Rebutting the rebooted rebuttal

Recently, I read an article that was designed to be a rebuttal of the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Overall, a lot of it was a re-hash of arguments that William Lane Craig answered elsewhere, but I felt a response was needed, so what follows is that.

First of all, I had to read this twice to actually believe what I was reading. To start, he tries to list a definition of actual infinite to argue against the impossibility of an actual infinite of past events. The problem exists is that he’s dealing with the wrong definition. He’s referring to an abstract set of numbers and a pure mathematical definition of actual infinite. But what is relevant in this case is not the pure definition of actual infinite, but a set of actual infinite things (in this case, moments/intervals of time). This is like using the definition of the number nine to disprove that a set of nine things cannot exist (and probably wouldn’t anyway, since, we all remember, seven eight nine….)

He then goes on to argue two things, that  “1. Any pre-existing entity/entities that caused the universe do not have to be personal with a mind and will. 2. Any cause of the universe does not have to be the god of the Bible. No reason is given why biblical mythology should be taken more seriously than other bronze age mythology.” But, the Kalam Cosmological Argument (hereafter KCA) does not aspire to prove #2, so that point is irrelevant (especially when you consider that the argument was originally conceived of by a 12th century Muslim…) As far as #1 is concerned, it does indeed imply that, even if it obviously does not explicitly state it within KCA itself. Keep in mind that the Big Bang produced time, space, and matter. Therefore, anything existing prior to that, must be timeless, spaceless, and immaterial. Consider also that the since change is moving from one state with respect to another with respect to time, and time had yet to come into being, it must also be changeless. Given all that, we also know that the universe is a metaphysically contingent entity. This mean it did not have to exist, and did not always exist (also backed up by current scientific evidence). Also, it is obvious that the sufficient conditions for the universe to exist or begin did not always exist, otherwise the universe would have always existed as well. Nothing could have changed for these sufficient conditions for the universe to begin because the cause must be changeless. But, also from what was just stated, also immaterial (thereby eliminating possible material causes), timeless, and spaceless, all causing a non-necessary event. The best explanation for this is a personal mind willing something to happen. If there is an appeal to something as-of-yet unknown, it is up to that person to supply a.) good, compelling reason as to why this is a better explanation, and b.) a good explanation of what this thing is. This issue is also addressed (admittedly a tad sparingly) here: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/argument-from-contingency , http://www.reasonablefaith.org/in-defense-of-the-kalam… , and http://www.reasonablefaith.org/god-as-the-cause-of-the… .

The counterargument offered immediately after this borders on absurdity. He tries here to argue that there was no beginning to the universe by establishing some form of contradiction. First of all, it is obvious the universe began to exist because all scientific evidence points to that, and so here he for some reason chooses to ignore all of this. This alone proves that his S1 and S2 states are distinct. Furthermore, they would be distinct just by there very definition since non-being and being are obviously distinct from each other by the virtue of what they are, and so none of his four possibilities are applicable or even relevant. His dismissal of his possibilities 3 and 4 are undermined by the nature of the Big Bang itself. With the Big Bang we can see that it is possible for an event to be prior to the creation of time, or simultaneous with time itself.

There are two possibilities for the occurrence of the Big Bang in relation to the creation of time. Let’s say that the point at which time came into being is t, and the Big Bang is t-1. Since time came into existence with the Big Bang, and the Big Bang occurred, then t-1 happened first, then time came into being at t. Or, the other possibility is that the Big Bang occurred and time came into being at the same moment, or t-1 and t are simultaneous. So, we can see just from this that either something can occur prior to time coming into being, or where cause and effect co-occur. Frankly I’m not sure why he finds this so hard to grasp, especially since after denying the beginning of the universe, he then goes on to base a couple more arguments on his understanding of the beginning of the universe.

 

His counterexample also confuses me. He states that some things in quantum physics begin to exist without cause while also stating their cause at the same time! Carbon-12 is caused to exist by radioactive decay, and particle-antiparticle creation is caused to exist by matter-antimatter collision. He seems to be conflating and/or confusing cause and randomness here. The law of cause and effect used in the KCA is also not the law of physics mentioned by the author, but a logical law of cause and effect. So here he seems to be confusing that as well.

The issue with Schodinger’s cat does not apply since Schrodinger’s cat is an epistemological problem, not an actual reality problem.

 

The circularity objection also does not make since. God would obviously not be included in the set of NBE, and the set of NBE is empty _by definition_, and would only include things as an intellectual exercise.

 

The equivocation objection is nothing more than the author reading things into the KCA that are simply not there. The KCA states clearly that “_whatever_ begins to exist…”, not just things he seems to suggest it means.

 

The objection of special pleading is ridiculous because it is not obvious that God had to begin to exist at all. In fact, it is up to the atheist to first demonstrate that He did indeed begin to exist for this objection to even be relevant. God, by definition, furthermore, is a metaphysically necessary being. That means that He within Himself provides the sufficient conditions for His existence (which is the definition of metaphysical necessity), and therefore must have always existed if He does exist (and therefore, never had a point where He began to exist). Appealing to the possibility of multiple causes violates Occam’s Razor, and it is up to the objector to demonstrate why it is better to consider a multiplication of causes rather than just one.

 

The appeal to a fallacy of composition is ironic because the author himself uses the laws of thermodynamics and time to argue against the KCA, and thereby commits the same fallacy himself. But, since this is not a physical law of the universe it would not be considered a subset of the universe anyway. Also, it would take some compelling reasons to think that this did not apply to the whole universe. Because otherwise we would encounter a situation in which a universe popped out of nothing for no reason, completely uncaused. We then have to ask ourselves, why then are universes not still popping into existence all the time? Why all of a sudden are they no longer popping into existence from nothing, since there is no rhyme or reason to why they do or do not. We would expect to see whole universes coming into existence all the time. And since the universe is a thing of great magnitude, and anything within it is obviously of less magnitude than a whole universe, why do we not see lots of other things popping into existence? Why didn’t a horse suddenly come into existence on my work table today? Why didn’t I come home to three dogs instead of just one? Or a three headed Cerberus? It would certainly make my dating life a lot easier if I could just wait around for a tall, attractive blond to suddenly appear before me already married to me.

 

His false dichotomy is really not a false dichotomy at all, and would obviously not be the case since we’re talking about the beginning of the universe and all things that constitute known natural causes would be subsequent to that (after 10^-43 seconds after if I remember right….) All in all, this does not seem to be to be much of a defeater of KCA