Fine tuning Intelligent Design

If the universe could only be infinitely old and causeless…

Spread the love

… all kinds of Darwinian flapdoodle might make sense. Or at least Darwinians could stall skeptics more easily. All kinds of other flapdoodle would make sense too. The trouble is, the universe isn’t infinitely old.

Here’s another excerpt from Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell:

Scientific discoveries have put to rest the idea that the universe is infinitely old. With Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the insights and observations provided by Lemaître and Hubble, and the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, along with other evidence, we can reasonably conclude that the universe began to exist. As leading cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin has stated, “With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” And Vilenkin, it’s worth noting, is not religious and has looked for ways to avoid the theistic implications of the Big Bang. To his credit, he has refused to deny the powerful evidence for a cosmic beginning.

Since the two premises of the Kalam cosmological argument are correct, we can safely draw the conclusion: “Therefore, the universe has a cause.”

Robert A. Alston, “Book Excerpt: The Big Bang and the Fine-Tuned Universe” at Evolution News and Science Today

Not popular but correct.

30 Replies to “If the universe could only be infinitely old and causeless…

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    If The Universe Could Only Be Infinitely Old And Causeless…

    You mean, like God?

  2. 2
    ET says:

    seversky is clearly butthurt…

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, the cosmos is a temporal-causal successive order of existence, God would be a necessary being, part of the framework for any cosmos to exist. Category confusion there, reduced to an inadvertently revealing talk-point. There is need to ponder logic of being. KF

  4. 4
    jawa says:

    KF:

    “Category confusion”

    Agree.

    But why do the objecting commenters here confuse categories so often?

    Seriously, I would like to understand why they don’t seem to get it right.

    Any idea?

  5. 5
    daveS says:

    KF,

    There is need to ponder logic of being.

    That essay starts out fairly coherently, but soon degenerates into stuff like:

    [PSR, weak (investigatory) form:] Of any particular thing A that is

    [. . . or (ii) is possible, or even (iii) is impossible],

    we may ask, why it is

    [. . . or (ii’) why it is possible, or (iii’) why it is impossible],

    and we may expect — or at least hope — to find a reasonable answer.

    and bewildering figures with arrows pointing every which way.

    I would challenge you to try and translate this into clearer form, where you write in plain text, with no special markup or diagrams, and no impromptu manipulation of symbols (e.g., “C(W1 – W2) = f1”).

    Edit: I see one of Jawa’s associates posted in the 2018 thread as well.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    Jawa, first, even basic logic is not a routine part of education, at least sufficient to build a serious base. Second, ontology, wider metaphysics, ethics and broader axiology as well as epistemology are not taught, not even at the level of basic worldviews. Then, look no further than a dominant worldview and its cultural agenda: self-refuting, a priori evolutionary materialisstic scientism . . . aka Naturalism . . . and associated radical secularist humanism, leading to systematically wrong plausibility structures. Of course, it is dangerous to be right when a ruthless establishment is wrong. KF

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, First, I linked a fairly simple discussion; you went on to a background discussion. In that background, there are [then built up to bringing up one of ] several specific first principles of reason. Among these, connected to causality, is the principle of sufficient reason. PSR is a major issue in philosophy and I there gave a weak, investigatory form which gets us past a secondary debate: if something is a candidate being, we can ask and examine why. Of course, the clip you gave gives more specific cases. Where, the expression you cite is explained on close neighbour possible worlds and the difference factor causally tied to a contingent being. Last, I doubt that diagrams and symbols intimidate you on your day job. KF

    PS: Here is what you snipped from:

    >> where a contingent entity A would exist in world W1 but would “just” not exist in a closely neighbouring world W2, the difference in circumstances

    C(W1 – W2) = f1

    allows us to confidently identify f1 as among the relevant causal factors that enable A to be.

    Then, we may explore across several neighbouring worlds W2 to Wn, identifying a broader cluster of factors {f1, f2, . . . fn} such that they are each necessary for and are jointly sufficient for A to be.>>

    In short, you cut out of context part of a brief discussion of what causes are.

    PPS: I clip from much later in the discussion:

    >>All of this points onward to a further thorny issue: intelligibility (at least to God! and partly, to us!) of the world.

    That is, some form or other of the principle of sufficient reason. I here put up a weak form sufficient to pursue logic of being:

    [PSR, weak (investigatory) form:] Of any particular thing A that is

    [. . . or (ii) is possible, or even (iii) is impossible],

    we may ask, why it is

    [. . . or (ii’) why it is possible, or (iii’) why it is impossible],

    and we may expect — or at least hope — to find a reasonable answer.

    Of course, for any given case, X, we may simply directly proceed to ask why is X so, or why is X possible or why is X impossible, and seek a reasonable answer. So, the weak form as it stands is unobjectionable. It is also central to science and to the project of being rational, responsible creatures.>>

  8. 8
    FourFaces says:

    Seversky,

    You mean, like God?

    This is actually a perfectly acceptable argument/question by Seversky. Christians and ID supporters should not dodge it with the use of weakly defensive words like ‘transcendental’, ‘eternal’ or ‘category error.’ Even God (Yahweh) doesn’t claim to have always existed (I’m a heretic, I know but I don’t care 😀 ). According to Isaiah, Yahweh calls himself the “ancient of time” and the first to have appeared, which implies that he was once young.

    Reality consists of two opposite/complementary realms. One realm consists of everything that can be neither created nor destroyed: the spiritual realm. The other realm consists of that which can be both created and destroyed: the physical realm. Some spirits can create matter but not vice versa. The spiritual realm contains abstract concepts (beauty, ugliness, order, disorder, etc) and the physical realm contains physical matter.

    Yahweh must have created himself over eons. The self-creation process must have been a long non-stochastic evolution of trial and error. After created bodies and brains (they were many) to think with, it should not have taken them too much longer to achieve an intelligence singularity, so to speak, to the point of reaching the ability to create universes and living organisms.

    I personally prefer a God that created himself and obtained his divine powers through persistent Herculean effort as opposed to a God to whom everything has always been just a walk in the garden.

  9. 9
    David P says:

    “I’m a heretic, I know but I don’t care”
    Is that a tacit admission people have corrected your flawed logic or at least tried to but you refuse to listen?

    “Ancient of times” doesn’t necessarily imply youth. Youth is one of many possible interpretations. Also, what verses say God was the first to have appearED? Do the verses you refer to use past tense? Being the prime mover is a first. That’s doesn’t imply youth either.
    There are many references to the great “I am”. One verse says before Abraham was I am. It’s not unreasonable to interpret that as an assertion of eternal existence.

    “You mean, like God?” is a perfectly reasonable question. With a perfectly reasonable answer. Yes, God is infinitely old and causeless. The universe is not.
    Something infinitely old and causeless necessarily exists in order for anything at all to exist. In order for something finite to exist something infinite must exist. Something without a beginning. Something eternal.
    The universe or something independent of the universe are the only to options. The former has been eliminated, leaving the option of something independent of space, time, and matter. Something infinite, eternal, with unlimited power. What could that be?
    And before someone says something like a higher power or an all spark, this infinite, eternal, limitless power didn’t necessarily have to create a universe. It wasn’t a contingency, it was a choice. It could have gone on forever and ever without creating one atom, yet here we are.

    PS
    “Yahweh must have created himself over eons.”
    Nothing is self-created, that’s illogical. If it exists, it exists and nothing needs to be created. If it doesn’t exist, it has no power to create.
    Assuming a process over eons is putting a god/universe in the same category. God exists independent of time, space, and matter. Eons of time (the universe) is one category. Eternal, no beginning or end is another category.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    FF & DP, the simple clue is, declared eternality even manifest in the covenant name, I AM. Background on logic of being points to necessary being reality root — which directly implies no beginning and no possible end, i.e. strong form eternality as framework to any world existing — and post the 500 witnesses YHWH is the strong horse candidate to be same. KF

  11. 11
    daveS says:

    I gather that eternal does not necessarily imply infinitely old. At least some Christians believe that while God is eternal, He exists outside of time, so the “age” of God does not make sense.

    Edit: Similar to how the age of the number 1 does not make sense.

  12. 12
    FourFaces says:

    DP, since your brand of logic is too weak to accept that being ancient necessarily implies having been young, I will conclude that Yahweh has not yet blessed you with the wisdom required to understand these things. Therefore, I will ignore the rest of your response. Thank you.

    KF, speaking in tongues may be your forte but I prefer straight and simple talk, thank you. We, simple souls, have not been instructed into the language of angelic beings, unfortunately. Forgive us. 😀

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    FF, YHWH is Hebrew, often misrendered Jehovah, more credibly, Yahweh. He answers to both of course, just as to the typical Saxon tied-tongue butchery of Iesous rendering Yeshua. He reads the heart. No unknown tongues there. As for the issues of logic of being and necessary being reality root, that has to do with asking hard basic questions. Turns out, closely tied to systematic theology and gives context for seeing why the key concepts are non-arbitrary. Once we have a responsibly, rationally free inescapably morally governed creature, the IS-OUGHT gap has to be bridged, only possible in the root of reality. There is just one serious candidate: the inherently good, utterly wise creator-God; a necessary and maximally great being. One, worthy of loyalty and of the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good that accords with our manifest nature. And yes, worlds of thought and libraries of careful exploration that is anything but simplistic lurk in that summary. Simple things there are, but that the grand exploration of the root of reality would be a simplistic endeavour is an unrealistic expectation. KF

    PS: One of the cautions of the NT tradition, from Peter’s theological will:

    2 Peter 3:15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

    Food for thought from De Fisherman

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, God is indeed ageless. And how old is the quantity 1 is indeed of the same order, per logic of being. Framework to any world, where reality cannot come from utter non-being. A world is, something — its root always was and never shall cease. KF

  15. 15
    FourFaces says:

    KF,

    Simple things there are, but that the grand exploration of the root of reality would be a simplistic endeavour is an unrealistic expectation.

    LOL. Translation: “I (KF) believe that. at its fundamental level, reality is not simple.”

    First, your style of prose is either a sign of pomposity, some neurological disorder or a way to hide one’s ignorance. Ernest Hemingway is our teacher when it comes to writing readable and unpretentious prose. With few exceptions, not even the French write like you anymore.

    Second, anyone who believes that the fundamental is complex or difficult to understand has ruined whatever argument he or she wishes to offer on that basis.

  16. 16
    Ed George says:

    KF

    Sev, the cosmos is a temporal-causal successive order of existence, God would be a necessary being, part of the framework for any cosmos to exist.

    Why? Claiming that universal causation requires a necessary being simply doesn’t follow and is self contradictory.

    If a necessary being is required, this would mean that universal causation is a law that must have applied before the Big Bang (or, for the pedantic, exists outside our universe). If this is the case, and I am willing to be convinced that it is, then your “necessary being” must also have a cause. Sounds like an infinite regress. The more parsimonious conclusion is that universal causation was not required for the start of the universe.

  17. 17
    ET says:

    Acartia Eddie:

    Claiming that universal causation requires a necessary being simply doesn’t follow and is self contradictory.

    Another “cuz I say-so, so there” argument by Acartia Eddie.

    If a necessary being is required, this would mean that universal causation is a law that must have applied before the Big Bang (or, for the pedantic, exists outside our universe).

    Cuz you say so?

    If this is the case, and I am willing to be convinced that it is, then your “necessary being” must also have a cause.

    And moar childish say-so.

    The more parsimonious conclusion is that universal causation was not required for the start of the universe.

    And that is only because you have the mind of an infant who didn’t get your way.

    You must have been laughed at a lot throughout your life.

  18. 18
    FourFaces says:

    KF,

    Sev, the cosmos is a temporal-causal successive order of existence, God would be a necessary being, part of the framework for any cosmos to exist.

    Replace ‘God’ with the ‘spirit or soul of God’ and I’ll agree. Like humans (Ye are Gods), God has a spiritual soul and a physical body. The only difference is that we are made of ordinary matter (the dust of the earth) whereas God (or angel, demon, etc.) has an incorruptible or immortal physical body, just as we will when we are resurrected into eternal life. Life is a physical thing (we are taught that the life of an animal is in the blood). The spirit is unchanging and thus not alive. Spirits exist and do not change. This goes for the spirit of Yahweh and the spirits of humans.

  19. 19
    David P says:

    FF
    We use finite terms to describe infinite concepts all the time. By your logic infinite numbers can’t be used since the finite terms to describe them impose only finite conclusions.
    In other words, applying a finite description like “ancient of days” to something known to be infinite by other factors, does not necessarily warrant your conclusion of youth. Ancient of days can only mean youth,…gotcha! Nope, that is weak. What do the majority of descriptions imply?

    If there’s some weak logic in my post it would be a simple matter to ferret it out. Only someone with no substantial argument would use an ad hominem excuse to not address any flawed logic within the rest of my post.

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, we have been down this line repeatedly. Were there ever utter non-being (true nothing), such would forever obtain and no world would be. That a world is points to an adequate root of its temporal-causal order. Infinite past of “years” — for rough short — simply cannot be traversed in successive steps. A future state reaching back to retro-actively cause is a version on something from nothing. So, we have a finitely remote root. That root is independent of external cause, i.e. is necessary as to being. In a world with morally governed creatures, the root needs to be inherently good so utterly wise and of course powerful enough to cause a world. There is one serious candidate. KF

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    FF, are you aware that ontology and metaphysics are branches of Philosophy, the discipline of hard questions? That these are the issues at stake? KF

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    DP, the order type of the naturals, w is a transfinite: {0,1,2 . . . } –> w. Then, much more. KF

  23. 23
    Ed George says:

    KF

    Were there ever utter non-being (true nothing), such would forever obtain and no world would be.

    That is speculation. But regardless, I am not suggesting that there was ever true “nothing”. Just that if our universe came into being, as even your Bible claims, that whatever existed before did not necessarily follow the laws that bind our universe, including universal causation. And if it did, then the “necessary being” you so fondly speak of (aka God) must also have been bound by that law.

  24. 24
    FourFaces says:

    I’ve said everything I needed to say in this discussion. In the meantime, America burns and we all know who’s behind it all: the true racial supremacists who have been plotting against, manipulating and subverting western countries for over a century. We’ll see how it all works out for y’all.

  25. 25
    Ed George says:

    Yes, the true racial supremacist is the one who claims a global conspiracy and blames it on a group of people simply because of their religious belief and ancestry.

  26. 26
    ET says:

    Acartia Eddie admits atheism is a religion. That’s a start.

  27. 27
    FourFaces says:

    EG,

    Man, you don’t scare me with your lies and deception. I’m used to it. Jesus Christ, the Jew and descendant of King David that I worship as my God and savior, once spoke to the Pharisees (renown virtue signalers of the time) thus:

    You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

    We could all be friends, you know. But we’re keeping an eye on you because we don’t trust liars and deceivers. 😀

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    EG,

    I see your, “That is speculation.”

    Really? Do you understand what a true nothing is? As in non-being? That is, not space-time, matter energy, quantum vacuum, abstract number, thought, mind, or any THING, physical, concrete, abstract, etc? Such cannot even exert the force of logic of being where distinct identity can lead to consequences for actual beings. It is about absence of being. Such cannot exert causal force. The only thing that it is subject to is the force of logic.

    Were there ever nothing, there would be no capability to form a world.

    That is why we may freely conclude that were the case that utter nothing obtained, no world would ever be.

    Now, we may further freely conclude that the term “speculation” is a loaded word substitute for philosophical, logic driven analysis. Sad to know that you are reduced to such dismissiveness regarding the first principles and duties of reason you are simultaneously, inescapably, forced to appeal to to try to persuade us..

    And, that you are forced to try a hyperskeptical dismissal of this point is itself a strong sign of how you are being forced to try to imagine a world popping up from a non-existent hat. That is what atheistical materialism and its fellow traveller ideologies are forced to.

    Next, no-one has claimed that the root of reality is constrained by the laws of this cosmos. Indeed, the issue of cosmological fine tuning and the speculation on multiverse models is indicative. Speculation, here, being used in its proper sense. For, there is no serious observational evidence of other universes.

    What is claimed is that there are certain points of logic, mathematics and being that obtain in any possible distinct world. They follow from simply the requisites of distinct identity. Which is so inescapable a first principle that you cannot compose a comment without appealing to it implicitly. A is A, i/l/o its distinct characteristics which mark it apart from whatever is or possibly is that is not A. As close corollaries, ~ (A AND ~A) and on distinct identity, A X-OR ~A.

    Your oh we can set aside causation, so there, fails for a similar reason. Causation is a trans-world, logic of being principle. Consider two possible, closely neighbouring but distinct worlds W and W’, where some A is in W but NOT in W’, where we may compare W and W’ as say C(W-W’) –> f, a factor in W that is identifiable as an enabling factor in W for A to be, a causal factor. We may similarly run a range of others, characterising causal factors for A. This is the sort of analysis that identifies factors causative of a fire, first a particular fire then fire in general.

    In any case, we readily see that we are going across a span of possible worlds.

    And, but of course, God is bound by logic of being. He cannot be such that in him are materially contradictory core characteristics. What of course you are trying to slip in by subtle rhetorical invitation is the idea that everything is caused. That is not so, manifestly not so. There is no possible world in which duality, two-ness either began to exist or may cease from existing. The quantity two is a framework factor for any distinct world to exist, it is a necessary being. It has eternal character.

    Which as you full well know but wished to evade by setting up a strawman caricature of universal causation, is precisely what is being asserted about God. That is, he is a world framework, world enabling eternal being.

    What is being implied, is that of any actual or candidate being or non-being A, we may freely ask, and seek an answer to why it is or is not in this or any other possible world. Which, we fulfill by reasoning on the logic of being pivoting on distinct identity. Such a weak form principle of sufficient reason does not impose a metaphysical doctrine, it is a declaration of right to freely inquire and hope for solid answers. Inquiry, can only be escaped by silence and refusal to think. Which is irrelevant.

    The rhetorical and metaphysics resorts you are reduced to are telling us by concrete example just how weak the atheistical case and those of its fellow travellers are.

    KF

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    FF, kindly, knock off needless racialist speculation. KF

    PS: Actually, America does not burn, you are facing street theatre agit prop operations exploiting the pain of an underclass with a history of oppression, then media amplified to try to shape public opinion and election outcomes. The strategy at work is the familiar one of promising liberation through radical uprising; only, the history since 1789 should warn anyone that the predictable outcome is worse. The proper answer is to acknowledge the right of protest but insist that the notion that property expressed in business is theft justifying lawless mob arson and looting is anarchy and terroristic. That is, I am pointing to cultural marxist subversion. Firm enforcement of just law, then going after the obvious chain of evidence pointing to organisers who need to face the full grim force of law. Which BTW includes facing the consequences of defamation and corrupting law enforcement into secret police, Gestapo, NKVD targetting of innocent people for ruin. It will be readily seen that relevant agit prop operators and ideologues do not come from any one ethnicity.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: USA Today is taking note. KF

Leave a Reply