Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God

Discussion in 'Religion' started by James R, Jan 11, 2016.


Does the Kalam Cosmological Argument convince you that God exists?

  1. Yes.

    1 vote(s)
  2. No.

    25 vote(s)
  3. I'm not sure that I properly understand the argument.

    1 vote(s)
  4. No opinion or would rather not answer.

    0 vote(s)
  1. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    That's your assertion, now please show where I have assumed this rather than it being the conclusion of the logic.
    No, I think the argument is invalid because it does beg the question.
    Intention is irrelevant.
    Only the actual logic is important in determining validity.
    Most fallacious arguments are unintended.
    If the logic is fallacious, yes.
    Intention is irrelevant.
    At this stage I am making no assumption as to what God is or whether God is needed or not.
    As far as your definition / understanding of God goes, no this premise could not include God.
    Your definition/understanding specifically excludes God from being covered by this premise.
    If we have not yet defined what God is then the question of God being included or not is irrelevant.
    The conclusion follows from the premise.
    That is not to say that the premises are true, however.
    Since when does "problematic" mean that it should be disregarded?
    This would thus seem to be a type of confirmation bias on your part.
    And your logic / support for this is...?
    Please note that this "something cannot come out of nothing" is in contrast to you previously suggesting that God and nothingness are equivalent (I can't recall if it was this thread or another).
    Your use of the term "absurdity" is also telling, and who says it is limited to universes?
    All we know is the inside of ours.
    As for why we don't see things popping into existence - who says we don't?
    Or who says that we should see such things from our rather limited perspective of inside the universe?
    If things do pop into existence from nothing then, given that the universe is something, why should we see anything pop into existence where we are?
    Or nothingness.
    All you have done here is eliminate as a possible conclusion that which you don't like.
    And who says an uncaused agent is any less "problematic" or "absurd" as any of the other alternatives?
    Do we know of anything that is uncaused that means it is more acceptable than "nothingness" or an infinite regress?
    Correct, but just saying "you're wrong" isn't really doing anything to convince otherwise.
    It is demonstrated by Barker, as laid out in the OP.
    Intention is not an issue - it might have been entirely accidental, subconscious etc.
    Intention is irrelevant as to whether an argument is fallacious or not.
    Intention merely speaks to dishonesty rather than a genuine mistake / oversight.
    And that assumes that the question begging is there, which I think is due to the logic laid out in the OP.
    But convince me otherwise by all means (and "you're wrong" isn't convincing).
    As it stands, however, I have no evidence as to intention - but intention is irrelevant to validity of an argument.
    Sarkus likes this.
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  3. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Only if you assume something like predestination... or a purely materialistic world that would assume the lack of any god from the outset. The former assumes no other real agency but the first cause...it doesn't even allow for any sort of emergent agency. The latter just dismisses god with an equally unconvincing unknown.

    Yeah, that's the problem of evil. Up to you whether you want to start a new thread. If the first cause is always the ultimate cause of everything that may exist and occur, why should there be any sentient observer to ascribe evil to any of it? Why shouldn't all events simply occur within a fraction of a second and be done? These two things lead me to believe that a basic function of the universe is to short-circuit (unintended path) what would otherwise be just a brief particle pair and mutual annihilation. For this same reason, I tend to discount predestination.
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  5. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Everything that begins to exist has a cause
    The universe began to exist
    The universe has a cause
    Therefore an uncaused causer exists

    Everything that begins to exist has a cause except the uncaused
    The universe is not the uncaused
    The universe has a cause
    Therefore an uncaused causer exists

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  7. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    This isn't valid, because there could be a) the universe causing itself, b) something else causing itself and also causing the universe, c) some sort of loop, d) something outside of the universe that is itself caused by something else.

    This isn't valid because there could be something outside the universe that caused the universe that is itself caused by something else. Additionally, now the "begins to exist" is superfluous to the argument. The argument merely states that the universe is caused.
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    If we paraphrase the KCA as:

    1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause

    2. The universe began to exist

    3. Therefore the universe has a cause

    4. That cause is God

    It seems to me that 3. follows logically from 1. and 2. So 1. through 3. appear to be a valid argument in purely logical terms.

    But that doesn't mean that it's a sound argument, which requires not only that the form of the argument be valid but that the premises be true. We don't really know that 1. and 2. are true (we have reason to suspect that they might not be), so we can't say that 3. is proven, even if it's the logical conclusion of a valid argument.

    The thing is, Craig doesn't just want to prove 3., he hopes to prove 4., that God is the universe's cause. That proposition seems to me to be a non-sequitur. Making 4. the conclusion of a valid argument will require additional premises that we don't see here, particularly one in which the 'God' term is introduced. Apparently Craig tries to accomplish something like that in his "ontological analysis".
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  9. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    Sure, but no KCA stops at 3; 4 is the whole point of the KCA.

    Many Christians are very deceitful when it comes to presenting arguments about the existence of God. This is because their goal is not argumentation, but conversion or retention. William Lane Craig is clearly interesting in conversion and retention and not argument.

    It is no help whatsoever to point out that a part of the argument is valid and then ignore the huge leap to the point of the argument. This plays into the deceit of those who offer the argument or the delusion of those who really believe the argument.
  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I've been observing this exchange. Surely in Big Bang cosmology there is a question over whether proposition 1 is itself correct, isn't there? How do we know that everything that begins to exist has a cause? That's just an assertion, isn't it?

    After all, QM seems to be telling us the physical world is not deterministic. For example, if an unstable atom (of a radioisotope) can decay randomly, who is to say a universe cannot arise by chance too?
  11. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    This is all a complicated mess (and no thanks to Lawrence Krauss, who misrepresented the idea of nothing in his popular work).

    Big Bang cosmology doesn't yet say anything about origins, other than to put in some constraints. It's simplest extrapolation has an infinite series of events going back a finite distance in time. There is no first event, but one can identify a time that is a boundary before which there can be no earlier event. This is the simplest extrapolation, and there can be many extrapolations consistent with what we know that involve some speculation.

    Our contemporary cosmology is fine with an infinite history of the universe, either pretty much empty with a random explosion or constantly filled with stuff that keeps branching off, over and over again. It could also be that the universe is simply one, self-contained unit of which there is no proper way to even conceive of cause and effect outside the universe.

    This bears on the soundness of the KCA, but not on its validity.
  12. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Everything you mentioned, comes under the classification of ''thing'', and everything began to exist.

    No, it states that everything is caused.

  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Fair enough. I do appreciate that, like the theory of evolution, cosmology does not attempt so far to deal explicitly with the start itself. Anyway I'm derailing the thread with this so I'll leave it at that.

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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I don't think that Craig is "deceitful", he's just trying to improve on the traditional first-cause cosmological argument.

    Who ignored it?

    Once again, I don't believe that anyone is being "deceitful".

    JamesR (definitely one of the board's brighter bulbs) addressed the difficulties with 4. back in post #21, where he said that Craig addresses 4. this way:

    4a. If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe (God) exists, who did not begin to exist, is changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and enormously powerful.

    4b. The universe has a cause (based on the Kalam Cosmological Argument given previously).

    4c. Therefore God exists.

    James pointed out that 4a. is obviously problematic as a premise. So we need to ask how Craig justifies 4a. And James says:

    Apparently Craig presents his "ontological analysis" in the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology as follows:

    1. A first state of the material world cannot have a material explanation and must originate ex-nihilo in being without material cause, because no natural explanation can be causally prior to the very existence of the natural world (space, time and its contents). The cause must be outside space and time (timeless, spaceless, immaterial and enormously powerful).

    2. Even if positing a plurality of causes prior to the origin of the universe, the causal chain must terminate in a cause which is absolutely first and uncaused, otherwise an infinite regress of causes would arise.

    3. Occam's razor maintains the unicity of the first cause should be assumed.

    4. Agent causation, volitional action, is the only ontological condition in which an effect can arise in the absence of prior determining conditions. Therefore only personal free agency can account for the origin of a first temporal effect from a changeless cause.

    5. Abstract objects, the only other ontological category known to have the properties of being uncaused, spaceless, timeless and immaterial, so not sit in causal relationships nor can they exercise volitional causal power.


    So the KCA is actually more complex than the 1. through 4. that everyone has been discussing. It has more premises than 1. and 2. (3. seems to be a lemma.) Most of the additional premises seem devoted to trying to justify problematic premise 4., demonstrating that the universe's cause must be God.

    There still seems to me to be something missing. Even if we agree that the five new premises in the "ontological analysis" are true, we still need an argument that they imply the existence of God. I imagine that could be accomplished fairly easily by introducing a premise that according to tradition 'God' is defined as having characteristics a, b, c, d and e, then by introducing a lemma that points out that new premises 1. through 5. are in fact a. through e.

    I'm undecided whether all of this constitutes a valid logical argument. But I'm very strongly inclined to the view that it isn't a sound argument. (In other words, even if its logical form is valid, the premises likely aren't all true.) There's just too much metaphysical speculation in there. (Additional premise 4., the one about volitional causation, is especially doubtful in my opinion.)
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  15. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    Look, you can either write, "every thing" or you can write, "everything". There is a difference.

    And you are now lying about the content of your argument even worse! You wrote, "Everything that begins to exist has a cause," not, "Everything has a cause."

    So you are now using more premises than in your original argument. The reason that you have to do this is because your original argument is not valid.

    So you can either be honest and admit that the argument is valid or, like more Christians that try to use this argument, you can continue to try to weasel around and hope that people won't notice the changes in the argument that you are trying to sneak in.
    So it appears that you are going to stick with the lie.Again, you wrote, "Everything that begins to exist has a cause," not, "Everything has a cause."
  16. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    You may have missed it, but he is deceitful.
  17. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Everything (or every thing), is all that exists; the opposite of nothing, or its complement. It is the totality of things relevant to some subject matter. Without expressed or implied limits, it may refer to anything. The Universe is everything that exists theoretically and currently as a multiverse may exist according to theoretical cosmology predictions. It may refer to an anthropocentric world view,[1] or the sum of human experience, history, and the human condition in general.[2] Every object and entity is a part of everything, including all physical bodies and in some cases all abstract objects.


    Where did I say ''everything has a cause''?

    I'm not. Read it again.

    I maintain that ''everything that begins to exist''. My ''No, it states that everything is caused'' statement, was in response to your ''The argument merely states that the universe is caused'' statement. It was not a change in the argument.

    Why are being so obnoxious?

  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Yet you believe God exists, the KCA tries to prove God exists, and thus by this definition that you have just given you are saying God, if it exists, must be a non-zero (i.e. anywhere from just above 0% to 100%) part of "everything". (Don't bother disputing this, this is logically what you have said. Disputing can only stem from your lack of understanding.)

    Yet previously in this very thread you tried to claim that God is distinct from everything. To quote (from post #14):
    "What is everything?
    Thing: an object that one need not, cannot, or does not wish to give a specific name to, or, an inanimate material object as distinct from a living sentient being. ''Every'' as in everything means all as in all objects. So God isn't part of everything, that is your error. God is distinct from everything, and is the cause of everything."

    How are we meant to understand your points if you change them from exchange to exchange? One moment you are saying that God is distinct from everything, the next you're implying that God is part of everything!
    Just for once can we have some consistency from you, Jan? Is that too much to ask?
    Kristoffer likes this.
  19. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    Not if you use "everything" as a modifier rather than a noun. You wrote, "Everything that begins to exist has a cause," so that part of your argument is not about everything, it is only about everything that begins to exist.

    You should take the time to read your own posts!

    Nowhere! This is the point.
    Sadly, you are the person who needs to read your posts.
    ''everything that begins to exist,'' is not a proper sentence in English, so you cannot maintain that, ''everything that begins to exist''.

    You could maintain that, ''everything begins to exist," but this is not what you wrote. I urge you to read you posts!

    But, if you will bother reading your own post, you never claimed that everything is caused.
    I am being rigorous. You might find it obnoxious that rigor is the enemy of the evangelist, but that is too bad. If you want to talk about logical argument, then you are going to have to put up with rigor.
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    A possible cause for the creation of the universe that does not involve a pre-cause is a circular timelike loop. The end of the universe becomes the beginning.

    It's not a great explanation, in that it raises more questions than it answers, but it does preclude the need for a first cause god (likewise god that also raises more questions than it answers, and for the same reason). But no less plausible than a god.

    So, if one is allowed to posit that there IS a first cause, as Jan does, there is no reason to conclude that it has to be a god. In fact, why not simply posit something much, much simpler: an unstable vacuum that breaks symmetry, forming the forces and spacetime we see.
  21. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Time: the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.
    Loop: a structure, series, or process, the end of which is connected to the beginning.
    A time loop or temporal loop is a plot device in which periods of time are repeated and re-experienced by the characters, and there is often some hope of breaking out of the cycle of repetition.

    Fraid not dave, time loops, should they exist, is a property of everything (or if you like every thing).

  22. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Of course.

    It logically proves God exists.

    Firstly, don't tell me what I can and can't dispute.
    God logically exist. From what you are saying in this quote, I don't need to dispute, unless you can explain how you arrive at that conclusion.

    part of: a portion or division of a whole that is separate or distinct; piece, fragment, fraction, or section; constituent: the rear part of the house; to glue the two parts together. 2. an essential or integral attribute or quality: a sense of humor is part of a healthy personality.

    You're talking nonsense.
    You're problem is wilful ignorance.

    I don't change. You're so caught up with pretending God does not exist, you find things in positive statements about God, that aren't really there, but you need them to be there to maintain your pretence.

    Where have I said God is part of everything?

  23. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    You have yet to prove the universe had a beginning, so... no.

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