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Refuting the Modern Cosmological Argument

GeoLaureate8
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2/16/2011 2:17:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
In the Aristotle's argument for God thread, there were attempts to refute it as such.

1. Everything that exists has a cause.
2. Given a causal chain, time must be finite, so there must be a first cause.
C: This first cause is the uncaused cause, God.

And the counter that was given was that asserting an uncaused cause violates the first premise.

However, this counter doesn't hold up to Craigs reformulation.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The Universe began to exist.
3. The Universe has a cause.

How do you guys go about refuting that?

(I have actually formally debated against Lain Craigs version and won, but I forgot what I used to refute it.)
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
badger
Posts: 11,793
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2/16/2011 2:59:55 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/16/2011 2:17:01 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
In the Aristotle's argument for God thread, there were attempts to refute it as such.

1. Everything that exists has a cause.
2. Given a causal chain, time must be finite, so there must be a first cause.
C: This first cause is the uncaused cause, God.

And the counter that was given was that asserting an uncaused cause violates the first premise.

However, this counter doesn't hold up to Craigs reformulation.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The Universe began to exist.
3. The Universe has a cause.

How do you guys go about refuting that?

(I have actually formally debated against Lain Craigs version and won, but I forgot what I used to refute it.)

well.. i'd ask how does he know that whatever begins to exist has a cause? and if that was adequately answered (which it wouldn't be) i'd ask how he knows the universe began to exist..and wasn't always there..

so.. yeah.. arguments made from unsubstantiated assumptions = fail
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GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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2/16/2011 3:14:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/16/2011 2:59:55 PM, badger wrote:
At 2/16/2011 2:17:01 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
In the Aristotle's argument for God thread, there were attempts to refute it as such.

1. Everything that exists has a cause.
2. Given a causal chain, time must be finite, so there must be a first cause.
C: This first cause is the uncaused cause, God.

And the counter that was given was that asserting an uncaused cause violates the first premise.

However, this counter doesn't hold up to Craigs reformulation.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The Universe began to exist.
3. The Universe has a cause.

How do you guys go about refuting that?

(I have actually formally debated against Lain Craigs version and won, but I forgot what I used to refute it.)

well.. i'd ask how does he know that whatever begins to exist has a cause?

Law of causality. Do you deny this principle?

and if that was adequately answered (which it wouldn't be) i'd ask how he knows the universe began to exist..and wasn't always there..

The Big Bang marks the beginning of at least this universe, but it presumes that there aren't other universes out there inside of an eternal Multiverse.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
vardas0antras
Posts: 983
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2/16/2011 3:19:08 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/16/2011 3:14:37 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 2/16/2011 2:59:55 PM, badger wrote:
At 2/16/2011 2:17:01 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
In the Aristotle's argument for God thread, there were attempts to refute it as such.

1. Everything that exists has a cause.
2. Given a causal chain, time must be finite, so there must be a first cause.
C: This first cause is the uncaused cause, God.

And the counter that was given was that asserting an uncaused cause violates the first premise.

However, this counter doesn't hold up to Craigs reformulation.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The Universe began to exist.
3. The Universe has a cause.

How do you guys go about refuting that?

(I have actually formally debated against Lain Craigs version and won, but I forgot what I used to refute it.)

well.. i'd ask how does he know that whatever begins to exist has a cause?

Law of causality. Do you deny this principle?

and if that was adequately answered (which it wouldn't be) i'd ask how he knows the universe began to exist..and wasn't always there..

The Big Bang marks the beginning of at least this universe, but it presumes that there aren't other universes out there inside of an eternal Multiverse.
Reasons for this belief, just wondering.
"When he awoke in a tomb three days later he would actually have believed that he rose from the dead" FREEDO about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
badger
Posts: 11,793
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2/16/2011 3:31:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/16/2011 3:14:37 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 2/16/2011 2:59:55 PM, badger wrote:
At 2/16/2011 2:17:01 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
In the Aristotle's argument for God thread, there were attempts to refute it as such.

1. Everything that exists has a cause.
2. Given a causal chain, time must be finite, so there must be a first cause.
C: This first cause is the uncaused cause, God.

And the counter that was given was that asserting an uncaused cause violates the first premise.

However, this counter doesn't hold up to Craigs reformulation.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The Universe began to exist.
3. The Universe has a cause.

How do you guys go about refuting that?

(I have actually formally debated against Lain Craigs version and won, but I forgot what I used to refute it.)

well.. i'd ask how does he know that whatever begins to exist has a cause?

Law of causality. Do you deny this principle?

the law of causality!? you sure it's a law? and if it is, that it doesn't only pertain to our known universe? but no i don't deny it.. but i don't not deny it either lol.. how could i know? unsubstantiated assumptions much?

and if that was adequately answered (which it wouldn't be) i'd ask how he knows the universe began to exist..and wasn't always there..

The Big Bang marks the beginning of at least this universe, but it presumes that there aren't other universes out there inside of an eternal Multiverse.

when i say universe, i mean everything short of god :) ...if the universe isn't god :)
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Grape
Posts: 989
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2/16/2011 5:15:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Also this argument proves is that the Universe has a cause. So what? The cause could perfectly well be natural. This is a question that admits of scientific solution; it is a job for cosmologists and not analytic philosophers. We will never be able to fully explain everything, but that isn't an argument for God.
unitedandy
Posts: 1,173
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2/17/2011 12:35:16 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
The kalam argument is predicated upon the A-theory of time, which is probably the best way to attack it. Also, I don't know if I would grant either premise: the first because it is wholly based on what happens within the universe, and it is at least arguably fallacious to maintain that that which happens within the universe is applicable to the beginning of the universe itself. The second premise is shaky because we just don't know this yet. When we go back long enough (at least as I understand it), the laws of physics break down, and there is a quote from Brian Greene which sums this up. The metaphysical arguments (infinity) would take some unravelling, but appeals to analogy (Wes Morriston's prayer analogy in particular) might be the best bet. Lastly, the premise that such a cause must be infinite, personal, etc is so weakly supported that it wouldn't be very difficult to refute. This is where the sceptic should aim most of their fire.
TheSkeptic
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2/17/2011 1:57:43 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/17/2011 12:35:16 AM, unitedandy wrote:
The kalam argument is predicated upon the A-theory of time, which is probably the best way to attack it. Also, I don't know if I would grant either premise: the first because it is wholly based on what happens within the universe, and it is at least arguably fallacious to maintain that that which happens within the universe is applicable to the beginning of the universe itself. The second premise is shaky because we just don't know this yet. When we go back long enough (at least as I understand it), the laws of physics break down, and there is a quote from Brian Greene which sums this up. The metaphysical arguments (infinity) would take some unravelling, but appeals to analogy (Wes Morriston's prayer analogy in particular) might be the best bet. Lastly, the premise that such a cause must be infinite, personal, etc is so weakly supported that it wouldn't be very difficult to refute. This is where the sceptic should aim most of their fire.

This is a good summary of a skeptics response and worries.
badger
Posts: 11,793
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2/17/2011 9:32:29 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/16/2011 3:31:59 PM, badger wrote:
At 2/16/2011 3:14:37 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 2/16/2011 2:59:55 PM, badger wrote:
At 2/16/2011 2:17:01 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
In the Aristotle's argument for God thread, there were attempts to refute it as such.

1. Everything that exists has a cause.
2. Given a causal chain, time must be finite, so there must be a first cause.
C: This first cause is the uncaused cause, God.

And the counter that was given was that asserting an uncaused cause violates the first premise.

However, this counter doesn't hold up to Craigs reformulation.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The Universe began to exist.
3. The Universe has a cause.

How do you guys go about refuting that?

(I have actually formally debated against Lain Craigs version and won, but I forgot what I used to refute it.)

well.. i'd ask how does he know that whatever begins to exist has a cause?

Law of causality. Do you deny this principle?

the law of causality!? you sure it's a law? and if it is, that it doesn't only pertain to our known universe? but no i don't deny it.. but i don't not deny it either lol.. how could i know? unsubstantiated assumptions much?

lol, i suppose every scientific law is a law of causality :) i was fairly drunk.. still though...

and if that was adequately answered (which it wouldn't be) i'd ask how he knows the universe began to exist..and wasn't always there..

The Big Bang marks the beginning of at least this universe, but it presumes that there aren't other universes out there inside of an eternal Multiverse.

when i say universe, i mean everything short of god :) ...if the universe isn't god :)
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unitedandy
Posts: 1,173
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2/17/2011 1:44:44 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/17/2011 9:39:12 AM, badger wrote:
what's the a-theory of time?

It's the so-called common sense view of time, where:

" In the first mode, events are ordered by way of the non-relational singular predicates "is past", "is present" and "is future." When we speak of time in this way, we are speaking in terms of a series of positions which run from the remote past through the recent past to the present, and from the present through the near future all the way to the remote future. The essential characteristic of this descriptive modality is that one must think of the series of temporal positions as being in continual transformation, in the sense that an event is first part of the future, then part of the present, and then past. Moreover, the assertions made according to this modality imply the temporal perspective of the person who utters them. This is the A-series of temporal events."

http://en.wikipedia.org...
badger
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2/17/2011 3:47:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/17/2011 1:44:44 PM, unitedandy wrote:
At 2/17/2011 9:39:12 AM, badger wrote:
what's the a-theory of time?

It's the so-called common sense view of time, where:

" In the first mode, events are ordered by way of the non-relational singular predicates "is past", "is present" and "is future." When we speak of time in this way, we are speaking in terms of a series of positions which run from the remote past through the recent past to the present, and from the present through the near future all the way to the remote future. The essential characteristic of this descriptive modality is that one must think of the series of temporal positions as being in continual transformation, in the sense that an event is first part of the future, then part of the present, and then past. Moreover, the assertions made according to this modality imply the temporal perspective of the person who utters them. This is the A-series of temporal events."

http://en.wikipedia.org...

cheers! now to make sense of it...
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belle
Posts: 4,113
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2/17/2011 7:27:26 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
basically, time is linear. it only runs in one direction... from past to future. once something is past it ceases to exist, and the future does not yet exist at all.

as opposed to the b theory of time which as far as i know posits that all times exist at once in some kind of manifold, rather like different spacial locations.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
JustCallMeTarzan
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2/17/2011 11:29:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/16/2011 2:17:01 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
In the Aristotle's argument for God thread, there were attempts to refute it as such.

1. Everything that exists has a cause.
2. Given a causal chain, time must be finite, so there must be a first cause.
C: This first cause is the uncaused cause, God.

And the counter that was given was that asserting an uncaused cause violates the first premise.

However, this counter doesn't hold up to Craigs reformulation.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The Universe began to exist.
3. The Universe has a cause.

How do you guys go about refuting that?

Well since it was my argument that you claim Craig refutes... here goes.

The main problem with his argument is that Premise 2 is an unwarranted assumption, because we simply do not know one way or the other.

Either the Universe began to exist or it didn't. We're concerned with whether or not it actually has a cause, so assuming Premise 2 doesn't really address the question. Here's an analogy...

We want to know if fire is cold or not.

1) If it began to burn, it is cold.
2) Fire began to burn.
3) Therefore, fire is cold.

There's no logical mistake here, but we have a flawed premise. Same for Craig's argument. No logical mistake, but a flawed premise that <em<>happens to make the argument turn out the way he wants.
Cliff.Stamp
Posts: 2,169
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2/17/2011 11:40:15 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/17/2011 11:29:02 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:

The main problem with his argument is that Premise 2 is an unwarranted assumption, because we simply do not know one way or the other.

Note he does not assume it does, he argues that as a separate point, usually through a claim against infinite time.
JustCallMeTarzan
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2/18/2011 11:43:44 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/17/2011 11:40:15 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 2/17/2011 11:29:02 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:


The main problem with his argument is that Premise 2 is an unwarranted assumption, because we simply do not know one way or the other.

Note he does not assume it does, he argues that as a separate point, usually through a claim against infinite time.

Well be that as is may, it still doesn't warrant the leap from "The Universe had a cause" to "The Universe was caused by God." At the end of the day, no cosmological argument can make that leap.
Cliff.Stamp
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2/18/2011 2:11:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 11:43:44 AM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:

Well be that as is may, it still doesn't warrant the leap from "The Universe had a cause" to "The Universe was caused by God." At the end of the day, no cosmological argument can make that leap.

Craig does not argue that can fully quantify all aspects of God, it does not for example in any way imply omnibenevolence or in fact can move beyond deism at all. The only thing he asserts from this argument is that the creator is uncaused and powerful enough to create everything that exists.

He traditionally argues theism and benevolence through witness of the risen Christ and he has about six arguments to assert that Jesus was divine this then is used to assert the Bible is divine scripture. Once he establishes intentional design, this then is used to argue omniscience and omnipotence.
Greyparrot
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2/18/2011 2:53:41 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 2:11:13 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:

Craig does not argue that can fully quantify all aspects of God, it does not for example in any way imply omnibenevolence or in fact can move beyond deism at all. The only thing he asserts from this argument is that the creator is uncaused and powerful enough to create everything that exists.

He traditionally argues theism and benevolence through witness of the risen Christ and he has about six arguments to assert that Jesus was divine this then is used to assert the Bible is divine scripture. Once he establishes intentional design, this then is used to argue omniscience and omnipotence.

Benevolence is not a term universally agreed on is it?
belle
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2/18/2011 2:54:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 2:53:41 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 2/18/2011 2:11:13 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:

Craig does not argue that can fully quantify all aspects of God, it does not for example in any way imply omnibenevolence or in fact can move beyond deism at all. The only thing he asserts from this argument is that the creator is uncaused and powerful enough to create everything that exists.

He traditionally argues theism and benevolence through witness of the risen Christ and he has about six arguments to assert that Jesus was divine this then is used to assert the Bible is divine scripture. Once he establishes intentional design, this then is used to argue omniscience and omnipotence.

Benevolence is not a term universally agreed on is it?

it is to christians... maybe not gnostics lol
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
popculturepooka
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2/18/2011 3:18:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 2:11:13 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
The only thing he asserts from this argument is that the creator is uncaused and powerful enough to create everything that exists.


And powerful, personal, immaterial, and spaceless.
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mattrodstrom
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2/18/2011 3:36:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 3:18:14 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
personal

how's that???
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Cliff.Stamp
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2/18/2011 6:12:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 3:18:14 PM, popculturepooka wrote:

At 2/18/2011 2:11:13 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
The only thing he asserts from this argument is that the creator is uncaused and powerful enough to create everything that exists.


And powerful, personal, immaterial, and spaceless.

I mentioned powerful, and as it is uncaused it can not be physical nor in space - but personal, I have never seen him argue that the fact that God started the universe supported the assertion of theism. He usually argues that from personal witness, Jesus, Bible etc. . Or were you noted that you would argue personal? I have seen you make some intricate arguments, but I can't see how you could pull a Bacon step of two and connect those two events.
Cliff.Stamp
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2/18/2011 6:19:51 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 2:53:41 PM, Greyparrot wrote:

Benevolence is not a term universally agreed on is it?

It just means to do good. Nothing is universally agreed on of course, but the argument becomes circular with Craig's use of it for he will define good as the actions of God as his objective reference.
Cliff.Stamp
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2/18/2011 6:21:03 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 3:18:14 PM, popculturepooka wrote:

And powerful, personal, immaterial, and spaceless.

Popculturepooka, as an aside, how would you rank Craig's presentation of that argument and his general defense?
popculturepooka
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2/18/2011 6:44:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 6:12:33 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 2/18/2011 3:18:14 PM, popculturepooka wrote:

At 2/18/2011 2:11:13 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
The only thing he asserts from this argument is that the creator is uncaused and powerful enough to create everything that exists.


And powerful, personal, immaterial, and spaceless.

I mentioned powerful,

Yeah, sorry. That comes from me not reading carefully enough.

and as it is uncaused it can not be physical nor in space - but personal, I have never seen him argue that the fact that God started the universe supported the assertion of theism. He usually argues that from personal witness, Jesus, Bible etc. . Or were you noted that you would argue personal? I have seen you make some intricate arguments, but I can't see how you could pull a Bacon step of two and connect those two events.

I could make his argument for the cause of the universe being personal, but, presumably, he knows better than me how to explain his own arguments. :P

"In a nutshell, the argument is that, given a tensed theory of time, only personal, free agency can account for the origin of a first temporal effect from a changeless cause. As we have seen, on a tensed theory of time, the universe comes into being at the first moment of its existence. The event of the universe's coming into being cannot be an instance of state–state causation or event–event causation, since the origination of the universe is not a state and the condition of the timeless cause not an event. But neither can it be an instance of state–event causation, for this seems clearly impossible: If the unchanging cause is sufficient for the production of the effect, then the cause should not exist without the effect, that is to say, we should have state–state causation. If the cause is not sufficient for the production of the effect, then some change must take place in the cause to produce the effect, in which we have event–event causation and we must inquire all over again for the cause of the first event. The best way out of this dilemma is agent causation, whereby the agent freely brings about some event in the absence of prior determining conditions."

http://www.leaderu.com...

Naturally, he takes the "agent" in agent causation to be a person.
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popculturepooka
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2/18/2011 6:54:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 3:36:37 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 2/18/2011 3:18:14 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
personal

how's that???

See my post to Cliff.Stamp.
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popculturepooka
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2/18/2011 7:07:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 6:44:54 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 2/18/2011 6:12:33 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 2/18/2011 3:18:14 PM, popculturepooka wrote:

At 2/18/2011 2:11:13 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
The only thing he asserts from this argument is that the creator is uncaused and powerful enough to create everything that exists.


And powerful, personal, immaterial, and spaceless.

I mentioned powerful,

Yeah, sorry. That comes from me not reading carefully enough.

and as it is uncaused it can not be physical nor in space - but personal, I have never seen him argue that the fact that God started the universe supported the assertion of theism. He usually argues that from personal witness, Jesus, Bible etc. . Or were you noted that you would argue personal? I have seen you make some intricate arguments, but I can't see how you could pull a Bacon step of two and connect those two events.

I could make his argument for the cause of the universe being personal, but, presumably, he knows better than me how to explain his own arguments. :P

"In a nutshell, the argument is that, given a tensed theory of time, only personal, free agency can account for the origin of a first temporal effect from a changeless cause. As we have seen, on a tensed theory of time, the universe comes into being at the first moment of its existence. The event of the universe's coming into being cannot be an instance of state–state causation or event–event causation, since the origination of the universe is not a state and the condition of the timeless cause not an event. But neither can it be an instance of state–event causation, for this seems clearly impossible: If the unchanging cause is sufficient for the production of the effect, then the cause should not exist without the effect, that is to say, we should have state–state causation. If the cause is not sufficient for the production of the effect, then some change must take place in the cause to produce the effect, in which we have event–event causation and we must inquire all over again for the cause of the first event. The best way out of this dilemma is agent causation, whereby the agent freely brings about some event in the absence of prior determining conditions."

http://www.leaderu.com...

Naturally, he takes the "agent" in agent causation to be a person.

As an addendum - here's what properties he purports to deduce from doing a conceptual analysis of what it means to be the cause of the universe:

"If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists,who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful."
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Cliff.Stamp
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2/18/2011 9:34:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 6:44:54 PM, popculturepooka wrote:

The best way out of this dilemma is agent causation, whereby the agent freely brings about some event in the absence of prior determining conditions."

There as a misunderstanding, i was using the term personal to mean a God which cared about you, not a God which existed as an free entity. That was the logical jump I could not see being made from deism to theism.

However, in regards to a non-free agent, how come you can not simply have an agent which simply achieves through pure undirected random chance the correct configuration to cause the formation of the universe.
popculturepooka
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2/19/2011 12:16:35 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 2/18/2011 6:21:03 PM, Cliff.Stamp wrote:
At 2/18/2011 3:18:14 PM, popculturepooka wrote:

And powerful, personal, immaterial, and spaceless.

Popculturepooka, as an aside, how would you rank Craig's presentation of that argument and his general defense?

He's a good presenter like always. And I'm convinced that 90 % of his detractors don't make very convincing rebuttals (or don't understand the argument) at all - which is strange considering the fact that he has used the same argument over and over for, like, 30 years.

I think the weak links his arguments are the ones he makes against the possibility of actual infinities. He has to resort to nominalism about abstract objects which is just way too drastic for me!
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BLACK LIVES MATTER!