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Old 06-21-2009, 09:47 AM   #31
Philboid Studge
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What you say is that Big Bang is one of the better weapons we have, if we want to argue on natural grounds. Big Bang points to something coming into existence that did not exist before, which is perfectly consistent with what Christianity teaches. But whatever begins to exist must have a cause (this is the Kalam cosmological argument which, despite, the resident sneer meister is logically sound, as any deductive argument is, if the premises are true).
I agree: Kalām is sound, if the premises are true.

Kalām was first proposed by medieval Jizzlamists, and its contemporary fugleman is christy apologist William Lane Craig, who has written an infinite number* of books on it since the 1970s. Here's how he posed the argument in Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology (1993):

1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
4) Since no scientific explanation (in terms of physical laws) can provide a causal account of the origin of the universe, the cause must be personal (explanation is given in terms of a personal agent)
Consider first how idiotic the conclusion (4) is. Even if the antecedent premises are true, does this really follow? It's as if God of the Gaps fucked Special Pleading and this is their retarded spawn. It's no wonder that it is usually not included in the formal argument elsewhere, as if Craig himself later thought better of it. We needn't dwell on the conclusion here, however, because I think the first premise is shaky enough to dismiss the whole farkakta argument.

"Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence"

This premise, a Causal Principle variant, was rejected long before Craig (by Hume, Kant, etc etc). There are many contemporary criticisms as well, some of them made by theist heavyweights every bit as jeetarded as Craig (see Alvin Plantinga e.g.)

I question the very concept of "begins to exist" because I don't think that such events have been observed. As far as we know, we do not have "beginnings," we have matter and energy changing forms. (I'd ask Stern, Choobus et al if that claim needs qualification.)

So the premise should be 1) "Everything that changes has a cause for its change." (There are, we think, quantum level exceptions to this--which would be the case even if we stuck with Craig's original wording.) If you run the premises through with this "change," the argument turns out to not say much at all: 2) The universe changes 3) Therefore, the universe has a cause for its change 4) BUSTED

Even Craig realizes there's something not quite right with his first premise, because the most he can say about it is that it's "intuitively obvious." His apodictic proclamation notwithstanding, it ain't.

As a matter of fact, the Causal Principle is sometimes put this way: "Every event has a cause." Thus, when run through Kalām: 2) The universe is an event 3) Therefore the universe has a cause 4) BUSTED -- Why? Because as far as we know, events take time. There is no context for change, events, or anything else comprehensible if there is no time.

Which brings me to this:

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Big Bang points to something coming into existence that did not exist before ...
At first glance that seems a reasonable way to make a very general statement about BB in layperson's terms. But what is this "before" you speak of? Even if there were a "before," what makes you think you or anyone else can make any kind of statement of what may have existed or did not exist? Our best information tells us that the context was of a hot and dense initial condition, not that matter and energy emerged out of "nothing." (Adding a line from Taner Edis' Is Anybody Out There?: "Creation out of absolute nothing is a metaphysical quagmire for theists anyway, since nothing must at least have the potentiality for becoming something. Since theists are stuck with potentiality, it might as well be something like a quantum vacuum.")

This, however:
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... which is perfectly consistent with what Christianity teaches.
... is disingenuous at best, and happy horseshit at worst -- also at best.

BB theory points to an initial condition that was very hot and dense (kind of like Angelina Jolie), from which matter and energy emerged along with spacetime. Christianity teaches that Superman "created" all this meshugganah. So one is "perfectly consistent" with the other in the same way that Harry Potter is perfectly consistent with gravitational theory, his flying around on a broomstick notwithstanding. Like Christy-insanity, those broomsticks turn out to be good for wanking.

I do agree that BB is "one of the better weapons" that jeetards and assorted head-bumpees have, because at its core are things we don't know--and possibly can't know. From this context god-wallopers feel liberated to argue from ignorance, and they've parlayed their blather into an industry. This might be the last refuge of the Incredible Shrinking Deity, however. Hopefully It will disappear altogether as more is learned about cosmology.

Unlike dogmatists, I'm open to correction in hole or in part--in fact I wish someone would ask me if I do anal. I have not seen my objection (that "begins to exist" is itself a dubious concept) elsewhere, and I make it only because I think it's novel (probably not). You can find reams and reams of other criticisms of every aspect of the argument all over the Inter-tubes. There are "spirited" defences, too.

William Lane Craig's anfractuous defence of Kalām is here.
For the full skinny on the Kalam Kosmo argument skip wiki and go right to the SEP.

*Central to Craig's argument is the idea that actual infinities can't exist. It would be funny if some wag took that premise to prove Craig's god doesn't exist. Presumably his deity has properties that are considered infinite.

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Old 06-21-2009, 10:58 AM   #32
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One time I was trying to explain to some Christians...
Power, I know a lot of Christian sites ban suspected non Christians once they've been outed. That isn't the case here. Christians can post.

The problem with your chosen angle is that the few who take the time to give a thoughtful response - like Lily or Phil - are guaranteed little or no satisfying counter argument because you are, after all, just repeating what you've heard.

You'll get more debate if your honest and present your ideas as your own.

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*Central to Craig's argument is the idea that actual infinities can't exist.
I don't think that's right. To say everything has a beginning, is to say everything has a before, which is an infinite view. He's not denying infinity, he's saying time is infinite, which you dispute. Also, do you do anal?

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Old 06-21-2009, 11:01 AM   #33
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Farkakta? Messuggah? Oy vey.

You are the quintessential, mid 20th century Noo Yawkah, Phil. I just love reading your posts, not only because they are smart but because they are so damned smart-alecky. It's a labor of love for you, ain't it?

However, I did notice that Lily gave herself an "out" by "conceding" at the very end of her post that everything before the last five words she typed was contingent on her asserted premise being true. Of course, nobody can know if it is.

Still, your work was not in vain.

"So many gods, so many creeds! So many paths that wind and wind, when just the art of being kind is all this sad world needs."
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:09 AM   #34
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Philboid Studge wrote View Post
I agree: Kalām is sound, if the premises are true.

and lots more interesting and wowyness type stuff
thank you for an excellent read!

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Old 06-21-2009, 11:39 AM   #35
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You were doing pretty well, Studgey, until you brought Craig into it and a 4th conclusion that does not follow at all. I am skeptical that that is his conclusion but will take a look at your link later. Let's take a look at the argument without #4 which is a distraction.

First of all, the Kalam argument is a deductive argument, and itís valid. That means thereís no flaw in the logic, and, because itís a deductive argument, the conclusion is necessarily true if the premises are true. In order to defeat the argument, then, you have to show that one or both of the premises are false. So you either have to argue that things can begin to exist with no cause whatsoever, or that the universe had no beginning. Can you do this?

All the argument does is show that the universe had a cause. The Kalam argument itself says *nothing* about what that cause was. It is, however, consistent with the Christian God (and also with the Hebrew God and Allah). We can see that logically there must be some uncaused cause to avoid an infinite regress of causes, which is impossible. That uncaused cause must have had no beginning, given that whatever begins to exist has a cause. Thus, the universe itself is not a candidate for an uncaused cause. Something else caused the universe.

The Big Bang theory says that the universe began as a singularity of zero volume and infinite density. I know some attempts have been made to skirt the beginning of the universe (I am looking at some of you), but I donít think any have succeeded. I am, however, out of my depth here and must yield to the superior knowledge of the one who just can't get past the fact that I once (actually 3 times) admitted to him that I was wrong about something.
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:06 PM   #36
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First of all, the Kalam argument is a deductive argument, and itís valid. That means thereís no flaw in the logic, and, because itís a deductive argument, the conclusion is necessarily true if the premises are true.
Logically valid, but potentially untrue.

Like the concept of God, it's weakness is in the definitions. Things as distinct from other things is a conceptual simplification of reality necessary to human survival, not a universal reality.

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So you either have to argue that things can begin to exist with no cause whatsoever, or that the universe had no beginning. Can you do this?
To turn the argument from a logic exercise into a truth you must define "Universe." Can you do this?

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Old 06-21-2009, 12:07 PM   #37
Philboid Studge
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I don't think that's right. To say everything has a beginning, is to say everything has a before, which is an infinite view. He's not denying infinity, he's saying time is infinite, which you dispute. Also, do you do anal?
No, Craig does not say "everything has a beginning." He says, "Everything that begins to exist has a cause."

He is not saying 'time is infinite.' He concocts thought experiments to show that infinities cannot exist in reality. This is his way of short-circuiting the infinite regression he himself has set up by saying everything has a cause.

Yes I do anal.

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Old 06-21-2009, 12:20 PM   #38
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I missed that. Thank you.

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Old 06-21-2009, 12:54 PM   #39
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Logically valid, but potentially untrue.

Like the concept of God, it's weakness is in the definitions. Things as distinct from other things is a conceptual simplification of reality necessary to human survival, not a universal reality.
Our understanding of God, assuming such a being exists, is necessarily weak at the level we are talking about. How can the finite comprehend the infinite? I am ok with that oldie but goodie-- Anselm's "greater than which cannot be conceived". But it is most certainly not conceptually weak to posit that there is an uncreated creator or an uncaused cause. Such is absolutely necessary to avoid an infinite regress which is untenable.

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To turn the argument from a logic exercise into a truth you must define "Universe." Can you do this?
This is way too skeptical. I am pretty sure "universe" has meaning to cosmologists-- at least, when they aren't cutting hair. And to physicists. Maybe one of them can weigh in with a definition that will help.
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:27 PM   #40
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1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
4) Since no scientific explanation (in terms of physical laws) can provide a causal account of the origin of the universe, the cause must be personal (explanation is given in terms of a personal agent)
My own, personal, problem with this is that that last one simply assumes there are no scientific explanations. We may not be completely clear on it, but it is a YET. In time, we may have it all cleared up.

(Phil - if you pointed this out already, I apologise, your post was a little too tl;dr for me, as I am knackered atm!)

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Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
Charles Darwin.
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:53 PM   #41
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The Big Bang theory says that the universe began as a singularity of zero volume and infinite density.
No it does not. What happens is that the theory breaks down as the density tends towards a relativistic quantum limit, for which we have no theory yet, and so if you were to follow the theory into a regime where it doesn't apply you will predict that it began in a "zero volume of infinite density". Even though we don't have the right theory we know that this cannot be true because it violates the working theories we do have in such a prison-esque fashion as to be wholly untenable. All of the things that make you god-people so sure that goddidit (you can't have something from nothing, there must be a first cause etc etc) go out of the window when you are dealing with quantum phenomena. Using your personal intuition to try to understand the quantum realm is like using your tongue to appreciate a work of art. Sure, the mona lisa might be a little rough and taste like oil but that's rather missing the point of it.

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Old 06-21-2009, 02:13 PM   #42
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This is way too skeptical. I am pretty sure "universe" has meaning to cosmologists-- at least, when they aren't cutting hair. And to physicists. Maybe one of them can weigh in with a definition that will help.

Good one.

"So many gods, so many creeds! So many paths that wind and wind, when just the art of being kind is all this sad world needs."
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Old 06-21-2009, 02:28 PM   #43
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So why can't everyone just wait & see what turns up? Why do they pin their hopes on santa just because lots of other people do. Aren't gods just an early, pre electricity age, form of alien musing.

thank goodness he's on our side
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Old 06-21-2009, 02:34 PM   #44
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My own, personal, problem with this is that that last one simply assumes there are no scientific explanations. We may not be completely clear on it, but it is a YET. In time, we may have it all cleared up.

(Phil - if you pointed this out already, I apologise, your post was a little too tl;dr for me, as I am knackered atm!)
Well, Whisper, it's all based on assumptions, anyway. So, in this case, the assumption is that since science has, so far, not come up with a better explanation, it never will.

This used to be an even more common presumption about a lot of things humankind had never dreamed would actually become known. You know, sort of like when science was in its infancy and no one could fathom that it would one day grow up to discover mental disease. Until then, I imagine that it seemed perfectly reasonable for folks to assume that demons were behind any "weird" behavior exhibited by people way, way back in the day.

For some reason, a lot of folks just hate not knowing something, especially the answers to seemingly unanswerable questions. Until we know- if we ever do-- folks will continue to use inductive reasoning to try to know what, in fact, they don't.

"So many gods, so many creeds! So many paths that wind and wind, when just the art of being kind is all this sad world needs."
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Old 06-21-2009, 02:54 PM   #45
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Good one.
Thanks. I rather liked it myself.

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No it does not. What happens is that the theory breaks down as the density tends towards a relativistic quantum limit, for which we have no theory yet, and so if you were to follow the theory into a regime where it doesn't apply you will predict that it began in a "zero volume of infinite density". Even though we don't have the right theory we know that this cannot be true because it violates the working theories we do have in such a prison-esque fashion as to be wholly untenable. All of the things that make you god-people so sure that goddidit (you can't have something from nothing, there must be a first cause etc etc) go out of the window when you are dealing with quantum phenomena.
Do they indeed? If you are going to refute an argument, especially a deductive argument like Kalam, you must show that one of the premises is false or that both are. Or at least that the denial of the premise is more plausible than the premise itself. You are apparently trying to refute the first premise but you haven't demonstrated how it is that quantum theory shows the premise to be faulty.

Are you saying that quantum theory nullifies the principle of causation? If so, I think you are going to run into several problems. Certainly you will have trouble explaining how science can actually work, since science itself is based on the principle of causation. You can take the position that causation fails at the subatomic level but this still doesnít explain how something can begin to exist uncaused out of nothing.

I have pretty much exhausted what little I know about these matters but, I still have questions which you can maybe answer. If you say that our universe began in a quantum environment, donít you have a problem? Nothing means nothing. It means no environment at all, not even a quantum one. All theories for the beginning of the universe based on quantum mechanics assume some sort of quantum field in a void of some kind to start with, or else a pre-existing multiverse, donít they? But thatís something, thatís not nothing.

Where did the quantum field or the multiverse come from? Your objection doesnít appear to refute anything, and doesnít address any of the details of the starting premises. If you think quantum theory has proven that you can get a universe uncaused from nothing, or even made such a proposition plausible, I believe that you are mistaken.
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