Beyond the great beyond

Some might say that I was a little harsh on Bill Craig to call him a "retard" in my previous post. Of course, I don't actually think that he's mentally retarded, or even a half-wit. I dare say that he is quite possibly smarter than Brick Tamland. But see, what grinds my gears about people like him is that he's floating in a cloud of his own intellectual hubris, to the point that he derides the "new atheist" movement as being intellectually unsophisticated. And yet, his arguments fail at such a basic level of logical scrutiny that it truly boggles the mind that someone of reasonable intelligence, which I'm sure he is, actually believes them.

I wanted to elaborate, relatively briefly, on a question in the prior post that Craig posed at his website:
I must confess that I'm baffled why atheists would think that causation presupposes time and space or at least time. Janey and John, you need to ask them what they mean by "causality" and what reason they have for believing that it presupposes time and space. They're the ones raising the objection, so make them shoulder their burden of proof. After all, it's not just obvious that causality presupposes time and space. So ask them for their argument.
I thought I should answer this question directly. Heck, I'll even pretend Bill is in the room. Dr. Craig, the reason we think that causation presupposes time and space is because the very concept of causality is one that is derived from observations of the physical universe. We know what causality is and how it works precisely because it obeys the natural laws which govern the physical universe.

Now, you are welcome to suggest that there is a manner in which causality may exist independently of our universe, but this raises some obvious questions. If there is a kind of causality whose existence is not derived from our physical universe, then, since the laws of the universe govern physical causality, what laws might govern this "metaphysical" causality? Why would we presume that a phenomenon existing independently of the universe should follow the laws of the universe? To put it yet another way: what basis is there for assuming that metaphysical causality need be anything like physical causality?

And, as a corollary, if metaphysical causality is not governed by the laws of the universe, but our concept of causality is derived from observations of the physical universe, then what basis is there to call "metaphysical causality" causality at all? It's a non-concept.

This is the problem with any metaphysical concept. Craig also frequently asks, rhetorically, what the probability is of the universe coming into existence with the precise physical properties it has. But it's a nonsensical question, because our very concept  of probability is derived from observation of the physical universe. Once you remove the laws of the universe which govern probability, it becomes a meaningless concept.

Theologians, particularly those who subscribe to natural theology like Craig, need to realize that you simply cannot use reason and logic to infer the existence of things outside of the physical universe, simply because reason and logic are derived from the laws of the universe itself. In order to infer the existence of metaphysical things, you have to presuppose that the laws of the universe from which we derive reason and logic hold true independently of the universe – and the circular reasoning in that should be readily apparent even to someone drowning in presuppositions like William Lane Craig.


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