Thunderf00t: debunking the ‘Kalam Cosmological Argument’

6 Responses to “Thunderf00t: debunking the ‘Kalam Cosmological Argument’”

  1. Terry Says:

    The commentator’s analogy was faulty. An enthemematic premise that whatever pushes an object is traveling faster than the object it pushes is necessarily true and therefore is a necessary part of a valid proof. For an object to push another object already travelling at the speed of light, the first object must already be travelling faster than the speed of light. That is already disallowed by the premise that nothing travels faster than light and it has no parallel in the creationist’s argument. Therefore the invalidation is invalidated. Methinks he doth protest too much to believe the protesting.

    Xanthippa says: all right, let’s go with his ‘rainbow’ analogy – it is no less valid…yet destroys the underlying argument on the same grounds! If either of the premises on which the argument is based is not true (has not been demonstrated to be ‘always’ true by the person making the argument), any deduction based on these unsupportable premises is necessarily a load of dingo’s kidneys!

  2. Terry Says:

    I did not hear any appeal to the truth of the bible as premise or conclusion of any of Mr Lane’s argument, but only to the necessary truth of the existence of God. I would argue with this, as did the commentator. And the “rainbow” analogy was put forth as a joke (his word and he dismissed it himself). I don’t know anyone who would accept that argument any more than that because a child understands that 2+2=4 he therefore understands Einstein.
    Nor did Mr. Lane ever deny or even mention the theory of relativity in his comments. This is a straw man argument. The discussion of the relativity of time was entirely irrelevant. Anything that has a beginning does have a cause. Something caused the universe to begin. What law(s) existed and in what form, prior to, nay, apart from the universe that caused it to begin? Was it God, or some eternally (outside of time) existent preternatural law?Or is the universe itself eternally existent and merely in a constant state of flux? (pardon the oxymoron) These are the questions at hand. Ridiculing and mischaracterizing another’s arguments does nothing to add to one’s own credibility, but detracts from it.
    I am all about logic and logical arguments. I criticize all sides of an issue, pro and con. I agree with the point about “the God of the gaps.” But I have seen blatant fallacies committed by atheists go entirely unchallenged and worse, applauded.
    For every (simple) proposition “A,” either A is the case or not A is the case. Either it is the case that God exists or it is not the case that God exists. Neither claim makes any sense, but exactly one of them must be true and the other false. This is true apart from any claim about the truth of the bible. Most atheists seem incapable of making a distinction between a claim about God and one about the bible. Let us keep the discussion logical, relevant, and above all, civil.

    Xanthippa says:

    Thunderf00t was simply demonstrating the ludicrousnesss of the argument that ‘everything that has a beginning does have a cause’.

    This is an oversimplification to the point of error and thus cannot serve as an axiom on which any further argument is based.

    Indeed, that premise appears as ludicrous as the other examples that Thunderfoot raised.

    Don’t forget that 2+2=5 – for large values of ‘2’!

  3. Terry Says:

    I further would like to comment that I don’t know who this man Lane is or what his belief system is. I am sure he does not represent the thinking of all or even most creationists. As with evolutionary theories, there are several creationist theories. For examples, Intelligent Design, literal 6 day creation, I read one theory that biblically allows 200,000 years, the ever popular theory among noncritical (non)thinkers of creation by means of evolution, and many conflicting sub-theories within any one main theory. Not all theists are the idiots put forth as representative of those who believe in God. Though some clearly are.

    I believe it is Dawson, who is so extremely critical of theists, who believes in “punctuated equilibrium.” He himself asserts its absurdity and then affirms his belief in it anyway because he find no other plausible explanation, and he refuses to believe in God. Carl Sagan’s response to the question “What about God?” replied “Let’s just get rid of him. We don’t need him anymore.” This avoids the question, it doesn’t answer it.

    I am reminded of the joke that several scientists approached God and asked him if he would please go away, that he was annoying and no longer needed. And that further, they could do just about anything that he could, and that given time they could do everything. God agreed to go away if they could perform one task. He bent down, picked up a handful of dirt, molded it in his hands, and blew into them. Out came the most beautiful bird ever seen. He asked “Can you do that?” They responded sheepishly that they thought they could but would need a little time. God said “Well, then. Get to it.” They bent down to pick up some dirt, and God said “Ah,ah, ah! Get your own dirt.”

    Bear in mind that in order for atheists to make God go away, they need a theory like evolution to be true. And they are desperate to make him go away. This situation lends itself to intellectual dishonesty.

    Xanthippa says:
    You say a lot here worth addressing – let me start with your implication, that ‘atheists’ somehow want or need ‘God’ to go away… Sorry, that is inaccurate.

    ‘Atheists’ – by the very definition of the word from when it was created – are simply people who are ‘apart from belief in God’. As in – ‘atheist’ lack the belief in God. (Some atheists I know would very much like to believe in God and have gone to great lengths to try to find something that would build this belief – but since ‘belief’ is not completely a voluntary thing which one can consciously control, and since they have not encountered anything that would permit them to ‘believe in God’, they remain ‘a-theists’.)

    All monotheists – that is, people who believe in only one specific God, are indeed atheists with respect to the vast majority of deities. Monotheists who actively believe that no other gods exist, they are indeed anti-theists with respect to all but that one deity.

    So, implying that ‘atheists’ ‘need’ ‘God’ to go away is about as accurate as saying that Christians ‘need’ Krishna ‘to go away’…

    The only reason people who look for scientific and reason-based solutions get drawn into these discussions is because theists drag them there by insisting that a bunch of myths and irrational beliefs ought to be treated as equivalent to actual evidence-based knowledge.

    What is worse, the various theists can’t even agree amongst themselves in their myths and regard each other’s myths with contempt and derision – yet cannot understand why other people see their creation myths in that same light!

  4. Terry Says:

    Aside from the universe itself, is there anything existent that had a beginning that didn’t have a cause? If not, why should I think that the universe is the only exception, unless I need it to be in order to persist in my belief that there is no creator?
    I understand your contempt for so many theists who accept as truth what was their indoctrination. I have contempt for their intellectual laziness and sloppiness. Their ‘reasonings’ are often deeply flawed, inconsistent, and illogical. I have fought indoctrination from my own upbringing and in my children who attended a christian school for several years. Having said that, it was an indoctrination preferable to what they would have gotten in public schools. Truth generally has little to do with what is taught in any school. And simple mental assent to what has been taught, even if true, does not constitute knowledge. This holds for all beliefs and belief systems. Not every theist deserves your scorn, nor every atheist your approval.

    Xanthippa says:

    You are right to rebuke me: not every theist deserves my scorn. However, you are mistaken if you think that ‘every atheist’ gets my approval – most don’t, and I do not even agree with all that Thunderf00t puts out (and so I do not post it).

    As to the ’cause’ thing: there are millions, trillions – way more than that – quantum events during every moment. Electrons flicking in and out of existence, based on probabilities – but not on ’cause’.

    We know this – and have known this – for close to a century now.

    We know this is true because if it were not, our electronic devices would not function.

    It may not seem intuitive, but Thunderf00t does try to explain this (perhaps not as explicitly as he should have, but, perhaps he thought this was part of ‘general knowledge’ and a simple allusion to it was sufficient) – on the small scale, we observe ‘tons of’ quantum events that do not have ‘a cause’.

    In addition, we do not ‘know’ that the universe ‘had a beginning’. At least, not in the sense in which it is used in the ‘Kalam’ argument.

    We know there was a singularity – and we use the term ‘the beginning’ to means things very close in time to that singularity, because that is ‘as far back’ as we can observe and learn about.

    However, this does not imply ‘nothingness’ before then/that: it simply means ‘unknown’.

    To sum it up: the ‘Kalam’ argument, as made here and by others, commits two serious flaws in its premises, flaws that are ‘so obvious’ to those who have studied the subject of cosmology and quantum mechanics that commiting them seems to be intentionaly misleading, knowingly committing an underhanded trick in order to score some cheap points…and, thus, both ludicrous and contemptible at once.

    Many scientists are Aspies: if we know some things, it is hard for us to realize that others may not know them. But still, if people want to make arguments – very publicly, like the people in the video did – they should do some basic homework to verify that the premises they are basing their arguments on are indeed true.

    In this case, they are demonstrably not: particles do pop into existence without a ’cause’ that can be identified. (just think of half-life on radioactive ‘stuff’: there is no ’cause’ that makes a specific particle decay at a specific point – just a probability that so many of them will do so within a pre-defined time period…to speak of ’cause’ in this context is to miss the point). And, ‘the beginning’ with respect to ‘universe’ is used in a different sense than what scientists use in in…

    To many people with scientific training, this argument looks not like a simple error – but rather like a calculated misrepresentation: in intentional intellectual fraud. That is why Thunderf00t finds it so contemptible.

    • Terry Says:

      I have not studied quantum mechanics in depth, so I cannot answer you in any meaningful way. But what I have studied seems to be fundamentally flawed in many ways. And the fact that a theory’s predictions come true only ‘tends to confirm’ it; it does not prove it. Argument from probability and randomness is, by definition, argument from ignorance. The same event can have different probabilities to different observers depending on their degree of ignorance. Imagine a card game in which the dealer unintentionally flips a card. The dealer did not see the card at all. One player saw only that it was a red non-face card, another, that it was a non-face heart, and the one who was dealt the card saw it was the 8 of hearts. As it turns out, each needed the heart 8 to complete his hand. What is the probability that it was the heart 8? Assuming each had no other hearts in his hand, to the dealer 1:47; to the 1st player, 1:20; to the 2nd player, 1:10; to the other, 1:1. The same event had 4 different probabilities.
      And the fact that particles come into being (I have never observed it, nor, i expect, have you) seemingly randomly does not negate the possibility a creator who made the laws by which they can come into being.

      Xanthippa says:

      The way we test any scientific theory is through the verification of predictions.

      Any time an observed reality contradicts a scientific theory or hypothesis, such theory or hypothesis has to be tossed out the window because it has been ‘falsified’.

      The more accurately a theory (supportably) predicts observed results, the more ‘robust’ it is regarded to be.

      Quantum mechanics is indeed a very robust scientific theory and while I have not directly seen particles pop in and out of existence using my eyes (well this is arguable, as I have seen laser beams and similar such stuff), I have done experiments even back in high school where I have measured them doing so. You may not be aware of it, but you have used these effects in your everyday life – we would not be communicating using computers if Quantum Mechanics was not an accurate description of reality!

      And nothing in science negates the possibility of ‘a creator’ – science is not concerned with the question of one. Science is the study of nature and reality: since ‘a creator’ is necessarily outside the bounds of both, it is not a concept that falls into the bounds of science.

      Rather, science explains more and more and things that were considered ‘divine actions’ are demonstrated to be previously misunderstood aspects of nature. This leads to the ‘God of the gaps’ analogy by some theists, which, naturally, as the gaps get smaller, consider this a challenge.

      Where the ‘crux’ of the matter lies (for scientists) when it comes to the existence of God is this: if you make a ‘positive statement’ (as in, ‘something is’), it is your responsibility to support it with objective evidence or it must be summarily dismissed. Since there is no possible scientific proof of ‘God exists’, scientists necessarily dismiss the claim. This does not imply that they accept its corrolary – ‘god does not exist’. It simply means that ‘god exists’ is a (scientifically) unsupportable statement and must therefore be dismissed (regardless of the personal belief of the scientist – some may choose to believe fully knowing this to be unprovable).

      Most theists, however, do not differentiate between rejecting ‘god exists’ as ‘unsupportable’ and an active belief in the non-existence of god…demanding that scientists ‘prove that God does not exist’. This is what earns them contempt from scientists…

  5. Terry Says:

    A friend told me that God can’t exist, because if he did, then science wouldn’t exist. This is the epitome of illogic. This is like saying that if we were to prove every hypothesis of Einstein’s to be true, we would then have proven that Einstein never existed. This is some of the reasoning I come against with atheists. Some of them merit contempt as well.

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