are the things of our common experience, rocks, trees, dogs, planets, stars, galaxies, etc. It seems quite reasonable to think that the way that the complex parts form, coming into and going out of existence, as various arrangements of simples, is contingent on the initial conditions of the universe, as some sort of singularity, and perhaps also a certain amount of chance, i.e., quantum indeterminacy. It does not at all follow that the universe in its initial conditions is was also contingent on anything beyond itself.

Okay I think I see what you're saying in regards to my inferential reasoning not measuring up, sure. Can you explain more by what you mean by 'quantum indeterminacy'? And I'm confused by your statement that the arrangement of simples is contingent on the initial conditions of the universe. What does the initial conditions of the universe have to do with how matter reforms in the universe now? I think your last statement ' It does not follow that the universe in its initial conditions was also contingent on anything beyond itself.' is problematic because you seem to have affirmed the universe had a starting point, "singularity as you say", but if the universe did have a point of singularity and as you assert in your second paragraph "Nothing from nothing comes. Don't deny that at all." But if the universe does have a point of singularity as you mention, and as I agree, my question is, what brought the universe into being? for if the universe does have a point of singularity, it does have a starting point and therefore is contingent.



Quote
"Nothing from nothing comes." Don't deny that at all. The universe does not come into existence from nothing. It doesn't come into existence because it never was out of existence. There simply is no time before which it existed. This cannot be said of any proper complex part of the universe, and it is our experience of these things coming into existence that informs the "causal principle". I just don't see any reason to think that it pertains to the whole, and for the reasons already stated, I think there is good reason to think it does not.

Again here it seems like you are contradicting yourself in your previous paragraph because you affirm that the universe has a singularity and yet then assert that universe never began to exist. That is self-defeating. Maybe you can say that because you say that the "there is no no time before which it existed?" I'm not sure I am grasping your position well so some more explanation would be perfect :)

Quote
Secondly, I would like some clarification on this statement you raise, "No, it could be uncaused in its initial condition and that initial condition would be the first cause of the universe in every other condition through its entire existence. There's nothing self-defeating in that idea." In using the term 'initial cause' are you using that to describe the universe itself or something else?

Yes, the initial condition of the universe.

Quote
Finally, my major 'bone' if you will with your idea is with this statement, " that the universe in its initial condition, at the beginning of time itself, conceivably is the uncaused first cause of the universe as it exists now and as it has existed and always will exist throughout time. That is, that the universe as a whole itself exists uncaused." It seems as though you are saying that the universe during its specific or initial condition caused itself. If you are asserting that, I most definitely see that as self refuting as per this reasoning:

1) The universe was in an initial condition at the beginning of time
2) The condition was the cause of the universe as it is now, as it was and will ever be
3) The universe as a whole exists uncaused

This is viciously self-defeating because of two reasons, 1) something cannot create itself, for in order for something to create itself, it must have been present to do so, which is absurd. And 2) if something is caused it cannot be necessary.

Quote
There are two aspects of the "universe as a whole." There is the universe as a composition of its simple parts, this is uncaused, self-existent. Then there is the universe as a composition of its complex proper parts, this is contingent upon the existence of the universe as composition of its simple parts as it existed in its initial condition, assuming it had any parts in its initial condition.

So, in a sense, yes, the universe in its initial condition causes the universe to exist as it does at present, but it is the same universe, just in different form. It may very well be exactly the same set of simple proper parts, just arranged in a much different way. [quote/]
Quote
If something is caused it is contingent, not necessary. I think this may be where the source of our disagreement lies. To explain myself further I think that this quote from Craig's written work on the Kalam sums it up well, "Thus, if the universe began to exist, its lacks at least one of the essential properties of necessary existence-eternality." That is my point, that if something does exist because of something else (it was caused) it cannot be necessary because for something to be necessary it must exist eternally, or as Leibniz put it, by it's own nature. I think that this is why I have trouble seeing your side of things, because it seems very self-defeating. But I also know that I can be very stubborn and prideful so I will try and see things from your side. In all honesty, your argument for the universe's beginning being unique seemed good because you showed that there was no preceding moment which is unlike other events in the universe. Once again I hope I did justice to your side.
Brett

Yes, to accept my position you have to accept a somewhat different idea of eternality than either a timeless existence or a an infinite tensed past. If Dr. Craig is correct that an infinite regress is impossible, then an infinite tensed past is metaphysically impossible, and would be even for God. What I am suggesting is that timeless existence may also be metaphysically impossible. I certainly can't conceive of any such thing. That in itself doesn't allow me to say it is metaphysically impossible, but...Anyway, what I am proposing isa sense of "eternal" meaning "existing for all time" or if x is eternal "there is no time at which x does not exist." So, this does not preclude x from having a temporal beginning, in the sense of first moment of existence. And this is consistent with the metaphysical impossibility of an infinite regress. In fact, it would be metaphysically necessary for anything that exists temporally to have a first moment of existence. And as the existence of this eternal universe would be coextensive with the existence of time itself, there would be no "coming into being" of the universe, because x's "coming into being" presupposes there being a time at which x did not exist, and this would not be the case with the universe.

Sorry, I haven't been more timely with my replies. I've been busy with my garden and some other projects and don't have as much time for the forums as I did during the winter.

Hey, its totally okay about the long replies, no worries man. How big of a garden do you have? Also, I think I am finally coming to see what you are saying in regards to the universe, so correct me if I am wrong here. 1) You say that the initial part of the universe (quarks and weak forces; simple parts) are eternal and uncaused. 2) The part of the universe we have now (complex; rocks, trees, arrangements of simple parts) is caused by the initial part of the universe. 3) This is not circular because the complex part of the universe is not causing itself, but the initial simple parts of matter do that; therefore no circularity. Is that correct?

I think that your statement about time and eternity seem to come about because you are a B-theorist of time and Craig is an A-theorist. So you seem to agree that a temporal regress of events is impossible, but you still affirm that the universe is eternal or, "there is no time at which x (the universe) did not exist." But I still think you have some issues because you immediately then affirm, "So, this does not preclude x from having a temporal beginning, in the sense of first moment of existence" but you cannot affirm the eternality of something and then affirm a cosmic singularity, that is self-defeating. One of the core properties of being necessary is self-existing, therefore the universe could not have began. Now I have dine very little research into the area of time theories and the universe so I honestly don't have a lot to say at this point other than Craig not only supports the idea that an infinite regress of temporal events is impossible, but independently of that argument is another argument which purports that the idea of an actual infinite is impossible. I can go into detail with this argument if you wish.

Honestly bruce, it seems like you have thought through your position a fair amount, and I can respect that. I can see how your position isn't necessarily self-defeating but because of some of the inconsistencies of your view which I have pointed out as well as the impossibility of an actual infinite among other things which I can bring up in later posts if you desire, I can't agree with your position. I respect what you have said and I hope we continue to discuss these things as I find it extremely good for my mind as well as my own worldview and how I view the universe as a Christian thinker. Thanks again man.
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bruce culver

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #40 on: June 10, 2017, 10:58:06 AM »
I'll have to take this bit by bit as time will allow.



Quote
I think that is a mistake. The universe at the classical level is composed of simple and complex proper parts. The simples would be things like elementary particles, quarks, etc. The complex parts are the things of our common experience, rocks, trees, dogs, planets, stars, galaxies, etc. It seems quite reasonable to think that the way that the complex parts form, coming into and going out of existence, as various arrangements of simples, is contingent on the initial conditions of the universe, as some sort of singularity, and perhaps also a certain amount of chance, i.e., quantum indeterminacy. It does not at all follow that the universe in its initial conditions is was also contingent on anything beyond itself.

Okay I think I see what you're saying in regards to my inferential reasoning not measuring up, sure. Can you explain more by what you mean by 'quantum indeterminacy'?

Quantum indeterminacy as I understand it means that there is no particular identifiable reason or cause why certain things happen when they do. One example is radioactive decay. It's weird because you can perfectly predict that 50% of some radioactive element will decay over the course of its half life, but there seems to be no way to predict or reason why any on particular atom will decay and another not during that period. I'm not sure anybody fully understands this, though I'm sure some people understand it much better than I do. However, at least some people think this is evidence that the universe is wholly deterministic, i.e., there is an element of randomness to the way things play out. If this is true, it plays havoc with any argument that the contingent nature of the form of the universe implies that the universe is itself a substantially contingent entity.


Quote
And I'm confused by your statement that the arrangement of simples is contingent on the initial conditions of the universe. What does the initial conditions of the universe have to do with how matter reforms in the universe now?

Well, the initial conditions would include the constants that determine the laws of nature, and naturally the way in which the simple parts of the universe arrange and rearrange is determined by those laws with perhaps a certain amount of quantum indeterminacy thrown in.


Quote
I think your last statement ' It does not follow that the universe in its initial conditions was also contingent on anything beyond itself.' is problematic because you seem to have affirmed the universe had a starting point, "singularity as you say", but if the universe did have a point of singularity and as you assert in your second paragraph "Nothing from nothing comes. Don't deny that at all." But if the universe does have a point of singularity as you mention, and as I agree, my question is, what brought the universe into being? for if the universe does have a point of singularity, it does have a starting point and therefore is contingent.

This is precisely what I am disagreeing with, i.e., that the universe having an initial moment entails its existence being contingent. I see the universe as analogous to a watch spring. You cannot wind a watch spring back past a certain point, and likewise if we could wind the universe backwards in time, we would reach limit that is the state of minimum entropy. As the arrow time appears to be defined by entropy condition of the universe, ie., entropy always increases with time, then perhaps it is simply impossible that there would be any time prior to that initial moment. It's physically, if not a metaphysically necessary first moment.

I'm certainly to saying that is the last word on such matters. I think that it is quite likely that there is some deeper quantum explanation of this, and also not every physical cosmological theory has the regress of time ending at the singularity.

I'm just saying that keeping strictly to classical philosophy and physics it makes a lot of sense to see the physical universe in it's initial condition as being the uncaused first cause.  And I believe this counter thesis is a successful undercuttering defeater to the KCA.  It's not in itself a proof of anything though, and I'm certainly open to the possibility that it is wrong.



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Lespaul_Lover

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #41 on: June 14, 2017, 04:36:47 PM »
Bruce,

Thanks for explaining that to me, I did some looking online and Craig actually addresses this idea you bring up in a scholarly article he wrote in response to Quentin Smith which is interesting, here's a link if you're interested: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-caused-beginning-of-the-universe-a-response-to-quentin-smith

I can't really comment much on the whole quantum indeterminacy thing as I know very, very little about it. Seems like an interesting theory for sure, definitely something to read up on. But one thing I would like clarification on is this, "However, at least some people think this is evidence that the universe is wholly deterministic, i.e., there is an element of randomness to the way things play out. If this is true, it plays havoc with any argument that the contingent nature of the form of the universe implies that the universe is itself a substantially contingent entity." I'm confused because I don't really see how an event being random or not having a fully concrete explanation defeats the idea of a contingent universe. Further clarification would be great.

Secondly, I could be wrong here, but there seems to be a self-defeating idea in your statement, "Well, the initial conditions would include the constants that determine the laws of nature, and naturally the way in which the simple parts of the universe arrange and rearrange is determined by those laws with perhaps a certain amount of quantum indeterminacy thrown in." If I understand what you mean by Quantum Indeterminacy correctly, then how can you affirm an element of randomness with the determined state of the laws of nature? That seems to contradict. Because on one hand you say that the laws and constants of nature we have are determined but then you also affirm quantum indeterminacy which would undermine the necessity of the laws and constants. This is because of the following:
1) the laws and constants of the universe are determined
2) Quantum indeterminacy is involved in the arrangement of the simple parts of the universe
3) It does not follow that the initial state of the universe is necessary
Because: If quantum indeterminacy is part of the reason as to how the constants and simple parts of the universe are formed then they cannot be necessary. This is due to the fact that if something is metaphysically necessary it must be the same in every possible world (or situation) but if these constants and simple building blocks of matter are determined by quantum randomness there is no reason to think that they are necessary in every possible world at all.

I would most definitely agree with you that the universe is analogous to a watch spring and that it points to having a beginning of time itself. But postulating that, "t is quite likely that there is some deeper quantum explanation of this, and also not every physical cosmological theory has the regress of time ending at the singularity" seems to point to some sort of "gap" theory. The Standard model seems to be a good model of physics thus far, considering no one has yet found a way to bridge the gap between quantum physics and general relativity to get a TOE (theory of everything). So I would think one has sufficient reason to hold to the standard model as it best describes the universe as we now understand it from the current evidence. Pointing to some sort of ad hoc explanation in the future doesn't really do the evidence justice in my opinion. Once again, thanks for discussing this with me, its been very stretching but very good. Thanks bruce.

P.S- Here is another interesting article I found on Quantum Indeterminacy by a Christian scientist. http://www.reasons.org/articles/the-metaphysics-of-quantum-mechanics
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 11:59:51 AM by Lespaul_Lover »
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lucious

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #42 on: June 15, 2017, 02:43:55 AM »
Check out the book Smith and Craig co-wrote:

Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology

bruce culver

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #43 on: June 17, 2017, 03:30:16 PM »
Bruce,

Thanks for explaining that to me, I did some looking online and Craig actually addresses this idea you bring up in a scholarly article he wrote in response to Quentin Smith which is interesting, here's a link if you're interested: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-caused-beginning-of-the-universe-a-response-to-quentin-smith

I can't really comment much on the whole quantum indeterminacy thing as I know very, very little about it. Seems like an interesting theory for sure, definitely something to read up on. But one thing I would like clarification on is this, "However, at least some people think this is evidence that the universe is wholly deterministic, i.e., there is an element of randomness to the way things play out. If this is true, it plays havoc with any argument that the contingent nature of the form of the universe implies that the universe is itself a substantially contingent entity." I'm confused because I don't really see how an event being random or not having a fully concrete explanation defeats the idea of a contingent universe. Further clarification would be great.

Secondly, I could be wrong here, but there seems to be a self-defeating idea in your statement, "Well, the initial conditions would include the constants that determine the laws of nature, and naturally the way in which the simple parts of the universe arrange and rearrange is determined by those laws with perhaps a certain amount of quantum indeterminacy thrown in." If I understand what you mean by Quantum Indeterminacy correctly, then how can you affirm an element of randomness with the determined state of the laws of nature? That seems to contradict. Because on one hand you say that the laws and constants of nature we have are determined but then you also affirm quantum indeterminacy which would undermine the necessity of the laws and constants. This is because of the following:
1) the laws and constants of the universe are determined
2) Quantum indeterminacy is involved in the arrangement of the simple parts of the universe
3) It does not follow that the initial state of the universe is necessary
Because: If quantum indeterminacy is part of the reason as to how the constants and simple parts of the universe are formed then they cannot be necessary. This is due to the fact that if something is metaphysically necessary it must be the same in every possible world (or situation) but if these constants and simple building blocks of matter are determined by quantum randomness there is no reason to think that they are necessary in every possible world at all.

I would most definitely agree with you that the universe is analogous to a watch spring and that it points to having a beginning of time itself. But postulating that, "t is quite likely that there is some deeper quantum explanation of this, and also not every physical cosmological theory has the regress of time ending at the singularity" seems to point to some sort of "gap" theory. The Standard model seems to be a good model of physics thus far, considering no one has yet found a way to bridge the gap between quantum physics and general relativity to get a TOE (theory of everything). So I would think one has sufficient reason to hold to the standard model as it best describes the universe as we now understand it from the current evidence. Pointing to some sort of ad hoc explanation in the future doesn't really do the evidence justice in my opinion. Once again, thanks for discussing this with me, its been very stretching but very good. Thanks bruce.

P.S- Here is another interesting article I found on Quantum Indeterminacy by a Christian scientist. http://www.reasons.org/articles/the-metaphysics-of-quantum-mechanics

The WLC's article isn't exactly pertinent to my argument, because I am not making the same argument as Smith though my conclusion is similar.

As for quantum indeterminacy, I am not saying that has anything to do with the origin of the universe. My point regarding quantum indeterminancy is that  everything (every complex proper part) of the universe is contingent upon some combination of determinant and indeterminant  process. But it does not follow that the universe as a whole is therefore a contingent entity.
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Lespaul_Lover

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Re: KCA - fallacies of equivocation and composition.
« Reply #44 on: June 22, 2017, 10:41:17 AM »
Bruce,

Fair enough, I can respect that. So in saying that, "As for quantum indeterminacy, I am not saying that has anything to do with the origin of the universe. My point regarding quantum indeterminancy is that  everything (every complex proper part) of the universe is contingent upon some combination of determinant and indeterminate  process" are you affirming that the combination of processes which brought about the complex part of the universe are the simple parts of the universe or are these processes something else entirely? I would like some clarification on that end.
Proverbs 27:17- "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."