Another Thought on the Irrationality of Denying the First Premise of the Kalam

One of the ways in which atheists attempt to avoid the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument–that everything that begins to exist has a cause–is by claiming that since our experience of this type of causality comes only from our experience inside the universe, then we cannot be sure that this type of causality holds for outside the universe, and thus, the atheist says, we can not only be agnostic about this type of causality for universes, but we can thus be agnostic about the first premise of the Kalam argument in relation to our universe, and yet the most interesting thing to note is that if that atheist truly believes that universes could possibly come uncaused from nothing with enough fervor for him to be agnostic about the first premise of the Kalam argument, then the same atheist should immediately and unavoidably become agnostic about all knowledge claims and essentially be a radical skeptic about everything, for if the atheist believes that it is possible that our universe came uncaused from nothing, then–since absolute nothingness is not discriminatory in the type of universe it creates–it is also utterly possible that this very same universe came uncaused from nothing five seconds ago with the appearance of age, or that it was a universe where only the atheist himself is conscious and everyone else just appears to be, or a universe where the atheist is just a brain in a vat imagining all that is around him, and so on and so forth; so, if the atheist truly wishes to enter the realm of claiming that it is “possible” that universes could come uncaused from nothing, then he has no way of avoiding the problem that any type of universe could come uncaused from nothing, and so the atheist has choice but to admit that in his worldview, radical skepticism is not only an intellectual exercise but a very real possibility, and yet, of course, we all know that the atheist will not admit this fact for all that the atheist is trying to do with his denial of the first premise of the Kalam argument is have his cake and eat it too (causality for everything, except the one thing I need to avoid an argument that points towards God), and therefore the atheist’s intellectual hypocrisy is open for all to see.

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11 thoughts on “Another Thought on the Irrationality of Denying the First Premise of the Kalam

  1. kalam is actually a hybrid of the original. the original said ‘everything that exists…’
    it was changed intentionally to exclude a self existent, eternally existent god who they didn’t want to have to explain why HE didn’t need a cause.
    i think it doesn’t help much.
    even if ‘everything that begins to exist…’ needs a cause, still…how do you justify the claim that your god didn’t “begin” to exist but was always there?
    trying to be philosophers, you still must assert by simple fiat that your god always existed. Kalam is a joke and so are those who tout it as some proof for god.

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    • Actually KIA, the “original” “everything that exists has a cause” cosmological argument is a myth that atheists invented to allow themselves to avoid the implications of these arguments. To continue touting this myth is simply moronic…

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  2. If A is analogous to B, then if A has C-properties, B must have C-properties.
    Not logically valid.
    B may have C-properties, but the argument does not demonstrate that fact. It is specious.
    That is the problem with cosmological/contingency arguments. Sorry.

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    • Mistaken understanding of the cosmological argument. Take the Kalam’s first premise that ‘everything that begins to exist has a cause’. First, this is based on a metaphysical principle that nothing comes from nothing (that something does not come from nothing). And as a metaphysical principle, it applies everywhere. Second, even when based on empirical evidence, the argument is inductive in nature, not compositional. Hence, your objection fails. In fact, most atheistic objections are either misunderstandings of the argument or straw-men (such as that the premise is that everything has a cause).

      And note, science depends on induction, so it is not as if that is a reasoning tool we can simply throw overboard when it suits the atheist (meaning when its supports an argument for God).

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      • No, the argument maintains that, at the beginning, the initiating cause acts as a standard cause, without being a standard cause. That’s as far as the induction goes. The problem you run into at that point is the same problem that you run into with the interactionist versions of substance dualism in philosophy of mind: What is happening there? Our explanations are all contingent when it comes to causation – there is, at the very least, a requisite dependency and contribution to identity of the agents involved. By our account to be a cause is to be a cause, tautologically (in the philosophical sense).
        You need an explanation of what it is that you think is happening at the interface of non-contingent cause and contingent cause – one which justifies your calling the non-contingent cause non-contingent cause. There is an epistemic gulf otherwise.
        The deduction comes in the attributes which the cosmological/contingency arguments subsequently derive from the negation of the positive properties of normal causes.
        I can say that I am like Donald Trump, for example, and list all the ways in which we are analogous (number of chromosomes, overall morphology, etc), but I can’t then look at Trump and say I must share some, specific characteristic of his or that we must differ in some, specific way which makes us non-identical. I must offer some, specific and independent explanation for that similarity or difference.

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      • No, the argument maintains that everything that begins to exist needs an efficient cause. It then does a conceptual analysis to determine the attributes of that particular efficient cause of the universe. This is no difference then a Detective coming to a crime sense and then, from the evidence at hand, making a conceptual analysis of the attributes that the crime possessed in order for him to be able to commit the crime.

        All that is being argued is that the universe requires some type of efficient cause, from there, you analyse what attributes that cause would need to cause what it did cause.

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      • Yes, based on what we know, as a rule, about the contingent causes with which we are familiar and with which the argument draws an analogy. That process of going from the general rules to the specifics of a case is called deduction. And when you say that all that begins to exist has a cause you are talking about the contingent causes with which we are familiar. And when you say that the universe began to exist, you are drawing an analogy with contingent beginnings and their causes…

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  3. It is true that a person sufficiently ignorant of physics could not tell the different, in terms of quantum activity or in terms of entropy and complexity, between the vast universe appearing only moments ago with all the appearance of age.
    However, entropy, complexity, Occam’s razor, pragmatism, and quantum behaviour (to the best of my understanding) make that an exceptionally poor explanation.
    It’s always a possibility, and I am aware of it. But it’s so overwhelmingly unlikely that it doesn’t enter into pragmatic conversations at all. Another problem is that such a universe would make no changes to the facts that govern my life. Lastly, from an ontological point, I am constantly aware that all our investigations can only explore the universe as presented, even if it is presented misleadingly.

    I think part of the problem is that ‘belief’ and ‘knowledge’ and words of that genre are not as binary as people tend to assume: things are not simply true or false, in terms of knowledge. Instead, they are at varying levels of confidence. Because, for example, there is a plausible chance that the whole universe ‘came from’ ‘nothing’ (language yet to be clarified) does not necessarily mean I believe it to be true. And even if I did, it does not mean I would consider the odds of all universes appearing from nothing, at all ages, equally likely.

    Personally, I can dismiss the Kalam cosmological argument on the linguistic ambiguity of the words and concepts involved, straight off the bat.
    Then I can introduce doubt by looking at mathematically plausible alternatives.
    Then I can turn the argument on its head by pointing out the argument doesn’t rule out ‘energy’ and the laws of the conservation of energy as the initial cause.

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