The Kal�m Cosmological Argument

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McCulloch
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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 #81

Post by McCulloch »

ToKnowHim wrote:Actually, I disagree. The height of your bookshelf cannot be said to exist, using the definition we've agreed upon.
I think we agree more than you think. Dimensions do not exist as things. I can measure height and compare bookshelf height consistently and repeatably with table height. Yet height does not exist.
ToKnowHim wrote:[…]Measurement is arbitrary, and this includes time.
Again we agree. Measurement of any dimension including time can only be comparison of a known quantity arbitrarily held to be standard with what is being measured.
ToKnowHim wrote:Time, however, is different from physical measurement in many ways. For one thing, time can be measured in ways that distance cannot. We see the rings in a tree; even if the measurement of a year is arbitrary, the passage of time is clear. The same holds true for layers of sedimentary rock. They denote the passage of time. How MUCH time is determined using varying scientific methods - and I think that is the key difference.
I fail to see difference. In seeing rings in tree, we notice and measure effect of time on a living entity. We are not measuring time directly. We measure distance in different ways too.
ToKnowHim wrote:We have empirical evidence and repeatable tests to show us that time passes at a specific rate.
Really!? What rate does time pass? Let me guess 60 minutes per hour or is it 60 seconds per minute. No one can directly measure time. We only measure duration of events relative to other events. Time does not exist independently of events. It is a dimension; a temporal rather than a spacial dimension.
ToKnowHim wrote: We can 'test' distance, but the distance between point A and point B remains the same unless some other force acts upon the space, such as an earthquake. But nothing - as far as I know - can effect time.
I disagree. Drop a lead ball from a height of one meter through air and through water carefully measuring time. Is it different? Did presence of water change time for this event?
ToKnowHim wrote:As far as time being 'an attribute,' I'm not certain you can support that position with logic or science. For time being a thing which exists, I think a good argument can be made for that position; it certainly seems consistent with what we've observed. Can you support your position?
I would like to see that argument.

Things exist in time as well as in space. It makes no sense in reality to speak of a thing that exists in a timeless state. If it can be said that my bookshelf exists, it can be said that it had existed from its construction date until its ultimate demise. It is a four dimensional thing: three spacial dimensions, height, width and depth and one temporal dimension, duration. Modern physicists across scales from particle physics to cosmology tend to look at reality this way.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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KCA

Post #82

Post by ToKnowHim »

You've said that neither time nor distance exists as a thing; but you have yet to support that argument with anything other than your own statements.

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Re: KCA

Post #83

Post by McCulloch »

[Replying to ToKnowHim]

Aristotle, Kant and Leibniz agree with me while Newton and Plato agree with you. Apparently, the issue is somewhat unresolved among philosophers and scientists. If Kal�m relies on time being a thing, then you must prove that Aristotle and Leibniz were wrong. So long as the issue remains unresolved, you cannot rely on time being a thing that could have a cause.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy wrote:What if one day things everywhere ground to a halt? What if birds froze in mid-flight, people froze in mid-sentence, and planets and subatomic particles alike froze in mid-orbit? What if all change, throughout the entire universe, completely ceased for a period of, say, one year? Is such a thing possible?

If the answer to this last question is Yes — if it is possible for there to be a period of time during which nothing changes, anywhere (except, perhaps, for the pure passage of time itself, if there is such a thing) — then it is possible that a worldwide “freeze� will occur between the time you finish reading this sentence and the time you start the next sentence. In fact, if it's possible for there to be a period of time without change, then it may well be that a million years have passed since you finished reading the last sentence.

The question of whether there could be time without change has traditionally been thought to be closely tied to the question of whether time exists independently of the events that occur in time. For, the thinking goes, if there could be a period of time without change, then it follows that time could exist without any events to fill it; but if, on the other hand, there could not be a period of time without change, then it must be that time exists only if there are some events to fill it.
Time, to me, is by definition nothing more than a system of temporal relations among things and events, so that the idea of a period of time without change turns out to be incoherent. We could never have any reason to posit a period of empty time. Even if there were such a period, we would not have any way of knowing about either its existence or its length.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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KCA

Post #84

Post by ToKnowHim »

What you've essentially done is made an ad populum argument, an argument to authority (and most likely, an argument to the wrong authority), and an appeal to novelty.

Other than Newton, none of the 'sources' you listed is a science source. They are philosophers. Philosophers have some interesting ideas about reality, but only empirical evidence and repeatable tests done by scientists, and peer reviewed, give us a view of what reality truly is.

You said:
Time, to me, is by definition nothing more than a system of temporal relations among things and events, so that the idea of a period of time without change turns out to be incoherent.
Ok, it might be so... can you support your position with empirical evidence or repeatable tests?

By the way, it is not for me to "prove" that Aristotle and Leibniz were wrong; if you believe that Aristotle, Kant, and Leibniz are RIGHT, then you must not only provide a logical argument to support that, but also real references... along with, of course, empirical evidence and repeatable tests.

But again, since philosophy is not what we are discussing here, but the nature of reality and whether time exists as an actual thing or not, this falls under the umbrella of science, not philosophy.

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Re: KCA

Post #85

Post by McCulloch »

Actually science has virtually nothing to say on this topic. Newton was a remarkable scientist, but his view on the nature of time was essentially a philosophical one. Newtons' science works equally well with both views of the nature of time.

If Kal�m Cosmological Argument depends on time being a thing then the onus is on the person supporting the Argument to prove with empirical evidence and repeatable tests that time is a thing. I, for my part, am willing to leave the issue of the nature of time as being unresolved. Time might be a thing or time might be a dimension. But until the issue is adequately resolved, you cannot rely on it being one way or another.

So, by all means, present the empirical evidence and repeatable tests that show that time is a thing. If the scientific evidence is not forthcoming, then you cannot rely on the result.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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KCA

Post #86

Post by ToKnowHim »

Actually, I think we might come to an agreement here: If the "jury is out," so to speak - as in there's insufficient evidence to support EITHER position, then we can be skeptical of BOTH positions.

In that case, we leave time out of the discussion; it is irrelevant for the moment. It may be one of those things which we CANNOT know, due to its nature. So, then, that leaves us with:

Everything that begins to exist has a cause. This is the basic premise of the KCA. We've already established, and you've agreed (I think) that this is the case, using our agreed-upon definitions. The 'cause' doesn't have to be the ordinary 'cause and effect' sort of cause (i.e., water's "cause" is the existence of hydrogen and oxygen), but still 'cause.'

Are we on track here for further discussion?

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Re: KCA

Post #87

Post by McCulloch »

ToKnowHim wrote:So, then, that leaves us with:

Everything that begins to exist has a cause. This is the basic premise of the KCA. We've already established, and you've agreed (I think) that this is the case, using our agreed-upon definitions. The 'cause' doesn't have to be the ordinary 'cause and effect' sort of cause (i.e., water's "cause" is the existence of hydrogen and oxygen), but still 'cause.'

Are we on track here for further discussion?
I do not believe that I have agreed that everything that begins to exist has a cause since we revised our definitions. I do agree that Kal�m depends on this being true. I assert that all things that have existed for all time cannot have a cause. Please show me, using empirical evidence and repeatable tests that things whose existence is equivalent to all time must have a cause.
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 #88

Post by ToKnowHim »

What things are there which exist now, which have existed for all time?

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Re: KCA

Post #89

Post by McCulloch »

ToKnowHim wrote:What things are there which exist now, which have existed for all time?
I thought that we had already covered this. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed; it can only change form. Therefore, all of the energy in the universe has existed for all time. Please note my choice of words. I said for all time not for an infinite length of time.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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Post #90

Post by ToKnowHim »

Out of courtesy, I wanted to contact you; I didn't want you to think I'd forgotten about this debate, or was ignoring it, or whatever... I'm moving this week and next, and my entire world is being turned upside-down.

I am considering how to answer; I will indeed get back to you.

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