Thursday, December 20, 2012


I've been asking theists which argument for God they find most compelling. So far, the Kalam Cosmological Argument is leading the pack. I find this sad. I've already said why, then I said why again, but I'll try a different way of looking at it today.

Again, here is their argument.
  1. Everything that has a beginning has a cause.
  2. The universe had a beginning.
  3. Therefore the universe had a cause.
Maybe apologists just like arguments formulated as obvious sylogisms. That's fine. Here's one.
  1. Everything that exists is finite.
  2. The universe exists.
  3. Therefore the universe is finite.
From this argument we can conclude that God, defined as an eternal being, doesn't exist.

Admittedly, this argument has a few problems. Apologist Glenn helped me hash them out in the comments of his blog. I'll post what is relevant, but you're welcome to view the original exchange here.
  • The premise 1 is not demonstrated. You would have to show that it is true that everything in existence is indeed finite. One of the main points we are trying to demonstrate is whether or not all things are indeed finite, and this sylogism assumes it from the start.
  • If this sylogism is trying to be used to conclude that an eternal creator cannot exist, then the conclusion is assumed in premise 1, and is therefore circular. It would then be saying, ’1: Everything in existence is finite, therefore a non-finite does not exist.’ A tautology at best.
  • The conclusion 3 does not contain the conclusion that an uncaused effect can happen, nor that an infinite string of causes is possible, or that a creator cannot exist. 3 merely says that whatever is assumed in “universe” in 1 is finite.
  • This sylogism does not negate the fact that everything that has a beginning is caused. Even if we call it valid, it merely concludes that the universe is finite, not that a finite thing does not need a cause.
Smart guy, Glenn, he just doesn't apply his keen mind to arguments he agrees with. His first and second points can be applied almost word-for-word to the Kalam. “Everything that has a beginning has a cause” is an assumption, exactly as “everything in existence is finite.” They are both somewhat justified assumptions. They are both generalizations taken from what we know about reality and applied to what we don’t know. How is “everything in existence is finite” any less demonstrated than “everything that has a beginning has a cause?”

Glenn's third and fourth points are valid, but my sylogism doesn't set out to disprove a creator or the Kalam, only an eternal creator, which it does. If God is not eternal, then he needs a cause according to the Kalam Argument. Either both arguments both work here or (as I show below) neither do.

The law of conservation of energy shows something is not finite. If energy cannot be created nor destroyed within a closed system, that implies it is eternal within the closed system. This only tells us that individual quantum particles could be eternal, while the chemistry or biology or whatever they eventually form can't be. I've already discussed how quantum mechanics breaks the classical logic that both these sylogisms really on. The second problem is that eternal in this case can only be defined as lasting as long as the universe. The law of conservation of energy only works for closed systems, in this case that's the universe. Just as causality only works in relation to our perception of time, this law only works in relation to a predefined space. Before the Big Bang, there is no time or space, so both arguments are void.

Thanks for reading, I wish you all a happy and healthy armageddon. I'll see you in hell.

...or more likely in a couple days.


  1. I am very much liking this apologetics busting theme you are on. Great job once again. The thing that always gets me regarding the Kalam, is that principle 1 is logically fallacious. It is both an argument from special pleading and/or an argument from exception.

    Whenever someone starts this conversation with me, we almost never get to points 2 and beyond. Unless they can inform me why their god is the one thing that does not need a beginning or a cause the conversation if pretty much over. To make it more complicated, they would also need to explain how it is they know this is true, which is just as close to impossible as the first question.

    A third problem with these types of arguments are that they bring the theist no closer to proving their specific god. Let's say, for the sake of argument, I allow the existence of a creator god (which I clearly would not do). What do we have? We would have some abstract being that is outside of space and time. It is a tremendously long way to go from that concept to say...Yahweh. As far as I am concerned, they have more or less argued their own god out of existence and do not even realize that (Yahweh clearly exists within space and time).

  2. Well said, sir. And a happy Armageddon to you to!

  3. I like Thunderf00t's example, which showed the problem with using syllogisms to prove things:

    1. Applying force to an object in motion causes it to accelerate

    2. A can of spam is an object

    3. Therefore, applying force to a can of spam traveling at the speed of light will cause it to accelerate

    There you have it – special relativity instantly disproved by a syllogism! Silly physicists....

  4. Yeah, reality has a way of thwarting our intution at times. The light speed limit is a good example.

  5. These types of arguments are only meant to show a god, not the God. They have another set of arguments of flawed arguments that lead to Yahweh or Jeovah or Allah or whoever.