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Does Kalaam have inductive problems?


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Often the first premise of the Kalaam Cosmological Argument (All things which begin to exist have a cause) is justified via induction and appeal to our everyday experience as evidence for the inductive inference. However, I posit that this is possibly the weakest inductive inference possible. The Kalaam argument is universally understood to be referring to what is called Creation Ex Nihilo. That means the universe was created from nothing; it was not assembled from previously existing matter and energy. This presents us with a problem since all available information for this inductive act is that regarding what is known as Creation Ex Materia. That means something is created from other pre-existing things. These are two very different meanings for "beginning to exist".

 

Let's look at the probability for this inference. Bayes' Theorem, is how we can check to see that we made a good inference. Bayes' Theorem says that the probability that a given proposition is correct is equal to the probability that that proposition is correct in light of the available evidence divided by the sum of the probability that that proposition is correct in light of the available evidence and the probability that that proposition is false in light of the available evidence.

 

[math]P(h|e.b)=\frac{P(h|b)xP(e|h.b)}{[P(h|b)xP(e|h.b)]+[P(~h|b)xP(e|~h.b)]}[/math]

 

In all of that, there are only 3 numbers we need to find. The others are either repeats (the first term on the denominator is an exact duplicate of the entire numerator) or they are derived from other numbers (the first number in the second term of the denominator is derived from the first number in the numerator).

 

P(h|b) is the probability that a proposition is true without looking at any evidence (P(~h|b) is derived from this as it is the probability that the proposition is not true[given two options]).

P(e|h.b) is the how well the proposition fits the available evidence.

P(e|~h.b) is how well the competing proposition fits the available evidence.

 

So, let's take the claim that there exists at least one thing which began to exist ex nihilo with a cause. For the sake of argument, I'm going to generously grant P(h|b) as being 60%. Now, since every example we have of something beginning to exist is ex materia, P(e|~h.b) is 100%. That's a huge issue.

 

If anything, it seems to me, probability dictates that it is much more likely that any event which has a cause has a natural cause.

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That means the universe was created from nothing; it was not assembled from previously existing matter and energy.

 

Hope you'll excuse my quoting just this bit from your interesting post! I've done so, because this bit uses the passive voice - "was created", "was not assembled".

 

The passive voice of verbs, is used a lot in English. But some other languages tend to avoid it. French doesn't favour it much nowadays. The French language increasingly replaces it by the active voice, with an indefinite subject "on". Equivalent in English to "one", "they","someone".

 

So for example, whereas we say in English "John was beaten" (passive voice"), the French would say: "On a battu Jean" (active voice) - someone beat Jean.

 

Now, suppose this French tendency to eschew the passive voice in favour of the active, were to be emulated in English. And the tendency continued, until in the future, the passive disappeared entirely from English.

 

Then, you wouldn't be able to say: "The Universe was created". Instead you'd have to say: "One/They/Someone created the Universe."

 

Mightn't that influence the way you thought about "creation", and whether it could be done from "nothing"?

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