Doubt in Both Directions

two-way-streetIt continues to surprise me that the objections I found most puzzling about the Kalam Cosmological Argument never seem to be those raised, either in debate or in internet discussions.

One of these is the concept of the timeless cause. I’ve never had a specific argument that establishes that causes can’t be timeless, but this does seem to be suspect enough that I wanted to read on the matter. Certainly, I’ve always pictured causation as an inherently temporal process.

Of course, I was open to the idea that causes can be simultaneous with their effects. At least, it strikes me as far more plausible than the idea that things should come into existence without a cause.

Similarly, I wondered at the concept that something could have an efficient cause (the immediate cause) without being a material cause. This is a great question, of course, but struck me as less plausible than the idea that something should have neither an efficient nor a material cause.

And this is where I kept coming back. Such questions were often very challenging until I realized that they were at least as challenging to the alternatives on offer as they were to a transcendental cause.

What I realized is that these are questions for further study, not reasons to adopt a different view. That is, if we are interested in advancing knowledge (as yesterday’s objection suggested), we need to look at the most viable options, then answer these kinds of questions about it. Halting all inquiry on the grounds that we can raise questions about an idea is what strikes me as hindering the advance of knowledge.

That being the case, I came realize that, so long as I didn’t assume that my inability to picture a thing (such as a timeless cause) was not a reason to think it non-existent, these weren’t objections to the argument. Rather they were areas where our understanding could be advanced still further.

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2 responses to “Doubt in Both Directions

  • katachriston

    Sorry, not 100% related to your central pont but relevant nonethless. Your detractors will be all over this. So what? When they come up out of their mother’s basement and start dealing with real life, theyll have to awaken at some point and grapple with something substantive beyond their populat “theories” and speculations.

    Something incredible, both historically and ontologically occurred on that cross so many years ago. That can hardly be refuted on many levels apologetically speaking.

    And though we may not be able to “connect the dots”in precision, somehow it is all related. Otherwise life and existence are truly meaningless and we may as well just pack it up. Like Bill Nye says “just take the pill”. There’s not much room “in between.” Vital Christianity or Nihilism.

    At least it’s a good launch pad for faith, while the necessity of Nihilism as an alternative offers a pretty effective antidote.

    Especially when life crumbles around you and circumstances start demanding answers. Hope? Or the meltdown of society?

    • Debilis

      Personally, I’ve always been a firm believer that philosophy which doesn’t affect your daily life is to be discarded. Perhaps it is good mental exercise, but I’m only interested in philosophical positions I can actually live out on a daily basis.

      That being the case, I tend to view the moral argument for God’s existence as the most powerful.

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