Grunbaum on the Cause of the Universe

by Luke Muehlhauser on November 19, 2010 in Christian Theology,Kalam Argument

Part 12 of my Mapping the Kalam series.

I’m blogging my way through the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) for God’s existence, as presented by Craig & Sinclair:

  1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
  4. If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful.
  5. Therefore, an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful.

And that, as Aquinas said, is what everybody means by “God.”

Last time, I explained how Craig deduces all those properties from the conclusion that “the universe had a cause.” Now I turn to Craig’s discussion of some objections by Adolf Grunbaum.

Craig divides Grunbaum’s objections into three types:

(I) Objections that cast doubt on the concept of “cause” used in the KCA.

(II) Objections that relate causality to the temporal sequence of events.

(III) Objections that creation from nothing is beyond our comprehension.

I. Casting doubt on the concept of “cause” used in the KCA

Grunbaum’s first objection is very common, for example see here. Craig represents the objection like this:

When we say that everything has a cause, we use the word “cause” to mean something that transforms previously existing materials from one state to another. But when we infer that the universe has a cause, we must mean by “cause” something that creates its effect out of nothing. Since these two meanings of “cause” are not the same, the argument is guilty of equivocation…

But this is a poor objection, because the concept of “cause” used throughout the argument is that of “something which brings about or produces its effects.” Whether this involves transformation of existing materials or creation from nothing is incidental. So there is no equivocation.

Grunbaum’s second objection of type I is that the cause need not be a conscious agent. But Craig has given arguments as to why the personhood of the cause can be deduced from the properties a cause of the universe must have.

Grunbaum’s third objection of type I is that we cannot infer merely one conscious agent as the creator of the universe. But here, Craig is simply relying on a common scientific principle: Occam’s razor.

II. Objections that relate causality to the temporal sequence of events

Grunbaum’s first objection of type II is, as Craig puts it, that:

Causality is logically compatible with an infinite, beginningless series of events.

But this is a misunderstanding. Craig has not argued that it is causality that is incompatible with an infinite, beginningless series of events. Instead, Craig argued that there is an incompatibility between (a) an actually infinite number of things and (b) the series of past events.

In Craig’s words, Grunbaum’s second objection of type II is that:

If everything has a cause of its existence, then the cause of the universe must also have a cause of its existence.

But of course Craig has not argued that everything must have a cause of its existence. He asserted instead that whatever begins to exist has a cause.

III. Objections that creation from nothing is beyond our comprehension

In Craig’s words, Grunbaum’s first objection of type III is this:

If creation out of nothing is incomprehensible, then it is irrational to believe in such a doctrine.

By “incomprehensible,” Grunbaum means “meaningless.” But, Craig says, the claim that a transcendent cause brought the universe into being is meaningful, not mere gibberish.

Again in Craig’s words, Grunbaum’s second objection of type III is:

An incomprehensible doctrine cannot explain anything.

But again, Craig says, the claim that a transcendent cause brought the universe into being is comprehensible. And though it is not a scientific explanation, that does not mean it is not an explanation at all.

One final objection

A final objection from Grunbaum is, in Craig’s words:

The cause of the Big Bang can be neither after the Big Bang (since backward causation is impossible) nor before the Big Bang (since time begins at or after the Big Bang). Therefore, the universe’s beginning to exist cannot have a cause.

But, says Craig, this is false dichotomy. Why not suppose that “God’s creating the universe is simultaneous (or coincident) with the Big Bang?”

What would that mean? Craig elaborates:

Perhaps an analogy from physical cosmology will be illuminating. The initial Big Bang singularity is not considered to be part of physical time, but to constitute a boundary on time. Nevertheless, it is causally connected to the universe. In an analogous way, we could say that God’s timeless eternity is, as it were, a boundary of time which is causally, but not temporally, prior to the origin of the universe.

…The time of the first event would not only be the first time at which the universe exists but also, technically, the first time at which God exists, since sans the universe God exists timelessly. The moment of causation is, as it were, the moment at which God enters time. His act of creation is thus simultaneous with the origination of the universe.

Thus, Craig feels he has overcome Grunbaum’s objections.

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Bryan November 19, 2010 at 5:39 am

I know I’ve written this before, but his 1st assumption (Everything that begins to exist has a cause) is scientifically incorrect. Virtual particles being the classical example – matter that pops into being, due to nothing more than the haphazard vagrancies of quantum fluctuations. Most of what occurs at the quantum level is not deterministic (i.e. cause-effect) but is rather stochastic with a healthy dose of randomness thrown in.

A video on this very topic, and how it could have created our universe, by the physicist Lawrence Krauss:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo

Bryan

  (Quote)

Bryan November 19, 2010 at 5:43 am

Opps, forgot to add in my last post. Since the remainder of Craig & Sinclair’s argument is predicated on that first point, which we know from physics is a false assumption, the remainder of their argument also fails.

Bryan

  (Quote)

Zeb November 19, 2010 at 6:16 am

Here’s a typo:
” Now I turn to Craig’s discussion of some objects by Adolf Grunbaum.”

  (Quote)

Rob November 19, 2010 at 6:57 am

Luke,

Occam’s Razor is no friend of the monotheist.

Use any number of assumptions you think you need to convince yourself that there is at least one god and you’ll need at least one more assumption to restrict that being’s existence to one and only one instance of that general type.

In other words, the monotheist has added a gratuitous uniqueness constraint, and thus violates Occam’s Razor.

So monotheism requires more assumptions than polytheism and is therefore less parsimonious.

  (Quote)

Charles November 19, 2010 at 7:17 am

But this is a poor objection, because the concept of “cause” used throughout the argument is that of “something which brings about or produces its effects.” Whether this involves transformation of existing materials or creation from nothing is incidental. So there is no equivocation.

I don’t think the common objection (as you call it) is over the use of the word ’cause’. It’s over the phrase ‘begins to exist’. In premise (1) it refers to the rearrangement of existing electrons, protons, and neutrons to fit a brain state that exists only in our minds. In premise (2) it refers to creation of those particles and the laws that govern them, along with time, space, and who knows what else.

  (Quote)

Torgo November 19, 2010 at 7:17 am

“But this is a poor objection, because the concept of “cause” used throughout the argument is that of “something which brings about or produces its effects.” Whether this involves transformation of existing materials or creation from nothing is incidental. So there is no equivocation.”

Perhaps there’s no equivocation strictly speaking, but can we not modify the objection a bit. Do we know of any cause that is efficient but not at the same time material? Doesn’t all causation, so far as we know, involve modification of some preexisting material? If so, how can we suppose that there might be a cause that is purely efficient?

Aside from that, might there by some conceptual problem in trying to imagine a cause the produces its effect without some material constraints on what the effect can be? I suppose God is alleged to be such a cause, and this would be in line with his alleged omnipotence. But I think this leads back to the problem of God being a terrible explanation for anything, since there are no constraints on God as a cause that would help us determine whether God is a better explanation than something else.

  (Quote)

Luke Muehlhauser November 19, 2010 at 7:35 am

Charles,

No, Craig’s definition for ‘begins to exist’ is consistent throughout, though it may have other problems. I’ll find Craig’s article on this eventually…

  (Quote)

Ralph November 19, 2010 at 7:54 am

“No, Craig’s definition for ‘begins to exist’ is consistent throughout, though it may have other problems. I’ll find Craig’s article on this eventually”

Grunbaum would be mistaken if he objects on the basis of equivocation. I think the more fruitful objection would be to undermine the support for Premise 1 by properly delimiting what our intuitions can properly uphold. Craig contends that Premise 1 is intuitively obvious. One can observe that our intuitions can only inform us about a specific kind of cause, i.e. material transformations, and NOT “something out of nothing”. I think that objection is more compelling.

  (Quote)

Charles November 19, 2010 at 8:58 am

Let me know when you find it. I suspect premise (1) will sound rather silly when you do.

  (Quote)

Taranu November 19, 2010 at 9:24 am

I don’t see how it follows that if God creates time than God enters time.

Bryan,
you can find Craig’s response to Krauss on Craig’s you tube channel drcraigvideos. The video is entitled: Lawrence Krauss On Creation Out Of Nothing

  (Quote)

Luke Muehlhauser November 19, 2010 at 9:27 am

Hi Charles,

I quote Craig’s explicit definition of ‘begins to exist’ in this post.

  (Quote)

juhou November 19, 2010 at 10:14 am

Bryan,

Here is Craig on Krauss’s universe from nothing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qQcWh3DKyg

  (Quote)

Martin November 19, 2010 at 11:53 am

Bryan,

Craig responded to the virtual particles objection early on.

1) virtual particles don’t pop into existence from nothing, but from a vacuum (empty space) with a rich energy field

2) they are only indeterministic on some interpretations of quantum mechanics (Copenhagen); many other interpretations (such as many-worlds) are fully deterministic and thus preserve the causal principle

  (Quote)

Patrick November 19, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Yeah, he can handle the virtual particles thing.

The real problem he has is backing up his assertions about nothing beginning to exist without a cause. His argument is that this is obvious from intuition…

…and then he starts blathering about virtual particles, preexisting rules of quantum dynamics, definitions of “begins to exist” that include forms of beginnings that have never occurred within human experience, timeless entities beginning to act, and so on. None of which are intuitively obvious, or at the least, none of which are the sorts of things about which we should expect to have reliable intuitions.

  (Quote)

Martin November 19, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Patrick,

The real problem he has is backing up his assertions about nothing beginning to exist without a cause. His argument is that this is obvious from intuition

If you read his work, you’ll see that he only argues for “weak theism.” His goal in these arguments is only to increase the probability of theism, not prove it 100%. And so he only argues that his premises are “more plausibly true than their negation.” For premise 1 he appeals to the scientific confirmation of the causal principle. Science operates somewhat according to this principle; that causes abound and we can discover them.

  (Quote)

Patrick November 19, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Martin- I’m familiar with that aspect of his work. Unfortunately, He happily calls his arguments deductive when it suits him, and whenever he starts talking about “more plausibly true than their negation,” intelligent people reach for their revolvers.

As it stands, I don’t see how retreating to abduction solves the problem for him. I have far greater problems with his Kalam argument (its filled with implied premises that he needs to get him out of the usual inability of an argument that generates a contradiction to yield a meaningful conclusion), but on this specific point about our intuitions regarding the beginning of time, I think he’s engaged in crazy talk.

  (Quote)

oarobin November 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm

The responses to the objections are very weak.

let us examine the first set of responses to “Casting doubt on the concept of “cause” used in the KCA”

i) on the question of equivocation there are two points

1) if one defines cause as “something which brings about or produces its effects.” then this just redefines the equivocation to be about “something”. in the first case we have something (of a physical/natural makeup) producing effects (of a physical/natural makeup) by transforming a thing (of a physical/natural makeup) in the other case (the beginning of the universe) we have no things (by the same definition in case 1) however something (clearly not the same as case one, as it does not operate on physical things and is effective when there are no things) producing effects (the same things in case one).

please show me how something is not being equivocated in the above.

2) can you give an argument that show that causation is a robust concept when no things are present.

ii) i don’t see how an argument deducing a personhood for the cause answers to the objection that the cause may be impersonal? is it the case that the argument for personhood contradicts a non personal cause? the objection seems to be that the facts admit no definitive conclusion on the personhood of the cause.

iii) occam razor says “select the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions (aka postulates, entities)”. since many gods introduce no new entities over one god and one god raises paradoxical issues about a single entity having all the traditional omni properties (atheology) then many gods can be a even better explanation than one.

  (Quote)

Martin November 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm

His arguments are deductive, period. Not just when it suits him. Just because the conclusion must follow, doesn’t mean the premises are 100% true.

Hell, even consider the classic example of deduction:

1. All humans are mortal
2. Socrates is a human
3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal

Neither of the premises are 100% guaranteed, or deductive themselves. Premise 1 is inductive, for instance. The deduction in both this and Craig’s arguments are only in the form, not the premises.

  (Quote)

Patrick November 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Martin…. Craig tells us to accept premises if they’re more likely than their negation. Then he tells us that if we accept the premises, we must accept the conclusions, because those are the rules of logical deduction. And at other times he tells us that his arguments are only trying to demonstrate that the possibility of magical superbeings is greater than we thought. Still at other times he tells us that attempted logical deduction is refuted if you can come up with even one possible counterexample. These are not compatible assertions. He’s all over the place on this as suits his rhetorical needs.

…to kick him once more while he’s down, I’m not sure why we should be surprised that he contradicts himself on this. He argues for the existence of moral facts by means of human moral sensibilities, then in other contexts argues that sometimes its morally obligatory to slaughter infants and children by the sword, even if doing so revolts your moral sensibilities to the point of traumatizing you.

Apologetics is an eater of souls.

  (Quote)

Reidish November 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Patrick,

We don’t have to go 12 rounds again on this, but I wanted to ask you about something:

Martin…. Craig tells us to accept premises if they’re more likely than their negation. Then he tells us that if we accept the premises, we must accept the conclusions, because those are the rules of logical deduction.

Not “more likely”, but “more plausible”, than their negations. That is, one is persuaded by their truth, even though one doesn’t feel thoroughly convicted. Why think that levels of personal conviction fall under the purview of probability theory? I wonder, what criteria do you use to decide whether to run a premise as “true” through a deductive argument? You don’t eschew evaluating deductive arguments altogether, right?

Apologetics is an eater of souls.

*shiver*

  (Quote)

Martin November 19, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Patrick

Everything you just said can be applied to the Socrates example.

Craig tells us to accept premises if they’re more likely than their negation.

Accepting that all humans are mortal is inductive, but more reasonable than it’s negation.

Then he tells us that if we accept the premises, we must accept the conclusions, because those are the rules of logical deduction.

If we accept both premises, then the conclusion that Socrates is mortal follows logically.

And at other times he tells us that his arguments are only trying to demonstrate that the possibility of magical superbeings is greater than we thought.

Since premise 2 is inductive, and we could come across an immortal human, the conclusion is still not 100% (even though it follows deductively).

Still at other times he tells us that attempted logical deduction is refuted if you can come up with even one possible counterexample.

I don’t know where he said this. Show me. I don’t really understand your paraphrase.

So none of the above is incorrect on Craig’s part, except that last bit which I don’t understand without the context.

  (Quote)

Patrick November 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Martin- Perhaps this is the problem. If you define “accept the premises as true” as meaning “believe the premises to be more plausible than their negation,” then there is a difference between,

1. If we accept the premises as true, the conclusion follows logically; or,
2. If we accept the premises as true, we should accept the conclusion.

Craig tells me to do the second. He’s wrong on a level that even a freshman should be able to recognize.

As for the usefulness of deductive arguments, no, I don’t eschew EVALUATING them. I do eschew RELYING on them WITHOUT recognizing that in the real world they’re governed by probability theory, and I do recognize that anyone who tells me that I can discard concerns of probability just by declaring that I’m engaged in deductive logic is a charlatan. Choosing a system of formalized reasoning does not alter the real world relationships between facts.

  (Quote)

Steven November 19, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Mr. Craig cannot use Ockam’s Razor when talking about things like deities and their plans. Suppose, for example, that we see a box in a room. We close our eyes and, upon opening them again, we see that the box was moved 12 feet to the right. We then conclude that only one person moved the box, because of Ockham’s Razor. Clearly this is fallacious, as the box could easily have been moved by more than one person. The same applies to the Universe. We cannot tell how many free agents caused something to occur based on the event itself, unless some sort of limit (a 2 ton box, for example, could probably never be moved by one individual), but Craig provides none of this.

The second objection that I have is that you cannot compare the “singularity of the Big Bang” to a conscious decision to make the “Big Bang”. The reason for this is that the singularity of the Big Bang is impersonal, whereas this God must have consciously decided to do something. This raises an interesting point: for a decision to be made, time must elapse; in fact, I would argue that, if the premises of the KCA are to be taken seriously, this too would be intuitively obvious, and, just like the tiger being created from nothing, be absurd. Thus, by the KCA’s own reasoning, God simultaneously creating the Universe with the Big Bang is absurd.

I’m also wondering, doesn’t Craig contradict himself by saying that something before the creation of the universe, God didn’t technically exist? So shouldn’t God also require an explanation, along with the Universe, since “Everything that begins to exist must have an explanation”? Or, if this can be averted by saying that it existed timelessly, couldn’t this also be applied to the “initial Big Bang singularity”, claim it existed timelessly, and occurred simultaneously with the Big Bang? And this would prompt us to use Ockham’s Razor to cut God from the equation. Indeed, whatever complications are brought about by having an eternally existing initial singularity for the Big Bang would also apply to God–maybe even more so since God is having thought processes before time even exits!–and thus undermine the KCA.

  (Quote)

Steven November 19, 2010 at 4:20 pm

It appears that I left out a crucial part of my post (Addition shown by “*”):

This raises an interesting point: for a decision to be made, time must elapse; in fact, I would argue that, if the premises of the KCA are to be taken seriously, *the idea that a being came to a decision without any time elapsing* would be intuitively *disingenuous*, just like the tiger being created from nothing–an intuitively absurd proposition. Thus, by the KCA’s own reasoning, God simultaneously creating the Universe with the Big Bang is absurd.

  (Quote)

Charles November 19, 2010 at 4:54 pm

[We might say] “In order for something to come into existence, there must be a time t such that the thing exists at t and there is no time t* earlier than t at which the thing exists,” or more simply, “In order for anything to come into existence, there has to be a first moment of its existence.”

This explains what he means by “begins to”. It doesn’t explain what he means by “exist”.

  (Quote)

cl November 19, 2010 at 5:43 pm

So the comment thread on Craig’s choice of the word “cause” pretty much summarizes where I’m at. For years, my stance on the cosmological argument was to give both sides a draw. Though I think he argues certain points well, I think Craig is one reason I never bought the argument. It seemed to easy to refute. You know, the whole “if God can exist eternally why can’t the universe?” line of objection.

However, when I read Aristotle’s version, it made much more sense and I came to accept Aristotle’s argument from kinesis about a year and a half ago. Though it took a second to get my head around his terminology, too, once I did, I found the concepts to be much simpler, elegant and forceful than Craig’s. My understanding of the argument from kinesis leaves us with a set of options something like this:

1) the current transitions from potency to act are part of an eternal cycle of transitions from potency to act;

2) the current transitions from potency to act arose from absolute nothing, i.e. creation ex nihilo;

3) the current transitions from potency to act arose from an unmoved mover of some sort, i.e. God.

I tend to disagree with the claim that Ockham’s confronts the monotheist. I think options 1 and 2 both entail more baggage than 3, personally.

  (Quote)

Joel November 19, 2010 at 7:10 pm

In order:

Regarding Grunbaum’s Objection I Type 1:
Grunbaum’s objection is valid. It is not Grunbraum that is guilty of equivocation and confusing the different types of causes; it is Craig. When we say “everything that begins to exist has a cause” we mean more specifically “everything that begins to exist has a material cause”. Yet craig wishes to move from this observation to a non-material Aristotlean efficient cause. This movement may be inductive, but a weak one that does not give us a strong, or even significant, reason to belief that the universe has an efficient cause.

Regarding Grunbaum’s Objection I Type 2:
Ah, yes, the conscious agent issue. Most of us atheist would insist that the cause could be non-intentional. Craig’s argument from cause to intentional cause is inordinately weak. He argues that a non-intentional non-temporal cause would have to be sufficient and present, resulting in the universe being always present (eternally old), which is not the case; ergo, an intentional cause has to be used. Craig illustrates this with the man choosing to stand up.

This is a horrible argument, because probabilistic causation (quantum occurences where the cause is not always apparent, but where we can measure the probability of events) show that events may be spontaneous (i.e. a cause may not always be sufficient and present). If Craig rejects probabilistic causation, Craig kills Premise 1, since the other interpretation of quantum randomness is non-causality (i.e. not everything has cause). Thus Craig is stuck between a rock and a hard place, and either way Kalam falls. In any case, as Dennett points out, this argument is predicated upon anti-physicalism. If the mind is in fact a function of the brain (as strong evidence from science shows), then an intentional agent without a body is simply absurd.

Regarding the final Objection:
Causality does not exist outside the universe, which the totality of all temporal causation. Thus, even simultaneous causation presupposes space-time (i.e. the universe). Non-temporal causation, we have not evidence of; non-spatial existence (God existing outside space) is stupid too, since existence is philosophically defined as “instantiation, at least once, in the world”. This again presupposes a “world.

  (Quote)

Joel November 19, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Addenda:

Regarding “exist”; or, why God or anything else cannot “exist” outside of space-time.

Existence is either A) a property that objects have or B) the instantiation, at least once, of an objection in the world (or a world).

If (A), God can “exist” outside of space-time, because it is simply a property that he has. But this property conception of existence is inaccurate, because of self-contradiction.

If existence is a property then so is non-existence. But for something to have the property of non-existence, it would have to exist in the first place. This leads to a contradiction resolvable iff existence is not a property. Another way of arguing to this contradiction is this: if existence is a property then to say that A exists is to add something to A. But then A would be different from itself. This violates the law of identity (A=A) and therefore, existence is not a property.

The Fregean view of existence, which is instantiation of the object in the world, is thus superior. Or Quine’s refinement: to say that a red cube exist is to say that there is some X in the world where X has the properties of (red, being cubic).

So existence presupposes a world, and why not, using Occam’s razor, simply say that our world is that world, instead of posulating a supernatural world for God which then explains the natural world?

  (Quote)

wissam November 19, 2010 at 10:52 pm

“In an analogous way, we could say that God’s timeless eternity is, as it were, a boundary of time which is causally, but not temporally, prior to the origin of the universe”.

Huh? How does one determine causal priority?

“The time of the first event would not only be the first time at which the universe exists but also, technically, the first time at which God exists”

But why doesn’t God himself need a cause (since technically, he “began” to exist) just as the first event needs a cause (since the first event began to exist)?

  (Quote)

wissam November 19, 2010 at 11:10 pm

It’s a shame atheist philosophers can’t understand the KCA.

Alot clears up with symbolic formulation:

1. (x)(Bx–>Cx)
For all x, if x begins to exist (or began to exist), then x has a cause.

2. Bu.
The universe begins to exist (or began to exist).

3. l=Cu.
Ergo, the universe has a cause.

  (Quote)

Muto November 19, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Wissam, I think almost everyone involved in these discussions on a professional level, understands the basic KCA.

  (Quote)

Shane Steinhauser November 20, 2010 at 1:07 am

“Perhaps an analogy from physical cosmology will be illuminating. The initial Big Bang singularity is not considered to be part of physical time, but to constitute a boundary on time. Nevertheless, it is causally connected to the universe. In an analogous way, we could say that God’s timeless eternity is, as it were, a boundary of time which is causally, but not temporally, prior to the origin of the universe.”

If this supposed initial big bang singularity is to quote Craig,” not considered to be part of physical time” then the initial big bang singularity is timeless, spaceless, and yet it is causually linked to the universe. So wouldn’t the KCA wind up going like this?

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore the universe had a cause. ie the big bang singularity (not God).

Also why the hell is nobody challenging Craig on premise 2? Craig argues that since both space and time cease to exist at the big bang then time itself must have started at or with the big bang. But the problem with this is that time and space cease to exist not only inside the supposed big bang, but inside *all black holes*. Outside of these black holes time *does* exist though. In order to say that time began to exist with the big bang you would have to presuppose that the initial singularity contained all the matter of not just the *known universe* but also of the *entire universe*. If there was even a single atom outside of the big bang singularity then time existed outside of the big bang. So what I am saying is that for all we know the big bang was just one out of billions of events in the same way that a supernova is just one out of billions of stars going critical.

  (Quote)

Shane Steinhauser November 20, 2010 at 1:37 am

“In an analogous way, we could say that God’s timeless eternity is, as it were, a boundary of time which is causally, but not temporally, prior to the origin of the universe”.Huh? How does one determine causal priority?“The time of the first event would not only be the first time at which the universe exists but also, technically, the first time at which God exists”But why doesn’t God himself need a cause (since technically, he “began” to exist) just as the first event needs a cause (since the first event began to exist)?  (Quote)

Craig doesn’t mean that God began to exist. He means that God existed before time, and then he created time. That first instant of time would have been the first moment in which God existed since God existed timelessly before that.

  (Quote)

mojo.rhythm November 20, 2010 at 3:03 am

It’s a shame atheist philosophers can’t understand the KCA.Alot clears up with symbolic formulation:1. (x)(Bx–>Cx)
For all x, if x begins to exist (or began to exist), then x has a cause.2. Bu.
The universe begins to exist (or began to exist).3. l=Cu.
Ergo, the universe has a cause.  

There are three ways to interpret this statement that I know of:

H1: You are joking.

This is unlikely because otherwise you would have added a winky to your comment.

H2: You are trying to sound condescending.

If that be the case, then that is uncalled for.

H3: You made a ridiculously improbable spelling error, typing “atheist philosophers” instead of “Grunbaum”.

Crazier things have happened.

H4: You mean every word of it

Then this is my careful, well thought-out response.

  (Quote)

Hermes November 20, 2010 at 5:34 am

Note on singularities; I’m not under the impression that physicists with experience in the subject generally hold that a singularity is the likely seed that the universe grew from.

I’d like to hear from any practicing or recently graduated physicists, though, if they could offer insight into this issue.

  (Quote)

Charles November 20, 2010 at 6:39 am

Shane Steinhauser: Also why the hell is nobody challenging Craig on premise 2?

If the argument is invalid then we don’t need to worry about the premises.

  (Quote)

Martin November 20, 2010 at 6:42 am

Charles,

The argument isn’t invalid.

  (Quote)

Eric November 20, 2010 at 7:15 am

@mojo-rhythm
Agree or disagree with wissam in general, it just sounds like he is merely turning the basic interpretation of the kalam into a quantified statement. Doing so makes it clearer.

  (Quote)

wissam November 20, 2010 at 7:33 am

@Muto

Note all professionals who deal with the KCA have a good understanding of it. This is apparent in Grunbaum’s take on the KCA.

@Eric

I know, right ;)

@Martin

You’re right. The argument is valid and my quantified representation of the KCA proves it (modus ponens). See why the symbolic formulation is necessary.

@Hermes

Same here.

@mojo.rhythm

H3 is the right one.

@Shane

“Craig doesn’t mean that God began to exist. He means that God existed before time, and then he created time. That first instant of time would have been the first moment in which God existed since God existed timelessly before that. ”

It does mean that God began to exist, technically speaking. As you said, “the first moment in which God existed”. And I’m confused what you mean by “before” in “God existed timelessly before that”.

  (Quote)

wissam November 20, 2010 at 7:40 am

And one more thing.

Change exists iff time exists.

This means that time is a necessary and sufficient condition for change.

Creation implies change.

So Creation cannot exist if time did not exist.

So divine Creation does not answer: Who Created Time?

Time is an essential component of a universe. So a universe’s existence, as defined, cannot be explained by divine Creation.

  (Quote)

Patrick November 20, 2010 at 8:24 am

Actually, the Kalam argument might be invalid. It isn’t always. It depends on how you define “universe,” and/or whether you are willing to make the implicit premises explicit. Unfortunately for Kalam, making these premises explicit makes it harder to defend the argument, since the implicit premises tend to be the ones that are harder to support.

In the older, explicitly theistic versions of first cause arguments, the reasoning is often invalid because it relies on creating a contradiction between two premises. First they argue that everything has to have a cause, then they argues that its impossible for everything to have a cause because that would create an infinite regress. But you can’t draw specific conclusions from an argument that generates a contradiction. All you can say is that somewhere, something went wrong. You can never even say which part went wrong.

The usual solution is to duct tape on some extra adjective clauses, or implied premises. So instead of “everything has a cause” you get “everything that begins to exist has a cause.” This extra clause is needed because it creates an implied premise: some things do not begin to exist.

Unfortunately, that can lead to a contradiction depending on your definition of “universe.” To see why, ask yourself how we know the “universe” began to exist. There are two possible answers.

The first is that we just know that everything begins to exist, and the universe, being a thing, must have begun to exist… but if that’s the answer, then Kalam fails because if everything begins to exist, then God is part of the infinite regress and Kalam fails.

On the other hand, you could answer that we have specific reasons to believe that the universe began to exist, and aren’t just reasoning from a general principle… but if that’s the case then those specific reasons need to be advanced, and alternative theories legitimately refuted. Under this answer, the quantum flux explanation of universal expansion is a legitimate challenger to Kalam, because we have no specific reasons to believe that the operation of quantum theory began to exist except for the general principle response, which this response denies.

There are a number of methods that people use to try to avoid these traps, such as changing “everything begins to exist” to “everything natural begins to exist,” but that makes more explicit the hidden premise that unnatural things exist, and can exist without beginning. And once that premises is made explicit, and its clear that this is a premise and not a conclusion of the argument, it has to be independently defended… and I’m sure that can be done.

Anyways, if you make the hidden premises explicit, the full, theistic version of the argument isn’t invalid… but its also a lot less convincing to someone who isn’t enamored of the idea of the Uncanny.

  (Quote)

Patrick November 20, 2010 at 8:37 am

Oh, and for what its worth, here’s how to define “universe” so as to make even the simplest formulation of Kalam invalid. Take wissam’s formulation, and define universe as “the set of all things that can be the causes of other things.”

… ok, right before I posted this I realized that this doesn’t make the argument invalid if we accept the possibility of self causation or if we just accepted the possibility of infinite regress. I’m going to post anyways just because its an interesting series of thoughts, and in any case, both of those answers are problematic for theistic kalam.

  (Quote)

Martin November 20, 2010 at 9:10 am
Patrick November 20, 2010 at 9:42 am

Martin, that guy is awfully far from the Kalam argument in terms of his views on time, causation, and what it even means for something to be the cause of something else. For example, his argument is perfectly happy with the same infinite regress that Craig views as impossible, and therefore proof of God. So I’m not sure where you’re going with it.

If that’s not what you wanted me to take from the article, or if you have some specific aspect of this you wanted me to focus on, you should mention it.

Also,

“A being that depends for its existence upon nothing but itself, and is in this sense self-caused, can equally be described as a necessary being; that is to say, a being that is not contingent, and hence not perishable. For in the case of anything that exists by its own nature and is dependent upon nothing else, it is impossible that it should not exist, which is equivalent to saying that it is necessary.”

This is your brain on apologetics.

That should be self evidently ridiculous, and the fact that its not is one of the biggest reasons that debating religion is so interesting to me. What is going on in a person’s mind when they find that anything other that crazy talk?

  (Quote)

Martin November 20, 2010 at 10:32 am

Patrick,

Taylor’s argument is tangential to Kalam. My point was to respond to your problems with the idea that it’s special pleading for God to not need a cause while insisting that the universe does.

This is your brain on apologetics.

I don’t understand what you are getting at. Did you read it? He explains it very well. Every time I link to it non-theists are so hellbent in finding something wrong with it that they throw out all kinds of objections that are already explained in the article, making it clear they didn’t actually read it. Even if his argument is wrong, it’s well worth a read. Read it. Beginning to end.

And just to clear your prejudgment of Taylor as an apologist, what is not included in this article is his introduction (from his book Metaphysics), where he implies that he believes religion to be an invention of mankind to escape death because it makes him uncomfortable. And the end of the article, where he explains that a critic could easily take issue with his use of the word “God”.

So, Taylor is not coming from a position of Christian apologetics.

  (Quote)

MC November 20, 2010 at 10:38 am

Patrick,

Concerning that definition, you say that “This is your brain on apologetics.”

I completely disagree. Note that many naturalists throughout the history of philosophy (especially Spinoza) have argued that the universe (nature) satisfies that very description. You seem to imply that atheists or naturalists must be strong contingentists of some sort. There are many things which plausibly exist a se (“from itself”)–such as abstract objects like numbers, perhaps. As a naturalist, I’m not alone in believing that nature itself has aseity.

  (Quote)

Patrick November 20, 2010 at 10:52 am

Martin, I read your article. The candle/flame part in particular is just amazingly boneheaded. Also, I hate your rhetorical style of linking large tracts of text and then insisting that the answers to some question you haven’t asked lie within that text, and that its the dereliction of the people you’re talking to that explain why they haven’t found them. Its not an honest approach to discourse. I read your article, I don’t see its relevance to Kalam, you won’t say what its relevance was to the posts you were replying to even though I asked, you won’t tell me which part of the article I should even be focused on, you won’t tell me what subject we’re even talking about….

If I feel like dealing with this tactic I’ll just open a random wiki page, read it, and then debate it with a brick.

MC- That wasn’t a definition. It was an ontological argument. And interestingly, you actually cite in your post one of the reason we should reject it: if its possible to theorize multiple non-contingent, self-caused, necessary (and by that definition imperishable, though I don’t see how that follows except by assertion) but also contradictory entities depending on one’s assessment, then the ontological inference obviously fails. If two people can theorize necessary entities that are incompatible (say, God and the universe), then the fact that a being is defined as necessary doesn’t mean that it can’t not exist in the actual world.

  (Quote)

Martin November 20, 2010 at 11:09 am

Patrick,

The point of the article is a more general , foundational-level response to the (don’t take this the wrong way) bone-headed objections that “God not needing a cause” is arbitrary.

Taylor might be wrong, but at least you will be able to see the other point of view clearly instead of as special pleading, which it is not.

  (Quote)

Shane Steinhauser November 20, 2010 at 11:47 am

@MutoNote all professionals who deal with the KCA have a good understanding of it. This is apparent in Grunbaum’s take on the KCA.@EricI know, right ;)@MartinYou’re right. The argument is valid and my quantified representation of the KCA proves it (modus ponens). See why the symbolic formulation is necessary.@HermesSame here.@mojo.rhythmH3 is the right one.@Shane“Craig doesn’t mean that God began to exist. He means that God existed before time, and then he created time. That first instant of time would have been the first moment in which God existed since God existed timelessly before that. ”It does mean that God began to exist, technically speaking. As you said, “the first moment in which God existed”. And I’m confused what you mean by “before” in “God existed timelessly before that”.  (Quote)

Ok so the argument is valid by way of If P then Q, P therefore Q. But Craig never states the arument in that fashion. Also the logic which get you to the actual if P (the universe began to exist), then Q (the universe has an eternal timeless cause) is all wrong.

I don’t think you understand what Craig means by “the first moment in time in which God began to exist. I’ll use an analogy for clarification. Let’s say that I exist. Next I build a wooden box. Then I step into the box. Now this is the first moment in which I exist inside the wooden box. Now let’s say God exists. Next he builds time. Then he steps inside of time. Now this is the first instance in which God exists inside time (or to phrase it in an way that is easy to misunderstand “the first time that God exists in”).

  (Quote)

MC November 20, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Patrick,

I was unclear, and I appreciate your attention to detail. Allow me to clarify and correct myself: First, although I do think that there can only be one non-contingent, self-caused thing (Spinoza said that whatever exists is in Nature, and nothing can exist or be conceived without it), I did not argue that point; by “perhaps”, I simply wanted to suggest that others have argued that multiple kinds of beings have been posited which satisfy the criteria specified (cf. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/god-necessary-being/). I do hope we’re not talking over each other concerning our various notions of modality (both epistemic and ontological): by “possible to theorize”, perhaps you mean ‘conceive’ and–if conceivability entails possibility–thereby argue that if it is conceivable that there are two substances (necessary, self-caused (ens a se) beings), then we “should reject” the argument.

Your reply appears to be: “If a multiplicity of substances is conceivable (p), then it is false that there’s only one substance (q), p, therefore q.” But, I’d argue that it is not conceivable that there are multiple substances (see the arguments in part I of the Ethics as a starting point)… but that’s an argument for another time and place. (Are numbers substances? cf. Aristotle’s Metaphysics 987a19 and 1028b, inter alia). Either way, thank you for keeping me (and others) honest, and I think we’d agree that a God cannot satisfy the object of the argument you quoted.

  (Quote)

Martin November 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Shane Steinhauser,

Wissam is wrong. It’s not modus ponens. It’s a categorical syllogism:

1. All A are B
2. X is A
3. Therefore, X is B

I.e.:

1. All [things that begin to exist] are [caused]
2. [The universe] is [a thing that began to exist]
3. Therefore, [the universe] is [caused]

  (Quote)

Charles November 20, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Martin, I agree with your form of the argument provided A=X.

  (Quote)

Shane Steinhauser November 20, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Thanks for clearing that up Martin.

  (Quote)

wissam November 21, 2010 at 4:49 am

@Shane

I fucking said the same thing Martin said:

1. (x)(Bx–>Cx)
For all x, if x begins to exist (or began to exist), then x has a cause.

2. Bu.
The universe begins to exist (or began to exist).

3. l=Cu.
Ergo, the universe has a cause.

“I don’t think you understand what Craig means by “the first moment in time in which God began to exist. I’ll use an analogy for clarification. Let’s say that I exist. Next I build a wooden box. Then I step into the box. Now this is the first moment in which I exist inside the wooden box. Now let’s say God exists. Next he builds time. Then he steps inside of time. Now this is the first instance in which God exists inside time (or to phrase it in an way that is easy to misunderstand “the first time that God exists in”).”

Nope. I understand what Craig meant. I don’t think you understand what I meant. I can accept that God existed timelessly but once God steps into time, this would be (as you said) “the first time that God exists in”. In this sense, we can say: God “began to exist in time”. Kalam’s 1st premise says: (x)(Bx–>Cx). If we say: B= begin to exist in time, then we can conclude that God was caused. If we however say: B’= begin to exist out of time, then the theist would be committed to a very ridiculous premise where “begin” is used without relation to “time”. Now, B v B’ and since ~B’ then B. Therefore, God was caused.

  (Quote)

wissam November 21, 2010 at 5:11 am

@Shane

Just for clarification.

1. B v B’. Which means: Either B or B’ (where “or” is used in the inclusive sense; as “and/or”- at least one of disjuncts is true, or maybe both ).

2. ~B’ (Evidently, B’ is false given that the word “begin” cannot be used without relation to time).

3. So, B. (B is true, by disjunctive syllogism).

Let’s apply this:

1. Either God can begin to exist in time or God can begin to exist outside of time (or both).
2. God cannot begin to exist outside of time.
3. So, God began to exist in time.

And using KCA’s 1st premise where B=”begin to exist in time”.

1. (x)(Bx–>Cx)
For all x, if x begins to exist in time, then x has a cause.

2. Bg.
God began to exist in time. (I can accept that God existed timelessly but once God steps into time, this would be (as you said) “the first time that God exists in”. In this sense, we can say: God “began to exist in time”. )

3. So, Cg.
God has a cause.

  (Quote)

Muto November 21, 2010 at 9:36 am

Wissam,
What if ‘God didn’t begin to exist’ is true?

  (Quote)

wissam November 21, 2010 at 10:25 am

@Muto

Well, “God didn’t begin to exist” can be true iff God never enters time. Theists will find it hard to accept that God never enters time since only if God enters time can he interact with the temporal world (including human beings). Some deists may not find a problem with this.

  (Quote)

Michael November 21, 2010 at 11:23 am

Having fun reading the discussion.

Causality is being taken too seriously in the KCA. I am unconvinced that causality exists and nothing I have read or considered over the last 5 decades has done much to increase my estimate of its reality. In fact, the advance of physics over that time has steadily eroded the concept.

Its not that I have no idea what is meant by causality. I understand causality is the idea that entity E occurs as a result of, is contingent upon, is conditional upon, or is a consequence of entity C. Furthermore, I understand that causality has social functions, most prominently in assigning praise and blame for good and unfortunate circumstances. And I am not unfamiliar with relatively sophisticated and modern tools like counterfactual analysis and Bayesian networks. Nonetheless… I am unconvinced, and have become less convinced over time, that causality is real.

With that build-up, I must disappoint. Its just a comment after all. But I do want to flesh out a gedanken-experiment I ask my students to perform.

You wake up at 7:30 am, the alarm clock blaring country-western music, you reach over and smack it, miss, grab it and throw it across the room. Your head is pulsing pain but you realize you have an 8 am class you have to get to. Something smells rank. You lean over and look down on the floor: your clothes are in a pile and there is vomit on them. You begin to remember… the party your best friend threw… the drugs you had never tried before and the vodka and the blasting music and the louder crowd and the vodka… the last thing you remember is your friend’s couch at 4am. MUST GET TO CLASS!

You brush off the vomit, pull your clothes on… look for the keys… almost stumble over… where are the keys… ah under the desk. You get in your car, and it starts. That’s good, the car starting is a coin flip. You back out of the driveway and… everything is hazy… you can’t see past a milky film… you rub your eyes but it doesn’t go away… GAHH! there is a pea-soup thick fog. Outside the car and inside the head. GET TO CLASS!

You are going too quickly, but you know you have to get lucky with a couple lights or you’ll be late again. A couple of close calls, but you beat the red and missed the pedestrian. Then you look up an see a red light in the middle of the intersection, hit the brakes, the car slides on, then begins to tail, and BLAM! You are hit on the passenger side. When you come to a minute later, you do a bone-and-blood check, nothing obvious, you move your neck and limbs, sore but useable… and get out of your car. The driver of the other car is getitng out and is yelling “You ok?!” and answer that you are alright… they are too.

What caused the accident?

It seems obvious to me that one can plausibly generate an open ended-list of events and entities and situations that occurred and shaped the accident. Similarly, one can create an open-ended list of counterfactuals including events, entities, and situations that, had they not occurred, neither would the accident or would at least had made the accident different.
In case you aren’t thinking, this is the beginning of those lists: alarm clock, drugs, fog, brakes, pavement, the sun, school, parents, driver’s ed, friend, party, stoplight…

What is less obvious, but more damning to the concept of causality, is that we can create an open-ended list of events, entities, and situations which did not occur, but if they had, there would have been no accident, or the accident would have been very different. These are each also legitimately causal of the accident. You know, things like “the accident would not have occurred if you had decided not to go to the party”.

And using “cause” in the first premise seems to me fatal, all by itself, to the KCA, an argument about EVERYTHING.

  (Quote)

drj November 21, 2010 at 8:16 pm

…to kick him once more while he’s down, I’m not sure why we should be surprised that he contradicts himself on this. He argues for the existence of moral facts by means of human moral sensibilities, then in other contexts argues that sometimes its morally obligatory to slaughter infants and children by the sword, even if doing so revolts your moral sensibilities to the point of traumatizing you.

Haha, brilliant!

  (Quote)

MC November 22, 2010 at 10:58 pm

@ Michael

The following links might be of some relevance to you, if you’re not already familiar with them:

http://philpapers.org/browse/causal-eliminativism

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/causation-counterfactual/

  (Quote)

AgeOfReasonXXI December 14, 2010 at 11:13 am

“1) virtual particles don’t pop into existence from nothing, but from a vacuum (empty space) with a rich energy field”
Craig can’t use this objection, because “don’t pop into existence from nothing” means the particles have a material cause. However, Craig himself says that this is irrelevant.
Here’s how to deal with the premise 1:
the firs thing to point out is that the premise lacks a clear definition of what it means to say something “begin to exist”
for example if one accept the definition “something which brings about or produces its effects”, leaves open the question of whther there’s a material cause, and essentially states that this is irrelevant. In this case the premise is clearly false, since virtual particles or particles that are emitted during radio-active decay occur randomly, i.e. there’s no efficient cause. This is the point where Craig objects that they don’t begin to exist from nothing . But of course Craig can’t say that because the premise doesn’t read: whatever begins to exist from nothing (i.e. lacks a material cause) has a cause. (Elsewhere Craig also says that if something has a material cause it doesn’t really begin to exist. Yet, at the same time he objects to Grunmaum, who says exactly the same thing, that this is irrelevant. So one can easily see how utterly unprincipled and dishonest Craig is). However, if one agrees with Craig that things that have material causes don’t really begin to exist, then the premise is baseless since no one has ever seen anything beginning to exist without one. At this point Craig says it’s ludicrous to say that humans don’t begin to exist even though the “stuff out which they’re made existed before! (Just to emphasize again how unprincipled Craig is: he says exactly that when he objects to the examples with virtual particles or radio-active decay– “if something has a material cause it doesn’t really begin to exist” Yet he says it’s “so irrational” to say he (Craig) didn’t begin to exist even though he had a material cause!). But even worse, if one accepts this definition (which means that in premise 2 the beginning of the Universe would be defined as lacking a material cause), “everything” in premise 1 would stand for “the Universe”, because it’s the only ‘thing’ that “began to exist” in the Big Bang without a material cause, while any other event since then (the formation of galaxies, stars, etc.) do have a material cause. So the 1st premise would read “The Universe that begins to exist has a cause”. And the whole argument becomes circular.
The bottom line:
If “begin to exist” means having an efficient cause regardless of whether there’s a material cause or not, the premise is clearly false. examples: radio-active decay, virtual particles
If “begin to exist” is means having an efficient cause but no material cause (i.e. from nothing) the premise is baseless and the argument circular, since the only such event would be the origin of the Universe (‘everything’), so the first premise would read “The Universe that begins to exist (from nothing) has a cause”
So Craig plays an extreemely disingenuous game in deffense of the 1st premise constantly equivocating on what what it means to say something “begins to exist”.

  (Quote)

Martin December 14, 2010 at 11:35 am

virtual particles or particles that are emitted during radio-active decay occur randomly, i.e. there’s no efficient cause.

Of course, this depends on the interpreation of QM. You’ll note that up to half of the interpretations of QM are deterministic, and thus would preserve the causal principle.

“if something has a material cause it doesn’t really begin to exist”

I’d like to see where he says this and in what context.

  (Quote)

AgeOfReasonXXI December 14, 2010 at 1:14 pm

“Of course, this depends on the interpreation of QM”
sure. but Craig insists that virtual particles don’t disprove the first premise bc they don’t come from nothing, i.e. they lack a material cause. the implication is clearly that if something has material cause it doesn’t begin to exist. so the interpretation of QM seems irrelevant to his objection. besides most physicists agree that the emission of particles during radio-active decay is random, it has no efficient cause
“I’d like to see where he says this and in what context.”
first, his very objection that I indicated above implies exaclty that: they don’ t really begin to exist bc they have a material cause. Otherwise why would he bring the objection “they don’t come from nothing”.
But he also says that right here:
the Q&A page on Reasonable Faith.org, Q#9 “Causal Premiss of the Kalam Argument”
fifth paragraph to last, which starts with “Not only is (3) incompatible with creatio ex nihilo(…)”, then he says: “The whole of material reality cannot have a prior material cause because if it did, then it did not really begin to exist!”
It doesn’t need a clarification, right? Then watch the video on youtube where he says he’s “flabbargasted” at the “irrational” and “silly” response that nothing begins to exist bc the stuff out of which it’s made existed before. It makes I one wonder what’s the nature of Craig’s pathology

  (Quote)

AgeOfReasonXXI December 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

“For the universe is here defined as the whole of material reality. The whole of material reality cannot have a prior material cause because if it did, then it did not really begin to exist!”
In fact these 2 sentences spell the doom of Kalam. Essentially Craig claims that only the Big Bang is the event where something began to exist, bc everything else since that time, like planets, people, etc., constitutes re-organization of pre-existing material, and therefore didn’t really begin to exist. But since Craig defines ‘The Universe’ as ‘the whole of material reality’, then there’s nothing else that begins to exist apart from the creation of matter/energy at the Big Bang (i.e., according to his own definiton of what constitutes “beginning to exist” and what the Universe is, there’s no other things that began to exist) so ‘everything’ in the first premise would stand for the Big Bang, hense the origin of the Universe.
Therefore the 1st premise would read: the Universe that began to exist had an (efficient) cause. And with the 2nd premise: “The Universe began to exist”, the whole argument becomes circular

  (Quote)

Eric December 16, 2010 at 8:05 pm

AgeofReason –
In this case the premise is clearly false, since virtual particles or particles that are emitted during radio-active decay occur randomly, i.e. there’s no efficient cause

I think you men sufficient cause. Efficient causes are necessary, not sufficient. Random events can’t have sufficient causes (unless it leads back to something without a sufficient cause), but they can have efficient (necessary) causes. However, Craig DOES seems to confuse sufficient and efficient causes as well as merelogy (as you pointed out) in his definitions.

Martin –
Of course, this depends on the interpreation of QM. You’ll note that up to half of the interpretations of QM are deterministic, and thus would preserve the causal principle.

In these interpretations, virtual particles don’t begin to exist in the sense that the universe begins to exist because they have a material cause. So in these interpretations, the question still arises over why Craig thinks the causal principle applies to something beginning to exist without a material cause, which itself seems unbelievably counter intuitive in the first place. I still find it interesting that Craig became annoyed that Physicists have changed the definition of the term “nothing” from the philosophical sense but then says that physical cosmological models predict the universe came into existence from philosophical nothing. In fact, at best for Craig, these models predict a singularity, something which has zero volume but CANNOT HAVE zero mass (else it would not have infinite density, but would instead be indeterminate). It may be nothing in terms of a physical sense, but not the philosophical sense since “nothing” cannot have nonzero mass. However, if you take quantum physics into account, we can’t be sure what happened to the universe before a specific time where the volume was greater than 0.

  (Quote)

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }