Sunday, 21 September 2014

Mr. Tree Shows Us How Irrefutable The Kalam Cosmological Argument Is

So one of the regulars decided that the best way to defeat theism would be to try and show how its best arguments don't work. Actually that makes sense! Find out what it is we actually believe and what evidence we use, and show how it is wrong. Good work Mr. Tree! Now you're working on our level!
Let's see how well he does.

Mr. Tree on this occasion has put together his explanation for why the Kalam Cosmological Argument fails.

It's great that he has no problem with P1. We're already agreeing on half the premises. So it's only P2 where there's disagreement.
2&3: Relies on equivocation, what do we rightly mean by ‘the universe’. The original arguments from which this is derived did not restrict themselves to asking “where did the universe that sprang from the big bang come from”. The ancient philosophers were asking where the world came from and working back towards the cause of all things, the universe, the totality of existence, reality.
Whatever the ancient people who used similar logic to the KCA were talking about is completely irrelevant to what we're talking about today. We might have taken some inspiration from them, but things have changed and we use the argument in its modern form.
If you're worried about definitions, then it's simple and it's no secret what we mean by the word 'universe'. We mean this space/time thing that started at the Big Bang, is expanding, and will die out in a heat death.
So no... there is no equivocation. We don't say 'universe' when we mean whatever the ancients were talking about.

A more honest and logical rendition of the KCA is therefore,
1. Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence;
2. Reality has a beginning of its existence;
3. Reality has a cause of its existence.
Well it's not the KCA at all. It looks similar but it's something else. Or maybe it's what the ancients were referring to, but I've made it clear we're not talking about that.
In this new argument P2 is very problematic. We don't know that reality had a beginning. I imagine that reality didn't have a beginning and so doesn't have a cause. How could reality possibly come from non-reality? That's absolute nonsense. If this is what Mr. Tree thinks the KCA is, then it's no wonder he doesn't agree with it!

What is at issue is not that the big bang was caused, all these arguments terminate in something that must exist uncaused/necessarily/atemporally. This is a given that is something that we can all agree on. So the KCA is not wrong as such, as evasive.
Evasive? Of what? Whatever... doesn't matter. Mr. Tree agrees that we need something uncaused and timeless. We're actually beyond the KCA now and into the implications of it but ok.
So given that we all agree that there must exist something that exists uncaused/necessarily/atemporally where does that lead us. Theism argues that this first cause must have volition, why?
The arguments for this appear to be,
A timeless cause must have volition to be able to choose to take an action within time, otherwise the first cause would be eternally not creating the universe or eternally creating the universe.
However the problem with this is that we can conceive of just that, a first cause that is eternally creating a universe, with each universe forming an independent bubble.
We've established that reality and the universe aren't the same thing. When theists say 'universe' they mean one specific space/time bubble. So a multiverse would be made of many universes. When asking where the universe came from, we mean the one that we are in as we have no way to study any others. If there is a multiverse that is sitting in another realm of space, I call the space 'the cosmos', but maybe 'reality' works here too. 
So the question is: As we know that the universe had a beginning, what are the properties of the cosmos (or reality) it came from. From that we necessarily get powerful, eternal (therefore uncaused), and immaterial. 
So the only question left is about volition - whether it chose to create or if it churns them out mindlessly.
Mr. Tree's refutation for this point doesn't work. Believers say that the cause must have chosen to create because if it was a mindless force then it would have created as soon as it was ready to. 
Think of gravity. Gravity is a mindless force - it does what it does and never stops because it's always there. It doesn't ever decide to switch off for a while. You can't ask it to have a rest. It's not capable of choosing to be anything except a mindless force.
The only options we have for creation are an endlessly creating mindless force or a mind that chose at a specific point.

If the mindless cause is eternal, and it has been ready and able to create our universe for eternity, then our universe would have been created an eternity ago and heat death would have long since passed. We wouldn't be here. We would have all died an eternity ago.
Even if you limit the cause to somehow only being able to sustain one universe at a time and ours was in a queue, then we have still had eternity to reach the front of the queue.

The creator can only be a mind capable of choice otherwise we would all be dead.  

There's also a second problem with infinite random multiverses. If they have random potential and unlimited possibilities, it's 100% certain that God exists in one of them. Why wouldn't God be included in 100%? 
So if somehow the multiverse machine has limits, that would make it fine tuned. As a fine tuned machine, it would likely need a tuner.
One counter-argument to this is that energy is finite, and the first cause would be unable to do this.
I wouldn't bother with this counter. And his rebuttal of it works fine, so nothing to see here.

For all the long-winded explanation, all Mr. Tree is done here is say "Hey wait a minute, we could have a machine that creates universes throughout eternity", but completely ignored the reason why that is impossible.
It's not even worth a 'nice try'...