Monday, September 28, 2009

William Lane Craig vs. George Williamson: Does God Exist? Debate MP3 Audio

William Lane Craig debates George Williamson on the topic: Does God Exist? at the University of Saskatchewan in 2008. Original Videos here. Also added to the WLC Audio Debate Feed.

Full MP3 Audio here.

Enjoy.


40 Comments

  1. SteveC September 28, 2009

    Rarely do I ever feel sorry for the Atheist in a debate. I did in this one.Picking any Atheist at random from the audience to debate Craig would have been better. Williamson has a respectful manner in which he treats the subject unlike Hitchens and others, however he was clearly out matched here.

  2. dvd September 29, 2009

    I disagree completely. Williamson although weak on the cosmological argument was a very tough opponent who used some actual arguments. I believe Craig admitted this was a tough or close debate.

    Don't let his persona fool you.

  3. Lee September 29, 2009

    Rarely do I ever feel sorry for the Atheist in a debate.

    I never feel sorry for them in a debate.

    You know what you are getting with William Lane Craig

    Williamson although weak on the cosmological argument

    Doesn't WLC get bored of the cosmological argument?

    Special pleading – move on. Next argument please 🙂

    Lee

  4. Leslie September 29, 2009

    How is it special pleading?

  5. emmzee September 29, 2009

    Re special pleading:

    We have good reasons, both philosophical and scientific, that the universe is not eternal, whereas no such reasons exist to believe that God is so. God is not subject to the same limitations of the material world He created. The cosmological argument proposes not that everything requires a cause, but whatever begins to exist requires a cause; if God did not begin to exist (since there is no reason to believe He did, unlike the universe) He requires no cause.

  6. Lee September 29, 2009

    How is it special pleading?

    The argument is supposed to be an argument for the existence of God.

    Yet the argument goes “everything that began to exist requires a cause… except the very thing I am trying to prove which doesn’t begin”

    THAT is special pleading.

    Lee

  7. The Armchair Theologian September 29, 2009

    Oh MAN! Craig was debating at University of Saskatchewan again? Last time he was there, he was debating Ron Barrier in 2000, and Ron Barrier honestly didn't know what was happening.

    Craig had to explain what a "syllogism" was. It was the most painful debate I've ever witnessed.

    It seems that they cannot find too many people that are decent debaters at U of S.

  8. Leslie September 30, 2009

    Lee,

    In that case, Emmzee already answered you. Although I would like to add that God, by definition, had no beginning. It's not special pleading.

  9. Lee September 30, 2009

    I rather enjoyed this debate – William Lane Craig once again offered nothing new (which makes me wonder how much research going into these debates the atheist makes?)

    The atheist in this debate did rather well, but I will agree that he should have done better against the cosmological argument. (I shall assume time was against him.)

    Though an argument can be made using science against WLC’s Kalam first cause argument, if the audience are not physicists, and the debaters are not physicists – seems a little odd to go down that path?

    The physics provides all the evidence to doubt the argument – philosophy shows the argument to flawed (if only I was a philosopher so I could prove this).

    I said the argument was special pleading – if this is shown – the argument is useless in making ‘truth claims’ is it not?

    So what is WLC’s argument?

    1.Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

    2.The universe began to exist.

    3.Therefore, the universe must have a cause.

    … and that cause must be an uncaused God?

    There it is… the special pleading is in point 1 isn’t it – “begins to exist”

    According to the argument, the only exception to this is God (assumed using special pleading BTW)

    More interestingly, is there anything else (other than God) that can be placed into the category/type/set of not “begins to exist”?

    If none can be provided, then isn’t this just another definition of God? (And not a very good one from a Christian point of view)

    Point 1 then (Everything that begins to exist has a cause) is akin to saying “everything except God” has a cause, and that I think is special pleading my friends (or is it circular reasoning? Still a logical fallacy however we label it).

    The argument has ‘proven’ nothing more than what was already assumed – it’s useless.

    Why does WLC keep using this argument?

    Shall I go on?

    No, I’ve written enough on this matter already. The historicity of Jesus I’ve also written a lot about recently. (Hi SteveC)

    Now, “Objective moral values”… has William Lane Craig ever shown that these exist, or just that he wishes that they exist so he can call Hitler a naughty boy?

    Lee
    PS
    Leslie – yes it is special pleading. Why is God the special case?

  10. Brian September 30, 2009

    For a long time atheists had said that the universe was eternal. Why would it then be special pleading to say that God is eternal?

    It was shown that the universe began to exist.
    Can you show that God began to exist?

  11. SteveC September 30, 2009

    Brian,
    Nice reply. I would add that if ANYTHING at all exists,then SOMETHING must have always existed. There is no way around that.
    Lee, Hello again!
    I think the reason Craig continues to use the same arguments after all these years is that his opponents continue to be unable to answer them.

    Oh but if only the defender of atheism were a physicist he could articulate the evidence that refutes Craigs kalam argument. So you suppose? My guess is that we would only hear an appeal to some "quantum realm" that magically does what God can do. That would be special pleading by the Atheist would it not?

    Appealing to an uncaused first cause isn't special pleading if it is the best explaination. Either you posit an infinite regress of causes which is absurd, or you posit an uncaused quantum generator. Im no physicist but I dont have to be to see how weak that is.

  12. Leslie September 30, 2009

    I'm with Brian here, but I'll add my point again – God, by definintion, is eternal, i.e. uncaused. He would have to be in order to create time itself. You can't be the creator of all things and be subject to what you created before you created it (i.e. time).

    Consider this:

    1: All inanimate objects that are painted red had a painter

    2. This wall was painted red

    3. This wall had a painter

    By your logic I should say "well why isn't the painter painted red??"

    But obviously the painter doesn't fit into what we're talking about. He's not an inanimate object, nor is he painted red. So to say he had a painter wouldn't make any sense.

    It's the same with God – he doesn't fit into the argument, because God is eternal, thus uncaused. I don't see the problem.

  13. Brian September 30, 2009

    My additional "chime in" on the subject is this.

    Theists have always thought of God as eternal. And atheists HAD always just thought of the universe as eternal (brute fact). Then, when the universe is shown to be finite then God is suddenly special pleading??

    But even if God was NOT eternal and DID need a cause (which I don't for one moment concede) it would not therefore rule God out as the cause for the universe. An explanation does not need an explanation in order to be posited as the best explanation – otherwise, we would have an infinite regress and would not be able to explain anything.

  14. Lee September 30, 2009

    Hi Brian,

    For a long time atheists had said that the universe was eternal. Why would it then be special pleading to say that God is eternal?

    You will have to admit that God comes with a few more ‘extras’… so just saying ‘the universe is eternal’ is a lot simpler with less unknowns.

    For example, can you think of anything else that has a mind but not a physical ‘brain’?

    It was shown that the universe began to exist.

    The ‘Big Bang’ has been shown (and if you accept this – it really does set some boundaries to you God)… but what actually happened before that (or if that even makes sense to ask that question) is at the moment out of reach of science. (Though there are a lot of ideas that might solve this mystery and they do not require a god.)

    So, you are wrong – it has not been shown that ‘the universe began to exist’ or that if that even makes sense?

    Did Carbon-14 begin to decay? What was the cause?

    At the quantum level, it has already been shown that cause and effect is a silly idea – why force cause and effect onto the universe?

    Can you show that God began to exist?

    Can you tell me of anything else that did not begin to exist other than God? That is your claim, don’t pass the burden of proof back onto me – I’m not taking it.

    We could just stop at the universe, but the theist wants to go another step… it is arbitrary and creates more unknowns.

    Lee

  15. Brian September 30, 2009

    You will have to admit that God comes with a few more ‘extras’… so just saying ‘the universe is eternal’ is a lot simpler with less unknowns.

    If we are talking about the kalam cosmological argument, all we are arguing is that the universe has a cause for its existence. It is only after we have come to the conclusion that the universe needs a cause that we do proper philosophical analysis of that conclusion to determine what we can properly infer about that cause.

    Whether or not the cause is simple or complex is a red herring. "Unknowns" doesn't help your argument either because there are things we don't know about the universe as well.

    The ‘Big Bang’ has been shown (and if you accept this – it really does set some boundaries to you God)… but what actually happened before that (or if that even makes sense to ask that question) is at the moment out of reach of science. (Though there are a lot of ideas that might solve this mystery and they do not require a god.)

    In my limited understanding of big bang cosmology, there was no time, matter, or space "before" the big bang, as this was the point where all of that came to being.

    What ideas do you propose that are the best explanation of the big bang, Lee? Unless you can show me something that has some plausibility, positing God is seems rational to me.

    So, you are wrong – it has not been shown that ‘the universe began to exist’ or that if that even makes sense?

    Lee, are you saying that you don't think the universe began to exist? Do you believe it is eternal? And how has the universe not been shown to begin?

    At the quantum level, it has already been shown that cause and effect is a silly idea – why force cause and effect onto the universe?

    If by that you mean that quantum indeterminacy means we can't have cause and effect, I disagree. All this shows is that cause and effect relationships cannot be determined or predicted at that level. It does not follow that there is no cause and effect.

    Can you show me some good reasons why cause and effect does not apply to the universe…besides your own special pleading? 😉
    Are you implying that the universe just popped into being?

    Can you tell me of anything else that did not begin to exist other than God? That is your claim, don’t pass the burden of proof back onto me – I’m not taking it.
    We are talking about premise 2 in the argument.

    I said that the theist said that God was eternal and the atheist said that the universe was eternal.

    That means out of the two "eternals," one has been eliminated from being eternal – the universe is not eternal.

    However, the assertion that God is eternal remains. That is why I said, "Can you show that God began to exist?" If not, then God is not eliminated from being eternal. It was more a rhetorical question to show that God is still there as an option, not an ad hoc god-of-the-gaps.

    We could just stop at the universe, but the theist wants to go another step… it is arbitrary and creates more unknowns.

    "Just stop" at the universe? If it is true that the universe began to exist, and that things that begin to exist have a cause, then it follows that the universe has a cause. Which premise of that logic do you not agree with, premise one or premise two? You don't have to think about the cause yet!

    Have a great day, Lee. We love you and we pray for you!

  16. Lee October 2, 2009

    Hi Emmzee

    Sorry for the delay in replying directly to your comments.

    We have good reasons, both philosophical and scientific, that the universe is not eternal

    I would like to hear them… but please don’t just repeat what WLC has said – I disagree with him as you might have noticed 🙂

    ”scientific”
    The main problem WLC does not seem to grasp with the science is when he quotes the ‘Big Bang’ is that he continues to use the classical model – all that talk of a singularity is just nonsense and surely no one in physics ‘believes’ it.

    A singularity is just when the classical model of General Relativity reaches it limit and breaks. It is the failure of the model, the maths, not the universe.

    “philosophical”
    It’s all just word play if it cannot be tested to be reality.

    We can both talk about square-circles and invisible unicorns – it does not make them real.

    , whereas no such reasons exist to believe that God is so
    And again enters the special pleading.

    Why is God the only exception to the rule?

    That is were the special pleading comes in with this argument.

    . The cosmological argument proposes not that everything requires a cause, but whatever begins to exist requires a cause;

    Actually in the traditional form it does – it is the ‘new and improved’ Kalam’s Cosmological argument that inserts the new special pleading of ‘begins to exist’ because of the obvious mistakes with the original argument.

    if God did not begin to exist (since there is no reason to believe He did, unlike the universe) He requires no cause.

    The following logic seems equally valid then (I’ve changed only the key word and backed up my reasoning with a hint of science)

    If the universe did not begin to exist (since there is no reason to believe that it did based on the best/current understanding of quantum mechanics (uncertainty) and classical General Relativity (i.e. no space-time without the universe) then the universe requires no cause.)

    Now you said “unlike the universe” – you have a lot of work ahead of you to back up this claim.

    I don’t think you can point to the Big Bang and believe it helps you, it does not – there is uncertainty at the ‘point’ of the Big Bang (whatever that means) and without time, how can you make any ‘sense’ of a ‘before’ (and therefore cause)

    Lee

  17. Lee October 2, 2009

    Hi Leslie

    In that case, Emmzee already answered you.

    See above 🙂

    Although I would like to add that God, by definition, had no beginning. It's not special pleading.

    You are asserting “by definition” and think that this isn’t special pleading?

    OK, by definition the universe is an uncaused cause – and it’s not special pleading 🙂

    I can back up my assertion with a little science, by definition, there was no time without the universe, and so it has to have been an uncaused event.

    How else did we get the universe?

    In the end it seems we are using the same logic here – just you call it god and I the universe.

    If you wish to assign any more attributes to this “God” of yours you will need something more than just words of the Kalam’s cosmological argument.

    Also, please read (if you have not already done so by now) my comment asking for another example of anything that does not “begin to exist”. If the argument isn’t special pleading, then it does sound rather circular.

    A logical fallacy however we wish to name it.

    Lee

  18. Lee October 2, 2009

    Hi SteveC,

    I would add that if ANYTHING at all exists,then SOMETHING must have always existed. There is no way around that.

    If I agreed with you – why can’t this ‘SOMETHING’ be the universe itself?

    Do you truly understand what was happening at the ‘point’ of the Big Bang?

    I would love to hear it.

    As I’ve written above, WLC loves to use the classical Big Bang model (all that talk of the singularity) but always seems to forget (for some strange reason) that the model states that space-time came ‘into being’ with the Big Bang.

    Without time, how do you have a before? Without a before, how can you talk of a cause?

    To change it a little – How shall you go about proving this ‘god’ of the cosmological argument isn’t in fact just an argument for the universe itself?
    (You may confer with Leslie, Brian and Emmzee and compare notes)

    We both agree that the universe exists, so can’t we both now be happy?

    To assert the God of Christianity adds a lot more baggage to the claim – the cosmological argument does not address them. (The point I made to Brian)

    I think the reason Craig continues to use the same arguments after all these years is that his opponents continue to be unable to answer them.

    In debate Craig has been corrected on many of these points – yet the next debate he will roll out the same old arguments.

    Why is WLC still using a classical argument for the Big Bang for example? (By classical I mean – not a Quantum mechanical one)

  19. Lee October 2, 2009

    Oh but if only the defender of atheism were a physicist he could articulate the evidence that refutes Craigs kalam argument

    A philosopher can refute this kalam argument, it does not require physics.

    It’s an inductive argument without evidence – game over 🙂

    My guess is that we would only hear an appeal to some "quantum realm" that magically does what God can do.

    Your argument here sounds a little like the doctors of 200 years or so ago when they laughed at the scientists who spoke of germs causing disease

    The “quantum realm” has been shown to exist… it might sound magical, but that is because our ‘common sense’ didn’t evolve to understand it. (Or if you prefer, God didn’t chose to write about it in his “Big Book of Facts”)

    That would be special pleading by the Atheist would it not?
    Is it special pleading when I refer to physics for my belief that the sun will raise tomorrow?
    Appealing to an uncaused first cause isn't special pleading if it is the best explaination.

    Please explain this – I never seem to understand the reasoning when the theist appeals to the ‘best explanation’ on the matters of God since their appeal is to an unknown greater than the problem they are trying to explain.

    How can the “best explanation” be more complex than the problem that is trying to be solved?

    It seems you are looking for reason and purpose for the universe – I think this is what is causing the problems here.

    Either you posit an infinite regress of causes which is absurd

    Never done that.

    But I think I see what is happening going wrong here – think about this.

    Think what it would mean to have events without time.

    Better yet, think about what it would mean to have events without space-time.

    Have you done that now? Makes sense?

    Now the claim of the Big Bang (using classical General Relativity) is that space-time is a ‘result’ of the Big Bang. Space-time is a property of the universe.

    Talking of what came before the Big Bang (before space-time) is analogous to asking “what is north of the North Pole?”

    You can ask/phrase the question but it makes no sense in the real world…

    I doubt you feel the need to assert God to answer my ‘north of North Pole” question, so why do you require a God to answer “what came before the Big Bang?”

    You need to show the question is valid before you worry about it.

    Are do you worry about how many sides a square-circle has?

    or you posit an uncaused quantum generator

    I’ve not posited this (yet) either but if I did – what actually is the logical problem in doing do?

    How is your grasp of quantum mechanics BTW? Want a crash course?

    It’s weird… and makes no sense – but it works. Go figure?

    Im no physicist but I dont have to be to see how weak that is.

    This statement of yours is another example of a logical fallacy – I think it is (guess what) special pleading 🙂

    Lee

  20. Lee October 2, 2009

    Hi Brian,

    For a long time atheists had said that the universe was eternal.

    Actually, just had another thought about this. What do you mean by ‘eternal’?

    Is it just another word for ‘infinity’?

    Why would it then be special pleading to say that God is eternal?

    Why would it be special pleading to say the universe is ‘eternal’… space-time is a property of this universe, the universe does not have to play by the ‘same rules’ – or have you some knowledge of physics no one else has?

    Lee

  21. Lee October 2, 2009

    Hi Leslie,

    God, by definintion, is eternal, i.e. uncaused. He would have to be in order to create time itself.

    So does ‘eternal’ mean “without time” to you?

    Sorry, but I need some definitions; if not we could just both be playing with words.

    You can't be the creator of all things and be subject to what you created before you created it (i.e. time).

    We are playing with words…

    If space-time is a property of the universe (which is what General Relativity states and is the basis of WLC argument remember) then maybe if we are loose with our words we might say the “Big Bang created space-time” they ‘came into being’ at the Big Bang.

    Your definition of God with this argument then seems to be nothing more than the ‘Big Bang’ itself – the universe itself.

    This is not the God of the bible… so why use the argument?

    1: All inanimate objects that are painted red had a painter

    Not sure if this deductive argument is going to help you – straight off the bat you have started to use circular logic. The thing you are trying to prove is implied in the premise – that doesn’t seem right.

    ‘painted’ implies a ‘painter’

    And yes, ‘created’ implies a ‘creator’.

    I think what you have done is backed me up and shown why stating “being to exist” is special pleading (or circular logic) and is useless.

    The argument is nothing more than saying “Everything that has been painted requires a painter”

    Fine… I will agree.

    We both have experiences of inanimate objects being painted.

    The deductive argument tells us nothing that we do not already know (and have experience of).

    The inductive argument however, where you (imply) that every inanimate object that are painted require a painter, everything made requires a maker, every law requires a lawmaker, and therefore the universe has been created and therefore requires a creator is flawed

  22. Lee October 2, 2009

    Now, how many universes do you know about? How much experience do you have about how they ‘come into being’?

    How close is your analogy of painted objects and the universe? (i.e. you are close to the false analogy fallacy)

    I feely admit I am in a position of ignorance, but you go from a similar position of ignorance to stating “therefore it is God”

    It’s a logical fallacy.

    Your ‘demand’ for an answer is leading you to jump to conclusions.

    It's the same with God – he doesn't fit into the argument, because God is eternal, thus uncaused. I don't see the problem.

    Repeat: Why is God the ‘special case’ and not the universe?

    You are still stating, still asserting – still using special pleading – when you say “God is eternal, thus uncaused”.

    You have not shown you understand the Big Bang or the conditions that were present at that point – yet you ignore this and repeat the assertion?

    Lee

  23. Lee October 2, 2009

    More?

  24. Lee October 2, 2009

    Hi Brian,

    My additional "chime in" on the subject is this.

    “Ding, Ding… round seven!”

    I’m getting hit all over the place… it’s great fun.

    Theists have always thought of God as eternal. And atheists HAD always just thought of the universe as eternal (brute fact).

    Isn’t this a red herring? – None of this is important to the discussion. If you think it is relevant, please explain and we can discuss further.

    Then, when the universe is shown to be finite

    Has this really been shown? (I’ve asked this already and I’ve outlined my point several times in recent comments)

    Maybe we need to discuss this point further.

    At the quantum level there is uncertainty in everything, including time – there are no absolutes, no absolute being, no absolute time, no finite.

    I assume you are ‘happy’ with quantum mechanics – i.e. that an electron shows both wave-like and particle-like properties? That a single electron can (and does) interfere with itself in a wave-like way under certain conditions?

    Now – lets get back on track. It is true that the cosmologist will provide evidence to say the universe is 13.7 billion years old but this is really saying that 13.7 billion years ago the event known as the ‘Big Bang’ occurred.

    When space and time came into existence…not sure if this is the same thing as saying the universe is finite.

    I think it is here where the confusion is coming in, it is our words and the English Language that are failing us… (back to the “what is north of the North Pole?” question I mentioned above.)

    Time without space make no sense anymore, space-time without the universe make no sense.

    It isn’t that the universe is finite, it just doesn’t make any sense to ask such questions – without space-time how do you measure time to say it is finite?

    This can be a topic in of itself

    then God is suddenly special pleading??

    We both agree that the universe exist – stating that the universe is a “brute fact” only removes the question “where the universe came from”.

    God on the other hand has not been shown – to state God is special is, well, special pleading.
    (Wouldn’t it be like saying that unicorns must exist, otherwise unicorn horns would not exist? Circular and meaningless? You are better at logic them me, so please help me out)

    But even if God was NOT eternal and DID need a cause (which I don't for one moment concede) it would not therefore rule God out as the cause for the universe.

    It would leave the question – what caused God. Inserting God as the cause of the universe only pushes back the question/unknown a level.

    Using simple logic it does lead to infinite regress – this shows the logic is flawed, I think we can agree on that.

    That should be that… we should reject the argument.

    However the ‘solution’ from the theist is special pleading to state that God has to be the exception to the rule – that there is an exception to the ‘deductive argument’

    Why not just say the whole argument is flawed.

    If we want to assert an ‘exception to the rule’ – why not state the universe itself is uncaused or ‘eternal’?
    (And I feel I could make a case for either – when science stops, anything is possible)

  25. Lee October 2, 2009

    An explanation does not need an explanation in order to be posited as the best explanation – otherwise, we would have an infinite regress and would not be able to explain anything.

    I’ve already questioned this ‘best explanation’ reasoning to SteveC above so will not repeat myself here.

    The major difference between ourselves on this argument is, as I pointed out before, that if I was to assert a universe as “brut fact” – I do not have to explain the ‘mind of God’ or all the other baggage that comes with a god.

    You have avoided that problem (and called it a red herring?)

    If we are talking about the kalam cosmological argument, all we are arguing is that the universe has a cause for its existence.

    And that God is uncaused – don’t forget that 🙂

    As I have asked, without time does asking for a cause make sense?

    More interestingly, why do you think we should be able to understand what ‘caused’ the universe anyway? And why does it have to be a “man with a grey beard with a long white coat with feelings, desires, thoughts and regrets” – basically, why does the Christian solution look a lot like man?

    Sorry, going off point…

    It is only after we have come to the conclusion that the universe needs a cause that we do proper philosophical analysis of that conclusion to determine what we can properly infer about that cause.

    Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse?

    I’ve not come to the conclusion that “the universe needs a cause” and is the very point I an arguing against.

    What you are doing is forcing your ‘everyday common sense’ onto the universe – this kind of thinking has been shown false many, many times as you should know.

  26. Lee October 2, 2009

    Whether or not the cause is simple or complex is a red herring.

    I was using the principle of parsimony – that is all.

    It’s only a ‘rule of thumb’.

    If we looked at a load of broken cars, smashed up on a road with people trapped inside, we could both ‘assume’ that there has just been a car accident – a multi-car pileup… or maybe we could ‘assume’ that aliens have just invaded the planet and smashed all these cars up with the ‘car smasher’ ray-beam.

    You will – like me – use the principle of parsimony here… I just want to be consistent with my thinking and apply it to the universe

    Why is that wrong?

    In my limited understanding of big bang cosmology, there was no time, matter, or space "before" the big bang, as this was the point where all of that came to being.

    We have to be very careful with our language here, so I am glad you placed “before” in quotes.

    The ‘no space-time’ is the key point I feel.

    Without time, how can you have a “before”?

    What ideas do you propose that are the best explanation of the big bang, Lee? Unless you can show me something that has some plausibility, positing God is seems rational to me.

    This ‘feels’ like a logical fallacy of some kind here.

    I have to show you something has ‘plausibility’ else it has to be God?

    Out of interest – how do you define ‘plausibility’?

    I could google for you many cosmological ideas that explain what ‘caused’ the Big Bang (some even do away with the Big Bang all together) – would that help you at all?

    I’ve read many such ideas, and frankly, some of them I do not fully understand myself – that does not make them wrong or ‘implausible’. Just that my knowledge of string theory, or loop quantum gravity isn’t up there with the ‘best of them’

    The universe does not have to be understandable to me… why should I drag the universe down to my level?

  27. Lee October 2, 2009

    are you saying that you don't think the universe began to exist? Do you believe it is eternal? And how has the universe not been shown to begin?

    What I am trying to say is that our English Language isn’t up to the task of describing the universe.

    To say the universe “began to exist” is not to fully grasp what was happening at the Big Bang.

    As you agreed (or at least stated), space and time are said to “come out” from the Big Bang.

    So to repeat myself (a common theme) – without time, how can there be a “before”, the word “began” implies a space and time for some event to ‘happen’ but this didn’t exist “before” – words fail me.

    If by that you mean that quantum indeterminacy means we can't have cause and effect, I disagree

    OK… I think I disagree with your disagreement 🙂

    All this shows is that cause and effect relationships cannot be determined or predicted at that level

    So if the relationship cannot be determined or predicted – what caused what?

    Can you show me some good reasons why cause and effect does not apply to the universe…besides your own special pleading? 😉

    You accept that quantum indeterminacy, you accept the Big Bang, and so what else do I need to show again?

    To turn the question around back onto you, why does the universe have to follow the rules that apply within the universe?

    To think that the universe ‘must’ is using inductive reasoning isn’t it?

    Are you implying that the universe just popped into being?

    In a sea of quantum uncertainty…. why not?

    Particles do it all the time in the vacuum of space, come into and out of existence. Why is it different for the universe?

    There are many unknowns – this is all I need to say.

    You are certain you know it to be god, I am challenging how you know this (or why you think it)

    RE: Can you tell me of anything else that did not begin to exist other than God? That is your claim, don’t pass the burden of proof back onto me – I’m not taking it.

  28. Lee October 2, 2009

    We are talking about premise 2 in the argument.

    I was asking about premise 1 also – “Everything that begins to exist has a cause.”

    It’s the little bit of circular reasoning and/or special pleading that I am challenging.

    And we’ve not got past that one yet.

    Premise 2 is “The universe began to exist.” and I have been challenging this also – current theories do not show that we yet have a grasp/understanding of this event yet.

    The theist is jumping onto the Big Bang theory and think it ‘proves’ the line in Genesis “in the beginning”.

    We still have an unknown, and to go from I don’t know, to I know it is God seems a little odd to me.

    I said that the theist said that God was eternal and the atheist said that the universe was eternal.

    I need ‘eternal’ defining as I have asked above. Is eternal just another name for infinity?

    That means out of the two "eternals," one has been eliminated from being eternal – the universe is not eternal.

    Are you trying to setup a false dichotomy?

    If not B, it must be A?

    Even if the universe wasn’t ‘eternal’ (whatever that means since space-time is a property in the universe, not necessary OF the universe) then it does not follow that God is eternal.

    My point here is the ‘god’ that is being ‘proved’ with the first cause argument could just be the universe itself.

    It does not sound like the God of the bible… not even close.

    Tell you want, shall I grant you this ‘god of the cosmological argument’?

    OK – great – we now have a deistic god… now what?

    It isn’t the ‘personal God’ that WLC uses special pleading for.

  29. Lee October 2, 2009

    However, the assertion that God is eternal remains. That is why I said, "Can you show that God began to exist?" If not, then God is not eliminated from being eternal

    What? I missed this the first time round.

    I have to prove that God exists?

    Isn’t that your job? 🙂

    I told you the argument was circular, and your ‘method’ of falsification has just highlighted this.

    I have to prove to you that God ‘began to exist’ to falsify your claim that God did not begin to exist?

    Sorry, I am not about to prove God to anyone.

    It was more a rhetorical question to show that God is still there as an option, not an ad hoc god-of-the-gaps.

    A god is always an option – maybe the universe was created by God last Tuesday.

    "Just stop" at the universe?

    Crazy talk I know…

    If it is true that the universe began to exist, and that things that begin to exist have a cause, then it follows that the universe has a cause.

    “If” is what we are discussing.

    Which premise of that logic do you not agree with, premise one or premise two?

    This is an inductive argument, am I right in thinking that such argument could be logically valid but still has no bearing on reality?

    We do not know that the universe ‘began to exist’ or if this makes any more sense than asking what is north of the North Pole.

    Just because we can frame a question does not make it valid.

    We only ‘know’ that in this universe (at the macro level) effects have causes.

    This has not been shown to be true at either the quantum level (as discussed – we can have particles coming back in time which really mucks up cause and effect) or at the “Big Bang” or when universes form.

    You don't have to think about the cause yet!

    Oh, thank you 🙂

    Have a great day, Lee. We love you and we pray for you!

    And thank you again

    Lee

  30. Lee October 2, 2009

    I'm done… 🙂

  31. Brian October 7, 2009

    This is an inductive argument, am I right in thinking that such argument could be logically valid but still has no bearing on reality?

    Lee, that is not an inductive argument, it is a deductive argument.
    You listed the three premises in your original comments – way back up there about 30 comments ago! : ) It gets to the conclusion that the universe has a cause. But we have been all over the map and I don't think the conversation is getting anywhere. Time is short… did I tell you we have a new baby girl now? That's two!

    Just for fun, I am providing this audio link… right here. 😀

  32. Lee October 8, 2009

    Hi Brian

    Time is short… did I tell you we have a new baby girl now? That's two!

    Congrats!!!

    Two – now the fun begins. One is always waking up the other… When one just gets better, the other gets ill.

    It's great stuff

    Just for fun, I am providing this audio link

    Brilliant 🙂

    I like that

    Lee

  33. Lee October 8, 2009

    Oh, and I still think it is an inductive argument. After all, he uses the Big Bang observation as evidence AND is biasing his argument on his everyday observations of cause and effect and applying it to the universe.

    That does not sound very deductive to me.

    Feel free to replay your link at any point 🙂

    Thanks

    Lee

  34. Brian October 8, 2009

    Aside from the truth value of the content of the argument…

    The logic of the argument is deductive – if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. Of course, each premise may be a conclusion of another argument that is arrived at inductively – but that does not make this argument inductive.

    The good thing with using this deductive argument is that if you don't have to disagree with the argument. You can acknowledge that the argument is valid (the conclusion follows logically). However, you have problems with the truth of the premises. Seeing this is the case, I would suggest you make a case for whichever premise you disagree with a make a case showing why a premise is false. — and that is totally fine.

    I just am trying to keep the lines straight in the discussion, otherwise it turns into a really scattered affair.

  35. Lee October 9, 2009

    Hi Brian,

    However, you have problems with the truth of the premises. Seeing this is the case, I would suggest you make a case for whichever premise you disagree with a make a case showing why a premise is false. — and that is totally fine

    I thought I did just that?

    The ‘everything that begins has a cause’ – I challenged.

    The universe began I challenged. (In that I have no idea what this statement means, any more than asking what is north of the North Pole)

    And I challenged the argument itself as a whole – it involves special pleading and is a circular argument so is flawed at the outset. It only proves what it already assumes(Though knowing me I’ve got the names of the fallacies wrong)

    The person who makes this argument already believes in God and states that God is without cause – the only thing that can be without cause I will point out.

    Since the theist is unable to provide any other examples of things that do not require a cause, premise 1 is really just saying “everything that isn’t God has a cause”.

    Again, it doesn’t prove anything that the argument does not already assume.

    Why isn’t that a logical fallacy – a flaw in the argument (where have I gone wrong?)

    Even if I grant premise 1 for a second (and just a second)

    Premise 2:

    Without space and time – what actually does ‘cause’ and ‘effect’ mean? (The language fails here)

    Space and time are properties of the universe, before the universe there is no such thing.

    Cause and effect are dependent on space-time. The premise is nonsensical – just like asking what is north of the North Pole as I pointed out above.

    Now, if the argument is flawed and contains fallacies – that’s it, no conclusions can be drawn from it.

    God might exist, but this argument doesn’t prove it. (And I think we have already agreed it isn't an argument for the theist God anyway)

    OK – I’ve repeated myself again (and again) on this matter.

    If I am wrong Brian, can you please help me see the errors of my ways. I mean that – please help me.

    I have no formal training in logic – just muddling through (as you may tell)

    Happy to be shown wrong so I can learn more about logic.

    Shall we start my lesson on premise 1 and my question regarding God being the only thing in the ‘uncaused’ bucket/set.

    As I said, this for me means the argument is only proving what it already assumes.

    That surely cannot be a good deductive argument for anything?

    Lee

  36. Brian October 12, 2009

    Lee, Sorry it has taken a while to get back to you… been busy!

    The universe began I challenged.

    So would you say the universe is eternal?

    it involves special pleading and is a circular argument

    The conclusion of the argument is simply "the universe has a cause."
    Could you explain why the universe having a cause is special pleading. (we are not yet talking about what the cause is)

    The person who makes this argument already believes in God and states that God is without cause – the only thing that can be without cause I will point out.

    It doesn't matter if the person believes one thing or the other here; the question is: does the conclusion "the universe has a cause" follow from premises 1 & 2.

    premise 1 is really just saying “everything that isn’t God has a cause”.
    Deductive arguments don't provide us with new information, Lee. That is why God is not found in the premises or in the conclusion. (refer to 1,2,3).

    Right now all we are looking at is the kalam; premises 1, 2, & 3.

    Why isn’t that a logical fallacy – a flaw in the argument (where have I gone wrong?)

    I think maybe you are jumping ahead too far. You are bringing conclusions into the 3 points of the argument that aren't there.

    Without space and time – what actually does ‘cause’ and ‘effect’ mean? (The language fails here)

    I know what you mean. The temporal language becomes awkward. However, you could say something like "logically prior" rather than temporally prior. In the same way that numbers are relationally "prior" to one another in order, but not temporal.

    God might exist, but this argument doesn’t prove it. (And I think we have already agreed it isn't an argument for the theist God anyway)

    All this argument is mean to show is that the universe has a cause. Look at #3 conclusion.

    If I am wrong Brian, can you please help me see the errors of my ways. I mean that – please help me.

    To be honest, I think it is possible (but I don't know, only you do…) that you could be just saying "there is no God, therefore, this argument must fail" and therefore rejecting the premises on whatever grounds you can muster.

    Now that is complete conjecture, but as I see it, there is no reason to reject premise 1 or 2 for any particular reason. I think the affirmation of 1 & 2 are far more plausible than their denials.

    Shall we start my lesson on premise 1 and my question regarding God being the only thing in the ‘uncaused’ bucket/set.

    Premise 1 is that begins to exist has a cause. No mention of God here, or in any of the premises.

    As I said, this for me means the argument is only proving what it already assumes. That surely cannot be a good deductive argument for anything?

    As I mentioned before, deductive arguments don't give you any new information. They just let you see what is already there. But one thing this argument is not doing (look at premises 1,2 &3) is mentioning God.

    Gotta run.. Crying child!

  37. Joshua Jung October 13, 2009

    Craig makes many self-contradictory statements in his opening speech. Some I would like to point out:

    * He declares that infinity is a concept only in our minds. If this is true, how can God have an infinite amount of anything? How can eternity exist, for example?

    * He declares that "time must have a beginning". But you cannot have a beginning unless time already exists.

    So would you say the universe is eternal?

    Time is an element of the universe which our minds are tuned to think in terms of. Therefore, anything transcendent to this concept is beyond our comprehension and therefore beyond our ability to comment.

    There is no such thing as "outside" of space or "before" time. However, there very well may be existent dimensions or concepts which, if we could understand them (which we do not need to understand), would enlighten our understanding of reality.

    What's wrong with not knowing or, even more strongly, being incapable of knowing or understanding?

  38. Lee October 15, 2009

    To be honest, I think it is possible (but I don't know, only you do…) that you could be just saying "there is no God, therefore, this argument must fail" and therefore rejecting the premises on whatever grounds you can muster.

    And I will be honest – no.
    (And I thought you said this argument has nothing to do with proving/disproving God 🙂

    I will be more honest, if you truly thought this of me then I have been very poor in expressing my views and opinions. My fault of course, and I apologise for that now.

    I try to be a ‘seeker of the truth’ but I am currently a non-believer in the claims provided by the Christian. So what?

    God may exist, and I am trying to look for Him (Her?).

    OK, my methods are a little different to the Christians. That is, I am trying to find the best arguments and evidence for God, and show they are false or flawed in someway. (I like the falsification method… blame my science education)

    If the arguments and evidence are good – then I will fail, and I will no reasons not to believe in God. Also, along the way I will have a better picture on what this God can and cannot be.

    If you like though, I could assume God before investigating any further argument (but how will I ever disprove God I wonder once I make this assumption? No matter)

    I actually make this assumption of god regularly. If God exists, what does this observation say about God… does this observation falsify a particular view/claim about God.

    I have already written that if I did assume God first, then all this Kalam cosmological argument shows/proves to me the deistic God only – I cannot get to the Christian theistic God. (I think you have conceded this once?)

    However, my objections are not based on a ‘fact’ that “there is no God” and I have not used that in my arguments here have I?

    The one point I have made on the topic of God is that it seems to be the only exception to the rule “everything has a cause” (or began to exist). This is presumed and not argued for.

    This shows me that the Kalam cosmological argument proves/shows nothing more than what it already assumes.

    OK, I will assume God does exist… and continue now. Just tell me which god and why?

    Now that is complete conjecture, but as I see it, there is no reason to reject premise 1 or 2 for any particular reason.

    Well, I have been trying to show you some reasons…. Surely you do not reject my reasons because of your belief that “there must be a God, therefore, Lee’s argument must fail” 🙂

    I know, complete conjecture 🙂

    Sorry for my humour.

    there I think the affirmation of 1 & 2 are far more plausible than their denials.

    Until you can explain how ‘begin’ and ‘cause’ make any logically sense without time – the argument does not even make sense.

    What caused time?

    What’s north of the North Pole?

    Meaningless… just because a question can be phrased does not make it a valid question – you know this.

    Thanks

    Lee

  39. Lee October 15, 2009

    does the conclusion "the universe has a cause" follow from premises 1 & 2.

    I might challenge premise 2 as well remember – in the sense that saying the universe begin to exist makes no sense without time as I have already argued.

    Deductive arguments don't provide us with new information

    I agree.

    I think maybe you are jumping ahead too far. You are bringing conclusions into the 3 points of the argument that aren't there.

    Oops… It looks like I was racing ahead – I will concede this much.

    The temporal language becomes awkward.

    Awkward is one way of putting it.

    So do you agree that words like ‘cause’, ‘effect’ and ‘begin’ are temporal terms? (This has been my argument)

    If so, you might also agree that using them to question things before time (without time) is wrong.

    Doesn’t this make the argument flawed if it is to be applied to the universe? If not, why not?

    I will go further than saying the language is ‘awkward’, it in fact makes the argument nonsensical – flawed.

    However, you could say something like "logically prior" rather than temporally prior.

    Eek…. is this philosophy talk? I understand ‘temporally’ but you have now moved into a realm alien to me. My physics-trained brain has just shown me a ‘blue screen of death’ and I will be rebooting shortly.

    In the same way that numbers are relationally "prior" to one another in order, but not temporal.

    I can handle numbers, but how does this relate to the physical universe? I know we can use maths to model the universe, but the maths do not make the universe physical does it?

    More philosophy talk… Don’t you have to show that this is applicable to a physical universe?

    All this argument is mean to show is that the universe has a cause. Look at #3 conclusion.

    However the argument seems flawed (which is what I am trying to point out) so I do not think it does that. Inductively it is on shaky ground, and deductively nonsensical

  40. Lee October 15, 2009

    Hi Brian,

    Sorry it has taken a while to get back to you… been busy!

    No worries, you have a new daughter – you do not need to apologise for your lack of time or priority/interest in responding to me.

    So would you say the universe is eternal?

    To be honest – not sure what these types of questions mean to the universe. As I have said, space and time are properties of the universe – without space and time the question seems nonsensical.

    Since my mind cannot understand the concept of “no space, no time” the phrase ‘eternal’ might make as much sense as any other word.

    Now, as for the maths… that’s a little different, there may be more hope here – and my analogy will be Quantum Mechanics. Once again our words and thoughts fail – but the maths work very well.

    The conclusion of the argument is simply "the universe has a cause."
    Could you explain why the universe having a cause is special pleading. (we are not yet talking about what the cause is)

    One piece of special pleading comes in when it is stated that “God did not begin to exist” (which leads from this argument even if it is not part of this first section – I will concede that point).

    An inductive argument comes in when it is stated “Everything that begins to exist has a cause” since we know next to nothing about how universe form or what ‘begin’ and ‘cause’ mean without time.

    Also the argument already assumes that there are ‘things’ that exist without a cause.

    My question has always been, why can’t the universe be uncaused or ‘self caused’ (which breaks the argument doesn’t it?)

    So the special pleading comes in for me when it is asserted that the universe has to be caused (when this has not been shown and is the whole point of debate), then we are back at the presumed premise that there is a god (that did not begin to exist remember) follows.

    To give my argument a little hint of science. At the quantum level, it has already been shown that time itself gets a little fuzzy and uncertain. So the idea of ‘self causes’ isn’t that crazy is it? i.e. nothing caused the universe, the universe could be uncaused (all without the need of a mind to think about creating the universe in the first place – having a thinking mind making decisions on what type of universe to create is surely more problematic)

    So I suppose my main problem with this is that it goes against what we currently know through science – which isn’t a logical argument I know. However, lets give it a go.

    If ‘everything’ came ‘from’ the Big Bang, this includes space and time (this is the current Big Bang theory as I know it)

    Without space and time – asking about ‘causes’ makes no sense since a cause requires time (and space) to differentiate it from the ‘event’.

    Cause and effect are the same without space-time, they are dependent on space-time.

    So the question “what caused time to exist” seems a little silly to me. The very argument makes no sense.