Author Topic: Objections to the Kalam  (Read 602 times)

DerekTheVExtreme

  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Objections to the Kalam
« on: July 15, 2017, 09:50:13 PM »
The Argument goes like this

Whatever begins to exist has a cause

The universe began to exist

The universe has a cause



1. Equivocation fallacy between premises 2 and 3 with the word universe


In premises 2 it's used to mean "scientific universe aka all matter,space and time"

In premises 3 it's used to mean the "colloquial universe aka everything that exists, has existed or will ever exist."

2. Everything we have causes for comes out of material not nothing

3. The proponents of the argument say that the cause of the universe didn't have a cause which is special pleading

4.The proponents of the argument who use the argument are saying is that because science can't provide a causal explanation of the universe the universe must be God which is an argument from ignorance.

5. The argument doesn't in itself suggest a first cause

lucious

  • Posts: 3513
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 10:41:10 PM »
There's no equivocation, these aren't even the understandings Craig uses.


The concern with premise 2 is the existence of time. For all intents and purposes this is the space-time continuum  researched by cosmology but can include "other time" in the sense of perhaps some immaterial non-natural reality beyond natural space or time.


This could be something like an angelic or daemonic realm. So there could be time beyond nature and inaccessible to science but there are two responses here:

1) The objector has resorted to utter desperation and essentially posited a supernatural reality to defeat the kalam. One for which there is no evidence whatsoever, is a gratuitous piece of metaphysics, and has really yielded the strength of the scientific evidence for the beginning.


2)Doesn't affect the argument at all. The premise is predominantly reached through philosophical argumentation showing that actual infinity is impossible. Period. There is no actual world, anywhere, where an infinite set of things could even possibly be instantiated.

The size of the universe makes no difference to the argument. It doesn't matter how many realms or planes of existence there are, or hyperspaces or multiverses. The philosophical argument is wholly unaffected.

bruce culver

  • Posts: 4573
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2017, 08:03:36 PM »
The Argument goes like this

Whatever begins to exist has a cause

The universe began to exist

The universe has a cause



1. Equivocation fallacy between premises 2 and 3 with the word universe


In premises 2 it's used to mean "scientific universe aka all matter,space and time"

In premises 3 it's used to mean the "colloquial universe aka everything that exists, has existed or will ever exist."

2. Everything we have causes for comes out of material not nothing

3. The proponents of the argument say that the cause of the universe didn't have a cause which is special pleading

4.The proponents of the argument who use the argument are saying is that because science can't provide a causal explanation of the universe the universe must be God which is an argument from ignorance.

5. The argument doesn't in itself suggest a first cause

I agree with a lot of that but I think the equivocation is more in the meaning of "begins to exist". There is the way in which complex proper parts of the universe begin to exist, which is what informs the causal premise. And then there is the way in which the universe begins to exist, which is what is referred to in the second premise, and there is precious little reason to think those two types of beginnings are at all alike or that the kind of beginning that the universe had necessitates a cause.

As for an equivocation on the meaning of universe. Maybe, but Im not sure I see a difference on naturalism between
"all matter,space and time" and "everything that exists, has existed or will ever exist."
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

lucious

  • Posts: 3513
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2017, 08:17:01 AM »
There can't be an equivocation if Craig explicitly sets down the terms of it.


He might be a sophist, but he is no equivocator. But here we come back to this again--just how are they different in such a way that is relevant to causality?

bruce culver

  • Posts: 4573
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2017, 09:35:24 AM »
There can't be an equivocation if Craig explicitly sets down the terms of it.


He might be a sophist, but he is no equivocator.
Quote

It's a sophisticated equivocation. Yes, he gives an unequivocal definition to the term that fits both premises, but he does so by conveniently leaving out the pertinent details. Again, for the nth time, an unequivocal definition is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to avoid an equivocation. If the definition leaves off pertinent details it is an insufficient definition for avoiding an equivocation.

Quote
But here we come back to this again--just how are they different in such a way that is relevant to causality?

The point is that the initial condition of the universe, at least in terms of classical physics, is a candidate for an uncaused first cause. Now admittedly there is probably some deeper explanation in QM for why the known universe perhaps came into being in the condition it did, but then we can posit that it is plausible that the quantum field (zero-point energy quantum vacuum?) is the uncaused ground of being. Either way we have a plausible under-cutting defeater for the KCA.

"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

lucious

  • Posts: 3513
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2017, 08:16:15 AM »
Are you supposing the quantum vacuum has some timeless existence?

bruce culver

  • Posts: 4573
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2017, 12:37:01 PM »
Are you supposing the quantum vacuum has some timeless existence?

I suppose it might. I really don't know enough about quantum theory to have a definite opinion on that. I think some physicists think that space and time are discrete rather than continuous, and I would interpret that as meaning that time as we know it does not exist at the plank scale and below, but emerges at intervals above the plank scale. Of course, that is a bit hard to fathom seeing that supposedly a plank unit of time has some duration no matter how infinitesimal. But QM is notoriously counter intuitive, so... who knows?

I guess the idea that the quantum vacuum is timeless would work better with the idea of it being the ground of being, but I'm not sure it is necessary, as it could also be some sort of uncaused first cause if time does exist at that level.

It's a good question though. I wish I could give you a better answer.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

lucious

  • Posts: 3513
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2017, 03:40:41 AM »
I wrote some material for an online debate arguing that it's both:


a)Incoherent

 and

b) Utterly at odds with modern scientific theory.

bruce culver

  • Posts: 4573
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2017, 06:59:58 PM »
I wrote some material for an online debate arguing that it's both:


a)Incoherent

 and

b) Utterly at odds with modern scientific theory.

What is? A timeless quantum vacuum? Or an uncaused universe in general?  That is quite a claim to make given that the vast majority of the scientific community don't seem to see the problem, or at the very least they think there are plausible naturalistic solutions to any problem that there seems to be.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

lucious

  • Posts: 3513
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2017, 11:57:03 PM »
Quantum cosmology putting p2 of the kalam into doubt.

bruce culver

  • Posts: 4573
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2017, 10:36:55 AM »
Quantum cosmology putting p2 of the kalam into doubt.

If you want to see it that way. I still think that it is an unwarranted extension of an inductive inference to think that the universe as a whole necessarily has a cause. However, I'd probably agree that the best current scientific understanding is that the known universe does have a cause, but that cause is at the quantum level, and quantum weirdness makes things difficult from there.

I think, it might makes some sense, though not total sense to our time-conditioned minds, to think that time is discrete and does not then exist as we know it at the quantum level. This I see also as a possible way of reconciling B-theory and A-theory, i.e., time as we understand it, the way it appears to us, and the way it is understood in classical physics, does not exist at the quantum level, but rather emerges at the classical level which is the level at which we experience things.  So, perhaps at the quantum level, the universe is like a B-theory universe, but at the level of our experience it is an A-theory universe. 

OK? Im not saying that is clearly cogent or that I am certain it is correct, but allowing some fuzz around the edges, it makes some sense to me.

Last night I was listening to an interview of Steven Pinker by Richard Dawkins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIMReUsxTt4and Pinker made a point that I've made on this site before. That is, that a lot of science is finding work arounds to limitations of our senses and cognitive faculties. One thing that definitely has to be worked around the further and further we get from the level of daily experience are intuitions and assumptions that we make based on our common sense and daily experience that are simply not appropriate when applied at these more esoteric levels. It's difficult and I suppose very easy to make mistakes. As such I find agnosticism to be the most honest position on many issues. I mean I suppose for all I know know for certain, your classical theism could be true. All I  can say is that is not the direction I'm led in when considering all the information that is available to me. To me some sort of naturalism looks much more parsimonious and much more likely to be true.

Also, I think it would be passing odd if some medieval thinkers had actually stumbled upon a conception of reality that is more accurate than the one that is offered to us by modern science.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 01:04:21 PM by bruce culver »
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

lucious

  • Posts: 3513
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2017, 10:06:19 AM »
That idea has been bandied about in the literature; I think the best response to it is that its coherent.

bruce culver

  • Posts: 4573
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2017, 01:10:33 PM »
That idea has been bandied about in the literature; I think the best response to it is that its coherent.

I'm sorry. I'm not sure which idea you mean here. Do you mean that CT is coherent?

I'm not in a position to say that it is not. But to my way of thinking naturalism is perfectly coherent also, and looks to me to be more parsimonious than CT. Plus CT gets into a lot of things that seem utterly irrelevant to me and my life such as divine beings and the like.  I'm agnostic as to the existence of such things, but until such a time as I see that they have any relevance in my life, I feel quite comfortable with just believing that they are creatures of the human imagination, nothing more and nothing less.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

lucious

  • Posts: 3513
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2017, 09:04:34 AM »
Meant to say incoherent, sorry.


Quentin Smiths papers on the ontology of the wave function are a good place to start.

bruce culver

  • Posts: 4573
    • View Profile
Re: Objections to the Kalam
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2017, 11:06:47 AM »
The Argument goes like this

Whatever begins to exist has a cause

The universe began to exist

The universe has a cause



1. Equivocation fallacy between premises 2 and 3 with the word universe


In premises 2 it's used to mean "scientific universe aka all matter,space and time"

In premises 3 it's used to mean the "colloquial universe aka everything that exists, has existed or will ever exist."

2. Everything we have causes for comes out of material not nothing

3. The proponents of the argument say that the cause of the universe didn't have a cause which is special pleading

4.The proponents of the argument who use the argument are saying is that because science can't provide a causal explanation of the universe the universe must be God which is an argument from ignorance.

5. The argument doesn't in itself suggest a first cause

I think I see the point here now. The equivocation is between a sense of universe meaning "the known universe" which appears to have a beginning, and some greater universe of which the known universe may just be a part.

Yes, I would agree that premise 2 is only in regard to the known universe and that the conclusion is obviously talking about the universe in terms of "all of existence" which may or may not be the same as "the known universe" and on some quantum models is definitely not just the known universe.

Yes, that is very much a potential flaw in the argument. Though I suppose until such a time as we find some evidence of a greater universe beyond the known universe, then that remains as speculative as any theistic hypothesis...or not? I'm thinking on present quantum theory a megaverse or multiverse hypothesis is very feasible and coherent, whereas a timeless mind that creates universes from nothing, not so much.

I know lucious will maintain that is just a logical deduction from the argument. But unless the argument actually proves anything, which I don't believe it does, then there is no sense in trying to extract and logical deductions from it, especially ones that don't look particularly coherent in and of themselves.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."