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A critical examination of the Kalam Cosmological Argument

Posted in Uncategorized by Rodibidably on March 16, 2009

[Originally posted at: Digital Bits Skeptic]

The Kalam Cosmological Argument was popularized by the Christian philosopher William Lane Craig, and it has become the most widely discussed argument for God’s existence in contemporary philosophy[1]. These three points make up the Kalam:

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

 

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe had a cause.

On first glance we might object that the cause of the universe doesn’t have to be anything like a person. But Craig has thoroughly demolished this objection: If there were a mechanical, impersonal cause which created time, it must have existed eternally. But if it had existed eternally, it would have been creating universes from eternity past. This would lead to the conclusion that there were an infinite number of universes, which Craig argues is absurd (more on this later). Therefore, the cause of the universe must have been a free agent who could choose to create only one universe. I find that I agree: If Craig’s premises are true, then his conclusion that a personal being caused the universe makes sense[2].

“Everything that begins to exist has a cause”

The problem is that the premises of his argument are not true. His first premise, “Everything that begins to exist has a cause” collapses in light of our understanding of quantum mechanics. For example, scientists have found that particles of energy may come into existence, completely uncaused, in empty space[3]. Another exception to the Law of Cause and Effect is found in the decay of Carbon-14 atoms: After every interval of 5730 years, half of the Carbon-14 present in a given measurement will have decayed into Nitrogen-14. All of these carbon atoms are identical, yet they decay at different times. Why is this? If all the atoms are exactly the same, shouldn’t they decay at precisely the same time? Since they do not, most scientists have come to believe that atomic decay is spontaneous (and therefore uncaused)[4].

[Read the rest of this post at: Digital Bits Skeptic]

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