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Refutation of kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God

This is a refutation of the kalam cosmological argument based on common objections, written and presented according to my understanding and logic. I invite anyone to discuss and criticize my post.

**The Kalam cosmological arguments premises**

From Wikipedia:

“The most prominent form of the argument, as defended by William Lane Craig, states the Kalam cosmological argument as the following syllogism


1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Given the conclusion, Craig appends a further premise and conclusion based upon a philosophical analysis of the properties of the cause of the universe:


1. If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists who *sans (without)* the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and enormously powerful.
2. Therefore, an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who *sans* the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and enormously powerful. ”


## Quantum physics

The first premise may convince the reader on the supposedly observable empirical evidence that things *begin to exist.­* That is, we can observe things apparently beginning to exist including life such as ourselves, etc.

However, the law of conservation of energy states:

“the total [energy]( of any [isolated system]( (for which energy and matter transfer through the system boundary are not possible) is constant; energy can be transformed from one form to another, but can be neither created nor destroyed.

In reality, on a quantum scale, the composition of all things that will ‘begin to exist’ *already exists* today, regressing to the matter present during the big bang. For instance, you are simply a unique arrangement of material that predates your birth and not something that beings to exist. We can take the analogy of a building:

We mix carbon and iron at very high temperatures, which forms steel. This is then moulded into steel beams, which is then assembled into a building. The building now ‘exists’ but the raw materials forming it already existed and were only manipulated to produce the building.

Obviously, buildings are much more complex and use more than just one material, but this is just for understanding purposes.

Therefore, there is no empirical basis for the premise that anything begins to exist, until we regress to the absolute beginning of everything, of which we can only guess at. Rather on the contrary, empirically we can see that everything already exists and not that it begins to exist.

## Causality

Furthermore, we can observe that every cause acts on existing material. There is no such thing as a cause bringing something into existence, that did not already exist in some form, as cause and effect are only applicable to things that already exist. In other words, we cannot apply the law of causality between an existing thing and a non-existing thing.

For example, fire is caused by oxygen + heat + fuel, all of which already exist. There is no example of something that exists causing the existence of something that does not exist. The cause acts on something that exists, to form something unique that already exists in a different configuration of particles. As such, the deductive argument fails, since we cannot assert that the universe must have been caused if it began to exist, based on any empirical evidence, but rather only by extrapolating causality laws to non-existing things, which is illogical.

## If infinite regression is illogical, why does it have to stop at God and not a natural explanation?

I already made a post about this a while ago but to rephrase: Why can we not end the regression at a natural explanation? The argument exempts God from the rule of causality since he did not have a beginning. However, we have already demonstrated how premise 1 is false, therefore invalidating premise 3. Premise 2 is not demonstratable in any way. Even if we grant all the premises, it does not follow that the cause has to be a highly intelligent, powerful, and capable being. For example, we evolved from minimalistic means with unicellular organisms branching to highly complex multicellular organisms. Thus, there is no basis that anything complex must be derived from an extremely sophisticated origin. Now, to propose classical theism to resolve this by saying God has no parts ad by separating his attributes from his essence to explain divine simplicity, in my opinion, is a cop-out. In essence, it shows that God is a concept that can be bent to whatever an individual would like it to be, and it will be unfalsifiable.

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Mary Johnson
Mary Johnson
I have been reading and writing for over 20 years. My passion is reading and I would like to someday write a novel. I enjoy exercise and shopping.


  1. Yes, we can only guess at the origin of the absolute beginning of everything (and I am not presuming that is the Big Bang, which is merely the beginning of the current iteration of existence from particles that may have existed from universes before). Quantum physics is still built upon the mechanics of particles that already existed in this space-time configuration. Before that, models are all equally (i.e. totally) speculative, which is why to a theist the Prime Mover hypothesis seems most probabilistic of all possibilities for how even the first particles and the fundamental interactions originated. While the Prime Mover can not be proven empirically, the necessity of such a force seems to be able to be deduced from the observation that something can not originate naturalistically from nothing.

    Scientific theory deduces concepts that must exist without evidence based on necessity all the time, and then reverse engineers experiments to attempt to prove their existence. The Higgs boson is a perfect example. Other concepts remain purely theoretical hypotheses in the absence of the logistical ability to test such concepts.

    So why can’t the Prime Mover be purely naturalistic in cause? While I agree it could very well be, naturalistic, spontaneous origination of elementary particles should be verifiable within the scope of nature and science. Since such a thing has not been demonstrated, it leads one beyond naturalistic conclusions into the metaphysical that may not be able to be empirically demonstrated.

    As for “a highly intelligent, powerful, and capable being” I think one is writing personal traits into anything powerful and capable enough to create all of existence, and the level and mysteries of design baffles and awes even the greatest scientific minds known to have existed. I am not entirely sure I am willing to presume a personal God, but I can understand why many theists presume such power and intelligence from the evidence of creation.

  2. I mean the clear issue with the argument is that neither premise is demonstrably true. We have no evidence at all that the universe has a cause, that’s just an assertion, if we cannot prove a cause of the universe then we cannot conclude that everything has a cause. We also cannot make conclusions about if and when the cosmos began to exist with 100% certainty because we simply lack sufficient knowledge about the cosmos.

  3. Regarding your first point this is essentially mereological nihilism. The problem is either I exist or I don’t. If I exist that existence either has a beginning or it doesn’t. This gives 3 mutually exclusive and exhaustive options.

    1. I don’t exist

    2. I exist but didn’t begin to exist

    3. I exist and began to exist

    You insist on one being true. I have far more reason to think I exist and that existence began at my birth than thinking I don’t exist. Sure the materials that make me up predate my existence but I nevertheless exist since my birth.

    If I have to doubt something as basic and fundamental as my existence since my birth then you need to present a good error theory otherwise I’d loose reason to trust any of my thinking and so couldn’t accept your argument. An error theory is basically an explanation for how someone could still trust their rationality despite being wrong about something that seemed incredibly obvious or widely accepted.

    For example at one point it was widely accepted that the earth was the center of the solar system. Everyone, even the experts for so long were completely wrong about that fact which seemed so obviously true to them. Even after Galileo presented his theory scientist went out to test his theory and still thought Galileo was wrong. However, despite them being ultimately wrong we can present an error theory to explain why they were rational so that their being wrong doesn’t give reason to doubt their rational thinking.

    First from their perspective it seemed as if the earth was the center of the solar system. They didn’t feel the earth moving and the sun and stars looked as if they were moving in the sky. Even when Galileo’s theory the problem wasn’t in their thinking but their limited quality telescopes. Telescopes were pretty new and not great quality yet. As a result they couldn’t properly find what Galileo’s theory predicted they should find. That meant either starts we’re far bigger and farther than everyone imagined so that their telescopes couldn’t properly detect what they were looking for or the earth was the center of the solar system. The first option had no other evidence at the time and seemed outlandish so was deemed less probable than option 2 even though it was ultimately right. Overall the problem wasn’t with their rationality but their available evidence. You’d need to present a similar error theory to explain how people can be so wrong about believing they exist and began existence at their birth.

    This point is also a strawman since Craig clearly defines what he means by begins to exist in his work. By using your understanding rather than his you aren’t challenging the argument as he presents it.

    Regarding your second point it’s a black swan fallacy.

    Regarding your 3rd point it rests on your claim that premise 2 is not demonstrable for if it is then the first cause will be beyond the universe. However you just made that assertion without interacting with any of the evidence given for the premise.

    To sum up for one you need a good error theory and it’s a strawman. Two is a black swan fallacy. Three ignores the evidence Craig presents for P2 by just asserting P2 is not demsonstratable. While I personally agree the Kalam has its problems the critiques you’ve presented here aren’t among those problems.

  4. Causality need not be accepted in the first place. You can’t derive causation from correlation. All we see is correlation. You cannot observe causation anywhere. So it’s possible that causality is just an illusion. Non-causality can give rise to causal patterns, this is not a problem. So the simplest explanation is that causality isn’t real and that asking why the universe exists is nonsensical. Take away unnecessary and unproven assumptions and you take away philosophical problems.

  5. If you believe that a building is not a thing that started existing, that no thing began to exist ither than the universe, then I do not think we agree on what a thing is. You’re basically saying there is no thing other than everything. You are saying that composite things do not exist. You’re saying that there are no real things with proper parts, rather, only simples or energy, those fundamental things without any proper parts, are the only things that really exist.

    If there are no composite objects, how can we make sense of our ordinary understanding of reality which accepts the existence of composite objects? Are we all deceived? A simple phrase like “there is a table” would be meaningless. When chemical reactions take place, whatever happens, is not actually a real thing, an effect caused by something? Are you willing to deny your perception, abandon your humanity, and adopt such a radical ontology just to reject the obvious and necessary existence of God?

  6. I reject apologetic arguments, but I’ll play the devil’s advocate here.

    In response to your last question, the apologist will say that God is a better explanation than a naturalistic explanation. For example, if we “grant all the premises”, that is, if we grant that the physical world had a caused beginning, then doesn’t it follow that the non-physical is the only possible cause? After all, we already granted that the physical had an absolute beginning.

    One could say that “non-physical” is not equivalent to “God.” It seems possible that the physical cause is inanimate. In response, Kalam proponents would argue that the cause also had to have free will (they would say that’s because an inanimate object couldn’t stay there frozen outside of time and then suddenly, without any reason, become temporal). But that’s getting dangerously close to traditional Christian theism, no?

    Here, the apologist could make an argument based on inference to the best explanation, and say that theism predicted the existence of such a cause, while naturalism (or any existent view that did not posit God) did not. So, it is more likely on theism than on alternative views.

    From this, the apologist would argue Christianity is the best choice, as other views are (allegedly) incoherent or contradictory, while Christianity is coherent and also supported by independent evidence (namely, the resurrection of Jesus).

    I’m not convinced by this popular apologetic argument, but I’m pointing out that apologists have responses to all of your concerns.

  7. A major flaw that theists using the WLC variant of the Kalam either fail or refuse to understand or disingenuously ignore is that there is no compelling evidence that the universe began to exist.

    The “Time Zero” singularity predicted by Big Bang Theories was known to be seriously problematic from the day the theory was proposed. Big Bang is dependent on General Relativity and physicists have always knows that GR breaks down as it approaches the very Time Zero the theory predicts. The universe would behave as a quantum system as it approached the early universe predicted by GR, in which case spacetime would be discontinuous and not smooth as required for GR to operate making the GR predictions useless.

    We need quantum models to describe operations of the universe in what appears to be its far past and no theories have been well developed to date. Those that are best established so far do not predict a “Time Zero”, i.e. they do not predict “a beginning”.

    But, theists need a beginning for the Kalam, so they keep trotting out a misunderstanding of Big Bang Theory even after being educated on its failure to be evidence for what they want it to be evidence for. They’re like passengers clinging to the railing of what they thought was an unsinkable ship as it drags them below the water.

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