How Does the Kalam Cosmological Argument Suck? Let Me Count the Ways.

How Does the Kalam Cosmological Argument Suck? Let Me Count the Ways. October 26, 2015

kalam cosmological argumentWorld-famous philosopher William Lane Craig (WLC) is perhaps most famous for his popularization of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Let’s examine it to see if it is as compelling as WLC thinks.

The argument is a Muslim variant on Aristotle’s First Cause argument (something had to be the first cause; otherwise, you have causes going back forever). WLC states the argument this way:

Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

The universe began to exist.

Therefore, the universe has a cause.

First premise: Whatever begins to exist has a cause

Let’s begin with that first premise. WLC defends it:

Believing that something can pop into existence without a cause is more of a stretch than believing in magic. At least with magic you’ve got a hat and a magician.

And if something can come into being from nothing, then why don’t we see this happening all the time?

No … everyday experience and scientific evidence confirm our first premise—if something begins to exist, it must have a cause.

That’s the argument? Just an appeal to common sense?

WLC’s support for his philosophical claims often devolve into something akin to, “Aw, c’mon. You’ll give me that one, right? It’s obvious!” One wonders: if he’s not going to use his doctorates, maybe he should give them back.

Understand the limitations of common sense. It’s not the tool to rely on at the frontier of science. To take one example, we all know that a thing can’t be in two places at once, but quantum physics shows that it can. WLC handwaves a simple argument that works with people desperate for justification for their supernatural beliefs, but it doesn’t withstand scrutiny.

1. Things don’t need a cause. Contrary to WLC’s intuition, things may indeed pop into existence without cause. That’s the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics. For example, virtual particles and the electrons that come out of a decaying nucleus qualify as things that “began to exist,” and they didn’t have a cause.

WLC will say that the Copenhagen interpretation might be overturned, and that’s true. But then his premise becomes, “Whatever begins to exist might have a cause,” which doesn’t make for much of an argument.

He wonders, “Why don’t we see this happening all the time?” and the obvious answer is that it applies only at the quantum level. Indeed, the universe itself was once the size of a quantum particle, so it’s reasonable to think that causelessness could apply to the universe as well.

That’s the conclusion of cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin:

If there was nothing before the universe popped out, then what could have caused the tunneling? Remarkably, the answer is that no cause is required. In classical physics, causality dictates what happens from one moment to the next, but in quantum mechanics the behavior of physical objects is inherently unpredictable and some quantum processes have no cause at all.

To see this another way, let’s replace “Whatever begins to exist has a cause” with “Everything has a cause” and ask WLC to find a counterexample. Unless he can, he has no reason (besides supporting his agenda) to prefer his clumsier version. He can point to the Copenhagen interpretation, but that defeats his version as well. (Thanks to commenter primenumbers.)

2. We know nothing about supernatural creation. “Whatever begins to exist has a cause” has a common-sense appeal, but the only “whatevers” that we know that began to exist (stars, oak trees, a dent in a fender, tsunamis) are natural. Why imagine that this common sense rule of thumb would apply to supernatural causes? And why even imagine that the supernatural exists? WLC doesn’t bother even acknowledging the problem.

3. We know nothing about creation ex nihilo. The only “begins to exist” we know of is rearrangement of existing matter and energy. For example, an oak tree begins with an acorn and builds itself from water, carbon dioxide, and other nutrients. If WLC is talking about creation ex nihilo (“out of nothing”), his premise has become “Whatever begins to exist from nothing has a cause.” He wants us to accept this remarkable claim though he can’t give a single example of something coming from nothing. The common sense appeal of the premise is gone.

WLC said above, “If something can come into being from nothing, then why don’t we see this happening all the time?” If this is supposed to be an argument against creation ex nihilo, does he then not believe God created ex nihilo? He might want to sit down with himself to get his argument straight.

4. “Began to exist” makes little sense at the beginning. WLC wants to stretch the common sense “Whatever begins to exist has a cause” from the natural to the supernatural, from rearrangement of matter to creation ex nihilo, and from creation within time to creation before time. He’s referencing a cause before the universe has even come into existence. I’ll grant that magical creation of this sort is possible, but WLC has given no evidence to support this claim. (Thanks to A-Unicornist blog.)

First we have the earthquake, then the tsunami. First the moving car, then the dented fender. First the collection of gas moving inward by gravity, then the star. If the instant of the Big Bang is at t = 0, where is the prior cause? There is no t = –1 if time started at t = 0. How can there be a cause that works in time before there is time?

Every example WLC can point to (like tsunamis and dented fenders) is a different kind of “begins to exist” than the one he imagines, a (1) supernatural creation (2) from nothing (3) before time began, none of which have examples.

5. We have no reason for the “began to exist” caveat. Why is the premise not simply “Everything has a cause”? It’s just a “Get Out of Jail Free” card to bias the argument so that it will deliver the divine answer WLC wants. We don’t have myriad examples of things with beginnings, plus myriad examples of things that are without beginnings. That he wants to carve out a spot for his beginningless god reveals his agenda.

Since God is the only exception he imagines, WLC’s “Whatever begins to exist has a cause” is simply a disguised version of “Everything has a cause, except for God.” It’s not like he gives evidence to support this remarkable claim; he just asserts it. But if that’s the game we’re playing, I suggest a new first premise: “Everything has a cause, except for the universe.” This is certainly the simpler claim, since WLC must invent a supernatural realm to support his.

WLC will demand that I support my claim with evidence. My response: you first.

Concluded in part 2.

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run
by smart people who are putting us on
or by imbeciles who really mean it.
The Peter Principle
by Laurence F. Peter and Raymond Hull

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  • Explorer

    ‘Since God is the only exception he imagines, WLC’s “Whatever begins to exist has a cause” is simply a disguised version of “Everything has a cause, except for God.” It’s not like he gives evidence to support this remarkable claim; he just asserts it.’

    Again, I appreciate you taking the time to lay these things out so clearly.

  • Hans-Richard Grümm

    An additional point is that postulating an uncaused God still requires an infinite regress. Properly speaking, in this model the cause of the universe is not God, but God’s decision to create the universe. This decision must have had a beginning, otherwise the universe would be eternal and causeless too. Thus by the premises of Kalam, it must have had a cause .- which for the same reason must have had a begínning too. Rinse and repeat.

    • Rudy R

      I think WLC tries to work around this conundrum by claiming God creates time, pokes his head into it, and abracadabra, he creates space, and the universe. The KLA has still been soundly refuted by many credible philosophers. Philosophers will debate back and forth about the efficacy of the argument, but it’s all “pie in the sky” without empirical scientific evidence.

      • MNb

        It’s worse – it contradicts empirical scientific evidence plus distorts a few theories of physics.

        • Rudy R

          WLC’s brand of apologetics is not only seriously flawed, but it’s wasted on the choir. Christians aren’t going to believe in God more deeply, because of his philosophical arguments. And it’s almost comical how he has tried to reverse engineer Jesus resurrecting from the dead to the KLA .

        • I do wonder, though, if WLC’s support comes from Christians who are eager to have something sciencey with which to bolster their confidence in their position. “I believe, just cuz” is probably their actual position, but that doesn’t sit well with their rational side. WLC comes with two doctorates and pats them on the head and tells them that they’ve backed the right horse.

        • MNb

          Not only WLC’s support – the support of all apologists. Herman Philipse provides an excellent explanation in a historical context. He shows how Hume and Kant buried natural theology (that’s how he calls apologetics) and then tells how Swinburne, Plantinga and to a lesser extent WLC revived it. Philipse quotes Swinburne, 1977 (!):

          “It is one of the intellectual tragedies of our age that when philosophy in English-speaking countries has developed high standards of argument and clear thinking, the style of theological writing has been largely influenced by the continental philosophy of Existentialism, which, despite its considerable other merits, has been distinguished by a very loose and sloppy style of argument. If argument has a place in theology, large-scale theology needs clear and rigorous argument. That point was very well grasped by Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus, by Berkeley, Butler and Paley (sic – the guy of the Watchmaker Analogy – MNb). It is high time for theology to return to their standards.”

          Philipse also mentions an article in Time, 7 April 1980, called “Modernizing the Case for God.”

          “In a quiet revolution in though and argument that hardly anybody could have foreseen only two decades ago, God is making a comeback. Most intriguingly, this is happening not among theologians or ordinary believers, but in the crisp intellectual circles of academic philosophers where the consensus had long banished the Almighty from fruitful discussions.”

          Philipse then shows how Hume’s and Kant’s rejection of apologetics were based on “outdated philosophies of science”, making room for the restoration (I wouldn’t call it a revolution, not even a quiet one) of apologetics.
          This means that you may dislike philosophy as much as you like, you’re still writing your blog in the tradition of two famous philosophers.

        • I presume you must know what I’m objecting to. Is it just word choice that you’re quibbling over? If so, instead of just disagreeing with me, clarify the issue with the right words.

        • MNb

          I don’t disagree with you at all here, on the contrary, it’s spot on. That’s why I voted your comment up (please check, I was the second one to do so). My comment was meant as an addition – to summarize where modern apologetics come from, because that’s directly related to “Christians who are eager to have something sciencey with which to bolster their confidence in their position.”

          So what right words would you like me to provide? Which issue is unclear? I must admit that you have confused me.

        • No–it’s probably me who was confused. Thanks for the clarification.

        • Rudy R

          For the sake of argument, both sides of the God divide provide a compelling argument. But how to break the tie? Empirical evidence breaks the tie in favor of the no-god argument.

        • tsig

          I see you have ninjaed me. Oh well….:)

        • tsig

          Apologists bolster beliefs, Christians point to WLC and say “Look, there are rational reasons for our faith, we’re not just a bunch of dummies”.

          Then they talk darkly of “sophisticated theologies” that atheists ignore.

    • Jeremy

      Not to mention the progression from decision to action is a temporal progression, but time doesn’t exist until t=0.

      • MNb

        BobS basically pointed this out at #4 as in WLC’s framework that progression also is causal.

    • I suppose they might say that there’s no infinite gulf of moments to cross in the case of God, because there was no time before God. But what would that even mean?

      As a side issue, the apologists’ position becomes a collage of bits of science that they like (ignoring bits they don’t) combined with bullshit labeled “metaphysics,” Bible quotes, and wishful thinking. This is the apologist as bower bird.

      • Lazarus

        “This is the apologist as bower bird.”

        That’s going on my fridge. And a t-shirt. The diss of 2015, come on, beat it.

  • Dorfl

    I agree. I just wanted to add that even in classical physics, the concept of ’cause’ is much more iffy than most theologians want to think. If the entropy of a system is maximal, then you can’t really talk about ’causes’ and ‘effects’. There is a sequence of things that happen, but which you want to consider ‘past’ and which you want to consider ‘future’ ends up being a matter of arbitrary convention.

  • primenumbers

    Premise 0: Everything that exists began to exist

    • curtcameron

      WLC says that “science” proves that everything began to exist, using the Big Bang and his misunderstanding of the Guth-Valenkin theorem.

      • I’ll address the BGV theorem next time. You’ll have to tell me if I cover all the points.

        • Geena Safire

          Physicist Lawrence Krauss, in one of his debates with WLC, brought along input from Vilenkin (the V in the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin (BGV) theorem) challenging WLC’s interpretation as the BGV requiring an absolute beginning.

          (You can see a bit from Vilenkin himself on this topic here*, wherein he says that the universe could have emerged from nothing, by itself. You can read a bit more here (in a blog post by antybu86) in which quotes by Vilenkin also challenge WLC’s interpretation of BGV.)

          [EDIT 1: WLC discusses Krauss’ communication with Vilenkin from the debate and his own post-debate communication with Vilenkin here. WLC, unsurprisingly, claims victory, but I see no grounds for him to do so.]

          Physicist Sean Carroll, in his one debate with WLC, brought along input from Alan Guth (the G in BGV). Alan said, via video screen captures, “I don’t know whether the universe had a beginning. I suspect the universe didn’t have a beginning. It’s very likely eternal, but nobody knows.” (This is about at 1:05 into the debate.**)

          [EDIT 2: Carroll, a few years before the debate, discussed the BGV theorem and WLC at his blog here, where he also discussed his contribution to The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity, Does the Universe Need God?. (Spoiler: No)]

          (Plus, I’ll note, the BGV theorem, despite WLC’s adoration
          of it, is not a big deal in physics. For one thing, the theorem is based on the standard model of physics, since we do not yet have a generally accepted theory of quantum gravity, i.e., reconciliation of general relativity and quantum theory.)

          My fave refutation of WLC’s KCA is by Scott Clifton (aka Theoretical Bullshit) in his YouTube talk, “William Lane Craig and Metaphysical Cherry Picking.” *** This one is from the philosophy POV rather than from science, plus Clifton’s professional acting chops make it more interesting to watch.

          Oh hey, Bob, did you know that WLC keeps transcripts of all of his debates at his web site?

          * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHdI4Let27I

          ** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0qKZqPy9T8#t=3916

          *** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYpfkdQ32Io

        • One point I’m working on in my Part 2 is that he talks about how he’s BFFs with B, G, and V, but then these guys go off and say things that Craig can’t possibly agree with. Craig needs to rethink who his allies are.

      • primenumbers

        If everything that exists began to exist, then WLC’s god began to exist (because he thinks his god exists) thus fatally holing his argument.

        If it’s true that there are things that exist that never began to exist, then WLC can cite them as counter examples. Such counter-examples will either show that his argument is special-pleading (he cites god as a counter-example) or fatally hole his argument.

        The KCA is a flawed argument before it begins, and although we can demonstrate (as Bob does) that the premises are false, so is the logic, notably the equivocation on “exists” and that it essentially boils down to an unproven and unevidenced statement that the universe has a cause.

        • tsig

          Everything that exists begin to exist therefore there must be a being that did not begin to exist.

          Seems as though the conclusion does not follow from the premise.

        • primenumbers

          If everything that exists began to exist there cannot be a being that exists and did not begin to exist.

        • tsig

          Exactly. So WLCs’ whole argument ( and Tomas Aquinas’) is a non sequitur.

        • primenumbers

          The whole argument is nonsense.

        • Kodie

          Well, nobody knows when the first god began to exist, so they make a rough estimate that he came in a long time before people invented him as a rough explanation for everything that came before people.

        • primenumbers

          True, and you’re using “exist” as “exist as a concept” which is quite reasonable. At best all proofs for god demonstrate the concept of god is indeed an existing concept.

        • Kodie

          It also resembles a quality of infinite regression.

          http://40.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_llx128g9Oq1qz6f9yo1_500.jpg

      • MNb

        The irony is that the only definitely rejected Big Bang Theory is the causal one – derived from Relativity by Friedmann and Lemaitre.

      • Sakebomb

        But WLC will turn around and hand wave away science that contradicts his premises, like uncaused quantum vacuum fluctuations evidenced by the Casimir effect for instance.

        In a debate I saw he literally said just because we don’t know the cause now doesn’t mean we won’t find one in the future. But as Bob said, if that is his position then he must modify his first premise to “things that begin to exist might have a cause” but of course he does not do that.

  • Rudy R

    His premise that “And if something can come into being from nothing, then why don’t we see this happening all the time?” is based on THIS universes physics. We don’t know the natural laws that preceded this universe’s laws and it may very well be that things popped into and out of existence in that different natural reality.

  • Jeremy

    I’m always baffled at the fact that Dr. Craig’s debate opponents fall right into his trap. There are some good tacks to take against this argument (like this one), but they seem to more-or-less grant him Premise 1 every time. I’ve wondered why the opponent doesn’t just assert a super-supernatural on which the supernatural realm is dependent and claim super-divine revelation when pressed for evidence.

    • I’m not following. You’re not saying that I’m granting premise 1, right?

      Are you saying that WLC’s opponent should say, “Well, if you can invent a supernatural realm with arbitrary properties, I can, too”?

      • Jeremy

        I’m saying I wish more of his opponents would point out what you did! I should have said, “I wish more of his opponents would use arguments like this one rather than practically granting Premise 1 without much of a fight.”

        Regarding the second point, it was a bit toungue-in-cheek, but yes, that’s basically what I’m saying. It’s interesting that these arbitrary properties just happen to be ones that solve his problem. One might be justified in believing that those properties only exist because they solve that problem. Two can play at that game…

    • primenumbers

      You mean just do the same trick back at him – WLC asserts that the natural world rests upon a super-natural cause, therefore the supernatural world rests upon a super-super-natural cause. That is the implication of his logic indeed!

      However, WLC asserts an arbitrary stopping point of god on the reasoning that there “must” be a stopping point and he’ll pick where that stopping point is to suit his theological agenda. If he can assert a stopping point, so we can we and we can assert it as a natural stopping point, or we can deny that the only way to know if there’s a stopping point is to find one and logical analysis cannot help us there as it’s outside the realm of testable results.

      • Jeremy

        Precisely. The missing piece of the puzzle is that this all rests on Craig’s “inner witness”, which he can’t and won’t bring up in a debate. What’s ironic is that his assertions about his “first cause” are no more testable than his assertions about an “inner witness”, so why not just say, “I know it’s true because Jesus lives in my heart!” and put all your cards on the table?

      • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

        Exactly. One good way to neutralize non-falsifiable arguments is to crowd them with multiple counter non-falsifiable arguments – and use the exact same points Billy Craig makes to support his arguments.

        I did the same with presuppositionalists. I countered them with my own presuppositional position and they couldn’t refute any of my arguments – most either rage-quit (complaining that I’m stealing their arguments and it’s not fair) or abandon presuppositionalism by appealing to evidence.

      • tsig

        You can’t fool me, it’s gods all the way down.

        • primenumbers

          Nah, it’s turtles!

        • billwalker

          Lol, right. Same as turtles supporting the earth.

    • billwalker

      Lol, Jeremy. I’m reminded of the ancient question : what supports the earth. The answer : a turtle. What supports the turtle ? It’s turtles all the way down

  • AdamHazzard

    We don’t observe matter and energy beginning to exist. What we see “beginning to exist” are novel configurations of pre-existing mass and energy.

    But if you slot that into the Kalam, the argument fails for theological purposes at (2):

    (1) Every novel configuration of pre-existing mass and energy has a cause.

    (2) The universe is a novel configuration of pre-existing mass and energy….

  • Douglas McClean

    Worse, not all infinite sequences have a least element. Everything could have a cause, and yet there still could be a time before which nothing existed. It’s like asking: what’s the least positive rational number?

  • busterggi

    Some people are incapable of saying simply, “I don’t know”, hence WLC.

    • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

      Or unwilling…

  • L.Long

    If it is in some way valid to say gawd is the uncaused cause, then it is just as valid to say the universe is an uncaused cause. Both are equally unprovable, and i don’t think they have disproved the cyclic eternal universe yet.

    • MNb

      Not entirely, but all the evidence points at an eternally expanding universe.

      • Kodie

        Hey I have a physics question. I got this idea from something I might have seen on a Nova program or something similar. It had said, given the acceleration of the universe expanding, and given enough time (which humans likely do not have), everything in the universe would get so far apart, the night sky would look very different, they didn’t say blank, but noticeably spread, which I would guess leads to blank.

        My question is this (and I have no background at all in astrophysics or even regular physics): what happens at that stage? I know there is an idea of a “big crunch” where the universe collapses back into a singular ? but I guess I read (here) that is probably not a plausible thought. Is it plausible that far enough space matter might be so far apart from anything else as to be alone in space and make a new bang? Like, there’s still a universe, per se, it’s just so spread out, and I’m guessing (absolute wild ass guessing) gravity would cease to affect other space material. One of these thingies has a spasm that kabooms out into the nothingness and creates a new universe? Even while there is technically still other stuff in that universe, or maybe obliterates it, incorporates it, or it drifts away with nothing to anchor it until it just fizzles out in time. I don’t really know how universes work. Is this an idea that someone else had (even if it fails) that I can read about?

        • Partial response: I’ve heard Christians marvel at a long list of (contrived) fine-tuning opportunities, one being that we’re at a good time in the history of the universe to learn about the universe. Billions of years in the future, the universe will be much sparser, and we would have much less data to work from.

          Doesn’t seem like a particularly fine-tuned factor to me, since the universe will look pretty much just like it does now for millions of years, but I’ve heard this argument from apologists more than once.

        • Kodie

          I don’t get this “fine-tuned” thing at all. It obviously could be more finely tuned, so what kind of inadequate maker is god, anyway? Almost 4 billion years ago seems like a much better time to learn about the universe.

        • MNb

          Of course you don’t get it. You are remarkably free of the error called Begging the Question.
          “Fine Tuned” implies a purpose. Implying a purpose implies something you can call god.

        • The fine tuning around the earth (it’s just the right distance from the sun, having a big moon, having Jupiter, etc.) is a pretty weak argument IMO. Some apologists have dozens of parameters that they point to, though for most of them, they’re making the Douglas Adams puddle error.

          The fine tuning of cosmological/physical components of the universe is a more compelling argument, though the multiverse nicely responds to that.

        • Kodie

          I don’t find it compelling whatsoever. It’s like how god has to punish a whole seacoast with a hurricane instead of dropping just those sinners… I mean, imagine some catastrophic death event (or even major injury.. I’m thinking somewhere in the kneecap area) that involved hundreds or thousands more incidental individual deaths/injuries than usual one day, and all the good people still got to go home and sleep in their own bed instead of a cot at the elementary school.

          Lots of people die every day, whom they say god had struck dead when their time was up. If he can do it to a regular statistic of people, he can do it to 1000s more people in one go without touching a hair on anyone else’s head.

        • God will rapture all the good people up to heaven? Sounds like he’s not as clumsy as his apologists suggest–he should be able to reverse-rapture all the Hitlers-to-be.

          But no, it has to be a tsunami or hurricane. Maybe he needs plausible deniability.

        • billwalker

          Hi Kodie. You reminded me of the earthquake that hit Lisbon, Portugal several centuries ago. There was a cathedral, packed with people during a service. The church was demolished & 1,000 people died. A short distance away was a house of ill repute. Building survived, no one killed or even hurt.

        • OldSearcher

          I am not a physics specialist either. But, perhaps you can find useful this Wikipedia article:

          Future of an expanding universe

        • Kodie

          Thanks for the link! I’ll give it a read.

        • MNb

          In addition to OldSearcher: indeed not a Big Crunch, but something like

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_death_of_the_universe

          or

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rip

        • Kodie

          I’ve looked at those as well. I choose heat death because it sounds cooler than big rip, which just sounds like something embarrassing happened, or a sarcastic compliment about someone’s not impressive accomplishment.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the Big Whoop of the Universe?

  • avalon

    “…if space and time didn’t exist before our Big Bang, then the whole notion of cause and effect has to go out the window.” Lawrence Krauss

    • Bill

      What caused the lack of context then?

      • Brian

        Do you mean to ask what caused there to be a lack of space and time before the big bang?

  • RichardSRussell

    “What existed before time began?”
    That’s like asking “Once you’ve reached the north pole, how much farther north can you go?” There is nothing farther north.

  • Hominem

    One word: Heisenberg.
    Two more: Uncertainty Principle.

    A paragraph: that would have to be Wikipedia, sorry. I’d just screw it up!

    But never mind esoteric principles like Heisenberg’s, even grade 12 students know about radioactive decay. There is no “cause” of any particular atomic nucleus chucking out one of its neutrons, beyond the statistics of random chance. “Random chance” can hardly be called a “cause” (IMO, just to be safe).

    I’d like to punish WLC’s parents for causing him. They are definitely guilty of that, just from first principles.

    As I like to say every chance I get: When WLC is proven wrong, he doesn’t change his arguments, he changes his audience instead. He could spend the rest of his life touring the world and never have to visit the same town twice, and I’m pretty sure he and his demons minions henchmen lackeys goons abettors entourage actually know that.

    TBH, the mere fact that WLC basically IS touring the world is a significant reason why I refuse to engage with philosophy. If philosophers (speaking collectively, here) were truly interested in truth, they’d CREATE a way to get rid of him. They’d stop calling him “wrong” and start calling him “a liar”, and arrange to have his facking degrees taken away from him. If they can’t do anything like that, then they MUST be building their castles on sand. That’s about as far as I’m prepared to carry my argument.

    Math is independent of humanity. Prime numbers are prime no matter what. Philosophy is the precise opposite of that, as near as I can tell. Its greatest achievement is to prove the existence of things that do not in fact appear to exist. Not impressed, yet.

    • I’ve seen so much metaphysical bullshit from people like WLC that I also have a bad attitude toward philosophy. There are a few atheist bloggers here at Patheos who are fans of philosophy. I await good evidence that it’s worth much (more properly: that philosophers are worth much).

      • MNb

        You provided that evidence in your very analysis above – it’s nearly 100% philosophy.
        Also see my comment just above.

        • And that’s why I added that caveat at the end. If “philosophy” is thinking about certain subjects or doing logical thinking, for example, then that’s terrific. It’s the philosophers that I have a problem with. When have they done anything for me lately?

        • MNb

          When you were busy writing your article. If you’re not claiming that you were entirely original you got it from philosophers.

        • Not philosophy?

        • MNb

          Philosophy is quite often done by philosophers, like physics is done by physicists and plumbing usually by plumbers. Unless I’m missing something your question is a bit silly.

        • Physicists also do philosophy (depending on your dictionary, your mileage may vary). That’s the kind of philosophy I respect.

          (I’m a bit more leery of the philosophers’ philosophy–I suppose some is worthwhile, but I’m not well informed enough to have an opinion there.)

        • tsig

          Of course you will claim that any argument is philosophy.

        • MNb

          Sure. Every time I drop a piece of chalk to show gravity to my pupils I tell them it’s philosophy, not physics.
          Every time I support or oppose American intervention in Syria I claim it’s philosophy, not politics.

          Every time I express my admiration for Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky I claim it’s philosophy, not love for music.
          Of course.

      • tsig

        philosophers are theologians with out a god.

    • A post sharing my bad attitude toward philosophy here.

      • William Davis

        Dan Dennett is a philosopher you would probably like.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Dennett

        This guy is an example of how philosophy is still relevant:

        http://www.nickbostrom.com/

        Don’t let apologists ruin your perception of philosophy if you can help it. You are just recognizing bad philosophy (in my opinion) in Craig’s case.

        • Agreed–it’s hanging out with philosophers with a religious agenda that has given me this bad opinion. I’m open to the possibility that philosophers on the light side of the Force are making useful contributions.

        • William Davis

          If you ever want an interesting read that demonstrates how philosophy is actually quite relevant to even technology, you should check out this book (pretty cheap for the kindle version)

          http://www.amazon.com/Superintelligence-Dangers-Strategies-Nick-Bostrom-ebook/dp/B00LOOCGB2

          Even Stephen Hawking, who famously said philosophy is dead is taking this one seriously.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-barrat/hawking-gates-artificial-intelligence_b_7008706.html

          The possibility of recursive self-improving AI should be taken seriously by anyone in the field and the development of an ethical system for such may be critical for the survival of the human race in the future. Of course, one can ask how we could create an AI bound to a solid system of ethics when we aren’t even conceptually sure what a solid system of ethics is supposed to look like. Thought provoking at the very least 🙂

        • OldSearcher

          Thought provoking at the very least

          Following your recomendation, I have read that book. I have found it thought provoking indeed!

    • MNb

      WLC is not a philosopher. He’s an apologist.

      “There is little of the true philosophic spirit in WLC. He does not set out to follow wherever the argument may lead. He is not engaged in an inquiry, the result of which it is impossible to know in advance. Before he begins to argue he already knows the truth; it is declared in his christian faith. If he can find apparently rational arguments for some parts of his faith, so much the better; if he cannot he only needs to fall back on the Witness of the Holy Spirit. The finding of arguments for a conclusion is not philosophy, but special pleading. I cannot therefore feel that he deserves to be put on a level with the best philosophers either of the past or of modern times.”

      Bertrand Russell on Thomas of Aquino, slightly adapted.

      I may hope you won’t dismiss astronomy because of

      http://www.terrynazon.com

      just because they study some of the same things.

      • Nice adaptation!

      • Geena Safire

        William Lane Craig earned a PhD in philosophy from the University of Birmingham and he is employed at the accredited Talbot School of Theology as a professor of philosophy. This makes him a philosopher by training and a professional philosopher.

        WLC is also an apologist. But that doesn’t mean he is not, also, a philosopher.

        • MNb

          “But that doesn’t mean he is not, also, a philosopher.”
          Correct. But if the slightly adapted quote from Bertrand Russell is also correct it means he is not.

        • Geena Safire

          Incorrect again. Russell might not feel philosophers such as WLC “deserve[] to be put on a level with the best philosophers,” but that doesn’t mean he would deny that either WLC or Aquinas was a philosopher.

        • MNb

          OK. If you think a philosopher “without much philosophical spirit” makes sense you’re correct.

        • Geena Safire

          I can tell that you don’t think he is a great philosopher. I happen to agree with you.

          But he still is a philosopher, by training, by publications, by employment. “Philosophy of religion” is an accepted branch of philosophy.

        • Pofarmer

          “”Philosophy of religion” is an accepted branch of philosophy.”

          Meh.

        • Dys

          She did say accepted, not respected.

        • Hominem

          Geena: Well he may (or may not) be both, but I suspect we’d agree with each other that he cannot be both at the same time. And if not at the same time, then what? Flip-flopper? Waffler? Big fat lying liar who waffles and flip-flops?

          I looked at responses and the best I can do is to repeat this bit since I want to leave a useful point behind (with 2 minor edits):

          If philosophers (speaking collectively, here) were truly interested in
          truth, they’d CREATE a way to get rid of him. They’d stop calling him
          “mistaken” and start calling him “a liar”, and arrange to have his degrees taken away from him.

          I tend to think that if they tried hard, they’d succeed. And I think they should, as long as WLC is bringing down the whole bunch of them – which he IS. I wonder if a majority could be persuaded to agree on doing something as a cohesive group? It would behoove them to try.

        • Geena Safire

          You live up to your name, Hominem.

    • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

      When WLC is proven wrong, he doesn’t change his arguments, he changes
      his audience instead. He could spend the rest of his life touring the
      world and never have to visit the same town twice, and I’m pretty sure
      he and his demons minions henchmen lackeys goons abettors entourage actually know that.

      Like every traveling charlatan, huckster, evangelist, snake oil salesman ever!

      • Hominem

        Yeah, but… when WLC is called out, it’s by people with earned non-theological Ph.D’s who are more or less famous in their own right. The others snake oil types just get ignored more, luckily for them.

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          Right, Billy Craig is called out by outsiders, not insiders. Craig’s audiences either are not aware of or don’t care what non-theologian philosophers have to say about Craig’s arguments. Craig preaches to believers, not skeptics.

  • JBSchmidt

    Why is there something rather than nothing?

    • adam

      Why is nothing the default position, when it is obvious that we observe ‘something’?

      How does one observe nothing?

      • JBSchmidt

        Are you claiming that ‘something’ has existed infinitely into the past?

        • adam

          No,

          Why is nothing the default position, when it is obvious that we observe ‘something’?

          How does one observe nothing?

        • Kodie

          Aren’t you? Why does it have to be conscious?

        • adam

          No,

          Why is nothing the default position, when it is obvious that we observe ‘something’?

          How does one observe nothing?

    • Hominem

      Dr. Lawrence Krauss has the answer: there is still nothing. All the positive energy in the universe is precisely balanced by negative energy, which is related to gravitation. Somehow, I think, maybe. Go read his book, or watch his longer book-tour lectures on YouTube – just type the same question into YT search. Krauss rarely misses an opportunity to bash religion, so fun times are guaranteed. And he’s pretty good at staying comprehensible.

      • JBSchmidt

        Krauss redefines ‘nothing’ as a quantum state and not the absence of anything. If there still exists a quantum state, then there is something.

        Nothing only becomes balanced energy in the presents of the laws of physics; however those laws aren’t in play when transitioning between nothing and something. They only work when transitioning between 2 somethings. Hence, the energy of balance really proves nothing as there are no law that states energy balance must occur when transitioning from nothing to something.

        • adam

          “however those laws aren’t in play when transitioning between nothing and something”

          Please demonstrate that your CLAIM is true

        • JBSchmidt

          Science already assumes that the laws of physics break down as we rewind the big bang to the point of the singularity. It would stand to reason that the absence of anything, suddenly producing something would also be released of those laws. Moreover, those laws all relate to the interaction between somethings. None of them relate to the interaction between nothing and something.

        • Susan

          It would stand to reason that the absence of anything, suddenly producing something would also be released of those laws. Moreover, those laws all relate to the interaction between somethings. None of them relate to the interaction between nothing and something.

          Sorry. Didn’t catch what you meant the first time. Please clarify.

          This is an honest and respectful question. What efforts have you made to understand what cosmologists are grappling with?

          Have you learned all your lines about the subject from reading apologetics?

          No snark intended.

        • JBSchmidt

          The quote you are using takes a 50/50 approach on where the answer comes from. Half from secular science and half from apologetics. Was something untrue or cherry picked?

        • Susan

          The quote you are using takes a 50/50 approach on where the answer comes from.

          You didn’t answer my question.

          Have you learned all your lines about the subject from reading apologetics?

        • JBSchmidt

          No

        • adam

          ….

        • Susan

          What other sources have you used?

        • Rudy R

          Is your understanding based on philosophy or empirical evidence? If it’s base on philosophical arguments, then why the argument for a god and not for no-god? Both sides may have a convincing argument, but it’s empirical evidence that breaks the tie in favor of no-god, because the evidence does not require a god-made universe.

        • MNb

          “Half from secular science and half from apologetics.”
          Half from rejected secular science (it has been shown that Relativity cannot be a theory of everything, while Quantum Mechanics and its offspring can) and half from thumb sucking (because that’s what apologetics is).

        • MNb

          “Science already assumes that the laws of physics break down as we rewind the big bang to the point of the singularity.”
          Wrong. Science doesn’t. Science has demonstrated that relativity breaks down. Moreover on probabilistic Theories of the Big Bang there never has been a point of the singularity. Singularity is only part – again – of Relativity.
          You don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • JBSchmidt

          “there never has been a point of the singularity” Not completely true. They are just leaning towards other theories to get around that problem. For example, by inserting imaginary time, then the laws of physics can exist there. However, there is no consensus on any of these ideas, nor that they are even possible beyond the equations as written on a chalk board.

        • Kodie

          An immaterial, eternal, conscious being created all material out of nothing one day – yeah, so I guess that’s true then, not worthless at all as a hypothesis, scientific or otherwise. You can’t explain it, no one can, you just believe it because science is working on details far above your understanding and hasn’t put forth the report to satisfy your puny brain.

        • JBSchmidt

          “your puny brain” Aww you do still love me. All this civility had me concerned maybe we were growing apart.

          What is ironic about what you posted is that if you remove ‘conscious being’ from your initial sentence and replace it with ‘chance’; it is your world view. The difference is #science is your deity in the sky.

        • Kodie

          You cannot even comprehend how ignorant you are – not to insult you, it’s just a fact. You have condemned the scientific approach for being magical without knowing a damn thing about it, and attempting to wedge a fictional character in there without showing your work. I’d call that hypocritical, additionally. Why should we believe what you believe? There’s no reason for it.

        • JBSchmidt

          You are here because Bob pokes holes in the Christian world view in an attempt to convince them of something different. He, you and others in this thread have condemned the Christian approach by asserting that faith in cosmic chance is more reliable/believable/less fiction than a creator. Its unfortunate that he insights such anger.

          Besides, it I weren’t here, who could insult. This is my labor of love for you.

        • Kodie

          I know it’s hard for you to admit that you think you know better than scientists, and me trying to make you more self-aware of that fact gives you the martyrtastic warm fuzzies, but you are too ignorant, and apparently proud of it. You are being snotty about science, like science hasn’t provided all the good things you enjoy and take for granted. Oh, it’s just “another religion”, so where is the evidence for yours?

          Bob isn’t trying to “poke holes” in anything – he is pointing out the holes because you’re too superstitious to look for them. It’s all holes, there is nothing there.

        • MNb

          “You are here because Bob pokes holes in the Christian world view in an attempt to convince them of something different. ”
          Actually BobS doesn’t care much about convincing christians. He mainly does it because he enjoys it and also because he wants to sharpen his own views. That’s why invites people like you – so that you can try to poke holes in atheism.

          “faith in cosmic chance”
          Incoherent expression. Probabilism is testable. No faith required.

        • adam

          “You are here because Bob pokes holes in the Christian world view in an attempt to convince them of something different. ”

          It is not necessary, the ‘Christian world view’ does enough to poke holes to convince of something different.

          No two of you ‘christians’ interpret ‘christianity’ the same, but why would you when each of you create your OWN ‘god’ in your OWN mind out of ‘faith’, faith is made of your OWN wishful thinking.

        • adam

          “The difference is #science is your deity in the sky.”

          The VERY BEST your ‘faith’ provides you for in dealing with reality is just another LIE….

        • MNb

          The difference is that probabilistic theories are testable and your god hypothesis is just baked air.

        • adam

          ..

        • MNb

          “Not completely true.”
          Totally correct. Singularities are part of Relativity, the only Big Bang Theory that has been rejected (though the Oscillating Universe Model, which I think very charming, is close to being rejected as well). There is consensus by physicists on that point.
          That’s how science works. You formulate several theories and hypotheses, design tests to find out which ones are incorrect and throw those into the dustbin. That has happened to the only Big Bang Theory that postulated that the Big Bang was a singularity.

        • adam

          I didnt ask you to assume

          “however those laws aren’t in play when transitioning between nothing and something”

          Please demonstrate that your CLAIM is true

        • Rudy R

          suddenly producing something would also be released of those laws.

          Exactly. We don’t know what the natural laws were before the Big Bang, so what seems like craziness compared to the natural laws of this universe, could very well have been the norm for the laws pre-Big Bang, that is, something popping out of nothing.

        • Compuholic

          Science already assumes that the laws of physics break down as we rewind the big bang to the point of the singularity.

          We don’t assume anything. We already know that because we realize that the laws of physics as they are currently understood produce inconsistent results under those conditions. So if the universe is a knowable place we know that there must be something we don’t yet understand.

          And “the laws of physics” are by no means a static thing. As our understanding expands, our understanding of “the laws of physics” changes. So the correct thing to say would be “We know that the laws of physics – as we currently understand them – cannot be applied to the conditions at the time of the big bang”.

        • MNb

          “If there still exists a quantum state, then there is something.”
          If there still exists a god, then there is something. So you have to answer the question (which is nonscientific indeed, but so is your “why is there something rather than nothing?”) “why is there a god rather than nothing?”
          And you already have demonstrated that your answers are far worse than any scientific answer to the scientific question “how come there is something rather than nothing?”

          “when transitioning between nothing and something”
          “God created the whole shenanigan” is not a transition between nothing and something either, because god is something as well. And “the universe comes from quantum fluctuations” is an answer superior to yours, because it’s testable (no matter how indirectly) and part of a coherent and consistent theory. Your “god created the whole shenanigan” fails in all three respects.

    • MNb

      Wrong question. The correct question is

      How come there is something rather than nothing?

      While science hasn’t settled on a definite answer yet it has made some pretty good suggestions.
      Believers at the other hand have made even more suggestions, but lack a method to decide which are the (in)correct ones.

      Btw in your religious view there always has been something – namely your god – and still you don’t ask that question to yourself. If you think my answer dissatisfying, your answer to “why is there a god rather than nothing?” is far worse.

      • JBSchmidt

        That is incoherent. Science can’t answer your question. It is not a scientific question.

        • adam

          ” Science can’t answer your question. It is not a scientific question.”

          Religion doesnt even approach the question, it PRETENDS to know.

        • Kodie

          You don’t read for comprehension very well.

        • JBSchmidt

          Wrong, I am not letting MNb redefine terms. The ‘how’ is irrelevant. Why would the ‘how’ do what it did when it did it? Let’s pretend particles can appear in the absence of anything. Why did it happen only 14 billion years ago? The question exists for any other theory.

        • Kodie

          You don’t understand the difference between why and how? It’s actually ‘how come’ but here you’ve missed that very reading comprehension thing I was talking about, and don’t understand that ‘how?’ is a scientific approach, as opposed to “why?” that presupposes that there is even a reason or a goal. But you think “letting MNb redefine terms” is like sticking a gun in your face and demanding you retract your faith, and you’re having none of it.

          So why do you ask these questions? Isn’t that like you’re sticking a gun in our faces and demanding we come to Jesus?

        • JBSchmidt

          “sticking a gun in your face” I see what you did there.

          I am not presupposing a reason or goal. I am suggesting that science can show plenty of things are possible, that doesn’t mean they should exist. Also, presupposing that simply because something ‘is’, is answer to ‘why’, is a childish approach.

          There are countless theories as to ‘how’. I am not debating those at the moment and I am actually granting you any of them you wish to accept. I m asking all the cosmologists and physicists on this thread to help me understand why any of those ‘hows’ should have ever existed. You shouldn’t need God for that.

        • Kodie

          I am not presupposing a reason or goal. I am suggesting that science can show plenty of things are possible, that doesn’t mean they should exist. Also, presupposing that simply because something ‘is’, is answer to ‘why’, is a childish approach.

          You are presupposing a goal. That’s why MNb told you it’s not the right question. If you call “is” an immature answer to the question “why?” then what you really want are more substantial reasons. Like, why does it rain? There is a “how” rain works, but you want to know “why”, like “to make the flowers grow.” Rain doesn’t care shit about flowers. Rain doesn’t go through any thought process to decide when to rain and where, it’s not trying to ruin your day, make you sad, or any other meanings about why rain is good for other stuff (that we do enjoy) that we assign it, or for any reason other than it does. You want science to give you a reason the universe exists so you could exist, and make up a silly answer to fill that in that science doesn’t have, isn’t in the business of providing, and is logically nonsense.

        • JBSchmidt

          Rain presents itself in the water cycle. My question only extends to rain if it presented itself outside that cycle. Then the question would be ‘Why does rain come from nothing?’ or ‘Why should it start raining?’ Outside the presence of the water cycle there is no reason for rain to simply materialize. The same thing should be said about the origins of space. Why should it happen? Simply stating that science knows how particles operate in the universe and theories mathematically about their interactions at the beginning of the universe, doesn’t answer why those things should have ever started.

        • Kodie

          So an immaterial, eternal, conscious being, creating all material out of nothing one day on purpose is the right answer? Show ALL your work.

        • JBSchmidt

          So an immaterial, eternal, chance, creating all material out of nothing one day on purpose is the right answer? Show ALL your work.

        • Kodie

          Um, scientists are studying that very thing, while what do you have? A really old book written by ignorant people, and?

        • adam

          …..

        • JBSchmidt

          So you have faith. Is that your answer?

        • Kodie

          I have strong evidence that science delivers, and all you have is people shuffling around a 6000-year-old story book so that it fools you into seeming plausible next to the science you’ve enjoyed and trusted your whole fucking life.

        • adam

          ‘faith’?

        • MNb

          No, she has trust and confidence. Those are not the same as faith.

        • adam

          Come on Kodie, we know that the bible god wasnt powerful enough to do this in one day.

          He needed 6 and then he was so worn out, he had to rest a whole day.

          So much for omnipotence and omniscience.

        • Kodie

          I prefer to believe that each “god” day was actually a thousand (million?) years long, so he seems even less competent.

        • adam

          Apparently each ‘god day’ is more than 2 BILLION years long, if you look at the evidence.

          Even LESS competent, if that were possible.

        • MNb

          Nice strawman. Kodie claims any immaterial thing is the wrong answer. You better don’t try again though – it can only get worse.

        • MNb

          “My question only extends to rain if it presented itself outside that cycle.”
          Exactly. And that thing outside the cycle of universes coming into existence you call god. You just confirmed that your “why” questions do presuppose your god.

        • MNb

          “I am not presupposing a reason or goal.”
          Oh, you totally are when you ask “why”. As the English expression goes: you think there must be a reason why. Plus you just above admitted that creators of computers, planes and medicines had a goal.
          That Greg, the champ of the logical fallacies, has voted you up should make you think twice.

          “I am actually granting you any of them you wish to accept.”
          OK. The origin of the Universe, aka the Big Bang, was a probabilistic event. So if your god had a hand to it (refuting the Cosmological Argument does not intend to disprove god – refutations can be used by agnosts as well) he likes playing dice.

          “I m asking all the cosmologists and physicists on this thread to help me understand why …..”
          You ask the wrong people. Cosmologists and physicists only answer “how come” questions. Sure they use “why” quite often, but as the example of Lawrence Krauss makes clear they actually mean something different than you – namely “how come”.
          You should ask theologians. And when you ask two theologians you will get three different answers. So your next question should what their method is. The result will be a beautiful cricket concert.

        • MNb

          “I am not letting MNb redefine terms.”
          Then you are antiscientific, because those redefined terms (not by me) are the ones used in science.

          “Why did it happen only 14 billion years ago?”
          And as a good creationist you are not capable of learning.
          It happens now as well. For instance positron-electron pair production.

        • Susan

          That is incoherent.

          Show where.

          Science can’t answer your question.

          1) Why not? What do you think his question asks?

          2) What can answer his question and why should you or I consider the answer reliable?

        • JBSchmidt

          Here is what I just stated to Kodie who also tried assist MNb: “The ‘how’ is irrelevant. Why would the ‘how’ do what it did when it did it? Let’s pretend particles can appear in the absence of anything. Why did it happen only 14 billion years ago? The question exists for any other theory.”

        • Susan

          The ‘how’ is irrelevant.

          So you say. Irrelevant to what?

          Why would the ‘how’ do what it did when it did it?

          What do you mean?

          Let’s pretend that particles can appear in the absence of anything.

          No. There are quantum fields. That doesn’t count as the absence of anything according to metaphysical nothingists.

          Why did it happen only 14 billion years ago?

          Why did what happen?

        • MNb

          “The ‘how’ is irrelevant”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Tell that the folks who produce your computer, your car, your medicines. My compliment, no creationist, not even Ken Ham, has so openly displayed an antiscientific attitude as you did. And that invalidates your objection “It is not a scientific question.” If you may ask non-scientific questions, so may I. Here I go again:

          “Why would the ‘how’ do what it did when it did it?”

          “Why would god do what it did when it did it? How do you know? How do you test your eventual answer?”

          Your answer will always be far worse than any scientific answer to “how come there is something rather than nothing?”

        • JBSchmidt

          The ‘how’ is irrelevant to this discussion, unless you are will to claim an infinite universe. If not, the origination of anything we experience includes a ‘why’. The creators of a computer, car or medicine are the ‘why’. It is different than the ‘how’. If you wish to remove the creators, we wouldn’t have a product or a ‘how’.

          I believe that the only ‘why’ to the universe is a creator. Just like everything else we experience. My question continues to be, if not a creator, why? Telling me that particles pop in and out of existence, doesn’t explain why they should have started doing that.

          All of your other questions regarding God are also meaningless to the discussion, unless you are will to acknowledge a creator.

        • MNb

          “The ‘how’ is irrelevant to this discussion, unless you are will to claim an infinite universe.”
          Nonsense in the most literal meaning of the word. “How come there is a finite universe” is an excellent scientific question. Establishing first if “why” questions are good questions is totally relevant for this discussion. If they are not – and I have argued that they aren’t; you have brought up exactly nothing against it – your discussion falls flat on its face before it even has started. And the Cosmological Argument you intend to maintain has failed before you even brought it up.
          But if “why” questions are bad questions then I have to provide something better. “How come” questions are.
          Conclusion: your attempt is a totaly failure already the moment you started.

          “The creators of a computer, car or medicine are the ‘why’.”
          The ‘why’ of those creators is only meaningful because they understand the ‘how come’. That enables them to work towards a predetermined result. So you only demonstrated that “how come” questions are superior to “why” questions – exactly my point.
          I can tell you why I would like to build a time machine, but as long as I can’t tell you how comes that that time machine is even possible any answer to the why is just baked air.
          The same applies to your “why is there something rather than nothing” question.

          “I believe that the only ‘why’ to the universe is a creator.”
          And that’s the only reason you stick to your why questions, even if that creator is an incoherent concept and you don’t have a method to find out whether your answers are correct or incorrect. Unfortunately for any philosophical discussion what you believe and don’t believe is the irrelevant thing.

          Thanks for confirming though that you are begging the question, which you repeat here:

          “My question continues to be, if not a creator, why?”
          And my answer continues to be that “why” questions are bad questions and only result in conclusions that are far worse than any speculative answer to “how come” questions. Plus I provided an explanation.
          You can repeat your question as often as you like, it remains a bad question.

          “Telling me that particles pop in and out of existence, doesn’t explain why they should have started doing that.”
          Neither does it intend to. It does tell you though that something can come from nothing indeed. Or, to use WLC’s terminology, not everything that begins to exist has a cause.

          “All of your other questions regarding God are also meaningless to the discussion, unless you are will to acknowledge a creator.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Yup, they are meaningless for me for exactly that reason. However you do acknowledge a creator, so it follows that they are very meaningful to you. And as you refuse to answer them you just confirmed that your “why” question is a bad question.
          Thanks.

        • adam

          “I believe that the only ‘why’ to the universe is a creator.”

        • MNb

          If “why is there a god rather than nothing?” is an incoherent question, then so is your “why is there something rather than nothing?”
          If you are permitted to ask a non-scientific question (I already told you yours is) then so am I.
          But thanks for confirming that your answer is far worse than anything science can bring up. You don’t even manage to be consistent.

    • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

      Why not?

      • JBSchmidt

        Do you believe something has existed into the infinite past?

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          It doesn’t matter what I believe, but what is. You asked “why is there something rather than nothing”, and I answered back why not?

        • Susan

          I answered back why not?

          Like Yahweh did to Job. 😉

        • JBSchmidt

          “what is”

          That is my question. Why do we have “what is”? “What is” could not have existed into the infinite past. That’s ‘why not’.

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          “What is” could not have existed into the infinite past.

          We don’t know that.

        • JBSchmidt

          Well you may not.

          However, even if you apply some version of the multiverse theory, the problems presented with infinity requires a large helping of faith in order to digest.

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          I don’t know and neither do you. Pretending otherwise is dishonest.

          …if you apply some version of the multiverse theory…

          I don’t.

        • MNb

          Those problems with infinity are only the result of lack of mathematical understanding.

        • JBSchmidt

          Which cosmologist/physicist believes the universe is infinite?

        • MNb

          Cosmologists and physicists don’t believe anything. Believing is for believers like you, not for scientists. Some speculate that the universe is infite. For instance Stephen Hawking does in Brief History of Time, chapter 8.

          http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/our-solar-system/105-the-universe/cosmology-and-the-big-bang/our-place-in-the-universe/635-if-the-universe-is-infinite-does-that-mean-there-is-an-infinite-number-of-me-s-intermediate

          http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/People/Is_the_Universe_finite_or_infinite_An_interview_with_Joseph_Silk

        • Faith? Is your argument then, “You’re just as much an idiot as I am, because you use faith, too”?

          That’s what it sounds like. If I’ve mischaracterized it, you’ll have to rework it so that you don’t denigrate your own position.

    • Rudy R

      Why is something special and nothing is not? Maybe nothing is the impossibility and something is the norm.

    • Philmonomer

      Why is there something rather than nothing?

      Lots of interesting answers here. Here’s mine.

      “I don’t know. But you don’t know either.”

    • Why do you ask? Would you expect nothing rather than something? That would be a remarkable claim, to which I would like to see evidence.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/11/the-christian-poses-tough-questions-to-the-atheist/

  • Bram Kaandorp

    It really is an ouroboros of an argument. In order to use the argument, one has to assume that god exists, otherwise one needs to prove that it exists.

    And since it’s easier to assume, that’s exactly what happens.

    “Whatever begins to exist needs a cause (I know it’s actually ‘has’, but really, it’s obvious that they mean ‘needs’).

    “God doesn’t begin to exist, because that would render my argument invalid.

    “Therefore, definitely not my god, but the universe needs a cause, and preferably it would be the god I already believe in, so that I don’t have to switch faiths.”

    Did I misrepresent them?

  • Nicolás Vera

    If these are your objections, the KCA is really STRONG.

    • Well, now that’s the problem, isn’t it? These are the best rebuttals that I can come up with, but you know that they’re wrong. I’m simply too stupid to anticipate the problems. And that’s where you come in. You can show us where the arguments in this post are flawed.

      Go.