Friday, July 27, 2007

Keith Parsons responds to me on cosmological arguments

Well, we're debating again. Parsons responds to me on Secular Outpost. I don't have time to reply right now, so you guys get the first crack.


Anonymous said...

The discussion on the Cosmological argument is interesting. I'm really not sure what to think about the PSR in general. The "From nothing, nothing comes" formulation seems okay, but this one is a PSR for "becoming" not for "being", and as such only helps the Kalam formulation not the argument from contingency. Even on this version, Parson's argument is difficult to fault. However, it's interesting to note that in response to Victor he has turned the Occam's razor principle into a merely pragmatic one rather than something truth conducive. Thus an atheism accepted on this basis is merely a pragmatic working hypothesis. I actually think this is the most consistent position for an atheist to adopt on the virtue of "simplicity" in theories, but it's always a surprise to hear atheists actually espouse it.

Also, I personally think the principle "From nothing, nothing comes" is simpler than "Within the spatio-temporal framework from nothing, nothing comes", and that simiplicity makes it more plausible than suggested alternative. Funny business this Occam's razor thing.


Mark K. Sprengel said...

"Within the spatio-temporal framework from nothing, nothing comes"

But if there is a framework to be within, how can there really be nothing?

Seems to me that those who say we cannot, by reason, conclude that from nothing, nothing comes, with regards to this framework, are saying reason cannot transcend said framework, begging the question in doing so.

Victor Reppert said...

I think this kind of position leads to a Kantian view that we can't conclude anything (by theoretical as opposed to practical reason) about what is ultimately real, because all principle you might apply to the space-time manifold can't be applied to any questions of metaphysics.

Anonymous said...

Victor, is Parsons' denial of a human's ability to comment on the cosmological evidence for the start of the universe in any way a concession to the AFR?