And so, what can be said about the Kalam Cosmological Argument in particular?
Some rather intriguing things, if you ask me. The following exposition is heavily informed by what William Lane Craig has to say about this argument, in support of it and in anticipation of possible objections. You may, without too much exercise of the mind, still find an objection; you may also depend on the notion that Dr. Craig has fielded it, or readily will.
Premise 1 – Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
Another way of saying this is, “Nothing comes from nothing.” In the last post, I linked to the Wikipedia page for Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist who authored the book, A Universe from Nothing. In it, according to the NYT, he proposes a “deeper nothing,” from which even the laws of physics are absent, and out of this nothing the Universe was born. But then, he doesn’t actually mean “nothing” – we might have been spawned by the multiverse, which even the layman realizes is a whole lot of something.
By “nothing,” Dr. Craig says, we actually mean “not anything.”
And this seems to be true, in the sense that Stephen Hawking (also . . . → Read More: Existence of God – 4
A conversion story, via the Mother of God. There are two parts.
There’s a TED talk in which Alain de Botton said (in effect): I’m not here to discuss whether there’s a God or not. We know there’s no God. Let’s also admit that militant atheism doesn’t really get us anywhere. Instead, let’s move on and talk about how we’re going to live our lives in a world without God.
His primary objective, to restate the paraphrase, was to envision an entirely secular culture, one that might even borrow from the “good things” he had seen religion doing. An interesting perspective, if you’re curious.
In a similar fashion, my primary objective in this series is not to prove that God exists. I did say that I’ve been studying the question, with all of the focus and spare time afforded to a father employed in a field far from Philosophy. I do say, so far as I can tell, that God’s existence seems to me more plausible than not. And not just by a little, but overwhelmingly so.
Further, as an autobiographical aside, I don’t believe my purpose is to go about proving that God exists. I think there are minds at work which fare far better than mine, and their arguments range from . . . → Read More: Existence of God – 3.1 (an aside)
In our last exciting installment, I said that skeptics (and believers) often have a view of God which is painfully small, especially for human minds. I noted that those human brains are often seen as bearing no significance at all, none to speak of anyway, when compared with the size of the Universe. What, then, could set the Universe in motion? How much greater must that intelligence and power be, compared even with our wild imaginations?
I submitted that this power (whatever its source) is something beyond comprehension, whether it comes from God or else a natural cause. I think we must say the same for that intelligence – this is almost easier to recognize, though still beyond comprehension – though I do not necessarily mean that we must therefore admit a God.
I don’t know what else you’ll say could manifest that intelligence, but I’m listening.
Even with a view toward modern science (let alone “God”), I am looking through the glass dimly, and still can appreciate what a startling display of intelligence has been required to understand the cosmos, to draw conclusions about its origins and to sketch out what are the laws of physics. There are people . . . → Read More: Existence of God – 3
Here’s a world-class philosopher who makes the “wise” look foolish, and the “foolish” look wise. Very interesting ideas, even in a vanilla task like summing up the three main lines of thought in the Western world.
He also proposes the idea* that science (featuring evolution) is actually not in conflict with religion (featuring Christianity) as so many suppose, but is in deep conflict with naturalism (featuring the absence of God). Here he easily exposes such voices as Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett; they are no more than schoolyard bullies stating claims that are in wild excess of the facts. They are, in fact, religious about their naturalism, and theirs is the religion incompatible with evolution.
Back to the “Existence of God” series presently…
*If you haven’t followed it yet, this link is to a review of Plantinga’s book, Where the Conflict Really Lies, by philosopher Thomas Nagel. Nagel is an atheist, and is an atheist I can readily respect. He has declared, for example, that materialism is almost certainly false. If Plantinga and Nagel are leading the way, I count myself hopeful for future discourse on life’s big questions.
In the preceding post I attempted to refute the idea that anyone can consider the question of God’s existence to be trivial. While it seems to be a question of utmost importance to theists and atheists alike, there are some who find themselves feeling blase about it. I hope those who find themselves indifferent will become convinced that the question is worth exploring.
Granting that the question is important – how to begin?
The second obstacle I have noticed is that many A&A (agnostics and atheists) have not really considered who God is, or who God would be if he existed. They often set up a strawman, or a teapot, and suppose that by logic or mockery they have eliminated the possibility of God’s existence.
But I can’t put all of the blame for this particular fallacy on the skeptics. They typically reference believers whom they know, and point out the sorts of things those believers do and say (Westboro Baptist comes to mind as an extreme example, but the bulk of the criticism is aimed at more mundane practices). Believers are not well represented, for example, in suggesting that the athletic team of their choice was specially chosen by God to . . . → Read More: Existence of God – 2
This aims to be a humble post, not standing up to the enormous significance of the subject. Still, something of some significance might be said, and if not, you can have your money back. (No refunds on time)
First of all, as I’ve been casually studying proofs for the existence of God, a proof against, and the objections and rebuttals besides, one thing can probably be said without controversy: There are some people who think deeply about this subject, and in fact are consumed by it. Others do not and are not, and they have reached their conclusions by whatever means each one found persuasive.
I am speaking, then, more toward the second group. To the first group, I wouldn’t have anything to say which has not, most likely, already been dealt with. Instead, among them, I am an observer and a student.
I share with them the conviction that this is a subject of first importance, and with that conviction I come to the second group. However, as I’ve begun talking to some of my agnostic and atheist friends, I’ve learned that most of them just don’t find the question significant.
Bear in mind – I am not yet . . . → Read More: Existence of God – 1