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ArgonGruber

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Critique of Atkins v Craig debate
« on: August 18, 2012, 02:25:38 am »
Hi, all! I'm new here. Just thought I'd make a post covering my opinions of the debate.

1. Craig's proof of a transcendent cause.

Craig fails on this account to prove theism. Even if the universe has a transcendent cause, i.e. a cause of something outside the universe, the transcendent cause may be something other than a god. Craig denies that a number, like 7, could be the cause of the universe, and with this I agree. However, something neither an abstract concept nor a disembodied mind could have created the universe. Craig proves that we should be Agnostic, because whatever it is that caused the universe is utterly transcendent and unknowable.

A. Craig's use of objective moral values.

Craig argues: 1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist. 2. Objective moral values do exist. 3. Therefore, God does exist.

This argument fails, for many reasons. Premise 1 may not be true. It is possible, I argue, for objective moral values and duties to exist even in the absence of a God. There just are things which, randomly, happen to be moral, and there just are things which, randomly, happen to be immoral. The moral/immoral status of a given thing is absolute and objective, though independent of the existence of a god.

Furthermore, a God may exist without creating objective moral values and duties. Just because God exists does not necessitate that he took the time to define some things as moral and some things as immoral.

B. Craig supposes that points A and B, if accepted, lead to a "generic monotheism." This is false. Points A and B, even if accepted, may lead to polytheism. There is one transcendent cause for the universe. There is one other transcendent cause for objective moral values and duties. I have so far shown the possibility for 2 gods to exist, because there is no reason why the God that creates the physical being of the universe must be the same God that creates the objective moral values and duties contained within the universe.

C. Concerning the Resurrection

Craig tries to present a historical/secular proof that Jesus rose from the dead. He fails to persuade me, simple as that. Perhaps Christianity is false, but since Judaism allows for resurrection ONLY during the end of the world we now live in the end of the world.

Ultimately, Craig presents an inductive argument and nothing more, and inductive arguments can be easily dismissed. Craig might be right, but he needs more than just an inductive argument to prove his point. Perhaps the Bible is just wrong.


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Damoksta

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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2012, 07:43:03 am »
the transcendent cause may be something other than a god.

A conceptual analysis of any cause that meets the defition of "cause" sufficiently in the KCA will require that cause to have the property of being spaceless, timeless, immaterial, (negative description of the natural world), intelligent (because the universe's beginning was fine-tuned numerical constants and had physical laws) and all-powerful (because it caused something out of nothing).

What is this "other than a god" cause that you posit that fits these description?

It is possible, I argue, for objective moral values and duties to exist even in the absence of a God. There just are things which, randomly, happen to be moral, and there just are things which, randomly, happen to be immoral. The moral/immoral status of a given thing is absolute and objective, though independent of the existence of a god.

The foundation for morality is:
1. Objective standard
2. Free will
3. intrinsic human worth.

If there is no God, how do you propose we ground these?

Craig tries to present a historical/secular proof that Jesus rose from the dead. He fails to persuade me, simple as that. Perhaps Christianity is false, but since Judaism allows for resurrection ONLY during the end of the world we now live in the end of the world.

Ultimately, Craig presents an inductive argument and nothing more, and inductive arguments can be easily dismissed. Craig might be right, but he needs more than just an inductive argument to prove his point. Perhaps the Bible is just wrong.

You don't need the Bible to provide evidence that the 13 apostles (including Matthias and Paul) and Jesus'  (former) skeptic brother James all died as martyrs following the crucifixion as proof of radical beliefs (writing of Eusebus + Josephus) , and you don't need the Bible to provide evidence that the tomb was empty - the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was erected to mark the empty tomb during Constatine's era. Then there is "Dialogue with Trypho" that provides (Jewish) cultural attestation to the empty tomb in 2nd century AD.

Just about the only one of the 3 minimal facts presented that cannot be extra-Biblically proven was the appearance first to the women, and then to the many. There is no good reason to reject this claim attested by the 4 Gospels + partial attestation in 1st Corinthians = 5 independent authors) since the appearance of the women is so out-of-the-blue in Roman and Jewish culture it is hard to claim that it is invented. Furthermore, this claim on its on does not actually prove God exists; it merely adds as a context to the explanation of the rise of the Early Church.

And even if you were to skip this particular fact, there is simply no explanation aside from the resurrection that can sufficiently explain the following
1) Empty tomb
2) Radical change of belief of former Davidic Messiah-ship follower of Jesus and Jewish skeptics
3) The martyrdom of nearly all the apostles (only John died of old age) and early disciples never wavered in their conviction despite them knowing for a fact whether Jesus either lived again or truly died. (c.f. Eusebius)
4) The starting of the Church movement in Jerusalem - the precise place Jesus was crucified, within 5 years of his death.

So I'm not sure how you can claim that this is an "inductive argument" at all, given that the argument does not rely a priori on whether there is a Theistic God or whether the Bible is true.
The personal patron saint of the apologist should be Balaam's ass. Because he's 2 Peter 2:16... and with a few wise words stop unbelief in its track. The ass which is most thoroughly ridiculous in most people's eyes, to God humble and most completely serviceable. -Os Guinness

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ArgonGruber

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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2012, 04:58:26 pm »
1. The Kalam Comsological Argument is an insufficient argument for the existence of God because it fails to take into account the idea that we have no evidence to suppose that the Universe ever not-existed.

Furthermore, you ask, "What other than a God could it be?"

It could be anything! There is no reason to suppose that this Thing has to be intelligent. Perhaps this godlike entity is a godlike blob of metaphysical gunk which spits out Universes at random. This godlike entity is utterly transcendental, so may have any properties whatsoever. It may be spatial despite having created space because it is a godlike entity and godlike entities are not bound by space. The same is true for timelessness. Perhaps this godlike entity is temporally finite despite having created time because godlike entities are not bound by physical laws. That's what it means to be transcendental. Anything less, and this godlike entity because finite and disposable.

2. The foundation for morality need not be objective. We can have true distinctions of right/wrong without objective moral standards and duties.

Free will has little to do with what is right and what is wrong.

Intrinsic human worth has little to do with what is right and what is wrong.

Suppose, for now, that the Universe is atheist and randomly came into existence from nothing. (I know, but bear with me for a few sentences) In coming to existence from nothing, the act of Rape just so happened to randomly become immoral. And the same is true for murder and so forth. It's unlikely, I know, but surely it COULD have happened. It is logically possible that morality is random AND objective.

3. This is a link to the Craig v. Atkins debate:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ssq-S5M8wsY&feature=related

Please note what Craig says at 0:23:50 - 0:23:60
"Thus we have a good INDUCTIVE argument for the existence of God based on the existence of Jesus." THIS IS A DIRECT QUOTE FROM CRAIG HIMSELF.

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Damoksta

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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2012, 09:36:04 pm »
ArgonGruber wrote: 1. The Kalam Comsological Argument is an insufficient argument for the existence of God because it fails to take into account the idea that we have no evidence to suppose that the Universe ever not-existed.

Have you thought your question through, or are you arguing for arguments' sake?  

Because we know the universe begun to exist and we can provide evidence for it. So before it begun it, it simply didn't exist.

Furthermore, if there is no evidence to suppose that the universe is beginning-less and eternal, why should we even entertain this inferior alternative? The only person who should even entertain this path is an atheist who require more faith than a Christian to believe his presupposition, in the face of evidence, is true to support his worldview.


Furthermore, you ask, "What other than a God could it be?"

It could be anything! There is no reason to suppose that this Thing has to be intelligent. Perhaps this godlike entity is a godlike blob of metaphysical gunk which spits out Universes at random. This godlike entity is utterly transcendental, so may have any properties whatsoever. It may be spatial despite having created space because it is a godlike entity and godlike entities are not bound by space. The same is true for timelessness. Perhaps this godlike entity is temporally finite despite having created time because godlike entities are not bound by physical laws. That's what it means to be transcendental. Anything less, and this godlike entity because finite and disposable.

Then this is is just another name for a entity that has the features of a theistic God.

2. The foundation for morality need not be objective. We can have true distinctions of right/wrong without objective moral standards and duties.

Without objective standards for what is right and wrong, who is to make that distinction? In order to make true distinction, you need a standard/criterion to make this distinction, no?

Free will has little to do with what is right and what is wrong.

It has EVERYTHING to do with right and wrong. Without the ability to choose, no one is ever wrong to do anything. If free will does not exist, someone who raped is merely following the wiring of his genes, his bodily reaction to a suitable female mate, and his cultural surrounding; and someone who break into your house to steal stuff is merely following his socio-biological conditioning. You cannot accuse him of being wrong when he's merely pre-programmed like an automaton by conditioning to execute directives.

Intrinsic human worth has little to do with what is right and what is wrong.

In that case, gassing of the Jews, Rwanda and Darfur Massacre,  slaughter and violence during the Crusades, 9/11, South African miners' forceful disperse, serial killing and raping, apartheid is no different than keeping chickens in the coop for large scale-industrial food production.

Suppose, for now, that the Universe is atheist and randomly came into existence from nothing. (I know, but bear with me for a few sentences) In coming to existence from nothing, the act of Rape just so happened to randomly become immoral. And the same is true for murder and so forth. It's unlikely, I know, but surely it COULD have happened. It is logically possible that morality is random AND objective.

Random is disorder; objective is order. So not only are you invoking contradictory statements to prove a point, all you are saying here is  a "just so" argument of objective morality just happen to be a brute fact. Why then do you not take God's existence as a brute fact then?

Brute facts argument simply doesn't fly.


Please note what Craig says at 0:23:50 - 0:23:60
"Thus we have a good INDUCTIVE argument for the existence of God based on the existence of Jesus." THIS IS A DIRECT QUOTE FROM CRAIG HIMSELF.

*Sigh*. Talk about taking things out of context! I think you're confused

Craig's inductive argument for a Theistic God based on Jesus is as follow:
1. Jesus of Nazareth made claims that equate himself to God.
2. He died of crucifixion, as prophecied, and supernaturally rose from the dead 3 days later.
3. Therefore Jesus of Nazareth is God
4. therefore God exist.

Whereas you claimed:
Craig tries to present a historical/secular proof that Jesus rose from the dead. ...

Ultimately, Craig presents an inductive argument and nothing more, and inductive arguments can be easily dismissed. Craig might be right, but he needs more than just an inductive argument to prove his point. Perhaps the Bible is just wrong.

The historical case for the Resurrection itself is not an inductive argument , especially not from the Bible; but a deductive one, and can be backed up by extra-biblical resources:

1. Jesus of Nazareth, who made claims that equate himself to God, was crucified to death and was entombed in the tomb of Joseph of Aramethea

2. His predicted and actual resurrection best explains the following minimal facts of the Gospels (which as we discussed, 2 out of 3 can be attested outside the Bible)
a) empty tomb
b) his physical appearance first to the women, and then to the many
c) the radical change of beliefs of his former apostles to the point where they were willing to die for their beliefs despite factually knowing whether Jesus lived again or truly died

Furthermore, as we extend the discussion into Acts (c.f. Licona and Habermas)
d) The rise of the early Christian church within years after his crucifixion at the very same place he was killed. (Attested by secular history)
e) Conversion of Jewish skeptics such as James and Saul. (attested by extra-biblical reference to "James the Just")

3. Therefore Jesus Christ truly resurrected from the Dead, his claim to be God is true, and God exists.



It is through the deductive argument of the Resurrection that one could inductively argue for the existence of a theistic God. But the process of proving the resurrection itself is not an inductive one, but a deductive one.
The personal patron saint of the apologist should be Balaam's ass. Because he's 2 Peter 2:16... and with a few wise words stop unbelief in its track. The ass which is most thoroughly ridiculous in most people's eyes, to God humble and most completely serviceable. -Os Guinness

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ArgonGruber

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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2012, 12:14:29 am »
1. Kalam Argument.

Actually, Damoksta, all we can prove is that the Big Bang happened. We cannot prove that the universe did or did not exist prior to the Big Bang. All we know is that it happened.

2. Moral Objectivity

Moral Objectivity does not prove the existence of God. Moral Objectivity could be true in God's absence. God's presence could be true in the absence of Moral Objectivity.

3. Resurrection Argument

This argument is inductive, and Dr. Craig admits it.

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Damoksta

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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2012, 02:30:29 am »
ArgonGruber wrote: 1. Kalam Argument.

Actually, Damoksta, all we can prove is that the Big Bang happened. We cannot prove that the universe did or did not exist prior to the Big Bang. All we know is that it happened.

4 words: Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem.

any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a space-time boundary.”

And because the theorem holds regardless of physical description, what happens before Planck time is irrelevant for the KCA: the universe still must have had an absolute beginning - either from a metastable stage or ex nihilo.

Now, is there objections to BVG? Yes, but the few that are actually viable objections all point to a beginning from a metastable stage or ex-nihilo models (e.g. semi-classical models)

2. Moral Objectivity

Moral Objectivity does not prove the existence of God. Moral Objectivity could be true in God's absence. God's presence could be true in the absence of Moral Objectivity.

3. Resurrection Argument

This argument is inductive, and Dr. Craig admits it.

The above post have already fisked through those points- and it appears that you have run out of substance to object.

In the absence of good defeaters, what's stopping you from even considering that there might exists a God?
The personal patron saint of the apologist should be Balaam's ass. Because he's 2 Peter 2:16... and with a few wise words stop unbelief in its track. The ass which is most thoroughly ridiculous in most people's eyes, to God humble and most completely serviceable. -Os Guinness

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ArgonGruber

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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2012, 02:53:05 am »
There are some pretty stable alternatives to a finite universe. Well, at least I've seen some pretty acceptable alternatives to a finite universe. Cyclical Universes and stuff.

Ahhh... The absence of good defeaters?

Nope. I am open to the possibility that God could exist. That is, I am open to the possibility that there might exist a God. If you think I am not open to the existence of a God, then you are wrong about what I believe.

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Damoksta

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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2012, 05:08:10 am »
ArgonGruber wrote: There are some pretty stable alternatives to a finite universe. Well, at least I've seen some pretty acceptable alternatives to a finite universe. Cyclical Universes and stuff.

Are there evidence-based though? Just because there are postulates does not make it true, or even a plausible alternative. If there are, feel free to cite it - but I think you are going to be very hard-pressed.

Eternal cyclic universe, asymptotic space-time, internal contraction LQG etc. have been propose in attempts to justify an eternal universe, but all have serious challenges conforming to known cosmology and thermodynamic rules.

In other words, to quote Vilenkin, ALL scientific evidence points to a universe with a beginning. Just about the only pseudo-evidence for an eternal universe is Penrose + Gurzadyan recent work, but even that is hotly disputed and looks likely to be bad analytical + statistical technique.
The personal patron saint of the apologist should be Balaam's ass. Because he's 2 Peter 2:16... and with a few wise words stop unbelief in its track. The ass which is most thoroughly ridiculous in most people's eyes, to God humble and most completely serviceable. -Os Guinness

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ArgonGruber

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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2012, 05:53:37 am »
Um, okay. That's cool. What turns on the universe and stuff? Like, what point are you making again?

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Damoksta

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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2012, 06:07:01 am »
ArgonGruber wrote: Um, okay. That's cool. What turns on the universe and stuff? Like, what point are you making again?

Then the KCA, without an adequate defeater, stands.

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe has a beginning
3. Therefore the universe has a cause
3. a. This cause is spaceless, timeless, immaterial, all-powerful, intelligent, and personal
3. b. This cause is God.
The personal patron saint of the apologist should be Balaam's ass. Because he's 2 Peter 2:16... and with a few wise words stop unbelief in its track. The ass which is most thoroughly ridiculous in most people's eyes, to God humble and most completely serviceable. -Os Guinness

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ArgonGruber

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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2012, 06:27:57 am »
Ah, yes! We do not have evidence that the universe did ever not-exist.

Also, your 3a and 3b are not part of the actual KCA. The cause of the universe is just something outside of the universe. Maybe aliens did it. Maybe 7 did it. We're talking about pre-universe causality, after all.

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Damoksta

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« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2012, 04:29:47 pm »
ArgonGruber wrote: Ah, yes! We do not have evidence that the universe did ever not-exist.

This line of thinking is astoundingly weak. IF something has not evidence to support it, then the negation is automatically considered superior.

As I said previously, the BVG theorem is the evidence that the universe did ever not-exist.


Also, your 3a and 3b are not part of the actual KCA. The cause of the universe is just something outside of the universe. Maybe aliens did it. Maybe 7 did it. We're talking about pre-universe causality, after all.

Then those "aliens" are God by nature,, since they are a maximally conceivable being that share the properties of a Theistic God.
The personal patron saint of the apologist should be Balaam's ass. Because he's 2 Peter 2:16... and with a few wise words stop unbelief in its track. The ass which is most thoroughly ridiculous in most people's eyes, to God humble and most completely serviceable. -Os Guinness

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ArgonGruber

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« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2012, 04:33:00 pm »
Damoksta wrote:
Then those "aliens" are God by nature,, since they are a maximally conceivable being that share the properties of a Theistic God.

What if the universe was caused by extra-universe entities that do not share the maximal properties of a theistic god? What if the aliens are not maximally great, powerful, omniscience, and benevolent, yet still created the universe?

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Damoksta

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« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2012, 04:50:48 pm »
ArgonGruber wrote:
Quote from: Damoksta
Then those "aliens" are God by nature,, since they are a maximally conceivable being that share the properties of a Theistic God.

What if the universe was caused by extra-universe entities that do not share the maximal properties of a theistic god? What if the aliens are not maximally great, powerful, omniscience, and benevolent, yet still created the universe?

Redundant question: whichever being that created the universe must be all-powerful since it created the universe out of nothing, and omniscient since it "preset" the fine-tuning constants necessary for the Big Bang to support life e.g. gravitational constant, Hubble constant, cosmological constant etc to do exactly that and personal - since it chose to create the universe.

And by nature, since the creator must be greater than the creation, omnipresence follows plus negative description base on what the universe is follows.

The only property that a conceptual analysis of the KCA cannot reveal is the omnibenevolence, but a theistic God does not necessary has to be omnibenevolence e.g. Allah and certain Judaistic interpretation on God.
The personal patron saint of the apologist should be Balaam's ass. Because he's 2 Peter 2:16... and with a few wise words stop unbelief in its track. The ass which is most thoroughly ridiculous in most people's eyes, to God humble and most completely serviceable. -Os Guinness

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ArgonGruber

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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2012, 04:56:06 pm »
Well, if I'm being redundant, you're being circular. You're saying that the only being who could have created the universe is God because any being that created the universe would be considered God.

Well... Where in that is there room for the possibility that the universe was created, but not by God?