an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

A Quick Short Post About the Kalam Cosmological Argument

The Kalam Cosmological Argument makes the following argument for the existence of a god –

1 Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.
2 The universe has a beginning of its existence.
3 Thus the universe has a cause of its existence.
4 This first uncaused cause must transcend physical reality.
5 This uncaused cause that transcends physical reality is the description of God.
6 Therefore God exists.

On the surface this appears logical, but a proper look shows the errors inherent in it.

Let’s go through it point by point

1 Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.

This would be a great start to the argument if the statement were true. However, not ‘everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence’, Quantum Vacuum Fluctuations are a good example –

“… quantum electrodynamics reveals that an electron, positron, and photon occasionally emerge spontaneously in a perfect vacuum. When this happens, the three particles exist for a brief time, and then annihilate each other, leaving no trace behind. (Energy conservation is violated, but only for a particle lifetime Dt permitted by the uncertainty DtDE~h where DE is the net energy of the particles and h is Planck’s constant.) The spontaneous, temporary emergence of particles from a vacuum is called a vacuum fluctuation, and is utterly commonplace in quantum field theory” – Edward Tryon, quoted here

Clearly there ARE instances where an effect doesn’t need a cause, and they are ‘utterly commonplace in quantum field theory’

2 The universe has a beginning of its existence.

This statement appears to be true, even though we don’t know if the Big Bang WAS the beginning

3 Thus the universe has a cause of its existence.

This may well be true, but as the response to statement 1 shows, it isn’t necessarily the case.

4 This first uncaused cause must transcend physical reality.

This is where the argument separates from reality in a rather large way. The leap to an ‘uncaused cause’ isn’t set up by the preceding argument, rather it appears out of nowhere without any warning. It is pure conjecture, and raises the problems of infinite regress – if the Universe is too complex to have self generated, why is the presumably vastly more complex deity not? Why doesn’t the god need a cause?

5 This uncaused cause that transcends physical reality is the description of God.

This is not true. Even if an ‘uncaused cause’ could be proved to have started the Universe we have no way whatsoever of knowing anything of what form this cause takes. We have zero information about it.

 6 Therefore God exists.

Nope.

Read a far more eloquently argued article about this here.

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3 thoughts on “A Quick Short Post About the Kalam Cosmological Argument

  1. So everything spontaneous has no cause?

  2. Did anyone say that?

  3. //However, not 'everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence', Quantum Vacuum Fluctuations are a good example -//The quotation you provide does not support the claim that 'not everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence'. On the contrary, it describes a phenomenon of existence and articulates its cause in detail. Do you have a better example?

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