Reasoning with Faith, Religion, and Atheism…Deductive Reasoning (Part 7)

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Deductive Reasoning

Deductive Reasoning is a subdivision of logic and critical thinking and a form of reasoning in which a conclusion follows logically from the stated premises or proposition.  Deduction is also a methodical conclusion reached by a deductive reasoning process of logic and moving from the general to particular/specific.  Plainly speaking deductive reasoning is the rationality of reasoning from pure logic.  Hence, using this form one should always come to a logically coherent conclusion from an argument.  

Deductive cosmological argument

Now one of the most recognized arguments for intelligent design using deductive reasoning is the Cosmological Argument.  It is also commonly known as the kalām’s cosmological argument, and was first developed by a Muslim philosopher. The cosmological argument reasons from the nature of the world as temporal and contingent to the conclusion that an eternal, necessary being must exist. The basic premise of all of these is that something caused the Universe to begin to exist, and this First Cause must be God.  Sometimes also known as the first argument of causation.  Here is a sample of the short version of Kalam’s Cosmological argument:

THE BASIC COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT, DEDUCTIVE VERSION. This is the classical argument.

(1)    Everything has a cause.
Therefore:
(2)    The World (Universe) has a cause.
(3)    The cause of the World is “God”.
(4)    Thus, So God exists.

The kalām argument is essentially a philosophical, deductive proof.  Now one of the main objections to this short basic deductive argument is that if God is the cause of the Universe and God is supposed to be the cause of “everything”.  What is the cause of God?  The automatic response for some is that an omnipotent God is the a cause of Himself or that God does not need a cause, He is the Alpha & Omega; The Beginning and The End  –And to many this seems unintelligible.  Since the notion of something emerging from an absolute nothing is generally considered absurd, the principal options are that either the universe is eternal or it is the product of an eternal and necessary being, except to atheist. (Notice also, it does not say the God/Creator is omnipotent, benevolent, nor perfect nor all-powerful.) 

Furthermore, it is often claimed that only a necessary being (a being that could not have failed to exist) requires no explanation for its existence. And God is considered the most natural example of a necessary being with causal powers.  Here is the alternative contemporary Version of the Cosmological argument, proposed by the world-renowned Christian Philosopher and Apologist WILLIAM LANE CRAIG’S -DEDUCTIVE VERSION OF THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT.

(1)    Whatever begins to exist has a cause.  [A “principle of sufficient reason”]
(2)    The Universe (i.e., the physical world) began to exist.
(3)    The Universe has a cause.

Now the next question every intelligent person must ask themselves is (a)   Is it deductively valid? and (b)   Are the premises reasonable?

But a central question in debates over cosmological arguments of the deductive sort concerns the possibility …Is this argument deductively sound?  For a great many competing theories would be ruled out by a successful deductive cosmological argument.  The website C.A.R.M. goes through the Cosmological argument and presents the Pros and Cons of the Argument.

“If this principle were true, not only would every individual in an infinite series of causes require explanation, but the existence of the series itself would require explanation. (A contingent state of affairs is one that might not have been the case.) However, the principle seems overly strong and quite difficult to motivate. In fact, even a theist has good grounds for rejecting it. After all, traditional theism maintains that God created freely and could have chosen otherwise; so God’s deciding to create the world is a contingent occurrence. And since it is contingent, it cannot be completely explained (i.e. deduced) from any necessary truths about God. In response, the theist could weaken the original principle somewhat, allowing that only free acts of persons are suitable contingent grounds for explanation….It is important to clarify that even a successful deductive cosmological argument would not establish the truth of theism.”(Enotes)

Philosophically speaking the existence of the universe, the argument claims, stands in need of explanation, and the only adequate explanation of its existence is that it was created by God.  However there are assertions that the infinite series itself provides a complete explanation for the existence of whatever follows it. But the series itself is not dependent on anything else for an explanation.  So even though the cosmological argument does make some relative sense deductively and philosophical speaking there are still masses who are not completely satisfied with its deductive argument.   Some even recommend that we take more of a inductive approach than a deductive approach to the bible.    

*William Lane Craig has a series of video & podcast on defending the cosmological argument with objections, which can be found on his website {Reasonable Faith} or with a search on {YouTube}.

 

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About M. Rodriguez

When I first received Christ salvation, I made it a priority to read the whole bible and I did. But it was the Bible that made me question my faith. For I found it flawed and lacking. Due to this I launched a personal inquiry/investigation into my faith, and ultimately realized that the Christian God of the Bible was indeed man-made. Now I Blog about those findings and life after Christ.
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15 Responses to Reasoning with Faith, Religion, and Atheism…Deductive Reasoning (Part 7)

  1. unklee says:

    A version of the cosmological argument which you allude to briefly avoids the infinite series problem. It could go something like this:

    1. A contingent entity or event cannot contain its own cause (by definition).
    2. All events in the universe are contingent (they could have been different).
    3. Therefore a non-contingent (i.e. necessary) entity or event must have caused all the contingent events that make up the universe.

    This doesn’t prove God, but it shows that natural events = contingent events cannot be the whole explanation.

  2. exrelayman says:

    Marcus,
    You know of course that if you google Kalam you can find pro and con presentations on Kalam. Read both sides before you reach a conclusion. I don’t want to argue this here as it has been argued to death (as have all of the ‘difficulties’ ‘apologetic issues’), and you can find all the arguments for both sides and make up your own mind without taking a position based on hearing one person’s ‘proof’ (mine included).

    Logic can be both used and ab-used. Knowing a list of logical fallacies is sometimes not enough, as abstract constructs can get very very tricky and hard to evaluate. My own thinking, not tricky or subtle, is that a real, existing, loving God would make itself evident to us without our needing recourse to such devices as Kalam or any other abstruse reasonings.

    But even should one accept Kalam as demonstrating anything, how then to be certain this necessary being is Jehovah rather than Allah (or either or neither of them)? Muslims have their scholars, equally versed in intricacies of the abstruse, just as persuaded as the Christian scholars. It almost seems to me that Kalam and other such constructs are red herrings, inviting us to admire the learnedness of the argument and forget about the fact that it is being used to support the idea of a snake and an ass that talked, a God that commanded the eating of dung and killed David’s son instead of David to punish David for his murder (this is a brief starter list of Biblical nonsense), and the fact that all of comes through the writings of unknown men.

    Anyway, best wishes on your own investigations. I am enjoying your mental excursions.

  3. plasticpatrick says:

    Structural suggestion: Could you put this series in a menu or something to make it easier to read 1 – 7?

  4. M. Rodriguez says:

    another good source for reading with deductive argumentshttp://theway21stcentury.wordpress.com/the-world/the-universe-points-to-god/

  5. Pingback: To the BitterSweet End « plasticpatrick

  6. plasticpatrick says:

    I made a really long reply then I just took it out and turned it into a post.

  7. Delft says:

    The problem with this kind of reasoning is that it can only prove that “if your premises are correct, so is your conclusion”. And I’m afraid you have no basis at all for your premise “Everything has a cause.” You may believe that the things in your range of experience have a cause, though even that is doubtful nowadays… You certainly cannot know that “everything” does.

  8. unklee says:

    The problem with this kind of reasoning is that it can only prove that “if your premises are correct, so is your conclusion”.

    This is clearly true, but very little in life, apart from mathematics, can be “proven”. So most people don’t see this reasoning as “proof”, but as an argument which we evaluate as being either more or less likely to be true.

    And I’m afraid you have no basis at all for your premise “Everything has a cause.”

    I wonder why you say “no basis”. Is it not true that most everything we know about has a cause? That provides some basis, based on experience, or by induction. Some would say that quantum events have no cause, but that depends on how you define “cause”, for they certainly require antecedent conditions, such as the existence of a quantum field.

    So if, apart from the universe, everything we know about that came into existence had a cause or some required antecedent conditions, isn’t that at least some basis for the premise? Wouldn’t it at least be reasonable to say that the premise is, based on experience, more likely to be true than not?

  9. Pingback: Reasoning with Faith, Religion, and Atheism…Introduction to Reasoning (Part 1) | The BitterSweet End

  10. Pingback: Essay: The Cosmological Argument: What a Load! « Alchemy of the Word

  11. Pingback: Essay: The Cosmological Argument: What a Load! | Alchemy of the Word

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