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Showing posts from October, 2008

A Critique of one of William Lane Craig's Arguments For a Finite Past

(The rest of the posts in this series can be found here.)

In some of his popular apologetics writings, Craig uses the following argument to support a key premise in his kalam cosmological argument, viz., that the universe began to exist:

"Suppose we meet a man who claims to have been counting down from infinity and who is now finishing: . . ., -3, -2, -1, 0. We could ask, why didn’t he finish counting yesterday or the day before or the year before? By then an infinite time had already elapsed, so that he should already have finished. Thus, at no point in the infinite past could we ever find the man finishing his countdown, for by that point he should already be done! In fact, no matter how far back into the past we go, we can never find the man counting at all, for at any point we reach he will already have finished. But if at no point in the past do we find him counting, this contradicts the hypothesis that he has been counting from eternity. This shows again that the formation…

Summary of William Lane Craig's Kalam Cosmological Argument

(The rest of the posts in this series can be found here.)
Aquinas thought a temporally finite universe could not be demonstrated by reason. The kalam cosmological argument, by contrast, argues that a temporally finite past can be demonstrated via both a priori and a posteriori arguments.
Craig has offered two a priori arguments and two a posteriori arguments for the finitude of the past. The first argument attempts to show that actually infinite sets of things cannot exist in reality, and so the set of past events cannot be actually infinite. The second argument attempts to show that even if an actually infinite set of things could exist in reality, its members could not be successively traversed. But if not, then since the members of the set of past events have been traversed -- after all, here we are -- that set must be finite.
According to the first a posteriori argument, the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe implies an absolute beginning to spacetime, in which case t…

Sarah Palin's Debate Flowchart

HT: The Daily Dish (I blush to confess I've been visiting Andrew Sullivan's blog recently), who in turn got it from Ph33r and Loathing