My recent book Did God Create the Universe from Nothing? Countering William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument has generally received really good reviews. I understand that most reviewers are partisan and reviews generally follow people’s beliefs. That said, I do get very annoyed when Christians review my books and they have either not read the book at all or show no reference to having done so. The last two reviews for the aforementioned book fall into this category and they annoy me.
The giveaway is that the reviewers are Kindle reviewers and yet not verified purchases. This tells you rather a lot.
If anyone has actually read the book, liked it and wants to review it positively to redress the books, please do so!
on October 7, 2018Format: Kindle EditionSomething I’ve noticed about those who “Debunk” Dr. Craig’s viewpoints, is that it is easy for them to do so in a book or on a video, when Dr. Craig isn’t there. I advise the seeker of Truth to actually view 10 or more of his debates (Sometimes several hours long) with prominent anti-theists, before making a premature judgement based upon the teachings of one or a few of his opponents when he isn’t present to counter them. Like you, I didn’t want to do all the work of listening to all those hours of debates in order to actually have an evidence based view. I work a real job, have family and community obligations, and my time and energy gets consumed in the myriad of unexpected needs thrust upon me. I could have just went to the local religious building, or attended a lecture by a prominent atheist and nodded my head up and down at the sermon / lecture. But I instead did view about 50 hours of Dr. Craig’s lectures, because I wanted the Truth more than an easy, familiar, popular, appeal to authority, full of big words without adequate evidence, …group-think. That said, there are some Theist presenters that are absolutely embarrassing to listen to. Also, I must admit, there are some logical and evidence based presenters that give reasonable arguments against an un-caused Cause that is beyond matter, time, space, & energy as we in this universe understand them. They present well thought out views to counter the idea of a Supreme Intelligence originally possessing all Knowledge and all Power that was to manifest in the Universe it created. Before recent times, their arguments were almost unassailable. Then theists became aware of the need to strengthen their belief in a Creative Original Source Consciousness with logic, evidence, and scientific / mathematical counter-arguments. It’s not about “Proving there is a God.” It’s about determining where the preponderance of logical and scientific evidence leads us.
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Author Jonathan M.S. Pearce wrote in the first chapter of this 2016 book, “[William Lane] Craig has recently taken to defending the KCA in light of growing criticism of the argument from professional and amateur philosophers alike … It is this last writing and set of public talks that this book is targeting as I feel that Craig has wrongfully adopted a dismissive approach to the objections to the KCA, evading the serious objections whilst building up straw men to other objections.” (Pg. 5-6)
He points out, “The first premise is ‘whatever begins to exist has a cause.’ This, I posit, is a categorical proposition which amounts to an inductive piece of reasoning… [It] is not definitional and is dependent on empirical observation. This premise actually amounts to, at best, ‘everything which we have observed to begin to exist has appeared to have had a cause.’ It is… a mere assertion… that EVERYTHING which begins to exist has a cause… This can be called a ‘simple induction by enumeration to a generalization.’ … Now, Craig might counter that this is not merely based on observation, but it is also a metaphysical intuition. It just FEELS that this is true, that every effect has a cause.” (Pg. 10)
He explains, “the theist generally believes that the causal chain starts with the agent; that they ORIGINATE the causal chain. This allows them ownership over the decision so that the reason for the decision cannot be further deferred to other (antecedent) causes. However, this means that the agent is creating something out of nothing. There is ex nihilo creation, since to prior reason can be given to explain the agent’s decision, otherwise we return to determinism. Yet allowing for ex nihilo creation defies the opening premise of the KCA… But the theist is pretty much always an adherent of the KCA AND [Libertarian Free Will].” (Pg. 41)
Later, he adds, “There are other proposals, concerning quantum physics… [in which] Virtual particles, which appear and disappear, apparently at random, from observation have been suggested to counter such unclaimed causality. Similar claims have been made to suggest that the universe could start in such a manner.” (Pg. 50)
He argues, “Craig’s argument depends upon assuming that there either was a beginning finitely long ago or infinitely long ago… If the universe if eternal, then no matter what time you designate as P [the present moment], there are infinitely many moments before it and infinitely many after it. There is no external reference point from which to get to P. Things are just happening at P because things have literally always been happening and literally always will be. That’s what eternal means. Every point in time, literally all of them, is in the middle of the action. I think it reduces to having to say the universe is a brute fact, but I can’t say there is a more sensible choice for a brute fact than the universe… The universe could be defined as ‘everything that is, or ever was; all of existence; existence itself.’ I think that qualifies as a candidate for a legitimate brute fact.” (Pg. 57-58)
He points out, “As far as perfection is concerned, there are problems. Suffice to say that I adhere to the school of thought which declares that ontological perfection, as God held ‘prior’ to creating the universe, would not entail the desire or intention to create the universe … especially since God still has ontological perfection ‘after’ creation and throughout the temporal process of the world, with all its supposed issues. If God was and still is perfect, what need, or why intend the creation of the world?” (Pg. 97-98)
He states, “The fact that Craig claims there is ‘no absurdity’ in allowing for efficient causation to replace material causation on its own, despite the entirely of inductive evidence, is nothing more than a convenient assertion… But this same critique can be applied to his own argument. Why think that this common idea that nothing comes from nothing always be the case? Therefore, Craig seems to fall victim to his own double standard. Craig goes on to give examples of where abstract objects do not need material causes… But this is talking about efficient causes for abstract things (ideas and concepts or labels), not efficient causes for material things! It appears to be a rather obvious sidestep.” (Pg. 135)
He concludes, “God may have created the universe from nothing. I expect we can never fully prove or disprove such unfalsifiable claims. Indeed, the real aim of this book was not to disprove that God created the world but to show that the KCA cannot prove that God did, using those premises and the resulting conclusion… At the heart of what has been posited is the idea that causality can be seen in discrete units and this is something I hope to have shown does not work. Causality is the causal circumstance of the entire universe since its ‘creation’ event. Thus to use such causality to prove that ‘the universe’ required a cause is unsound. You cannot use an assume rule of one to prove itself. We have never seen a creation event of a universe, so we assume it requires causality and use that assumption to prove that the universe need causation!” (Pg. 141-142)
This book will be of great interest to those studying philosophical issues relating to cosmology, apologetics, and such.