kalam criticism

The Bill Craig version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument goes like this:

p1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
p2. The universe began to exist.
c. The universe has a cause.

Some have put forward the objection(s) that we’ve never observed anything ‘come into existence’ in the sense of ‘ex nihilo’ (out of nothing).  Everything that we might normally think of as a freshly existing object has not come into existence ‘ex nihilo’, but from prior existing materials.  Premise 1 and 2 thus become the same point, and the ‘argument’ becomes an assertion.

I think I agree.

If we divide “coming into existence” into the senses of a) from prior-existing things and b) from non-existence, then it seems to me (I’m happy to be shown wrong?) that Craig’s form of the argument involves either an error of repetition (collapses into an assertion) or an error of irrelevance (leaves out other premises):

The repetitive error could be stated as such:

p1. Whatever (the only possible thing is the universe) begins to exist (from non-existence) has a cause.
p2. The universe (i.e. the only possible thing that could begin to exist from non-existence) began to exist.
c. The universe has a cause.

The irrelevant error could be stated as such:

p1. Whatever begins to exist (from prior existing things) have a (shaping kind of) cause.
p2. The universe began to exist (from non-existence).
c. The universe has a (??? kind of) cause.

* * *

And now for a completely random attempt by yours truly at constructing an argument which gets to the same conclusion by a different route… (which turns out to be an adaptation of Aristotle)

p1. In any possible world, a mobile is contingent upon a mover (which itself may be moved).
p2. In any possible world, an infinite number of moved movers is impossible.
c. Therefore, all mobiles, including moved movers (i.e. the universe), are contingent upon an unmoved mover.

philosophy science theology

weird or what?

Gotta love ole Bill Shatner‘s hosting – cheesy as ever – for this new show.

An interesting mix of stories tonight.  A surfer saved from a shark attack by dolphins – dogs and cats that seem to know people are dying – a scrawny boy who picked up a car that had fallen on his uncle.  ((Incidentally, my Dad lifted a very heavy bundle of boards after it had been dropped onto the foot of one of his workers!))

Interestingly, the show speculated about whether or not the abilities of the dogs, cats and the boy had supernatural help.  Now, I’ve no problem with either the possibility or fitting-ness (propriety) of miracles, but suffice to say that I think just as much credit (‘glory’ in doxological terminology) goes to God if this stuff is ‘merely’ natural.  It reminds me of the question I once saw placed on the lips of Aristotle (or was it Aquinas?), if he could have known about modern ‘god of the gaps’ tendencies of some: “Couldn’t God make a nature that could actually do stuff on its own!?”