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This morning while tidying up I found an article on my desk that my mom had sent me (probably some years ago given that it's from the 2008 Christianity Today) which I hadn't gotten around to reading: "God Is Not Dead Yet" by William Lane Craig. It's a survey of the status quo of natural theology/Christian philosophy written for the popular reading, and that latter point is the key for me overlooking a number of otherwise inexcusable oversimplifications. However, there are four sentences, in his discussion of the so-called kalam cosmological argument ("Everything that begins to exist has a cause; the universe began to exist; therefore, the universe has a cause."), that deserve brief comment, and since I have no better place to do so than here, here they are:

  • "Philosophically, the idea of an infinite past seems absurd": seems absurd is not the same thing as is absurd. Plus, seeming is a very subjective thing: What may seem absurd to you doesn't necessarily seem absurd to someone else.

  • "If the universe never had a beginning, then the number of past events in the history of the universe is infinite": Okay, no quibble here.

  • "Not only is this a very paradoxical idea:..": Very paradoxical? Things are either paradoxical or not, there is no gradation of scale. Also, I do not think this word means what you think it means. It seems like you think it means "problematic" or "unpalatable" or "difficult to comprehend". But this is not what "paradoxical" means to a philosopher, and even if you're writing for a popular audience, you are a philosopher and should be using your words correctly.

  • "...How could the present event ever arrive if any infinite number of prior events had to elapse first?": If the universe had no beginning, then not only have an infinite number of events already occurred, there has already been an infinite amount of time available in which they can occur.

There, I feel better now, having grumped semi-publicly. Back to work!


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