Posts tagged ‘William Lane Craig’

December 10th, 2012

Q&A 1: Kalam and The Flying Spaghetti Monster

by Max Andrews

Hey Max,

I guess since I requested the Q&A section, I’ll start it off!

I recently had a conversation with an atheist in which I walked him through the Kalam Cosmological Argument. This inevitably led into a conversation about what criteria a “first cause” must meet. It was difficult for me to explain, and for him to understand how God exists as a necessary being, or out of His own nature.

The atheist resorted to a version of  “Flying Spaghetti Monster” argumentation, in which he said, “How do we know that the first cause wasn’t a giant pink unicorn, or that two universes didn’t just mate and form ours?”. For obvious reasons, his argument is absurd. But what’s the best way to explain the concept of the first cause, and why it couldn’t be a “giant pink unicorn”?

Thanks a lot,

Richie Worrell (USA)

Richie,

I’m always amazed at some of the philosophical lunacy some atheists come up with. The mockery of using phrases like “flying spaghetti monster” or a “giant pink unicorn” weren’t originally developed in response to the kalam. They were developed in response to intelligent design suggesting the designer could be a spaghetti monster. I recall Dawkins using it several times and it has gained popularity in response to the ontological argument.

Nonetheless, let’s accept his flying pasta, pink unicorn, and sexual universes for the sake of discussion. Let’s recap the the kalam argument:

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
    read more »

September 24th, 2012

Catching William Lane Craig’s Intelligent Design Error

by Max Andrews

I was listening to William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith podcast on Sean Carroll on Science and God Part 1 this morning as I was walking from the parking lot into my office at University today, and I was quite surprised to hear a generalization Dr. Craig made concerning intelligent design.

Dr. Craig discusses how no models of the universe involve God. (This discussion begins around the 7 minute mark.) I think he’s correct in that we don’t have a physical theory of the universe that uses God as an entity in its explanation. For instance, you’ll find no entity in the standard model of particle physics that denotes God. However, Craig says that you do find this in the proponents of intelligent design theory “who want to postulate God as an entity in a scientific theory–that God would be like a quark, or a black hole, or a quantum field. He would be a theoretical entity postulated in a scientific theory.”

I have no doubt that there are intelligent design proponents, i.e. [young earth] creationists, who do this, but importing creationism into intelligent design theory strips ID for what it actually says.

August 3rd, 2012

The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom Contra William Hasker

by Max Andrews

William Hasker is deeply committed to the position that man holds some level of libertarian freedom.  In his section on “Freedom, Necessity, and God,” Hasker takes the libertarian to task by challenging him with free will’s compatibility with divine foreknowledge.[1]  Hasker proposes an argument suggesting that divine foreknowledge is just as inconsistent with free will as predestination.[2]  Consider his argument:

1.  It is now true that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Assumption)
2.  It is impossible that God should at any time believe anything false or fail to believe anything which is true (Assumption:  divine omniscience)
3.  Therefore God has always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Inference from 1 and 2)
4.  If God has always believed a certain thing, it is not in my power to bring it about that God has not always believed that thing.  (Assumption: the inalterability of the past)
5.  Therefore it is not in my power to bring it about that God has not always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Inference from 3 and 4)
6.  It is not possible for it to be true both that God has always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow, and that I do not in fact have one.  (Inference from 2)
7.  Therefore it is not in my power to refrain from having a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Inference from 5 and 6) So I do not have free will with respect to the decision whether or not to eat an omelet.[3]

July 10th, 2012

“See to it that No One Takes You Captive through Philosophy”

by Max Andrews

What ought Christians do with philosophy?  Isn’t this contrary to theology and explicitly warned of in the Bible? This is particularly poignant in the letter to the Colossians 2.8.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementry principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

βλεπετε μη τις υμας εσται ο συλαγωγων δια της φιλοσοφιας και κενης απατης κατα την παραδοσιν των ανθρωπων κατα τα στοιχεια του κοσμου και ου κατα χριστον

Now, of course, for a better and full exegesis be sure to grasp the whole context of the letter.  Paul is warning the Christians in Colossae of philosophy and being distracted by and importing inappropriate concepts into their Christian beliefs. The first key word to focus on here is φιλοσοφιας (root: φιλοσοφια), which is the Greek word for philosophy here.  Philosophy literally means the love of wisdom.  In this passage the word is used either of zeal for or skill in any art or science, any branch of knowledge. Used once in the NT of the theology, or rather theosophy, of certain Jewish Christian ascetics, which busied themselves with refined and speculative enquiries into the nature and classes of angels, into the ritual of the Mosaic law and the regulations of Jewish tradition respecting practical life.

The Death of Socrates

This type of philosophy Paul is referring to is of a vain folly.  Paul uses the word ‘empty,’ κενης (root: kenos), to explain what he means. This type of philosophy is that which is empty and devoid of truth–it contains nothing. Compare this passage to Col. 2.23,

These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

Ephesians 5.6,

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

and 1 Tim. 6.20:

O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge.”

So what does this mean? This means we need to have a philosophy according to Christ.  Our knowledge, metaphysics, and axiology must be conformed with Christ.  It’s impossible to be anti-philosophy.  Everyone has a philosophy. How do you know what you know? That’s epistemology, a branch of philosophy. What is God and what is reality? That’s a metaphysical question, which is philosophy.  What is right and wrong? What is beautiful and what isn’t? Again, these are axiological questions—philosophy. The Bible isn’t telling us to not be philosophical; rather, it’s telling us to have the right philosophy and worldview. In the words of Christian philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig, “The man who says he has no need for philosophy is the man who is most likely to be deceived by it.”

July 8th, 2012

Chuck Norris Endorses William Lane Craig and Lee Strobel

by Max Andrews

Reblogged from Chuck Norris.

[F]or too many years I was in rebellion to God.  Now I’m a rebel with a cause for God and for grass-roots America.

I no longer fit the mold.  I’m not a liberal actor from Hollywood.  I’m not politically correct, in my opinions or my practice.  And though I’m concerned with what people think, I will not compromise the truth in any form to cater to others, even with religion and politics.

Those who would merely brand me on ”the right” are oversimplifying and running from the real issue.  I’m not the issue!  None of us are.  Jesus is, especially during Christmas.

And the question He asked the people of His day still needs to be answered by those in ours: ”Who do people say that I am?”

July 5th, 2012

Why Deductive Fine-Tuning Arguments are Weak

by Max Andrews

In a correct deductive argument if the premises are true the conclusion is true regardless of whether or not further evidence is considered.  There must be a reasonable connection or relationship between the conditions in a deductive argument (in the instance of implication).  Consider the argument, as modus ponens, that if the moon’s core is made of cheese then my desk is made out of mahogany.  What relationship do these two conditions have?  The truth-value is valid (F-T-T).  However, I recognize that this is merely a preference, which is, at times, convenient.  When making a novel explanans and prediction the relationship between the conditions may not be epistemically evident.

There are generally three options, which are often considered as an explanation for the fine-tuning data: chance, necessity, a combination of chance and necessity,[1] or a fine-tuner.  One immediate problem in implementing explanatory options in a deductive manner is that the first premise may be false wherein it may be lacking in options and the argument still is valid.  When these options are used in a [strict] deductive argument[2] it may appear as:

  1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
  2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
  3. Therefore, it is due to design.[3]
    read more »

June 18th, 2012

A Fourth Exception to the BVG Theorem

by Max Andrews

The Borde-Vilenkin-Guth Theorem states that any universe, which has, on average, a rate of expansion greater 1 that system had to have a finite beginning. This would apply in any multiverse scenario as well.  There are four exceptions to the theorem.*

Time reversal at singularity

Example: Aguirre-Gratton

(Regarding BVG): The Intuitive reason why de Sitter inflation cannot be past eternal is that in the full de Sitter space, exponential expansion is preceded by exponential contraction.  Such a contracting phase is not part of standard inflationary models, and does not appear to be consistent with the physics of inflation.  If thermalized regions were able to form all the way to past infinity in the contracting spacetime, the whole universe would have been thermalized before inflationary expansion could begin.  In our analysis we will exclude the possibility of such a contracting phase by considering spacetimes for which the past region obeys an averaged expansion condition, by which we mean that the average expansion rate in the past is greater than zero: Havg > 0. (Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin 2003, p1)

June 15th, 2012

A Third Exception to the BVG Theorem

by Max Andrews

The Borde-Vilenkin-Guth Theorem states that any universe, which has, on average, a rate of expansion greater 1 that system had to have a finite beginning. This would apply in any multiverse scenario as well.  There are four exceptions to the theorem.*

For a greater context please see the first exception to the BVG theorem, which is Initial Contraction (Havg<0).

The third exception: Infinite Cyclicity (Havg=0)

Example: Baum-Frampton “phantom bounce”

These models suggest that the universe goes through a cycle in which it grows from zero (or non-zero) size to a maximum and then contracts back to its starting condition.  The average expansion rate would be a pure zero.

June 14th, 2012

A Second Exception to the BVG Theorem

by Max Andrews

The Borde-Vilenkin-Guth Theorem states that any universe, which has, on average, a rate of expansion greater 1 that system had to have a finite beginning. This would apply in any multiverse scenario as well.  There are four exceptions to the theorem.*

For a greater context please see the first exception to the BVG theorem, which is Initial Contraction (Havg<0).

The second exception: Asymptotically static (Havg=O)

Example: asymptotically static universe is an emergent model class.

An asymptotically static space is one in which the average expansion rate of the universe over its history is equal to zero, since the expansion rate of the universe “at” infinity is zero.  The problem is that we observe expansion today and if at any moment there is expansion then the Havg must be greater than 0.

June 13th, 2012

Where the Conflict Really Lies between Alvin Plantinga, Jay Richards, and William Lane Craig

by Max Andrews

For a greater context and understanding of the current discussion please be sure to read Alvin Plantinga’s most recent book, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism. It was published in December of 2009 but I qualified for an early release, I don’t know how, and received my copy November 1st of that year.  I finished reading it within a week.

Within the last week or so there has been a lot of discussion between Plantinga, Jay Richards, and William Lane Craig.  I recently did a post sharing Plantinga’s response to Jay Richards. The heart of the conflict is defining the terms, primarily ‘Darwinism.’  I don’t really disagree with what everyone is saying on their own terms but I would agree with Jay, that Plantinga and Craig are not using Darwinism in the correct sense.  Plantinga uses the randomness in Darwinism, in a theistic context, to me compatible with guidance.

Jay also sent a Question of the Week to Craig concerning the same thing.  Be sure to read Jay’s full question but here’s Craig’s response:

Thanks for these trenchant comments, Jay! Lest distressed readers miss the forest for the trees, we agree on the central point: that insofar as a person claims that the evidence of evolutionary biology has shown that the evolutionary process, based as it is on genetic mutations and natural selection, is undirected, purposeless, or non-teleological, he is making a claim that hopelessly outstrips the scientific evidence and so is unjustified.