Refuting the kalam argument

ShaunPhilly
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Refuting the kalam argument

I just finished the first draft of a new essay. It is a different approach to looking at the kalam cosmological argument (new to me, at least).

refuting kalam

I take a stab at the ontological and design arguements with the same point of attack, but focus mostly on kalam.

My essential point is that theists choose to attrbute to God the powers of a creator while at the same time denying that the natural universe can have the same powers. It seems a biased an arbitrary choice, and one that doesn't seem to hold up given the classical refutation of the classical cosmological argument; that of the need for a creator for the creator.

Any criticism, thoughts, and (of course) showerings of praise would be highly welcome and appreciated.

Shaun

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Insidium Profundis: Again,

Insidium Profundis:

Again, you are welcome to critique my http://www.dmitrychernikov.com/fiveways.htm

Matt, why don't you try to understand the believer's mind rather than labeling him insane. You confine too many people to the mental hospital. That just won't do.

2 + 2 = 5 is a priori false. "pouring ice cream into computers makes them work better" is false from experience. The articles of faith can neither be proved nor disproved by reason. As an atheist, you cannot say that the doctrine of the Trinity is true or false. Aquinas thought that the kalam argument was faulty (though not for the same reason why ShaunPhilly thinks it is faulty). He thought that that the universe had a finite age was an article of faith, as well.

Having faith requires a solid foundation of rational knowledge, as least for people of our temperament. As Aquinas writes, "The existence of God and other like truths about God, which can be known by natural reason, are not articles of faith, but are preambles to the articles; for faith presupposes natural knowledge, even as grace presupposes nature, and perfection supposes something that can be perfected."

And this leads us to the view of faith as not contrary to reason but as knowledge that perfects, that crowns reason; faith, just like all the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, lifts man above his nature. You cannot attack the strawman that the Christian faith is contrary to reason. In order to show that, you'd have to find some self-contradiction within the articles of faith, something which atheists are certainly used to doing and which is very useful, as it allows one to better grasp all the implications of the propositions of faith by dealing with the objections.

You might argue instead that faith itself is unjustified. But that is a whole other subject.


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Faith is more than

Faith is more than unjustified, it is insane - faith is after all, belief without (or in spite of) evidence. And the beliefs I mentioned are only slightly eccentric compared to the utter insanity required to believe in the Christian religion. Many things in Christianity are a priori false (such as the trinity)

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dchernik wrote:And this

dchernik wrote:
And this leads us to the view of faith as not contrary to reason but as knowledge that perfects, that crowns reason; faith, just like all the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, lifts man above his nature. You cannot attack the strawman that the Christian faith is contrary to reason. In order to show that, you'd have to find some self-contradiction within the articles of faith, something which atheists are certainly used to doing and which is very useful, as it allows one to better grasp all the implications of the propositions of faith by dealing with the objections.

Here' Nietzsche;

Nietszche wrote:
"To translate man back into nature; to become master over the many vain and overly enthusiastic interpretations and connotations that have so far been scrawled and painted over the eternal basic text of homo natura; to see to it that man henceforth stands before man as even today, hardened in the discipline of science, he stands before the rest of nature, with Oedipus eyes and sealed Odysseus ears, deaf to the siren songs of old metaphysical bird catchers who have been piping at him all too long, "you are more, you are higher, you are of a different origin!"—that may be a strange and insane task, but it is a task"

If we are to think about faith as something that "crowns" our reason, something that allows us to transcend the natural, then we see it as something unnecessary and presumptuous.

Adding to reason is, in itself, fine. We can add beauty, art, and other non-rational aspect to human experience that give us much of value. But faith adds nothing. It adds a dream, a fantasy, a phantom.

Faith asks us to accept things that, while we cannot disprove (by definition; they are presented as unfalsifiable), they also do not explain anything nor are they derived from reason itself. So in what way does faith add to reason? If anything, it tries to supplant what many people either think reason cannot deal with or things that have been defined to exist beyond reason. It's a hide-the-proposition game that projects our desires beyond the horizon in an attempt to keep them from the reach of reason. It is a game that does not teach, but rather an attempt to resurrect the metaphysical past, to keep the Platonic Ideas on life-support.

Take reason to it's limits. And where it can take you no further, allow your imagination to fly onward and dream beautiful dreams. But do not accept these dreams as reality, for the mind is easily fooled, and one may think that your dream has brought back fragments of that world past sight, and you may try to apply these strange chimeras to your world and notice that, strangely, they seem to fit. But don't make the mistake of concluding that because those objects fit, it's because they are true or real. Rather, recognize that any dream, fantasy, or phantom from a mind trained in reality will consist of real parts. It does not mean the objects dreamed of are real.

I don't object to objects of faith. These objects tell us much of human psychology; needs, dreams, and desires. I object to the idea that something that comes to us from beyond reason (or on top of reason) as being applied to the real, which is the domain of reason. I don't object to dreams, I object when they are claimed status equal to or greater than nature.

The actual world may exist before we know it, but we also add to it. The articles of faith are additions from our minds. They are projections. Thus, they hold a "truth" in the sense that they convey meaningful and important ideas, but they must be delegated to the world of dreams, not of reality. Saying that reason can't go beyond some point, and what lies beyond there is the world beyond our sight is, well, an attempt to circumvent epistemology. To claim it has been revealed is an extraordinary claim for which I see no reason to accept.

And if I did see evidence, it would have to be natural, otherwise I would not see it.

Shaun

I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.


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dchernik wrote:I accept

dchernik wrote:
I accept things like the Trinity and the sacraments for two reasons: (1) I was graced by God with faith and thereby lifted above my natural capacities, (2) there is no self-contradiction in them.

But why are we talking about these things? The discussion of the Trinity is far beyond our needs here. You don't even accept that God's existence can be rationally proven. That should be our concern.

So, since you can't prove the existence of one God, you simply claim the existence of three?

You also claim that you had to be "raised beyonf your natural capacities" to understand God. since rational explanations dwell in the natural, you're pretty much screwed when you try to explain god rationally aren't you?

Quote:

Quote:
If you think metaphysics come before epistemology, it implies that you assume that the metaphysical information is not subject to epistemological critique. In other words, it implies that what you accept as "truth" about metaphysical questions has not been through the review process that other questions are put through.

I simply mean that reality is prior to our knowledge of it. You are right, metaphysics is a branch of knowledge. I may need to rethink that statement (being is prior to our knowledge of it, but is the study of being prior to the study of knowledge?), though the fact that the Father is logically prior to the Son is still correct.

Maybe you do need to rethink that. It reads like your chasing your tail.

Quote:

Quote:
Theists give exceptions to religious concepts that they don't give to natural things.

Not exceptions. Theists say that natural things are incomplete and require something beyond them which is complete.

So does that make the natural and supernatural combination more than complete?

Incomplete things don't function well, do they? i.e., Half a car doesn't drive woth a rip.

The natural world seems to work pretty well. That mkes it a complete system and doesn't need a Cloud Father to make it work.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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Insidium Profundis

Insidium Profundis wrote:
dchernik wrote:
Not exceptions. Theists say that natural things are incomplete and require something beyond them which is complete.

How would you go about demonstrating this in a non-arbitrary fashion?

An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.


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Quote:And this leads us to

Quote:
And this leads us to the view of faith as not contrary to reason but as knowledge that perfects, that crowns reason; faith, just like all the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, lifts man above his nature.

(yawn)
Which do you want? Is Christian faith contrary to reason, or is it reasonable.

Quote:
You cannot attack the strawman that the Christian faith is contrary to reason.

Don't be a doofus. If faith is, by definition, contrary to reason, then I can attack it, and it's not a strawman. It's reality. (Oh, God, please save me from another metaphysical lecture on the nature of essence!)

Quote:
In order to show that, you'd have to find some self-contradiction within the articles of faith, something which atheists are certainly used to doing and which is very useful, as it allows one to better grasp all the implications of the propositions of faith by dealing with the objections.

um... yeah... so... have you been ignoring every post we've made? How many self-contradictions do you need?

The objection we have to faith is that it is belief in something despite all evidence to the contrary! That is irrational at best, and lunacy at worst!

Check this out: New Proof of God!

The DChernik Proof
1. Reason and Faith exist
2. Reason and Faith are different.
3. Reason cannot explain God.
4. Therefore Faith explains God.
5. Therefore God exists.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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dchernik wrote:1. You start

dchernik wrote:
1. You start by saying that

"[The cosmological argument] chooses a god as the creator of the universe based on attributing, arbitrarily, powers to the creator god that is denied to the natural universe. This is, in essence, assuming the powers of a god whose very existence the argument is supposed to prove."

I disagree. The universe is not self-existing; it does not have the attribute of aseity which is "existence originating from and having no source other than itself."

This assumption necessarily leads to a cause 'outside of the universe', so you've begged your god into existence right here.

The reality is that your first assumption is just that, an assumption, and a groundless one at that.

I'm betting that you are confusing big bang theory for a creation event. It's not.

Therefore, the question of whether existence itself is self existing is the very question that needs to be examined....

not merely assumed, one way or the other.

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skeptic griggsy
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God's sterility

This theist begging the question shows once again why my signature says about theists . Now as philosopher Keith Parson notes:"Occult powers wielded by a transcendent being in an inscrutable way for unfathomable purposes just do not seem to be the basis for any sort of a good answer.Theistic 'explanations' therefore only seem to serve the purpose of hiding our ignorance behind a theological fig leaf." The god notion makes for obscurantism rather than real explanation. It is the tautology that God wills what He wills! Science will soon enough decide which of the bounce and bud theories is the one to show the eternal polyverse, I daresay!Theists will still aver that it needs a Holy Sustainer, but Parsons has alredy shown that to be sterile .

morgan L lamberth Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism. Logic is the bane of theists.
" God is in a worse position than the scarecow who had a body to which a mind could enter whilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder He is ineffable!" Ignostic Morgan"
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skeptic griggsy wrote:This

skeptic griggsy wrote:
This theist begging the question shows once again why my signature says about theists .

Yes, it does. But the troublesome aspect for me is that it is so easy for the theist to simply assume his god into existence that it will prove difficult for him to realize it, even when it's pointed out.

Quote:

Now as philosopher Keith Parson notes:"Occult powers wielded by a transcendent being in an inscrutable way for unfathomable purposes just do not seem to be the basis for any sort of a good answer.

LOL. Right.

It works like this:

1: where did the universe come from?
2: I don't know.
1: I know! Goddidit!
2: What's god?
1: I don't know!

So we actually never leave square zero (let alone get to square one), since "god' is just another word for 'I don't know'.

And, as we've already discussed, then there's the problem inherent in the first question itself: the question itself creates the assumption which necessarily begs the god into being...

Quote:

Theistic 'explanations' therefore only seem to serve the purpose of hiding our ignorance behind a theological fig leaf."

Well said. We clearly see eye to eye.

Quote:
The god notion makes for obscurantism rather than real explanation. It is the tautology that God wills what He wills! Science will soon enough decide which of the bounce and bud theories is the one to show the eternal polyverse, I daresay!Theists will still aver that it needs a Holy Sustainer, but Parsons has alredy shown that to be sterile .

Yes.

I think the real culprit for this bad logic is that science is taught as a body of 'answers' rather than as a method of understanding, a tool that helps us describe, explain and even control aspects of nature.

As long as one believes that science is just a set of 'answers" it makes no difference if we call a cause 'gravity' or 'god'. But when we realize that science is a method, we can plainly see that giving a problem a name does nothing to solve it.

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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Those are exactly the same

Those are exactly the same points outlined by ShaunPhilly's essay in my opinion.

We know the problem, that seems obvious. The disclaimers and disavowal of reason for faith purposes.

How to combat "willful ignorance" when both reason and education are refused to be heard?

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Your article had a lot of

Your article had a lot of good detail Shaun. I have seen pieces of that in several places, but you put it all together in place.

My 2 cents:

No matter how you cut it, the first cause idea is question begging. I am aware of the common theistic response that a cause and effect chain cannot go back forever because it violates logic. This is wrong. Saying that cause and effect does NOT go back forever violates logic. The sentence 'Time started.' contains an invisible clause that when revealed reads 'At this point in time, time started.' This obviously makes no sense.

I personally don't deal at all with invented, nonsensical terms like 'self-existing.'

But most of all, I don't understand why people still take the childish arguments of Aquinas seriously anymore. Kalam is recycled Aquinas the same way Dembski is recycled Paley.

I think this focus on the cosmological argument is just a temporary diversion from Paley since ID took such a beating recently.

Yet rest assured that when Aquinas is (again) pinned to the mat, it will tag Paley design back into the ring.


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Quote:Heisenberg's

Quote:
Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is relevant for us humans, because in order to find out the properties of a particle, we need to shine light on it, and thus the process of measurement of one quality of the particle alters another quality of it. But God does not need to shine light on things in order to know their position and momentum. He simply knows. In other words, the uncertainty is epistemological not ontological. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Wrong.
From wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle

Common incorrect explanation
The uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics is sometimes erroneously explained by claiming that the measurement of position necessarily disturbs a particle's momentum. Heisenberg himself may have initially offered explanations which suggested this view. That this disturbance does not describe the essence of the uncertainty principle in current theory has been demonstrated above. The fundamentally non-classical characteristics of the uncertainty measurements in quantum mechanics were clarified by the EPR paradox which arose from Einstein attempting to show flaws in quantum measurements that used the uncertainty principle. Instead of Einstein succeeding in showing uncertainty was flawed, Einstein guided researchers to examine more closely what uncertainty measurements meant and led to a more refined understanding of uncertainty. Prior to the publication of the EPR paper in 1935, a measurement was often visualized as a physical disturbance inflicted directly on the measured system, being sometimes illustrated as a thought experiment called Heisenberg's microscope. For instance, when measuring the position of an electron, one imagines shining a light on it, thus disturbing the electron and producing the quantum mechanical uncertainties in its position. Such explanations, which are still encountered in popular expositions of quantum mechanics, are debunked by the EPR paradox, which shows that a "measurement" can be performed on a particle without disturbing it directly, by performing a measurement on a distant entangled particle. Heisenberg's original argument used the 'old' quantum theory (namely, the Einstein-deBroglie relations) and provided a heuristic argument that the position and momentum observables were not simultaneously observable with infinite precision. The more modern uncertainty relations deal with independent measurements being done on an ensemble of systems.


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Quote:Quote:Exactly the way

Quote:
Quote:
Exactly the way I've done it. There must be a immutable being, an uncaused cause, something essentially necessary, etc. And these, taken together, we call the attributes of God.

Why not simply call it the Big Bang?

There is something essentially necessary...and it is Somethingness itself: EXISTENCE.

I often get the impression that a good working definition of philosophy is talking forever about the completely obvious...so I'm not going to go into the implications of what I said. As it's completely obvious, all of you (nearly) should be able to figure it out!

Smiling


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logic

    If the Kalam were valid, it would show that God cannot be eternal ! To claim otherwise would  be to special plead as Sahakian does when he states that we skeptics commit the fallacy of multiple questions when it is he himself rather who special pleads and begs the question in assuming God is different in principle from the cosmos. Theists and logic...   [Anyone wanting to be my buddy?]

morgan L lamberth Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism. Logic is the bane of theists.
" God is in a worse position than the scarecow who had a body to which a mind could enter whilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder He is ineffable!" Ignostic Morgan"
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kalam

  Let us futhrer rebut this argument. William Lane Craig touts it as so decisive

.And Aquinas begs the question in stating that if one removes the first cause, one cannot get to the intermediate one!

morgan L lamberth Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism. Logic is the bane of theists.
" God is in a worse position than the scarecow who had a body to which a mind could enter whilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder He is ineffable!" Ignostic Morgan"
"Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning." Inquiring Lynn
Please support mental health and take the stigma off metnal illnes!


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fallacy

  And Aquinas in stating that if one removes the first cause, one cannot get the intermediate one, simply begs the question["Theism and Logic"].

  We ought to show that William Lane Craig is silly with the Kalam!

morgan L lamberth Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism. Logic is the bane of theists.
" God is in a worse position than the scarecow who had a body to which a mind could enter whilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder He is ineffable!" Ignostic Morgan"
"Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning." Inquiring Lynn
Please support mental health and take the stigma off metnal illnes!


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*bumped for the

*bumped for the ill-informed*

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   Kyle Williams[along

   Kyle Williams[along with Aquinas] shows the fallacy of the Kalam: "In an infinite number of days,everyday must arrive. A  beginningless timeline,though, doesn't begin on a particular day. By definition, it has no beginning at all.It has been progressing  day by day forever.Every day arrives on schedule, and it is added to the infinite timeline."

 Craig uses his great intelligence to obscure matters!

 He begs the question that there is a beginning as theists are so wont to do!

morgan L lamberth Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism. Logic is the bane of theists.
" God is in a worse position than the scarecow who had a body to which a mind could enter whilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder He is ineffable!" Ignostic Morgan"
"Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning." Inquiring Lynn
Please support mental health and take the stigma off metnal illnes!


skeptic griggsy
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Gee, Yeshua commanded logicide-faith[ Doubting Thomas]..

   William Lane Craig begs the question in the Kalaam by assuming a starting point. Aquinas notes that it is from day to day for eternity to occur.Aquinas begs the question in stating that if one takes away the First Cause, one takes away the intermediate ones. And he begs the question in the contingency argument by assuming Necessary being rather than first showing it.

 Taking scientist Russell Stannard's origins and creation into the argument, I make it this way: contingency or origins [ science] and Necessary Being or creation [ theology], with theists merely assuming the second of this two category classification.

  Logic is the bane of theists; they ever beg questions.

 

morgan L lamberth Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism. Logic is the bane of theists.
" God is in a worse position than the scarecow who had a body to which a mind could enter whilst He has neither. He is that married bachelor. No wonder He is ineffable!" Ignostic Morgan"
"Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning." Inquiring Lynn
Please support mental health and take the stigma off metnal illnes!