It may surprise some to learn that I’ve never actually defended the Kalam Cosmological Argument in debate.
This is not because I don’t find it a good argument, but rather for two reasons:
1. It has been well-defended elsewhere
2. I didn’t find it persuasive until recently
The second of these two reasons is, to me, evidence that Craig (who has championed the argument) doesn’t rely nearly so much on pure rhetoric as his detractors insinuate. I don’t find him terribly good at pathos, myself. I was disenchanted with his presentation of the “KCA”, but, realizing that this wasn’t a reason to reject a line of thinking, I decided to read up and think on it.
By the end of that, I’d reached the conclusion that it was a good argument.
I say all this in the hopes of forestalling the common accusations that there is nothing in the argument but pathos. Really, both of the premises of the argument are well in line with both metaphysics and modern science:
Premise 1 (“Whatever begins to exist has a cause”) is fundamental to science. The scientific method is based on discovering the physical causes of things, and to suggest that the very notion of causation is suspect, let alone false, is to argue that science is without rational foundations.
Premise 2 (“The universe began to exist”) cannot claim to be as fundamental as the first premise, but is well-attested to by the evidence itself. Admittedly, I’m not an expert in cosmology, but I’ve found no mention of any evidence that the universe is eternal, and much evidence in its favor (and encountered statements from experts claiming the same).
Though I’m not actually a fan of the common materialist refrain that “whatever is presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” (for reasons I’ll not get into here), it seems strange that proponents of this idea should present, without evidence, the idea that the universe is past eternal.
There have also been a number of attacks on the logical structure of the argument, as though traditional modus ponens reasoning doesn’t apply here. All such objections struck me as unintentional sophistry. Thus, the conclusion (“The universe has a cause”) seemed almost tediously obvious.
Rather, my questions all involved Craig’s analysis of what a cause of the universe might be.
Taking as my assumption that reasonable people will agree that there is a cause to the universe, I’ll be putting up some posts on what I think are the better objections to the Kalam, along with the reasons why I, eventually, decided that they were not destructive to the argument.
But what I see no reason to seriously entertain is the idea one should reject the argument so far. There really is no reason to think that the universe is causeless.