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The Cosmological Proof (II) • The previous Cosmological Proof we examined seeks to prove that, even if the spacio-temporal universe had no beginning in time, it, nevertheless, still requires a supernatural Creator. • The spacio-temporal universe still requires a supernatural Creator because, it must be sustained, at every moment of its existence, by a supernatural, independently existing, Creator. • Another type of Cosmological Proof attempts to show that the spacio-temporal universe has not always existed, that it began to exist at some finite time in the past, and, as a result, it requires a supernatural Creator. • This type of Cosmological Proof is usually called the Kalam Proof. Kalam is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning ‘time.’ It has this name because this argument conceives of time as created reality. • The Kalam proof was first developed, in a sophisticated way, by the great Islamic philosophers of the First Millennium. • William Lane Craig develops a version of the Kalam Proof in his article “Philosophical and Scientific Pointers to Creatio ex Nihilo” • In this article, Craig adduces both philosophical (metaphysical) and scientific evidence in support of three claims: – Claim A: The spacio-temporal universe began to exist at a finite time in the past. – Claim B: Consequentially, the spaciotemporal universe was brought into existence by a Supernatural Being. – Claim C: The spacio-temporal universe was created through the free choice of a personal Supernatural Being, i.e. the spacio-temporal universe is not the result of some deterministic, impersonal supernatural force. • Craig’s Second Philosophical Argument for Claim A. 1.) The series of events in time is a collection formed by adding one member after another. (Premise) 2.) A collection formed by adding one member after another cannot be actually infinite. (Premise) 3.) Therefore, the series of events in time cannot be actually infinite. (from 1. & 2.) – Craig takes Premise No. 1 to be an obvious truth • The events in time (at least, not all of them) do not happen simultaneously. • (At least some) events in time happen successively, one happening after the other – The case for Premise No. 2 • An actually infinite collection can never be formed by one member of the collection succeeding another. • This is so because, since one can always add another member to the collection, one can never “arrive” at infinity. • It is thus impossible to “traverse the infinite.” – “Imagine a man running up a flight of stairs. Suppose every time his foot strikes the top step, another step appears above it. It is clear that the man could run forever, but he would never cross all the steps because you could always add one more step.” Craig Article, p. 5 • The only way an actually infinite collection could exist is for all its members to be brought into existence simultaneously. • (Craig’s First Philosophical Argument attempts to show, questions of origin aside, the notion of an actually infinite collection is an inherently incoherent concept.) • Since the collection of events in time is brought about (at least partially) by adding successive events, one by one, to those that have gone before, it cannot be an actually infinite collection. – “Suppose there were, for example, an infinite number of days prior to today. Then, today would never arrive. For, it is impossible to cross an infinite number of days to reach today. But, obviously, today has arrived. Therefore, we know that prior to today, there cannot have been an infinite number of days. That means that the number of days [before today] is finite and, therefore, the universe had a beginning.” Craig Article, p. 5 • Even philosophers who don’t like this argument’s theistic implications admit its strength. – “If an infinite series of events has preceded the present moment, how did we get to the present moment? How could we get to the present moment — where we obviously are now — if the present moment was preceded by an infinite series of events?” John Hospers, An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis, p. 434 – Having posed the question, Hospers moves on without answering it. – He, thus, leaves Craig’s answer to this question – “We can’t!” – unchallenged. • Craig’s Scientific Evidence for Claim A – In 1929 astronomer Edwin Hubble, after whom the Hubble Telescope is named, discovered that the universe is expanding in all directions at the same rate. – The only way that the universe can be expanding in all directions at the same rate is if, at some finite time in the past, the entire universe had been a single, infinitely dense point. – The initial expansion of this single, infinitely dense point is known as the “Big Bang.” – Scientists’ best estimates indicate the “Big Bang” happened 15 billion years ago. – Not only was all the matter of the present spacio-temporal universe created by the “Big Bang,” time and space itself were created by it. – Describing the entity out of which the “Big Bang” emerged as an infinitely dense, single point is tantamount to saying the “Big Bang” emerged from nothing. – This is so because an infinitely dense, single point has no mass whatsoever; therefore, it has no dimensions whatsoever; therefore, it is nothing whatsoever. – The Second Law of Thermodynamics • This law states that a closed system, i.e one in which energy from outside the system is NOT being added to the system, tends toward a state of equilibrium. – “For example, if I had a bottle that was a sealed vacuum inside, and I introduced into it some molecules of gas, the gas would spread itself out evenly inside the bottle. – “It is virtually impossible for the molecules to retreat, for example, into one corner of the bottle and remain. This is why when you walk into a room, the air in the room never separates suddenly into oxygen at one end and nitrogen at the other.” Craig Article, p. 8 • The spacio-temporal universe is a closed system and, therefore, is subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. • Given what scientists estimate to be the spacio-temporal universe’s current density, it will arrive at what’s called “heat death” by, essentially, burning itself out. • The gases found in all of the universe’s galaxies will become stars that will then burn out and become cold, dead cinders. • The implication for the the present discussion is obvious: Since this “heat death” is the inevitable end of the universe, if the universe is infinitely old, why isn’t it in “heat death” right now? • Since the universe is clearly not presently in “heat death,” it cannot be infinitely old. • The Case for Claim B – Since the spacio-temporal universe began to exist, something already in existence had to bring it into existence. – This follows from the corollary to PSR – Ex Nihilo, Nihil Fit. – The already existing being that brought the spacio-temporal universe into existence would have to be a Supernatural Being because nature, space, and time did not exist until the spacio-temporal universe existed. – Critique of Craig’s case • Quentin Smith attempts to use quantum physics to argue that the spacio-temporal universe could have emerged from literally nothing, with no Supernatural Being’s bringing into existence. • Smith claims that, at the quantum level, particles known as virtual particles emerge from a quantum vacuum. Thus, virtual particles are an example of something’s coming from nothing. • Craig’s reply – A quantum vacuum is not, literally, nothing. It is merely an area of space in which the amount of energy is so minimal that, in principle, it cannot be measured. – Given this minimal energy state, stable particles cannot form; nevertheless, the virtual particles that do form for infinitesimally short periods of time do not come from nothing. – Thus, virtual particles are not counter-examples to the principle En Nihilo, Nihil Fit. • Smith also attempts to use Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle to show that the spacio-temporal universe did not have to be brought into existence. It could have come into existence for no reason. – According to this Principle, at the quantum level, it is, in principle, impossible to predicate both the position and momentum of a particle at t2, given what you know about it at t1. – Smith argues that, since one cannot predict the total existence of a quantum particle at t2, given its total existence at t1, there is not a sufficient reason explaining the particle’s existence at t2. – The Uncertainty Principle, thus, shows that PSR is false and, therefore, one cannot appeal to PSR, or to a corollary of it, to prove that the spacio-temporal universe was brought into existence. • Craig’s response: – “Smith assumes uncritically the positivistic equation between predictability in principle and [sufficient reason]. – “But, this . . . analysis is clearly untenable, as should be obvious from the coherence of the position that quantum indeterminacy is purely epistemic, there existing hidden variables which are, in principle, unobservable . . . . Clearly, then to be [‘without sufficient reason’] does not mean, even minimally to be ‘in principle unpredictable.’” Craig in the Phillips Anthology, p. 146 – In other words, in principle unpredictability does not prove that some entities lack sufficient reasons explaining why they exist. – Rather, in principle unpredictability, at most, proves that the sufficient reasons for the existence of some things, in principle, cannot be (fully) known, at least by any finite mind. – Thus, the Uncertainty Principle does not prove PSR is false and both it and its corollaries may be used to prove that the spaciotemporal universe was brought into existence. • The Case for Claim C. – “[T]here must be an absolutely first event, before which there was no change, no previous event. We have seen that this first event was caused. – “But the question then is: How can a first event come to exist, if the cause of that event is always there? Why isn’t the effect as eternal as the cause? It seems to me that there is only one way out of this dilemma. That is to say that the cause of the universe is personal and chooses to create the universe in time. In this way God could exist changelessly from eternity, but choose to create the world in time. – “By ‘choose’ I do not mean God changes His mind. I mean God intends from eternity to create a world in time. Thus, the cause is eternal, but the effect is not. God chooses from eternity to create a world with a beginning; therefore, a world with a beginning comes to exist. Hence, it seems to me that the only way a universe can come to exist is if a Personal Creator of the universe exists. And, I think we are justified in calling a personal creator of the universe by the name ‘God.’” Craig Article, p. 10 – Clearly, the Supernatural Creator of the entire spacio-temporal universe would have to be, if not all-powerful, very powerful and, if not all-knowing, very knowing. – What’s more, since the the Supernatural Creator of the spaciotemporal universe does not seem to derive any benefit from His act of creation, He would appear to be, if not omnibenevolent, very benevolent. – Someone might point out that just because there WAS once a Supernatural Creator of the spaciotemporal universe does not mean He STILL exists. – Response • Lacking evidence that He died, one should believe the Supernatural Creator continues to exist. • One may also rely on the first Cosmological Proof for the continued existence of the Supernatural Creator.