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In Defense of Natural Theology 7: Hume and the Kalam Cosmological Argument

08/31/2011

This chapter tries to defend the Kalam argument specifically against Hume’s arguments. Long, and a lot is beyond me, but I can focus on the leap from first cause to agency, or the explanation of an eternal cause, when an effect is not there.

They try to overcome the objection that they cannot account for the cause of the universe using an eternal God, because if that is true, the cause would always exist, and therefore the effect would always exist. Therefore the Kalam wouldn’t work because the universe has no beginning.

They refer to a Muslim philosopher who says that if we were given the choice between two identical dates, we would choose one based upon nothing. The choice would simply come from nowhere, and it would have to since there would be no difference. In addition, another philosopher states that he gets up in the morning at some point, and he has no reason to do so at that point as opposed to another. If we work that way, can’t God?

With the date example, even if both are equidistant from the hand, one is one the right, the other on the left. This is a difference that could account for the choice of one or the other, even if it is subconscious or unknown. It’s simply untrue that they are identical choices. If they were, they would be the same choice.

I’m wondering if we acknowledge they are identical, does this solve the choice problem?

On the second example of getting up, just because the reasons are not observable by the agent, that doesn’t mean that they came from nowhere. Modern neuroscience, in particular the experiment about the person choosing to move his hand, shows that there’s a flurry of neurological activity that precedes a choice. This would also be evidence against the date example, right? Or could a person just say that the neurological effects are the result of something random? How do you distinguish between the two? Occam’s razor?

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