Friday, October 30, 2009

What the Kalām Argument Accomplishes

Kerath25 had some good insights regarding the Kalām argument. I've included the points he's referencing, in blue:

Makes great sense. There's a good book on the subject by Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator.

A few extra notes on your points:

Point 6 [Arguments for an infinite regression of universes break down as senseless. They're a more complex way of trying to count from negative infinity]: It is easy to discount this one by the concept of entropy. If this universe could have come from an existing one, it has already been demonstrated that it cannot return to such. Modern research on the subject continues to affirm that our universe will not pull itself back together. (There is a mathematical proof for this, but it's too long to write here).

Drawing on the observations from points 2 and 3 [If you see a chain of dominoes falling, you realize that they fall because the one before them fell. But you also realize that this cannot extend on for infinity, or they never would have arrived at this point. So premise two is certainly true. So there must be an agent external to the chain of dominoes who flicked the first one. Put another way, if you begin counting at negative infinity, you'll never arrive at 2009. Ever. Even in an infinite number of years. So if the universe had begun an infinite number of years ago, it never would have arrived at this point.], we can easily determine that this is not an allowable state. If we are counting infinite universes, they can't stop. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that if any other universes existed before ours or will exist after it, they have no bearing whatsoever on this universe.

Ah, it is always fun to discuss faith with agnostic or atheistic physicists or mathematicians.

One thing that I have noted from such discussions is that, while they demonstrate the need for the uncaused cause (God), they do nothing to explain what we should do with that information. A good friend of mine admitted, after four hours of discussion on the topic, that the argument was sound, but refused to acknowledge that the existence of God had any bearing on his life. To accept that would mean that he would have to change his life.

Thanks

I agree on Lee Strobel's book. And you're right, for sure, that the Kalām argument doesn't prove Christianity true, obviously, since Aristotle and Averroes weren't Christians. But it does take atheist materialism off the table as a viable option. And it takes a whole slew of other religious theories off of the table, as well. All of those "creation" myths where the gods just rearrange things which are already there: the whole "building the earth on the back of a turtle" kind of story? They're out. It also, in my opinion, takes Mormonism off the table as a viable option, but will be a post for later (later today, if I've got the time).

Hopefully, the Kalām argument will make atheists stop and say, "Ok, if this universe was created by some sort of Creator, why? Why did He/She/It bother? What's the purpose of the universe, and how can I know for sure?" That response should create a discursive space to present the Truth of Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that it is a great point to begin and a very powerful argument (gets stronger all the time). It was just a little disappointing to see this individual take the first step, and then watch them reject the next step. I guess that I should not expect more from a single argument than it claims to provide.

    On a side note, modern support for the Kalām argument also is a good point for why science and faith are not at odds. Here, we have an age-old philosophical argument that takes as a premise that the Universe had to have a starting point, a claim that was disbelieved by scientists for centuries, yet stubbornly held by the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths. Now, the claim that the Universe had a beginning is not only accepted, it is backed by virtually the entire scientific community. Christianity did not have to change its stance or its arguments, but much of the scientific community did.

    Thanks for the response, looking forward to how this applies to the LDS beliefs.

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