Saturday, October 19, 2019

Rationality Rules vs. Craig’s Causal Premise (p. 3)

Home  >  Philosophy  >  Atheism/Theism

Rationality Rules vs. Craig’s Causal Premise
 |   1   |   2   |   3   |   4   | 

Craig’s Second Justification: The Inexplicability Objection



At around 11:35 of Craig’s video, Craig says:
If something can come into being from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything or everything doesn’t come into being from nothing. Think about it; why don’t bicycles and Beethoven and root beer out of nothing? Why is it only universes that can come into being from nothing? What makes nothingness so discriminatory?
Woodford responds by strawmanning Craig again, claiming Craig made a fallacy of division he never made. For those who don’t know, the fallacy of division is the fallacy of incorrectly inferring something is true of the parts because it is true for the whole. The example Woodford gives is this:
  1. The United States is rich.
  2. The United States has citizens.
  3. Therefore, the United States’ citizens are rich.
In the case of Craig, Woodford believes it’s something like “If the universe (the whole) came into being uncaused, then some things within the universe (the parts) are uncaused.” But this is a straw man; Craig never made this claim. To see how this fallacy of division (FOD) claim is not the same claim as Craig’s inexplicability claim, note how “The universe came into being uncaused and nothing within the universe is uncaused” is logically inconsistent with the FOD claim but logically consistent with Craig’s inexplicability claim (there’s no self-contradiction in the universe beginning to exist uncaused but it being inexplicable that anything and everything within the universe doesn’t come into being from nothing). Woodford never attacks Craig’s actual claim here.

So why does Craig’s inexplicability claim matter? One reason is that, if true, it would seem to imply that “Something cannot come into being from nothing” is not merely the best explanation for why anything or everything doesn’t come into being from nothing, it’s the only explanation!

There might be another reason. At around 11:54 to 12:16 of Craig’s video, Craig says:
Why is it only universes that can come into being from nothing? What makes nothingness so discriminatory? There can’t be anything about nothingness that favors universes for nothingness doesn’t have any properties. Nor can anything constrain nothingness since there isn’t anything to be constrained.
It seems that Craig might believe it would be special pleading to say that universes can come into being from nothing but not other stuff like root beer and bicycles. Note that the reason behind this doesn’t have anything to do with “The parts have the property simply because the whole does” but rather the nature of nothingness itself.

Craig’s Third Justification: Empirical Evidence



Craig says at around 12:17 of his video that “Common experience and scientific evidence confirm the truth of premise 1’.” Although Woodford doesn’t quote Craig’s third justification Woodford does kind of allude to it. He says this at around 7:03 to 7:29:
Sure, nobody sincerely believes that macroscopic things can pop into existence without a cause, and for good reason: our empirical observations and more importantly, our objective verifiable evidence clearly shows that when macroscopic things ‘begin to exist’ they do so via causation. However, and this was Scott’s excellent point, the exact same objective, verifiable evidence equally shows that all new macroscopic things are comprised of material that already existed. Hence Craig and his ilk are cherry-picking in the extreme. They are confidently asserting that macroscopic things are caused in the classical sense, and yet they’re rejecting that all new macroscopic things are merely the rearrangement of already existing material.
Does it follow that Craig and his ilk are cherry-picking observations? No, because not all inductive predicates are created equal. To illustrate, consider this inductive argument:
  1. All observed humans came from other humans (whether via the standard way, in vitro fertilization, or whatever).
  2. Therefore, all humans came from other humans.
If Woodford rejects this conclusion, does it mean he’s cherry-picking observations? No, that would be just as non sequitur as believing Craig and his ilk were cherry-picking observations. Whether you’re a creationist or evolutionist, you’ll probably recognize that there’s something wrong with this inductive argument. The problem is that not all inductive predicates (the predicate here being “came from other humans”) are “projectible” i.e. reasonable to extrapolate for the given extrapolation region. We have excellent reason to believe the predicate of (1) is not projectible. Similarly, Craig believes we have excellent reason to believe a predicate like “comprised of material that already exists” for the sample class of “new observed macroscopic physical objects” is not projectible. What reasons are those? Well, the universe began to exist and something cannot come into being from nothing, which together imply that the universe (a presumably macroscopic physical thing) was a new thing that did not have a material cause.

Woodford accuses “Craig and his ilk” of “confidently asserting that macroscopic things are caused in the classical sense” but this doesn’t seem to be true either. Unfortunately Woodford never defines what he means by “classical causation” but presumably he means the causation of classical mechanics, which is deterministic and has the cause temporally precede the effect. Craig doesn’t believe either criteria holds for all macroscopic objects, especially the universe. Craig believes the universe began to exist and he also believes the universe’s cause was simultaneous with the effect, and he believes God indeterministically caused the universe into being.

 |   1   |   2   |   3   |   4   | 

No comments:

Post a Comment