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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:55 pm 
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Doom wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Jack, can I tighten up your second premise? 2. The universe came into existence in time. Or something like that.


To my knowledge, best defender of the Kalam argument today is William Lane Craig, and I have seen him present it in person, and the way he phrases it is 'the universe came into existence a finite number of years ago'...which is probably the most precise wording out there.

Craig's presentation is something like this

1. Anything that begins to exist must have a cause
2. Current scientific evidence shows that the universe most likely came into existence a finite number of years in the past
3. Therefore the universe has a cause

Craig does often use the wording "finite number of years ago." He does not, however, offer the second premise as you have stated it. For the record, I happen to knw Dr. Craig (he teaches at a church I was a member of for over a year and we had several conversations about a variety of topics). I also am close to some people who work very closely with him. Craig insists that there are philosophical reasons for accepting (2) as a presented it. That is, he thinks of it as a philosophical proof. He does, of course, talk about the science behind (2) as well. He talks extensively about the different models out there to challenge (2). But in the end, after all the scientific evidence is discussed, he always falls back on arguments against infinities.

And yes, Obi, I think that's a better rendering. To be clear, I think (with your amendment) it should be presented as follows:

1. That which comes into existence must have a cause;
2. The best scientific evidence available strongly suggests that the universe came into existence a finite amount of time ago;
3. Therefore, the best scientific evidence available strongly suggests that the universe had a cause.

And from there we can argue, as my comments to soyo above, that this Cause is an omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, personal God.


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:43 pm 
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forumjunkie, another member of the board, also strongly supports the kalaam argument.... but he gave better arguments. I know for myself I have been harsh on pax, but that is because he has been unreasonable. But reasonable people do hold the other position. They are wrong ;) but not unreasonable, e.g. forumjunkie had an interesting argument about accidentally ordered chains (which could be infinite it seems) always imply a per se ordered chain (which could not be), though I don't think the argument worked as it was a constructed scenario and hence not proof that accidental series always imply per se series.

But I did want to say that there are more substantial arguments on the side against the Common and Universal Doctor of the Church. Yes I just went there. We are, of course, not bound to every opinion of the Angelic Doctor. But St. Thomas Aquinas was the greatest theologian the Church has ever known. To reject him outright, to dismiss him as irrelevant or foolish, well you might as well dismiss the Church as well. The Church thought so well of him that much of the Council of Trent is based directly in his writings. After scripture, his Summa was honored at that same council, placed on the altar before the proceeding. One need, of course, only cite his authority to establish the permissibility of any view not definitively determined by the Church. Leo XIII called his the philosophy of the Church, Paul VI condemned the modern attempt to reduce his value to his general method and not his views, saying it was necessary that the basic tenets of St. Thomas be studied by seminarians.

Just as Aquinas was honored at Trent, so is he mentioned by name at Vatican II, which, in the same vein as the 1917 CIC, ordered all seminarians to study his thought.

Why do I say all of this? As far as Church authority goes, I am not claiming his view here must be held. But if you read the thread you saw that pax dismissed Aquinas the way one would dismiss Richard Dawkins. The arrogance to think that the greatest mind in the Church is just obviously wrong because his idiosyncratic holding of some, but certainly not all, propositions of modern science, which he has only a rudimentary and often distorted understanding of, is in a way a bigger issue.

Perhaps it is frustrating because a man with so much zeal to defend the faith could do 100x more good if he just stopped getting in over his head. pax, the man who argued for geocentrism, against evolution, but suddenly holds to "modern science" here...except he doesn't. He speaks about the "STEM universe" I have searched. STEM means science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is not the name of a model of the universe, at least not one in common use. But we are supposed to know what he means. We are supposed to accept his assertions about "science" here, from the man who argued that it was binding Church teaching that the sun orbits the earth which is stationary....see the frustration....


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:06 pm 
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TheJack wrote:
There is an argument for God's existence called the Kalam Cosmological Argument. It it usually stated as follows:

1. That which comes into existence must have a cause;
2. The universe came into existence;
3. Therefore, the universe must have a cause

Since the universe contains all time, space, matter, and energy, then the Cause cannot be in time, in space, material, or under any kind of energetic constraints. That is, such a cause must be eternal, immaterial, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Moreover, it is usually argued that it must have a will, since the universe is not necessary, and thus its cause must have chosen to create it. But that which has a will is a person, so the cause of the universe is an Eternal, Immaterial, Omnipresent, Omnipotent Person. What would you call that other than God?

Pax wanted to know why I disagree with that argument. I said that the second premise fails. My objection to the second premise goes back to Saint Thomas. Most Thomists don't like the second premise, not because they believe that the universe did NOT come into existence, but because we believe it cannot be shown by reason alone. It is, rather, a matter of faith.

Pax is trying to argue that the beginning of the universe is not a matter of faith, but rather is a matter of reason (contra Aquinas). He thinks that a beginningless universe would constitute and actual infinity, and an actual infinity cannot exist, and therefore, a beginningless universe is impossible. Others are showing him why he is wrong in his counter argument. For my part, I have suggested that the second premise can be defended on probabalistic, scientific grounds, and that it would be a strong argument for God's existence considered scientifically, but that such an argument should be recognized for what it is: a scientific argument and thus subject to being challenged. It is in no way a metaphysical demonstration, which, for instance, Thomas' Five ways are.

I hope that helps. :)

I see...

Yes it does help. Thank you for taking the time. I feel bad though, since I kinda disagree with you guys. I know of only one "thing" that is infinite and not abstract. That is God. All other "infinite things" are abstract, like time, infinity in math etc.

That's why God can have no beginning. All other material things (not abstract), and universe surely is one, must have a beginning (cause) which by the same token must be infinite in it's/his atributes. Otherwise it would have to be preceded by something else as well, and so on and so on.

Besides, I'm very conservative person, and the bible's wording in genesis is pretty straightforward, isn't it?

So to me, I would say that either if we're talking in facts, or just in theory I think in both cases, universe must have had a beginning.


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:14 pm 
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We've discussed Kalaam on this board before; you can find those thread here: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=c ... m%20kalaam

You might want to review them so that we don't have to cover issues already covered.


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:42 pm 
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TheJack wrote:
Doom wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Jack, can I tighten up your second premise? 2. The universe came into existence in time. Or something like that.


To my knowledge, best defender of the Kalam argument today is William Lane Craig, and I have seen him present it in person, and the way he phrases it is 'the universe came into existence a finite number of years ago'...which is probably the most precise wording out there.

Craig's presentation is something like this

1. Anything that begins to exist must have a cause
2. Current scientific evidence shows that the universe most likely came into existence a finite number of years in the past
3. Therefore the universe has a cause

Craig does often use the wording "finite number of years ago." He does not, however, offer the second premise as you have stated it. For the record, I happen to knw Dr. Craig (he teaches at a church I was a member of for over a year and we had several conversations about a variety of topics). I also am close to some people who work very closely with him. Craig insists that there are philosophical reasons for accepting (2) as a presented it. That is, he thinks of it as a philosophical proof. He does, of course, talk about the science behind (2) as well. He talks extensively about the different models out there to challenge (2). But in the end, after all the scientific evidence is discussed, he always falls back on arguments against infinities.

And yes, Obi, I think that's a better rendering. To be clear, I think (with your amendment) it should be presented as follows:

1. That which comes into existence must have a cause;
2. The best scientific evidence available strongly suggests that the universe came into existence a finite amount of time ago;
3. Therefore, the best scientific evidence available strongly suggests that the universe had a cause.

And from there we can argue, as my comments to soyo above, that this Cause is an omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, personal God.



I said that his argument went 'something like this' I wasn't suggesting that I was presenting his exact wording. Other than the phrase 'a finite number of years ago' which he said umpteen times during the talk, I don't actually remember his exact words.


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:34 pm 
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Youse guys are the most confusing bunch of guys I have ever chatted with.

How can the universe be of infinite past duration and not be coeval with God? Isn't there some dogmatic teaching about creatio ex nihilo? How can something be created if it has an infinite past?

Don't ask me why I love youse guys. Yer enough to set me back to drinking (only one setback in over 10 months!).


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:47 pm 
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Quote:
How can something be created if it has an infinite past?

How can the Son proceed from the Father eternally?

Creation ex nihilo could take place eternally, and since the universe is entirely contingent, it is not equal to God.


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:49 pm 
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Stomachosus wrote:
He speaks about the "STEM universe" I have searched. STEM means science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is not the name of a model of the universe, at least not one in common use


That is indeed exactly what STEM stands for..at my last university job, the faculty were broken into two categories, the 'STEM' teachers and the teachers of the humanities. I was in the STEM group of course, and before that job I had never heard the term. I have been wondering for a long time, and meaning to ask Pax, what he thinks 'STEM' means since he seems to think that
STEM is something bad.


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:53 pm 
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pax wrote:
STEM stands for Space Time Matter and Energy.
It's on page 3 of this thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:01 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
pax wrote:
STEM stands for Space Time Matter and Energy.
It's on page 3 of this thread.


That must be yet another of his....idiosyncrasies, because STEM is not used to mean that anywhere else in the world.


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:06 pm 
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MEST_%28Scientology%29


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:13 pm 
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:shock: (seriously)

pax, do you see where your faulty research has led you?


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:13 pm 
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Bagheera wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MEST_%28Scientology%29

So pax is a scientologist?? :?


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:39 pm 
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Oh my.....I'll give Bageera a pass on actually knowing that because I know of his interest in science fiction and even though he was a really bad writer L Ron Hubbard was a science fiction author.....but.....of all the places I thought that might have come from.....I never imagined.....


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 11:00 pm 
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Hubbard wrote some stories early in his career that were worth at least a casual read. I'm not talking about whatever that dreadful series he did late in his life was.


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:08 am 
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In Pax's defense I think I have heard the term "STEM" signifying the physical universe before. I think its use is idiosyncratic though. I found "MEST" (although I think I've heard that term before too) by Googling "space time energy matter." I just thought it was an interesting coincidence. Hubbard used "MEST" to signify the physical universe; I wonder if those who use "STEM" thought of it independently or if they were influenced by Hubbard (Dianetics if not Scientology).


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:41 pm 
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I read a bit about it in other thread and was curious, is there anybody here who believes the universe did not have a beginning?


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:12 pm 
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Probably not, but for the Kalaam argument to work, an eternal universe has to be a logical impossibility, not simply contrary to what actually is.


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:23 pm 
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Stomachosus wrote:
Bagheera wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MEST_%28Scientology%29

So pax is a scientologist?? :?

NB: I say this tongue in cheek of course. I am sure some author/video/speaker used it the way pax is and that is where he has gotten it. But I have searched to try and understand these idiosyncratic assertion and have to admit finding this similarity amusing.


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 Post subject: Re: Jack -- The Kalam Argument
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:25 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Probably not, but for the Kalaam argument to work, an eternal universe has to be a logical impossibility, not simply contrary to what actually is.


Why would it have to be a logical impossibility for the KCA to work? Would it not be enough for a beginning to be demonstrative (for this universe)?

Granted, whether or not it is actually demonstrable is besides the point.


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