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Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Kalâm Cosmological Fallacy

The Kalâm Cosmological Argument (KCA) has its origins in medieval Islam of the Kalâm tradition but it has been adopted by Christian apologists, notably William Lane Craig, who appear to believe it proves only the Christian god of the New Testament, ignoring the fact that it was originally formulated to ‘prove’ the Islamic god of the Qur’an.
  1. Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause.
  2. The universe had a beginning.
  3. Therefore the universe had a cause.
  4. That cause must be God.

In essence, the KCA is arguing that:
  1. There can be no natural cause for the universe.
  2. Therefore the cause must be supernatural.
  3. The only possible supernatural cause must be whichever god the argument is being used to promote.

Clearly, we only need to refute 1 for the entire argument to collapse since this is the premise from which the rest is assumed to flow. We only need to show that a natural cause is possible to refute the KCA. The onus of proof lies with those using the KCA to prove their implicit claim that the cause MUST be supernatural, so the onus is upon them to refute our possible natural cause AND show that there are no other possible natural explanations.

Unless they are able to do so, reliance on the KCA is dishonest and disingenuous.

Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause.

This ‘law of causality’ is simply untrue, as quantum mechanics has established. There are two well-known phenomena which illustrate this:
  1. Decay of the energy state an excited electron to its ground state, with the emission of a photon, is known to be random and unpredictable. Based on observations, science can calculate the probability of this event occurring in any given time period, but there is no way the precise moment of decay for any given excited electron can be predicted.
  2. The decay of a radioactive atom by emission of a particle has no cause. There is no detectable difference between a radioactive atom which is about to decay and one which is not. As with the decay of an excited electron to its ground state, science can calculate the probability of radioactive decay in any given period of time but can never predict the moment of decay for any one atom.

The ‘law of causality’ is assumed to apply (note ‘assumed’, as it has not been established for all events) at the level over which Relativity applies, but not at the quantum level, where relativity is known not to apply. The Big Bang was a quantum event so, even if causality is accepted as a law, it demonstrably does not apply at the quantum level.

The universe had a beginning.

This argument assumes that, with space and time being part of the universe (something which has been known since 1905 when Einstein formulated the Theory of Relativity) there can be any meaningful sense in which a ‘beginning’ can be defined in the absence of a time and a place for it to begin.

But why do we need to assume a beginning? Why is it not possible for the universe to have come from something else? In fact, there is no reason to assume it didn’t; that our universe could not have arisen as a quantum fluctuation in a non-zero energy field in some pre-existing universe. The assumption that our universe is all that there is is just that, an assumption, not an established fact. It simply has no validity.

There is nothing in Relativity or Quantum Theory which prevents a universe from originating in some pre-existing universe. Indeed, there is no fundamental law requiring that ‘nothing’ should be the default state of existence rather than something. Apologists who challenge science to explain why there is ‘something rather than nothing’ have the onus of proof that ‘nothing’ should be assumed in the absence of a reason for ‘something’.

It must be said that those who devised the KCA in the middle ages knew nothing of quantum mechanics, nor that the ‘beginning’ of universe was a quantum event, so can be excused for this error. Neither were they aware of Big Bang cosmology or Relativity which show that the Universe as we experience it must have once been very much smaller and could have arisen from an earlier Universe with its own internal space and time.

However, the same cannot be said for modern day apologists either for Christianity or for Islam, for whom ignorance of quantum theory and cosmology, and its basic refutation of the Kalām Cosmological Argument can only be due to choice. These modern-day proponents of the KCA can no longer rely on assumptions which seemed valid and obvious to mediaeval thinkers; they now have to refute the many arguments physicists can put up and show there are no other possible natural explanations. Unless they are able to do so, the KCA is dishonest and disingenuous, based as it is on false premises.

But, let us put that all to one side and assume for the sake of argument, that apologists have established the basic premises of the KCA so there MUST be a supernatural explanation for the universe.

Why does it follow that the only possible supernatural explanation, of all the possible supernatural explanations, is the actions of the god they are promoting? The fact that precisely the same argument is put forward to support the god of the Qur’an, indeed that the KCA used by Lane Craig and other Christian apologists is a straight plagiarisation of an Islamic argument, shows that the final conclusion does not flow from the argument at all. In fact, one could substitute the name of any god, or indeed any other notion and the argument would have the same validity. Using the KCA it is just as easy to make a case for the universe being created by Zeus, a Flying Spaghetti Monster, a committee of Graeco-Roman gods or indeed a peanut-butter sandwich.

And, perhaps more importantly, why do all the assumptions they make regarding the origins of the universe - that it must have had a beginning, therefore it must have had a cause – not apply to their preferred god? Why do they need to abandon the very principles upon which their argument relies in order to make it work for them?

How do they all get away with the same trick? They do it by begging the question. It's a sleight of hand of which any conjurer, card sharp or flimflam man would be proud. The trick is to assume that, in addition to the set of things which begin to exist, there must be a set of things which don't begin to exist from which to select a 'cause'. Apologists like William Lane Craig rely on their audience to unconsciously populate this set with the locally popular god and only the locally popular god. Having set the audience up with this begged question, they then let them draw the 'obvious' but invalid conclusion; invalid because the assumptions of the existence of this set of things which don't begin to exist, and what it contains, is invalid. Even if such a set exists there is no reason we can't put any daft notion we wish in it. More importantly, there is never an explanation of why it could not contain something perfectly natural, requiring no supernatural involvement at all.

Clearly, given the state of our knowledge of cosmology and quantum mechanics, we can now confidently state that the basic premises of the KCA are not valid. Given the modern availability of information on these subjects we can, with equal confidence, state that those who use it are being dishonest and disingenuous, and very clearly pursuing some other agenda than truth.

A moment’s thought will show that the KCA is merely the God of the Gaps, the Argument from Personal Incredulity and the Argument From Ignorance fallacies dressed up to look respectable. It is no less dishonest for all that. In essence, the argument is nothing more than "I don't know how it happened, therefore no one knows how it happened, therefore it is unknowable, therefore it must have been supernatural, therefore it must have been [insert required answer]".

What is plainly going on here is that apologists are aiming their arguments not at non-believers and scientists who can see through their fallacies but at those who are ignorant of science and/or those who merely want their pre-existing superstitions ‘confirmed’ by scientific-sounding or seemingly logical arguments without being too concerned about their validity. The argument is aimed at those who, through parochial ignorance, are culturally pre-disposed to assume that, if one can make the case for a supernatural explanation for something, it stands to reason that it must be the locally popular god - the one assumed to be the only god on offer - and that this then proves the locally popular god is real. It does nothing of the sort of course. All it demonstrates is the ability to ascribe something not understood to whatever cause one wishes it to be.

There is no truth-seeking agenda at work, merely a desire to exploit a credulous and gullible market and milk it for all it’s worth. (Tweet this)

Further reading:
  1. God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist. Victor J. Stenger, Jan 2007. Prometheus Books. IBSN 1591026520.
  2. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. Stephen W. Hawking, 1988. Bantam. IBSN 9780553109535.
  3. The Kalâm Cosmological Argument. William Lane Craig. August 2000. Wipf and Stock Publishers ISBN 9781579104382


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31 comments:

  1. This has all been said before, but it deserves saying again. This is a very well presented refutation. Nicely done.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Godbots will repeat the KCA over and over, and resist comments that disagree or refute it (that's been my experience since posting about it).

    Here is my two cents' worth, but in summary: the first two premises are both utter guff.

    More on why here:
    http://www.lukesci.com/2011/09/05/why-the-kalam-cosmological-argument-is-bunk/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Is There Evidence God Exists?

    Yes. Allah has sent down miracles, revelations and messengers to give clear proofs He exists and more important, what we should do once we come to this realization.

    Allah has sent prophets and messengers with many proofs throughout the ages for people to be able to clearly see with their own eyes and to be able to use their own senses the miracles and proofs pointing to the fact, Allah does in fact, exist.

    Miracles of prophets and messengers of Allah have come to people through the ages. Moses (peace be upon him) showed many miracles to pharaoh and to the children of Israel. Plagues, locusts, water turning to blood, his stick becoming a snake, the voice in the burning bush and the parting of the Red Sea are clear miracles for the people of Moses time.

    Again, Allah sent Jesus, the son of Mary (peace be upon him) with clear miracles for the people of his time. Speaking from the cradle while still a new born infant, creating birds from clay, curing the sick, giving sight to the blind and even bringing a dead man back to life, were all clear signs to the people to know Jesus (peace be upon him) was a messenger of Allah as was Moses before him.

    Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the last and final messenger of Allah, and he was sent to all of mankind. Allah sent him with a number of miracles, not the least of which was the Quran. The predictions and prophecies of Muhammad (peace be upon him) have come true even in this century and the Quran has been used to convince even scientists of the existence of Allah.
    [Please visit "Science Proves Allah": Watch video of famous scientists admit Quran is from Allah and even accept Islam]

    The Quran is the best of proofs for the existence of Allah and today over one and half billion people memorize and recite from the exact text, in the exact same language it was revealed in; Arabic. More than 10 million Muslims have completely memorized the entire Quran from cover to cover, and can recite it from memory without looking at it.

    No one sees or hears Allah, not even the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Nor are we able to use our senses to make some kind of contact with Him. However, we are encouraged in Islam to use our senses and our common sense to recognize this entire universe could not possibly come into existence on its own. Something had to design it all and then put it into motion. This is beyond our ability to do, yet it is something we can understand.

    We know from the teachings of Muhammad (peace be upon him) the proofs for the existence of God (Allah) are most obvious to us in our everyday surroundings. Anyone with understanding would quickly acknowledge His existence provided they are not so stubborn as to ignore the obvious evidences right in front of us.

    We don't have to see an artist to recognize a painting, correct? So, if we see paintings without seeing artists painting them, in the same way, we can believe Allah created everything without having to see Him (or touch, or hear, etc.).

    ReplyDelete
  4. muslim.

    So your 'evidence' that your god exists is that someone wrote about it.

    There is of course precisely the same 'evidence' for all the Hindu, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Persian, Norse, Shinto and Celtic gods, and of many other.

    Indeed, there is precisely the same 'evidence' that Peter Pan and Harry Potter are real.

    Can I suggest you use a dictionary to look up the meaning of the term 'evidence'?

    I found it interesting that you didn't deal with the subject of this blog - the fallacy called the KCA - in any way. I'll assume that that was because you either couldn't or that you were more interested in preaching than in rational debate and attempting to arrive at the truth through reason.

    ReplyDelete
  5. muslim.

    By the way, before you can reasonably and rationally invoke a supernatural explanation for anything, the intellectually honest approach is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a natural explanation is out of the question.

    Only then can we begin to discuss which of all the infinite array of all hypothetical supernatural explanations is the right one. This of course involves systematically proving none of the others can be.

    If you fee you can do this, please feel free to meet the challenge I issued in http://rosarubicondior.blogspot.com/2011/07/proving-creationism-should-be-so-simple.html

    I look forward to seeing your post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Rosa, have you consulted any of the other literature defending the KCA aside from the reprint of Craig's original 1979 book? He and others (DeWeese and Rasmussen, Moreland, Nowacki, and so forth) have responded to all of the criticisms you raise against the KCA. For instance, if I recall correctly, Craig adheres to the deBroglie-Bohm interpretation of QM (under which your inference of causeless events would be a complete no-go); and neither Craig nor any other leading defender of the argument has simply *assumed* that the cosmic cause is to be identified with any particular deity. Indeed, the fourth point in your summary of the KCA is noticeably absent in Craig's typical schematization of the argument. Craig would also - and, I think, justly - contend that your "beyond a reasonable doubt" criterion is far beyond what is necessary for a successful philosophical argument by any standards actually utilized in the field.

    On Twitter and in the blogosphere, the buzz about your critique had me expecting a greater degree of deep engagement with the opposition. Nor do I think it does anyone a service to persistently hurl unpleasant epithets ("dishonest", "credulous", "gullible", and so forth) against those who in good faith advance an argument that you happen to consider unviable.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I prefer to go with reality as confirmed by repeated scientific experiments and observation rather than having to scrape the barrel.

    It's very clear to anyone who watches Lane Craig's tactics that he aims his points at an eagerly credulous and gullible audience, therefore my use of those terms was justified.

    Characterising the exploitation of the credulous and gullible for personal gain as dishonest is accurate, in my view.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I disagree with your analysis on a number of points.

    #1 The KCA originated with the Muslims and was later adopted by the Christians.

    No, a form of the KCA was first articulated by the Christian philosopher, John Philoponus, in A.D. 529 in his book Against Proclus, as well as by others that followed. Muslims absorbed and developed Philopnus’ arguments beginning in the 7th century when they conquered Northern Africa. Much later, Jews picked this up in Spain from the Muslims, and re-introduced it to the Christians there.

    #2 Craig thinks the KCA proves “only” the Christian God

    This is utterly false. Craig has never claimed this. All he says is it proves is a transcendent, powerful, immaterial, timeless, uncaused, personal creator of the universe (this is consistent with the Christian God, but by no means limited to the Christian God). On occasion he will also point out that the principle of parsimony means we need not postulate more than one deity to explain the universe, but even here he stops short of saying it proves the Christian God. Simple monotheism could support Judaism, Islam, Christianity, etc. Craig argues that it is the resurrection of Jesus that allows us to identify the God of the KCA as the Christian God.

    #3 There could be a natural cause that explains the origin of the universe.

    Whatever caused the universe to come into being cannot itself be part of the universe. That would require self-causation which is logically absurd, for it would require that the universe exist before it existed! By definition whatever caused the universe must be transcend the universe, which is what “supernatural” means.

    Jason

    ReplyDelete
  9. #4 Quantum mechanics has shown the law of causality does not hold.

    QM show no such thing. You would have to show that the experimental evidence reflects ontology rather than epistemology. Our lack of ability to predict when the electron will decay (epistemology) does not mean it has no cause for the decay (ontology).

    And given how central the law of causality is to science, and how firmly entrenched in our experience the law is, don’t you think it is more reasonable to believe there is a cause we have not yet discovered (just like so many other effects for which it took us a long time to discover their cause) than that there is no cause? I find it bizarre that so many atheists are quick to embrace QM as an example of uncaused events. When ID theorists claim a Designing Intelligence is responsible for some natural phenomenon based on the empirical evidence, they are accused of giving up on science—that “science will eventually find the cause.” But when an atheist concludes that since he doesn’t know the cause of QM events, there must not be a cause, he thinks he is embracing science. Wouldn’t that be to give up on science as well? What you are doing appears worse than what the ID theorist is doing, because you are not merely saying there is no natural cause, but that there is no cause period. And this despite our uniform experience of causation and deepest intuitions to the contrary.

    More importantly, I would argue that as a matter of principle, it is impossible for science to demonstrate that something is uncased. Science can identify what exists by what it observes, but science cannot identify what does not exist by what it fails to observe. Absence of evidence for a causal entity is not evidence for the absence of a causal entity. If there is such a thing as an uncaused entity, it would be impossible to identify it scientifically because science is based on observation and induction. It is impossible to observe the absence of something, and thus it is impossible to discover an uncaused entity by scientific methods. If uncaused entities exist, they must be identified philosophically, not empirically/scientifically.

    Jason

    ReplyDelete
  10. #5 We are assuming the universe had a beginning.

    We are not just assuming it. The equations of relativity predict a singularity. Even if you argue that since we can’t get past the Planck time, that perhaps something strange happened and we would find a prior physical source for our universe, the mere possibility of this does not mean it is true or likely. You need to demonstrate that. Besides, even if there was a prior physical source, then you have to explain the origin of that prior physical source, and the source of the source ad infinitum. Given the incoherence of an actual infinite, and given the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, one way or another there was a beginning, whether we locate that beginning in our universe or some prior universe. It cannot be avoided.

    In 2003 Alexander Vilenkin, Arvin Borde, and Alan Guth developed theorems demonstrating that any universe that has been, on average, expanding throughout its history must have a finite beginning in the past. Their theorems apply to multiverse inflationary theories as well as models based on string theory such as brane cosmology. In other words, it covers all current cosmological models. Vilenkin writes, “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

    Jason

    ReplyDelete
  11. John Dulles.

    #1/2. Does it not embarrass you that the argument which is used to 'prove' the existence of the Christian god can be used to 'prove' the existence of any other god, or indeed the existence of any daft notion you can dream up? Bickering over who thought of it first does not change that inconvenient fact one iota.

    #3. The same can be said for whichever god you are using the KCA to 'prove' of course. I'm afraid redefining any possible cause of the universe as 'supernatural' in order to allow you to claim a supernatural cause of it just doesn't wash.

    YOU need to prove no natural cause is possible by something other than merely redefining words to cover you lack of such proof.

    #4. It might be inconvenient but the examples of causeless quantum events I gave are well known and well documented.

    The fact that an assumption of causality is entrenched in our 'experience' (in other words it seems intuitively right) does not change the observable evidence that our intuition is wrong. In fact, human intuition is often a poor judge of reality, especially at the very small level, far below anything our senses evolved to detect, such as the quantum level.

    This is, of course, merely a form of the argument from personal incredulity - I can't understand that therefore it must be wrong.

    #5. No. The equations of relativity show that space-time had a beginning. However, as we know, relativity breaks down at the quantum level so can't rescue your god. At the quantum level of course, it is perfectly permissible to hypothesis something 'before' space-time and indeed the spontaneous production of elementary particles in a zero energy field.

    So, over to you. You have to prove that there could be no natural precursor for the universe, that a universe could not spontaneously arise in a zero energy field, that no natural explanation is possible and that the only possible supernatural explanation is the Christian god, to the complete exclusion of all other supernatural hypotheses, and you've cracked it.

    You'll need something better than an argument from personal incredulity since few people are likely to believe you are privy to all knowledge and understanding, especially at the highly non-intuitive quantum level. Redefinition of words won't work either.

    ReplyDelete
  12. #1/2. Your response completely skirted the points I made. You are wrong on your history, and you are wrong about how Craig uses the KCA. Do you concede that? If not, then what is your evidence for these claims?

    Why would that embarrass me? If the argument can prove the existence of a deity, then atheism is dead-in-the-water, even if we couldn’t know from reason alone who this deity was. But the Kalam argument is not the only rational argument for God’s existence. There are others, and the other arguments tell us more about who this deity is, that helps us narrow it down.

    #3. It’s not a matter of just arbitrarily defining anything. Whatever caused the universe to exist can’t be part of the universe because then it would have to exist before it existed, which is nonsense. This demonstrates conclusively that there cannot be a natural explanation of the universe. Trying to explain how the natural world came into being by appealing to some natural phenomenon is like trying to explain how a baby comes into being by appealing to the baby itself. The baby can’t cause itself, and neither can the universe. Something has to exist before it can act as a causal agent, so it doesn’t make any sense to appeal to some part of X to explain how X came into being. The cause has to be outside of X. Since nature came into existence, the cause of nature must be beyond the natural world, which is what supernatural means. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the cause is God, however. Supernatural does not = God. But given the properties that we must deduce of the cause, it is reasonable to conclude that the supernatural cause is divine.

    #4. Once again, you have completely ignored my arguments. Our observation is that we see effects, but we don’t see the cause. That doesn’t mean there isn’t one. How could scientists ever prove the absence of something? They can’t. You can’t just ignore that and act like science is capable of doing that. And you can’t just ignore the problem of determining whether this is an ontological or epistemological problem. You are just assuming it is ontological.

    #5. Exactly, the equations of relativity show that space-time had a beginning. Who cares that it breaks down at the quantum level (besides, the VBG theorems take that into consideration and still conclude that there must be a beginning)! Just because we may be able to push back material existence one or a million stages before our universe does not mean you can do so infinitely. Eventually you will reach the absolute beginning of material reality, before which there was no material reality. And then you are still faced with the question of why/how it came into being. And you can’t appeal to something physical as the cause because physical reality is the effect in question that needs to be explained.

    You say, “At the quantum level of course, it is perfectly permissible to hypothesis something 'before' space-time and indeed the spontaneous production of elementary particles in a zero energy field.” Listen to what you are saying. You are invoking things that require both space and time, to explain the origin of space and time. An energy field would take up space, and moving from a state of no elementary particles to a state of having elementary particles in that field would require time. While the space-time of our universe may have originated from a previous space-time, eventually we must come to an absolute beginning of space-time, before which nothing material pre-existed it. And once again, you have to explain how that space-time came into being without a material cause. If you want to opt for magic in which things just pop into existence from absolutely nothing without a cause, be my guest, but I prefer having a reasonable explanation to a magical one.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jason Dulle.

    > But the Kalam argument is not the only rational argument for God’s existence.<

    But it IS the argument this blog deals with. Your attempt to broaden it is noted.

    > If the [KC] argument can prove the existence of a deity, then atheism is dead-in-the-water,]

    If - a small word with such a big effect on logic.

    As I have shown above though, it can't.

    Sorry about that.

    > Whatever caused the universe to exist can’t be part of the universe because then it would have to exist before it existed, which is nonsense.<

    Indeed. Which is why we know the 'God did it by magic' notion is ridiculous. Clearly nothing can't have made a universe out of nothing. No sane adult could believe that.

    >You say, “At the quantum level of course, it is perfectly permissible to hypothesis something 'before' space-time and indeed the spontaneous production of elementary particles in a zero energy field.” Listen to what you are saying. You are invoking things that require both space and time, to explain the origin of space and time.<

    Er... no. I'm explaining why neither are required for a quantum event to occur.

    However, I'm happy to accept your assurance that there was no place an no time for your hypothetical god to perform it's magic and nothing from which it could make a universe, or indeed for it to be made from.

    This is why we know your notion, which was thought up by Bronze Age nomadic goat-herders before they had though of wheels, can be dismissed as the infantile fantasy of primitive peoples.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "The fact that precisely the same argument is put forward to support the Islamic god of the Qur’an, indeed that the KCA used by Lane Craig and other Christian apologists is a straight copy of an Islamic argument"

    Majority of Islam - rejected Kalam. And proceeded to distance its self from the arguments.

    WLC - use belong to him alone. Strange to use medieval Islamic arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Material infinites cannot exist -> The universe, in its material sense, is therefore limited and must have a beginning and an end -> Nature is material -> It must therefore have had a genesis which at some point transcended matter ->

    Therefore, the origins of the natural universe are in some nondescript supernatural cause, which transcends beginnings and ends. Interestingly the argument precedes WLC, Islam and generations of religious apologists; it is first found in Aristotle.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Shatakan

    Aren't you at all embarrassed that your 'conclusion' is based on two unsubstantiated assertions which you make merely to arrive at the desired conclusion?

    Of course, the origins of the universe in a quantum foam require no 'infinities' so your assertion is irrelevant, but even if it were relevant, you have merely asserted that they are impossible. And why have you arbitrarily exempted your preferred supernatural cause by another unsubstantiated assertion?

    In effect, your argument is nothing more than a claim that a supernatural cause MUST exist because you want it to.

    Science is a methodology to help us overcome any tendency we may have to believe that we just know the truth and can make it whatever we want it to be.

    It seems theology has the exact opposite function.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Let me make it very clear: Since nature is necessarily limited by its physicality, it must have been preceded by a supernatural (literally - 'BEYOND nature') cause, which is only logical. The specific nature of that cause I cannot possibly say, but it follows that there ought to be one, since a causal loop cannot exist, it follows that every causal chain is of finite length, and therefore a definite beginning MUST have existed at a certain point. As matter is limited and finite, it cannot possibly have been material/natural. To suggest that the cause of the universe is 'God' is admittedly too dogmatic and requires an unsubstantiated leap in reasoning, but the logic holds true that matter must have originally been caused by something outside of itself.

    ReplyDelete
  18. As for quantum phenomena, either the apparent randomness of things like radioactive decay boil down to a simple lack of understanding on the part of science, or they truly are outside the boundaries of empirical validation, in which case the causes are unknowable and we must necessarily be agnostic toward them, which goes some way to giving credence to the idea of a cause that is 'beyond nature' and certainly beyond dogmatic scientism.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Shatakan

    Translates as:

    "There must be a cause even for thing we know have no cause, because I want there to be one and the universe is the way I need it to be. It goes without saying that that cause is my favourite magic invisible superhero friend, because I say so."

    ReplyDelete
  20. Shatakan,

    That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    Thank you for a nice example of another try at getting away with the false dichotomy fallacy, by the way.

    Will it be long before you use a computer to assure me that science is all wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  21. As you yourself previously stated; a negative cannot be proved. Therefore, if an apparently random event appears for which we can discern no cause; we must be agnostic to its origin - either through the limitations of present day science, or an admission that we will never be able to establish an understanding of such. Either way leads to scientific agnosticism, whether on a permanent or temporary basis.

    Science isn't wrong at all, I WISH you'd stop misquoting me, it's just that - SHOCK HORROR - there are severe limitations on what it can say about religion and spiritual belief. If anything, science is less sure about religion since the advent of Quantum Theory than it has been since the early modern period. The sooner you grow up and understand that, the sooner you will relinquish your blind and pathetic hatred of religion and just learn to let it slide. Why does the mere idea of a god existing make you feel so insecure?

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  22. Shatakan

    So what you have to prove now is that no natural explanation is possible and that the only possible supernatural one is your favourite magic superhero.

    How long do you think that will take you?

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  23. Proof by induction, more or less. You can add all the preexisting universes and random events you like, but the argument still holds. Deciding on a particular 'magical superhero' is impossible, but i'll let you do that for me, because the particular nature of the superhero is completely unimportant ;)

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  24. You'll need to explain now why you include a magic superhero in your explanation when one is unnecessary.

    Is it there just so you can have an imaginary friend?

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  25. This is hilarious. Orwellian doublethink at its finest.

    "either through the limitations of present day science, or an admission that we will never be able to establish an understanding of such. Either way leads to scientific agnosticism, whether on a permanent or temporary basis"

    In other words - "you're using science to prove that my god doesn't exist. BUT since science hasn't come up with a conclusive answer for everything, we should be sceptical about science. Therefore god exists"

    God of the gaps, by any other name. Not to mention the outrageous leap from "science doesn't know everything" to "god exists".

    Sanity is on your side, RosaRubicondior, and it would salute you, if it was more than an abstract human concept =)

    ReplyDelete
  26. The following tweets were posted on Twitter on 22 June 2012 by @117Ryan:

    Fail. Ha. Commenters win. RT @RosaRubicondior: Popular Fallacies - The Kalâm Cosmological Argument. - goo.gl/4T4Zb #Atheism

    My reply:
    @117Ryan Thank you. I'll record your tweets on the blog so that others may judge your honesty for themselves. #Atheism #Integrity

    @RosaRubicondior no need. You've shown that you don't want to reply honestly to the refutations already made. So...

    @RosaRubicondior thanks. I'm sure other people will know whether I'm being honest or not.

    My reply:
    @117Ryan Indeed. Had you felt able to substantiate your claims it might have convinced people. #Atheism

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The above 'contributor' calls himself Christopher Powell in his Twitter Bio.

      Needless to say, when challenged to justify his claims, he rapidly degenerated into a pretence of stupidity followed by the usual abuse of one who's been caught unable to substantiate a wild claim about something he hasn't understood.

      Delete
  27. Regarding the "two well-known phenomena which illustrate" that the "‘law of causality’ is simply untrue as quantum mechanics has established",

    Science will never be able to predict "the precise moment of decay for any given excited electron"?

    And science will never be able to predict "moment of decay for any one atom"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you have a question or a point to make?

      Delete
  28. As the Cosmos is all, no transcendent reality can exist as Reichenbach's argument from Existence claims, and as transcendence contradicts omnipresence, God cannot exist.
    Dwight @ Atheology has three good arguments: Dwight's serial argument is that to be omnipresent, then God would be in the series but not as a necessary being and if outside the series, He cannot be the Creator.
    Dwight's history/contingent argument is that God would have to be contingent to create and again, not the necessary being or had He both necessary- contingent aspects. He'd have another incoherent attribute and a contradiction to itself!
    And his other one notes that is similar to David Ramsay Steele's timeless argument^ that wer He timeless, then He couldn't create, because He'd have to be in time to create and again, another part of WLC'S farragoes of fallacies appear where he claims that albeit timeless, God gets into time when He crates, but that is just a diversion.
    Rosa, eh?
    http://carnedes.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Personally, I would pay as much attention to William Lane Craig as I would to a snake oil salesman or an illusionist. He claims to be a philosopher but lacks the necessary honesty, so is not above using tricks and fallacies to pull the wool over the eyes of those eager to be fooled, even those fallacies which he knows have been refuted.

      Like a professional illusionist he puts on shows designed to impress the credulous with his sleight of hand and clever deceptions, the whole depending on the audience not being sophisticated enough to spot the tricks and not wanting to spot them anyway. They are watching the naked Emperor parading and want the rest of the audience to see how much they admire his new clothes because they are sophisticated enough to be able to see them.

      He is nothing more than a paid spin doctor for the extreme right dutifully giving moral support for whatever repugnant policy they want foisted on the (especially) American people.

      To your main point, yes. God cannot simultaneously be supernatural, and hence not part of nature unable to interact with it, or influence it in any way, including having created it in the first place, and be a god who influences the universe and does so according to the prayers of its believers which it hears in some way. Chanting prayers to control the universe is no different to chanting prayers to control a volcano or a hurricane. There is nothing intelligent listening and nothing intelligent that can bring about change.

      God cannot have existed outside space and time because both are essential for existence. There is no meaningful way something can 'exist' without there being a time and place to exist in. A god outside space and time is identical to a non-existent god. In fact, defining god as being outside space and time is another way of defining a non-existent god, just as defining god as supernatural is another way of defining a powerless irrelevant god which is indistinguishable from a non-existent one. A universe with a god outside space and time is indistinguishable from a universe without a god.

      The problem theologians have gotten themselves into is that, because their gods are undetectable, and being undetectable is indistinguishable from being non-existent, all their explanations produce gods which are indistinguishable from non-existent ones. They are obliged by the science to use those definitions or be seen to be flying in the face of reality yet are prevented by dogma from reaching the obvious conclusion.

      Science, of course, is obliged to use no such dishonesty and so can say with all honesty that there is no evidence that any gods exist and therefore there is no reason to suppose that any do.

      Delete

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