Kalam Cosmological Argument - A beatdown

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Kalam Cosmological Argument - A beatdown

Unread postby Azmodan Kijur » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:14 pm

The Kalam Cosmological Argument – been seeing a bit about this the last little while, with William Lane Craig desperately trying to defend the argument as THE major proof that God exists. He and his detractors get into very technical arguments regarding what the words that they are using means and each side throwing a pile of Latin at each other (and the audience as a result). To the average layman, the argument can be unapproachable, but that is besides the point I am going for here. What I want to submit here is an objection to the argument of my own, one with a slightly different angle. Likely that someone else has articulated something similar to this before, but I’d like a stab at it myself in a relative vacuum.

First, I give a copy of the argument, just so that we are all on the same page regarding it. This is direct from Wikipedia:

The Kalam Cosmological Argument:

(1) Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.
(2) The universe has a beginning of its existence.

Therefore:
(3) The universe has a cause of its existence.
(4) If the universe has a cause of its existence then that cause is God.

Therefore:
(5) God exists.

Of course, we can noted any number of issues with the argument, all of which require mental gymnastics from apologists to account for. Premise 3 (for example) is suspect – the Universal “big bang” is considered the “beginning” of the Universe, but there are a multitude of reasons with which one might invalidate that premise alone. But that is not my angle right now. Mine has to do with the creative idea behind the God entity in the argument. There is something important to note here, something the theist assumes without entering it into the argument automatically. Not only is the creation of the Universe caused by this God entity, but it was deliberately caused. This is not the unconscious or accidental act of an unknowing or unthinking being. Rather, it is a deliberate act, a conscious effort on the entities part. This will become important in a little bit.

First, though, let me backtrack a little so my point can be easily made. Humans are conscious beings. That is, we act with deliberate intent when we do something. If we intend to walk to the fridge, then we consciously decide to engage the muscles and perform the act. In this, we draw a link to the God entity creating the Universe – it decided to do so. It was not an accident no more than you deciding to go to the fridge and getting there is an accident. Are we clear on this? The more pedantic among you might get feisty and jump on that statement and assume that I am comparing the two consciousnesses. I am in a manner, but only at the basic point. Both are conscious and deliberate. Scale is the primary difference here and I make no references to limiting one or elevating the other.

My second backtrack is in regards to the Universe itself. Let us be clear about what it is, exactly. The Universe is not the Stars; it is not the Galaxies or the super-clusters. It is not the dark matter between them nor the black holes, quasars, planets, or interstellar dust. It is not the microwave background radiation nor is it the leading edge of the big bang. No – it is all of these things together and all other things, period. The Universe is everything. There is nothing outside the Universe – no matter, no time, no reality – for there is no “outside” to it. If there were, that component would be part of the Universe. Get the point? This is an important concept. One does not talk about the Universe like it is a bubble of reality with other bubbles around it. The Universe is the collection of all those “bubbles” (if they exist) together. It is literally everything there is. There is nothing besides it for it is everything including what is besides it. Think of it (mathematically) as the container of all containers, the set that describes all sets, but which itself cannot be included in a set. It is confusing, but vital to grasp this. The Universe describes everything.

Now, let’s get back to human consciousness for a moment. We are conscious beings that have deliberateness to us, that we engage the world with intent. The intent may not be pure or even well informed, but it is intent nonetheless. Fine, that is pretty well established. But what is that consciousness? People have argued over this for ages – what is the conscious mind? What gives us the ability to be deliberate, to act with intent? The religious would have one believe that it is the spirit / soul / ghost of the individual. However, this is not correct. How can I state this? It’s actually pretty simple. First, you are your meat. Dwell on that for a second here. You are your meat. Those three pounds of grey matter in your skull are you and you alone. And it is all of you. There is nothing besides that that is you. You are your meat. Seems like a baseless assumption at first, but hear me out. The reason I can claim this, that I can state that there is no soul that controls you and is the prime mover of intent, is because damaging your meat alters your intent.

This cannot be overemphasized. Damage suffered to the brain of an individual causes a direct alteration to the personality of the individual. The classic case of the nice young man that got a railroad tie smashed into his brain, survived, but became a nasty brutish man is a good example. Were you actually a soul being, then the damage suffered to your brain would not and could not alter you as a person. But that we can lesion the brain or modify it chemically results in the natural conclusion that the soul does not exists and that you are, indeed, that meat in your head.

To broaden this concept, consciousness is a result of the physical activity of the brain. Without a brain structure of some sort, there is no consciousness. No matter if it is a cybernetic brain, an electron storm brain, a cellular “meat” brain, or whatever, there needs to be a structure for there to be a brain and there needs to be a brain for there to be consciousness.

Ok, the field is set. The Universe is everything. Consciousness comes from brains and brains are composed of some physical items. Therefore, my objection to Kalam should be self evident. For God to act with intent, it must be conscious – hell, for God to act at all, it had to have had some mind (no matter how primitive it might be). For it to be conscious it requires a physical presence – a collection of cells, a scattering of electrons, a mechanical neuro-network (lets ignore that brains need certain sizes and components to be intentionally conscious). For God to act consciously, it needed a mind to exist in some way. But this is logically impossible, for the only thing that carries a brain (matter and energy) did not exist before the Universe came to be. Remember, the Universe is everything. God did not have a brain retained outside somewhere in the ether as this is a completely irrational concept. The Universe is everything – there was nothing before it and certainly nothing from which thought could be generated. If there was no medium through which thought could be articulated, then there was no possibility for intent. Indeed, given that there was nothing before the Universe, then there was nothing that would provide even the capacity for unconscious action since action requires something to act on something else.

Conclusion: The Kalam Cosmological Argument is irrational, illogical and easily dismissed as irrelevant.

******

Anything I'm missing?
Azmodan Kijur
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