William lane craig arguments


(GJDS) #142

I am focussing on the general way alternatives to a t=0 are discussed, such as for example, a multiverse, Since the majority of scientists accept an age to the universe based on observation, than we are committed to a beginning, and would have to reject speculation that seeks to side-step this.

As scientists we may then state that we do not know beyond this and leave it at that. Theists have been saying (for an eternity: :grin:) that the creation has a beginning - as a theological statement. Obviously science and theology are in harmony on this.

The disharmony occurs when anti-theists will try to contradict this, even when their approach contradicts the science as we understand it.


(GJDS) #143

I am intrigued by this comment - how would you view the age of the universe that is derived from observation? I cannot fathom any measurement of time without a scale that commences with t=0.

Btw I do not regard you or @John_Dalton anti-theists, and I appreciate the dialogue between uus.


(GJDS) #144

This needs to be corrected as energy must be expended to take your rock above the earth. This line of reasoning is difficult, as we accept the conservation of matter and energy. Our difficulty stems from our inability to obtain an accurate measure of the total mass and energy in the universe.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #145

@Korvexius,
Thank you for your comment and support.

Do I understand this right? He postulates a “boundary” at the beginning of something that does not exist in space and time which do not exist.

Past-eternal is an expression that I am not familiar with. Could you explain.


(John Dalton) #146

Which is why I asked what the basis was. How could I have been clearer?

Claiming knowledge of things we don’t know isn’t either. And using that supposed but clearly unavailable knowledge to make logical conclusions about other things isn’t anything but silliness.

From what I’ve seen, there are many ideas about it currently, with several examples having been given in this thread. You seem to me to be drawing definite conclusions about the situation, when that isn’t warranted. We don’t have the kind of information that would allow us to say “the universe definitely began at this point and we know definitively that nothing else could have existed at any point”. It’s not a question of being intuitive. As I said in another post, you’re going to run into something counter-intuitive whichever way you go here.

There is not one eternal model of the universe that does not have flaws. Which, in my view, makes the entire proposition of an eternal universe meaningless until this can be changed.

I agree. That being said, why anyone would think that a postulated, unknown, and unevidenced force, of a suggested character entirely outside our experience, with the power to create the very quandaries which the available evidence presents, and with no theory whatsoever to explain how it might even possibly exist, much less eternally, in fact no more support for the idea than a bald definition, does anything at all to add to our understanding of the situation, is beyond me.


(John Dalton) #147

The problem is that a beginning doesn’t have to be a beginning to exist from a non-material state, and it hasn’t been shown that it is. How would we know that the beginning of the universe wasn’t in some way a reordering of things already in existence?


#148

Thank you for your comment and support.

My pleasure!

Do I understand this right? He postulates a “boundary” at the beginning of something that does not exist in space and time which do not exist.

I’m not sure I understand this. Carroll and other advocates of a past-eternal universe try to get around the BGV Theorem by saying that there was some sort of quantum state that originally eternally existed, which then transitioned into the universe we currently see at the big bang, the ‘boundary’ between the quantum universe and our current one.

Past-eternal is an expression that I am not familiar with. Could you explain.

Past-eternal just means ‘eternal in the past’, as in it always existed and has no beginning.


(GJDS) #149

I cannot understand this sentence; I am simply showing that to have an age (a length of time), we must have a scale of time, and all scales commence with 0 to whatever length as units. This does not require elaboration. The alternative is to claim that the age of the universe (given as a numerical value of years) is invalid, and I am unaware of anyone that says this.

We may speculate on other matters, but I hope my statement is clear - the universe is a given (or stated) number of billion years (with a given error in the method used).

If you want to propose a beginning that negates the age of the universe, I think you need to provide a alternate view which would change the age value - I cannot find anyone who is willing to reject the age, so we are left with a strange debate.


#150

Well, you could have been clearer by not equivocating. You precisely did this when you said earlier:

However, if you seek to support the idea by suggesting that some things must be created, while making God exempt from that, all with insufficient evidence, then I believe that it is entirely proper to ask it.

Except no one said “all things must be created”. The first premise is clearly “everything that begins to exist has a cause”, since obviously things that don’t begin to exist don’t need a cause. And here, you claimed that because the universe needs a cause, God also needs a cause. That’s equivocating. Again, you gotta look at it case-by-case.

Claiming knowledge of things we don’t know isn’t either. And using that supposed but clearly unavailable knowledge to make logical conclusions about other things isn’t anything but silliness.

I don’t really know what you’re talking about here. The only way to get around the BGV Theorem and other evidences that clearly point to a beginning of the universe is to start making unfalsifiable claims. I’m not claiming anything that I “don’t know”, I’m just pointing out the strange nature of these eternalist positions.

From what I’ve seen, there are many ideas about it currently, with several examples having been given in this thread. You seem to me to be drawing definite conclusions about the situation, when that isn’t warranted.

Examples of what? There definitely aren’t examples of evidence for a past-eternal universe. So I don’t see your point. You also seem to agree that, as Vilenkin said, there is not a single past-eternal model of the universe that doesn’t have a flaw, which is exactly what we would expect if the universe isn’t past-eternal.

I agree. That being said, why anyone would think that a postulated, unknown, and unevidenced force, of a suggested character entirely outside our experience, with the power to create the very quandaries which the available evidence presents, and with no theory whatsoever to explain how it might even possibly exist, much less eternally, in fact no more support for the idea than a bald definition, does anything at all to add to our understanding of the situation, is beyond me.

This is just a red-herring and has nothing to do with the premises I’m discussing – that everything that begins to exist has a cause, and that the universe began to exist. If these two premises are guaranteed, then so is Craig’s Kalam argument. You also say something I plainly don’t understand: “with no theory whatsoever to explain how it might even possibly exist, much less eternally”. How God exists is irrelevant to whether or not God actually exists, and thus makes it a moot point.


(T J Runyon) #151

As a theist, I think Carroll won that debate


(John Dalton) #152

I do not intend to reject the age. I’m saying that we cannot say that our knowledge of the universe is synonymous with knowledge of all possible physical reality. Even if the universe’s age is fixed, we don’t know what happened beyond those limits. This is why I said that the beginning of the universe is not necessarily a beginning that represents an emergence from a completely non-material state.


(John Dalton) #153

I disagree that I equivocated.

You precisely did this when you said earlier:

However, if you seek to support the idea by suggesting that some things must be created, while making God exempt from that, all with insufficient evidence, then I believe that it is entirely proper to ask it.

Except no one said “all things must be created”. The first premise is clearly “everything that begins to exist has a cause”, since obviously things that don’t begin to exist don’t need a cause. And here, you claimed that because the universe needs a cause, God also needs a cause. That’s equivocating. Again, you gotta look at it case-by-case.

That’s not equivocating in any sense. I realize that no one said that “all things must be created”. The problem is that in my estimation, no sufficient explanation has been made as to why some things need a cause while God doesn’t. If pointing this out is equivocating… I don’t even know what to say. How would you ask the question? It’s just bizarre.

Claiming knowledge of things we don’t know isn’t either. And using that supposed but clearly unavailable knowledge to make logical conclusions about other things isn’t anything but silliness.

I don’t really know what you’re talking about here.

It’s not complicated. It hasn’t been shown that the universe needs a cause, and using this idea to make further logical conclusions is silly. Noting that our knowledge is incomplete isn’t making an unfalsifiable claim. I’m pointing out that you are stretching the knowledge we do have about the universe in order to make claims that it can’t adequately support.

Examples of what? There definitely aren’t examples of evidence for a past-eternal universe. So I don’t see your point.

There are example in this thread, and I have seen many elsewhere, which show that it is uncertain what the beginning of the universe truly represents. I have not seen conclusive evidence that it represents “a beginning from a non-material state” as Craig’s argument requires.

This is just a red-herring and has nothing to do with the premises I’m discussing – that everything that begins to exist has a cause, and that the universe began to exist. If these two premises are guaranteed, then so is Craig’s Kalam argument. You also say something I plainly don’t understand: “with no theory whatsoever to explain how it might even possibly exist, much less eternally”. How God exists is irrelevant to whether or not God actually exists, and thus makes it a moot point.

I’ve already said that the universe hasn’t been demonstrated to begin to exist in the sense required for the argument, and that therefore the argument is not sound. I’m just going a bit further here, if you don’t mind. I find it confusing and amusing that you are willing to insist on strict levels of scientific evidence with long explanations in order to support your idea of a universe which “began to exist etc.”, while not offering even a rudimentary theory of how the creative force could possible exist at all, AND while seeking to use it as an explanation for what we plainly know to exist. To put it mildly, the argument has no explanatory power. I fully understand a belief in God, but I am not understanding anything about this argument.


#154

John, I think you’re misunderstanding everything I’m saying.

That’s not equivocating in any sense. I realize that no one said that “all things must be created”. The problem is that in my estimation, no sufficient explanation has been made as to why some things need a cause while God doesn’t. If pointing this out is equivocating… I don’t even know what to say. How would you ask the question? It’s just bizarre.

Of course what you said is equivocating. Your argument is that because people say the universe needs a cause, therefore that should also imply that God also needs a cause. That’s equivocating. You can’t take a rule that applies to X and say therefore the rule should also apply to Y. The way you should have phrased your question is “Do you think God needs a cause to exist? If not, why not?” This way of phrasing the question avoids equivocation. Secondly, I’ve explained over and over why God doesn’t need a cause. You seem to have entirely missed it, even after quoting me saying it. God doesn’t need a cause because God never began to exist at one point, he’s eternal. There is not even a point in the time or reality of God where you could insert a cause, and therefore the entire idea of God needing to be caused to exist is logically incoherent. A second logically incoherent thing about God needing a cause is simply asking: what on Earth would such a cause be? What, that isn’t God, can cause the existence of a maximally great being? There is no such thing, even in imagination. So it’s pretty obvious why “What did God come from?” is the worst objection to God’s existence in Western history, as has been pointed out by theistic and atheistic philosophers alike.

It’s not complicated. It hasn’t been shown that the universe needs a cause, and using this idea to make further logical conclusions is silly. Noting that our knowledge is incomplete isn’t making an unfalsifiable claim.

That’s not what I said. I never said “saying our knowledge is incomplete is unfalsifiable.” If you think I did say that, please quote me doing so. What I did say was that the only way to get around the BGV Theorem is to postulate unfalsifiable claims about our universe, such as a hypothetical formula of quantum gravity that removes the existence of time. That’s the one condition where the BGV Theorem doesn’t apply. And it’s unfalsifiable. And there’s no reason to even use it as a second option, since there is, so far, not a single logically consistent model of quantum gravity that avoids time. So why do you even think its possible that the universe didn’t begin to exist if your friends can’t even come up with a logical scenario of our universe where this happens?

There are example in this thread, and I have seen many elsewhere, which show that it is uncertain what the beginning of the universe truly represents.

What do you mean “truly represents”? The universe came into existence. Simple. Whatever details you throw in the model, the basic confirmation of Craig’s premise doesn’t change.

I’ve already said that the universe hasn’t been demonstrated to begin to exist in the sense required for the argument, and that therefore the argument is not sound. I’m just going a bit further here, if you don’t mind. I find it confusing and amusing that you are willing to insist on strict levels of scientific evidence with long explanations in order to support your idea of a universe which “began to exist etc.”, while not offering even a rudimentary theory of how the creative force could possible exist at all, AND while seeking to use it as an explanation for what we plainly know to exist. To put it mildly, the argument has no explanatory power. I fully understand a belief in God, but I am not understanding anything about this argument.

As we’ve seen earlier, 1) God doesn’t have a cause, so asking “how” God exists is irrelevant, and 2) By any scientific analysis, if you come to any conclusion, you’ll have to come to the (at least preliminary) conclusion that the universe began to exist. There is not a single valid model of the universe that postulates a past-eternal state. Which means that the hypothesis your backing hasn’t even shown to be coherent. So why even think its possible that premise 2 of the KCA is not correct? Since it can’t even be shown that it’s possible that the premise is incorrect, we must conclude, unless future evidence suggests otherwise, that the premise is correct. I don’t know how any of this is controversial.


(John Dalton) #155

I honestly don’t think so. I think I’ve said what I can as clearly as I can, so I’ll leave it there, and give thanks for the discussion!


#156

I honestly don’t think so. I think I’ve said what I can as clearly as I can, so I’ll leave it there, and give thanks for the discussion!

Very well. May you come to agreement with my words!


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #157

Even if you ask the question in that way, the answer is still, E = mc squared. This is the reason why the Big Bang is an absolute Beginning, a singularity, because it arose out of nothing, no matter, no energy, no space, no time. That is what the proven science says and that is how we know.


(Luca) #158

I think he means that the big bang arose out of a singularity.
But where did that singularity come from? If it even came from something?


(GJDS) #159

I think you should leave it at this - anything beyond is not scientific.


(John Dalton) #160

I’m fine with that, but the whole point of the thread seems to be to do so, so…


(Luca) #161

Hey @pevaquark you know alot about this.
The big bang shows that the universe came from a singularity right?
Do people who believe/Accept that the universe is past infinite say that this singularity has always existed? What do you think about this?

I would also love your opinions: @Korvexius @Relates @T_aquaticus