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Archive for the ‘Kalam Argument’ Category

“Therefore, the universe has a cause.”

The third piece of the Kalam argument really sums up everything.  I’m going to try to keep everything flowing together, but this particular piece of the argument has different aspects to look at scientifically to prove a point, so it may seem to jump around a little. I apologize for this if it does indeed occur.

Based on the Kalam argument and the evidence I’ve presented, we can assume that whatever begins to exist has a cause. We found that the universe indeed had a beginning. Does this mean that we can believe it also has a cause?

Because I just had a wonderful time this past weekend throwing snowballs at people, I’d like to use them in an example. Suppose I throw a snowball at the back of a certain somebody by the name of Talan. I turn away, acting like the innocent angel I am, and he’s spinning around asking who did it. If I said “Nobody”, he probably wouldn’t accept that, and would then throw me into a snowbank.

I threw that snowball for a reason. He may not know why (it was for the look on his face, I’m sure. Priceless), but he would know that I did it.

So what can we deduce about this supposed cause? The cause/creator of space and time must be uncaused, beginningless, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and a personal endowed with free will and omnipotence. I’m going to assume for a moment, based on this description, that such a being would be God. God is a paradigm in this Kalam argument. He’s beyond it. He’s causeless, beginningless. So how did he become exempt. We have to remember that the Kalam argument says “Whatever begins to exist has a cause”, not that everything has a cause. God didn’t begin to exist; He has always been, so He doesn’t need a cause. So how can scientists believe that the universe is timeless and causeless, but that there is no way a Being can exist who exists without cause and is eternal?

Scientists would also argue, if they were for a moment to even consider the fact that God might exist, that there could have been more than one creator. So why only one? Well, one principle that holds in the scientific comunity says that we should not multiply causes beyond what is necessary to explain the situation. This is universally accepted in scientific methodology, called Ockham’s Razor.

Another roadblock people find here when it comes to God is, how do we know He’s not an impersonal Being? We have to look at two ways of explaining situations. Scientific explanation is explaining a phenomenon in terms of certain initial conditions and natural laws, which in turn explain how these initial conditions changed (evolved) to create the phenomenon under scrutiny. Personal explanation is explaining a topic by means of an agent and that agent’s volition of will. There are three reasons to use personal explanation over scientific.

Reason #1: There can’t be a scientific explanation for the beginning of the world. It can’t be explained in terms of earlier conditions and natural laws leading up to such an event. But a personal explanation – one including a Creator – is possible.

Reason #2: If the universe is beyond time and space, it would be unable to be a physical reality, so it would also have to be nonphysical and immaterial. Only two things can fulfill these criterion: abstract objects such as numbers or mathematical entities, and a mind. Abstract objects do not have the ability to cause things, but a mind can be a cause, so it makes sense that the universe could be the product of a disembodied mind that chose to bring it into existence.

Reason #3: If the universe were a mechanical consequence that would occur when conditions would be met, and they were met for all of eternity, then the universe would exist from eternity past. For example, water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius. If the temperature were below 0 degrees from eternity past, then any water that was around would be frozen from eternity past. It would be impossible for water to just begin to freeze a finite time ago. So once the conditions were met, aka it was cold enough, the water would freeze. If these conditions were met eternally, or even in the future since the eternity past, then it would exist from eternity past, and the effect would be co-eternal with the cause. It just doesn’t make sense.

The last argument that some people will attempt to address would be, couldn’t the Creator stop existing? If He transcends the universe and is above the laws of nature, if He created these laws and can manage them however He so wishes, what could eliminate Him?

In my next post, I am going to look at the uniqueness of our earth through physics in cosmology. It has been admitted by Richard Dawkins that life on earth could have been the product of some other race or people or organism planting our seed to create us. I’m eager to see what the chances are of another planet that can support life coming into being.

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The second part of the Kalam argument says, “The Universe Had A Beginning.” In this post, I’m going to examine exactly what an infinite past would entail, the history of the Big Bang, and the inflation theory, all of which can contribute to this Kalam argument.

In order to have an infinite past, there would have to be infinite past events, so we can infer that the past must be finite. Allow me to give you an example. I really like chocolate, and let’s say I have an infinite supply of Hershey Kisses. Now I don’t know how this would happen, but for some reason, I give you all of them (you must be a very convincing person). So now you have an infinite amount of Hershey Kisses, and I have none.

But say I number all the Hershey Kisses, and being the generous person I am, I give you the ones that are even numbered, while I keep the odd numbered ones. Now we both have an infinite amount of Hershey Kisses.

In another scenario, say I’m really greedy, but somebody’s forcing me to be generous. I give you three Hershey Kisses, while I have the remainder, which is still infinity.

In all these cases, an identical number has been subtracted from an identical number, yet the results have been different each time. This is why in transinfinite mathematics, you cannot subtract infinity from infinity to get zero. It just doesn’t work that way.

Infinity is just a concept, not an actual materialistic number. It does not apply to the real world. You can’t have infinite events in the past because you’d run into the same problems given in the examples found above.

The Impossibility of Traversing the Infinite says that you can keep adding one to infinity for forever to try to near infinity. It’s a paradoxical situation. You can never reach infinity because it will just go on for forever. So an infinite past would be a paradox in itself, and rather impossible. It would mean somebody would manage to count down all the negative numbers and arrived at zero. That’s nonsensical. It’s not even mathematical.

Now one question that could come about from this argument would be, Wouldn’t this unravel an eternal God? The thing we must understand about God is that He created time and space. He works outside of both. A second to Him is a thousand years, a thousand years a second. Time does not affect Him. God did not endure an infinite amount of time; He existed in eternity outside of it.

We must now examine the history of the Big Bang. In the year 1915, Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity, and applied it to the universe as a whole. He found that this did not allow for a static universe, but instead one that should be exploding or imploding. To make the universe static, he had to change his equations by adding a factor that would allow for the universe to be static.

In the 1920s, Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman and Belgian astronomer George Lemaître developed a model based on Enstein’s theory. They predicted that the universe was expanding. This means that if you went far enough back in time, you would get to the origin. Astronomer Fred Hoyle derisively called this the Big Bang, and it stuck.

Also in the 1920s, scientists found evidence that supported these mathematical models. In 1929, American astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the light coming from different galaxies is too red, and that this is a universal feature of all galaxies in the sky. Hubble explained that this is an effect produced by galaxies moving away from us. He theorized that the universe is rapidly flying apart.

In the 1940s, George Gamow predicted if the Big Bang did happen, the background temperature of the universe would be but a few degrees above absolute zero. In 1965, two scientists accidentally discovered that the universe’s background radiation is really 3.7 degrees Fahrenheit above absolute zero. There is no explanation for this, but that it is a vestige of a very early, very dense state of the universe, as predicted by the Big Bang model.

The last piece of evidence I’d like to look at leads up to and examines the inflationary theory. Heavy elements such as carbon and iron are synthesized in stars and exploded through supernovae into space. But very light elements such as deuterium and helium can’t have been synthesized in stars because a more powerful furnace would be needed. Because of this, the Big Bang could have forged them, as it rose to a temperature of about 100,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most scientists add the inflation theory to the Big Bang. The Big Bang was not chaotic and disorderly, but rather a fine-tuned event with precise initial conditions. The is strong evidence that the Big Bang was designed. Because theorists don’t want to say this, they use inflation.

Inflation says that in the very early history of the universe, the universe went through a period of extremely rapid “inflationary” expansion. It then settled down to slowly expand, the way we observe it to do today.

However, there are probably fifty different inflation models, and nobody knows which is correct. There isn’t even a test to see if inflation has occurred.

But this inflationary period happened a microsecond after the Big Bang occurred, so it doesn’t really alter the origin of the universe. This produces a ‘singularity’, a state at with the space-time curvature, along with temperature, density, and pressure becomes infinite.

Based on the three different aspects covered in this post, we can see that it’s not possible for the universe to have an infinite past. It had to have had a beginning.

In the next post, we’ll examine the last part of the Kalam argument: “Therefore, The Universe Has A Cause.”

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The next area of science I would like to explore when examining the case for a Divine Creator is Cosmology. This isn’t necessarily a smooth transition from the previous post, but in order for many of the other topics that are going to be discussed to make sense, I must go in a particular order, and this is next on my list.
According to Neo-Darwinists, there was an explosion everywhere. Atoms and even nuclei of atoms were split at a temperature of over 100,000,000 degrees Celsius. The universe was made in just about three minutes.
An argument that is often thrown around is called the Kalam argument. This argument consists of three parts and was formulated by al-Ghazali: “Whatever begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist. Therefore, the universe has a cause.”
While not directly related to cosmology itself, it is an important topic to look at. Scientists often say that life was created without a cause. That evolution happens without cause. That the universe appeared without a cause. So this argument is a significant one to examine. I plan to look at it one section at a time, with different posts for each section. Today, I plan to step through the first part: “Whatever begins to exist has a cause.”
Atheists believe that the universe appeared from nothingness for no cause whatsoever. One of their ideas is that the universe was formed from a vacuum. “Quantum theory…holds that a vacuum…is subject to quantum uncertainties. This means that things can materialize out of the vacuum, although they tend to vanish back into it quickly. Theoretically, anything…can pop into existence by means of this quantum quirk, which physicists call a vacuum fluctuation. Probability, however, dictates that pairs of subatomic particles…are by far the most likely creations and that they will last extremely briefly…The spontaneous, persistent creation of something even as large as a molecule is profoundly unlikely…In 1973, assistant professor at Columbia University named Edward Trion suggested that the entire universe might have come into existence this way…”
The subatomic particles mentioned are called ‘virtual particles’. These are theoretical, but if they were indeed real, it’s impossible for them to come out of nothingness. The quantum vacuum is not nothingness. It’s fluctuating energy, violent activity with a detailed physical structure, and can be described with physical laws. These particles are thought to originate by fluctuations of energy. So it’s not an example of coming into being of nothing or without a cause. The vacuum and energy are the cause of the particles. But where did the vacuum come from? Take a deep breath and see if you can wind your mind around this: if quantum physical laws operate within the domain described by quantum physics, you can’t use quantum physics to explain the origins of that domain. You need something beyond the domain to explain the beginning/origin of the domain.
I’ll write on Part 2 at the beginning of next week: “The Universe Began To Exist”.

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