So here we are. After a few weeks of silence on my part here I am trying to not just tackle but eviscerate the most popular argument in Chtistian apologetics today. For those of you who read my blog regularly, the reason for my absence was my education, specifically exams for which I had to prepare. I just couldn’t find time for Writing. That phase however is over now and I think it’s appropriate that I finally adress this faiulure, that calls itself the Kalam Cosmological argument. The argument goes like this:
(1) Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.
(2) The universe has a beginning of its existence.
(3) The universe has a cause of its existence.
(4) If the universe has a cause of its existence then that cause is God.
(5) God exists.
Now premise 4 is traditionally formulated differently: This cause must be timeless, spaceless and immaterial since the Big Bang is the start of time space and matter. This being is somehow personal as well so it’s motivated to bring the Universe into existence.
Today I’ll take a look at premise 1 and tomorrow I’ll have a look at 2.
Now the first premise seems intuitively obvious. What could possibly be wrong with this premise? The answer: Everything!
First this premise commits the equivocation fallacy. It equivocates creatio ex nihilo with creatio ex materia. We only ever observe the latter and never the former. If we wanted to make a sound argument the first premise would be “everything which begins to exist has a material cause” but this of course leads us to conclude that “The Universe has a material cause of its existence”. Apologists can’t have that. To be really technical I’d have to inform you that really nothing we observe ever begins existing.
“What? Well Rene are you out of your mind? Didn’t you begin existing at conception?”
That’s the common objection Dr William Lane Craig The Kalam’s most famous proponent gives.
Allow me to elucidate: When we talk about something coming into existence, we’re talking about matter/energy being rearranged such that an entity arises. That’s the causation we’re talking about here. A rearrangement of stuff.
Wouldn’t it therefore be reasonable to conclude, that in this case the beginning of the Universe represents a rearragement of energy and matter, which has been the case 100% of the time so far? Of course not if you ask an Apologist.
Sometimes Apologists will reluctantly agree that yes We’re talking about a different form of causation here. But it seems intuitively obvious that if something begins to exist ex nihilo it must have a cause.
The thing about that though is, that we have no experience with any causation of that sort. Therefore how can we conclude that creatio ex nihilo demands a cause?
It seems intuitively obvious but it’s also against all intuition that the Universe began in a singularity yet they happily accept that premise.
Any and all causation we have observed demands 1) an affector 2) an affectee (what gets caused) and 3) an effect. Creatio ex nihilo in and of itself asks us to abandon that model, even though we have zero instances of observing it. I think we’d need some empirical support that creatio ex nihilo is possible but nothing (pun intended) is forthcoming.
Secondly notice how sneaky P1 is formulated: Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.
This formulation is not uncalculated. It gives the Apologist the excuse for dismissing the age old question “What caused God?”
God didn’t begin to exist therefore he doesn’t have a cause. This commits the special pleading fallacy. Everything needs a cause except the particular entity, that I want to excempt from this rule. May I not go right ahead and then say the “Universe didn’t begin therefore it didn’t have a cause” ? I won’t do that of course, since I’m an honest person but we’ll look at the question whether it truly began later.
Thirdly this premise commits the fallacy of composition. It assumes that because everything needs a cause inside the Universe, the Universe itself needs a cause as well.
Let me give you an easier example to demonstrate the fallaciousness of this reasoning:
Hydrogen is not wet. Oxygen is not wet. Therefore, water (H2O) is not wet. (I have that example from this site )
Now that’s obviously ridiculous but it’s the same reasoning the argument employs.
So we have a total of 3 fallacies in the first premise. And yet they think this drivel can somehow prove their deity. Tomorrow I look at premise 2 and how it ties in with 1. It’s probably going to be shorter though since I don’t really have much expertise in Cosmology. But we’ll see how I size up.
It feels good to be back.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation