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 linked last time) theorizes that there is a boundary to spacetime, beyond which there is really nothing…except that he also admits something, namely the laws of physics. To these he ascribes potential creative power (namely, causal power) whereas they have usually been seen as descriptions of our observations, and not things existing as causal agents.
What’s interesting to note is that neither of these theoretical physicists deny Premise 1. They have some strange ideas about nothing – which is to say, they identify something and call it “nothing” – and yet they try to extract something from that nothing in order to provide a cause for everything.
Premise 2 – The Universe began to exist.
Nevertheless, it appears there really is a hard beginning to the Universe, which theorem has stood against alternative explanations. If the Universe began thus, and there is no explanation which space, time, energy, or matter can provide, what do we suppose could have caused it?
Nothing comes from nothing, after all. We must therefore posit an “abstract” something, or as we have said, something which transcends the Universe.
Those last two links are tough. I admit to reading only what appears to be standard English, having to look up some of the technical terms (geodesic!) and taking only a cursory glance at the geometry. I admit that they appear less clearly stated than the way Craig employs them, but he understands the field better than I do. Would love to learn more about this.
What I understand better are the philosophical arguments against an actual infinity, which we’ll look at next time.