Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God

Discussion in 'Religion' started by James R, Jan 11, 2016.


Does the Kalam Cosmological Argument convince you that God exists?

  1. Yes.

    1 vote(s)
  2. No.

    25 vote(s)
  3. I'm not sure that I properly understand the argument.

    1 vote(s)
  4. No opinion or would rather not answer.

    0 vote(s)
  1. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Oh, so I should have quoted this post:

    I had actually missed that post, so thanks for prompting me to find it. So my point about both of you conflating the informal fallacy with invalidity stands.

    Again, already addressed, since I've shown an alternative to god that did not 'begin to exist' (or even if identified with god, cannot possibly be said to 'begin to exist'). That premise in the OP is not the argument as made by the KCA, and even then, does not, on its own, beg the question. 'Everything except God has a cause' allows for the possibility that god does not exist, since anything that does not exist trivially has no cause.

    Maybe not now, but that quote you prompted me to find has you admitting that you have conflated begging the question with invalidating an argument.

    But you do have a proven tendency to do so.

    Yes, I get that the weakness of your argument makes you feel the need to interject ad hominem characterizations. Try to stay on point...attack the arguments. The fact that this elementary fact had to be corrected, especially after attacking others based on this ignorance, demonstrates that your reasoning is suspect.

    Begging the question is actually a necessary feature of deductive reasoning. Whether it weakens the argument, and why, is not a settled matter.
    Begging the Question
    A form of circular reasoning in which a conclusion is derived from premises that presuppose the conclusion.

    Insofar as the conclusion of a deductively valid argument is "contained" in the premises from which it is deduced, this containing might seem to be a case of presupposing, and thus any deductively valid argument might seem to be begging the question. It is still an open question among logicians as to why some deductively valid arguments are considered to be begging the question and others are not.
    - http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#BeggingtheQuestion
    It is rather trivial that someone actively seeking to assume the conclusion could easily obfuscate it over several premises (or even an unstated premise), so being isolated to a single premise is not determinative.

    Really? My first sentence in this thread was: 'No, this argument [KCA] is not convincing, even for this theist.' I have repeated this sentiment often in this thread... that the KCA is not persuasive... which is a fairly clear expression the strength of the argument. I've also said, 'To be clear, I do think the KCA is valid', and so far the only objection has been begging the question (which you've admitted does not invalidate the argument). Just because my personal motivation is by inductive reasoning does not mean that I cannot make deductive appeals in my arguments (especially with people who only seem willing to accept deductive reasoning, even while repeatedly claiming an informal fallacy invalidates a deductive argument).

    Really? Again with the ad hominem characterizations? Your argument really should be strong enough to address mine without lowering yourself to impugning my motivations or attitude, which have nothing to do with the actual argument. You have admitted at least one serious error, but without even the slightest hint of justification (beyond maybe simple confirmation bias). I've yet to see you apologize to Jan or myself for the attacks made using that erroneous understanding of yours.
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  3. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Recall: I have repeatedly agreed that a valid conclusion can't be false while its premises are all true. I have merely disputed whether all logical arguments must be exhaustive, and employing inductive reasoning (as I have done from the start), they don't.
    'Other than god' depends on whether you accept the identification of something that can't possibly 'begin to exist' with god. Since 'god' is rather undefined otherwise, I do. But even the OP's restatement of the KCA is valid, because the premises do not entail the conclusion any more than any other deductive argument.

    If James has claimed a valid argument must beg the question, he has done so well after the OP. And if this is what you are now asserting, you are in conflict with Sarkus, who just said:

    Question begging can just as easily occur through multiple premises or even unstated ones (often to obfuscate). IOW, every deductive argument technically begs the question. And? The value of a valid deductive argument is not only in the soundness of its premises but the justification for the truth value of those premises. The more information included, the more value an argument has. More transitive relations allow more tests for the truth value of the conclusion.

    Again, an informal fallacy does NOT effect validity. Is that really that hard to understand? Look it up. Neat trick using two contradictory justifications for criticizing an argument though. Are you looking to pick one any time soon? But just to humor you in the meantime...

    From the OP:
    1. Everything except God has a cause.
    2. The universe is not God.
    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
    4. The cause is of the universe is God.
    Aside from this being a bastardization of the KCA, 4 is not invalid because no premise assumes a god exists (the point of the KCA), nor that god must be the cause. You're going to need to explicitly state any unstated premise, you may imagine to make the conclusion trivial, for this objection to be taken even remotely seriously. All valid deductive reasoning entails question begging. And? It does not effect, nor solely make for validity.

    Where is it you imagine I have been saying a deductive argument must not be exhaustive? At least James seems to understand the distinction, as in post #311. Hey, I'm not the one who made (and seems to keep doubling down on) the erroneous notion that begging the question has anything to do with validity. You can either argue begging the question OR employ deductive reasoning. But I'm sure you're oblivious how you arguing both make it difficult to pin down the actual method of your reasoning, hence the definitions I've given. So if you ever get around to deciding on one or the other, let us all know, and we can continue a more productive discussion.

    Maybe I've educated you enough to quit conflating the method of reasoning you employ. Tell you what, you quit mixing deductive and inductive freely (like saying valid arguments can't beg the question), and I'll quit doing so as well (much easier if I don't have to argue against conflated methods).
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  5. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Actually, a deductive argument is not allowed to introduce a new term in the conclusion, so it has to invoke god in a premise. Otherwise, it is not a valid argument.
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    No, it doesn't, as your post suggests it is continuing, when it has not been repeated once identified back in post #306. Try addressing what was actually said in the argument you're responding to rather than trying to score points with what has already happened and been corrected, please.
    The issue with question begging is with reference to the formulation in the OP, and it is clearly stated that it only applies IF one has the hidden premise that the only thing that does not begin to exist is God.
    If you provide an alternative then that clearly resolves the issue of question-begging, and merely makes line 4 as given in the OP an invalid conclusion.
    Hence, as stated, it is either question begging or it is invalid. Take your pick.
    I had done, yes. Past tense. So, again, please argue against the actual words you are trying to respond to rather than what has preceded, been corrected, and has no bearing on what was said now. All that is tantamount to is a personal attack - arguing against the person (and what you see as a tendency) rather than what was specifically stated.
    No, I don't. I did, for a short while, which was corrected back in post #306. Again, address what you are responding to rather than try to score points with previous errors that have since been corrected.
    There is no ad hominem attack: your previous misunderstanding has yet to be shown to be corrected. Yet here you are once again trying to assert your superiority by trying to make a mountain of a since-corrected mistake, no longer bothering to address what has since been said in that regard, nor what was actually said in the post you responded to.
    And no, the reasoning was not suspect. The reasoning was valid, merely starting from an incorrect premise, thus unsound.
    Note the term "seem".
    It is also a rather loose definition of begging the question that doesn't limit the presupposition to a single premise.
    Please try and do what you say is trivial. Then let's see if your example is viewed as question-begging or not.
    Unstated premises, as suggested might be happening in the OP, would indeed be question-begging, since the unstated premise would again, on its own, lead to the conclusion.
    Strength of conviction in the veracity of the premises, sure, but since we have been discussing the validity...
    No one disputes that the conclusion on line 3 is valid. It is the line 4 (as offered in the OP) that is invalid unless there is question-begging.
    Yet when your understanding of validity is incorrect it means your view of when a conclusion is valid will be brought into question, as it has been.
    When discussing matters of validity - as some of us have been trying to do, inductive reasoning has no place. As and when such people move on to the matter of the veracity of the premise we can all frolic with inductive reasoning to our heart's content.
    Bent you have previously tried to claim a conclusion was valid due to induction. And all you can now do to gloss over that is constantly bleat on about an error I made previously that has since been corrected. Deflection, Syne, that's all you seem to be engaging in.
    Of course they are ad hominem: all characterisations of a person are such. But they aren't fallacious in this regard in that they speak to the manner in which you conduct yourself, the manner in which you make discourse a chore rather than a pleasure.
    No, they don't, because those have already been addressed. What I am trying to do is point out to you that you are making this discourse tedious, as all you seem to want to do is score points, and assert a phantom superiority. Don't confuse my comments for being in place of actually replying to your arguments, 'cos they aren't, they are addressing the nature and style of your responses.
    Justification for what? For the admission??
    Why would an apology be needed? It was a mistake, corrected, and the discussion moved on. At no point, until Yazata raised the issue, was it identified by either you or Jan that question-begging was not a question of validity, and thus you are as complicit the mistake up to that point. And since the discussion has moved on, or at least tried to, trying to seek an apology, or raise the issue of there not being one, is again simply an example of your further efforts at deflection.
    My characterisations of your style and nature remain.
  8. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    You have actually been arguing that a valid conclusion is one where true premises lead to the conclusion (see post #275 as an example of where you have stated this).
    This is different to what you are saying above.
    A conclusion can be true, and the premises true, yet the argument can still be invalid unless it satisfies the requirement that it is impossible for the conclusion to be false while the premises are true.
    This requires eliminating all other possibly-true conclusions, a requirement you have argued vehemently against throughout your posts on this thread.
    Again referring to post #275 as an example: you implied that a valid argument need not be exhaustive (in eliminating other possibilities).
    This is patently incorrect.
    You are conflating validity (deductive reasoning) with strength of an argument (inductive).
    Maybe you will now put forward your definitive understanding of validity, given that it seems to have shifted (albeit to something approaching the correct understanding)?
    Quite true, in which case it would be, as the OP states, a matter of question-begging.
    I'm confused, here, because you say it is valid because the premises do not entail the conclusion???
    How does that make it valid?
    I am not asserting that.
    I am asserting that an argument that question-begs can be valid:
    This table exists.
    Therefore this table exists.
    This question begs, clearly, and is valid: there is no way for the conclusion to be false while the premise is true.
    I am not aware of anyone who adheres to that notion of question-begging in practice, only when in philosophical discourse about the nature of logic etc.
    There is no value to a valid deductive argument to the soundness of its premise.
    Nor as justification for the truth of those premises.
    All Queegs are Kolds
    All Kolds are Tufs
    Therefore all Queegs are Tufs.
    How is this argument in any way of value to the soundness of the premises or to the justification for the truth of those premises?
    I can include any amount of information in a deductive argument... That alone won't help issues of the soundness of the premises.
    Where in the post you are responding to did I say otherwise?
    Why is it a trick?
    Either it is begging the question or it is invalid.
    Which it is depends on the person using the argument and whether they consider God to be the only thing that does not begin to exist, as clearly explained in the OP.
    Since I am not using the argument myself, I can only point out the flaws that I perceive to exist, and if there are multiple interpretations that each have a flaw, different or otherwise, then I will point them all out.
    You have an issue with this?
    If so I struggle to understand why, perhaps you can explain?
    This argument is valid up to line 3, but 4 is an invalid conclusion: from the premises given, there is nothing precluding the cause of the universe to be something other than God (e.g. The big bang).
    As such, it is entirely possible for the conclusion to be false while the premises are true.
    Thus invalid.
    As suspected, your understanding of validity remains as incorrect as previously.
    You mean other than the likes of post #275, and then in almost every other post where you try to argue against the notion of validity needing the conclusion to exclude all other possibilities?
    While Sarkus has addressed the pathetic nature of you bringing up what has already been corrected for the past 8 pages or so of this thread, I might also bring to your attention the following from your post #293:
    "That is begging the question AND circular reasoning, BOTH logically invalid."
    So can I suggest that you contain your responses to what is actually posted rather than dragging up old mistakes that have since been corrected, and that YOU were as guilty of.
    Since you hold that all deductive reasoning is begging the question, other than being trivial I'm not sure how you think begging the question is not part of deductive reasoning?
    As for me, I don't, and I'm happy to identify fallacious logic, formal or otherwise, and since the issue of question-begging has already been raised (whether due to error or otherwise) I don't see it as unacceptable to continue that line of debate.
    Why do you?
    Your misplaced arrogance aside, it was Yazata that identified the need for correction, not you, and you were as guilty of the mistake as I, and sarkus, and JamesR.
    Since Yazata raised the need for correction, I am not aware if claiming question-begging invalidates an argument.
    Are you?
    Yes, a post might include issues of validity as well as issues of question-begging, but there is no conflating the two, if you look at what is actually posted.
  9. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    This is such a crazy statement, that you must have found it on a home schooling website for fundamentalist Christians. Oh, wait, you did.

    The reason that Christian fundamentalists try tactics like allowing falacies of reasoning in their arguments is because they, in general, have horrible arguments. Almost all of Christian apologetics, from William Lane Craig on down, is filled with lies. Not simply falsehoods, lies. Craig, for example, has been corrected many times on basic mistakes of mathematics and physics that he uses again and again.

    Many of the arguments that Christian fundamentalists try to use are filled with the basic mistake of begging the question, so it is not surprising that some fundamentalist tries to fool his audience into believing that this tactic is acceptable. It is not.

    Saying that the premises of a deductive argument provide all necessary information to reach the conclusion is not the same as begging the question.
    Yes, yes it is. Do not let Christian fundamentalist lie to you.
    The people who like to obfuscate that they are begging the question are the Christian fundamentalists that you are citing. They are so bad at it that the ones you found are not just admitting it and trying to con people some other way. You seem to be buying the con.
  10. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Apologies, typo in the above first sentence, which significantly changes the meaning.
    I meant, of course: "Since Yazata raised the need for correction, I am not aware of claiming question-begging invalidates an argument."
    I.e. I am not aware, since that correction, of having made any claim that question-begging invalidates an argument.

    So apologies for any confusion.
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I have to admit that I haven't been reading this thread, since it went off the rails. But perhaps I should have. Syne seems to be making some good points and is being insulted for having done it by Sciforums' jeering gallery.

    Craig provides one as well. He suggests that what he calls 'abstract objects' might be uncaused. I'm not sure what he means by 'abstract object' but am guessing that he's thinking of Platonic-style universals such as numbers.

    Right. I made that point in post #304 on page 18, but everyone ignored it.

    Nobody in this thread has ever laid out Craig's argument in proof form so that all of its assumptions and steps are clear. So it's hard to know what Craig is assuming and how he moves from those assumptions to his conclusion. It isn't even entirely clear to me what his conclusion is supposed to be.

    In post #1 in this thread, we were given this:

    The traditional Cosmological argument runs as follows:
    1. Everything that exists must have a cause.
    2. The chain of causes cannot be infinite, so there must be a First Cause which is itself uncaused.
    3. The First Cause is God.
    This version of the first-cause cosmological argument obviously suffers from the difficulty that premise #2 contradicts premise #1. (There are other problems as well, such as #3 not being a logical consequence of 1 and 2.)

    In his reading Craig apparently noticed a version of the first-cause argument in medieval Islamic theology ('Kalam') that avoids that problem of the inconsistency of 1 and 2.

    The Kalam Cosmological Argument attempts to avoid this special pleading by modifying the argument. One version of the Kalam argument, put forward but Christian apologist William Lane Craig runs as follows:
    1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
    2. The universe began to exist.
    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
    4. That cause is God.
    This still isn't satisfactory as it stands, since #4 (the apparent conclusion) still isn't logically implied by 1 through 3. Craig is a smart guy and is obviously aware of this, and introduces a whole collection of additional premises to cross the gap from the universe's cause to God.

    So... just given what JamesR posted in the first post, Craig's #3, the universe having a cause, does follow as a simple logical consequence of #1 and #2, by modus ponens. #4 on the other hand, the universe's cause being theology's God, is a non-sequitur absent Craig's additional premises. (I'm still not convinced how logically tight that additional argument is, since I've never seen it laid out in detail anywhere.)

    A -> A (if A, then A) is a valid logical inference, from identity.

    The difficulty with A -> A isn't that it's logically invalid, the problem is that is that it's rhetorically empty and uninformative. If the goal of argument is to get people to accept the truth of A, starting out with the truth of A as an initial premise isn't likely to convince anyone.

    And of course we still haven't addressed the question of whether or not A is in fact true, despite its truth ostensibly being the conclusion that we were arguing for. But as you note, that question takes us into the realm of soundness.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  12. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Yet you continue to use begging the question, only now to leverage a false dilemma. Now I can see why you'd think there's a hidden premise, but 'cause' entails all of the properties being asserted for god. You might call it special pleading, if the OP's bastardization were accurate, but the actual argument merely doesn't address whether there's an exception or not. This leaves open the possibilities that there either is an exception for god, or god has its own infinite regress. If physical causation is allowed infinite regress, then why the special pleading for god not to (especially considering the parsimony for observations of the universe beginning a finite time in the past, and ruling out self-causation)?

    And I've already explained to you how the 'alternative' does nothing to invalidate the conclusion. Remember this?:
    I've shown an alternative to god that did not 'begin to exist' (or even if identified with god, cannot possibly be said to 'begin to exist').
    If it is accepted as identified with god (soundness), there is both no alternative and amply justification for the exception (it is only special pleading if the exception can't be justified).

    So your false dilemma is just that, fallacious.
    if not X then Y
    not X
    thus Y​
    But both X and Y are false.

    Really? So criticizing you on things you've actually said, and admitted to, is a 'personal attack', but calling someone 'hysterical' (post #436) is not? Nice double standard there. And you wonder why I continue to think your reasoning suspect.

    Valid? So now you're asserting that your claim that begging the question made a deductive argument invalid was, itself, deductive reasoning? So:
    Any fallacy invalidates a deductive argument.
    Question begging is a fallacy.
    Thus, question begging invalidates a deductive argument.​
    That's all fine and good, but you have yet to understand that people arguing against someone who appears to freely conflate methods of reasoning (since question begging is really only a problem for inductive reasoning, at best) would be forced to fight on those same to fronts, and in terms you seemed to understand. IOW, I'll happily let this mistake go, if you accept that my terms were a direct consequence of trying to discuss across two conflated methods of reasoning with you. Validity is also a measure of truth-preserving from premise to premise, which is just as important to inductive reasoning as it is to deductive reasoning.

    Do you expect an informal fallacy to have a well-defined definition as applied to logic? Again, ad infinitum, it has no bearing on the validity.

    And? I thought you've been carrying on about how that mistake has long been corrected. So why are you still employing question begging to criticize the argument?

    ...in the context of a conflated method of reasoning.

    'First cause' entails all of the properties asserted by the conclusion.

    Again, in the context of conflated method of reasoning, where both methods are forced to be engaged at once. If you really want to move on, you will move on from this as well. But I have a feeling this tactic (and its ad hominem characterizations) allows you a much needed direction of attack that your argument may be otherwise lacking.

    So now you admit to ad hominem attacks. Try attacking the argument instead.
  13. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    You mean other than post #306 by Sarkus, and the fact that neither he (I think) nor I have done the same since?
    If that is the impact of people ignoring you, perhaps you should look to be ignored more often,

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    As for Syne making "good points", perhaps he should make them while also being relevant to what the person he's responding to actually said, rather than trying to educate via strawmen.

    Further, his understanding of validity still seems to be flawed, since he seems to consider line 4 of (via the reformulation he posted above) to be valid.
    As you point out, 4 simply does not follow (i.e. is an invalid conclusion) from the premises given.

    Furthermore, question-begging isn't actually a matter of soundness at all.
    It is silent on the matter.
    It is simply an informal fallacy, and has no bearing on the soundness or otherwise due to its empty nature.
    If the premise is false then the conclusion is false, if the premise is true then the conclusion is true, irrespective of what the premise / conclusion actually are.
  14. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    'First cause' entails all of the properties being asserted by the term 'god' in the conclusion. First cause must be both causative and volitional (since an otherwise uncaused beginning implies choice). These are classic properties of a deistic god or demiurge. So a first cause does imply these characteristic commonly attributed to god.

    Agreed. An argument can easily be valid while have no explanatory power.
  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Why do you think "cause" entails all of the properties being asserted for God? I am quite capable of causing something to happen, but that does not make me God.
    That aside, line 4 remains an invalid conclusion unless you beg the question through the hidden premise of God being the only thing that does not begin to exist. What alternative is there other than these two? You say that "this leaves open the possibilities that there either is an exception for god," in which case the conclusion is not valid (as it could be false while the premises true). You say that it could be that "god has its own infinite regress" but this has no bearing on the conclusion at all - whether God hasitsown infinite regress or not is outside of the conclusion reached.
    So if you think it is a false dilemma, what genuine alternative is there?
    Any alternative to God as something that does not begin to exist does invalidate the conclusion, as it is not possible to conclude that it was therefore God that was the cause.
    You attempt to argue that "cause " entails all of the properties being asserted for other things other than god can cause. So no, if you have genuinely provided an alternative then the conclusion is invalid simply because the conclusion reached could be false (i.e. the alternative could be the cause of the universe) while the premises are still true.
    You have yet to show that that is the case.
    I didn't call you hysterical at all. I referred to your comments as hysterical. Can you read? Can you understand what you read?
    Oh, please. There's nothing to let go. It's already gone, Syne. You can try and excuse your failings however you want but they won't wash, I'm afraid. You still can't seem to understand what validity entails, given that in the absence of question-begging you see line 4 as a valid conclusion.
    Where have I said it does? Or is your only recourse back to pre-post #306? Otherwise all you're bleating ad infinitum is what is already known and accepted. Your repetition has no weight, nor any relevance. Other than, I suppose, to make yourself look superior.
    Because it is a case of either one or the other. If we are to establish that it is a valid conclusion then we need to at least identify how, that it employs question-begging, for example. If the person intending the argument does not wish to acknowledge the question-begging then they can not claim the conclusion is valid - for the explanations already given.
    So the issue of question begging is still pertinent in establishing whether the argument is valid or not. Why are you struggling to see this?
    Not any longer (since it was pointed out in #306) - but you can't seem to get past that in your drive to look superior.
    Why are you now introducing "First" cause? This isn't in the OP, nor in the KCA. "First cause" is a rather different matter to simply "cause".
    If you wish to put forth an argument entailing "first cause" by all means do so, but don't insert words in the argument currently being discussed that aren't there, please.
    Yet more deflection, Syne. Give it a rest already!
    I admit to attacking the tone and style of your posts, yes. In so far as they are attacks against that they can be taken as ad hominem, yes. I had already addressed your argument, and the attacks against your tone and style are in no way against the points you raised, thus not a fallacious ad hominem attack. They are merely a separate matter to the points already responded to, addressing another aspect of your post. Thus legitimate.
  16. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    See the problem of arguing against a conflated method of reasoning, as explained to Sarkus, above.

    No, I was asserting validity (truth-preserving by inference) against question-begging, not wholly aware that you meant strictly deductive, since your use was contradictory in that sense.
    The rule is valid with respect to the semantics of classical logic (as well as the semantics of many other non-classical logics), in the sense that if the premises are true (under an interpretation), then so is the conclusion.
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_inference
    Note, not 'all/any/every interpretation'. As opposed to:

    Considering your conflation of question begging (an inductive problem) being invalid (a deductive issue), I did my best to address both within what I could only assume to be your understanding.

    Which you've since admitted is not a validity issue. So where in the OP remains a valid objection? Are you finally prepared to discuss soundness?

    The operative part of that quote was 'the premises do not entail the conclusion any more than any other deductive argument'.

    Then are you finally ready to discuss soundness?

    Like I asked Sarkus, do you really expect an informal fallacy to be well-defined as it pertains to deductive reasoning? How to define it and what it means it this context is very much open to debate. No doubt, the idiot's guide to logic avoids that thicket.

    The value of any deductive argument resides in both its validity and its soundness. While the premises can be assumed true, their value ultimately lies in their justification and the inductive justification that binds them to the conclusion. Deductive reasoning isn't just a validity game.

    I didn't say it would. I said, 'The more information included, the more value an argument has.'
    Note: 'argument' not 'premise'. Try to keep up.

    "the matter of question-begging is still a matter of validity with regard the KCA"

    It's always hard to tell which argument from the OP you and Sarkus are referring to simply by premise/conclusion number. I've already called the second four a bastardization. If the conclusion is about cause, it is not representative of the KCA, where the conclusion is about the existence of god.

    And? Trying to communicate with someone conflating methods of reasoning can be hazardous. Like I told Sarkus, I'll happily let this go once you stop dredging up my attempt to counter your less-than-obvious conflation. Sound fair to you?

    I said:
    'You can either argue begging the question OR employ deductive reasoning."​
    IOW, you can either criticize an argument for begging the question OR employ deductive reasoning.

    It is contradictory, and more than a little disingenuous, to admit begging the question doesn't hinder validity and then keep arguing (supposedly still strictly validity) that it begs the question.

    If there is, indeed, no conflating the two, then you have indeed moved on, at least in part, to soundness.
  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    It does? Does cosmology's big bang really have the same content as theology's God?

    Craig wants to insist that the first cause is immaterial, he wants to insist that there can be no infinite regresses, he insists that the universe can only have a single first cause and insists that the only way an effect can arise in the absence of prior determining conditions is through what he calls 'agent causation', hence he insists that the first cause must be a 'person'.

    It should be obvious that all of that is going to require a tremendous amount of argument and justification that we haven't seen so far. Even then, it still wouldn't deliver God into our laps, since there is no argument that this first-cause is divine or holy in any significantly religious way, such that it serves as a suitable object for religious devotion and worship. As it stands, Craig is arguing for a super space-alien from another dimension.

    That's Craig's assertion. I think that it's perhaps the weakest part of his argument. It assumes that the concept of 'cause' retains its meaning when it's abstracted from the constant conjunction of physical events and applied instead to hypothetical non-physical beings outside space and time entirely. His 'agent causation' idea assumes that he understands what "choice" is, what timeless choice might be, that he possesses the definitive solution to the age-old problem of free-will, that he can explain how his assumption of volition implies the rest of the psychological complexity of personality, and how an absolutely unique and solitary being could be personal in the first place. (Good luck with all that!)
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  18. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    That is just a falsehood that is peddled when convenient by people trying to use bad arguments. If someone wants to just invoke a vague, essentially unknowable deity, then they might conceivably be able to use this tactic. However, the same people who make this claim also want to control people's sex lives and excuse priests from rape and do it on the basis of their very rich idea of a deity.
  19. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Because the KCA specifically asserts 'first cause'. The KCA concludes THAT god exists, not HOW god exists. Glad to see you agree. The KCA merely argues first cause and then equates its properties (causative, volitional, and necessary, i.e. not contingent) to those commonly attributed to the term god.

    Wow, I even underline it, and you still missed it, e.g. 'identified with god'. The 'alternative' need only justify that god is the sole necessary entity without employing special pleading. Once that is established, explicitly in my version of the CA, the alternative can be equated to god. But this is all a matter of soundness. The term 'god' in the vanilla KCA is equivalent to 'first cause', and there is no valid alternative to first cause. You must address soundness if you want to take issue with the equivalence to god.

    In post #436, you said:
    "Oh, hysterical, syne."​
    You are just backpedaling by equivocating that hysterical comments say nothing about who made them. Or do you really think a level-headed person could make hysterical (deriving from or affected by uncontrolled extreme emotion) comments? If so, that's quite a disconnect. I think the psychological term is dissociation.


    In a universe of causation, a single cause that initiates that universe is the first cause. This is trivially so. According to the OP, we are also discussing the version of the KCA put forward by Craig, who does argue 'first cause'. The KCA is also a version of cosmological argument, which is also called argument from first cause. It is in the OP, correctly identified as the basis of which the KCA is a version. I assume the KCA drops the 'first cause' term simply because such equivocation that you are here employing is trivially defeated.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  20. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    The big bang explicitly states that it cannot identify its ultimate cause, only that it occurred. We wouldn't need to hypothesize about previous universes or vacuum energies if the BB was sufficiently causative.

    Agent causation is often viewed as the action of a person, since we have little to no alternative examples of true volition. Agent causation does not, itself, imply anything 'divine or holy', nor even something that can be personally related to in any sense. Nor are all concepts of god significantly religious or suitable for devotion and worship. Craig's might, but that seem immaterial to the KCA. Craig does not invoke those properties of god.

    Any beginning a finite time in the past, and without prior cause, must invoke some degree of volition. Otherwise you cannot account for the timing of such an event.
  21. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Yet you failed to point that out at the time and argued with the same misconception.
    Only now you try to excuse yourself.
    It as feeble as it is disingenuous.
    Certainly not worthy of further response.
    Your words were quite clear, Syne.
    No amount of backtracking and diversion can change them.
    Yes, such the martyr.
    Simply put, Syne, you committed the same mistake, but are now trying to squirm your way out.
    Won't wash.
    And for some reason you seem unable to move on - always wishing to drag the discussion to back to an admission of error that has been corrected, one that you can't seem to accept you also committed, and you now seem unable to address the points subsequently raised.
    Instead you simply poison the well by continual reference back rather than addressing the points raised.
    Because we have yet to clarify whether the argument in the OP is question-begging or is invalid.
    Until that point is reached the matter remains open about whether the conclusion (line 4) is valid or not.
    Are you ready to admit that your understanding of validity is flawed, and that if the argument in the OP does not beg the question then the conclusion is invalid?
    If that is your position (that there is no question begging) then that merely makes it not a matter of question begging.
    That does not mean that it is therefore valid.
    As argued, it is not a valid conclusion, and can only be such if there is question-begging (beyond which you seem to think is found in any other deductive argument).
    If there is no question begging then line 4 can be false while the premises true.
    Hence invalid.
    Are you ready to admit that your understanding of validity is flawed, and that if the argument in the OP does not beg the question then the conclusion is invalid?
    I merely take the most commonly understood definition, not yours.
    I disagree - validity is its own value, while soundess is merely the applicability to reality.
    The "value" is dependent upon what is being argued, and is inherently within the validity.
    Without validity there can be no sound argument.
    But it is a matter of semantics, I feel, as to what you consider to be "value".
    Yet an argument is only sound if the premises are sound.
    And since you place "value" in the "justification and inductive justification that binds them [premises] to the conclusion."... as I said, I can include any amount of information in a deductive argument... That alone won't help issues of the soundness of the premises, and thus value to the argument.
    Do try to keep up.
    It is, for the reasons previously explained: if there is no question begging then the argument is invalid; if there is question-begging (as identified) then the conclusion could be seen as valid.
    Thus the issue of question-begging remains a matter of validity with regard the KCA.
    The two are linked with regard the KCA (as given in the OP).
    You mean quoting your argument, the lines of which you numbered, and then commenting with reference to specific line numbers, is difficult for you to understand???
    So let me repeat what you posted:
    To which I replied, and do so again:
    This argument is valid up to line 3, but 4 is an invalid conclusion: from the premises given, there is nothing precluding the cause of the universe to be something other than God (e.g. The big bang).
    As such, it is entirely possible for the conclusion to be false while the premises are true.
    Thus invalid.
    As suspected, your understanding of validity remains as incorrect as previously.
    Feeble excuse, Syne.
    Yet you refer to that which has not been done since as equally far back as a means of disparaging recent arguments / discussions??
    All you have to do, Syne, is simply address what has been written in the posts you are responding to.
    As explained, one can not resolve the issue of validity until such time as one concludes whether the argument begs the question or not (if question begging it is valid, if no question begging then it is invalid).
    You argue that it does not (or at least no more than any other deductive argument) and thus the question of validity remains: you think it valid while I do not.
    If we conclude that it does beg the question (more than usual) then perhaps we might reach agreement.
    No, as explained above.
    If the issue of soundness is a by-product of discussing validity then so be it.
    But as of yet we have not reached agreement on validity.
  22. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Please can you provide an example of the KCA where it specifically asserts "first cause" rather than just "cause"?
    Every version I have seen, Craig's version included, makes no such specific assertion.
    E.g. Al Kindi's early formulation: "Every being which begins has a cause for its beginning; now the world is a being which begins; therefore, it possesses a cause for its beginning."
    I didn't miss it, and you specifically said "or even if identified with god."
    If the alternative can be equated to God then how is it an alternative?
    Likewise the alternative, if it is not also capable of performing the role of causation, how is it an actual alternative? As was raised early on, the question-begging identified isn't simply with regard the existence of an alternative that does not begin to exist but one that also has causal agency - i.e. that which is assumed to belong to God.
    I.e. to make the argument valid you need to have a premise (hidden or otherwise) that God is the only thing that does not begin to exist with causal agency.
    And in doing so you are back to square one: either the argument is invalid or it begs the question.
    Yes there is: multiple uncaused causal agencies.
    If you want to make the assumption that god equates to, say, a singular "first cause" then do so, and that would be an issue of soundness.
    But then you would not be providing an alternative, as per the argument in the OP.
    I was merely responding to the words and commenting how they made me feel. If you wish to read into that that I think you, personally, are hysterical, then you are simply reading too much into it.
    Hysterical as in extremely funny, Syne. Maybe it's a cultural difference, but we often refer to highly humourous things as being hysterical.
    Post #442: "Aside from this being a bastardization of the KCA, 4 is not invalid because no premise assumes a god exists (the point of the KCA), nor that god must be the cause."
    Unfortunately this is not trivially so, no matter how much you think otherwise. If the universe was caused by X, and X was caused by W, then X is not the "first cause" (at least not as applied to notions of God - just ask Jan!) Yes, X would be the "first cause of the universe" - but you'll note that that is a rather significant qualification on "first cause".
    Craig does not seem to use the term "first cause" - at least per wiki or any other place I can find it:
    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause;
    2. The universe began to exist;
    3. The universe has a cause.
    So you admit the KCA does not actually use "first cause" despite asserting above: "Because the KCA specifically asserts 'first cause'."??
  23. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    This is also crazy talk. If the beginning of the universe is the first event, then it cannot have any other timing. There is no reason to suppose that there is some preferred scale on which to assign any particular event, other than the relative physical relationships one might be interested in.

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