Craig’s Explanation From Contingency

Since many questions or misunderstanding of Contingency version of Cosmological Argument for Existence of God, are being brought up in Arguments for Existence God article, I will give William Lane Craig’s explanation of Cosmological Argument, the Contingency Version. He is the Professor who revived this once lost Argument for God. Read through Craig’s defense for each premises and the way he brings Richard Dawkin’s God Delusion view of the argument.

Craig’s explanation will answer most of the questions or misunderstanding I got from many of my True Atheist friends, mostly Christian Myers who love reasoning and asking good questions in his comments with a tone which seeks understanding. (Bold is my way of asking you to take a good look)

The Cosmological Argument from Contingency
William Lane Craig

1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
3. The universe exists.
4. Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence (from 1, 3).
5. Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God (from 2, 4).

Now this is a logically airtight argument. That is to say, if the premises are true, then the
conclusion is unavoidable. It doesn’t matter if we don’t like the conclusion. It doesn’t matter if
we have other objections to God’s existence. So long as we grant the three premises, we have to accept the conclusion. So the question is this: Which is more plausible—that those premises are true or that they are false?

1.1. Premise 1
“Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.”

According to premise 1, there are two kinds of things: things which exist necessarily and things which are produced by some external cause. Let me explain.

Things that exist necessarily exist by a necessity of their own nature. It’s impossible for them not to exist. Many mathematicians think that numbers, sets, and other mathematical entities exist in this way. They’re not caused to exist by something else; they just exist necessarily.

By contrast, things that are caused to exist by something else don’t exist necessarily. They exist contingently. They exist because something else has produced them. Familiar physical objects like people, planets, and galaxies belong in this category.

So premise 1 asserts that everything that exists can be explained in one of these two ways. This claim, when you reflect on it, seems very plausibly true. Imagine that you’re hiking through the woods and come across a translucent ball lying on the forest floor. You’d naturally wonder how it came to be there. If one of your hiking partners said to you, “Don’t worry about it! There isn’t any explanation of its existence!”, you’d either think he was crazy or figure that he just wanted you to keep moving. No one would take seriously the suggestion that the ball existed there with literally no explanation.

Now suppose you increase the size of the ball in this story to the size of a car. That wouldn’t do anything to satisfy or remove the demand for an explanation. Suppose it were the size of a house. Same problem. Suppose it were the size of a continent or a planet. Same problem. Suppose it were the size of the entire universe. Same problem. Merely increasing the size of the ball does nothing to affect the need of an explanation. Since any object could be substituted for the ball in this story, that gives grounds for thinking premise 1 to be true.

It might be said that while premise 1 is true of everything in the universe, it is not true of the universe itself. Everything in the universe has an explanation, but the universe itself has no explanation.

Such a response commits what has been aptly called “the taxicab fallacy.” For as the nineteenth-century atheist philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer quipped, premise 1 can’t be dismissed like a taxi once you’ve arrived at your desired destination! You can’t say that everything has an explanation of its existence and then suddenly exempt the universe. It would be arbitrary to claim that the universe is the exception to the rule. (God is not an exception to premise 1: see below at 1.4.) Our illustration of the ball in the woods shows that merely increasing the size of the object to be explained, even until it becomes the universe itself, does nothing to remove the need for some explanation of its existence.

One might try to justify making the universe an exception to premise 1. Some philosophers have claimed that it’s impossible for the universe to have an explanation of its existence. For the explanation of the universe would have to be some prior state of affairs in which the universe did not yet exist. But that would be nothingness, and nothingness can’t be the explanation of anything. So the universe must just exist inexplicably.

This line of reasoning is, however, obviously fallacious because it assumes that the universe is all there is, that if there were no universe there would be nothing. In other words, the objection assumes that atheism is true. The objector is thus begging the question in favor of atheism, arguing in a circle. The theist will agree that the explanation of the universe must be some (explanatorily) prior state of affairs in which the universe did not exist. But that state of affairs is God and his will, not nothingness.

So it seems that premise 1 is more plausibly true than false, which is all we need for a good argument.

1.2. Premise 2
“If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.”

What, then, about premise 2? Is it more plausibly true than false? Although premise 2 might appear at first to be controversial, what’s really awkward for the atheist is that premise 2 is logically equivalent to the typical atheist response to the contingency argument. (Two statements are logically equivalent if it’s impossible for one to be true and the other one false. They stand or fall together.) So what does the atheist almost always say in response to the contingency argument? He typically asserts the following:

A. If atheism is true, the universe has no explanation of its existence.

Since, on atheism, the universe is the ultimate reality, it just exists as a brute fact. But that is logically equivalent to saying this:

B. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, then atheism is not true.

So you can’t affirm (A) and deny (B). But (B) is virtually synonymous with premise 2! (Just compare them.) So by saying that, given atheism, the universe has no explanation, the atheist is implicitly admitting premise 2: if the universe does have an explanation, then God exists.

Besides that, premise 2 is very plausible in its own right. For think of what the universe is: all of space-time reality, including all matter and energy. It follows that if the universe has a cause of its existence, that cause must be a non-physical, immaterial being beyond space and time. Now there are only two sorts of things that could fit that description: either an abstract object like a number or else an unembodied mind. But abstract objects can’t cause anything. That’s part of what it means to be abstract. The number seven, for example, can’t cause any effects. So if there is a cause of the universe, it must be a transcendent, unembodied Mind, which is what Christians understand God to be.

1.3. Premise 3
“The universe exists”

Premise 3 is undeniable for any sincere seeker after truth. Obviously the universe exists!

1.4. Conclusion

From these three premises it follows that God exists. Now if God exists, the explanation of God’s existence lies in the necessity of his own nature, since, as even the atheist recognizes, it’s impossible for God to have a cause. So if this argument is successful, it proves the existence of a necessary, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal Creator of the universe. This is truly astonishing!

1.5. Dawkins’s Response

So what does Dawkins have to say in response to this argument? Nothing! Just look at pages 77–78 of his book where you’d expect this argument to come up. All you’ll find is a brief discussion of some watered down versions of Thomas Aquinas’ arguments, but nothing about the argument from contingency. This is quite remarkable since the argument from contingency is one of the most famous arguments for God’s existence and is defended today by philosophers such as Alexander Pruss, Timothy O’Connor, Stephen Davis, Robert Koons, and Richard Swinburne, to name a few.1

1Alexander Pruss, The Principle of Sufficient Reason: A Reassessment (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Timothy O’Connor, Theism and Ultimate Explanation: The Necessary Shape of Contingency (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008); Stephen T. Davis, God, Reason, and Theistic Proofs (Reason and Religion; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997); Robert Koons, “A New Look at the Cosmological Argument,” American Philosophical Quarterly 34 (1997): 193–211; Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God (2nd ed.; Oxford: Clarendon, 2004).

For more details on this Argument’s,debates, and podcasts can be found on William Lane Craig site, and in his Books:Reasonable Faith and On Guard is your place to dig deep.

My advise to all Theist and Atheist is: Let Us Read, Let Us Listen, Let Us Reason, Let Us Learn together. It is not about winning or losing, it is about learning from each other. Weighing the Pros and Cons.

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24 thoughts on “Craig’s Explanation From Contingency

  1. “If atheism is true, the universe has no explanation of its existence.”

    This is a misrepresentation of what a typical atheist says and it borderlines on intellectual dishonesty. The typical atheist does not say the universe just is, the typical atheist says that statement could be true but we don’t know enough to make any definitive statements which would include the assertion that God did it, something Craig offers no evidence for, but just says is more probable than not because the universe needs a cause (something he just asserts by the way, while offering no proof whatsoever). More probable than what, one wonders and one further wonders if there are other theories that explain how a universe could exist independent of God, how Craig has evaluated given that most of theories involve a great deal of high order mathematics for which I see nothing in his background that could lead me to conclude he can properly evalutate them.

  2. I think if you word the argument in Pruss’s words or a modified Leibnizian form, then my objection is nullified. So those forms would be applicable without committing any logical fallacy. The problem is the rest of the case for a necessary, timeless, omnipotent, omniscient, etc. cause.

    As for nature not being able to be the cause of the universe since nature came after the universe, there are still other cosmological models which could provide sufficient explanations. The multiverse and inflation cosmology could provide an alternative to the Big Bang meaning that nature could be responsible as the cause of the universe.

    • Habari Tafacory,

      I believe I will also have a problem if the rest of the case is argued for omnipotence, and omniscience of an external cause. I whole-heatedly agree, Tafacory, it does not follow from this argument that the cause is omnipotent or omniscient. But I do think, it logically follows that the cause of time, space,physical and material ought to have the properties of timelessness,spacelessness, non-physical and immaterial in itself. Getting out of Kalam Cosmological argument to Leibnizians Cosmological argument, I see that it does follow that the explanation of the universe(contingent being) is in an external cause that exist by the necessity of its own nature(necessary being).

      Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin did succee to show that any universe must have a beginning. Thus even multiverse cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary.It is why a physicist, J. M. Wesinger, at Auburn Universtiy could say “… [T]he Big Bang is a very successful model … that imposed itself on a reluctant scientific community.”

      In 2003, Vilenkin, Guth and their team showed that eternal inflation equations didn’t work. “You can’t construct a space-time with this property,” said Vilenkin. The reason behind is that the constant in the equation has a lower limit that will prevent inflation in both time directions. It important also to observe that some versions of eternal inflation applied to time and space. These are among reasons why many contemporary cosmologists have abandon this model.

      Let me know your thought.

      Prayson

      • Again, as Tafacory pointed out earlier, why should we accept the assumption that the universe must have a cause? There is no need for anyone to argue that the universe is not contingent upon a God or gods, or that it absolutely has no cause. That’s not how the burden of proof works. The assumptions (and implicit claim) in the beginning premise is that the universe began to exist and thus has a cause.

        On top of that issue, this paragraph of yours has problems.

        “But I do think, it logically follows that the cause of time, space,physical and material ought to have the properties of timelessness,spacelessness, non-physical and immaterial in itself.”

        What do you mean “the cause of time”? How can time itself have a cause? How can something timeless cause something else? How can you argue a causal relationship with something that is “outside” of time?

  3. Prayson, here are my revised and expanded thoughts on this argument.

    “Things that exist necessarily exist by a necessity of their own nature. It’s impossible for them not to exist. Many mathematicians think that numbers, sets, and other mathematical entities exist in this way. They’re not caused to exist by something else; they just exist necessarily.”

    Just a quick comment on this. I don’t think abstract entities necessarily exist. I would argue that they, like various other entities, are constructs of the mind used to help us make sense of the universe. They have no mind-independent existence.

    “So by saying that, given atheism, the universe has no explanation, the atheist is implicitly admitting premise 2:if the universe does have an explanation, then God exists.”

    Not at all. This is faulty reasoning in the form of false dilemma. It assumes that if the universe has an explanation for its existence that it must be God. So it goes from if a particular form of Atheism is not true, Theism is necessarily true. But that’s not the case. The denial of one belief system does not warrant the automatic acceptance of its opposite. Also let it be noted that this particular form of Atheism is not the most common. The only notable philosopher who actually endorsed that the universe had no explanation was Bertrand Russell. But there are other forms of Atheism that believe that the universe has an explanation and that it is natural, not supernatural. This is the more common stance among Atheistic philosophers today such as Quentin Smith and Graham Oppy and so on. I won’t go deeper than this because, as I’ve said before, I’m no philosopher of science. But suffice it to say that this argument focuses on one type of Atheism which is not the most common.

    “Now if God exists, the explanation of God’s existence lies in the necessity of his own nature”

    Again, I disagree. David Hume created problems for such a claim by noting that there is no logical contradiction between saying “God exists” and “God does not exist.” But this is completely different from other necessary truths such as “a triangle has three sides” or “married men aren’t bachelors.” Thus, “God exists” does not seem to be a necessary, but rather a contingent, truth.

    As for the 1st premise, here’s my argument against it and against the Principle of Sufficient Reason:

    If God is significantly free, then He can choose to create or not to create. But if He chooses to create or not, then the action of creating is contingent because there is no sufficient condition which could cause God to create. For if there were, this would mean that it came from some place or something outside of God, thereby calling into question many of God’s traditional properties such as omnipotence, free will, etc.

    Some would object by saying that “God exists and God intends to create.” If God does not have free will and He intends to create, this problem is solved. God’s desire to create, as permitted or encourage from His lack of free will, cannot be prevented and thus provides us with a sufficient reason to expect creation.

    But let’s say someone states that God is not free to create but He is free to choose what He creates, as in which potential world He creates. Now, let’s say God has the choice between worlds A and B. For the sake of simplicity we’ll assume that these are the only two possible types of worlds that can be created. Now, God chooses to create world A instead of B. But if God merely choose between these two worlds, there is no sufficient condition for the choice. Thus the Principle of Sufficient Reason is violated. But that means that the universe and whatever else God may have created is a necessarily existing entity, event, or proposition. But then the Cosmological Argument fails because every truth is a necessary one, thereby removing the distinction provided in premise 1. So the first premise cannot be true and the argument fails to be conclusive because it cannot get off the ground.

    References:

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00048409712347681

    http://comp.uark.edu/~senor/ContraPSR.html

    http://cogprints.org/390/1/psrcogprt.htm

    • Thank you Tafacory,

      Your comments are portrays what I would call a beautiful mind.

      Many mathematicians would say that 2 + 2 = 4 even if there was no human mind to make sense of it. I believe William Lane Craig is writing a book at the moment showing that abstruct entitles do not exist mind-dependent of God. I cannot wait to read his argument.

      I think a proponent of argument from contingency would point that premise 2 is not a false dilemma, Tafacory, but logically equivalent to atheists position namely, a. If atheism is the case, then it is the case that the universe has no explanation of its existence, since all-space time, (including matter and energy which is all natural) began to exist at T0 and atheist reject something over natural -supernatural.

      I believe you do are familiar with contra-position, viz., if two statements are logically equivalent it is impossible for one to be true and the other one false. “If p, then q” is logically equivalent to “If not-q, then not-p.”

      a. If atheism is true, the universe has no explanation of its existence.

      b. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, then atheism is not true.

      I cannot see, Tafacory, how this contra-position could be a false dilemma. I am open for your correction 🙂

      I believe, Tafacory that your critic viz., “God exists” does not seem to be a necessary, but rather a contingent, truth” does not affect this argument, because this arguments argues for a necessary timeless, immaterial, non-physical explanation of the universe. If this cause is timeless, then it follows not contingent.

      God and Time

      I have across philosophers who don’t inclined causes need not exist temporally prior to their effects. If this is true, then one could easily say “God existed temporally prior to causing of the Big Bang—not in physical time” as an answer to your critic.

      Let me know what you think.

      Prayson

      • I’m saying it’s a false dilemma because even if atheism is true, it is not necessarily the case that the universe has no explanation of its existence. Like I said earlier, I don’t believe that very many Atheists today would claim that the universe has no explanation or needs no explanation. More often than not you have Atheistic philosophers who argue that the universe could have and did come from natural means. They argue that there is no need for God’s help. So when I accused the 2nd premise of being a faulty dilemma, perhaps I was too harsh with words. But it is simply not true that under the Atheistic worldview that the universe has no explanation. It could either have come into means naturally or, as some continue to try to argue, the universe could exist eternally out of necessity. So when I was critiquing the claim as being a false dilemma I merely meant that at best this attacks one form of Atheism but it’s not the most common nor the strongest form of Atheism that exists. The only possible exception I could think of is if you’re claiming that the universe has no ultimate explanation. But that’s a different argument completely. If that’s what you’re arguing or if that’s what WLC is arguing, then we can attack the assumption that meanings or explanations must be ultimate.

        You don’t have to accept it but that’s my modus operandi when dealing with logic and argumentation. I start off by asking whether a proposition is necessarily true or not. If it’s not, then we can move on to evidence and argumentation. For example, “God exists” and “God does not exist” does not present any explicit contradiction. So since the most basic law of logic cannot answer the question for us or settle the dispute for us, we have to go to evidence. Then we can critique each other’s arguments and evidence.

        And I’m not sure what you mean by this: “I have across philosophers who don’t inclined causes need not exist temporally prior to their effects. If this is true, then one could easily say “God existed temporally prior to causing of the Big Bang—not in physical time” as an answer to your critic.” Could you reword it or explain it more fully?

        • Hej Tafacory,

          Thank you once again for a well thought comment. I can see where you are coming from Tafacory. I would prefer to defend Lebnizians’ as follows:

          1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
          2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is in an external cause.
          3. The universe exists.
          4. The universe has an explanation of its existence.(from 1&2)
          5. Therefore, the explanation is in an external cause.(from 2 & 4)

          From that I would show that the external cause has to have the properties of timelessness, spacelessness, immaterial, non-physical since all time, space, material (including energy) began at the Big Bang.

          Alexander R. Pruss’s outline Basic Leibnizian Cosmological Argument present to avoid a common misconception.

          1. Every contingent fact has an explanation.
          2. There is a contingent fact that includes all other contingents facts.
          3. Therefore, there is an explanation of this fact.
          4. This explanation must involve a necessary being.
          5. This necessary being is God.

          Remember I am arguing for a timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and non-physical explanation. This is theological natural position.

          I have the attempt to explain the universe, Tafacory, without something above nature. As atheist physicist and philosopher operate in a close system, viz., nothing beyond nature, they keep failing because nature began to exist at the Big Bang, thus cannot be the cause.

          When Hawkins and Mlodinow in The Grand Design claim “Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. (p.180)” I was sadden at how poor philosophers, physicist make. If I said x created y, x has to exist to create y. If I said x created x, I assume x existed before to created itself” absurd. For the universe to create itself, it needs to exist which is weird. More over Lennox explained it well that ‘Laws themselves do not create anything, they are merely a description of what happens under certain conditions.’ Some physicist makes poor philosophers. No wonder they claimed philosophy is dead ☺

          Those who continue to try to argue, the universe could exist eternally out of necessity sadly had an excuse to deny philosophical argument to beginning of the universe, but at odd now with contemporary cosmology. As “cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe.” Said Alexander Vilenkin There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” And at Hawkins’ 70th birthday Vilenkin said “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”

          God and Time:

          I have to clear, Tafacory, that we are here dealing with another argument, viz., Kalam Cosmological argument as we dance with “begins to exist/comes into being”.
          The explanation that one finds in defenders of Kalam is that as follows:

          for any entity e and time t,e comes into being at t if and only if (i) e exists at t, (ii) t is the first time at which e exists, (iii) there is no state of affairs in the actual world in which e exists timelessly, and (iv) e’s existing at t is a tensed fact.

          From clauses (i) and (ii) one can see that in order for e to begin to exist there is no need for there to be a time prior to t at which e does not exist. If that were the case, then it would be true by definition that time did not begin to exist, which is surely a matter to be settled by investigation, not definition! Clause (iii) precludes God’s beginning to exist if He enters time at the moment of creation from a state of timelessness sans creation. This result is intuitive because God, if He exists timelessly sans creation, doesn’t begin to exist or come into being at the moment of creation. (Found in WLC works)
          Let me know your thought, Tafacory.

          Prayson

  4. It is very interesting angle to attack this argument, Tafacory.

    If you could argue that it is not the case that everything contingent being that exists has an an external cause explanation of its existence, then I believe you would have tear this argument into pieces. I am curious how, without committing Tax-cab fallacy, you would make that case 🙂

    I believe you have missed a point in premise two,(I may be wrong). Could you, Tafacory, explain how you understood premise two?(Help me not attack a straw-men before I point out the missing point).

    Prayson

    BTW: I have in a simple way presented this argument in Youth Pastor And Joey the Atheist and Leibnzian Argument And God-of-the-Gap

  5. Wow. What an intense discussion. I don’t really have anything to add of substance other than to say that if I were going to attack this argument, I would aim my objections at the first part of the first premise and the second premise in general. I think most people would assume that everything must have an explanation due to prior experience. But this assumption runs into the problem of induction as championed by Hume. Just because the Sun has risen for over 4 billion years while Earth has existed, that does not mean that tomorrow it will necessarily rise. Just because most things and events and so on have explanations, that does not mean that literally every event or thing or action must have an explanation. There’s no logical contradiction in denying that premise. And as for the second, one can ask why it seems more plausible that God created the universe rather than it existing eternally or that certain theories of cosmology are more truthful than the Standard Big Bang Theory. Of course, I’m not philosopher of science nor am I a cosmologist so until I have reviewed the literature I’ll refrain from attacking the second premise in depth. Solid post though.

  6. Hi

    I know this an old subject, but I cannot fathom the argument

    Time and matter are all part of the universe. Since the time is a part of the universe, nothing could have come before the universe. So it could not have been caused. A cause must exist before the effect, and thus the universe could not have been caused.

    Is this not kinda basic reasoning? But Craig insists that the universe must have had a cause?

    Seems like a rather glaring hole in his argument.

    And I know that there might have been something before the Big Bang, but it still invalidates his argument.

    He would have to change it to “The universe might have been caused”, and that would exclude any conclusion from necessity.

    Besides point 2 is just silly. Assuming that God is the explanation for the universe? In his defense Craig uses a giant strawman

    claiming the atheist reply is “If atheism is true, the universe has no explanation of its existence.”

    Nope thats wrong, if anything the reply would be
    “If atheism is true, the universe might have no explanation of its existence. If it has an explanation, that explanation would not be god”

    Which is all that is assumed by atheism.

    He continues:

    ” If the universe has an explanation of its existence, then atheism is not true.”

    Where he just uses his baseless premise 2,

    ” If the universe has an explanation of its existence, then atheism might be true.”

    is more like it

    He goes of thee deep end here:

    For think of what the universe is: all of space-time reality, including all matter and energy. It follows that if the universe has a cause of its existence, that cause must be a non-physical, immaterial being beyond space and time. Now there are only two sorts of things that could fit that description: either an abstract object like a number or else an unembodied mind.

    An unembodied mind? first he has to prove mind body duality before he can base his argument on such an argument, but wait, proving mind body duality does not cut it, since all minds we know of are part of the universe, he has to assume that the unembodied minds can exist outside the universe.

    Craig is arguing with the premise that a god exists and it exists outside the universe and has a time of its own, totally separate from our universe.

    So please help my, how do you salvage the cosmological argument if you discard Craigs hidden premise that god exists, which makes his cosmological argument circular?

    • Hi Soren,

      Thank you for your comment. I believe your comment mixes the two versions of cosmological arguments. Your first objection is answered by Craig in Kalam Cosmological argument.

      This version talks about the explanation of the existence of the universe and not the cause of the universe.

      I agree with Craig that anything that begin to exist has a cause(that is basic reasoning: From nothing(Philosophical nothingness), nothing comes). Please do correct us by naming something that began to exist without cause.

      True nothing material-ed,spaced or timed could have come before the genesis of time, material and space and basic reasoning points us to affirm that from nothing, nothing comes, so we are left with uncaused, timeless, spaceless, and immateria cause of time, space and material which are attribute of Christian God.

      Premise 2 is not a strawman:

      A strawman is attacking an opponent by attributing to him/her an implausible position that is easily defeated when this is not actually the opponent’s position.

      If its true that God does not exist(atheism), then the universe has no explanation of its existence.

      But this is the position that the universe is the ultimate reality, it just exists as a brute fact is held(/was held) by atheists, e.g. Carl Saga,

      Lastly, is not the appeal to all the known minds that we know are part of universe, ad ignorantiam?

      Again, thank you so much your comment and I am looking forward to your reply 🙂

  7. Ad hominem fallacy, but it is a good argument, I refer to James’ Will To Believe however, the better win out is always what I am wagering on 🙂 I am open minded though I love all of these arguments about religion and the talent of the people who wrote them.

  8. Pingback: Craig’s Explanation of Teleogical Argument | With All I Am

  9. @prayson:

    “The Funny thing is that William Lane Craig revived Kalam’s Cosmological Argument, that is one of the reason that this almost gone Argument for God is back and stronger than ever.”

    The wiki page I gave answered both the Kalam variant and the original. I know how William responds to it. He responds with more false logic. You seem to think that William has an actual case for God that rivals Dawkins, but this is simply not true. Dawkins has crushed the Kalam and the original tons of times before, and he is not the only one. Craig would like his followers to think differently.

    The wiki page of provided was a direct representation of the argument, and the arguments against it just plain crush the argument. Let me show you just a few of its flaws. Step by step.

    “1.Whatever begins to exist has a cause.”

    Actually, this is not true. Physicists know of things that begin to exist without any apparent cause. Craig makes the argument from what he thinks to be true without any real data. His first premise of the argument right of the bat makes a possibly false assumption, really at best he could say “Everything that begins, might have a cause.”
    Many philosophers and scientists have pointed out that physical bodies begin to exist all the time without cause. In the radioactive decay of an atomic nucleus, an alpha, beta, or gamma particle begins to exist spontaneously, without an apparent cause. Therefore not everything that begins has to have a cause. The uncertainty principle allows energy (which is equivalent to mass by E=mc^2) to appear spontaneously if it disappears in a short-enough time. “The abrupt and uncaused appearance of something can occur within the scope of scientific law, once quantum laws have been taken into account. Nature apparently has the capacity for genuine spontaneity” -Davies. These evidences are enough to refute author’s claim. We don’t know whether it is true that something can’t come out of nothing, so to use it as the back bone of an argument is ridiculous.

    “The universe began to exist.”
    Craig makes this claim, once again not using observations and science but half-thought out philosophy. He makes the claim based on this argument:

    1.An actually infinite number of things cannot exist.
    2.A beginningless series of events in time entails an actually infinite number of things.
    3.Therefore, a beginningless series of events in time cannot exist.

    Once again, an unsound premise, he makes a huge jump by saying that an infinite series of events has to do with physical objects. A beginning less series of events does not necessarily entitle an infinite number of things.

    In any case, Infinites, are actual logical things that can be conceived of philosophically. Zeno’s paradoxes show this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno's_paradoxes

    Infinity has been recognized as a real number in modern mathematics and opponents of the Kalam have already made a solid case for stating that the second premise is false. The fact is that although it is very difficult and perhaps impossible to view infinite numbers or even conceive of them, physically infinite things do exist in our universe. Because of this, the second premise of the Kalam is unsound and is based on assumption rather than fact.

    “3.Therefore, the universe has a cause.”

    This is Craig’s conclusion based on his first two premises. Since his first to premises are not necessarily true, the conclusion is once again a maybe. When making an argument presenting a maybe does you no good, because you end up back at the neutral position where you started. So the argument is pointless, it doesn’t prove anything or make a solid case for anything. That is the reason Dawkins ignores it, it is just as unsound as the first argument.

    Other flaws in the argument include the arguments circularity. If you go back to the wiki-page I posted you should read the accusations of circularity part. If you don’t understand the argument I can explain it to you.

    Another odd thing about the Kalam argument is that it doesn’t point necessarily to a God. Really it just states that the universe must have been created by an outside cause. This could be true, but it would in no way work as an argument for God’s existence. Suppose the outside force is not a God but a blind outside force such as a-physical anti-matter. Suppose the universe itself is divine and is capable of creating itself. If time didn’t exist until the universe did, then the rules of cause and effect don’t apply. Therefore, the universe would not need a cause as it could be both the cause and the effect at the same time.

    So even if you accept the Kalam’s statements as fact, it still doesn’t point towards an intelligent being any more than it points towards a blind unintelligent force.

    Craig’s argument still doesn’t adress the question I brought up earlier either. If you say that things can exist by necessity, then why do we need God? If time, logic, and natural forces exist by necessity God is not a necessity as these forces would create the universe without his help. So, this actually forms an argument against God.

    1. a-physical things exist only because of necessity
    2. The a-physical laws have the ability to create physical things
    3. the universe was created by a-physical forces
    4. God is not necessary(because of 2)
    5. Therefore God does not exist (because of 1)

    This argument is formed from Craig’s own logic. I am not saying that it is true or absolute, but if you use Craig’s logic, it is. What you should begin to see is that Craig uses selective reasoning to prove his point. He obviously wants there to be a God, so even though there is no evidence that God exists, he makes ridiculous arguments anyway grasping at any sort of logic he can.

    Dawkins does not pay any particular attention to the Kalam variant as it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. William would like people to think that he argument is stronger than the original but as I have shown, it isn’t. In fact, it could be considered even weaker, as it just adds unnecessary complexity. In nature, it is observed that the simplest explanation is often the best, particularly when philosophy is concerned.
    As I said before, the original and Kalam cosmological argument have both been dismissed by experts in the field of logic and physicists.

    “You are confusing between the two version of the Argument.”

    No, I am simply showing that both versions are bad arguments, the original and the Kalam.

    • Dear Myers,

      “Physicists know of things that begin to exist without any apparent cause”

      Please list the things that the Physicists know to begin to exist without any apparent cause. We would love to know them?

      “Dawkins does not pay any particular attention to the Kalam variant as it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.”

      How do you know this? It is quite arrogant to calm this, honestly, we are true seekers of truth. If we were to do this to all arguments or theory we would indeed be living back in caves. 🙂 Kidding!

      Cosmological Argument has being defended in different way, Myers and in Philosophy, what matter most of any argument is , are the premises true, is the argument valid, is it sound!

      Calming that these versions do not bring anything new insight, is not critical way of thinking. Why? Because Kalam/Temporal, Cosmological version argues for First Cause,and Contingency version argues for the necessity of the first cause.

      Are we stuck in our own base! and unwilling to change our presuppositions? I hope not for the sake of search for the truth. Can we just throw these argument out the window because the Wikipedia watered-down of this arguments did not reach the limit we wanted. Are we to equate Craig’s new and strong defense of Cosmological argument(both version) without careful answering his defense?

      Myers, it is seems(I may be wrong, and sorry if I am) that you already have a side to which, it does not matter whether the other side arguments a far better, you will not change.

      Of cause the Wikipedia Cosmological Arguments for Existence of God are not strong, and that is why William Lane Craig revised this Historical Arguments for God and they are back in life, Myers. They were died, but now rose again, stronger than ever.

      Dawkin and Dennett critics of Cosmological Argument found in Wikipedia , which is simply lame. I think what Dawkin and Dennett should do is to give an answer of this rose again Arguments for God as defended in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology and not in Wikipedia for Knowledge seek.

      I wish you had the same passion of searching for atheistic view as it was for theistic view.(It is time to search both side, risking our presuppositions)

      It is time we think by ourselves Myers, not Dawkin’s thought or Craig’s thought. We need to think by ourselves. Read Craig’s books and Dawkin’s books, reading Atheistic view and Theist view and come up with our own conclusion.

      Yours,
      Prayson

    • just a thought.. “You seem to think that William has an actual case for God that rivals Dawkins, but this is simply not true. Dawkins has crushed the Kalam and the original tons of times before, and he is not the only one. Craig would like his followers to think differently.”

      never use arguments that can just be turned around on top of you, “dawkins has not crushed the Kalam and he just would like his followers to think differently.”
      same argument, but neither one can be used safely in an argument, because it is presumptuous, you are dawkins follower, and may have been deceived by him, instead of saying he refuted the argument, try refuting it yourself, i guarantee Craig would tear you apart.

  10. Pingback: Arguments for Existence of God | With All I Am

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  12. Dear Myers,

    The Funny thing is that William Lane Craig revived Kalam’s Cosmological Argument, that is one of the reason that this almost gone Argument for God is back and stronger than ever.

    And see how he answers the objection given by the wikipedia article(which is a very poor presentation of this argument) and God Delusion, Richard Dawkin’s book. and also Daniel Dennett.

    Read through and see how he answers both Richard Dawkin’s and Daniel Dennett’s arguments against this argument.

    It was because of this William Lane Craig said Richard Dawkin used a watered down Cosmological argument.

    The post will help clear some of the objections you brought forth on your above comment and the wikipedia link because your objection are for the Kalam Cosmological Argument(also know as the Cosmological Argument Temporal Version). You are confusing between the two version of the Argument.

    Yours
    Prayson Daniel

  13. “The Argument argue that The universe exist, Like You and I, cows,trees et cetera . The caused-things are explain by the thing that a caused them to exist. Say, I am here because my parents did that-and-that(reproduction), therefore my parents are the explanation of my existence.”

    Yes, that is logical to a point, but after saying that my parents created me, you must then logically ask what created your parents which would be your grandparents. You can follow the creators back to a certain point, but in the end, it has to end, you can not have infinite creators. So you can’t use that path of logic to explain God. If a creator is a necessity of our existence, then a creator of God is a necessity, and so on and so forth.

    You say that there are laws that always exist by necessity, if such laws can exist simply because they need to, then why would a creator be necessary? If the laws that created the universe can exist by themselves, then God is not a necessary entity, and therefore does not exist by your logic.

    I am not at all referring to whether it is necessary to believe in God, but I am disproving the argument of necessity by showing God is not a necessity in order for the universe to exist.

    “Saying that God is not needed is absurd, I think we mean belief in God is not needed. Because Myers what we are saying God is not needed, is liking saying number 7 or logic is not needed, which is absurd.”

    The argument that William presents is that God exists because it is necessary for him to exist because we could not have existed any other way. But this is not true.

    Here, perhaps this will help you to better understand the flaws of the argument:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalam_cosmological_argument

    Read the arguments against. The cosmological argument is very well studied and has been entirely dismissed by leading philosophers.

    The way the universe truly works, is very very simple things begin to exist with no cause. These things then through an extremely slow process of evolution become more complex. To start with God, is completely backwards. God is the most complex thing anyone can think of, therefore he needs a complex creator as well, extremely complex things don’t just naturally exist. To assume that they do is entirely illogical.

    “Simply by believing or not believe does not pop God or logic or numbers or mathematical sets in and out of Existence.”

    I never claimed anything of the sort, you must have misunderstood my argument.

  14. This is really just the same cop-out put into different terms. Craig claims that the universe needs a cause, but there is no evidence suggesting this, in fact the evidence points to the fact that the universe always existed just not how we see it today, how the universe looks today is a product of trillions of years of evolution.

    “Now if God exists, the explanation of God’s existence lies in the necessity of his own nature”
    That is false, Why do we need a God? I could still say the same for the universe. The universe is simply space, anything that exists rests in the universe. Therefore, the universe exists by necessity of existence. Try and imagine a universe, without the universe! Such an idea is crazy! Everything has to exist somewhere so by the necessity rule William has stated, the universe must exist by default.

    “If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.”

    Says who!? There are plenty of theories about how the universe could have came to be without a God. Craig is resorting back to the “The universe can’t exist without God” argument that he is so fond of. It is simply false, and biased logic because he is still making an excuse for God.

    He can change the wording all he wants but it always boils down to the same bad argument.

    So let me break down the argument:

    “1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.”

    The key phrase here is “necessity of its own nature” but it just assumes that God is necessary on zero logical claims. It is exactly like argument I debated last time, the universe is just as necessary as God, so the additional phrase doesn’t answer anything. If you assume God doesn’t exist then by his logic the universe would exist through necessity because we exist. If you assume God exists, he isn’t necessary at all, he really doesn’t explain anything but actually complicates things considering the universe is necessary to begin with. God would need an explanation just as the universe would, and if that explanation is necessity than the universe can use the same explanation.

    I am not a physicist so I can’t tell you whether the rule of necessity is correct or not, but it doesn’t matter, God is no more necessary than the universe. William is using the common selective logic that theists often use. God is shown to be unlikely by his own logic.

    Dawkins probably didn’t include the answer to this argument because the argument isn’t any different than the ones he already answered, it is just in different terms.

    • Dear Myers,

      I believe we have missed the point of Craig’s defense:

      Craig’s defense of this Argument does not excuse God of the Bible 🙂 .

      The Argument argue that The universe exist, Like You and I, cows,trees et cetera . The caused-things are explain by the thing that a caused them to exist. Say, I am here because my parents did that-and-that(reproduction), therefore my parents are the explanation of my existence.

      Not all things begin to Exist, example, logic, numbers, sets, and on. Example: 2 + 2 = 4 did not being to exist, it was just there, the multiplication table did not begin to exist it was just there waiting to be discovered, logic and on, all these things do not need Universe to exist for them to exist, they exist by there own necessity nature.

      God existing because of his own necessity, just like number 7, seven exist necessary by its own. Nothing caused number 7. Number seven needs no cause. It is just there by its own necessity.

      The Universe began to exist because of the following scientific reasons:

      1. The Second Law of Thermodynamics
      2.The Universe Is Expanding
      3.Radiation from the Big Bang
      4.Great Galaxy seeds
      5.Einsteins Theory of General Relativity

      I would love to explain each of them according to Physics if you will want me to of cause. And I believe they are more Scientific solid prove that the Universe began to Exist.

      In the above comment, Myers, we are confusing between believing in God and existence of God. Saying that God is not needed is absurd, I think we mean belief in God is not needed. Because Myers what we are saying God is not needed, is liking saying number 7 or logic is not needed, which is absurd.

      We may not believe in God, but that does not affect his Existence. Simply by believing or not believe does not pop God or logic or numbers or mathematical sets in and out of Existence.

      Let me know what you think 🙂
      Prayson

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