William lane craig arguments


(Luca) #1

Hello everyone!
I am new to his forum and i wonder what you guys think of the arguments WLC gives.
Do they convince anyone? What do they achieve? Do they mean anything to you?
I would love replies from Christians,atheists,agnostics…

Thanks!


(Phil) #2

Welcome to the forum! Good question, and while I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on your question , will be interested in following. Here is a YouTube of his stance concerning evolution:


(Luca) #3

Interesting stance! And thanks!


#4

I think Craig’s arguments are pretty solid, especially the Kalam Cosmological Argument, Fine-Tuning Argument and historical evidence regarding the resurrection of Jesus. I usually find his resources on his website reasonablefaith.org to be highly helpful, especially his debates where he whoops around atheists on the daily.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #5

I like Craig. I’d say Plantinga is probably my favourite theistic philosopher, but Craig is still good.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #6

I think the Kalam argument fails, for reasons Sean Carroll points out here:


#7

I’ve seen TMM’s video as he most amazingly selects which parts of the Carroll-Craig debate he shows. I’d recommend actually watching the full debate for yourself.


#8

As an atheist, the Kalam Cosmological Argument produces more questions than it answers. Just a short list:

  1. Does everything that exists really need a cause?
  2. Why is a Creator deity the only proposed uncaused cause? Why couldn’t the uncaused cause or the eternal process be something like M-branes, or some impersonal and natural process?
  3. Excluding God from needing a cause looks a lot like special pleading.

On top of that, it isn’t very convincing because it starts with a conclusion and looks for premises that get to that conclusion. God just appears out of nowhere in the argument instead of flowing logically from the premises. The only way I see of getting to God as the cause of the universe is if you start with the belief that God caused the universe.


(Juan Romero) #9

The Messianic Maniac? Really? The good thing is that the video you show there was posted by my good friend Johanan Raatz. You should check out his other videos.

No, just things that have a finite past.

That’s a good one. We need to have a cause that does not require an external explanation for its existence.

No, it is not. Necessary things (logic, numbers, God, etc) do not require a cause because the explanation for their existence is the necessity of their own nature.


(Stephen Matheson) #10

There’s no clearer example of special pleading. These cosmological arguments are ridiculous.


#11

Where is the proof of that?

Now you are asserting that God is a “necessary thing” without any logical reason to reach that conclusion.


(Luca) #12

I am too dumb to be sure :stuck_out_tongue:
But i think things that begin to exist need a cause?
I would say either the universe began, or it was always a thing.
Like in the small singularity at the very beginning of the big bang.
Excuse my poor english!

EDIT: or was what you meant: where is the proof for a beginning?


#13

It isn’t about being smart or dumb, so no need to go in that direction. A good example of what I am getting at is found in a recent thread about Douglas Axe and the unreliability of human intuition:

When a premise relies on human intuition then it is a weak premise, at least in my estimation. In our everyday lives we see that things require a cause, but our experiences as humans are extremely limited. The discoveries made in the field of quantum mechanics over the last 50 years have shown us how fallible our intuitions can be.

The main point is that the very first premise may not be true. Maybe there are things that come into being that don’t have a cause.


(Luca) #14

Doesnt that make the premise at least plausible?
Ive heard/Seen people resort to multiple universes and stuff but i dont see how that helps?
I would not say its completely human intuition because if we look at things in the world.
We dont really see anything just pop up. So i would say it is at least reasonable to think that there is a cause to the start?

EDIT: i only just got that thread to open on my tablet so sorry if i missed a thing because of that.


(Peter Wolfe) #15

The patheos blog crossexamined features a number of posts taking on WLC positions and arguments. This is authored by a former christian now atheist. Some of the stuff I read is consistent with what others say below.

check it out: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/10/how-does-the-kalam-cosmological-argument-suck-let-me-count-the-ways/


(Luca) #16

Thats a pretty cool thing but awefully weird to think that the universe just… well for a lack of a better sentence "told/brought itself into existence."
I will look into it more tomorrow as its pretty late and im tired.
See you then :slight_smile:

EDIT: i couldnt help myself from reading it a little and for the 1st objection made the person in the blog directly reffered to vilenkin.

I did a quick search and this is WLC’s view on that.


#17

Oh goodness, Bob Seidensticker’s blog? Without any offense directed at you, that blog has to be one of the most insufferable things I have clicked on from time to time. I’d hate to be Bob in a debate with Craig. There are logical responses to the Kalam that are worth discussing. The following is not included in that;

  1. Things don’t need a cause. Contrary to WLC’s intuition, things may indeed pop into existence without cause. That’s the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics. For example, virtual particles and the electrons that come out of a decaying nucleus qualify as things that “began to exist,” and they didn’t have a cause.

This is just an embarrassing misunderstanding of quantum mechanics. I just wanted to mention I’ve just finished reading Brian Greene’s book The Elegant Universe (Greene is a professional physicist, professor at Columbia, and doesn’t believe in God) which is a fantastic explanation of general relativity, quantum mechanics, and all in all, superstring theory. Greene goes over things like this in an unrelated discussion, basically pointing out how these virtual particles ‘pop in and out of existence’ – they don’t. Here’s a basic overview: As physicists (and educated laymen) know, there is an energy everywhere. I think it’s a field or something. Anywho, energy and mass are basically interchangeable (remember Einstein’s equation e=mc^2?), one can convert into the other. So, sometimes, on the quantum level, energy in the universe quickly converts into mass (a particle), and then materializes back into the energy field in a fraction of a second. The particle doesn’t come in and out of existence. It’s just mass that materializes from energy, and then goes back to being energy. The total amount of mass/energy never changes, the stuff is already there, thus keeping us all toe to toe in with the law of the conservation of mass/energy. As Sean Carroll himself says, this is crap. By the way, Greene’s book, as it turns out, is actually available online. Highly recommended book on string theory. I’ll only discuss one more thing Bob says:

  1. We know nothing about supernatural creation. “Whatever begins to exist has a cause” has a common-sense appeal, but the only “whatevers” that we know that began to exist (stars, oak trees, a dent in a fender, tsunamis) are natural. Why imagine that this common sense rule of thumb would apply to supernatural causes? And why even imagine that the supernatural exists? WLC doesn’t bother even acknowledging the problem.

Someone has to ask what on Earth Bob is talking about. Bob would immediately tell you he believes the universe is natural. So why wouldn’t this law of causality, which applies to everything natural we see, not also apply to the beginning of the universe? There’s no reason to think otherwise. What about supernatural causes? Bob basically asks what reason there is to think the cause is supernatural (more specifically, God). Craig actually explains that rather in depth. Bob seems to have no such awareness of Craig’s explanation. As it turns out, everything I’ve responded to here has already been said by Craig over and over and over and over and … Craig already knows these responses to the Kalam like the back of his hand. It would be fruitless for me to endlessly repeat Craig’s arguments.


(Juan Romero) #18

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/god-necessary-being/


(Matthew Pevarnik) #19

I think you’re wrong on this one in what he is actually saying. He’s not arguing that virtual particles and a decaying nucleus come from nothing, but the process is related to a random probabilistic occurrence. That is a very different type of causality than anything in the everyday world. Let’s say that Rubidium 87 decays to Strontium 87, what caused that to happen? There is no direct explanation of what ‘caused’ this, but rather it was simply each particle that hit the ‘barrier’ at the edge of the nucleus had a probability of tunneling through this energy barrier. In the same way with virtual particle production; it can be completely understood as Greene writes as due to random quantum fluctuations of the vacuum energy density of space. What caused a virtual particle production pair? Nothing, it was just an event that randomly occurs and is allowed by the fundamental laws of physics.

I think I see what you are getting at… do you mean that because the universe is a natural thing, it should have a cause? I think without granting him the quantum point your objection is understandable. But he does go into some ideas in other points related to perhaps our universe can be thought of tunneling through a barrier (when on the quantum scale) so in that sense did not have a cause in the same way that a neutron or alpha particle decay didn’t have a cause either.

What does it look like to have a supernatural cause for something? With what mechanism or method would this supernatural agent interact with the natural world? What kinds of supernatural explanations would be allowed? What kinds of supernatural explanations would not be allowed? How would we judge between supernatural explanations if various supernatural agents are invisible and untestable? If we don’t have any explanation for the beginning of the universe, then why immediately go right to a supernatural cause for something in the natural world when literally everything else has some natural explanations. The Kalam argument is a repackaged, recycled god of the gaps argument that is only effective because we do not yet have a good scientific explanation for what happened 13.8 billion years ago to our universe.

It also reminds me of this video:


#20

I disagree. Bob says, flatly, that these particles pop into existence without a cause:

  1. Things don’t need a cause. Contrary to WLC’s intuition, things may indeed pop into existence without cause. That’s the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics. For example, virtual particles and the electrons that come out of a decaying nucleus qualify as things that “began to exist,” and they didn’t have a cause.

Of course, this is a simple misunderstanding of quantum mechanics as detailed above. And therefore the objection is entirely moot. WLC’s premise is “everything that begins to exist has a cause”. Bob’s response is “Oh, but WLC, virtual particles come into existence without a cause, therefore this argument is wrong.” But since they don’t come into existence at all, then WLC’s premise remains as it is. I’m not sure about anything regarding physics and whether or not radioactive decay has a cause (surely it does), but to note, even random chance instills causation. Electrons move around the nucleus of an atom pretty quickly. If the electrons ‘gather around’ at one end of the nucleus by mere chance during their orbit for a fraction of a second, then that creates a partial negative charge at that end of the atom in that time. So, while it is something caused by complete random chance, it is not causeless – it is a product of the natural movement of the electron, not causeless.

do you mean that because the universe is a natural thing, it should have a cause?

Well, what I’m saying is that since the entire natural world began to exist, and all we know regarding natural phenomenon involves causation (besides perhaps some quantum processes which simply are not understood well at all, and therefore aren’t good sources for argument here), there is no reason to single the universe out. And I must bring a reminder that all quantum processes occur within spacetime. So how would any quantum processes explain the beginning of spacetime if quantum processes didn’t even exist before spacetime so as to cause it? At the most fundamental level, quantum process (like quantum funneling) don’t exist themselves if the universe doesn’t. And so I’ve always been confused by attempts at using quantum mechanics to explain the beignning of the universe. One could postulate a barrier between an eternal quantum world to the big bang, but that simply begs the question: why did the quantum world do nothing for eternity and then finally big bang?

What does it look like to have a supernatural cause for something? With what mechanism or method would this supernatural agent interact with the natural world?

The only thing required for something to be classified as ‘supernatural’ is if it can be traced to a source that isn’t natural. That’s all there is to is since, as you point out, we simply can’t really know much beyond that. It is supernatural, after all. And Craig offers that. By painting the kalam as a “recycled god of the gaps”, it looks to me as if you’ve entirely lost the point of the argument.