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Source: (consider it) Thread: Kalam cosmological argument
Martin60
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# 368

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I'm just an old bloke on the bus, but can we kick this around?

Despite my cordially loathing William Lane Craig, reckon 'e's right on this if nothing else.

Can we take a top down approach to the Modern Debate of the Form of the Argument?

The "only" areas I personally feel the need to address are actual infinities, which Craig denies and I find all but essential (as in an infinite 'sequence' - reverse parallel cascade? - of universes, of endless creation, backward (unless uncaused God can do THE beginning)) and why Kalam requires a commitment to the common sense A-theory, "tensed theory", of time or presentism and why "Despite the fact that presentism has the firm backing of common sense and eternalism revolts against it, eternalism is widely regarded as almost the default view in contemporary debates, and presentism as a highly problematic view.". Which may be moot.

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Callan
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# 525

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A fideist writes:

I think that may be a reason to believe in God, but I don't think that there are any knock-down reasons to believe in God, for the simple reason that if they existed there would be a solid consensus.

I also think that there is a hiatus between philosophical reasons to believe in a First Cause and being a Christian, Jew or Muslim. I don't think that the second is implicit in the first.

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hatless

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# 3365

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I feel inclined to disagree.

Did the universe begin to exist? Is the Big Bang definitely right as opposed to some form of steady state or bang crunch bang crunch bang theory?

Does it really make sense to talk of the universe existing? We can talk of things within it existing, but the universe, that is, everything that is, is beyond normal categories. Where does it exist? Within itself? When did it begin, if time started with it?

Why should its cause be personal? Most causes are not.

Why should the cause be enormously powerful? A quantum nudge might be enough.

Most things that come into existence, a baby, a traffic jam, an idea, a flower, are actually rearrangements of atoms and other things that were already around. Though an atom and its ingredients has an unusual sort of existence, as much wave as particle; a string vibration perhaps.

To arrive at God I think you need to claim some sort of goodness as well as cause. Intention would be helpful. I think God must be directed to us, not merely behind the universe.

Is the universe beautiful and good or simply old, vast and terrifying? That question raises other questions about our ultimate safety and value, and to answer those I think we need to begin at the human end rather than the cosmological start, or at least to include in the discussion our reception of the universe as possibly gift and home and promise.

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Martin60
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# 368

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Of course Callan. You can never knock down a disposition (as hatless demonstrates!). And no religion, whether of the Book or no, follows from a disposition to accept Kalam.

[ 27. September 2017, 18:59: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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hatless has said most of the things that I've thought about kalam. The argument itself is toast, since things don't begin.

As to the beginning of the universe - unknown at the moment.

Surely theism is going to be based on something substantial than this?

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Martin60
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# 368

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Don't work for my disposition. Everything I know began.

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Posts: 16582 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Schroedinger's cat

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# 64

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I think these approaches are all fallacious in essence:

Whatever begins to exist has a cause
Rubbish - all this means is that our experience within the universe is causal, but this doesn't mean that outside this frame of reference, this is the case. All we know is that everything we experience has a cause, because we can trace causes.

But the oddities of quantum theory should at least indicate that this causal path is not set in stone. The fact that probabilites only realised in the world we see should alert us to the fact that the causal nature of events is, possibly, just the results of this being the world we experience.

The universe began to exist
Which is a statement requiring a whole lot of work. What does it mean that the universe "began to exist" - if we are talking about something that encompasse all of time, how can it begin; what does it mean for the universe to exist, given that we only ever define this within the context of the universe? What does "existance" actually mean for something not within the universe.

That is before we get onto If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists - a statement that is ridiculous, because there is no real justification for this.

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Dafyd
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The argument as stated in the wikipedia article seems inferior to me in comparison to the less modern versions.
As other people have said it depends a lot on the notion of beginning. I think that's problematic and unnecessary in this context. It also depends on the idea of the universe being a single thing that has a beginning. Again, that's not something that, say, Aquinas' version requires.

Incidentally I don't think quantum indeterminacy is relevant here. In so far as quantum events as random as I understand it they nevertheless occur within a defined probability function. (Arguably they are just the probability function.) And that probability function is normally explicable in prior conditions.

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Ricardus
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# 8757

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If the argument has received a lot of philosophical attention, I'm going to assume William Lane Craig expresses it a lot better than the Wikipedia article ...

One of the things that is bugging me about the Wikipedia article is that it expresses the argument in syllogistic form, and I associate syllogisms with necessary truths. Whereas the idea that anything with a beginning also has a cause seems to me defensible as a sound working hypothesis, but less defensible as a necessary truth.

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Martin60
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# 368

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I'll begin to get me coat.

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Martin60
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# 368

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I am so dumb. I wuz jess funnin [Smile] Beginnings are ... dispositional. Can't get 'em out of my head. Out of all that we know. And ever will. Causes, effects. Wave functions. Syllogisms.

Lane's "simplistic" approach, including to the yeah buts, is it's own beguiling strength. Apart from intellectualism above my pay grade (I will NEVER get Lacan), what am I intellectually missing (big enough target for ya? If you can finger paint it? You know, stoop).

And rhetoric, which is all we got I know, won't cut it. A Wiki ref saying Simon says will be necessary.

I'm so primitive I LIKE his argument that if the uncaused causer isn't purposeful then anything that can come in to existence will anywhere, any time, if not all at once and all the time, everywhere.

Bet-a-buck.

Oh and yeah, I'm fideist too. Kalam is natural theology and no substitute for existential.

[ 27. September 2017, 23:01: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Schroedinger's cat

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# 64

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Incidentally I don't think quantum indeterminacy is relevant here. In so far as quantum events as random as I understand it they nevertheless occur within a defined probability function. (Arguably they are just the probability function.) And that probability function is normally explicable in prior conditions.

The thing is, it breaks the deterministic nature of the universe. You can have a universe in which an event happens, and another one in which it doesn't, without there being any actual difference in the starting state - because probabilities only really work out over the larger numbers.

So asking for a cause becomes, in this case meaningless. At this scale, a quantum event was not "caused". It was merely the probability function collapsing in one particular way and our universe is the result. It could have been the other way, and a different universe would have resulted.

So whether I am alive or dead is not the result of a cause. It is the result of however the probability collapses according to your universe.

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Martin60
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# 368

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In other words, a cause.

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Martin60
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# 368

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As Dafyd says, if I understand him correctly with my untutorable bloke on the bus eye, "Incidentally I don't think quantum indeterminacy is relevant here. In so far as quantum events as random as I understand it they nevertheless occur within a defined probability function. (Arguably they are just the probability function.) And that probability function is normally explicable in prior conditions."

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The argument as stated in the wikipedia article seems inferior to me in comparison to the less modern versions.

As other people have said it depends a lot on the notion of beginning. I think that's problematic and unnecessary in this context. It also depends on the idea of the universe being a single thing that has a beginning. Again, that's not something that, say, Aquinas' version requires.

As you know I belatedly, grovellingly, despairingly rate your intellect and education as second to none here, but that that cannot be magically transferred to the likes of me pulling at the hem of your robe.

Kalam a la Craig depends intrinsically on beginnings and beginnings, including of the next moment, the next Planck tick, are all we know. Predicated on explicable prior conditions. As in probability functions as you so reasonably said in your paragraph following the above?

I'm bound to be missing something, but you're saying that formulations like Aquinas' on back to Aristotle are sufficient?

They would be if there is no steady state, infinite, eternal universe (which there isn't)? The steady state universe would be the all and uncaused. Yet according to Hoyle way back, the Hubble (we now know acceleratingly) expanding universe was driven by stuff coming in to existence in contravention of the second law of thermodynamics (2LOT), without increasing entropy or depleting negative entropy? Coming in to existence from a relatavistic quantum field vacuum state? Which then becomes the uncaused prime mover?

But it isn't. Not once the universe began to exist. Yes virtual particles come. And go. The average is zero and 2LOT is conserved. But the universe came. In contravention of 2LOT. It ain't goin' nowhere. So, it came as a single quantum perturbation in the uncaused matrix? All >10^57 g of mass equivalent energy of it? With time stretched out infinitely going backwards as it went forwards…? You know, to get rid of those pass'e beginnings? A tad strained? A bit of a camel to swallow.

Any road up, the uncaused perturber is logical given a begun creation of increasing entropy. An uncaused causer, volitional ground of being, could cause an infinite and even – but not necessarily - eternal creation, the multiverse, surely? Or just a one off universe. Which would be very … odd of It. That's where I see Craig as 'wrong'. Dimensionless, trans-infinite, meta-eternal God can encompass eternal infinity without breaking step. Actual infinity can exist. From eternity. With respect to the caused multiverse but no individual bead on that string. That's simplest.

But superfluous because the multiverse matrix could be uncaused and without volition. If it were, why doesn't anything and everything randomly, absurdly, meaninglessly appear into existence?

I'm obviously falling back on the ultimate blind watch maker argument. Until there is something in common sense that says otherwise, I have no choice.

Why is it that only rationally apprehendable things can happen? Or is that just the risible anthropic principle? There are infinite universes where anything and everything randomly, absurdly, meaninglessly appears into existence to offset this randomly rational one (hang on, that would then be reasonable?!)?

Nah. They must ALL be rationally apprehendable for some unknowable unvolitional reason. See, common sense does apply...

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Martin60
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I don't think the multiverse occurs to Craig at all.

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Dafyd:
[qb]The thing is, it breaks the deterministic nature of the universe. You can have a universe in which an event happens, and another one in which it doesn't, without there being any actual difference in the starting state - because probabilities only really work out over the larger numbers.

It's true that the particular way that the function collapses is as far we know not sufficiently determined by the prior state. That doesn't mean that anything goes: the cat won't die if there is no radioactive substance at all in the mechanism.
I think our ordinary concept of cause, excluding determinism, is not one where the cause is sufficient to produce the effect. To cite a cause is to answer the question, 'Why/How did something happen?' The answer doesn't have to be either logically necessary (since some other event might have brought about the effect) nor logically sufficient (since some other set of circumstances might have prevented the effect).

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Martin60
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Really large numbers like >10^57 g of mass equivalent energy at least nascent in the beginning of our quantum perturbation?

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:

Why is it that only rationally apprehendable things can happen? Or is that just the risible anthropic principle?

If things that are not rationally apprehendable were happening, would we know about it ?

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Martin60
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We'd know that there is no God.

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que sais-je
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
We'd know that there is no God.

You might believe that but what is not apprehendable cannot, presumably, be knowledge.

[tangent]This thread not withstanding, why are arguments for or against the existence of God so short? Proofs of tiny fragments of mathematics can run to hundreds of pages - and they may rely on things proved in hundreds of other papers. Surely any God worth the name isn't going to be so easily found by logic?[/tangent]

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"controversies, disputes, and argumentations, both in philosophy and in divinity, if they meet with discreet and peaceable natures, do not infringe the laws of charity" (Thomas Browne)

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Martin60
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# 368

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Ooooh, parry AND thrust eh que sais-je?

I'm positing rational beings in an irrational cosmos. Ones in which they had attained the rationality of Aristotle but the gods on acid and worse, Tate Modern, were in fact all real.

And I don't take kindly to any hint of intellectualism: that God could only be real if you can do the math. As bad as if you could only do the math, then you'd see that God isn't real.

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fletcher christian

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Isn't this just a rehash of the old Ghazali-Averroes debate? I've never really understood why Averroes was declared the heretic in that argument (from a religious perspective of course, not a scientific or philosophical one).

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Martin60
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# 368

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Hmmm. Om not sure where Kalam fits in the Conservative-Liberal debate. 'ang on. Yeah, it's conservative, or natural theology as opposed to existential. I can't abide natural theology. But ...

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que sais-je
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
And I don't take kindly to any hint of intellectualism

I'll pass your objection on to God if I ever meet Him.

quote:
.. that God could only be real if you can do the math. As bad as if you could only do the math, then you'd see that God isn't real.
I didn't think that was what I was saying.

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"controversies, disputes, and argumentations, both in philosophy and in divinity, if they meet with discreet and peaceable natures, do not infringe the laws of charity" (Thomas Browne)

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Martin60
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# 368

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Please pass on my regards & I'm sorry for my misunderstanding.

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