Sunday 28 October 2012

Rebuttal of the Kalam Cosmological Argument

This comment by Jason Quinn on FB page "Atheism" is the most succinct and convincing despatch of William Lane Craig's pet theory that I have read:-

Before anyone can argue for or against the existence of God the meaning of the terms of the proposition have to be established. If you can't define "existence," or articulate what it means for "God" to "exist," then the proposition is meaningless. Meaningless statements cannot be true or false. There is no way to argue for or against God's existence prior to establishing the meaning of the proposition. If the meaning has not been established then no one even knows what the dispute is.

--- 1. Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence;"

Again, the premise is completely meaningless until you define the term "existence." What does it mean for something exist?

--- 2. 'The universe has a beginning of its existence;"

I'll present a definition of "existence" so as to be able to analyze the above statement.

existence - that which has shape independent of the human mind

So you are claiming that all matter in existence did not exist at some point in the past, ie, it had a beginning. So your theory looks like this: there is nothingness, emptiness, ie, space, and then suddenly there are objects with shape. You go from an empty frame of the movie to one where there are objects. The problem with this "theory" is that you cannot show me the frame of the movie where space converts into objects with shape. The mechanism behind creation is unimaginable and cannot be illustrated. Any "theory" which relies on hidden frames is unscientific and irrational.

--- 3."The universe has a cause of its existence."

Again, we need to define existence. If it is IMPOSSIBLE to illustrate the frame of the movie where space converts into objects with shape, then it is impossible to even imagine what it means for existence to be CAUSED. Causality implies that one object is influencing another. How can an object with shape cause another object to instantly appear from the void? The mechanism behind this magic cannot be illustrated.

When understood this way it's easy to see why your argument is circular: you have to presuppose the existence of an object which is capable of creation. If "universe" means "all matter and space," then the object capable of creation is PART of the universe. That means that the universe is not beginning to exist, but that some objects WITHIN the universe are beginning to exist. So the universe still has no beginning, it's just that some parts of it allegedly have a beginning. If you the theorist are incapable of illustrating the mechanism behind how an object can create other objects from the emptiness of space then your theory fails at explaining anything.

--- "Conceptual analysis of what it means to be the cause of the universe then aims to establish some of the theologically significant properties of this being."

This is a second failure of your theory. You cannot even illustrate the object allegedly responsible for the creation. As I stated initially, the onus is on anyone proclaiming belief or lack of belief in the "existence" of "God" to articulate what it means for "God" to "exist." "God" cannot be illustrated. "God" creating objects from nothing cannot be illustrated. The proposition that God created the universe is neither true nor false, it is IRRATIONAL, ie, meaningless to the point of being open to broad and subjective interpretation.

Conclusion: creation belongs exclusively to religion, especially any "theory" of creation involving objects which themselves cannot be illustrated
~ Jason Quinn

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