Wes Morriston's Critique of the Kalam Argument

The Kalam Argument for the existence of God attempts to show that the universe must have begun at some point, which requires a timelessly existing personal God as the explanation for such a beginning. This argument states that a beginningless series of events in time is impossible, because it would demand an infinite series of events in time. But we can never have an infinite collection of anything, much less events in time. If one were to begin counting, he or his descendants would never finish counting to infinity, because it successively counting to infinity cannot be done. Therefore the universe began to exist, and since it cannot take place by non-personal events in time, it requires a personal agent, God, who is outside of time to create the universe when it began. William Lane Craig is it’s leading defender today.

While the Kalam argument is fascinating, several scholars have offered critiques of it, beginning with J.L. Mackie, and Michael Martin. Book length treatments of it have been written by Quentin Smith (with William Lane Craig) and Mark R. Nowacki.

For this argument, Professor Craig offers a simple structure:
1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

Critics attack the premises of the argument, as well as the conclusion that further claims the cause for the existence of the universe is a personal agent, God, who is outside of time. Victor J. Stenger has argued against the physics implied by Kalam Argument and concluded, “Craig’s use of the singularity theorem for a beginning of time is invalid.”

For one of the best criticisms of the Kalam look at Wes Morriston's exchange with Bill Craig.1

Take for instance the first premise, “everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.” Craig claims this is an obvious “metaphysical intuition.” Based on this premise, however, Morriston argues that if God creates time and places himself in it, “it follows that God...exists at a time prior to which there is no time.” Since God has a first moment in time it seems that “God is as much in need of a cause as the universe,” if indeed “everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.” To get around this problem Craig basically argues that God is the exception to this. But then this added complexity to the premise is hardly an obvious “metaphysical intuition,” as Morriston notes.

Craig argues on behalf of this “metaphysical intuition” that people don’t imagine tigers “springing into existence uncaused.” Morriston rightly counters that “The First Moment in the history of our universe is unlike all others because that is when the whole natural order comes into being. Later moments are embedded not only within time, but, more importantly, within a natural order that did not exist prior to the First Moment.” Speaking of the “First Beginning,” Morriston continues: “There is simply no familiar law-governed context for it, precisely because there is nothing prior to the Beginning. We have no experience of the origin of worlds to tell us that worlds don’t come into existence like that. We don’t even have experience of the coming into being of anything remotely analogous to the “initial singularity” that figures in the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe. That is why the absurdity of tigers and the like popping into existence out of nowhere tells us nothing about the utterly unique case of the Beginning of the whole natural order.” Furthermore, according to Morriston, “Some people have quite a strong resistance to the whole idea of a First Moment. The idea of a time prior to which there was no time—of an eternal event before which there were no others—strikes them as profoundly counter-intuitive.”

Morriston goes on to argue that Craig’s view of “creation out of nothing is at least as counterintuitive as is beginning to exist without a cause.” “If someone insists it is just ‘obvious’ that God could create a world without any preexisting material stuff to work with, on the ground that there is no logical contradiction in the idea of such a feat, then the proper reply is that there is also no logical contradiction in the idea of the universe beginning without a cause.”

Craig, however, asserts that people who do not accept the obvious “metaphysical intuition” of the first premise are in a minority, and/or insincere. People who deny this intuition are not being intellectually honest, he claims. They deny it because they want to avoid the implications of a creator God. Given the fact that I have already argued for “The Outsider Test For Faith," I liked how Morriston responds to Craig, in these words: “It is worth noting such an ‘explanation’ could be accepted only by someone who was already convinced that God exists, and a lot of other things as well. From outside the evangelical Christian world view, this is bound to look like an ad hoc hypothesis that merely adds to the implausibility of an already top heavy theory. No matter how much ‘scriptural support’ is cited in its favor, the outsider, who does not yet accept this kind of support, is perfectly justified, from his own point of view, in seeing this attack on his integrity as little more than a lame attempt to reassure believers in the face of recalcitrant data. Whatever the insider may think, the outsider still needs to understand how it is that intelligent and well-informed people can disagree about matters that are supposed to be intuitively self-evident.” There are lots of honest skeptics who just don’t think the evidence and the arguments support Craig’s claims. Like me they do indeed sincerely want to know the truth. Don’t impugn my motives, and I won’t impugn yours.

Craig’s argument leads him to postulate the conclusion that the cause of the universe must be a personal agent, since a non-personal cause from all eternity would have already produced the universe, no matter how far back in time we go. If all of the conditions for the origin of universe were in place from all of eternity, then the universe would already have sprung into existence. In fact, there would be no time in which we travel back where we would find the universe springing into existence at all, since there would always be a prior time when the universe had already sprung into existence from the conditions which had already been there from eternity.

Morriston points out a major problem with this supposed personal agent as the cause of the universe. By postulating a personal cause, Craig cannot escape his own conclusion that the universe must be just as eternal as its cause. For if God is timelessly eternal then there was never a moment in time when God did not will into existence this universe. Since Craig does not deny that God’s intention to create our world is eternal, “God’s eternal decision to create a universe must surely be causally sufficient for the existence of that world. So, if, as Craig indicates, God’s will to create is eternal, why doesn’t he conclude that the universe is eternal?” Only “a personal agent existing in time can have plans for the future.” But a timelessly existing Being is something else. Either “a timeless personal agent timelessly wills to create a world with a beginning, or else it does not so will. There can be no temporal gap between the time at which it does the willing and the time at which the thing willed actually happens. In this respect a timeless personal cause is no different from a non-personal cause.”

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1 Wes Morriston, “Must the Beginning of the Universe Have a Personal Cause?: A Critical Examination of the Kalam Cosmological Argument” (Faith and Philosophy Vol. 17, No. 2 (2000), 149-169; Craig’s reply: “Must the Beginning of the Universe Have a Personal Cause?: A Rejoinder;” and Morriston’s counter-reply, “Causes and Beginnings in the Kalam Argument: Reply to Craig,” in Faith and Philosophy, Vol. 19, No. 2 (April 2002), 233-244. All three essays can be found on the web. For effective rebuttals of Craig’s arguments against the impossibility of reaching an infinite through “successive addition” and against an infinite past, see Wes Morriston’s “Must the Past Have a Beginning?” (Philo Vol. 2 (1999) no. 1, pp. 5-19.

19 comments:

adam s said...

I have always given this element of Craig's argument the acknowledgment of appearing valid. Now, obviously there are only hypotheses when it comes to the origins of the universe. That is where Craig (and some big bang theorists) lose me. The beginning of matter is unobservable and nonsensical. Now, we can recreate certain elements using other elements in a controlled environment, but we cannot create matter out of nothing. I know what you are thinking, "DUH!" But I go around and around trying to rationalize this very concept. Why could there not be an eternal being, well, there could but, this is as possible as Superman or Wonder Woman. It is also possible that a giant cosmic cat took a crap and we came into existence. It might also be possible that the universe itself is eternal, this to me seems to be less likely than the God hypothesis, but that could be because of my upbringing, who knows. Anyways, with the information you have given, what the hell do we do now? Sometimes I wonder if it is even worth it to continue these types of dialogues (maybe they just exist to shut up pompous blowhards like Craig and Lee Strobel). But I really want to know. Where the FUCK did we come from? Maybe, there is a being who created laws only to confuse us. These laws work according to our perceptions, but they are so entirely different from us that we could not possibly detect them. O.K. I'm being sarcastic because this point is a cop out, but it amuses me how many brilliant people have accepted it as it is a moot point. We can only know what we know. So a being outside of our knowledge is irrelevant unless they decide to make themselves known to us. "Blessed is he that knows and understands me." As if that were even possible. What did god say to Moses, "I AM" in essence, you couldnt understand me if I explained myself to you. Just another lovely contradiction brought to you by: The Bible. The worlds number one seller just got more absurd.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Am I missing something, or is "Kalam's Ass" (sorry, couldn't resist) merely another version of Xeno's Paradoxes?

"This argument states that a beginningless series of events in time is impossible, because it would demand an infinite series of events in time. But we can never have an infinite collection of anything, much less events in time."

That's ridiculous. Of course we have an infinite series of points in time, in fact we have an infinite series of points between any two points of time, the same way as we have an infinite number of points between every point on a line. (In fact, the infinity of the points on a line is a greater order of infinity than the infinity involved in counting; the first is designated by C while the second is designated by "aleph null" usually using the Hebrew letter and a subscript. (For further on this, see any basic mathematics text on set theory, or any discussion of the work of Georg Cantor.)

Again, the argument is like the argument that a man in a racecar can not pass a man riding a bike if the man riding a bike has a head start, because by the time the car reaches the point where the bike started, the bike has moved, so the car has to move to where the bike moved to, during which time the bike has moved, therefore... In other words the idea that you cannot sum an infinite series. But you can.

If Craig has been getting away with this argument, it only shows that theologians don't study mathematics.

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Lory Jean-Baptiste said...

Adam,

I hope I can change your mind about something. I often hear atheists claim that believing in God is like believing in Superman or the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause but this is clearly false.

When you say you believe in God what you are really saying is, "I believe that the fundamental reality of the universe is a being." In other words "in the beginning there was a being" as apposed to "in the beginning there was matter." You're also saying, "I believe the universe was created intentionally and not by accident or randomness." The same cannot be said of the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause. Those fictional characters don't imply anything about the nature of the universe.

I find this is a major stumbling block for atheists. If you frame the question as, "Is there a God?" You have "is there..." followed by some noun. So you treat the problem in the same way you would treat "Is there a Santa Clause?" or "Is there a Big Foot?" or "Is there a Lockness Monster?" And this framing naturally leads to a skeptical position. The natural response is to require proof. However, you can reframe the questions as, "Do you believe the universe was created intentionally?" You see, it's the same question but framed differently. With the former we have a factual question and the natural response is skepticism. With the latter we see that the question is more about your beliefs concerning the nature of the universe and yourself. I believe there is a God because I believe that human beings are not just the behavior of mattter. I don't need proof to have an opinion about the nature of the universe or myself.

So the question is not whether this noun (God) exists or not. The question is about what you believe about the nature of human beings and the universe. Are we just matter behaving according to natural laws? Did we come to exist by accident? Is consciousness and intelligence simply the behavior of matter?

I hope you argee that "Does God exist?" is far deeper and entirely different type of questions than "Does the Easter Bunny exist?"

So, where did we come from?

Well, the atheist says we came from matter. We are intelligent, we have will, consciousness and ideas but supposedly we came from matter that has none of these qualities. Matter is not conscious. The motion of matter is not consciousness. Matter does not think or feel but people easily buy into the idea that we are matter and came from matter.

Another idea is that we came from a being. In other words a being is the fundamental reality. God has intelligence, consciousness and will so it makes sense that we who have these qualities came from a source with those same qualities.

adam s said...

First off I did mention that there could have been a large cat whos feces started life. Second, where did God come from? That might sound trite, but why should I believe in something that just complicates the matter further. Not only do I have to deal with the fact that I exist, I have to accept that something entirely different that I cannot sense in any tangible way exists. I dont know if you noticed, but my contention was that I am frustrated because I dont know where we came from, but just positing that question does not imply an answer. You believe God created everything and has always existed, let me ask you this, why are there not two infinite gods? or three? or an infinite amount? How do you know? Because it makes sense to you? You just feel it? Or know it? If this is the truth, why dont I (or many others) feel the same way? Do you suppose we dont really care about the truth? Or love? Or hope? The fact is, many of us do, and would love to trust God if there was one, but this god obviously did not want us to know of them because they gave us no real information about them. And if you are going to quote the bible, there is no way I can believe in some arbitrary, fickle, angry, self centered god like the one described in there. To be honest, I believe there is more chance of there being a "Superman" than your god.

Touchstone said...

Prup (Jim)

You said:

That's ridiculous. Of course we have an infinite series of points in time, in fact we have an infinite series of points between any two points of time, the same way as we have an infinite number of points between every point on a line. (In fact, the infinity of the points on a line is a greater order of infinity than the infinity involved in counting; the first is designated by C while the second is designated by "aleph null" usually using the Hebrew letter and a subscript. (For further on this, see any basic mathematics text on set theory, or any discussion of the work of Georg Cantor.)

Both contemporary String Theory and Loop Quantum Gravity Theory hold that spacetime is quantized. While neither of these has achieved anything near a "settled" status in the physics world, these are solid contenders for a unified theory. In either of these cases, it would not be true to say that spatially, there exist an abritrary/infinite number of points between any two points A and B.

There are traditional models that incporporate spacetime as discrete (continuous). If that's the case, then your paragraph here makes sense with respect to intermediating infinities. But just for the record, the (non)quantization of spacetime is a matter that is unsettled at this point, and if there is a trend, it is *toward* the idea of quantization rather than *away* from it.

-Touchstone

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Lori: I hope I've never used the 'Santa Claus' analogy, which I consider insulting. I do understand the nature of the argument you propose -- and which you put very well -- but I'm afraid that I do insist that we did evolve consciousness, and several other mental traits. I see no problem with the idea that consciousness is a function of the complexity of the brain, rather than something 'poured into us' from some being from outside. Certainly other animals show forms of it -- I'd introduce you to my cats if I had the opportunity.
But, as I've said many times here, the idea that a Creator 'being' exists is really irrelevant to the discussion since there is no evidence such a Creator is theistic, or involved with us except as someone watching how this universe it started out is progressing. (The idea that such a being created the entire Universe as a 'home for us' made sense only when we thought that the Earth was 'all there is.' Now that we know we are just one planet going around one sun in a Universe consisting of a 'billion galaxies each with a billion suns' it is a little absurd.

The trouble with the Christian God (that strange attempt to blend ideas from Judaism and Zoroastrianism that are themselves incompatible) is that it springs from the parochial, "Small Universe" cosmology. (And, too often, the believers, while they may pay lip service to the discovery of the true extent of the Universe, in fact, argue from the original concept and then try and 'customize' -- in the automobile sense -- the original antiquated model by giving it a new 'paint job' and adding fancy fins and even a new engine that doesn't quite fit.)

And believers still run into the 'If God created the Universe, Who created God' problem. Yes, something must be self-existent. That's simply a logical necessity. But if you argue that it isn't the Universe, there is no reason to hold that it was the 'highest God.'

It is just as logical to hold -- as some early group of Gnostic Christians did -- that the Universe is the Creation of a lesser God who was itself created by the 'Highest God,' or to hold, with the Zoroastrians, that the Universe was created by Ahura Mazda, the 'highest God' but that, then, Ahriman came along and 'spoiled' that Creation by introducing the evil into it. (Ahriman having himself been created by Ahura Mazda. This, and not the Old Testament, is where the idea of 'the devil' comes from as it is currently accepted by Christianity.)

So your 'argument from being' even if it is accepted, does nothing to increase the (miniscule) probability of Christianity being true.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Touchstone:
A nice argument, but one which does not directly touch on my point, as far as I can tell.

It also contains one major blunder, which is, I'm sure, an accident -- all of us write too fast in these comments. You state "There are traditional models that incporporate spacetime as discrete (continuous)." But 'discrete' and 'continuous' are opposites. Unless we have an equivalent of the 'wave-particle duality' for spacetime -- which is an intriguing thought -- the Universe is either 'continuous' or 'grainy' (i.e., discrete). And if it does turn out to be grainy, the question occurs, what happens in the 'gaps' between the grains. (If 0,0,0,0 is a random point of spacetime, and spacetime is discrete, what exists at 0,pi,0,0?)

But this is irrelevant to myt argument which was that Craig's denial of the possibility of there being infinite series, or of humanity's inability to 'deal with them' is absurd -- hence Xeno's paradoxes.

Touchstone said...

Prup (Jim),

First, how do you like to be addressed?

First, that should be "non-discrete", of course, you're right. Second, I agree that the prospect of a quantized spacetime has no bearing on your major point, and it poses no barrier for summing an infinite series.

I honestly haven't considered the "continuous/grainy" duality idea before with respect to space time. I've not come across it in the literature I've read, but it's an interesting idea. My point here was badly made, but really only notice that a smooth spacetime fabric isn't a given, anymore, and infinite series summation questions probably have better responses than geometric examples over smooth spacetime intervals.

Sorry to take things off track. It hardly merits this amount of attention as it is.

-Touchstone

(As for what might "exist" in the "gaps" between spacetime extensive quants, "void" -- not even spacetime obviously -- seems the natural response, doesn't it. Too deep for an answer before my morning coffee, is more like it.)

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Prup, Jim, or Benton is fine. I've never liked "Mr. Benton" that much.

Lory Jean-Baptiste said...

Purp,

Thank you for not defending the absurd Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, or Superman comparisons. The question of God's existence is not merely about the existence of a noun but about the very nature of human beings and the universe.

You say "consciousness is a function of the complexity of the brain." But why does it have to be the complexity of the brain. Why not the complexity of a tree? A tree is made of matter just as a brain is made of matter and a tree is complex, right?

You may object that the tree is not complex enough and is not in the proper structure to be conscious but who determines the criteria for consciousness? The words complexity and brain are subjective.

The concepts of trigonometry may appear complex to some but not to others. A blueprint may appear complex to a layman but not to an architect. You're saying that when matter attains a certain threshold of complexity of structure and behavior that it only then becomes conscious? produces consciousness?

Imagine that you could see in greater detail than skin, bones, and tissue. Imagine that you could see atoms and elementary particles interacting all around you. You would see a certain structure and behavior of particles and you would call it a brain. There would be many fast moving electrons going around in networks paths and a lot of "complex" motion and interaction and you would choose to label this phenomenon "consciousness." So with this new detailed vision you would see a human brain as a complex phenomenon of moving matter in the same way that a tornado is a complex motion of gases.

The problem is that I don't see any ideas! Where are the ideas? I see particles in beautiful and fascinating motion but I don't experience any ideas. You can argue that the motion over there is an idea forming. But I just see particles. I don't see ideas. You'll argue that the brain sees or experiences the idea. But then I'll protest, "If this motion over there is an idea, then where is the person? Is the person another kind of motion?"

The brain may have a memory of a favorite toy. Let’s say the memory is physical, it's matter. But what is the experience of the memory? Is that matter too?

I am conscious of a tree. That tree is somehow represented by the behavior of matter in my brain but then is my consciousness of the tree also the behavior of matter?

The essential problem here is that you have one kind of thing, namely matter, but you're trying to explain two distinct kinds of things. You have objects and you have consciousness of objects. You’re trying to explain both as a kind of phenomena of the brain but the result is an incoherent idea.

So, consciousness cannot be matter and therefore we need something other than matter to explain human beings because human beings are conscious.

I know I'm rushing to the conclusion a little but I have to go now.

adam s said...

If the god theory is not absurd and the superman one is, then I would posit that at least the Jesus story is as equally absurd as the idea of superman. Although, I do believe that the idea of god is absurd, and it is more absurd that a christian would use that term to defend their belief in a 6000 year old earth, talking donkeys, the earth standing still, and a god who gets mad when someone accidentally touches the box he is in.

Anonymous said...

Boy, you have one messed up view of Christianity, and it is quite easy to tell it is far from the truth.

Benny said...

Lory,

First, you're right, consciousness is not just matter. It's matter *and* energy. You know, brain waves and all that.

You say "consciousness is a function of the complexity of the brain." But why does it have to be the complexity of the brain. Why not the complexity of a tree? A tree is made of matter just as a brain is made of matter and a tree is complex, right?

You might as well ask "why aren't all trees the same color?" Color is also a function of the complexity (of the arrangement of matter and energy) in an object. So why aren't all trees the same color? Answer: because different arrangements gives rise to different properties. Ditto for consciousness. The observation that only certain configurations of matter give rise to consciousness does not mean we need a super-natural explanation for consciousness, no more than we need a super-natural explanation for why trees have different colors.

The essential problem here is that you have one kind of thing, namely matter, but you're trying to explain two distinct kinds of things. You have objects and you have colors of objects. You’re trying to explain both as a kind of phenomena of matter and energy but the result is an incoherent idea.

This is your argument, except I've replaced "consciousness" with "color" and "brain" with "matter and energy". You know what? I don't see the incoherence of explaining colors as a phenomena of matter and energy, nor do I see the incoherence of doing the same with consciousness.

Your argument, as far as I can tell, is simply "It doesn't make sense to me that matter and energy gave rise to X, and science doesn't have a full explanation for X (yet), therefore supernatural explanation." Something being counter-intuitive doesn't make it false. And science not yet having a full explanation for something seems a poor reason for invoking the super-natural.

Lory Jean-Baptiste said...

Benny,

I have to admit that I have failed to communicate to you and Purp the hard problem of consciousness. And I realize now that it is not a trivial thing to communicate this problem.

Let's say I believe that wind is a being. You disagree. You would explain to me that wind "is in reality" a collection of molecules moving from high to low density. So my experience of wind as one thing (or a being) is really an illusion. THE REALITY is wind is really many things (gas molecules) behaving according to physical laws.

Now I believe John is a being. You disagree. You explain that John is really an extremely complex collection of particles behaving according to very sophisticated physical laws. John's consciousness is really a property of the matter in his brain. What you're saying is John is not ONE THING. You're saying THE REALITY is John (and his consciousness) are really many things particles behaving according to physical laws.

This kind of explanation of John would work fine if not for one extremely problematic fact, "I exit." I know that I am conscious. I experience consciousness. I experience an I but how can that be if "I" am really many tiny parts? If you say that I am really many tiny particles then you're saying that the "I" is an illusion. The claim that particles are the reality and my conscious--the "I"--is an illusion is immediately refuted by first hand knowledge and experience. If "I" am an illusion then who is it who is experiencing the illusion?

When you claim something is made of particles you're saying that the whole is an illusion created by many tiny units. You're saying the reality is the many timy units. This is fine for explaining the many phenomena around us but it uterly fails when it comes to explaining "the I" of consciousness.

Benny said...

Lory,

The fact that "I" is singular does not mean it cannot be a product of the interaction of many parts. Storm systems and flocks of birds are also made of many interacting parts, but they are nevertheless cohesive singular units. There is no reason to think the mind cannot also be this way.

Your argument for the existence of a soul reminds me of the vitalists of yore. They believed that life was made possible by a mystical "life force" distinct from physical and chemical processes, not realizing that life is merely the aggregate of physical and chemical processes. That belief has fortunately been recognized for the pseudo-science that it is.

Your argument seems close enough to be either a sibling or a non-kissing cousin of vitalism. Just as many life processes can be explained as physical/chemical processes, many aspects of our conscious self has been shown to be intimately tied to that arrangement of matter and energy called the brain. What do you consider a vital part of your sense of yourself, that which you call "I"?

Is it your ability to produce or comprehend language? Brain damage can result in aphasia, a complete loss of this ability. LINK

Is it your ability to make purposeful movements? Brain damage can cause apraxia, a complete loss of this ability. LINK

Is it your ability to recognize objects, persons, sounds, shapes, or smells? Brain damage can cause agnosia, a complete loss of this ability. LINK

Ability to recognize yourself? Intimately tied to the right hemisphere of the brain. Memory? Yep, that too. And let's not forget, our consciousness ceases entirely every night when we enter that state called "sleep", where the state of our brain is demonstrably different than when we are conscious.

So what we have is multiple aspects of our consciousness shown to be intimately tied to the state of that arrangement of matter and energy we call the brain. These observations are powerful evidence for the idea that consciousness arise from the brain. They are incompatible with the claim that consciousness rests in some super-natural soul.

Benny said...

I want to expand on this statement of mine from last night: They are incompatible with the claim that consciousness rests in some super-natural soul.

Our mind does not appear to be a singular entity, as Lory claims. Rather, it seems to be an amalgam of different abilities, many (all?) of which are tied to the state of our brain. Not just in the sense of correlation, but causation. Damage a certain part of the brain, and we lose the capacity for language. Damage another part, and we no longer recognize objects or persons or sensory input. Ditto for our sense of self. To use a gruesome example, if you cut off the supply of air or blood to a person's brain long enough, they lose consciousness. If/when they wake up, there is no recollection of the blackout period. For that period of time, they had no sense of self; indeed, it's as if they did not exist at all during that time.

None of this is what we would expect if the mind rests in a supernatural soul-thing. If it did, we should not lose mental capacities when the flesh is damaged. We should not lose consciousness altogether just because the brain is starved of blood or air. The fact that these things do happen suggests that our mind is a function of the brain, not a supernatural soul-thing. No brain, no mind.

At this point, one might ask, "what about near-death experiences?" As it turns out, we have evidence that suggests NDE's are nothing more than a phenomenon of the brain. It has been shown that electrical stimulation of a certain area of the brain repeatedly causes out-of-body experiences in patients. Also, injections of the drug ketamine can reproduce all the commonly cited features of an NDE: sense of being dead, separation from the body, vision of loved ones, etc. Rather than supporting the notion of a soul, NDE's support the idea that the mind is a function of the brain.

RonJon said...

I think you've misunderstood what Craig is saying.

The argument is that the "Creator" not only created the universe but also created time in which the universe exists. Craig's argument is that the "Creator" is not bound by the time that we humans are.

The "Creator" is a "TIMELESS cause" (in the words of Craig) in that he is not bound by time but freely chooses to incorproate himself within time as well.

The enternal "Causal agent" is not really enternal since he is not bound by time. Eternal is an atribute humans give to things since the only perspective we have is one of time limitations. The causal agent is free from the limitations of time and exist outside of time. This is difficult for humans to wrap our minds around because all we've ever known are the bounds of time.

See Craig's argument on "agent causation" for more information.