Often our logical conclusions presuppose what is known as a basic belief. A basic belief would be a belief that we cannot prove by any empirical means, but that we are all rational accept. They are the foundation that the rest of our beliefs are constructed upon. Metaphysical truths about the existence of the external world (I am not just a mind in vat), the validity of sense experiences, and our ability to learn about the world would be examples of these beliefs. It might also be argued that things such as causality, at least on an elementary level, can be categorized in this way. As we begin to cognitize, we recognize immediately that things have a cause, that they do not just appear, uncaused, out of nothing.
Everything that begins to exist has a cause
In this case, the Kalam Cosmological Argument presupposes our basic beliefs about the external world. Just as if “the external world is real,” were a premise in an argument, so the same with “Everything that begins to exist has a cause,” is a premise in this argument. This premise is firmly founded in what we can see plainly, and to cast doubt upon it, seems to me to compromise any beliefs that we might hold. If reality so fundamentally contradicts what we believe as we begin to cognitize, then one might wonder how it is that we can come to know anything.
Despite that, Rosa has raised an objection to the idea that everything that begins to exist has a cause, namely the quantum vacuum is an example of things coming to being out of nothing. But as I pointed out, this is not an example of non-causality. There are a number of theories in the works regarding the causality of quantum events. Indeed the quantum vacuum itself is a causal process, as indicated by Kanitscheider. To this, Rosa replied that Kanitscheider did not say anything about God. Indeed, he did not. But he did explain that quantum events is not necessarily a non-causal process.
Rosa asked why it is that the quantum vacuum could not be the cause of all of matter, energy, space, and time, but I already replied to that question. Rafelski and Muller pointed out that the quantum vacuum is comprised of space. It therefore must transcend space. This is truly an elementary point. Space did not exist, prior to its’ existence, to play any causal role. In the same way that I could not cause myself to come into being, so the same with all of nature.
This debate has truly been over very elementary points. Rosa questions why it is that something cannot pop into being uncaused out of nothing, and why it is that nature could not exist prior to its’ existence to cause itself. These are just desperate attempts to avoid the conclusion of these argument, willing to compromise even fundamental aspects of reality.
The Universe Began To Exist
After conceding this premise in the introductory post, Rosa has changed gears, now arguing for a universe with an infinite past. I brought up the example of Hilbert’s Hotel, and Rosa replied that it has no bearing on reality. Well, that was my point! While the infinite can be applied to mathematics, it cannot exist in reality, because an actual infinite number of things leads to logical absurdities. Hilbert could not have an infinite number of hotel rooms.
Further, this premise is supported also by the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem, a point to which Rosa has yet to respond.
However Rosa does argue that if an infinite number of things is logically absurd, it follows that the existence of God is logically absurd. Well, to posit something as the cause of time is not to posit an infinite number of things. This would be the case for any possible cause of time. It would be eternal, and not confined to the limitations of space and time. Even so, this does not compromise this premise of the argument.
Therefore I do not think there have really been any sound objections to this argument. Rosa Rubicondior even conceded it until realizing the logical consequences of this point.
Therefore, The Universe Had A Cause
I put forth an argument in my introductory post and repeated it several times since, which Rosa has pretended was not there. As the cause of space, time, material, the cause of the universe must transcend space, time, and material, therefore rendering it eternal and uncaused, spaceless, immaterial, powerful, intelligent and personal. This deduction is precisely why the cause of nature could not be natural. Nature could not exist prior to its’ existence. Prior to its’ existence, it had no causal properties. Therefore the cause of nature must transcend nature. The cause of time must transcend time. These points seem to make Rosa extraordinarily uncomfortable.
For that reason, I have been the recipient of a number of attacks and my argument has been accused of God Of The Gaps. Rosa continues to pretend that this argument is not a deduction. Ensuring that Rosa knew the difference between a God Of The Gaps and a deductive argument in my three questions, I can now confidently point out that Rosa is intentionally setting up a straw man of my argument, a tactic which I think has been fully exposed in this debate.
That is why the same question has been posed again and again despite receiving answers. Rosa does not want answers. Rosa wants to pose questions, set up straw men and red herrings. Rosa wants to employ debate tactics. But as we have seen, this argument is not a God Of The Gaps, it is a deduction. I have said a number of times that of course it does not prove that the Christian conception of God exists, but Rosa has said in the last blog post that this was my argument. Clear straw man.
In any case, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this debate and expose the objections that my debate opponent has consistently employed.
One Thought to “Kalam Cosmological Argument: Conclusion”
My concluding statement may be read here.