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Recite the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument

  1. Everything that exists has an explanation, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause
  2. If the universe has an explanation, that explanation is God.
  3. The universe exists.
  4. Therefore, the universe has an explanation (1&3)
  5. Therefore, the explanation of the universe is God (2&4)


Why is the first premise not susceptible to the objection that some truths may have no explanation for their truth?

"This premise is compatible with there being brute facts about the world, what it precludes is that there could exist things that just exists inexplicably."


Explain why the typical atheist is himself committed to the truth of the second premise?

Because it is logically equivalent to what he believes. 

"If atheism is true, then the universe has no explanation" is equivalent to "if atheism is not true, then the universe has an explanation."


Why is the second premise plausible in its own right?

Because the universe encompasses all of physical reality, which means that its cause must transcend space and time and cannot be physical or material. 

Either an abstract object or an unembodied mind.

But abstract objects don't stand in causal relations, the answer must be an unembodied mind.


How does the kalam cosmological argument reinforce the Leibnizian cosmological argument?

The kalam cosmological argument shows that the universe is not eternal, but had a beginning, therefore, it is contingent.


Recite the Kalam Cosmological Argument

  1. Everything that begins to exists has a cause
  2. The universe began to exist
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause


What three reasons can be given in defense of the first premise?

  1. Something cannot come from nothing
  2. If things really do come from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why anything does not come into being uncaused
  3. The first premise is constantly confirmed in our experience


How might you respond to someone who says that the first premise is true about everything in the universe but not of the universe itself?

Premise 1 is not merely a physical law, which are valid for things within the universe, but a metaphysical principle: that being cannot come from non-being. The principle therefore, applies to all reality.


What can you say in response to people who claim that quantum physics furnishes an exception to the causal principle? 

  1. Not all scientists agree that sub-atomic events are uncaused
  2. These particles do not come from "nothing", they come as result of the fluctuations of the energy contained in the sub-atomic vaccuum.
  3. The vaccuum is not "nothing" but a sea of fluctuating energy with a rich structure and subject to physical laws.


What are the four lines of evidence in support of the second premise of the Kalam?

  1. The Impossibility of an Actual Number of Things
  2. The Impossibility of Forming an Actually Infinite Number of Things by Adding One Member After Another
  3. The Expansion of the Universe
  4. The Thermodynamic Properties of the Universe


What is the evidence for The Impossibility of an Actual Infinite Number of Things?

  1. An actually infinite number of things can't exist
  2. A beginningless series of events entails an actually infinite number of things
  3. Therefore, a beginningless series of events can't exist


What is the evidence of the Impossibility of Forming an Actually Infinite Collection of Things by Adding One Member After Another?

  1. The series of events in time is a collection formed by adding one member after another
  2. A collection formed by adding one member after another cannot be actually infinite
  3. Therefore, the series of events in time cannot be actually infinite.


What is the difference between an actual and a potential infinite?

  • Actual infinitie - collection of definite members whose number is greater than any natural number
  • Potential infinite - an infinite that is increasing towards infinity but never gets there.


How do you respond to "if an actual infinite cannot exist, then God must not be infinite"?

God's infinity is qualitative, not quantitative; the nature of a metaphysically necessary being who is morally perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, etc.


What is the A Theory of time?

The commonsense view that things or events in time are not equally real. Temporal becoming, that things go out of being and come into being, is an objective feature of reality.


What is the B Theory of time?

All events in time are equally real and temporal becoming is an illusion of human consciousness.


How does the A Theory underlie the second philosophical argument for the beginning of the universe?

The second philosophical argument presupposes the reality of the A theory.


Explain how the Big Bang model implies an absolute beginning of the universe?

If the universe is expanding, we need only go back in time until one arrives at a state of infinite density called the singularity, where all space, time, matter, and energy shrunk to zero. There is no "outside" or "before" this singularity. Therefore, it implies an absolute beginning for the universe.


What is the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

Processes taking place in a closed system always tend toward a state of equilibrium. Unless energy is being fed, the process will run down and quit.


How does thermodynamics imply a beginning of the universe?

If the universe has existed forever then it becomes inexplicable why we don't see thermodynamic equilibrium or "heat death"


What attributes of the First Cause may be deducted from the Kalam Cosmological argument?

  1. Spaceless
  2. Timeless
  3. Changeless
  4. Immaterial
  5. Uncaused
  6. Powerful
  7. Personal
    • intellect
    • free will
    • emotions


Why must the cause of the universe be personal?

  1. A scientific explanation cannot be given for the first state of the universe since there was nothing before it. It can only be accounted for in terms of agency.
  2. Timelessness and Immateriality are properties that can be possessed by a mind or an abstract object. But abstract objects don't stand in causal relations. So the cause of the universe must be the order of a mind.
  3. The answer to the dilemma of "how an effect doesn't share the same timelessness of the cause?" is that the cause is a personal Creator exercising his free will.


Recite the Teleological Argument

  1. The fine-tuning of the universe is either due to physical necessity, chance, or design
  2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance
  3. It is due to design


What is fine-tuning?

  1. Small variations from the actual values of the constants and quantities in question would render the universe life-prohibiting
  2. Range of life-permitting values is exquisitely narrow in comparison with the range of assumable values


Why is the hypothesis of physical necessity implausible?

Because it requires us to believe that a life-prohibiting universe is physically impossible


Then "who designed the Designer?"

  1. In order to recognize an explanation as the best, one need not have an explanation of the explanation
  2. In contrast to the complexity of the universe, an unembodied mind is a remarkably simple entity.


Recite the Moral Argument

  1. If God does not exists, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
  2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
  3. Therefore, God exists.


What is the difference between moral values and duties?

  • Values = has to do with something being good or bad; it's about something's worth
  • Duties = has to do with their being right or wrong; it's about obligatoriness.


They are distinct because I am not morally obligated to do something just because it would be good for me to do it.


What does it mean to say that moral values and duties are objective?

That certain things are good/evil or right/wrong independently of whether any human being believes in them or not.


Why on naturalism do objective moral values seem not to exist?

Because moral values are seen as by-products of socio-biological evolution. As a result, there has evolved a "herd morality" that functions well for the perpetuation of our species.