#319

May 20, 2013

Questions about the Cosmological Argument

Dear Dr. Craig

I’m a Muslim student from Iran. I’ve been really interested in your arguments and writing especially since I saw your works on Kalam cosmological argument. We have learned cosmological argument from contingency and along with my classmates we think that it really sounds. We considered the answers to objections made by Russell, Hume and etc.

I had two questions sir

1. Do many philosophers believe that no current version of cosmological argument does not sounds? And if so, what is the reason?(at least in your idea)

You once wrote in one of your comments that actually there s nothing all philosophers believe with no doubt! Is this the same or are they really retracted in current philosophy?

2.my second question is about your personal carrier. Some atheists argue that you couldn’t find academic acceptance and thus you come up to advance public s knowledge, this made us sad. What is the truth sir?

I would really be thankful if you would answer me. I know you’ll probably receive many comments. I d wait no matter how long it takes

Best regards,

Anonymous

Iran

My anonymous friend, it's a thrill for me to receive a letter like this from Iran. I'm so pleased that you have found the material that Reasonable Faith offers to be helpful.

With respect to your questions,

1. Doubtless, the majority of philosophers in the West do not think that any version of the cosmological argument or, indeed, any argument for the existence of God is sound. Otherwise they would be theists! But although atheism is a philosophy in retreat among American philosophers, it is still the dominant viewpoint. So obviously they reject all forms of the cosmological argument. In response to your question as to why this is the case, I cannot speak to the psychological motivations of such persons but must consider at face value the arguments they give for their perspective. I’ve tied to interact responsibly with their proffered arguments and found most of them pretty unimpressive and the rest not insuperable. See my published work on the arguments in its different versions. There’s just no getting around doing the homework of considering the arguments pro and con.

Yes, it was my friend Quentin Smith, who, in response to my statement that the view he was espousing was controversial, remarked, "Bill, in philosophy everything is controversial!" That may have been hyperbole, but certainly there is no consensus on theism, as there are intelligent people on both sides of the debate. All of the classical theistic arguments, including cosmological arguments, have able defenders today.

2. Your second question makes me laugh. My consciously adopted strategy is to publish on both a scholarly and a popular level. So, for example, I wrote the trilogy God, Time, and Eternity; The Tensed Theory of Time; and The Tenseless Theory of Time. Then I popularized the same material in the book Time and Eternity. Ironically, the atheists you describe have typically not bothered even to read the popular books, much less the scholarly publications. Their only familiarity with my work is through YouTube videos for mass audiences. But lest anyone thinks that I have ceased to do rigorous academic work, I invite you to take a look at the record of my publications. It speaks for itself.

What this criticism really amounts to, I suspect, is an ad hominem attack on the part of popular-level atheists to excuse their lack of refutation of the arguments. Not only is such an attack fallacious, as we all know, but, it is, ironically, in my case also a failure.