The Internet is not subtle. When people attack others’ beliefs and ideas, they don’t just refute them; they utterly obliterate them!!!!! Because who wants a boring headline? “Christian debates atheist.” Lame! “Christian completely owns atheist!!!” “Apologist embarrassed by scientist!!!” That’s exciting!
I’ve challenged my colleague, The FreeThinking Theist himself, Tim Stratton, to respond to 12 arguments spread over three rounds that completely destroy the Kalam Cosmological Argument!!! Will he rise to the task or will he be cosmically owned?!?
Round one: Begin!
(Note: I promise I didn’t make any of these up to make skeptics look bad. They’re legitimate arguments you can find floating around the internet in one form or another. I have only modified the wording of some for clarity or brevity.)
1) Cause and effect only applies WITHIN our universe, not to the universe itself.
My first response to this objection is simple: “Why would you think something like that? Do you have any reason to think that’s true?” Of course there is no good reason to think this objection is true. It is nothing more than an ad-hoc objection with no reason to think it’s true; it is simply held by blind faith alone.
Moreover, not only is there no reason to think this objection is true, it is actually unreasonable! Let’s think logically here: Imagine a world void of time and space (what we refer to as the universe). Now if there is no time then nothing happens and if there is no space then matter does not exist. So, now we are left with no ability for even a subatomic particle to exist because there is no space, and there is no ability for anything to happen because there is no time.
This means that time and space could never have come into existence as that is something that happens. This is why one of the primary principles of metaphysics is “out of nothing nothing comes.”
2) We’ve never observed “nothing” before so how do we know something can’t come from nothing?
This is basically the same objection as the last one. “Nothing” in a technical sense means absolutely no thing. This means there is no space, no matter, no time, and no energy. If there is no space, then even the smallest physical things cannot exist. If there is no time, then things cannot happen. Therefore, we don’t need to observe “nothing” to know out of nothing nothing comes. We can come to that conclusion logically (it’s not a scientific question anyway since science is the study of nature — not the study of nothing)!
3) Philosophical arguments for a first cause are meaningless because philosophy is meaningless. Science is the only way to know truth.
This is one of the most ignorant objections I’ve ever heard. Sadly, many today, from internet atheists to Ph.D. science professors, commit this gross error. This mistake is based on a lack of understanding what we mean when we talk about philosophical arguments. When I use that term, I typically mean that I have a logic-based argument ending in either a deductive or an abductive conclusion (one of my favorite arguments ends in three deductive conclusions and one abductive conclusion).
With that distinction made, if the objector wants to continue holding to his objection, he must restate it in the following manner:
“Logical arguments for a first cause are meaningless because logic is meaningless. Science is the only way to know truth.”
Do you see how silly that kind of statement is? First of all, if one rejects logic, then they have to admit that their conclusion (which is supposed to be based on the laws of logic) is actually illogical. Moreover, it is illogical! The statement, “science is the only way to know truth,” presents a major problem to the objector wielding this sharp double-edged sword. In fact, this sword will ultimately cut their own objection to pieces as it is a self-defeating statement. Think about it: was the statement, “science is the only way to know truth” a statement that can be scientifically discoverable? Of course not!
The objector is claiming to possess knowledge of something that cannot be known via science to proclaim that science is the only way to know things. It is just as logically incoherent as stating the following sentence: “There are no sentences that contain more than three words.” That specific sentence is comprised of ten words, and therefore the sentence ought to be rejected (at least by those who consider themselves empowered by reason).
Moreover, by definition, arguments are based on the laws of logic. If one is going to reject logic then they cannot argue at all. To make matters worse, science is based on logic — not the other way around. Thus, if one rejects logic, they can never engage in the scientific method. If one rejects logic, science goes down the drain!
4) If God is the efficient cause of the universe, what is the material cause?
This question is incoherent when considering the original question that should be asked: “What caused matter to come into existence?” When contemplating this question, does it make sense to ask, “what is the material cause of all matter?” It is logically incoherent to state “matter existed before matter existed,” so to even ask the question, “what is the material cause of matter” is the epitome of a stupid question (I guess they do exist)!
There is ample scientific data concluding that matter had a beginning from big bang cosmology to thermodynamics. To make the case even stronger, three of the leading physicists in the world today, Arvind Borde, Allan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin, constructed a theorem (the BGV theorem of 2003) which reaches the same conclusion – all nature had an absolute beginning. No matter what model one holds, none of them can be extrapolated into past infinity. Dr. Guth (The “G” in BGV) concluded there was a “mother of all beginnings” and stated: “Even within the context of inflation with many bubbles forming, there would still be somewhere an ultimate beginning.” Dr. Vilenkin (who is an agnostic when it comes to the existence of God) makes this point even stronger:
It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.
If all of this scientific data is not enough to convince you about material causes, we can circumvent this issue entirely by contemplating time itself (apart from space and material causes). Here’s an article I wrote on the topic of time and why the existence of time proves the existence of God.
Alright, FreeThinking Theist, you’ve made it through this round. But I’ve got another four arguments coming your way that utterly destroy the Kalam Cosmological Argument!!!!! Will Tim Stratton make it or will he be totally owned?!? Tune in next time!