More Twitter discussions, this time with JustinRGrice.
Justin is a fan of that terrible human being, William Lane Craig who is well known for a) excusing genocide and b) continually restating the Kalam cosmological argument as though it were some trump card.
Justin’s version of the statement was this:
“The universe is all space, time and matter. So the cause is spaceless, timeless, and immaterial… …(and personal, to choose an effect in time)”
Whether you’re Justin or WLC this is all built on a huge number of assumptions which are treated as fact and then you go spinning off from these cherry picked assumptions towards the conclusion that you desire.
My Kalam link goes over the cosmological argument and Kalam cosmological argument but to restate and refute very quickly:
The cosmological argument states that everything has a cause, therefore the universe has a cause. It then goes on to say that this cause must be god, for no readily fathomable reason.
The obvious objection to this is that if everything requires a cause, then this would also apply to god. Meaning an infinite chain of gods creating the god after them. Infinite regress, no solution, clearly nonsense. Plus even if everything does require a cause that cause could be anything, including a naturalistic process. All in all, no argument for god.
The Kalam version of the argument is essentially that everything requires a cause… except god. Quite why this is considered such a ‘gotcha’ I don’t know since you’re now allowing for exceptions – things that don’t require a cause – because you’ve allowed one for god. Again, this could apply to anything, including a natural process.
Both forms of the cosmological argument are, then, self-defeating from the get-go even taken by themselves but this isn’t the end of the problems with it. Modern science is discovering that there are naturally occurring causeless effects. Vacuum fluctuations and virtual particle pairs are one example, atomic decay is another. Indeed more and more research suggests that everything, matter, energy, the universe itself is one big vacuum fluctuation with a net energy value of zero. Positive and negative energy negating one another.
Other research in dark matter/energy and in cosmic background radiation has hints that may suggest the existence of other universes. This would support the many-universe interpretation. We’re not there yet, but the information is tantalising and holds out possibilities.
Speaking to a ’cause’ of the universe does not make a great deal of sense in any case. You cannot have effect following cause without a dimension of time in which one thing can follow another or without space,a context in which it must happen. Since space and time are one and come into existence along with the universe there is no ‘before time’ or ‘outside space’ in which this could occur. Its a null question, a useless and broken concept.
As to immaterial, nobody has yet been able to demonstrate the existence of anything immaterial. Our concepts and ideas, mathematics, logic etc come from observations and extrapolations of our examination of the physical universe. Numbers do not ‘exist’ save as how we name these observations and even the numerical concept is ultimately physical, encoded in the shape and energy of our physical brain.
Mind, also, is physical. An emergent quality of the physical brain. Tamper with the physical brain, you change the expression and capability of the mind. No brain, no mind.
WLC’s arguments are gossamer thin nonsense, spun out of presumption with nothing to back them up but his whim and fancy. There is no case to answer. As Hitchens once said: “That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”
As a courtesy to the chap I argued with I’m including WLCs wonking on about this for a full 20 minutes. I will also include a comedy video that demonstrates the physical origin of numbers.