04 March 2013

The ten worst objections to the Kalam Cosmological Argument – a response to William Lane Craig (part 10/10)

This ten-part series ends with a criticism that is so flagrantly dishonest, so blatantly a massive straw-man, that I'm frankly astonished that even someone as odious as William Lane Craig would be willing to lie so unapologetically just to make himself look good in front of a small audience of his minions.

The objection, so we're told, is from The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins:

As was the case with Craig's simpleminded critique of TGD that was published in the unintentionally funny book True Reason, Craig seems to be counting on his audience not actually have read the book for themselves. Well, I have read the book, and I'm just... astounded by the dishonesty on display here.

The most obvious point to make is that nowhere in The God Delusion does Dawkins so much as mention the Kalam. He does talk about some of the more traditional formulations of the cosmological argument, but it's the height of dishonesty for Craig to claim that Dawkins does not dispute the premises of an argument he does not even discuss.

Regarding the version of the cosmological argument Dawkins does address (along with the "unmoved mover" and the "uncaused cause"), this is what Craig left out:
All three of these arguments rely upon the idea of a regress and invoke God to terminate it. They make the entirely unwarranted assumption that God himself is immune to the regress.
Dawkins does not spend much more time on cosmological arguments; he makes his point and then moves on. He doesn't need to spend any more time on them, because he's right. Saying that God doesn't need a cause because he doesn't begin to exist is nothing more than a rhetorical trick to grant the appearance of justifying an arbitrarily terminated regress. The fact is, even if we granted all the fallacious premises of the Kalam and took the further unjustified step of deifying and anthropomorphizing the "uncaused cause", we would still have no independent justification for asserting that God did not begin to exist – not the least of which is due to the paradoxical nature of claiming that a being can be timeless and changeless yet still do anything. One can certainly speculate about such things, but it cannot be empirically or logically demonstrated that God's eternal existence necessarily follows over the virtually infinite number of alternatives. 

Craig says, dishonestly,
Dawkins doesn't deny that the argument successfully demonstrates the existence of an uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, spaceless, timeless, and unimaginably powerful personal creator of the universe.
That's like me saying that since Dr. Craig has not personally commented on each and every one of my posts in this series, he doesn't deny that I have demonstrated that the Kalam is fallacious and that his Christian faith is rationally unjustified. 

Of course Dawkins never conceded any such thing, and for Craig to claim as much is flagrantly false and unbecoming of someone who postures as a distinguished academic. But then, anything more than posturing from William Lane Craig would require a miracle that in itself would provide better evidence of the divine than the amateurish sloppiness of the Kalam.

Previous: Part 9

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