1 of 4
1
A case against the KCA and the fine-tuned universe argument
Posted: 23 May 2011 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10
RevHeadBanger - 14 May 2011 01:38 AM
domokato - 12 May 2011 03:35 PM

@RevHeadBanger, you said you’ve been influenced by Christian apologetics, including Godel. If you’re still around, I would be interested to hear your favorite proof of God’s existence. If you’ll start a thread in the philosophy forum, I’ll follow you there.

Yea! I finally found it! Now after slamming out all those replies I am too tired to write a proper reply but I will write a brief abstract and follow up later this morning etc?  I will move it to the philosophy forum when I think up a title and expand on it a bit. Or you could reply to what I write in a new thread ? If you choose to do so please PM me with the title and location, I will do the same ~

Well yours is a difficult question because I came to God by the effect of cumulative evdiences. Not proof evidences.  think its impossible to have a tangible proof of an intangible entity. However, there are several. I would say that the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) is an important one. Then the universe being the way it is when the odds are so stacked against it for having the attributes for life inherent in its make up. Our universe should not have been lumpy and life giving it should have been smooth hot or cold and lifeless with no planets stars or other lumps!  Here is how the famous skeptic and mathematician Roger Penrose, and another author critiquing his authorship worded it note; you can skip the cut and paste if you want, Penrose is saying that the number against the universe being able to support life is ten to the one hundred and twenty third power;

“This now tells how precise the Creator’s aim must have been, namely to an accuracy of one part in 1010123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full in the ordinary denary notation: it would be 1 followed by 10123 successive 0’s. Even if we were to write a 0 on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe- and we could throw in all the other particles for good measure- we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. 26 Taking the physical variables into account, what is the likelihood of a universe giving us life coming into existence by coincidence? One in billions of billions? Or trillions of trillions of trillions? Or more?

Roger Penrose, a famous British mathematician and a close friend of Stephen Hawking, wondered about this question and tried to calculate the probability. Including what he considered to be all variables required for human beings to exist and live on a planet such as ours, he computed the probability of this environment occurring among all the possible results of the Big Bang.

According to Penrose, the odds against such an occurrence were on the order of 1010123 to 1.

It is hard even to imagine what this number means. In math, the value 10123 means 1 followed by 123 zeros. (This is, by the way, more than the total number of atoms 1078 believed to exist in the whole universe.) But Penrose’s answer is vastly more than this: It requires 1 followed by 10123 zeros.

Sorry for the long cut and paste!

Anyway my tiredness is showing. Suffice to say the cosmological arguments such as the KCA, and articles from authors like Penrose etc shook me from my smug atheism and sent me down the path to discovery. Also an near death experience which I agree is not very good evidence, definitely helped convince me that maybe atheism was not the best choice to build my reality paradigm around!  Anyway if you want to wait until I clean up this reply before you respond I should be back sooner than later!

rb

There are two points here. One is the KCA, and the other is the fine-tuned universe argument.

Here is the KCA, according to wikipedia:

The Kalam Cosmological Argument:[9]
(1)Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.
(2)The universe has a beginning of its existence.
Therefore:
(3) The universe has a cause of its existence.
(4) If the universe has a cause of its existence then that cause is God.
Therefore:
(5) God exists.

First off, I have an issue with (1). What does it mean for something to begin to exist? We know that matter and energy are conserved in the universe, so something “beginning to exist” is really just something becoming something else. It is not the same as something coming from nothing. I don’t think we actually have any evidence of such a phenomenon occurring in this universe. Maybe someone more familiar with the goings-on at the LHC can clear this one up.

(2) also lacks support. We don’t know whether or not the universe began to exist or if it always existed.

From these two points alone, we can reject the KCA. But for argument’s sake, I will continue…


Even assuming (1) and (2) are true for argument’s sake, (3)-(5) are problematic. The reason they cannot be accepted is because there are two ways to look at (1)-(2), both of which do not support (3)-(5):

1. (1)-(2) only apply to what happens within this universe, in which case (3)-(5)‘s reasoning about what is outside of this universe does not follow. (i.e., while everything in the universe has a cause, the universe itself is not shown to require a cause).

or

2. (1)-(2) applies to everything including what happens outside of this universe, in which case God must also have a cause, and if God has a cause, he isn’t the God of the Christian bible.

And finally, (4) makes a logical leap when it claims that the cause of the universe is God and not something else.

For all of the above reasons, we can safely reject (5).


The fine-tuned universe argument is simply that (human) life on Earth as we know it has a remarkably small probably of existing, and that therefore the universe was created to suit us. Here are a few problems with this argument (and there are probably more):

1. It ignores the possibility of other kinds of life emerging in other kinds of universes - life that may even become intelligent enough to think that they are also remarkably unlikely to exist.
2. It has causality backwards. In fact, life has grown and evolved to suit the universe!
3. Life on other planets is likely, according to scientists, so we are not all that special.
4. The multiverse, in string theory, may provide a means by which many universes may exist, some with life and some without - we just happen to be in one that contains life, and it wouldn’t be possible for us to be in one that didn’t contain life, by definition.

It’s like when you run into someone somewhere and say, “wow, what were the chances of seeing you here?” It depends on how you evaluate the “chances”. On a human level, maybe the other person rarely goes to that place, so you would expect a small chance of seeing them there. But physically speaking, our brains and bodies determine our preferences and plans and made us go to the same place at the same time. So there was no chance involved at all. The chances are 100% that you would see each other there.

Or it’s like asking, “what are the chances that this pen is here on my desk and not somewhere else?” How do you even begin to calculate that? I would be interested in how Penrose came up with those calculations. Got a link?

Our universe should not have been lumpy and life giving it should have been smooth hot or cold and lifeless with no planets stars or other lumps!

Can I get a source for this, too?

 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 May 2011 10:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  114
Joined  2010-12-03

Great post!  Debating the KCA is something that I have been actively involved in recently, and you really hit the nail on the head there.  Premises (1) and (2) are contingent, and the step from (3) to (4) is not a valid inference, unless “God” is defined only as “that which caused the universe’s existence”, which does not really say much about what “God” actually is.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 May 2011 11:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  110
Joined  2011-05-09
domokato - 23 May 2011 03:39 PM

There are two points here. One is the KCA, and the other is the fine-tuned universe argument.
Here is the KCA, according to wikipedia:
The Kalam Cosmological Argument:[9]
(1)Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.
(2)The universe has a beginning of its existence.
Therefore:
(3) The universe has a cause of its existence.
(4) If the universe has a cause of its existence then that cause is God.
Therefore:
(5) God exists.
First off, I have an issue with (1). What does it mean for something to begin to exist? We know that matter and energy are conserved in the universe, so something “beginning to exist” is really just something becoming something else. It is not the same as something coming from nothing. I don’t think we actually have any evidence of such a phenomenon occurring in this universe. Maybe someone more familiar with the goings-on at the LHC can clear this one up.

I have debated this many times and its a good point. The KCA does not say when something new as in new energy begins to to exist etc. No, what the KCA tells us is when something begins to exist it has a cause. That can mean a rearrangement of energy or atoms etc. For example if a quantum particle begins to exist in our temporal universe the cause for its existence is the quantum vacuum (I could go into detail about its virtual partner etc but I hope that suffices for this conversation). Or here is an example closer to your rebuttal, if ford explorer begins to exist it doesn’t have to pop out of the quantum foam, no it can be assembled, and the cause is the various robots and human assembly workers. However it did not exist in that form before the assembly line built it. So if you think about it the premise is true. The wiki example goes beyond the KCAs categorical syllogism which is a logical syllogism which uses only the first three premises or parts they are; the major premise, the minor premise and the conclusion. I am just saying for future reference. 

(2) also lacks support. We don’t know whether or not the universe began to exist or if it always existed.

Another truism but only just. Most scientists accept the hot model of the big bang. While the model does not rule out an infinite universe it does explicitly suggest an beginning. I know the other theories such as the infinite universe which spawns the metauniverse which is infinite universes. However there is no empirical evidence to support those fantastic interesting but barren from an hard evidence standpoint. Even the math uses constructs such as imaginary numbers etc. So I, as well as most scientists use the standard big bang (hot) model. I might add that its my belief the motivation behind the fairly recent (in the last ten years) (vain) attempt to destroy the standard big bang model is precisely because the model does suggest a beginning. Most atheist theoretical physicists such as Hawking etc know that a beginning is theist friendly. However so far the BB has resisted all assassination attempts.

From these two points alone, we can reject the KCA. But for argument’s sake, I will continue…
Even assuming (1) and (2) are true for argument’s sake, (3)-(5) are problematic. The reason they cannot be accepted is because there are two ways to look at (1)-(2), both of which do not support (3)-(5): 1. (1)-(2) only apply to what happens within this universe, in which case (3)-(5)‘s reasoning about what is outside of this universe does not follow. (i.e., while everything in the universe has a cause, the universe itself is not shown to require a cause).

I do not see how you can claim that the universe does not require a cause for it to begin to exist. The big bang tells us the universe began to exist around 14b years ago. So can you explain why the universe is special ? Ie not needing a cause to begin to exist.

or2. (1)-(2) applies to everything including what happens outside of this universe, in which case God must also have a cause, and if God has a cause, he isn’t the God of the Christian bible.

I have agreed many times in this and other threads in this forum that the KCA can only show that a ‘cause’ caused the universe to begin to exist. I suggest that this ‘cause’ is God because it meets the attributes we normally assign to a almighty creating God. This ‘cause’/God created or caused a universe to begin to exist. Not only that, the ‘cause’/God is eternal or atemporal*. There is more. Its the Penrose calculation. So not only is this cause/God eternal and can create life giving universes, it does so against those ten to the one hundred and twenty third power to one against! That’s enough, however there is even more evidence to suggest that this cause is God but I haven’t even touched on those yet.

Ok that said lets address your claim that God is violating the infinite regression ie what caused God to begin to exist. Answer; Nothing! We have already shown via the KCA that the ‘cause’/God existed before the BB (for clarity I say before however a more accurate statement would be that the cause/God exists outside time). We proved that because time itself was created after the BB according to standard BB cosmology.  However we also used the logic of the KCA to show that this cause had to have existed before the BB and its singularity! Why? Because it caused the big bang to bang! Ha ha. So God being atemporal and eternal means that God is not a created being he is infinite and eternal. The chain of regression is frozen by that. The KCA states that anything that begins to exist ‘ has a cause for its existence. God being eternal has no cause, and needs none according to the logic of the KCA. Whew! I know that is difficult to understand, or rather my way of stating it is, please if you have any questions I would be more than happy to clarify or explain.

And finally, (4) makes a logical leap when it claims that the cause of the universe is God and not something else. For all of the above reasons, we can safely reject (5).

I say any reasonable rational person would agree that its likely that an eternal ‘cause’ (nothing in science is eternal, which give further evidence that can create or cause a universe to begin to exist, that is a universe that against truly impossible odds (it should not support life) does support life fit’s the description of God. In other words if it can do all those things who cares if you call it God or the FSM? It still is God with an different name.

I read the rest of your reply and while it does contain additional information I have covered all your concerns with the (above replies). Again if I missed something please ask and I will clarify etc.

* nothing known to science is atemporal or eternal, however the logic of the KCA shows that the cause existed before time was created in the BB. This lends credence that the ‘cause’ was supernatural or what I call supernormal, which means a deity designed natural event. Thanks so much for your reply.

rhb

 Signature 

I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers” ‘Gibran’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 May 2011 11:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4574
Joined  2007-08-31

KCA and the anthropic principle are useless to proof the existence of zeus/jahweh/god/allah/brahman/.../.../... ...

KCA: what is true for everything in the universe must not be true for the universe as a whole. One can see this the ‘Kantian’ way, but also for the amazing fact that velocities higher than the speed of light are possible. The universe as a whole expands faster than the speed of light (above the limit of the visible universe (per definition)). But in the universe no information can be transferred faster than light.

Anthropic principle: if the chance is 100% that the universe makes our existence possible, or 10^-120%, in both cases we will see a universe that makes us possible, 100% sure.

I don’t know on which Penrose’s calculation is based (did he really say that?). I am afraid he just tried all possible values of some natural constants between certain limits (where did he get the limits from?) and compared the domain where stable complex structures are possible with those where they are not. For me such a chance calculation is not more worth than:

1. The world will evaporate tomorrow
2. This sentence can be true or false
3. So the chance the world evaporates tomorrow is 50%

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2011 12:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1423
Joined  2010-04-22
RevHeadBanger - 23 May 2011 11:40 PM

Another truism but only just. Most scientists accept the hot model of the big bang. While the model does not rule out an infinite universe it does explicitly suggest an beginning.

Not quite. It suggests how the structure of the universe that we see evolved. It doesn’t tell us anything about why the initial singularity came about in the first place.

or2. (1)-(2) applies to everything including what happens outside of this universe, in which case God must also have a cause, and if God has a cause, he isn’t the God of the Christian bible.

I have agreed many times in this and other threads in this forum that the KCA can only show that a ‘cause’ caused the universe to begin to exist. I suggest that this ‘cause’ is God because it meets the attributes we normally assign to a almighty creating God. This ‘cause’/God created or caused a universe to begin to exist. Not only that, the ‘cause’/God is eternal or atemporal*. There is more. Its the Penrose calculation. So not only is this cause/God eternal and can create life giving universes, it does so against those ten to the one hundred and twenty third power to one against! That’s enough, however there is even more evidence to suggest that this cause is God but I haven’t even touched on those yet.

Ok that said lets address your claim that God is violating the infinite regression ie what caused God to begin to exist. Answer; Nothing! We have already shown via the KCA that the ‘cause’/God existed before the BB (for clarity I say before however a more accurate statement would be that the cause/God exists outside time). We proved that because time itself was created after the BB according to standard BB cosmology.  However we also used the logic of the KCA to show that this cause had to have existed before the BB and its singularity! Why? Because it caused the big bang to bang! Ha ha. So God being atemporal and eternal means that God is not a created being he is infinite and eternal. The chain of regression is frozen by that. The KCA states that anything that begins to exist ‘ has a cause for its existence. God being eternal has no cause, and needs none according to the logic of the KCA. Whew! I know that is difficult to understand, or rather my way of stating it is, please if you have any questions I would be more than happy to clarify or explain.

Um, you ignored a lot of the criticism above. I’ll reiterate the point that to assume that life had to come out as we see it is a logical fallacy. We can come up with all sorts of outstanding stats on the improbability of all sorts of events that have already happened, but typically these analyses ignore how things actually work. For example, prior to me being conceived, the probability of exactly me growing up (presumably grin would be even more outlandish than that Penrose probability you gave, yet here I am. We can do the same thing for every person who has ever existet; this shows that there’s something drastically wrong with this form of analysis.

 Signature 

“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2011 01:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  110
Joined  2011-05-09
Mingy Jongo - 23 May 2011 10:18 PM

Great post!  Debating the KCA is something that I have been actively involved in recently, and you really hit the nail on the head there.  Premises (1) and (2) are contingent, and the step from (3) to (4) is not a valid inference, unless “God” is defined only as “that which caused the universe’s existence”, which does not really say much about what “God” actually is.

It’s an exceedingly good thing P1 and P2 are contingent, for if they weren’t there would be no cosmological argument, at least not one built around an logical syllogism! As I said step 3 and 4 according to wiki are a fine example why I am leery of using wiki. P one two and three are all we need to form a syllogism. The rest is speculation. I am not sure why the definition of God is so important. In most cases a Websters definition will work wonderfully. Just as atheism has several definitions, all valid it seems, Christianity too, God has several definitions. Yahweh is the old Hebrew God. I am working on a way to classify God much like the way things are organized in natural science to attempt to produce some clarity. I am not completely sure if atheists , maybe the more malicious of the group put so much value on defining God as a straw man argument or if they are genuinely curious. Maybe you all’ can help me on that one? (not that any of you are malicious).

rhb

 Signature 

I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers” ‘Gibran’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2011 02:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  110
Joined  2011-05-09
GdB - 23 May 2011 11:51 PM

KCA and the anthropic principle are useless to proof the existence of zeus/jahweh/god/allah/brahman/.../.../... ...

I agree that the KCA does not prove anything. However the KCA offers some of the best evidence for the existence of God IMO. I have found that as I age faith is playing a larger part, I do not need as much outside evidence as I used to keep the gremlins needing to scientifize’ (my word) everything ! I do not know if its Gods hand or if my brain is shrinking but either way I am much happier! Ha ha ~ And more at peace ~

KCA: what is true for everything in the universe must not be true for the universe as a whole. One can see this the ‘Kantian’ way, but also for the amazing fact that velocities higher than the speed of light are possible. The universe as a whole expands faster than the speed of light (above the limit of the visible universe (per definition)). But in the universe no information can be transferred faster than light.

I would like to say that universe is not expanding faster than light now. According to currently accepted cosmological theory it did during the inflationary epoch and it may again in the distant future. If we use our planet for reference and If the WMAP data is combined with other cosmological data is accurate, the best estimate is 70.8 (km/sec)/Mpc (give or take 1.6 (km/sec)/Mpc). Additional trivia; Years ago I beleive it was in 2005 or 06 a team of scientists calculated a value for the Hubble constant* . I am working on memory here but I beleive it was called Chandra, which was an X ray telescope in space in conjugation with ground-based radio telescopes. The group found a Hubble constant of 48 miles per second per 3.26 million light-years (77 kilometers per second per 3.26 million light-years, ha ha I looked this last bit of info up!). So that is far less than the speed of light.

Hey with all due respect are you familiar with quantum entanglement? You said no information can be exchanged faster than the speed of light. That may be true but quantum entanglement permits instantaneous information exchange even across the galaxy. You may be interested in this, however the library contains far more technical information without the risk of corrupted data.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2008/08/13/entangled-particles-seem-to-communicate-instantly—and-befuddle-scientists/

Anthropic principle: if the chance is 100% that the universe makes our existence possible, or 10^-120%, in both cases we will see a universe that makes us possible, 100% sure.

Well, with all due respect that is not the definition of the Anthropic principle*, I think you know that!  Here is the way I look at it my friend,; Say I hit the lotto win one billion dollars. I love five or seven card stud but we will use blackjack for this example.  Ok I am at the table and I bet a hundred dollars, however the house hits 21 and I lose. No problem I have hundred of thousands of those bills. However say I am still sitting in that casino a year later still playing the 21 game and the house has hit 21 every time. With the odds that Penrose calculated you could be there over a hundred years with the house hitting 21 every time.  Now I don’t know about you but I just might think that the game is rigged eh? The same goes for the universe being fit for life on the very first try. The BB tells us that this is the first time it began to exist or highly suggests it to be so. 

* Any of several similar explanations for the nature of the universe, and for the values of its fundamental constants, that states either that the universe is as it is because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to observe it, or that the very presence of intelligent life constrains the universe to be ...

http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Cosmo/ant_encyc.pdf

I don’t know on which Penrose’s calculation is based (did he really say that?).

Yes Penrose originally gave those incredible odds of 123 to the 10th and the quotes in the emperor has no clothes then he has mentioned them numerous times over the years. I will agree they are getting long in the tooth and I may sniff around for more evidence along those lines by other mathematicians. Here is the original write;

http://www.ws5.com/Penrose/

I am afraid he just tried all possible values of some natural constants between certain limits (where did he get the limits from?) and compared the domain where stable complex structures are possible with those where they are not. For me such a chance calculation is not more worth than:

Again with all due respect I can not agree. Penrose is a mathematician and an atheist , he knew full well what publishing those numbers would mean. He used the known variables of the universe at the beginning or the first three min. (as its famously named). Our physics will only allow us to go back to near the beginning ot time but not all the way to the big bang singularity. There is nothing wrong with your formula i.e. ;

“1. The world will evaporate tomorrow
2. This sentence can be true or false
3. So the chance the world evaporates tomorrow is 50%“

I hope what we have discussed so far shows why that argument is not valid? Let me know If I am incorrect in assuming that~ ?

Lastly;

May I share a closing thought? Struggling through school I was never a big fan of advanced philosophy. I was firmly convinced that the mandatory reading of philosophers like Nietzsche and Kant were just useless tripe. The concept of abstract concepts were difficult too. Today I know that I was very shortsighted, I am happy my peers brow beat me into learning the stuff! However if I had not converted from atheist to theist I think I still would detest philosophy. I am curious do most of you guys use philosophy to construct your model of reality, you know your paradigm etc? Or do you pretty much reject it for hard core tangible things real, etc. Sorry for discombobulated wording, but I am curious….

rhb

[ Edited: 24 May 2011 02:35 AM by RevHeadBanger ]
 Signature 

I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers” ‘Gibran’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2011 05:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4574
Joined  2007-08-31
RevHeadBanger - 24 May 2011 02:31 AM

I agree that the KCA does not prove anything. However the KCA offers some of the best evidence for the existence of God IMO.

I don’t know how you can say ‘KCA does not prove anything’ and ‘best evidence’ immediately after.

RevHeadBanger - 24 May 2011 02:31 AM

The group found a Hubble constant of 48 miles per second per 3.26 million light-years (77 kilometers per second per 3.26 million light-years, ha ha I looked this last bit of info up!). So that is far less than the speed of light.

Your mixing up different dimensions. You cannot compare Hubble’s constant (dimension metres/second/lightyears) with a velocity (metres/second).

From here:

There are many galaxies visible in telescopes with red shift numbers of 1.4 or higher. All of these are currently traveling away from us at greater than the speed of light.

RevHeadBanger - 24 May 2011 02:31 AM

Hey with all due respect are you familiar with quantum entanglement? You said no information can be exchanged faster than the speed of light.

Yes, I am familiar with it. There is no information transfer. Quantum entanglement cannot be used for information transfer.

RevHeadBanger - 24 May 2011 02:31 AM

Well, with all due respect that is not the definition of the Anthropic principle*,

Of course it isn’t. It is the refutation of the only version of the Anthropic principle that could have empirical content.

RevHeadBanger - 24 May 2011 02:31 AM

Penrose is a mathematician and an atheist , he knew full well what publishing those numbers would mean. He used the known variables of the universe at the beginning or the first three min. (as its famously named). Our physics will only allow us to go back to near the beginning ot time but not all the way to the big bang singularity.

Hmm. That is a calculation about entropy. Has not much to do with the anthropic principle, as far as I can see.

RevHeadBanger - 24 May 2011 02:31 AM

There is nothing wrong with your formula i.e. ;

“1. The world will evaporate tomorrow
2. This sentence can be true or false
3. So the chance the world evaporates tomorrow is 50%“

question It is as wrong as it can be!

I’ve studied philosophy. For me it is a means to get clearer sight on concepts used everywhere: science, culture, ethics, etc.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2011 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  114
Joined  2010-12-03
RevHeadBanger - 24 May 2011 01:02 AM
Mingy Jongo - 23 May 2011 10:18 PM

Great post!  Debating the KCA is something that I have been actively involved in recently, and you really hit the nail on the head there.  Premises (1) and (2) are contingent, and the step from (3) to (4) is not a valid inference, unless “God” is defined only as “that which caused the universe’s existence”, which does not really say much about what “God” actually is.

It’s an exceedingly good thing P1 and P2 are contingent, for if they weren’t there would be no cosmological argument, at least not one built around an logical syllogism!

When a proposition is “contingent”, it means the proposition is not logically necessary.  The argument’s validity has nothing to do with the contingency of its premises; however, whether or not it is sound does.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2011 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  110
Joined  2011-05-09
Mingy Jongo - 24 May 2011 08:31 AM
RevHeadBanger - 24 May 2011 01:02 AM
Mingy Jongo - 23 May 2011 10:18 PM

Great post!  Debating the KCA is something that I have been actively involved in recently, and you really hit the nail on the head there.  Premises (1) and (2) are contingent, and the step from (3) to (4) is not a valid inference, unless “God” is defined only as “that which caused the universe’s existence”, which does not really say much about what “God” actually is.

It’s an exceedingly good thing P1 and P2 are contingent, for if they weren’t there would be no cosmological argument, at least not one built around an logical syllogism!

When a proposition is “contingent”, it means the proposition is not logically necessary.  The argument’s validity has nothing to do with the contingency of its premises; however, whether or not it is sound does.


Of course I agree. I am not sure why you brought it up as it has no bearing that argument is a valid cosmological argument.  Likewise the comment about the stingy information it (the KCA) provides for God’s or the ‘cause’s’ attributes. In any case as I have said many times the KCA is evidence, weak or strong, its evidence, not proof for the existence of God. The KCA functions by supporting the opinion of each premise and then using it in the next premise. Hence the KCA is actually a series of connected arguments. To be successful its mandatory that each of these arguments be logically valid and that the premises are valid. So the KCA is actually a series of arguments that constructs a valid argument known as a disjunctive syllogism*, (or a categorical syllogism in its Thomistic or Leibnizian form), which means that the KCA’s formal validity is beyond dispute. To be a sound argument, however, the KCA must have true premises. This is where most of the attacks against the KCA begin.

Again,  I am only claiming that the KCA is a valid cosmological argument, (for the existence of God). And that it satisfies the requirements for that claim.  I am not claiming that the KCA can show that the Hebrew God is the ‘cause’ that caused the universe to begin to exist, but rather that its reasonable and rational to assume that the cause is God or an intelligent agent that created the universe. I bestow the God personal (and sentient) by working backwards from the present moment. As a rule I do not argue the finer points of the KCA, as I prefer to leave such things to Craig and Koon. They are far better equipped to argue such details.

*Craig uses the Arabic sourced disjunctive syllogism.

Anyway thanks for your reply, and sorry for the misunderstanding.

rhb

[ Edited: 24 May 2011 10:04 AM by RevHeadBanger ]
 Signature 

I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers” ‘Gibran’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2011 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  114
Joined  2010-12-03
RevHeadBanger - 24 May 2011 09:32 AM
Mingy Jongo - 24 May 2011 08:31 AM
RevHeadBanger - 24 May 2011 01:02 AM
Mingy Jongo - 23 May 2011 10:18 PM

Great post!  Debating the KCA is something that I have been actively involved in recently, and you really hit the nail on the head there.  Premises (1) and (2) are contingent, and the step from (3) to (4) is not a valid inference, unless “God” is defined only as “that which caused the universe’s existence”, which does not really say much about what “God” actually is.

It’s an exceedingly good thing P1 and P2 are contingent, for if they weren’t there would be no cosmological argument, at least not one built around an logical syllogism!

When a proposition is “contingent”, it means the proposition is not logically necessary.  The argument’s validity has nothing to do with the contingency of its premises; however, whether or not it is sound does.

I am not sure why you brought it up as it has no bearing that argument is a valid cosmological argument.  Likewise the comment about the stingy information it provides about God.

rhb

My whole point is that if the premises of the KCA are not true (which is logically possible), then the argument is not sound.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2011 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  110
Joined  2011-05-09
Mingy Jongo - 24 May 2011 09:48 AM

My whole point is that if the premises of the KCA are not true (which is logically possible), then the argument is not sound.

I agree. However the premises are true, and that is all that is required. The KCA has not been shown to be invalid, nor has it been defeated in any professional venue I can know of.

Lastly, and I really didn’t want to get into this, you did not show why the premises were not true, nor “logically possible”. Or why they are contingent. I do not want to come off as a hard butt but why try to invalidate an argument that has resisted all attempts to do so? If you do manage to invalidate the KCA you may win some kind of philosophical Nobel prize…ha ha (please excuse the levity?)~ You do have gonads, I will give you that much~

rhb

[ Edited: 24 May 2011 10:24 AM by RevHeadBanger ]
 Signature 

I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers” ‘Gibran’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2011 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  110
Joined  2011-05-09
TromboneAndrew - 24 May 2011 12:14 AM

date=“1306233643”]
Not quite. It suggests how the structure of the universe that we see evolved. It doesn’t tell us anything about why the initial singularity came about in the first place.

I didn’t say that it did. I said, in this thread that we can not even go all the way back to the singularity. Our physics break down before that.  However the KCA does (allow access ‘before’ the big bang).

Um, you ignored a lot of the criticism above. I’ll reiterate the point that to assume that life had to come out as we see it is a logical fallacy.

I think I addressed the relevant criticism, however I may of missed something, I am attempting to reply to many members while you are only addressing one. I think the Casino analogy demonstrated why your assessment is not accurate.

rhb

[ Edited: 24 May 2011 10:19 AM by RevHeadBanger ]
 Signature 

I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers” ‘Gibran’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2011 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10

I do not see how you can claim that the universe does not require a cause for it to begin to exist. The big bang tells us the universe began to exist around 14b years ago. So can you explain why the universe is special ? Ie not needing a cause to begin to exist.

If you can ask that question, then I can similarly ask, what makes God so special that he does not require a cause to begin to exist? That’s my point. Why say that the universe needs a cause but not God? Why not just say the universe doesn’t need a cause and end the infinite regress there? After all, the law of cause and effect only applies to events within the universe and says nothing about the universe itself needing a cause, especially since the law of cause and effect doesn’t even apply to things popping into existence from nothing.

I have agreed many times in this and other threads in this forum that the KCA can only show that a ‘cause’ caused the universe to begin to exist.

- if it was sound, but it has not been shown to be.

I suggest that this ‘cause’ is God because it meets the attributes we normally assign to a almighty creating God. This ‘cause’/God created or caused a universe to begin to exist. Not only that, the ‘cause’/God is eternal or atemporal

You cannot reach this conclusion unless the KCA is shown to be sound, which it has not. Your belief in God based on the KCA, is irrational.

Ok that said lets address your claim that God is violating the infinite regression ie what caused God to begin to exist. Answer; Nothing! We have already shown via the KCA that the ‘cause’/God existed before the BB (for clarity I say before however a more accurate statement would be that the cause/God exists outside time). We proved that because time itself was created after the BB according to standard BB cosmology.  However we also used the logic of the KCA to show that this cause had to have existed before the BB and its singularity! Why? Because it caused the big bang to bang! Ha ha. So God being atemporal and eternal means that God is not a created being he is infinite and eternal. The chain of regression is frozen by that. The KCA states that anything that begins to exist ‘ has a cause for its existence. God being eternal has no cause, and needs none according to the logic of the KCA. Whew! I know that is difficult to understand, or rather my way of stating it is, please if you have any questions I would be more than happy to clarify or explain.

I understand what you’re saying quite well, actually. I think it is you who did not understand me. The chain of regression can be frozen by a universe that always existed, just as easily as it can be by a God that always existed. You have given no reason to accept the God explanation over the universe explanation.

In any case as I have said many times the KCA is evidence, weak or strong, its evidence, not proof for the existence of God.

An argument that is unsound is not evidence of anything. In fact, any deductive argument cannot be considered evidence of anything, but rather proof (and only if it’s sound). Evidence are things like facts that are used to support arguments. It doesn’t make sense to call an argument itself “evidence”.

Again,  I am only claiming that the KCA is a valid cosmological argument, (for the existence of God). And that it satisfies the requirements for that claim.  I am not claiming that the KCA can show that the Hebrew God is the ‘cause’ that caused the universe to begin to exist, but rather that its reasonable and rational to assume that the cause is God or an intelligent agent that created the universe.

This does not make sense. You are looking at an argument that is unable to show that God exists, and concluding that it is reasonable to assume God exists.

Here is the way I look at it my friend,; Say I hit the lotto win one billion dollars. I love five or seven card stud but we will use blackjack for this example.  Ok I am at the table and I bet a hundred dollars, however the house hits 21 and I lose. No problem I have hundred of thousands of those bills. However say I am still sitting in that casino a year later still playing the 21 game and the house has hit 21 every time. With the odds that Penrose calculated you could be there over a hundred years with the house hitting 21 every time.  Now I don’t know about you but I just might think that the game is rigged eh? The same goes for the universe being fit for life on the very first try. The BB tells us that this is the first time it began to exist or highly suggests it to be so.

Can you prove that a different kind of universe would not contain something akin to what we call life? What about silicon-based life, for example? Or what if another universe evolved computers instead of organisms? Or what if another universe contained something that kind of looked like life, but say, they lived forever and didn’t die. Or maybe they didn’t reproduce like life in our universe does. Do you still consider that non-life? Does that make us special? Does it make those other forms of life any less special? What about those universes that contained life that was way better than humans? What if there are possible universes that are even better suited for life. What if there was a universe that evolved God-like beings? How do you even begin to calculate the probabilities of these universes coming into existence?

Here’s a universe with very simple rules: http://www.bitstorm.org/gameoflife/

Play around with that for a bit. Is that life? If it were simulated on a bigger scale, could it evolve?

 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2011 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  114
Joined  2010-12-03
RevHeadBanger - 24 May 2011 10:05 AM
Mingy Jongo - 24 May 2011 09:48 AM

My whole point is that if the premises of the KCA are not true (which is logically possible), then the argument is not sound.

I agree. However the premises are true, and that is all that is required. The KCA has not been shown to be invalid, nor has it been defeated in any professional venue I can know of.

How do you know the premises are true?

RevHeadBanger - 24 May 2011 10:05 AM

Lastly, and I really didn’t want to get into this, you did not show why the premises were not true, nor “logically possible”. Or why they are contingent. I do not want to come off as a hard butt but why try to invalidate an argument that has resisted all attempts to do so? If you do manage to invalidate the KCA you may win some kind of philosophical Nobel prize…ha ha (please excuse the levity?)~ You do have gonads, I will give you that much~

rhb

It is logically possible that the premises are true, as there are no contradictory properties within and between them.  However, it is also logically possible that the premises are false, as there are no contradictory properties within and between their negations.  My major problem is with P1: because causality (if it exists) cannot be observed, there is neither evidence for nor against the proposition.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2011 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  110
Joined  2011-05-09
domokato - 24 May 2011 01:03 PM

You cannot reach this conclusion unless the KCA is shown to be sound, which it has not. Your belief in God based on the KCA, is irrational.

You have yet to show that any premise is not true. And you have not shown that the KCA is not a sound cosmological argument. Don’t take my word for it, if after reading those links you still think the KCA is not sound or valid (which puts you at odds with the majority of even secular professional philosophers) We must agree to disagree. Now, and to repeat myself, the KCA is very limited in what it can and can not do. I am claiming that the KCA is a valid cosmological argument and therefore lends evidence for the existence of ‘God’ and may show evidence for an intelligent agent that created the universe. However the latter is far weaker than the former.

I understand what you’re saying quite well, actually. I think it is you who did not understand me. The chain of regression can be frozen by a universe that always existed, just as easily as it can be by a God that always existed. You have given no reason to accept the God explanation over the universe explanation.

Yes however the empirical evidence does not show that the universe is eternal, which I have already addressed with links etc. If the universe is eternal how could it have began 14.7 or so billion years ago, which is the overwhelmingly accepted theory? That is the easy rebuttal, I have more! Ha ha. However if you can not rebut the first there is no need to continue, correct? 

An argument that is unsound is not evidence of anything. In fact, any deductive argument cannot be considered evidence of anything, but rather proof (and only if it’s sound). Evidence are things like facts that are used to support arguments. It doesn’t make sense to call an argument itself “evidence”.

An cosmological argument is different than a simple argument because it uses logic. ‘science’ (ie the BB theory, science theory such as causality etc to from a conclusion) and philosophy etc to produce a logical deduction. I know it’s maddening, even on the professional debate circuit where the KCA has never been defeated. However, You nor anyone else has shown that the KCA is not sound. If you really think you have shown the KCA as invalid and unsound you should consider the professional debate circuit, you would be famous and rich in short order!

This does not make sense. You are looking at an argument that is unable to show that God exists, and concluding that it is reasonable to assume God exists.

Again the KCA does lend evidence that God exists. You have not shown the premises to be untrue. If you can not show the premises to be untrue the argument is sound valid and wonderful!  Too bad atheism has zero evidence to support the claims of its adherents.

Can you prove that a different kind of universe would not contain something akin to what we call life? What about silicon-based life, for example? Or what if another universe evolved computers instead of organisms? Or what if another universe contained something that kind of looked like life, but say, they lived forever and didn’t die. Or maybe they didn’t reproduce like life in our universe does. Do you still consider that non-life? Does that make us special? Does it make those other forms of life any less special? What about those universes that contained life that was way better than humans? What if there are possible universes that are even better suited for life. What if there was a universe that evolved God-like beings? How do you even begin to calculate the probabilities of these universes coming into existence?

Again with all due respect, you are now grasping at straws, and maybe even relying on pure faith! Perhaps you should consider an career in the clergy. The answer is no there may be something other than carbon based life. However a universe with a tiny deviation would be either white hot or cold near absolute zero with no solid matter such as planets stars etc.. No that is entering in the realm of speculation and conjecture as well as faith. I find it odd that the resistance to an intelligent agent creating the universe is so great as to generate faith. If you could produce empirical evidence of a life form that could begin to exist evolve and live in a white hot universe or one near absolute zero you may have a valid claim. However, with all due respect, in the absence of such evidence those speculations are in the realm of science fiction or pure faith.

Here’s a universe with very simple rules: http://www.bitstorm.org/gameoflife/
Play around with that for a bit. Is that life? If it were simulated on a bigger scale, could it evolve?

Thanks for the link. I remember when that ‘game’ was previewed in scientific American. IMO no, while highly interesting (AI fascinates me)  it’s not ‘life’, at least not yet.

rhb

 Signature 

I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers” ‘Gibran’

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 4
1