The Kalam Cosmological Argument NOT Debunked — A Response To YouTuber Rationality Rules

The Kalam Cosmological Argument NOT Debunked — A Response To YouTuber Rationality Rules

 
 

I discovered a YouTuber called “Rationality Rules” very recently. One of his many videos is “The Kalam Cosmological Argument Debunked – (First Cause Argument Refuted)”.  which you can watch here. One of my patrons brought this video to my attention and requested that I respond to it, so here we go.

For the uninitiated, The Kalam Cosmological Argument is formulated as follows:

1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2: The universe began to exist.

3: Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Let’s look at each of Rationality Rules’ rebuttals.

Objection 1: The Argument Doesn’t Support Theism 

Rationality Rules (RR) says “Even if the Cosmological Argument were accepted in its entirely, all it would prove is that there was a cause of the universe, and that’s it. It doesn’t even suggest, let alone prove that this cause was a being, and it certainly doesn’t suggest that that cause was a being that is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, personal and moral. That is one hell of a leap. Hence, even if accepted, the argument doesn’t even remotely support theism.” 

I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Has RR even paid the slightest bit attention to apologists’ defenses of The Cosmological Argument? This is patently false. Given that everything that has a beginning has something that caused it to come into being, and since Big Bang cosmology, the second law of thermodynamics, and the two arguments against actual infinites establish that the universe came into being out of nothing a finite time ago, it follows that a cause transcendent to matter, energy, space, and time must have caused matter, energy, space, and time (i.e the universe) to come into existence. Now, granted, the syllogism doesn’t define this cause as “God”. It only asserts “Therefore, the universe has a cause”. However, in every defense of The Kalam Cosmological Argument I’ve ever heard given, this is not where the argument stops. Once it is established that the universe a transcendent cause, the apologist (William Lane Craig, Frank Turek, Lee Strobel, Myself) do a conceptual analysis of what it means to be a cause of the universe. The conceptual analysis part of the argument is being totally ignored by RR.

When you do a conceptual analysis of what attributes or properties the universe’s cause must have, you do indeed end up with a being heavily resembling God.

The cause must be

Spaceless – Because space came into being and did not exist until this cause brought it into existence, the cause cannot be a spatial being. It must be spaceless or non-spatial. You cannot be inside of something if you are that something’s cause. You cannot be inside of something if that something did not exist until you brought it into existence.

Timeless – Since time did not exist until The Big Bang, the cause cannot be inside of time. It must be a timeless being.

Immaterial – The cause’s non-spatiality entails immateriality. How so? Because material objects cannot exist unless space exists. Material objects have mass and ergo occupy spatial dimensions. If there is no space, matter cannot exist. This means that because the cause is non-spatial, it is therefore non-material.

Unimaginably Powerful (if not omnipotent) – Anything able to create all matter, energy, space, and time out of absolutely nothing must be extremely powerful, if not omnipotent.

Supernatural – “Nature” and “The universe” are synonyms. Nature did not begin to exist until The Big Bang. Therefore, a natural cause (a cause coming, by definition, from nature) cannot be responsible for the origin of nature. To say otherwise would be to spout incoherence. You’d basically be saying “Nature caused nature to come into being.”

Uncaused – Given that the cause of the universe is timeless, the cause cannot itself have a beginning. To have a beginning to one’s existence entails a before and after relationship. There’s a time before one existed and a time after one came into existence. But a before and after of anything is impossible without time. Since the cause existed sans time, the cause, therefore, cannot have a beginning. It’s beginningless.

Personal – This is an entailment of the cause’s immateriality. There are two types of things recognized by philosophers that are immaterial: abstract objects (such as numbers, sets, or other mathematical entities) or unembodied minds. Philosophers realize that abstract objects if they exist, they exist as non-physical entities. However, abstract objects cannot produce any effects. That’s part of what it means to be abstract. The number 3 isn’t going to be producing any effects anytime soon. Given that abstract objects are causally impotent, it, therefore, follows that an unembodied mind is the cause of the universe’ beginning. Two other arguments for the personhood of the universe’s cause can be given, and I’ve unpacked these in my book The Case For The One True God: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Historical Case For The God Of Christianity available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle.

Whatever begins to exist has a cause, given that the universe began to exist, if follows that the universe has a cause of its existence. The cause of the universe must be a spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, supernatural, uncaused, personal Creator.

This being that is demonstrated to exist by this argument is consistent with The Christian God. The Bible describes God as spaceless (see 1 Kings 8:27, 2 Chronicles 2:6), timeless (1 Corinthians 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2), immaterial (John 4:24, 1 Timothy 1:17, 1 Timothy 6:16), powerful (Psalm 62:11-12, Job 9:14, Matthew 19:26), uncaused (Psalm 90:2, Isaiah 57:15, 1 Timothy 1:17, Revelation 1:8), supernatural, and is a personal being (John 1:12, James 4:8). Moreover, The Bible credits Him with being the Creator of all physical reality (John 1:1-3).

Additionally, as I point out in my book The Case For The One True God: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Historical Case For The God Of Christianity a study of comparative religions demonstrates that only 4 religions are consistent with the Cosmological argument’s conclusion: Judaism, Christianity, Islam (that’s why Ghazali defended it), and Deism. All other religions involve either an eternal cosmos that have God or gods bringing order out of the eternally existing matter, energy, space and time, or else their god is the universe itself (pantheism). Therefore, if you’re picking a view about God based on the cosmological argument alone, your list of options consistent with the evidence is limited to just 4 options, Christianity being among them. Only the Abrahamic religions (and Deism) teach that a God like the one described above brought all physical reality into existence from nothing.

Rationality Rules complains that the argument doesn’t demonstrate the omniscience, omnipresence, or the moral character of the universe’s cause, but the argument was never designed to get those qualities. Richard Dawkins made this same complaint about the argument. Dawkins said it like this “Even if we allow the dubious luxury of arbitrarily conjuring up a terminator to an infinite regress and giving it a name, there is absolutely no reason to endow that terminator with any of the properties normally ascribed to God: omnipotence, omniscience, goodness, creativity of design, to say nothing of such human attributes as listening to prayers, forgiving sins and reading innermost thoughts.” 1 and Dr. William Lane Craig responded to it thusly:

“Apart from the opening slur, this is an amazingly concessionary statement! Dawkins doesn’t dispute that the argument successfully proves the existence of an uncaused, beginningless, changeless, timeless, spaceless, and unimaginably powerful personal Creator of the universe. He merely complains that this cause hasn’t also been shown to be omnipotent, omniscient, good, creative of design, listening to prayers, forgiving sins, and reading innermost thoughts. So what? The argument isn’t intended to prove those things. It would be a bizarre form of atheism, indeed an atheism not worth the name, which admitted that there exists an uncaused, beginningless, changeless, timeless, immaterial, spaceless, unimaginably powerful, personal Creator of the universe who may (for all we know) also possess the properties listed by Dawkins. So we needn’t call the personal Creator of the universe “God” if Dawkins finds this unhelpful or misleading. But the point remains that such a being as described by this argument must exist” 2

This is just a pitiful objection to The Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Objection 2: It Doesn’t Prove The Universe’s Cause Was The First Cause. 

I facepalmed even harder at this objection than I did the previous one. Rationality Rules said “A second problem that even we accepted the argument. It wouldn’t prove that the universe itself was without a cause. Or in another words, it wouldn’t prove that first cause existed, which for a first cause argument is pretty damn ridiculous. To be fair, the proponents of this argument do indeed offer additional arguments in an attempt to assert that the cause of the universe must be without a cause. But the point that I’m trying to make here and now is that The Kalam Cosmological Argument, by itself, is pretty damn trivial. And hence, the proponents of this argument almost always employ additional arguments to reach their conclusions including the likes of Craig” 

There are good reasons given as to why the cause of the universe must be uncaused. I’ve given one of them above. I wrote “Given that the cause of the universe is timeless, the cause cannot itself have a beginning. To have a beginning to one’s existence entails a before and after relationship. There’s a time before one existed and a time after one came into existence. But a before and after of anything is impossible without time. Since the cause existed sans time, the cause, therefore, cannot have a beginning. It’s beginningless.” Another reason is that if you do not allow for an uncreated Creator, if you insist that God must have a Creator, you get thrown into an infinite regression. For God to come into being, His creator must have come into being, and before that creator could come into being, the creator before him had to come into being, and before that creator could come into being, the creator before him had to come into being, and so on back into infinity. No creator could ever come into being because there would always have to be a creator before him to bring him into being. In fact, no creator in the entire infinite past series of creators could ever come into being because each would have to be preceded by a previously created creator. And since no creator could ever come into being, the specific creator that brought our universe into existence couldn’t have come into being. But obviously, here we are. This suggests that there wasn’t an infinite regression of creators begetting creators. But if there was no infinite regression of creators begetting creators, then that logically brings us to an uncreated Creator, a Creator without beginning.

Even Rationality Rules admits that Kalam proponents back up the assertion that the cause is uncaused by arguments, as you can see in the quotation above. However, he doesn’t dispute the arguments. He doesn’t even say what the arguments are. He seems to think that merely having to bolster the conclusion “the universe had a cause” with additional arguments is an invalid move. But why think a thing like that? Yes, the syllogism by itself only gets you to “The universe had a cause”, but why take Christian Apologists to task for unpacking the implications of that conclusion with additional arguments?

The question RR should be asking is not whether additional arguments are needed, but whether the additional arguments given are good. RR’s objection is pretty damn trivial.

Objection 3: It Commits The Fallacy Of Equivocation

Rationality Rules indicts The Kalam Cosmological Argument for committing the fallacy of equivocation. What is the fallacy of equivocation? The fallacy of equivocation is when an argument uses the exact same word, but employs two different definitions of the word. It would be like if someone argued “God made everything. Everything is made in China. Therefore, God is Chinese”. The word being equivocated on here is the word “everything”. In the first premise, it means literally everything that exists, whereas, in premise 2, it only refers to everything that American consumers purchase.

Rationality Rules says that in the second premise, what we mean by the term “Universe” is the scientific definition of universe (i.e all matter, energy, space, and time), whereas in the conclusion, we employ the colloquial usage of the term “Universe”, meaning literally everything that ever was, is, and ever will be. Thus, RR says that steps 2 and 3 of the argument employ the same words with different meanings.

This objection is just as underwhelming as the previous two. For one thing, why isn’t “all matter, energy, space, and time) not synonymous with “everything that ever was, is, or will be”? Perhaps RR is assuming The Mother Universe theory whereby The Big Bang was not the absolute origin of all material objects, but only the birth of one of many “baby” universes” that come into being inside of a much wider Mother Universe. In that case, the origin of our universe would indeed not be “everything that ever was, is, or will be”.

But as I argue in my blog posts “Does The Multi-Verse Explain Away The Need For A Creator?” and “Is The Universe A Computer Simulation?” not to mention chapter 1 of The Case For The One True God, this Mother Multiverse scenario cannot be extended into past eternity. The Borde-Guth-Velinken Theorem, as well as the impossibility of traversing actual infinites, bring us to an absolute beginning of literally everything at some point, whether that be the beginning of our universe, The Mother Universe, The Grandmother Universe, or whatever.

This leads to my next point; we do mean literally everything in both steps 2 and 3. We mean all matter, energy, space, and time that ever was, is, or will be in both steps 2 and 3. Now, RR can dispute whether premise 2 is true, but if I, William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross etc. mean literally everything in both steps, then a charge of the fallacy of equivocation cannot stand. We mean the same thing by “universe” in both steps 2 and 3.

Objection 4: Nothing Has Ever Been Demonstrated To Come Into Being From Nothing 

RR says “And this brings us comfortably to another critical flaw with the Kalam Cosmological Argument. It asserts that something can indeed come from nothing – a concept in philosophy known as Creatio Ex Nihilo (creation out of nothing), when this has never been demonstrated to occur. In fact, to the contrary, everything we know about cause and effect overwhelmingly and unanimously tells us that when a new thing is created it is due to the rearrangement of energy and matter that already existed… that is, everything is the result of Creatio Ex Materia (creation out of material).”

Another underwhelming objection. Before I give my response, let me inform my readers that I distinguish causes via Aristotelian Causation. The ancient philosopher Aristotle recognized that there are different types of causes. A “material cause” is the stuff out of which something is made. For example, a chair’s material cause is the wood gathered from chopped down trees. An efficient cause of the chair would be the carpenter who fashioned the chair from the wood. Another type of cause Aristotle identified was Final Causality. This is the teleology, the purpose or end goal of bringing something into being. In the example of the chair, the final cause would be the purpose of sitting. But for this discussion, only efficient and material causes need to be distinguished.

The objection here is that the inductive evidence is overwhelmingly against the idea that things can come into being without a material cause. The conclusion of The Kalam Cosmological Argument is that the universe came into being via an efficient cause (God), but with no material cause. God didn’t use previously existing material to manufacture the universe.

Now, I would agree that our experience shows us that whenever something comes into being, it had a material cause as well as an efficient cause, thus rendering us with as much inductive evidence for material causation, but this inductive evidence can be overridden if we have powerful evidence that all physical reality came into being out of nothing a finite time ago. The Big Bang demonstrates just that. To look at the evidence, see my blog posts “The Kalam Cosmological Argument” and “Is The Big Bang The Origin Of The Universe?”

As I explain in the above blog posts, we do in fact have powerful scientific evidence as well as philosophical arguments which show us that the whole of physical reality (space, time, matter, and energy) had an absolute beginning.

Objection 5: Special Pleading Fallacy 

RR says that Kalam proponents commit the special pleading fallacy. What is that? The Special Pleading Fallacy occurs whenever you make an exception to an established rule without justification. RR says “they [Kalam proponents] assert that the cause of the universe didn’t begin to exist and therefore it didn’t have a cause, without adequately justifying why this cause is an exception.”

My face is hurting from all the facepalming I’ve been doing throughout watching this dude’s videos. First of all, there’s no exception to even be made! The argument is that “Whatever begins to exist has a cause”. The Kalam proponent would only be special pleading if he or she said that God began to exist, but made him the exception by saying he came into being uncaused. However, all proponents of The Kalam Cosmological Argument hold that (A) God is uncaused, uncreated. and (B) we give arguments for that. I’ve given arguments for that above.

Objection 6: Argument From Ignorance

Of course. The overused “God Of The Gaps” objection. This is not based on what we don’t know. It’s based on what we do know. As I explained in subheader 1, the cause of the universe must be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, uncaused, and personal. And I didn’t just arbitrarily assign these attribute’s to the universe’s cause, I gave positive arguments for why the universe’s cause must have these attributes. I, nor has any proponent of this argument ever said, “Scientists can’t explain how the universe came into being, so it must be God” or anything of that sort. One must suppose that atheists continue to illegitimately accuse the Kalam of committing this fallacy because they just don’t pay attention when it is explained to them. If you keep falling asleep in class, it’s no surprise that you don’t know what you’re talking about when it’s time to do your essay.

As for being the specific God I believe in, I’d recommend a look at The Case For The One True God. I admit that The Kalam doesn’t get you to the uniquely Christian conception of God, but it does get you to a conception of God that doesn’t match the majority of the ones most religions out there. Abrahamic religions and Deism are consistent with this argument, but polytheistic, animistic, and pantheistic religions are not. And atheism certainly is not consistent with the argument’s conclusion.

Conclusion 

When my patron Kevin Walker, asked me to make a response to this video, I was actually bracing myself for some pretty hard-hitting rebuttals, if not refutations. I was like “Boy, I hope I can handle these responses”. I never expected the pitiful, flimsy objections RR put forth.

———————————————————————-

NOTES 

1: Richard Dawkins, “The God Delusion” p. 158.

2: William Lane Craig, “Deconstructing New Atheist Objections To The Arguments For God”, https://www.reasonablefaith.org/videos/short-videos/deconstructing-new-atheist-objections-to-the-arguments-for-god/


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This Post Has 35 Comments

  1. Unknown

    You special plead that the only thing that is uncaused is god. Occam's Razor says the simplest explantion is the correct one. Therefore the universe is uncaused

    1. Special pleading only occurs when one makes an exception to a well established principle without justification. I have arguments for why the universe's cause must be uncaused. It's an enrolment of the attribute of timelessness and moreover, the only other alternative to an included cause is an infinite regression of causes, and infinite series cannot be traversed.

      The universe cannot be included because it began to exist. Occam's Razor is totally irrelevant. To reject the conclusion that the universe has a cause, you either have to affirm that the universe has always existed (contrary to the abundance of scientific evidence and philosophical arguments) or affirm that things can come into being without a cause.

      In other words, to affirm the statement "The universe is uncaused", you must deny at least one of The Kalam Cosmological Argument 's premises. So…which premise do you reject and why?

  2. Ψ

    There are so many problems with your refutation that it would take me the whole day to refute point by point. Believe me.
    But I’ll only call attention to some points.

    Spaceless – It does not have to be spaceless — only Minkowskiless (i.e., not Minkowski space). That is, just because our Minkowski space began, doesn’t entail a hyperspace could not have existed prior to it and be its efficient cause.

    Timeless – It doesn’t have to be timeless. Just because our Minkowski space-time began to exist at the Big Bang, doesn’t entail a temporal hyperspace could not have existed eternally. Now, you could argue the arguments against an infinite past rule this out, but they only apply to metric (differentiated) time. These arguments, however, do not apply to undifferentiated time — this can be eternal — therefore, the hyperspace can be eternal in this sense.

    Immaterial – It could be, actually. Perhaps the hyperspace is empty of matter. Perhaps it consists of only a field or fields. It doesn’t have to contain matter at all. It could be something totally different from our universe.

    Unimaginably Powerful (if not omnipotent) – It certainly doesn’t have to omnipotent (being defined as that which can actualize every logically possible potential). It is powerful, compared to our powers, but nowhere near omnipotence. Perhaps its only power is to actualize Minkowski spacetimes. It is not so impressive to me (compared to the view of God who is omnipotent).

    Supernatural – It depends on how one defines “supernatural”. It is certainly not Minkowski spacetime or ordinary matter. So, if you define “natural” as that which we know of, then it is supernatural. But perhaps that just means we have to expand our worldview. I would not say the hyperspace is spiritual. It seems part of physical reality to me, but reality doesn’t have to be composed of only one property or substrate. I’m willing to accept it is composed of more things than just Minkowski spacetime. So, I see no reason to say it is supernatural — in the sense proposed by theists (i.e., like a floating mind).

    Uncaused – The hyperspace could well be uncaused. No problem with that since it did not begin to exist.

    Personal — So, I reject the Platonist and Substance-Dualist views that abstract objects and minds are immaterial. I accept Nominalism about abstract objects and Physicalism about minds. So, you have no examples at all of immaterial (or non-physical) entities that could play that role.

    Note: you cannot use the BGV theorem against the metaphysical hyperspace since one of the assumptions of the BGV is that the spacetime is expanding. But there is no reason at all to think the hyperspace is expanding — perhaps it is static (unlike Minkowski spacetime which is unstable and must contract or expand).

    I await your response.

    1. Evan Minton

      If the big bang were only a relative beginning, then everything you just said would be valid. But if ALL of physical reality whatsoever, all of space, all of the time, all matter and energy, had a beginning, then it must have been caused by a entity such as described. In other words, your attack on the conceptual analysis depends on premise 2 of the Kalam being false. Now, I acknowledged attempts to do this and in the above article I deferred the reader (in this case, that would be you) to other blog posts in which I address attempts to get around an absolute beginning. In this article I linked to “Does The Multi-Verse Explain Away The Need For A Creator?” and “Is The Universe A Computer Simulation?” More recently, I have written an article addressing various models titled “Eternal Universe Models – Going For The Philosophical Jugular”

      So unless you can knock down the second premise of The Kalam, you’ve got no grounds to object to the conceptual analysis of the conclusion. I recommend you take a look at these other articles in which I show that even if, for example, The Big Bang were just a bubble in a much wider mother universe, that only pushes an absolute beginning back. It doesn’t eliminate it. And it sounds like what you’re proposing is just The Mother Universe theory. I’ve hyperlinked the titles to the articles for your convenience.

      1. Ψ

        If one defines “universe” (in premise two) as “all of physical reality” (the way I described in MY conceptual analysis), then obviously the second premise is false. However, it seems me you failed to understand my refutation. The claim that something physical existed prior to Minkowski spacetime is perfectly compatible with the arguments against an infinite past and modern cosmology — further, it doesn’t require any scientific past-eternal model to be true, since it is a metaphysical question and not a scientific one. I’ll try to help you here and say more about my point regarding metric and undifferentiated time.

        In his books, Craig raises the possibility of “undifferentiated time” or “non-metric time” that inexplicably can only apply to God, pre-creation. Craig wrote:

        “There is also an alternative which Mackie failed to consider: (iv) prior to creation God existed in an undifferentiated time in which hours, seconds, days, and so forth simply do not exist. Because this time is undifferentiated, it is not incompatible with the Kalam argument that an infinite regress of events cannot exist… The cause exists changelessly in an undifferentiated time in which temporal intervals cannot be distinguished. On this view God existed literally before creation… For discussion of this alternative see my Time and Eternity.”

        Reasonable Faith (pp. 113, 152), Third edition 2008

        And in his “Time and Eternity”, he admits this undifferentiated time is perfectly compatible with his arguments against an infinite past.

        So, rather than dismissing my points, you should read again and given a second thought — if you’re interested in the truth, of course.

        1. Evan Minton

          Yes, I’m defining “universe” as “all of physical reality”, and should this premise be false, then the conclusion cannot be reached and thus the conceptual analysis of the conclusion needn’t be a spaceless, timeless, immaterial ect. cause. and there’s abundant scientific and philosophical evidence to support the premise.

          The hyperspace is in the realm of abstract mathematics. And abstract mathematics doesn’t need to be physical. It’s not necessarily a “space”. It’s just math-speak. Moreover, Undifferentiated time is just sequence or indices, unlike the metric time that does move or change in equal intervals. Non-metric time is not the same as a non-classical hyperspace. Regardless, in non-metric time and in non-classical hyperspace, cause-effect still holds. That means the paradoxes faced by infinite regresses will hold. Given this, if you DO want to pose a real, concrete physical space that transcends our universe, and which is the cause of The Big Bang, then you’re just posting the typical Mother Universe theory. And here are some of the problems with that which I address in the above blog posts.

          The problem with saying that The Big Bang was the birth of a baby universe in a much wider mother universe is that if the Mother Universe existed from eternity past and has the capability of producing a universe, then there is a non-zero probability that at any time, the Mother Universe will produce a universe. But given any non-zero probability and an infinite amount of time, any event with a non-zero probability will be realized. In that case, the eternal uncaused Mother will have produced an infinite upon an infinite number of universes. These expanding universes would become so plenteous that they would all coalesce and form what appears to be an infinitely large and infinitely old universe, which contradicts the scientific evidence that we live in a universe of finite size and age.

          One way you can avoid this obviously false appearance of living in an infinitely large and infinitely old universe is to say that the Mother itself is expanding, thus making more room for every baby to be big banged into existence and expand. But if The Mother is expanding, meaning it gets bigger and bigger as time moves forward, then that means it must have been smaller and smaller in the past. Rewind the clock far back enough and you reach a point in which the transcendent hyperspace realm was no larger than the period at the end of this sentence. Rewind the clock farther still, and the transcendent hyperspace realm shrinks down to nothing, meaning it began to exist and needs a transcendent cause.

          If you want to posit a Grandmother Universe that caused the Mother universe, you’re faced with the same dilemma. Since you cannot traverse an infinite number of great great great great grandmother universes giving birth to babies, you eventually have to stop at an uncaused cause that transcends any kind of physical space-time reality. So even if The Big Bang that occurred 14 billion years ago wasn’t the absolute beginning of all physical reality, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t an absolute beginning somewhere back in the chain of events. Indeed, science and logic force you to a beginning.

          Given that hyperspace is just a realm of abstract mathematics, and not a real concrete entity, and given that undifferentiated time is just sequence or indices (like the letters of the alphabet; A, B, C, D, E), your view doesn’t avoid the problems the traditional Mother Universe is plagued with. Thus, you haven’t avoided an absolute beginning.

          What you posit are just abstract ideas and thus all we’re left with is a Minkowski type of space-time. The major issue here is that you’re treating abstract ideas as concrete entities which is extremely misleading.

          1. Ψ

            “The hyperspace is in the realm of abstract mathematics. And abstract mathematics doesn’t need to be physical. It’s not necessarily a “space”. It’s just math-speak… Given that hyperspace is just a realm of abstract mathematics, and not a real concrete entity,”

            ­It is possible that mathematics can describe the physical hyperspace, but that doesn’t imply the hyperspace must be abstract rather than concrete. I’m positing a Minkowski-like space but that is not QUITE like Minkowski space since its time is different and it obeys (some) different laws of physics. Would you say Minkowski space is abstract? I would surely not, since it can be curved by mass and is a real entity (according to General Relativity). Therefore, it follows it is metaphysically possible that a space entity similar to Minkowski space — a hyperspace — can exist. You presented no argument against this possibility.

            ­Now, obviously this is just hypothetical, but this is irrelevant to my point, since both of us are agreeing with one point: an infinite past of metric time is impossible and the big bang singularity model implies Minkowski spacetime began, and then presenting just hypothesis to explain this.

            ­By the way, stop saying there is abundant evidence to support premise two. I already explained to you the arguments do not apply to my analysis since science (allegedly) only proves Minkowski spacetime began (it doesn’t apply to any other external entity), and the arguments against an infinite past only apply to metric time.

            ­”Non-metric time is not the same as a non-classical hyperspace.”

            ­Is this even an argument? I didn’t claim that’s the case. Obviously a hyperspace is not undifferentiated time. These are different things. However, undifferentiated time can exist IN the hyperspace, the same way a fourth time dimension exist in our Minkowski space (that’s where the name “Minkowski spacetime” come from).

            ­”Regardless, in non-metric time and in non-classical hyperspace, cause-effect still holds.”

            ­Remember, this is just a metaphysical model I’m building here. You can’t dictate whether causality will hold or not. I will say whether it will hold or not. Unless, of course, you present an argument showing that the causality principle (or rule) is not just a principle abstracted from our empirical reality — thus, not a logically necessary principle. But anyway, this is irrelevant to this specific point since there is no infinite regress of time intervals or entities and the hyperspace did not begin to exist. So, it doesn’t need any cause.

            ­”and given that undifferentiated time is just sequence or indices (like the letters of the alphabet; A, B, C, D, E), ”

            ­On the contrary; because this time is undifferentiated, there is no sequence as Craig explained in his Time and Eternity. If there was any sequence of intervals, then it would be differentiated time. But this is exactly what Craig denied. So, this time can be eternal. No problem with that. Moreover, if non-metric time is the problem, then we can simply postulate a timeless hyperspace — a hyperspace that lacks a time dimension. There is no problem with that. It is perfectly possible.

            ­Now, I should not even address your arguments against the “mother universe” since they have nothing to do with my points. But I’ll simply point out that the mother universe of vacuum models or multiverse models is not different from the bubble universes it contains — the “mother universe”, in these models, is Minkowski (even though it may have different constants). So, in some sense, our universe didn’t begin to exist but was part of that prior universe. Thus contradicting what we’ve agreed upon: that Minkowski spacetime began at the Big Bang.

          2. Evan Minton

            I worded part of my previous comment poorly. My bad. Undifferentiated time doesn’t need to be sequenced. But there might be indices. I’m sorry for the confusion. They are like letters or words in a page of a book. But there are not necessarily sequenced. Metric time does change independently or automatically. You can say it’s 300 years or so or 1000 years or so from a beginning.
            .
            \\\“It is possible that mathematics can describe the physical hyperspace, but that doesn’t imply the hyperspace must be abstract rather than concrete. I’m positing a Minkowski-like space but that is not QUITE like Minkowski space since its time is different and it obeys (some) different laws of physics.”\\\ —
            .
            It seems to me that if you want to posit a model that behaves according to different laws of physics than what we know of, you shoulder a burden of proof to explain exactly what these laws are at the bare minimum. Otherwise, it appears as though you’re just conjuring up some ad hoc explanation that is strictly logically possible, but no one can verify or falsify it. That’s not a very good way to do science. You yourself go on to admit “This is hypothetical.”
            .
            Imagine if were having a debate “Is Pluto Inhabited?”. You take the negative; “No. Pluto is barren.” I take affirmative “Yes. Pluto is inhabited.” Let’s say that I said that there was a species of birds that lived on Pluto, but you objected “That’s impossible. Pluto is so cold, no life could possibly survive there. Besides, there’s no water, and all life needs water. With no water, there cannot even be a primordial soup for abiogenesis to occur. Besides, we’ve sent many space probes to take pictures and if there really were advanced life on Pluto, surely these cameras would have taken pictures of them.”
            .
            But then I respond “Well, you see, these birds behave according to different laws of biology than the life on this planet behave under. Maybe they’re not made of carbon or sillicon, but some element we’ve never even discovered yet. And maybe they don’t need water to even evolve. Or maybe there’s an undiscovered pool of liquid deep underground on Pluto that served as the primordial soup. And maybe there are no pictures of them from NASA because they’ve evolved the ability to run so fast that they’re invisible to the naked eye. This is logically and metaphysically possible and you’ve provided no arguments to think otherwise.”
            .
            Now, would it be up to you to disprove all of these “hypotheticals” or would it be up to me to prove them? You might at least give my Meta-Flamingo model a fair hearing if it at least followed well established biological facts. But saying “Well, maybe there’s a bunch of biological laws that are utterly different to what we’re familiar with, so any argument against other life forms being on Pluto don’t apply to my model” seems kind of strange. Additionally, the fact that “it is metaphysically possible that a biological species similar to flamingos — a meta-flamingo — can exist.” wouldn’t make you ready to abandon your confidence that Pluto is barren. Possibilities come cheap. Especially logical and metaphysical possibilities. Of course, there are debates in which considering the logical and/or metaphysical possibility of something is relevant (e.g The Modal Ontological Argument For God’s Existence, The Logical Version of The Problem Of Evil), but the validity of a cosmological model (or an ornithological one) isn’t one of them.
            .
            The thing about all other eternal universe models is that they at least are intelligible by the currently known (even if only partially known) laws of physics, such as The Mother Universe Theory, The Oscillating Universe model, The Steady State Model, The Carrol-Chen Model etc. None of these posits “a Minkowski-like space that is not QUITE like Minkowski space since its time is different and it obeys (some) different laws of physics.” They all involve Minkowski space.
            .
            Now, I am NOT trying to shift the burden of proof here. Clearly, The Kalam Cosmological Argument is an argument FOR theism and, as such, it’s up to me to establish the premises. But as the above Plutonian Bird illustration showed, you can conjure up just about any logically possible scenario to avoid a conclusion; in that case, the conclusion that Pluto is barren. In this case, the conclusion that the universe began to exist.
            .
            You wrote \\”­Remember, this is just a metaphysical model I’m building here. You can’t dictate whether causality will hold or not. I will say whether it will hold or not.”\\ — This isn’t like me telling you what color to paint your car. I’m stating a fact.
            .
            \\\“. Unless, of course, you present an argument showing that the causality principle (or rule) is not just a principle abstracted from our empirical reality — thus, not a logically necessary principle.”\\\ — The law of causality is a metaphysical principle, not a scientific law. Since you seem to be familiar with Craig’s work, you should be aware that of the three arguments given in favor of the law of causality, only two of them are empirical argument. The first of the three (which I also defend in my own Kalam writings) is that nothing can come from nothing because nothing has no causal properties. Indeed. Nothingness has no properties at all. If it had at least one property, it wouldn’t be anything. It would be something.
            .
            With all that said, I’m still unclear of how your hyperspace scenario can explain how our appears to have begun to exist only approx. 14 billion years ago. In his book “Who Is Agent X?: Proving That Science and Logic Show It Is More Rational To Think That God Exists”, Neil Mammen explains that a mechanistic agent (by this, he means any cause or set of causes that isn’t a personal being) could not exist eternally and changelessly without also doing X once infinitely long ago or X an infinite number of times.
            .
            I don’t have his book in Kindle, only in Paperback, but he wrote a paper years ago which inspired the book. I’ll quote from that Mammen writes
            .

            “A mechanistic agent is something that does the same thing over and over again and cannot change its mind or decide to do something different for no apparent reason. A non-mechanistic agent on the other hand is an agent that can change its mind and can decide to do something different. This is slightly confusing so let me explain it again. Imagine if you had a top that was spinning. Does the top have a free will? No, it is mechanistic. In other words it can’t suddenly decide to start or stop spinning on its own free will.
            .
            There are two options here.
            .
            a. One option is that every time the top makes a complete revolution a universe is spawned or

            b. Whenever the top stops spinning, a Universe is spawned
            .
            Let’s take option 1: Every time the top make a complete revolution a Universe is spawned. After infinite number of years, how many universes would there be? Infinite.
            .
            What about if the top spun around very slowly? Well even if it takes a very very long time to spin, after infinite years how many universes would there be? Infinite! Why? Because as slow as the top spins, infinity is always longer. But you ask, what if the top takes infinitely long to make one spin? Well then, the universe would never have been spawned.
            .
            Ok Option 2. The other option is that whenever the top stops spinning, a Universe is spawned. Well in this case, if the top was going to stop spinning and we looked back in infinity, how long ago would the top have stopped spinning? Well, an eternity ago (i.e. the Universe would be eternally old). Why? Because however long it took for the top to spin down, Infinity would be much greater and would have passed after the top had stopped spinning.
            Why is this so important? Let me explain, you see if the first cause is caused by a mechanistic agent like hyperspace or a lepton or some sort of extra-dimensional particle, then the logical conclusion is that it would have been caused in infinity past, because the mechanistic agent can only do something once or do the same thing over and over again. Remember it cannot think, it has no free will it has not mind to make a decision.
            So to summarize: If a mechanistic agent had created the universe, we have two options:
            .
            1. It would have created the Universe in the infinite past. This means the Universe would be either infinitely old and/or
            2. There would be an infinite number of them.
            But since the Universe is not infinitely old, it was not caused in infinity past. So something must have changed for it to occur. That change can only be a non-mechanistic agent that has volition or free will (i.e. can decide to do something different than it has been doing).
            .
            However if the top had a freewill and a mind and could one day say ‘I will do something different now than I have ever done before’ then the top could stop spinning. In the same way: If the Universe has not always existed, it would take a non-mechanistic being i.e. a “Free Agent” with a will to say ‘Today/Now/at this point I will create a Universe where and when there wasn’t one before and it won’t be infinitely ago.'”

            https://www.noblindfaith.com/pdf/sermon/TheSingularityWhoisAgentX.pdf
            .
            Our options seem to be limited to (1) a single universe banged into being infinitely long ago, (2) no universe ever comes into being, (3) The Multiverse (which is plagued with issues as I’ve already pointed out), and (4) God. Only the fourth could be uncaused eternally existing cause with the necessary and sufficient conditions to produce the universe, but NOT do so an infinite number of times, infinitely long ago, or not at all.
            .
            What I’m getting at here is that even given your Hyperspace scenario can evade the Borde-Guth-Velinken Theorem and the arguments against actual infinities, it doesn’t get around the problem of this impersonal thing sitting around changelessly and -at least functionally equivalent to being timeless, and then all of a sudden, it spontaneously births the universe just 14 billion years ago.

  3. Ψ

    No, I’m just doing what you’re doing: following the evidence and going where it leads. For example, both of us agree the cause lacks the property of metric time, ordinary space and ordinary matter. The evidence for this is the fact that an infinite number of time intervals is impossible and Minkowski spacetime began at the Big Bang. This is not ad hoc; this is all supported by empirical evidence and arguments. The fact that it possess different laws is also supported by the arguments: if it obeyed the same laws and principles of our universe, it would suffer from the problem of entropy. But it can’t be, because this prior universe is eternal. So, the conditions of this universe must be such that entropy doesn’t hold.
    .
    The only difference between my model and your model is that I’m denying the cause must be a spiritual mind with consciousness and free will. That’s the only difference. Really. So, if my hypothesis is unfalsifiable, then yours is as well, since both are very similar.
    .
    Moreover, you criticism commits the fallacy of false analogy because on the Pluto analogy, there is no reason at all to believe there are creatures on this planet. But that’s not true of the hyperspace hypothesis: the reason to accept it is the cause of our universe is supported by the evidence (which I presented above). When I say “it must be this or that” I’m just following the evidence.
    .
    And I have to say you’re contradicting yourself here. You can’t say my model is unfalsifiable and then present metaphysical arguments to falsify it (like you did in the last lines of your response). In addition, when we don’t have direct access to the cause, the only way to falsify it is by using metaphysical and logical arguments.
    .
    So, I’m confused here. You stated there are three arguments that demonstrate the truth of the Causality Principle — as a metaphysical principle rather than a rule derived empirically from physical reality. But then you presented an argument against the possibility of something coming from nothing and the argument from Personal Causation. How do these arguments support the Causality Principle?
    .
    I can deny this principle and still accept that something cannot come from nothing. For example, the possibility of a tree spontaneously becoming a chair does not violate the “from nothing, nothing comes” principle, and yet, it violates the causal principle. Likewise, I could say the Hyperspace creating our universe was spontaneous. It doesn’t violate the “from nothing, nothing comes.”
    .
    Regarding the argument from personal causation: it doesn’t support the causal principle at all. In fact, it simply begs the question. It assumes the causality principle and then builds conclusions based on it.
    .
    IF spontaneous events can occur, the possibility of insufficient but necessary non-personal causes is certain. This would mean that the claim that a personal cause is necessary is false and the possibility of the universe arising from, say, an ordinary eternal mechanistic cause cannot be dismissed. The cause exists forever and only gives rise to a spontaneous effect at a later moment in time – that’s because, just like the the truly free agent, the event is not causally determined by prior events. The question “Why did it wait for all eternity to act” becomes meaningless, since the event is not deterministic (it happens for no reason, and therefore does not need any explanation). But my next point will show spontaneity may not even be necessary.
    .
    Did you notice what the author wrote? He wrote “It would have created the Universe in the infinite past”. That is, he used the word ‘infinite’ here. He is assuming an infinite regress of events (moment -3 preceded moment -2, moment -2 preceded moment -1 and so on). This obviously assume metric time — since there is a sequence of events going to the infinite past. But I’m denying this; I’m saying there is no such sequence of events going to the infinite past. Therefore, it is not clear at all the Argument from Personal causation is valid here since it assumes ordinary time.
    .
    Finally, you stated “it doesn’t get around the problem of this impersonal thing sitting around changelessly and -at least functionally equivalent to being timeless, and then all of a sudden, it spontaneously births the universe”
    .
    You’re using temporal terms here. You said “sitting around”. It seems to assume it was there waiting continuously (therefore, temporally) to interrupt such state. However, there is no continuity to interrupt since time intervals do not exist here. So, I don’t think you’re argument applies to such state. In fact, I don’t even understand how “determinism” can work here in this context since there is no regress of causes.

    1. Evan Minton

      The pluto example is not disanalogous at all. When you say \“It is possible that mathematics can describe the physical hyperspace, but that doesn’t imply the hyperspace must be abstract rather than concrete. I’m positing a Minkowski-like space but that is not QUITE like Minkowski space since its time is different and it obeys (some) different laws of physics.”\ — This sounds like a universe begetting universe that behaves according to different laws of physics than what we know of; different space, different time, different everything, such that it avoids the scientific and philosophical problems the traditional mother universe is plagued by.
      .
      This is very much like if I argued that life could exist on Pluto, you said no and gave a bunch of scientific reasons how physical advanced life couldn’t exist there, but then I started throwing all sorts of speculative answers. “It’s not like life as you know it. It’s not the kind of life that needs water.” blah blah blah. When you posit “a Minkowski-like space that is not QUITE like Minkowski space since its time is different and it obeys (some) different laws of physics.” the problem is that “Minkowski Space” is the only kind of space we’re familiar with. And the laws of physics we know of are the only categories we can think in. And this is why all respectable eternal universe models (e.g The Traditional Mother Universe Theory, The Oscillating Universe model, The Carrol-Chen Model) operate under the assumption of “Minkowski Space”. Is it strictly logically possible that our universe is inside some kind of bigger space-time that is utterly unlike the one we experience? Sure. But again, strict logical possibilities come cheap.
      .
      And no, unlike your proposal, my proposal is not an alternative cosmological model. It’s a metaphysical explanation for the science that both theistic and non-theistic scientists embrace. To falsify the inference to the spaceless, timeless, immaterial, uncreated Creator would be to undermine one of the two premises of The Kalam Cosmological Argument. For example, if the natural world existed forever, then it would need to posit an outside cause. One could just say “It’s always been here”. Or if premise 1 were false, one could say “Well, it came into being from nothing.” So to falsify the inference to a Creator is to falsify the syllogism.
      .
      \\”So, I’m confused here. You stated there are three arguments that demonstrate the truth of the Causality Principle — as a metaphysical principle rather than a rule derived empirically from physical reality. But then you presented an argument against the possibility of something coming from nothing and the argument from Personal Causation. How do these arguments support the Causality Principle?”\\ — Yes, you clearly are confused. My argument at the end of my previous response was not an argument for the truth of the law of causation. It was an argument that a cause cannot be eternally present and the effect not be just as eternal as the cause…unless the cause is an agent with free will who can decide to bring about a new effect He hadn’t done before. For example, a man sitting from eternity could freely will to stand up, and hence you would have an eternal cause bring about a non-eternal effect. This is, by the way, one of three arguments I give for why the cause must be personal (as well as spaceless, timeless, immaterial, etc.). I usually just use the abductive argument between abstract objects and unembodied minds because it’s quicker to verbally flesh out. But I find this one to be the most compelling.
      .
      Moreover, this inference is not contingent on the cause being deterministic. Mathematically speaking, anything with a non-zero probability will occur if given enough time. If the cause “sits around” long enough, then even by a non-deterministic chance scenario, it will give rise to a universe. It’s inevitable. And if the probability is zero, then it will never produce the effect. Now, this is, as you rightly point out, assuming metric time. But if you posit that the cause exists in non-metric time, then you’re forced into another corner. As Dr. William Lane Craig points out in his “Question Of The Week: 232: The Metric Of Time”, non-metric time is indistinguishable from a state of timelessness. Hence, there can never be T-1 in which the cause doesn’t have what it takes (i.e the necessary and sufficient conditions) to bring the universe into being AND THEN at T-2, T-3, or T-4 gains what it takes to bring it into being. In a state of non-metric time, the necessary and sufficient conditions are either there or they’re not. If they’re there, how is the universe not eternal? If they’re not there. How are we here? So quibbling about the language Mammen and I used misses the point.
      .
      \\”I can deny this principle and still accept that something cannot come from nothing. For example, the possibility of a tree spontaneously becoming a chair does not violate the “from nothing, nothing comes” principle, and yet, it violates the causal principle. “\\ — I can’t help but wonder what in the world is going on in your head at this point in the conversation. Are you saying that something can come into being OUT OF nothing and not violate the law of causality? If so, I wouldn’t quibble with that, since that’s what the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo says happened at creation. But when I hear someone say something came FROM nothing, I take that to mean that it came into being without a cause. So to say something can come into being without a cause, yet not violate “From nothing, nothing comes” sounds contradictory to me. The former says (note: I’m using Aristotelian categories of causation) that something can come into being without a material cause, but it needs an efficient cause. The latter denies efficient causation. Perhaps you can clarify what you mean here.

  4. Ψ

    Sorry for the grammatical errors. I typed very quickly and English is not my mother language.

  5. Ψ

    “then I started throwing all sorts of speculative answers”
    .
    So, that’s the problem here. You’re assuming I’m just making that up without any reason at all. But that’s clearly not the case; this is not speculative. Unlike the Pluto analogy (where there is no reason to believe there is life), there is a reason to believe such universe existed prior to ours (cosmology and impossibility of infinite regress). Moreover, in the Pluto analogy, it is possible, at least in principle, to look for other empirical evidence that may life exist there. However, when talking about something totally disconnected from our universe, it is not possible to look for such evidence; this is not ad hoc, it is expected to be the case. Now, you could say your proposal allows for independent evidence to exist (i.e., fine-tuning, morality and etc), but (1) your argument would be contingent on other arguments and (2) I don’t think such arguments are successful — they are demonstrably wrong and, therefore, do not constitute evidence.
    .
    “such that it avoids the scientific and philosophical problems”
    .
    But is not that the point?? We can’t keep pushing scientific or metaphysical models if they have the problems you just mentioned. To infer what is the cause of the universe, we have to build a coherent model that is in agreement with such arguments. That’s not ad hoc; this is how you construct a coherent model.
    .
    “the problem is that “Minkowski Space” is the only kind of space we’re familiar with. And the laws of physics we know of are the only categories we can think in.”
    .
    Sure, but we know it can’t be Minkowski space and ordinary laws because the arguments against infinite regress, entropy and the BGV theorem rule that out. Furthermore, that’s what you’re doing here, too: you’re taking something we’re familiar with (minds), and then saying “well, but it can’t be a human mind, since such minds are not powerful enough to create a universe… such minds didn’t exist forever… such minds are finite and limited… such minds are temporal… so it must be a different kind of mind: an infinitely powerful and eternal mind.” Both of us are taking something we are familiar with, and then saying something like it created our universe.
    .
    “And no, unlike your proposal, my proposal is not an alternative cosmological model. It’s a metaphysical explanation for the science that both theistic and non-theistic scientists embrace. To falsify the inference to the spaceless, timeless, immaterial, uncreated Creator would be to undermine one of the two premises”
    .
    But how is this different from mine? You can falsify my metaphysical (and not scientific; I don’t invoke science) model (i.e., a Minkowskiless inanimate cause) by showing our universe did not begin to exist. So, again, you failed to demonstrate relevant differences (about falsifiability) between our models.
    .
    Ok, would you mind shortly saying what are the other two arguments in favor of the Causal Principle? The first is that something cannot come from nothing. The second is that every effect has an efficient cause? And the third? I’m really interested in knowing what is this non-empirical argument.
    .
    Now, you stated that if there is a non-zero probability of it happening, then it will happen. But I’m not sure this is a refutation of my point since there is also a non-zero probability of a free agent acting or not if there is infinite time. If there were a zero probability of a free agent acting, then it would not act. Remember: Craig argues that only a “free agent” can act from the infinite past because “the agent freely brings about some events in the absence of prior determining conditions. Because the agent is free, he can initiate new effects by freely bringing about conditions which were not previously present.”
    .
    And that’s exactly what I’m positing here: a spontaneous cause brings about an event in the absence of prior determining conditions. It is purely spontaneous, just like the will to create — it may or may not cause the effect; we can’t know, so it may not even be coherent to use probability rather than mere possibility. But again: this would only be relevant if infinite regress were possible. However, I’m agreeing you with you that it is not. So, it is not worth pursuing this point any further.
    .
    What I meant is very simple:Ex nihilo nihil fit does not support the causal principle: it is logically possible that a chair can spontaneously form out of a tree without any efficient cause. You could still say there is a material “cause”, but clearly this would not help your case because, as you admitted, the Kalam doesn’t require a material cause. So, just to clarify the issue here, the meaning of causal principle in this context does not include material causality.
    .
    “There can never be T-1 in which the cause doesn’t have what it takes (i.e the necessary and sufficient conditions) to bring the universe into being… In a state of non-metric time, the necessary and sufficient conditions are either there or they’re not. If they’re there, how is the universe not eternal? If they’re not there. How are we here?”
    .
    To understand why this argument doesn’t work, we have to dissect it: Craig asks, “If the big bang occurred in a super dense pellet existing from eternity, then why did the big bang occur only 13,8 billion years ago? Why did the pellet of matter wait for all eternity to explode? If the cause were simply a mechanically operating set of necessary and sufficient conditions existing from eternity, then why would not the effect also exist from eternity?”
    .
    Craig’s problem stems from the conflation of two quite distinct concepts of eternity: (A) eternity as beginningless and endless temporal duration and (B) genuine atemporality. When he speaks of God being causally prior to the universe, Craig is appealing to (B). But when he speaks of God’s eternal intention, he is implicitly using (A). The idea of intending to do something at a later moment in time provides Craig with the crucial difference between a personal and non-personal cause.
    .
    An agent existing in time can have plans for the future. For example, he could be sitting down at the moment but have an intention to stand up at a later moment in time. This could also apply to a being like God who could have existed forever but with an intention to do something at a later moment in time. However, God could not timelessly will the creation of something at an earlier moment because there is no earlier moment “before” the creation of the universe.
    .
    So, we can see that this argument doesn’t apply if the universe is timeless or non-metric, since it requires metric time to work.
    .
    This physical state could possess the timeless potential that would be actualized simultaneously with the first instant of time and, at the same moment, would cause time. There was never a time when it was not actualized along with the first moment to have to interrupt such a state.
    .
    The ultimate point is this: Craig (and you) failed to demonstrate the difference between a free timeless agent and a mechanistic timeless entity. How being free affects the conclusion that something can or cannot “interrupt” (if that makes any sense) a timeless state? God’s will should also be frozen in this state and could not interrupt itself.

    1. Evan Minton

      Cosmology and impossibility of infinite regress only show the universe began to exist, not that there’s a universe above our universe, unless of course, you beg the question against theism. But besides that, you’re not even positing a cosmological model that anyone can even discern scientifically because the laws of physics and space they abide by are so utterly foreign to the physics and space we know of. It’s space all right, but not Minkowski space. Well, what kind of space would it be? You don’t say, but it’s just a kind of space unlike space as anyone would usually describe it. Therefore, it’s immune to criticism of The Borde-Guth Velinken Theorem since that only applies to Minkowski space, not this *different* kind of space. And since it’s not a metric time Mother Universe, the argument against traversing actual infinities don’t apply to it either. This meta-universe is so utterly unlike anything we experience that it just can’t be criticized via any principles of science and philosophy we know of (well….save for one thing).
      .
      How is this not ad hoc? And is this not analogous to The Flamingos-On-Pluto debate?
      .
      \\\”‘such that it avoids the scientific and philosophical problems’ But is not that the point?? We can’t keep pushing scientific or metaphysical models if they have the problems you just mentioned.”\\ — I’m not saying you shouldn’t posit a model that avoids problems. I’m saying that if you’re going to come up with some cosmological model that behaves according to different laws of physics than what we know of, you shoulder a burden of proof to explain exactly what these laws are at the bare minimum. If this is a space different than Minkowski space, what are the properties of that space? How does it behave? How is it similar or dissimilar to Minkowski space? Non-Metric Time is really the only element of this model that’s intelligible, but as I’ve argued, that’s a weakness of it, and pretty much the only area in which it can be falsified.
      .
      \\\”Sure, but we know it can’t be Minkowski space and ordinary laws because the arguments against infinite regress, entropy and the BGV theorem rule that out.”\\\ — No. Those arguments only go to show that Minkowski space, metric time, matter and energy began to exist. It doesn’t establish this meta-universe with a weird unknown version of space unless, again, you beg the question against theism. All these pieces of evidence show are that our space-time realm began to exist and needs an external cause. If you want to say it’s some weird meta-universe that has a spacial fabric utterly unlike ours, you need other evidence.
      .
      \\”Furthermore, that’s what you’re doing here, too: you’re taking something we’re familiar with (minds), and then saying “well, but it can’t be a human mind, since such minds are not powerful enough to create a universe… such minds didn’t exist forever… such minds are finite and limited… such minds are temporal… so it must be a different kind of mind: an infinitely powerful and eternal mind.”\\ — I’m not positing a different type of mind than the kind we’re familiar with. I’m simply saying it’s a transcendent and more powerful version of what we’re familiar with. I’m extrapolating from what we’re already familiar with. Basically I’m saying “It’s a mind like ours. Just smarter and more powerful.” This is what proponents of the traditional Mother Universe model do. They argue our Minkowski space-time is inside a larger Minkowski space-time. And while that has problems, I can respect it more than this weird idea you’re positing.
      .
      \\\”Ok, would you mind shortly saying what are the other two arguments in favor of the Causal Principle? The first is that something cannot come from nothing. The second is that every effect has an efficient cause? And the third? I’m really interested in knowing what is this non-empirical argument.”\\\
      .
      The third argument is indeed an empirical argument. It’s that we have no observed examples of things coming into being without an efficient cause. However, that doesn’t mean the causal principle isn’t metaphysical. If something is metaphysically impossible, then OF COURSE you would expect to never see examples of it.
      .
      I’m just going to write the rest of my response under subheaders to keep things straight since this is becoming very lengthy.
      .
      ON THE CAUSE’S FREE AGENCY
      .
      Regardless of how one responds to this, it is the tu quoque fallacy. I’m not entirely sure how to respond to this point, but it seems to me that a free agent surely has SOME advantage over a mechanistic agent? You can have at T-0 no decision on the part of the free agent, and then at T-1 the free agent can decide to produce the effect. Of course, the change from no-decision to decision would be a change in metric time moments, but this need not be problematic as long as the decision to create on God’s part is simultaneous with His acting on that decision. If God’s decision to create is simultaneous with His actual exercise of His creative power, then this would avoid there being a temporal moment before the first temporal moment. But with a mechanistic agent, there is no possibility for there to be a state of indecision and then a transition to a decision. God’s decision to create “from eternity past” might undermine this point, but we need not agree with Craig on this point. Whether God “always” had chosen to create is a theological debate. Maybe God always knew what kind of universe He wanted to create (being omniscient, of course, he would), but that’s not necessarily the same as eternally deciding for it to come into being.
      .
      EX NIHIL NIHIL FIT
      I think you’re conflating strict logical impossibility with broad logical impossibility. It is strictly logically possible for something to come into being without a cause. Why? Because it violates none of the laws of logic; non-contradiction, identity, excluded middle. But this doesn’t mean that such a thing really could happen. William Lane Craig has a nice short article explaining this distinction specifically related to the principle of ex nihil nihil fit. It’s very short, so please read it. –> https://www.biola.edu/blogs/good-book-blog/2017/in-what-sense-is-it-impossible-for-the-universe-to-come-from-nothing

  6. Ψ

    I agree with you that these comments are becoming very lengthy, so I’ll only discuss the more crucial point about the cause being a free agent or not. That doesn’t mean I want to ignore your points; I can still discuss those if you insist, of course.
    .
    “You can have at T-0 no decision on the part of the free agent, and then at T-1 the free agent can decide to produce the effect… The decision to create on God’s part is simultaneous with His acting on that decision.”
    .
    I was expecting that you were going to invoke simultaneity. If the decision and act are simultaneous with the beginning of time, then there is no reason to talk about interrupting any timeless state; what there is, simply, is a first moment when causal power is exerted. We can remove the “decision” (or will) part and simply add that there is an exertion of causal power simultaneously with the first moment and the creation of the universe.
    .
    Now, you could still ask what caused the exertion of power, and I would ask the same thing about God’s will: what triggered God’s will to act? Is it spontaneous or determined by previous causal triggers? If it is spontaneous, then I can say the causal power of the hyperspace is also spontaneous. If it is determined, then I can say the causal power of the hyperspace was also determined. Even if the causes are simultaneous, there is an asymmetric relation: Will > Exertion of Power > Beginning of the Universe. So, we could still ask about the trigger of the Will; if there is no trigger, the timeless state along with God’s Will would remain in that state uninterrupted.

    1. Evan Minton

      I think it’s good that we at least drop the debate over whether your model is ad-hoc. I don’t think I’m going to convince you that it is, and I trust that anyone who takes the time to read the conversation will see that clearly ((Not to mention it’s inferiority with respect to other eternal-universe models)). We ought to zero in on the crux of the problem; which is that your model is mechanistic and yet is eternal and exists in a state at least functionally equivalent to timelessness. I would also like to hear your thoughts on the WLC article I linked to regarding strict and broad logical possibility in relation to the principle of ex nihil, nihil fit.
      .
      \\\” If the decision and act are simultaneous with the beginning of time, then there is no reason to talk about interrupting any timeless state; what there is, simply, is a first moment when causal power is exerted.”\\\
      Well, actually the decision to create would be an “interruption” of the state of timelessness. This is one of the reasons why I disagree with Christians who say that God has the attribute of timelessness right now. Any act of doing anything would pull him into time. Since He would then have a before-after relationship with the universe. Moreover, asking “what triggered God’s will to act?” in a sense presupposes that God is not in control of his own actions (it presupposes that he isn’t a free agent) because you’re essentially asking what determined a free agent to make the choice that he did. God was the cause of his own decisions just as we are causes of our own free choices. But free agents don’t have to do what they do. They can choose otherwise. The same cannot be said for mechanistic agents like “hyperspace”, which is why a personal Creator is superior to the timeless hyperspace.

  7. Ψ

    I did read Craig’s short article but I don’t see what this has to do with any of my points. I didn’t argue here it is logically, metaphysically or even nomologically possible for something to come from nothing. What I stated is that the Ex nihilo nihil fit principle does not support the causal principle; these are different principles that say different things: one dictates something cannot come from nothing and the other that something cannot spontaneously occur without an efficient cause (e.g., a tree spontaneously becoming a chair). Craig didn’t present any argument against the strict or broad logical impossibility of the latter.

    “the decision to create would be an “interruption” of the state of timelessness”

    No. The decision to create only exists at the first moment of time; it doesn’t happen at the state of timelessness. As I said before, what exists, simply, is a moment at which there is an exertion of causal power. If the decision didn’t exist in the state of timelessness, nothing would trigger its interruption (no “act would pull him”). The decision is only made when there is time, and if that’s the case, then a mechanistic cause would work just as fine — the non-free trigger or pull just occurs when there is a first moment of time. Furthermore, there is no “when” to choose between one option or another in a timeless state — the _uncaused_ choice (and thus trigger) only occurs at the first moment. It is not like God could have timelessly chosen not to create the universe. The only possible moment to make a decision would be the first moment of time. Moreover, saying God willed to interrupt the state at the first moment is like saying I’ve chosen to wake up after or during the time I was already awake — that’s logically impossible; I simply wake up without choosing it.

    Now, I have to say you’re contradicting yourself here. First you said I’m incorrectly presupposing God’s actions are determined by something else, but then you stated God is the cause of his own decisions. You see the problem? If there is a cause of his decision to act, then (1) there is something that triggered, caused or determined that action. On the other hand, (2) if there is no trigger or cause or determination, then this decision is spontaneous. If that’s the case, then the same can apply to my model. The hyperspace would spontaneously interrupt the state of timelessness simultaneously with the first moment.

    You can’t just keep ignoring the problem and saying God’s in “control” of (and thus determining) his action or decision. If the decision is not caused by some other trigger, then it must be spontaneous (uncaused). So, please, answer my question: is God’s decision to act caused by something else? If not, then please tell me how you reconcile God’s will not being determined and being controlled (and thus caused) at the same time.

    P.s. If you argue spontaneity has never been observed in reality, then I can also argue free will has never been observed in reality. After all, free will is only possible if there is a soul (otherwise people’s actions were caused by previous physical causes and effects in the causal chain coming from the Big Bang), and it has not been established human souls exist. Moreover, even if you argue against determinism, the Kalam, then, would be contingent on other arguments for God (i.e., libertarian free will).

    1. Evan Minton

      Ec Nihil Nihil Fit
      .
      \\”What I stated is that the Ex nihilo nihil fit principle does not support the causal principle; these are different principles that say different things: one dictates something cannot come from nothing and the other that something cannot spontaneously occur without an efficient cause (e.g., a tree spontaneously becoming a chair). Craig didn’t present any argument against the strict or broad logical impossibility of the latter.”\\ — This really looks like a distinction without a difference to me. How does spontaneity make any significant difference? If one asserts something cannot come FROM nothing, then they are saying something must come FROM something else (i.e a cause).

      A Mechanistic VS. A Personal Cause
      .
      Yeah, “The decision is only made when there is time” because the very instance of making a decision whereas one didn’t exist before is itself the creation of time.
      .
      \\“Furthermore, there is no “when” to choose between one option or another in a timeless state — the _uncaused_ choice (and thus trigger) only occurs at the first moment.”\\ — Right. This is why I said God decided to created, God acted to create, and creation came into being all at the same moment (the first moment). Because the first moment is the earliest moment any kind of activity can occur. The “moment” God makes a decision, there are moments in which to make decisions.

      \\” It is not like God could have timelessly chosen not to create the universe.”\\ — Well if that’s true, then neither could your sci-fi hyperspace idea. But here we are. Something did something to bang the universe into being.
      .
      \\”The only possible moment to make a decision would be the first moment of time.”\\ — What time? Metric time? If so, how does your sci-fi hyperspace-that-runs-according-to-laws-of-physics-no-one-has-ever-experienced-nor-can-they-describe-including-non-Minkowski-space idea fare under the weight of this criticism?
      .
      \\”Moreover, saying God willed to interrupt the state at the first moment is like saying I’ve chosen to wake up after or during the time I was already awake — that’s logically impossible; I simply wake up without choosing it.”\\ — There’s no analogy here. Apples To Oranges.
      .
      \\”You can’t just keep ignoring the problem and saying God’s in “control” of (and thus determining) his action or decision. If the decision is not caused by some other trigger, then it must be spontaneous (uncaused). So, please, answer my question: is God’s decision to act caused by something else? If not, then please tell me how you reconcile God’s will not being determined and being controlled (and thus caused) at the same time.”\\ — I was afraid this might rabbit trail into a debate about libertarian free will (LFW). I would not say that God’s (nor anyone elses’) decisions are “spontaneous”. The short answer is that we are the causes of our own actions. If you asked “Well, what caused you to do X?” you’re begging the question against LFW. God is the cause of his own decisions. He’s the cause of His own decision to create the universe rather than not just as I am the cause of my own choice to where my Ash Ketchum cap today instead of my usual fedora. And always requiring an additional cause results in a vicious infinite regress of causes for why you did X instead of Non-X. By the way, If you’d like to dive deeper, there are two articles on this site I would defer you to; “Q&A: Objections To Libertarian Free Will” and “Q&A: Follow Up On Objections To Libertarian Free Will”.
      .
      Finally, I agree that Free Will is only possible if there’s a soul. That’s why I’m a proponent of “The FreeThinking Argument Against Naturalism” —> https://freethinkingministries.com/the-freethinking-argument-in-a-nutshell/ . But that’s another rabbit trail. I only bring it up in case you’re interested in looking at it at some point in the future. But let me just say that you don’t even need to presuppose that humans have souls to understand the concept of LFW and ascribe that to God. There are Christian philosophers who are physicalists such as Peter Van Inwagen. But they believe God exists and (at least I think) they believe He has libertarian freedom. After all, God is a spirit even if no one else is. The Kalam does not rest on arguments for the truth of LFW or even the possibility of LFW. There are three arguments for the personhood of the universe’s cause that I give in my other articles (and in my book) for why the cause must be a personal agent. The only reason I’m continuing to harp on this point is that it’s the ONLY point of falsification in an otherwise unfalsifiable cosmological model (i.e your weird hyperspace-that-runs-according-to-laws-of-physics-no-one-has-ever-experienced-nor-can-they-describe-including-non-Minkowski-space).

      1. Ψ

        “Well if that’s true, then neither could your sci-fi hyperspace idea. But here we are.”

        Indeed. If the argument applies to both, then we would be forced to admit that both views are incoherent; we would be left with a nice paradox since none of the alternatives are coherent (I can live with that). But the relevant point which I’m trying to make is that free will doesn’t make any difference to timeless beings: free or not, the exertion of power only takes place when time already exists.

        “What time? Metric time? If so, how does your… idea fare under the weight of this criticism?”

        One possibility is that the exertion of power is spontaneous. If this is the case, then one would not have to worry about the cause being frozen and never having the

      2. Ψ

        So, I don’t know if you mind having your page filled with my comments or if you prefer to have this exchange by using email (or perhaps you can choose to delete the comments later). Anyway, I don’t mind discussing it here in public space, but I don’t know about you.
        .
        Let me begin by addressing your last point, because it seems to me you misinterpreted my point about the Kalam being contingent on Libertarian Free Will.
        .
        You wrote: “After all, God is a spirit even if no one else is.”
        .
        Yes, I totally agree. I’m not saying “Humans’ actions are determined, therefore, God’s actions are determined.” No, that would be a huge non-sequitur. It would be like saying “Humans are made of matter, therefore, God must be made of matter.”
        .
        The point is the following: to infer what caused the universe, proponents use something they’re familiar with (mind) rather than saying “There is no reason to think the cause is a mind: there is an infinite number of logical possibilities that could account for that”. As you said in your original post: “There are two types of things recognized by philosophers that are immaterial: abstract objects or unembodied minds”
        .
        So, the point is that apologists infer the cause is a mind by looking at the world for what fits better, as you admitted. However, now in the context of our discussion, there is no reason to think free will exists, and thus no reason to infer the cause possesses free will since we’ve never observed such thing in the world.
        .
        You could perhaps argue it doesn’t matter if we’ve never observed it because it is implied by the Kalam. But here is the catch: it is not. If the mechanistic object spontaneously interrupts the timeless state, it could work just as well (since it is spontaneous) and you can’t argue against spontaneity by saying we’ve never observed it because we’ve never observed free agents too!
        .
        Now, you claimed my analogy doesn’t work, but I think it does the job of illustrating the point. You’re proposing God made a choice (leaving the timeless state) after having already acted (interrupted the timeless state). First there is time, and then he chooses that time will exist? That’s incoherent. You first have to choose to act, and then the act and its effect will occur. There is no escape here; appealing to simultaneity will not save you since the first moment occurs after the timeless state was already interrupted (unless you say God was simultaneously timeless and temporal, which is a logical contradiction).
        .
        “If one asserts something cannot come FROM nothing, then they are saying something must come FROM something else (i.e a cause).”
        .
        But then you’re equivocating material and efficient causes here. It is certainly true that if the universe changed form spontaneously at the Big Bang from a previous Minkowski space, then it came from something else (a material cause), but was not caused (no efficient cause) since it changed spontaneously. Perhaps, you could say, it is not relevant to the point here since we’re already assuming it came from nothing physical rather than changing form, but it misses the point: it would still have implications for other arguments like the one about the personal cause choosing in an infinite timeline, for example. Moreover, there are ordinary cosmological models where the universe existed in a timeless state prior to the Big Bang, and then, spontaneously became temporal. One example is the no-boundary proposal by Hawking where, prior to time, four spatial dimensions existed rather than 3 spatial plus 1 time dimension. Whether the model is coherent is another story (after all, even if this one is incoherent, one could build a similar model that has no problems). If you want more information about this, I brifely discussed it (and some objections) in my website.
        .
        “Yeah, “The decision is only made when there is time” because the very instance of making a decision whereas one didn’t exist before is itself the creation of time.”
        .
        So? You still have the decision and creation of time existing only when time exists. It makes no difference whatsoever. One still has to explain what triggered the will to create, otherwise it would not even leave such state.
        .
        “Well if that’s true, then neither could your sci-fi hyperspace idea. But here we are.”
        .
        Indeed. If the argument applies to both, then we would be forced to admit that both views are incoherent; we would be left with a nice paradox since none of the alternatives are coherent (I can live with that). But the relevant point which I’m trying to make is that free will doesn’t make any difference to timeless beings: free or not, the exertion of power only takes place when time already exists.
        .
        “What time? Metric time? If so, how does your… idea fare under the weight of this criticism?”
        .
        One possibility is that the exertion of power is spontaneous. If this is the case, then one would not have to worry about the cause being frozen eternally. The impersonal or personal being spontaneously exerts its causal power simultaneously with the beginning of time. That seems to be the only possible solution to the problem.
        .
        “God is the cause of his own decisions. He’s the cause of His own decision to create the universe”
        .
        Sure. God is the source of his decisions since these happen in his mind, the same way the hyperspace is the source or cause of the exertion of power. But did God spontaneously cause his decision to create time? If not, then his decision would never come about since his mind would be frozen in a timeless state. Likewise, you could never cause your decision to use cap or fedora if you were frozen timelessly. You would remain in that state eternally. Further, even infinite regress would not help since all the infinite causes would either exist simultaneously at the first moment or would be frozen in the state of atemporality.

        1. Evan Minton

          I don’t mind at all. That’s why the comment section is enabled. I welcome discussion on the topics I write about. That’s what this is here for. I also prefer the comments to be up here so that people can see my work publically scrutinized and judge for themselves whether or not they can stand up for scrutiny. Assuming they take the time to read lengthy threads like this one, which I’ve recently come to learn that some actually do!
          .
          FREE WILL
          .
          You wrote \\\”there is no reason to think free will exists, and thus no reason to infer the cause possesses free will since we’ve never observed such thing in the world.”\\\ — But if my argument is sound then there is good reason to believe at least one being has free will; God. So the premise that “free will has never observed such thing in the world.” is a red herring. I agree that it’s never been observed. How could it be? A world of free creatures would be identical to one where people are determined by neuro-electrical chemical processes…from the outside at least. That’s why none of the arguments for free will (like Tim Stratton’s “FreeThinking Argument”) are empirical in nature. They’re deductive philosophical proofs.
          .
          You wrote \\\“You could perhaps argue it doesn’t matter if we’ve never observed it because it is implied by the Kalam. But here is the catch: it is not. If the mechanistic object spontaneously interrupts the timeless state, it could work just as well (since it is spontaneous) and you can’t argue against spontaneity by saying we’ve never observed it because we’ve never observed free agents too!”\\\ — Well again, if there was any chance for the universe to spontaneously spring into being, then given an infinite past time, the non-zero probability of that occurring would occur, hence the weird hyperspace would have caused it to bang into being infinitely long ago. Of course, this presupposes metric time, which you say the hyperspace realm doesn’t exist in. It exists in undifferentiated time which is equivalent to timelessness. In that case, then either the necessary and sufficient conditions to cause the universe to spontaneously come into being were eternally present or they were eternally not. If they were eternally present, then how is the effect (i.e the universe) not just as eternal as the cause (the hyperspace-that-runs-according-to-laws-of-physics-no-one-has-ever-experienced-nor-can-they-describe-including-non-Minkowski-space)? The best explanation is a free agent who is uncaused and who chose to create the universe.
          .
          Spontaneity is of no help. Now. You’ve been trying to argue that this dilemma faces the theist as well, which leads to my next subheader.
          .
          ON THE CAUSE’S FREE AGENCY IN A TIMELESS STATE
          .
          \\”You’re proposing God made a choice (leaving the timeless state) after having already acted (interrupted the timeless state). First there is time, and then he chooses that time will exist? That’s incoherent.”\\ — It is indeed incoherent, which is a good thing that that is not at all what I’m saying. I’m saying God existed in the timeless state. By the very act of His decision to create time, He brought time into being. Making the decision was itself the introduction of time. Since we now had a change in what God did; (i.e no creation –> creation). God’s decision to create is simultaneous with His actual exercise of His creative power (i.e The Big Bang occurring). Hence, God’s decision to create time and the beginning of time happen at the same time (i.e the first moment). Hence there is no “time, and then he chooses that time will exist” as you put it. The decision occurred in time, yes. Because the decision *just was* the introduction of time.
          .
          I don’t know why this is such a difficult concept for so many opponents of The Kalam to grasp. You say that “appealing to simultaneity will not save you since the first moment occurs after the timeless state was already interrupted”. Again, no. The first moment WAS the interruption of the timeless state. It didn’t occur AFTER the timeless state. The first moment was itself the interruption of the timeless state.
          .
          EX NIHIL NIHIL FIT
          .
          You’re still not grasping the terminology. “FROM” nothing means it had no efficient cause. OUT OF nothing means it had no material cause. I agree that the universe had no material cause. God didn’t have a warehouse full of universe-making materials that he went into and started fashioning our cosmos out of it. He spoke the heavens into being (Psalm 33:6, John 1:3). To say “The universe came FROM nothing” is to say it had no efficient cause. To say “the universe came OUT OF nothing” is to say it had no material cause, regardless of whether it also had an efficient cause or not.
          .
          ONE FINAL NOTE BEFORE I END THIS COMMENT
          .
          You: “It is not like God could have timelessly chosen not to create the universe.”—
          Me: “Well if that’s true, then neither could your sci-fi hyperspace idea. But here we are. Something did something to bang the universe into being.”
          You: “Indeed. If the argument applies to both, then we would be forced to admit that both views are incoherent; we would be left with a nice paradox since none of the alternatives are coherent (I can live with that).”
          .
          So what are you going to do? Are you going to admit you made a bad argument or admit your weird sci-fi hyperspace idea is incoherent? Pick your poison.

  8. Ψ

    Oops. I forgot to use the dots between the lines. :/

    1. Ψ

      “I agree that [free will has] never been observed… A world of free creatures would be identical to one where people are determined.”
      .
      Well, I think your interpretation of my argument should be more charitable. The term I used (i.e., observation) is clearly a simplification. Obviously what I meant is that there is no reason to accept free will exists because we know the (macro) world or classical world obeys deterministic laws, and there is no reason at all to suppose human brains (and therefore, minds) must be different from that since it is part of the deterministic world. So, the theist has the burden to give reasons why our brains must be different. Now, I’m not challenging you to argue in favor of free will here; as I said before, my point, simply, is that the Kalam would be contingent on other arguments for God. I’m not sure most scientists would be willing to simply concede free will exists just to accept your argument, and this would contradict what you stated before: “my proposal is not an alternative cosmological model. It’s a metaphysical explanation for the science that both theistic and *non-theistic scientists* embrace.”
      .
      “If they were eternally present, then how is the effect (i.e the universe) not just as eternal as the cause (the hyperspace)?”
      .
      In ordinary causal relationships, impersonal causes are always sufficient to produce their effects; if the cause is present, so too must the effect be present. It would mean that if the cause is eternal, so too must the effect be eternal. But since the universe is not eternal (i.e., timeless), the cause cannot therefore be impersonal. However, spontaneous events have necessary, but not sufficient causes, that is, the hyperspace contains the power that is necessary for the event to occur. The event then occurs in an indeterminate manner, but without the hyperspace, no event could occur. In other words, the source of power exists eternally and only gives rise to a spontaneous effect at the first moment in time because, unlike ordinary impersonal causal relationships, the effect must not be “present” eternally (remember, it is not an ordinary causal relationship, but one that involves uncaused — in the sense of efficiency — events).
      .
      Now, I was amused when you said I’m not “grasping the terminology” about the ex nihilo principle because I understood it very clearly. In fact, I even stated in my last comment that “you could say, it is not relevant to the point here since we’re already assuming it came from nothing physical rather than changing form, but it misses the point: it would still have implications for other arguments” that do not involve the coming into being without efficient and no material causes. So, maybe you should read again to fully understand my point. 😉
      .
      “the very act of His decision to create time, He brought time into being.”
      .
      You just repeated yourself here but didn’t respond to my argument. Perhaps I was not clear enough. Any decision can only occur when time already exists. So, yes, the decision and act only occurred when time was already existent. The decision can’t be timeless, as I stated before, otherwise it would be frozen and uninterrupted eternally. Therefore, it follows God’s decision only occurred when the effect was already existent. But it can’t be, because God can’t decide to actualize what is already actual. I don’t know why it is so hard for proponents of the Kalam to understand that.
      .
      “So what are you going to do? Are you going to admit you made a bad argument or admit your weird sci-fi hyperspace idea is incoherent?”
      .
      I don’t have to accept your dilemma because both alternatives are false. Here is the reason: If your model is coherent, then my model is also coherent (because free will doesn’t make any difference, so I argue). If my model is incoherent, then yours is as well (because both rely on similar assumptions; no spontaneity). However, we can fix this problem by admitting that spontaneity is the solution. But if that’s the case, then there is no reason to think theism is the only solution since both worldviews allow spontaneity to occur, thus undermining the Kalam. But if spontaneity is also false, then we have a paradox, and I have to admit my model is incoherent. This is not a problem for me since I would also have to admit your model is incoherent.
      .
      Finally, let me add that in addition to not having established the existence of free will, we’ve never observed intentional states being simultaneous with external effects. The intentional state always exists temporally prior to the effect — first, there exists an intention, and then when the information is transmitted to the body, the effect occurs which implies temporal priority.

      1. Evan Minton

        FREE WILL
        .
        \\\”Well, I think your interpretation of my argument should be more charitable. The term I used (i.e., observation) is clearly a simplification. Obviously what I meant is that there is no reason to accept free will exists …\\\ — My apologies. I wasn’t intending to be uncharitable. I simply misinterpreted what you meant by “observation”. I took it in its typical since of empirical evidence. I would definitely disagree even with what you said here though. There are great arguments for libertarian free will, some of them are biblical and I use those against The Calvinists, but we have arguments that don’t presuppose the truth of scripture as well, for example The FreeThinking Argument that Dr. Tim Stratton formulated and which I linked to in an earlier comment.
        .
        \\\”because we know the (macro) world or classical world obeys deterministic laws, and there is no reason at all to suppose human brains (and therefore, minds) must be different from that since it is part of the deterministic world.”\\ — This would only be true if humans were purely physical biological organisms, or “meat machines” as some put it. If substance dualism is true, then libertarian free will is at least possible. And as The FreeThinking Argument shows, if humans have libertarian free will, then that logically entails that humans are more than bodies. In other words, dualism makes libertarian free will possible (but LFW doesn’t logically flow from it), but dualism DOES logically follow from libertarian free will.
        .
        But again, I don’t need to defend free will in general here. If the argument I’ve been defending is correct, AT LEAST God has libertarian free will. Whether anyone else does is an open question. And again, this is not the only argument for the personhood of the universe’s cause so I don’t even need to hang my hat on that. Again, there are two others that I address in other Kalam blog posts, not to mention my book “The Case For The One True God”. So it’s not the case that “the Kalam would be contingent on other arguments for God.” In most conversations on the Kalam, I don’t even bring up the mechanistic agent dilemma. If it were dependent on that, then I would have to bring it up every single time.
        .
        Again, I’m harping on it here because it’s the only area where your cosmological model can be falsified. It’s the only argument I can use to show that God is superior to your weird meta-universe scenario. You’ve clothed your model in so many mysterious laws of physics and space that there’s no other way for me to argue against it. Just like the super-fast flamingos on Pluto that have such radically different biology (laws of biology that I refuse to specify) that no biologist or philosopher of science could refute me….or even evaluate my thesis in any meaningful way.
        .
        THE MECHANISTIC AGENT DELIMMA
        .
        \\”However, spontaneous events have necessary, but not sufficient causes, that is, the hyperspace contains the power that is necessary for the event to occur. The event then occurs in an indeterminate manner.”\\ — So when did the sufficient causes come in place? How could they in undifferentiated time? For Hyperspace to lack the sufficient conditions but THEN gain them would require metric time. Now, if you want to backpedal and say The Hyperspace existed in past infinite time, then the problem arises of non-zero probability events being gaurunteed to occur if given an infinite amount of time resurfaces (whether they’re determined or indeterminate is irrelevant). If you want to backpedal in another direction and say the sufficient conditions were always in place, then why hasn’t the universe always been in place?
        .
        Indeterminism and spontaneity doesn’t add anything to the conversation. If there was ever any chance for an indeterminate event to occur, yet an infinite amount of time has passed, even if the odds of it happening were one in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 it would occur eventually….even indeterminately….even spontaneously. If you take metric time out of the equation, then how could the hyperspace ever gain the ability to birth the universe? It’s not like God where it can simply will time to begin.
        .
        \\\”In other words, the source of power exists eternally and only gives rise to a spontaneous effect at the first moment in time because, unlike ordinary impersonal causal relationships, the effect must not be ‘present’ eternally (remember, it is not an ordinary causal relationship, but one that involves uncaused — in the sense of efficiency — events).”\\ — OH! So now not only are you invoking laws of physics no one is familiar with, a mysterious type of space no one is familiar with, now you’re invoking a special type of law of causality no one is familiar with!
        .
        I get the feeling you just want to avoid concluding the existence of God and are willing to latch onto any idea that has even a remote chance of helping you do that. I hope I’m wrong. I might be. I can’t read minds after all. But I can’t imagine anyone embracing your weird hyperspace-that-runs-according-to-laws-of-physics-no-one-has-ever-experienced-nor-can-they-describe-including-non-Minkowski-space on purely rational, scientific, evidential grounds.
        .
        EX NIHIL NIHIL FIT
        .
        I’m not sure I understand here. If we’re both grasping what it means to say “Something came FROM nothing” (no efficient cause) and “something came OUT OF nothing” (no material cause, regardless of whether it also had an efficient cause or not), then what’s the problem? How am I “equivocating material and efficient causes”? I re-read your comment again carefully, and you said “it would still have implications for other arguments like the one about the personal cause choosing in an infinite timeline” but I have never argued that God created having endured through an infinite amount of time. Indeed, some of the debate in this thread has been about how a timeless cause can choose to create. ???? You then brought up Stephen Hawking’s no-boundary proposal, which I’m fully aware of. How is that relevant in this discussion? I’m confused. Perhaps you can clarify in your next comment.
        .
        ON THE CAUSE’S FREE AGENCY IN A TIMELESS STATE
        .
        Nothing you said in your first paragraph of this topic refuted my point that God could will time to come into being in a timeless state, and the very decision making would itself be the first moment of time. You just basically responded with an assertion that God couldn’t do that. Nope, time has to pre-exist God’s decision. That’s what you said. You provided no counter-argument for that though. Assertions aren’t persuasive to me. That’s why I’m into apologetics. Blind faith is for intellectual losers. 😉
        .
        The last part of your comment doesn’t need responding to because I kind of already did that above, with my argument that indeterminism and spontaneity doesn’t help your cosmological model. I do want to comment on one thing thought You wrote \\”we’ve never observed intentional states being simultaneous with external effects.”\\ — William Lane Craig actually responded to this objection in a relatively recent episode of The Reasonable Faith Podcast. He said

        “I see no conceptual incoherence in thinking that a cause and its effect can be simultaneous. In fact, philosophers will often talk about how one perceives the direction of causal influence between A and B when A and B are simultaneous. A and B can be at the same time – can be simultaneous – but which way do you draw the line of causal influence? Is it A that’s causing B, or B that’s causing A? Philosophers will dispute about that. So I don’t see any incoherence in the notion of simultaneous causation. Indeed, some metaphysicians have argued that all causation is ultimately simultaneous because until the cause actually impinges upon some other object to produce an effect there’s no way that the causal influence could leap across time from say t2 to t1 to produce the effect at t1. That cause needs to endure right up to the moment t1 and then produce its effect at that moment. But there’s no way that a causal influence can travel through time and leap ahead from t2 to t1 to produce the event. So a good many philosophers will say that all causation is really ultimately simultaneous.”

        — The Reasonable Faith Podcast, “Misunderstandings About God and The Big Bang” –> https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/misunderstandings-about-god-and-the-big-bang/
        .

  9. Ψ

    So, I’m not convinced by Craig’s claims. In fact, I was reading an article some days ago where the philosopher Robin Le Poidevin argued there is “proof that causes are never — arguably, could never be — simultaneous with their effects, based upon a principle widely accepted”. And his arguments are very convincing. I prefer to accept what Robin is saying instead of Craig (who is obviously extremely biased towards theism and apologetics and is not, therefore, in my personal opinion, trustworthy regarding these matters).
    .
    See, “Causation and Simultaneity” by Robin Le Poidevin.
    .
    Now, I think I’ll respond to your point regarding the non-zero probability of something happening in an infinite timeline. So, the problem is that we can’t even use statistical probability here, given that the effect is spontaneous and indeterministic. For instance, we can present some statistical probability of the “lifespan” (if you will) of a car. We know from previous experience that engines stop working with time, so we are aware that given sufficient time, the engine will necessarily stop because the parts will wear out and etc. The same applies to any other ordinary mechanistic cause. We could even simplify it and say that if we have a bunch particles moving randomly from eternity (no matter how far away) at some point they will necessarily meet each other, even though that’s extremely improbable. But you see the problem? We are using deterministic laws of probability. Now, suppose we have a static substance; it doesn’t move, it doesn’t obey any laws of thermodynamics and etc, and the “explosion” or effect will be totally spontaneous and unpredictable. How can we meaningfully say there is a non-zero statistical probability of it exploding in 2 million years, for example? It can stay there for 2 million years without exploding or it could stay one zeptosecond and then explode. The “probability” is exactly the same. Likewise, it could stay there for infinity years without “exploding” and just explode when time reaches 1 from the negative infinite timeline (i.e., -3, -2, -1, 0, 1). Unlike ordinary deterministic causes, there is no necessity here (the cause could explode or could not; there is no law saying it MUST explode). There is nothing to be said against this result.
    .
    Now, I’ll say for the last time: I’m did not say something came from nothing with no efficient and material causes, okay? My point is that it is not metaphysically or logically impossible for something to change without efficient causes. That is, there must be a material cause, but I see no reason to believe a tree in another possible world requires an efficient cause to change. This is important to my above point because it allows a *temporal* mechanistic and indeterministic hyperspace to exist from infinite past and causing our universe without a personal cause. Plus, it also allows the Euclidean spatial dimensions of Hawking-Hartle to exist timelessly and spontaneously cause Lorentzian space to exist (without requiring a personal cause).
    .
    I don’t know what are the other arguments for the cause being personal, but I’m sure this one we discussed extensively is not convincing at all. In fact, I presented other arguments against it in my website, too — I argue that even in a deterministic universe, the cause could be mechanistic. So, I hope the other theistic arguments for the cause being personal are more convincing than this one.
    .
    You still didn’t address the problem of free will here. You stated that it doesn’t matter if we don’t have free will, because the Kalam proves the cause must possess free will. However, another possibility is that the universe had no cause at all — it came spontaneously into existence. You can’t use the classical response “So, why don’t we see spontaneous events happening around us today, then??” because we also don’t see free beings around us today. Moreover, I’m not convinced at all that the causal principle is metaphysical rather than nomological (i.e., a law derived from the physical world).
    .
    The argument Craig presented against ‘something from nothing’ in that article is that if there were ever nothing and then a universe “after it”, then there was the potential for the universe to exist, but “potential” is not nothing, so there was always something. However, as I pointed out in my website, “potential” is not a Platonic substance. When we say something has potential, we simply mean it can do something. It is not like some power was invested on it. It is merely an abstraction we use to say something can or cannot do something. So, it is silly to say there was the potential and thus there was something. It is like saying the number five always existed and therefore there was never nothing.

    1. Ψ

      You wrote “I can’t imagine anyone embracing your weird hyperspace”

      I would say, based on my experience, that most atheists would be perfectly comfortable with this conclusion. I’m sure you’ve already seen some comments on Youtube or Forums where the theist says: “Something cannot from nothing”, and then the atheist says “Have you ever considered that the meaning of ‘nothing’ in science — a la Krauss — is different from philosophical ‘nothing’?” This means most atheists are comfortable with the idea that before the Big Bang, there was some kind of weird inanimate energy that spontaneously brought our universe into existence. I’m not representing Krauss’ proposal technically because this doesn’t matter; what matters is the idea that atheists have in their minds when they think of the model. And it is not so different from my proposal: some kind of simple hyperspace that spontaneously brought the universe into existence.

      You wrote: “I get the feeling you just want to avoid concluding the existence of God and are willing to latch onto any idea that has even a remote chance of helping you do that”

      Actually, I don’t really think a hyperspace is necessary at all. Personally, I think a temporally eternal universe is much simpler than any hyperspace or whatever. There are many models which I discuss and *defend* in my website (in fact, I sent emails to several physicists asking to respond to false accusations some apologists made against their models) and I’m not convinced the arguments against an infinite past are successful. But my goal here is to show that even if I concede all of that is wrong, the Kalam still doesn’t increase the probability of theism in any way. That’s why I’m defending the hyperspace idea.

    2. Evan Minton

      CASUATION AND SIMULTENAITY
      .
      You’re not convinced by Craig’s claims. Ok. Can you say why exactly? You never interacted with any of his points. Instead, all you did was quote another philosopher who *asserted* the contrary and then accused Craig of bias towards theism, as though Robin and others are totally objective and not biased AGAINST theism. I find it amusing that you atheists and agnostics only think the Christian philosopher is the only one who is ever biased and therefore cannot be trusted.
      .
      THE MECHANISTIC AGENT DELIMMA
      .
      I think I’m starting to see why you’re not seeing the problem. You’re confusing the objective probability of an event’s occuring with our being able to know it’s probability of occuring, hence your analogies to car engines and particles moving through space and so on. But we don’t need to know the probability of the weird hyperspace producing the universe to know that it either has a non-zero probability of occuring or a zero probability of occuring. If it’s the later, then it’s impossible for the hyperspace to ever birth our universe. If it’s the former, then it doesn’t matter what number you put on it. It could be 1 chance in 100 or 1 chance in 10 to the 90 millionth power. If it’s not a zero probability, then given infinite past time, it will be actualized. I remember one mathematician (whose name escapes me) humorously saying that if a clothes dryer ran for eternity, eventually it would fold your clothes for you.
      .
      And again, it is irrelevant whether the hyperspace is deterministic or indeterministic. The problem remains. If you say it has a non-zero probability of occurring, then the universe should be eternal, or it should have birthed a bunch of different universes (the multiverse scenario, which I’ve shown to be extremely problematic at the beginning of this conversation). If you say it has a zero probability of occurring, then that’s just another way of saying it couldn’t have possibly happened. And ergo, your model is toast! We don’t need to know the probability of your hyperspace scenario birthing the universe. We just have to know whether or not it’s higher than 0. And the logical law of excluded middle tells us it must be one or the other.
      .
      You wrote \\\”The argument Craig presented against ‘something from nothing’ in that article is that if there were ever nothing and then a universe “after it”, then there was the potential for the universe to exist, but “potential” is not nothing, so there was always something. However, as I pointed out in my website, “potential” is not a Platonic substance. When we say something has potential, we simply mean it can do something. It is not like some power was invested on it. It is merely an abstraction we use to say something can or cannot do something. So, it is silly to say there was the potential and thus there was something. It is like saying the number five always existed and therefore there was never nothing.”\\\ — I’ve never heard Craig make this argument. Ergo, I suspect that this is a straw man. What I have heard him argue is that *nothing* has no properties. If potential is a property (and I think it is at least) then if there was ever truly nothing (no matter, energy, space, time, angels, demons, not even God Himself, absolutely nothing at all), then there would be no potential for the universe to come into being. Since there obviously was potential (we’re here after all), there had to be something that caused the universe to come into being.
      .
      EX NIHIL NIHIL FIT
      .
      \\”Now, I’ll say for the last time: I’m did not say something came from nothing with no efficient and material causes, okay?”\\ — I am fully aware that this is not what you’re proposing. The weird hyperspace is certainly something, not nothing. But you seem to have been expressing skepticism that the principle must always be true. And one way you could convince me of the contrary is to show me ONE thing that came into being without an efficient cause. And let me just make a preemptive strike here: don’t point to “the quantum vacuum”. That is a sea of fluctuating energy governed by physical laws and has a physical structure, and ergo is something, not nothing.
      .
      \\”I don’t know what are the other arguments for the cause being personal.”\\ — I find this to be an astonishing claim given that I gave one in the blog post this comment section is in. I argued that given that the cause is immaterial (since it is the cause of all space) it can either be an abstract object or an unembodied mind. Given that abstract objects are causally effete, according to abductive reasoning, the best explanation is an unembodied mind. Only personal beings have minds. So the cause must be personal.
      .
      FREE WILL
      .
      What problem of free will is there? The only thing I’ve heard out of you that might be problematic is (A) The law of causality doesn’t need to ALWAYS hold, and (B) We’ve “no reason to infer the cause possesses free will since we’ve never observed such thing in the world.”. And I’ve addressed both of these already. All you’ve done in your previous comment is reassert (A).
      .
      FINAL THOUGHT BEFORE ENDING THIS COMMENT
      .
      I noticed you quoted me out of context. I did not say “I can’t imagine anyone embracing your weird hyperspace”. What I said was “I can’t imagine anyone embracing your weird hyperspace… on purely rational, scientific, evidential grounds.” I am well aware of all sorts of proposals by atheists to get out of theistic conclusions to the arguments I and other apologists present. Some of them are more respectable alternatives than others, though they all ultimately fall short. But some of them are so outlandish, so ad-hoc, that I can’t imagine anyone embracing them because they really think it’s the best explanation, but simply because they don’t want to admit that there is a God. Why? Well, there are all sorts of reasons; A cosmic authority problem, a love of sin, an emotional recoil at the doctrine of Hell and the thought that some of their friends and loved ones might be there because they died non-Christians, fear of academic ostracism, fear of familial ostracism, etc. al
      .
      And I consider your hyperspace-that-runs-according-to-laws-of-physics-no-one-has-ever-experienced-nor-can-they-describe-including-non-Minkowski-space to be among those outlandish, ad-hoc, non-respectable alternatives to theism. So let me ask you a question; if you knew Christianity were true, would you become a Christian? Would you willing to bow the knee to Yahweh if you knew that He is? If you think to yourself “No” or if you hesitate, your problem is not a lack of evidence problem, it’s some non-intellectual issue. But if you say, yes, then let’s keep debating! “Come, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). And I invite you to read and comment on some of the other articles in this website as well.
      .
      \\\” I’m not convinced the arguments against an infinite past are successful. But my goal here is to show that even if I concede all of that is wrong.”\\\ — Whoa! Wait a minute! Didn’t you say a ways back in this conversation that one of the ways we know Minkowski space had a beginning was the infinite regress arguments? When discussing whether space and physics could be eternal, You said \\”Sure, but we know it can’t be Minkowski space and ordinary laws because the arguments against infinite regress, entropy and the BGV theorem rule that out.”\\ ?????

  10. Ψ

    I’m not convinced by Craig’s claims because Robin’s logical arguments convinced me that causal simultaneity is not possible. It is a very complex article, by the way. I can send you the pdf if you’re really interested. Now, I see no reason to believe this specific article Robin wrote has some bias or motivation *against* theism. In fact, this article has nothing to do with theism and Robin didn’t mention causal simultaneity once in his book about atheism. On the other hand, both of us know Craig has many reasons to argue simultaneity is possible, one of them being that it is necessary for the Kalam to work (or isn’t it not?). And that’s why I’m much more skeptical of Craig’s theologically motivated claims than of Robin’s sound logical arguments.
    .
    You wrote that you think you’re “starting to see” the problem, but I don’t think so. I’m not conflating an epistemic question with an empirical one. Whether or not I know it is probable that the car will stop working doesn’t change the fact that it will stop working. Why? Because of its deterministic nature — the parts of the engine will eventually wear out due to its nature and the random particles will eventually meet each other because they will travel through all possible trajectories (or geodesics) in space, and this means a necessary trajectory will lead to them meeting. That’s the nature of deterministic things. However, it has not been established this is the nature of the hyperspace. On the contrary, I argued its nature is totally different due to spontaneity. That’s why I said you can’t use probability to determine whether it will explode or not. It may stay there for infinity years and never explode or it may explode when it reaches t=+1. There is nothing determining it must — unlike the car or the particles or the clothes dryer — eventually explode at some point.
    .
    “But you seem to have been expressing skepticism that the principle must always be true.”
    .
    What I’m challenging here is the claim that the causal principle — in the sense of efficiency — is metaphysically necessary — and not merely nomological. There is no reason to invoke *standard* quantum mechanics here since it would be an argument against the nomological principle; that is to say, it would be an argument in favor of spontaneous events violating the nomological principle. But using that would not work because you’re already presupposing it is a metaphysical and not a nomological principle. So, any example I present can be countered with a “it must be wrong because it is metaphysically impossible.”
    .
    You can have no-thing and still say it has the potential to create something without being contradictory. I explained why before: because “potential” is not a magical fluid that something contains. Potential things are by definition not actual; “potential” is just a word we chose to describe when X or Y can do something. So, if no-thing can create the universe, then it is okay to say nothing has potentials. Now, perhaps what you meant is that only actual things can actualize potentials — no potential can actualize itself. Is that the point? If that’s the case, then I’ve already dealt with this argument in my website. There are strong arguments to believe this is false (and certainly not a metaphysical or logical law), but my goal here was just to clarify this point.
    .
    “What I said was “I can’t imagine anyone embracing your weird hyperspace… on purely rational, scientific, evidential grounds.””
    .
    But then this is just personal incredulity since there is no reason to believe it is irrational. Moreover, it is trivial to say it is non-scientific because science can only study the world it has direct or indirect access to. Further, there is evidence my model is correct, according to you: arguments against an infinite past, beginning of the universe and bla bla bla.

  11. Ψ

    ” And I’ve addressed both of these already.”
    .
    No, you didn’t. I predicted in advance that you would say there are arguments in favor of free will and that’s why I stated the Kalam would be contingent on other arguments for God. Then you stated that even if we have no free will, it doesn’t matter because the Kalam proves the cause must possess it. And I’ve already responded to that. Didn’t I? Or perhaps you think there is no problem with the Kalam being contingent on other arguments for God.
    .
    “if you knew Christianity were true, would you become a Christian? Would you willing to bow the knee to Yahweh if you knew that He is?”
    .
    Yes, certainly. No problem with that. I’ve nothing against Christianity, but everything against theistic apologetics. That’s why I have no article in my website arguing against theism, but against apologetics. Because I think theistic apologetics is obviously just a flawed rationalization for something that is not supported by the evidence and is believed because of non-intellectual reasons. That’s not just my view; many psychologists are discovering now that humans are naturally wired (or predisposed) to believe in certain things (which includes religion). The same can’t be said about atheism, unfortunately.
    .
    “I invite you to read and comment on some of the other articles in this website as well.”
    .
    Thank you for your invitation. I’ve already read some parts of your other post regarding the moral argument and I think it would be worth pointing out the problems with it (particularly the defense of premise 2). So, when we finish this discussion here, I’ll certainly comment there.
    .
    “Wait a minute! Didn’t you say a ways back in this conversation that one of the ways we know Minkowski space had a beginning was the infinite regress arguments? When discussing whether space and physics could be eternal”
    .
    This is not a contradiction. I’m conceding the arguments against infinite regress and scientific arguments are true for the sake of the argument, so that we can discuss the important subject without avoiding it and jumping to other non-related arguments.

  12. Ψ

    “I argued that given that the cause is immaterial (since it is the cause of all space) it can either be an abstract object or an unembodied mind.”
    .
    Oh, sorry. But this argument is even weaker than the one about free will! And I have already dealt with it in my first comment in this website. I wrote: “Personal — So, I reject the Platonist and Substance-Dualist views that abstract objects and minds are immaterial. I accept Nominalism about abstract objects and Physicalism about minds. So, you have no examples at all of immaterial (or non-physical) entities that could play that role…”
    .
    This entails the cause could be any logically possible inanimate entity we don’t know about and perhaps could never understand. This follows because we have no reason to believe Substance-Dualism or Platonism is true. So, there is no example of any entity that could play that role. Minds and abstract objects, according to most philosophers (see, PhilSurvey) and scientists, are not real independent entities.
    .
    So, this argument is even worse since it depends on the truth of Substance-Dualism.

    1. Evan Minton

      CAUSAL SIMULTENAEITY
      .
      Bias still doesn’t mean Craig’s wrong. In fact, I don’t believe there’s a single philosopher in the world without bias. I just have to trust that they’ve done their due diligence, did their best to recognize their bias and put it aside, and then evaluate what they actually said. Everyone has an invested interest in what they’re writing. For example, when we read Gerd Ludemann’s book “The Resurrection of Christ” a former Christian, now an atheist New Testament scholar, and in his book “The Resurrection Of Christ” he says “Its aim was to prove the non-historicity of the resurrection of Jesus and simultaneously to encourage Christians to change their faith accordingly.” Do you think Ludemann is bias? Does he have an agenda? Yes. Does that mean we should throw out everything he says? No. He could be biased and he could be right.
      .
      What about Richard Dawkins? In his book “The God Delusion” he writes “If this book works as I intend, religious leaders who pick it up will be atheists when they put it down.” Do you think he’s bias? Do you think Dawkins has an agenda? Should we throw out everything he says? No. At least you should be consistent if you’re going to do this. But fallacious to do this. I mean, Jews have an invested interest in writing about the holocaust (namely to try to prevent such an atrocity from ever happening again), blacks have an invested interest in writing about the unfairness of slavery (or, more recently, police brutality), so rejecting what a document says because they’re written by someone supposedly bias is just fallacious. Basically, this is just another form of the ad hominem fallacy (rejecting what a person says as true simply because of who they are). How about you actually address what Craig said?
      .
      THE MECHANISTIC AGENT DILEMMA
      .
      I’m not sure how many times I have to point out that whether an event being determined or indeterministic is irrelevant. But obviously it’s more than once. Again, indeterminism and spontaneity changes nothing. And rather than repeat myself for the umpteenth time, I’ll just advise you to go back and read my previous comments.
      .
      EX NIHIL NIHIL FIT
      .
      \\”You can have no-thing and still say it has the potential to create something without being contradictory.”\\ — Well again, I’m not arguing that there is anything logically contradictory about something coming from nothing. Again referring you to William Lane Craig’s nice short article explaining the sense in which something cannot come from nothing. –> https://www.biola.edu/blogs/good-book-blog/2017/in-what-sense-is-it-impossible-for-the-universe-to-come-from-nothing
      .
      \\\”Potential things are by definition not actual; “potential” is just a word we chose to describe when X or Y can do something. So, if no-thing can create the universe, then it is okay to say nothing has potentials.”\\\ — How? There is nothing there to have potential? You’re pulling a Laurence Krauss and treating nothing as though it were something. “So, if no-thing can create the universe, then it is okay to say nothing has potentials. ” Nothingness is not an “it”. Nothingness is just that. Nothingness. As Aristotle humorously put it, “Nothing is what rocks dream about.” To say “nothing is there” is a statement that there isn’t anything there, just as saying “No one is at the door” doesn’t mean that there is a person at the door who is identified as “No one”. Rather, to say “no one is at the door” means that “There is not someone at the door”. Nothing, no one, nowhere, these are statements of non-being, not of being. Now if you want to make the assertion that total and utter non-being can have potential, you shoulder an enormous burden of proof.
      .
      FREE WILL
      .
      \\”I predicted in advance that you would say there are arguments in favor of free will and that’s why I stated the Kalam would be contingent on other arguments for God. Then you stated that even if we have no free will, it doesn’t matter because the Kalam proves the cause must possess it. And I’ve already responded to that. Didn’t I?”\\ — Of course, you responded to it. And I explained why your response was a lousy response, didn’t I? The Kalam is neither contingent on other arguments for God nor arguments for free will. Yet again, the only reason why I’m harping on the cause of the universe being a personal free agent is that this is the only area your ad-hoc hyperspace-that-runs-according-to-laws-of-physics-no-one-has-ever-experienced-nor-can-they-describe-including-non-Minkowski-space can be tested and falsified. It cannot be anywhere else because the way you’ve conjured it up, no scientific or philosophical arguments can even potentially be lodged against it……as is the telling sign of a bad theory.
      .
      IF YOU KNEW CHRISTIANITY WERE TRUE, WOULD YOU BECOME A CHRISTIAN?
      .
      It’s true that many come to believe Christianity is true through experiential or emotional routes before ever even being exposed to the evidence that undergirds there worldview, but that does not render the arguments for Christianity unsound. The only way an argument can unsound is if it has false premises, no reason to believe the premises, or if the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premises. So for you to be against apologetics because “it is believed because of non-intellectual reasons. That’s not just my view; many psychologists are discovering now that humans are naturally wired (or predisposed) to believe in certain things (which includes religion).”\ You’re not the first atheist I’ve heard say this, and it’s quite a headscratcher. I’m not seeing the logic in it. Kind of smacks of genetic fallacy to be honest.
      .
      Besides that, I think people like C.S Lewis, Lee Strobel, Francis Collins, Hugh Ross, Frank Morrison, Nabeel Qureshi, and J. Warner Wallace would beg to differ. They would say the evidence is what came first.
      .
      FINAL THOUGHT BEFORE ENDING THIS COMMENT
      .
      Yes, I figured you would bring this up again. The problem with your objection is that it begs the question in favor of materialism. \\”So, I reject the Platonist and Substance-Dualist views that abstract objects and minds are immaterial.”\\ Ok, so what? If The Kalam Cosmological Argument is sound then at least one thing is immaterial; the cause of the universe! This is an argument for an immaterial being outside of space-time physical reality. So it will do no good to respond to the argument with “Yeah, but immaterial things aren’t real.”

      1. Ψ

        This is not a deductive argument, so it is not a fallacy. I’m not saying that “Craig is extremely and obviously biased, therefore, he must be wrong.” No, I didn’t say that. I’m saying that because he is extremely biased, he has non-rational motivations to defend the proposition. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to trust people who began to believe something is true because of rational reasons and not because of “emotional routes…” The latter makes more probable that the supposed evidence is actually just a rationalization of a pre-existent belief, and therefore, we should be very skeptical of it. For example, I would be very skeptical of a car salesman who has obvious reasons (i.e., money) to tell you a car is the best, economical and etc. Because has reasons to lie, does that mean the car is not economical and bla bla? No. But we have reasons to believe it is more likely he is lying or exaggerating or hiding the problem with the car, than not. Moreover, people who are very emotionally invested in some belief are more likely to cherry pick the evidence, ignore potential mistakes and contradictory evidence. And Craig is extremely biased because of emotional reasons. So, I wonder how many inconsistencies Craig already ignored consciously or unconsciously. Furthermore, I’m not convinced at all that the level of potential bias that Robin possesses is equivalent to Craig’s. Why should I believe that Robin’s argument against causal simultaneity has equally strong non-rational (and thus emotional) motivations as Craig’s? I see people dying for their religion, but I don’t see people dying for their favorite theory of metaphysics or epistemology.
        .
        Now, you insisted again that I should refute Craig’s arguments, but I’ll insist that you should read Robin’s article in order to understand why Craig is wrong. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ICdwFbLCrav9rtoORpeWOlVofM87aBpT/view?usp=sharing
        .
        “I’m not sure how many times I have to point out that whether an event being determined or indeterministic is irrelevant.”
        .
        Sure, you can claim that’s the case as much as you want, but this proves nothing since I’ve already refuted your attempts.
        .
        No, I’m not committing the same mistake Krauss committed. He seems to think there is quantum gravity (which is actual) and not nothing. I’m denying there are actual things; only potential things (which are obviously not actual). Plus, the language I used to refer to the absence of all actual things (i.e., “it”) is just for practical purposes. So, there is nothing of substance to respond here.
        .
        “If The Kalam Cosmological Argument is sound then at least one thing is immaterial; the cause of the universe! This is an argument for an immaterial being outside of space-time physical reality. So it will do no good to respond to the argument with “Yeah, but immaterial things aren’t real.””
        .
        Sheesh! This is an obvious straw man! You’re not responding to my actual argument. In my last response, I didn’t claim the Kalam doesn’t prove the cause must be immaterial. All I stated is that you cannot claim it is a mind or an abstract object because it has not been established these things actually exist. So, even though the cause may well be immaterial, this doesn’t entail it must be a mind or the number five. In my view, just like of most scientists, what dualists call “mind” is just an abstraction of a process. That is to say, dualists are looking at a material process — electro-chemical reactions — and asserting it is an immaterial substance. The same applies to abstract objects, by the way. So, we have zero actual examples of immaterial things. Plus, if potential immaterial things can be used as examples, then I can also take an apple, for example, and say there is an immaterial and more powerful version of it outside of our universe. The only difference between this speculation and theistic philosophers’ is that nobody wasted their time trying (and failing) to prove the existence of my transcendent apple.
        .
        But, now responding to the immaterial claim, all the Kalam proves is that the cause is not Minkowski spacetime; not that it is supernatural or spiritual. The cause could well be some sort of hyperspace or any other entity we could never understand. This is another potential example, by the way, that is an opponent of the “mind or abstract object”.

        1. Evan Minton

          \\”This is not a deductive argument, so it is not a fallacy. “\\ — Ad hominem is an informal fallacy not a fallacy. So the fact that your claim isn’t a deductive argument couldn’t be any more irrelevant. It would only be relevant if I were accusing you of a formal fallacy, like affirming the consequent or denying the antecedent. And your most recent comment is just a long rehashed ad hominem. Craig is biased. Blah blah blah. Don’t buy what he’s selling. Blah blah blah.
          .
          You might want to have a gander at this. –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1MBI5z0MMY
          .
          Moreover, would you tell me not to read writings about slavery or police brutality if it’s written by a black person? As I said in my previous comment, they have a bias. Maybe I ought to only read what white people say about it. That sounds kinda racist imo. But you’re the completely and totally objective super-smart atheist. I’ll let you be the judge because I’m too biased to think clearly.

          \\”“I’m not sure how many times I have to point out that whether an event being determined or indeterministic is irrelevant.’ Sure, you can claim that’s the case as much as you want, but this proves nothing since I’ve already refuted your attempts.”\\ — No, you haven’t. You’ve given crappy rebuttals that you think are brilliant refutations despite everything I’ve said to the contrary.
          .
          \\”No, I’m not committing the same mistake Krauss committed. He seems to think there is quantum gravity (which is actual) and not nothing. I’m denying there are actual things; only potential things (which are obviously not actual). Plus, the language I used to refer to the absence of all actual things (i.e., “it”) is just for practical purposes. So, there is nothing of substance to respond here.”\\ — Well, you could respond to when I asked how non-being can have potential. If nothing is really no thing, then there is no thing there to have potential.
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          I think it’s pretty obvious that to say “So, if no-thing can create the universe, then it is okay to say nothing has potentials” just IS to treat nothing as though it were something. Since it seems obvious that if there is potential, there must be something to have it. Water has the potential to become ice or steam. Children have the potential to become doctors and lawyers. How can nothingness have properties such as potential? It makes no sense. Unless you could convince me that it somehow does make sense.
          .
          Finally, I fail to see how I’m committing a straw man in response to your objection to the cause’s being immaterial. You’ve said “you cannot claim it is a mind or an abstract object because it has not been established these things actually exist.” How is that not begging the question against an argument FOR an unembodied mind? If this argument is correct, then at least one immaterial mind can be inferred to exist.
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          If I were to put the argument in the form of a syllogism, it would look like this:
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          1: Either an abstract object or an unembodied mind caused the universe.
          2: It’s not an abstract object.
          3: therefore, it is an unembodied mind.
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          The syllogism is logically valid since it follows the rule of inference known as a disjunctive syllogism. You could disagree that the first premise isn’t warranted because you think our universe is part of a wider universe that caused it to come into being, and that claim is what I’ve been pounding on for the past 28 comments. That would be a valid response in the sense that it would not be informally fallacious. We’d not be warranted in explaining premise 1 if your weird hyperspace-that-runs-according-to-laws-of-physics-no-one-has-ever-experienced-nor-can-they-describe-including-non-Minkowski-space had any merit to it. Thus, the debate would come down to whether all physical reality had a beginning and thus required an immaterial entity as its cause. But that’s not what you said in your previous comment. It’s not even what your follow up comment said. You said “you cannot claim it is a mind or an abstract object because it has not been established these things actually exist.” which sounds to me like “you can’t use this argument because you haven’t proven immaterial minds exist”.

  13. Ψ

    “Moreover, would you tell me not to read writings about slavery or police brutality if it’s written by a black person?… That sounds kinda racist”
    .
    That’s why I stated psychologists are discovering now that most people are naturally wired to believe in spiritualism. Your analogy is false because it would have to assume black people are naturally wired to accuse non-black cops of being racist and brutal. If you make this claim, then you’re the racist here and not me. So, although there may be a true reason to believe the majority of the police is racist (which in my view is not defensible and is certainly false according to statistics), it is NOT true that blacks have a natural predisposition and bias against cops. That is, they begin to believe X, not because of emotional reasons, but because of the supposed evidence, whereas the theist begins to believe Y because of emotional reasons and then tries to rationalize it (which gives me reason to be suspicious).
    .
    Further, let me add that even in politics we have to be careful because both sides (leftists and fundamentalist conservatives OR communists and capitalists) have different interpretations of some fact. Therefore, even in this case, one has to be suspicious of their claims due to a *strong* bias. So, I concede that Dawkins is probably biased against theism (probably because of rational motivations and not emotional ones, which is the mark of theism), but it has not been established Robin’s motivation for writing the article is also atheistic — and this is my point. This is one reason I don’t like to read Dawkins’ and Hitchens’ books. by the way. It is clear that they’re extremely biased just like Craig.
    .
    “You’ve given crappy rebuttals”
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    Sure, you can claim that’s the case. But there is no reason to believe that’s the case. From my perspective, you’re the one giving crappy arguments which caused me to facepalm more than once (seriously). The fact that you don’t understand my last point is not my fault; I tried to be clear as I could. And if you do understand it but refuses to respond, then, again, it is not my fault. I presented the argument and I’m waiting for the response. But I don’t mind if you don’t respond, actually. I’m pretty confident people reading these comments will realize my response is correct and you’re avoiding it because there is no good objection to my argument.
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    Plus, let me add that you failed to differentiate between a personal and an impersonal cause in this new argument (that if there is a non-zero probability of happening, it will happen). After all, I could also say there is a non-zero probability that God could create the universe in an infinite timeline, because if it is zero, then God would never create it. And let me remind you that, just like God, the temporal hyperspace (the cause) can exist forever and just give rise to the spontaneous effect at a later moment in time. So, it is false that the spontaneous effect must also be eternal. Both God’s decision and the hyperspace’s spontaneous effect are free of prior determining conditions.
    .
    “How can nothingness have *properties* such as potential?”
    .
    Again, “potential” simply means it can do something. To say the absence of all actual things has the potential to create the universe is to say that it *can* create the universe. If we use this word rather than “potential” (which seems to incorrectly imply potential is actual), then it becomes easier to understand the question. Can the absence of all things create the universe? Well, there is no reason to think it can’t. To say only real things can create or cause other things is to base your argument, not on a metaphysical principle but, on what is observed in our physical reality (where there are laws dictating things can only be created if there are efficient and material causes). However, we don’t have any evidence that laws of causation observed to operate inside a developed universe, also operate in the absence of one. As far as we know, physical laws depend on the structure of the universe they govern, therefore, causal laws are not even likely to exist in the absence of a governing structure. In the absence of anything to realize any physical laws, no physical laws will exist. Including causal laws. It is a logical contradiction to claim causal laws exist before causal laws exist.
    .
    “I fail to see how I’m committing a straw man in response to your objection to the cause’s being immaterial.”
    .
    My objection (in that comment) was not to the cause being immaterial, but that the case must be a mind or an abstract object. That is, the cause may well be immaterial, but there is no reason to think it is a mind or an abstract object. That’s a false dilemma and I hope people will see this when they read these comments. So, yes, this is a straw man. You attacked my argument as if I was objecting to the cause being immaterial, when in reality I was objecting to the inane claim that it must be a mind or an abstract object.
    .
    “1: Either an abstract object or an unembodied mind caused the universe.
    2: It’s not an abstract object.
    3: therefore, it is an unembodied mind.”
    .
    Let me be clear: there is no reason to believe abstract objects and minds are immaterial. So, even though the cause of the universe may be immaterial, we know it can’t be a mind or an abstract object (in the way non-platonists and non-dualists define them). So, the first premise is false, not because of the hyperspace, but because there is no evidence minds and abstractions are immaterial (thus, the immaterial cause must something other than minds and abstractions). Therefore, it is clear that the Kalam is dependent on the truth of substance dualism.

  14. Ψ

    All you can do here is use the alleged fact that the cause is immaterial to increase the probability of it being a mind. That is, rather than saying “It is either a mind or an abstract object” you could say “the fact that the cause is immaterial, increases the probability of theism, because it postulates the existence of immaterial minds.” But, then, I would again point to the fact that it doesn’t have to be immaterial but only Minkowskiless (i.e., other types of non-spiritual universes we can make up right now).

  15. Ψ

    I’m watching the video you presented and thinking “Is this guy (Evan) serious?” I accuse apologists of being extremely biased and thus having strong reasons to misrepresent, ignore or rationalize evidence and then you present a video of an extremely biased apologist (who posts horrible videos trying to prove the existence of God and criticizing atheists almost every week) and, hence, has reasons to misrepresent the actual research, to prove I’m wrong! hahah. You must be kidding, right? Your attitude is analogous of me sending you a video of Dawkins or Hitchens with the intent of proving atheists are not biased. I’m amused!

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