The Kal�m Cosmological Argument

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The Kal�m Cosmological Argument

Post #1

Post by McCulloch »

The Kal�m Cosmological Argument consists of two premises and a conclusion.
  • KA. Everything that begins to exist has a cause or Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
  • KB. The universe began to exist.
  • KC. Therefore, the universe had a cause.
Using a series of sound and valid logical arguments, ToKnowHim, will show in turn, that both of the premises of the KCA are true. And that KC, the conclusion of the KCA, is therefore true.

The principle that for a thing or concept to be accepted, there must be:
  1. Empirical evidence for it;
  2. Repeatable tests of it; and/or
  3. A logical argument to support it.
If a thing or concept fails all three of those criteria, it means that we must be skeptical of that thing.

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Re: KCA

Post #61

Post by McCulloch »

[Replying to post 60 by ToKnowHim]

You assume that things that begin must have a cause. This might be true for composite things which come into existence by assembling other things that pre exist them. However, fundamental things which have existed for all time, cannot have a cause. This is because causation is temporal. What does that mean? It means that if you say that I caused this post, there is something that I did prior to this post existing, which if I did not do this post might not have existed and that because I did that action, this post did begin to exist. There cannot be a cause before the beginning of time. Causation requires ther to be time.
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KCA

Post #62

Post by ToKnowHim »

I do not ASSUME that things have a cause; I am ARGUING that they do (there is a difference).

I believe I posted it before, but I'll post it again:

Premise 5.
Natural things exist.

Premise 6.
Some natural thing ‘x’ exists with no cause.

Conclusion 3.
Every natural thing that exists now either was caused by some thing else, or had no cause.

Premise 7.
Natural things exist.

Premise 8.
Every natural thing ‘x’ exists with a cause.

Conclusion 4.
Every natural thing that exists was caused by something else.

The problem with C3 is that we have no empirical evidence or repeatable tests for any natural thing ‘x’ which exists with no cause. With no empirical evidence nor repeatable test nor logical argument to support C3 that some natural thing ‘x’ exists with no cause, we must be skeptical of it.

That leaves us with C4, that every natural thing ‘x’ exists with a cause. There is no false dichotomy here; either C3 is true or C4 is true. It cannot be a situation of both, nor can it be a situation of neither.

The nature of the premises and what we are discussing directly demonstrates that it is either C3 or C4. Since we have disregarded C3 as failing our basic test of science and logic, we must, by default, accept C4.

An argument of 'it exists because it exists' is no more compelling (logically speaking) than to say 'it exists because God created it.' They are logically equal, because they are both logically flawed. They are unproven assertions.

On the other hand, the argument I've presented above demonstrates, through what I believe is fairly compelling logic, that things must have a cause. Unless and until it could be demonstrated that thing 'x' (time, energy, etc.) exist with no cause whatsoever (i.e., we've eliminated every single natural cause), even THEN we could not say, 'there was NO cause,' but only 'there is no KNOWN cause.'

Is there a third option? Let's see:

a). No cause.
b). Cause.
c). It just exists because it exists.

Option 'a' cannot be proven using science. Option 'c' cannot be proven using science. That leaves us with option 'b.' Remember, my yardstick here is that, for a thing to be knowable/known (true), there must be empirical evidence and/or repeatable tests demonstrating it.

You've shown me things I never knew before about energy. I had no idea, for instance, that energy has existed for all time, or that energy is never destroyed, or that without time, nothing else could exist.

There are repeatable tests demonstrating this fact. I love this, because I learned something new about science.

But I am arguing that there must be a cause to every thing; absent evidence to the contrary, that is the only position I can take.

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Re: KCA

Post #63

Post by McCulloch »

As I pointed out before, your arguments have the form of logic without actually using logic. The conclusions do not follow from the premises. Nor are the premises necessary to the argument. The whole approach is too wordy and involves cluttered thinking.

For the love of Mike, remove the alleged premise that natural things exist. We all agree that things exist. It does not add anything meaningful to the argument. Really.

You end up with two statements, labeled as conclusions:
Conclusion 3.
Every natural thing that exists now either was caused by some thing else, or had no cause.

Conclusion 4.
Every natural thing that exists was caused by something else.

Basically, every natural thing either has a cause or it does not.

You then repeat your assertion that "we have no empirical evidence or repeatable tests for any natural thing ‘x’ which exists with no cause. " And that based on this lack of evidence that we must conclude that every natural thing that exists was caused by something else. But we do have strong evidence that the fundamental elements of our existence, time, space and energy, cannot be created nor destroyed, therefore have existed for all time. Anything that has existed for all time cannot have a cause, because causality is temporal.

For any natural thing that is a composite, it is created from its pre-existing constituent parts. Therefore all composite things have a cause or causes that occurred before the beginning of that thing. The fundamental things are not caused nor created by other things.
ToKnowHim wrote:An argument of 'it exists because it exists' is no more compelling (logically speaking) than to say 'it exists because God created it.' They are logically equal, because they are both logically flawed. They are unproven assertions.
No they are not both equally logically flawed. The first says that the things which we have good reason to believe cannot be created nor destroyed simply exist and have existed for all time and will exist for all future time is consistent with the observed reality and logic. The second says that even though we have good reason to believe that these things cannot be created nor destroyed, we must ascribe a cause to them and that cause is something we cannot even coherently define, God. While the first may be somewhat problematic, the second is totally unwarranted to the point of absurdity.
ToKnowHim wrote:On the other hand, the argument I've presented above demonstrates, through what I believe is fairly compelling logic, that things must have a cause.
You have not. What you may have is that an infinite causal regression is impossible. Unless we want to entertain the paradoxes of time travel, we must conclude that there is at least one uncaused thing. The chain of cause and effect cannot be even in principle, traced back infinitely. What is this uncaused thing or things? You would have us believe that it, whatever it is, must exist outside of time and space (whatever that means). I, on the other hand, would draw the simple conclusion, based on logic and evidence that whatever the uncaused thing are in the universe, it is that which cannot be created nor destroyed.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
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KCA

Post #64

Post by ToKnowHim »

I think you may have missed my point. Ok, energy cannot be created or destroyed. Given.

If you're saying that time itself "simply exists," then you need to provide the data supporting that argument. Time "has always existed" doesn't work, because we've agreed that time is finite. Other than in quantum physics, where we seem to have things which happen without causes or prior to cause, I can find no empirical evidence to suggest that time exists simply because it is.

The "because I said so" reasoning may work with five-year-olds, but won't with me. I need evidence. "No known cause" is different from "no cause" on a fundamental level. If someone is asserting that time has NO CAUSE, then they would need to prove that using empirical evidence (quite impossible) or repeatable tests.

You said:
I, on the other hand, would draw the simple conclusion, based on logic and evidence that whatever the uncaused thing is in the universe, it is that which cannot be created nor destroyed.
I entirely agree. However, I, of course, am arguing that this 'uncaused thing' is deity. Ultimately, that is the goal of my argument.

I feel strongly that the logic of my position is clear. If A, then B. Not A, therefore C. It is quite simply impossible to prove that a thing has NO CAUSE. If we were able to eliminate all possible known natural causes, the best science could conclude is "we just don't know." That is a tenable position in science.

To say, however, "it wasn't caused; it just exists" appears to me to be indistinguishable from "magic," "miracle," "God," or "The Flying Spaghetti Monster." It remains an unproven, unprovable assertion.

As far as you saying that we must conclude that there is at least one uncaused (natural) thing, why? What is your logical argument for such a thing? What is the evidence supporting such an argument. I think we're focused on time itself, since every other thing is dependent upon that for its existence.

We've agreed that time is finite. Before time existed, it didn't; nothing did - indeed, nothing COULD. At some point, time 'began'. If you want to maintain the position that "well, time just started. Nothing caused it. It just happened," then I would respectfully suggest that you provide the evidence I've requested to back up that assertion.

Absent that evidence, my own conclusion is that time didn't "just start," but was caused.

Am I way off base, or am I making sense? (Deconverted Man's standard answer: "Yes.")

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Re: KCA

Post #65

Post by McCulloch »

ToKnowHim wrote: Time "has always existed" doesn't work, because we've agreed that time is finite.
The word always means for all time. Time, by definition, has always existed. You seem to keep wanting for there to be a time before the beginning of time.
ToKnowHim wrote:If someone is asserting that time has NO CAUSE, then they would need to prove that using empirical evidence (quite impossible) or repeatable tests.
Time cannot have a cause. This is because a cause must come before the thing that is caused. But nothing can come before time, because there is no time before time. Unless you can demonstrate some cause that exists atemporally, we must remain skeptical of your insistence that there is a cause that does not come before the thing caused.
ToKnowHim wrote:It is quite simply impossible to prove that a thing has NO CAUSE.
Actually, it is not that difficult. Everything that existed at the very beginning of time could not have a cause. Causes have to come before the thing caused. There is no time before the beginning of time, therefore there cannot be a cause for a thing that existed at the very first moment of time.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
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KCA

Post #66

Post by ToKnowHim »

Now you've really confused me...

To say that "time has always existed" is to imply that time is infinite, rather than finite. But as you've already agreed, time is finite, and there was a point at which time did not exist.

To change your position now would be internally inconsistent.

You said:
a cause must come before the thing that is caused
I disagree. The cause could come simultaneously or even after.
Everything that existed at the very beginning of time could not have a cause.
Once again, I think you've missed the boat completely. You've made an unproven assertion. You've essentially said, "well, since there was no time, nothing could exist to cause things. Therefore, the things that existed had no cause." But that's not necessarily so; as I said, the cause could be at the same time, or even following the thing; if it is possible for things to work that way in quantum mechanics (which it appears is so), then why not elsewhere?

But we simply don't know. Science cannot tell us. To say 'no cause' is just not tenable. 'No KNOWN cause,' yes -- but NOT 'no cause.' Unless you've got evidence tucked up your sleeve somewhere that demonstrates that a cause HAS TO come before the thing caused, and unless you have evidence that there is no time before the beginning of time, and that nothing can come before time, I remain skeptical of your position.

Of course, in the natural sense, you're absolutely right. There was nothing natural existing before time existed. However, that does not preclude a supernatural being of some description existing and being the cause.

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Re: KCA

Post #67

Post by McCulloch »

ToKnowHim wrote:To say that "time has always existed" is to imply that time is infinite, rather than finite. But as you've already agreed, time is finite, and there was a point at which time did not exist.
We have agreed that time is finite. What we don't agree on is that to say that time has always existed implies that time is infinite. To say that time has always existed is to say that there is no point in time when there was no time. You seem to be having a difficulty with that concept, which I think should be self evident. Time cannot exist without time. Time may have had a beginning, and by that we mean that there is a point in time before which there was no time, not that there was a time when time did not exist.
ToKnowHim wrote:But as you've already agreed, time is finite, and there was a point at which time did not exist.
I repeat this part of the quote to examine it a little closer. You speculate that there was a point at which time did not exist. I ask what kind of point are we talking about? Are you asserting that there was a point in time at which time did not exist? We agreed that to say that something had a beginning it means that there is a point in time that is the earliest point of that thing's existence so that the thing did not exist at any time before its own beginning. Now let's apply this to time itself. If time had a beginning then there is a point in time that can be called the beginning of time. Let's call that time T0. There cannot be any time before T0 because that is the meaning of beginning. So, of course, there cannot be a point in time when time did not exist. Therefore, even though time is finite, time has always existed.

To say that something has always existed, is not the same as saying that it is infinite. To say that something has always existed is to say that it has been in existence for all time. And since time itself is finite, "for all time" is also finite. There is no inconsistency in my claims.
McCulloch wrote:a cause must come before the thing that is caused
ToKnowHim wrote:I disagree. The cause could come simultaneously or even after.
Now it is time for me to get skeptical. Please provide empirical evidence or repeatable tests showing a cause that is simultaneous or subsequent to the thing caused.
ToKnowHim wrote:Unless you've got evidence tucked up your sleeve somewhere that demonstrates that a cause HAS TO come before the thing caused, and unless you have evidence that there is no time before the beginning of time, and that nothing can come before time, I remain skeptical of your position.
Let me address the time thing once again. Let us assume that there is a time before the beginning of time. The meaning of beginning is that the thing does not exist before its beginning. Therefore there cannot be a time before the beginning of time. For if there was, that time would be the beginning of time.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
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The truth will make you free.
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KCA

Post #68

Post by ToKnowHim »

As I said, in quantum physics, you have events where the cause comes after the effect, or at the same time, contrary to the "norm" of cause -> then effect. Or, at least the appearance of such. There is plenty of testing demonstrating that this is happening, at least at the quantum level. I'm merely suggesting that there MIGHT BE an equivalent with time; to say that the cause 'HAS TO' come before the effect requires proof.

Ok, time has existed for all time. This is a finite period. Before that time, T0, time did not exist. When T0 occurred, time began.

Now, I see three possibilities (please correct me if I'm wrong):

1. Time had a cause, which we don't currently know, or cannot know.
2. Time had no cause.
3. Time exists because it exists.

2 and 3 might be the same; perhaps they might be viewed differently. Is there an option I've overlooked?

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Re: KCA

Post #69

Post by McCulloch »

ToKnowHim wrote:As I said, in quantum physics, you have events where the cause comes after the effect, or at the same time, contrary to the "norm" of cause -> then effect. Or, at least the appearance of such. There is plenty of testing demonstrating that this is happening, at least at the quantum level. I'm merely suggesting that there MIGHT BE an equivalent with time; to say that the cause 'HAS TO' come before the effect requires proof.
I am aware of a very specific quantum effect that shows that there might be simultaneous causation, the so called quantum non-locality and entanglement. I am totally unaware of any instance where it is claimed that cause has ever come after the effect that it caused. Please enlighten me.
Common sense tells us that cause comes before effect. Experience, repeatable experiments and all of science consistently tells us that cause comes before effect, with one possible exception where cause may be simultaneous with effect. You want to break your own rule about being skeptical and posit that cause might be after effect? Why?
ToKnowHim wrote:Ok, time has existed for all time. This is a finite period. Before that time, T0, time did not exist. When T0 occurred, time began.

Now, I see three possibilities (please correct me if I'm wrong):

1. Time had a cause, which we don't currently know, or cannot know.
2. Time had no cause.
3. Time exists because it exists.

2 and 3 might be the same; perhaps they might be viewed differently. Is there an option I've overlooked?
I believe that 2 and 3 are the same.
I don't think that it is a false dichotomy to say either time had a cause or time had no cause.
But the fundamental question is whether time is a thing that has existence or is time a framework we use to define existence.
How do we define whether a thing exists? A thing exists if there is a specific time and place or a specific set of time and places that is configured to be the required thing. If we then try to define time as a thing that exists, our definitions become circular.
So, I'll go with 2 and 3. Time has no cause; it just is.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
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Post #70

Post by ToKnowHim »

As far as the cause / effect thing, here's two references I found in one minute of searching. I know that there are ongoing studies of this phenomenon.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 145454.htm
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2 ... pens-cause

You said:
A thing exists if there is a specific time and place or a specific set of time and places that is configured to be the required thing.
Time has a boundary, a point at which it began. I would say that this could be construed as the specific time 'configured to be the required thing.' Place, I think, is irrelevant.

We're down to two possible choices: Time had a cause, or it did not; it simply exists. You've taken the second position.

Can you provide empirical evidence and / or repeatable tests which demonstrate that all known natural causes for time have been eliminated, thus leaving science in the position of "no known cause?" Can you provide empirical evidence and / or repeatable tests which demonstrate that there is NO CAUSE for time?

This is my ultimate point. We have seen repeated tests for things having causes. We have seen that A leads to B which leads to C. Quantum mechanics seems to put all the traditional "cause and effect" on its head; maybe it works that way on the larger scale, maybe it doesn't. I think science is still working on that answer.

To say, "it just exists," without support, is not defensible logically; to say that a thing has a cause IS defensible, because there is ample proof for things having causes... but as far as I'm aware, there is NO PROOF for a thing having NO CAUSE.

If you can't provide the evidence, I will remain skeptical of your position... which logically leaves the only remaining position, that of cause.

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