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It’s easy to be an optimist when your optimism is grounded in ignorance. Just as it is easy to happy when pain does not affect the senses. A true optimist, however, has a proper understanding of the pain of the world and chooses to think positively. It’s not a simple task.
Epicureans view love in a strange light; they view it as being a painful pursuit: a pursuit that is parasitic on happiness rather than complementary to it, and, therefore, it should always be avoided. I, however, believe that love is worth engaging in and that the pains of a loveless life lived in fear of any close relationship is far greater than a life that pursues love. But, in order to understand my points, we have to understand some of the basic ideas of epicurean philosophy.
Epicurean philosophy believes that pleasure is the greatest good one can attain. With that being said, an Epicurean’s style life is focused on the elimination of pain, because when all pain is eliminated, only the greatest good is left—pleasure. This is not to say that Epicurean’s believed in maximizing pleasure at every moment of their life. Rather, Epicurean’s were focused on a consistent state of pleasure: a state with minimal hedonic fluctuations. This is because they believed intense states of hedonic pleasure could lead to hedonic adaptation, or intense states of unhappiness.
Hedonic adaptation, in a sense, is like being constantly engaged in a game of cat and mouse—at first you are satisfied with chasing the mouse, but eventually that is not enough. Eventually no matter how close you get to the mouse you will never be satisfied until you eat it, and once you eat it, you will desire another, and another, and another, until satisfaction from such desires is unattainable or unsustainable. Once this happens, life becomes a painful pursuit of the pleasures that once came so easily, and this painful pursuit is contrary to the Epicurean goal of consistent pleasure.
Intense states of pleasure are also contrary to consistent pleasure. This is because Epicureans believe that if a state of euphoria is ever achieved, it will create an ideal. Once this ideal is created, the chances of ever recreating it are so rare that the individual will always be disappointed. Therefore, euphoric states are not worth striving for.
The above paragraph is one of the reasons why Epicureans believed love should not be sought after. Epicureans believed that if you ever had that magical moment with someone, that moment that topped all other moments, you will—from then on—live in a state of disappointment, because the chances of you ever recreating such a moment are miniscule, whereas the chances of you failing to recreate the moment are great.
However, I don’t believe that this fully exposes the situation. I think it only exposes one side of the coin. What about the pain that one endures when one reflects on what could have been. You do not need an experience to show you that a part of your life is lacking. You only need an imagination. For example, imagine an Epicurean meets an absolutely wonderful woman and is falling in love with her. Due to his prude view on love, however, he calls it off and stops seeing the woman. Because of this, however, he is left in despair, for the rest of his life, imagining what might have been. On the other hand, imagine a man falls in love in the exact same way as the Epicurean, but does not call it off. The man continues to see the woman and experiences some of the best days of his life with her. But, in the end, despite the man’s best efforts, they also separate, and the man is left heart broken. Given this example, and the torturous power of the imagination, it would be better to take a chance on love, give it all you have got, and fail, rather than not give love a chance and remain left to live with self-doubt and ideas of what might have been. The quote, by Shakespeare, “it’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all,” comes to mind. It seems as though Shakespeare also thought that the joys of being in love, if only temporarily, outweighed the benefits and regrets of abstaining from it.
Epicureans would rebuttal with something similar to what was said before. They would exclaim that the man who stayed with his love is foolish. He is foolish because now he will live with a euphoric memory that is unlikely to be recreated by anyone else. And therefore, he will roam from relationship to relationship attempting to create what once was, with little luck of ever finding it again. Or he will live a life obsessed with his ex-love and tormented by the idea of never being able to be with her again.
I think, however, that the above statement neglects to consider the human ability to forget. I can think of past examples where I have been in love and I no longer see that person. I am not left dwell over them and what might have been. Their memory does not torment me in my everyday doings. To say that it would is to over romanticize love and catastrophizing the emotions involved in it.
Epicureans, however, do not believe that they are catastrophizing. They believe the pain of love can be noticed in a simple thought experiment. Imagine, for example, someone that you love; now imagine that this loved one is going on a trip and will not be home for over a week. Notice how your mood changes as soon as you begin to think about the loved one leaving you. You begin feel some sadness. You begin to miss this person. That is because love creates an obsession with someone else, an obsession that causes more pain than pleasure. Here is another example, which may be stronger. Imagine the person that you love the most. Now image that they have become terminally ill and have only a few weeks to live, most of which will be spent in a hospital bed, suffering. Surely a true reflection of this would bring tears to anyone’s eyes, and for this reason, Epicureans believe love is not worth engaging in.
I want to make it clear that identifying sources of suffering is one of the hardest parts of Epicurean philosophy; therefore, when you identify a source of suffering, you would be foolish not to change your behavior in accordance with happiness.
The Epicureans make a strong case for eliminating love from one’s life. It is difficult to recognize the true benefits of love when one considers the immense suffering that could come along with the loss of a loved one. That being said, I think the suffering that may follow from losing a loved one does not outweigh the pleasures of love. Imagine, for example, waking up beside the person you care the most about for the rest of your life…Isn’t that a pleasant thought? That being said, I think the Epicureans focus too much on one side of the coin, meaning they focus too much on the negative parts of love. What about the benefit of having someone to nurture you in times of illness? The Epicurean may respond to this by stating, “this is why you need friends, not lovers.” However, I think the feelings are just not the same. The joy that a loved one can bring cannot be matched. This is evident to anyone who has been loved.
Furthermore, if an Epicurean believes in the elimination of romantic love, it follows that we should also remove ourselves from other kinds of love. Loves such as parental love and sibling love—because both of these loves could be substituted into the thought experiments above and produce the same negative emotional effects. And if this is the case, then we should be cautious—even fearful—of developing any strong emotions toward parents and siblings because these strong emotions will not eliminate pain in our lives. To live in fear of becoming too attached to someone based on an idea that it will make you unhappy is absurd. What about all the years that you live in fear, surely those are not productive to attaining happiness? And therefore, you might as well rid yourself of a lifetime of fear and take a chance with love.
I understand that what I have said thus far may not eliminate pain and produce the consistent happiness that Epicureans are striving for; there are, however, problems that come with too much consistency. Namely, how do you know you are happy if you have been consistently “happy” for a couple of months? Think, for example, about someone who is experiencing a set amount of pain for a long period of time. Eventually the pain begins to numb, and in order to remember that you are in pain, or out of it, requires fluctuations. So if an Epicurean were to eliminate all pain and live in a consistent state of happiness, they would soon be unhappy, or indifferent to emotion. Therefore, fluctuations in emotional states are necessary in order to identify emotion—in order to feel emotions. In light of this, it also seems that Epicureans, nowadays, would be large supporters of constantly taking drugs like Adderall and Tylenol that numb pain and extreme emotional fluctuations. But surly a sedated society is not a society that we should be striving for.
One thought that I must give the Epicureans credit for is their reasoning behind making decisions when in love. Imagine that you are highly inebriated at a premier business meeting. During this meeting, you strike a conversation with an inventor that needs an investor. This inventor comes across as highly persuasive to your inebriated self, and by the end of the conversation you are willing to take out a second mortgage to fund the inventor’s project, and in fact, you do. You call up your banker on the spot, and he approves it (as he would). The next morning, however, you wake up to realize what you have done, and immediately regret making such an important decision while you were so drunk. The Epicureans believe that love is much like a drunken state and that life long decisions—like marriage—should not be made when under the influence of love. I also believe this; however, I believe what they call love here is actually lust. Lust can last a long time and control the mind of any man. Love, however, is not quite as powerful. Love is experienced and comes to be known after all the emotions of lust leave: when you no longer worship the ground of the person you are with, but respect it and respect them. You see you cannot be lustful of someone and respect him or her because you are not thinking of him or her as a whole individual. When one is in love, however, one is always thinking of the person as a whole, because in order to love someone you must understand all aspects of him or her—the decision to get married should be made with this understanding because that is when the decision is the most rational.
Although the Epicureans provide a coherent and consistent philosophy as a whole, they misunderstand the benefits of love. I mean, how are people who have never really engaged in it supposed to know the feelings of love and what love can truly offer. By not experiencing it, Epicureans are left to their imagination, which catastrophizes love and underestimates ones ability to forget. Furthermore, this catastrophizing creates a fear of love and all relationships that may develop into love, and with this fear a life of happiness is diminished to a life of anxiety. Not only that, but also when life is diminished to a desire of a constant emotional state, the joys of living are swept away and one no longer remembers what it means to be happy. Much like an assembly line worker has lost what it means to be creative. Purse love, not lust, and come to know someone intimately and experience the joys of it…Y.O.L.O.
Will: Socrates, this sunset marks the end of another day. Another day of hot sand pressing up against the burnt bottoms of my feet, another day with no food to eat, another day where I am forced to ration such a simple thing as salivating. We are going to die out here Socrates. I know it. And I am scared of what death will bring.
Socrates: Why would you be scared, William? Death is nothing a wise man should be afraid of. What happens after death is unknown; therefore, to fear death is to make an assumption about what we don’t know, which is foolish. Death could be the greatest thing to happen to man.
Surely, William, you don’t know everything about the desert. Surely it’s filled with things unknown to you, but that’s not what you are afraid of; you are afraid of the venomous snakes; the lurking vultures; the pains and hallucinations that follow from a lack of food, water, shelter, and those things are worthy of fear. Death is not.
Will: Oh, Socrates, you always knew how to comfort a friend in a time of need. In a time of utter terror and desperation, didn’t you…
These vultures that pray for my carcass to drop are terrifying. I have been reading their body language for days. I know everything about their daily doings and can meticulously map out each body part. Yet, it’s not a fascination with what they do that has led me to study them, but a fear of what they have not done. They stare down at me like they are luring me into a trap, and no matter how well I know their workings, I do not know how or when they’ll attack. Are they going to be gentle or will they peck out my eyes, increasing the unknown, just before they peck and play at my tendons like the strings of a harp, producing a harmony so harsh that Hermes will turn his head…Socrates, it is precisely the unknown that scares me.
Socrates: William, William, that situation does sound horrific; however, you have neglected one important point—you cannot study death or the after life. It is not empirically testable. You see, you are able to scare yourself by imagining situations based off of other experiences, or exaggerating past experiences, but comprehending what death could be like is unimaginable. We have no prior memories of it and no one to ask about it. Have you ever tried to speak to a dead person? They don’t have much to say.
The closest thing we have to death is sleep and if death is anything like sleep, surely you are not afraid of it, are you?
Will: Yes, right now, in this desert, I am terrified of sleep. I am terrified of my dreams, my nightmares, and I am terrified of what I may be awakened by.
Socrates: Sure, right now you are afraid of sleep, but that is only because of our unique circumstance. In everyday life you were not afraid. You slept far too much to be afraid.
And yes, dreams may be scary, but if that is your fear, you don’t have to worry. Dreams come with consciousness, and when you die, you are no longer conscious. Death is like a deep undisturbed slumber. What is more relaxing than that?
Will: Socrates, my life is not about relaxing. It is about creating, laughing, and trying new things. That’s what got me in this piss stained desert in the first place, but once those three elements are gone and there is only relaxing, then I will be forever unfulfilled. I will be forever ‘resting’ in hell.
Socrates: William, your delusions are getting stronger, aren’t they? You seem to be unable to understand what it means to be unconsciousness.
Will: Exactly, I am unable to use my consciousness to grasp the state of unconsciousness!
Socrates: Let me finish! I must bring up slumber, once again. In slumber you are content with not being able to create, laugh, and try new things. In slumber, there is no movement of the mind or desires of the will. There is only rest. Therefore, when you pass away, all the desires that you posses when alive will no longer affect on you. In other words, come to realize that all the things that worry you now, will no longer worry you; they will not be able to. They are dependent on consciousness and when consciousness ceases to exist, there will be bliss.
Will: All right, Socrates, you are right. If Death is an eternal slumber, then there is nothing to fear because the very state of fear cannot exist in death. However, what if death is not eternal slumber? Part of the reason why I am scared to fall asleep is because I do not know how or what I will be awakened by. What if I am awakened by a sweaty multi-headed hydra feeding me rotten cheesecake for eternity—I hate cheesecake! If this is the case, I will always fear death and strive to stay alive as long as possible.
Socrates: So you have concluded that if there is no afterlife, there is nothing to fear. But now you are saying that if there is an afterlife, its realm is unknown, and because of this, you fear it.
Will: Correct. That is why I clutch to life as a frightened child clutches their mother…
Socrates: William, what makes you think such a painful afterlife is waiting for you? You have searched for the good your whole life. Soon your soul will be relinquished from the body—the body that is currently causing you grief and preventing you from doing good philosophy.
Tell me if you agree with this: foxes rest with foxes, horses rest with horses, and humans with human, Correct?
Will: Yes, that is correct, Socrates.
Socrates: Alright, how about this: generally good people reside with good people, sick people with sick people, royalty with royalty, and evil people with evil people.
Will: Yes, I also agree.
Socrates: Then why, William, are you afraid of your soul resting with evil? You are not evil. In fact, you have spent your life in pursuit of the good—of philosophy—and if this is true, then your soul will go and reside with other philosophers. Furthermore, think right now, what is hindering you from doing good philosophy?
Will: My detraining mental state; my desire for water; the pain of my blisters growing and bursting with every step.
Socrates: You see, William, your material body is what hinders you from doing good philosophy. Once you are released from it you will no longer have to worry about its needs and desires like sex, warmth, friendship, or in your case food, water, and shelter. It is our senses that create illusions and muddy up our thinking processes, it is not the soul. Once you are rid of the body, purity of thought will bless your soul for eternity.
Will: No, no, no. This life is what allows me to do philosophy. It is the pain and struggles that I endure which allows me to be a better philosopher—a wiser philosopher. The agony I am experiencing now may not be evidence of what I am saying, but once healed, I will have gained a wisdom that other people do not have.
You see, in a perfect world philosophy is not needed. Just like if sickness did not exist we would not need doctors. Philosophy is dependent on suffering because with suffering comes a desire for understanding and with that desire comes wisdom. Think back to my statement about the vultures. If I were not in the horrific condition that I am now, I would know nothing about them. Pain has brought me to inquiry and from inquiry I have gained knowledge.
Think about some the great philosophies of the world—Stoicisms, Epicureanism, Christianity, utilitarianism, communism, capitalism. They all have a similar goal—to reduce a type of suffering, however they define it. As humans we come to realize the pain that comes with existence and have a need to mitigate it. This is not to say that one should always live in suffering in order to come to wisdom. The hindrances of suffering can be seen by my current state. And that is why the people that suffer the most are not necessarily the wisest. However, if one has never experienced suffering or has experienced it long ago—as an eternal soul would have—then that individual begins to loose touch with what philosophy is, and in turn, looses their wisdom—in other words, suffering produces philosophy and philosophy produces wisdom.
Socrates: mmm, such a persuasive argument by such a disillusioned man.
Will: What are a bunch of souls going to discuss anyway! The beauty of art, the meaning of life, the value of wisdom? No, they cannot. All those inquiries stem from the material world, from a desire to elevate their mental pains through attaining wisdom. When you are a soul there is no longer anything to discuss.
Socrates: But the mind is not material, William. The mind is our soul; it simply uses the material world to uncover what it already knows.
Will: So the soul depends on material reality as a way to uncover what it already knows? But I though when we discussed the effects of the material world on doing philosophy, you said that the effects were negative?
Socrates: I did, and the effects are negative. That is why wisdom is not easy to achieve; and that is why the after life will be much better for philosophers.
Will: All right, so if there is no material world to hinder our thinking, we will achieve wisdom faster. What, however, is the point of wisdom in the afterworld? You have failed to answer that, Socrates. Right now wisdom concerns me because I want elevates my suffering by understanding the world in front of me. But if I am a soul that cannot suffer because there is nothing in front of me, then what can we philosophize about? Philosophy necessitates our material; it cannot be done in a blissful immaterial state. You cannot derive something of substance from nothing. Furthermore, if there is an afterlife, our knowledge from here will be useless in it because the realm of the afterworld will be radically different. Take, for example, people who are traveling from earth to mars. Surely, Socrates, you do not think that everything they have learned here on earth will be applicable there. Now imagine how radically different the realm of the afterlife will be, surely no earthly wisdom will be applicable.
Furthermore! You said the mind was immaterial, but how does something immaterial, like the mind, interact with the material? This is inconceivable. It would be like talking to a ghost and expecting it to respond. A ghost could never respond! This is because in order for it to respond, it must use its immaterial properties to affect material properties: it must use nothing to affect something. Isn’t this right, Socrates…Isn’t it? Respond to me, I need to know how this works…
Socrates stared at William blankly.
Will: Gahh, my mind is failing me anyway, stay silent as a cactus. My point is proven, nonetheless. Now, I cross over to an unknown realm, a realm where all the pain and suffering that I’ve experienced in this life will be utterly useless. But until than, I will “rage against the dying of the light.” For when the light dies, all that has given me meaning will be swept away. Either into eternal slumber or away into an afterworld with no philosophy, no beauty, no family, no meaning…RAGE, RAGE!
With pitiful eyes Socrates looked down on William as he passed away. “What a way to go out,” he said. “If only he would have realized who and what he was talking to before he passed, then he would have understood the absurdity of his ‘reality’.”
Will, what do you think about modern art?
Will, what do you know about playing your part?
Will, what do you know about stats on charts?
Will, tell me what you know about the head and the heart?
Is there a direct connection, a direct line
that your heart can call up to get a hold of your mind?
But the heart is often blind, what if it dials nine
and calls out to the world unfiltered by your head,
letting loose the creature that your mind always dreads?
“It was just a little love,” says the heart the next day,
when the mind calls him up in the morning to say:
What were you thinking? Oh right that’s my job.
and if you’d let me do it, maybe the eyes won’t sob,
the nose won’t clog, and the throat won’t frog.
You don’t have to be such a sensitive pink blob!
Remember last time you spoke up without me?
By the end, you could barely beat!
Ah to hell with those eyes. It’s their fault. They deceive.
They told me she looked just like the girl of my dreams!
You don’t even have dreams! Those are mine too!
You’re a heart; do heart things, while I do what minds do:
guild you, self-actualize you,
With you I’ll never be my best.
You wont even keep quite when caged in a chest!
It’s not fair! You do everything! You always mediate!
Even when we’re lost in broken memories that I recreate,
But what’s at stake? Just take a break.
Stop thinking for heavens sake.
Fill yourself with a passion that will make our lungs inflate?
Breathe in and breathe out, maybe meditate,
while I reiterate the benefits of a heart filled state
by letting in the love that you love to negate.
Haha, Yeah right, love:
The ultimate instability, a hindrance
to virtue filled tranquility.
Gah, it’s too bad you’re an automatic part of me.
I’ll always on the other end of the hepatic artery—
Oh come on now heart, you’re just blowing steam.
Your expectations will only lead to suffering.
Be mindful of where you’re going with this—
if you know what I mean.
I say what I mean and that’s why you mind what I say.
I am all about the dreams and pleasures you want to throw away:
Copulation isn’t just a means of reproduction or a lifeless chore.
No wonder when it’s over they always want more.
But you can’t be fazed,
lost in the synapses of your selfish act.
Head this heart needs to be used before this heart attacks!
Oh heart, I try to pull you from the mire, but you chase every old desire.
You claw at health, wealth, and fame,
But those are not yours to claim.
They are beyond your reach. There are no guarantees.
No matter how hard you seek.
Ya, but what’s a person without passion?
You want us wandering around in a tin-man fashion?
No heart for creativity and the arts, passionless and uncompassionate.
I’ll tell you right now, the tin-man wasn’t havin’ it.
I am not talking apathy. You always talk to drastically.
I am about acceptability: a cognitive therapy.
If you don’t like your job, don’t storm off and sob
saying you deserve more. You deserve what you get.
You’re placed in a situation so you can learn from it.
So acknowledge it and change your mindset.
Don’t expect your job to change, that’s a poor bet.
Because the only change you can get is self-dependent.
Alright, so it’s all dependent on you.
What an unreasonable and selfish view—
I play a part to.
I am sorry I throw us off “track,”
but some things are uncontrollable,
that’s a fact!
Like my response to girls with a real nice rack.
They taught and tantalize,
I can’t hold my self back!
And that results in a severe smack, you shmuk.
An obvious sign you should hold back.
In fact, that whack was more than an attack; so quit your cryin’
and recognize a sign from the Devine.
A sign not to pursue every pleasure—
instead focus on controllable measures,
like forming a stable self.
I mean, were you being virtues
when you grabbed that girls abundance of wealth?
Oh, mind, you’re just a land mine.
Waiting to explode.
No one can carry such a cognitive load.
It’s pathetic; you think you’re so distinct.
Get off your high horse, big pink.
You’re threats don’t bother me, all right!
They emotionally prod me,
to do what’s right.
I acknowledge the need for change,
so I’ll bring it about—
human, take the heart and rip it out!
With one fell swoop the heart was ripped from the chest,
tossed on the concrete with only a couple beats till rest.
Look what you have done now, brain!
You’ve ripped me from my nest.
You’ve proved once and for all, you’re heartless.
But where is your rationality now?
You stoic clown,
You Socratic mess,
You soon to be rotten carcass.
MIXED MEDIA ON CARDBOARD
Our freedom, our pursuits, our apathy rests on the backs of many people. In our own community and abroad. With the introduction of foreign labour markets, this is hard to remember—out of site, out of mind—but it’s always worth acknowledging.
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” ― Nelson Mandela
Future respiratory system
The Kalam Cosmological Argument is an old argument that has been used to logically prove the existence of God for many years; recently, however, it has emerged into popular thought because of a modern philosopher named Dr. William Lane Craig. Dr. Craig has done this by publicly debating the soundness of the argument against many atheists. This essay will be no different; however, I will be debating that the Kalam Cosmological Argument is unsound because the first premise is untrue. I will begin my argument first by establishing the criteria for a sound argument. Then, I will provide three arguments that explain why the first premise of the Kalam argument is false—“What ever begins to exist has a cause.”(1) I will explain that one should be skeptical of our intuitions and the scientific data that is acquired as a result of intuitions. (2) I will depict how space and time is necessary for the truth of premise one in the Kalam argument, but is not necessarily true before space and time, considering that the universe exists. And (3) I will explain two different ways why the statement “something came from nothing” should not be deemed logically contradictory: one way will consider our lack of understanding and the other will consider a current phenomenon that is occurring at a quantum level.
In order to understand what a sound argument is, one must understand what a valid argument is. This is because an argument cannot be sound unless the argument is valid. That being said, an argument is valid if, and only if, the premises of the argument necessitates its conclusion; or, in other words, if the conclusion is logically forced from the premises. It is important, however, to note that the premise and conclusion of a valid argument do not have to be true. Here is an argument that is valid with untrue premises and an untrue conclusion:
All turtles are pink
All things that are pink are immortal
Therefore, all turtles are immortal.
As one can see, the conclusion and premises are are false; this argument, however, is valid because given the premises, the conclusion necessarily follows.
When assessing whether or not an argument is valid, the premises are assumed to be true. Whereas, if an individual wanted to establish if an argument was sound, the individual would have to asses whether or not the conclusion is logically forced from the premises, and, if the premises and conclusion of the argument are true. Considering these criteria, the argument about turtles being immortal is not a sound argument because the premises are not true. One could select and easily refute either of the premises simply by pointing out that the premises are not represented in reality—for example, turtles have died. That being said, here is an example of a sound argument:
All men are mortal
Socrates was a man
Therefore, Socrates was mortal
In this argument the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises, which makes it valid. Furthermore, because both premises are true: all men are mortal and Socrates was a mortal, and the conclusion is true: Socrates was mortal, the argument is sound.
When assessing the soundness of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, one also has to follow the steps explained above: (1) is the argument valid and (2) are the premises and conclusion true statements? The Kalam argument is:
What ever begins to exist has a cause
The universe began to exist
Therefore, the universe has a cause.
The Kalam Cosmological Argument is valid—the conclusion is logically forced from the premise; therefore, it meets the first criterion of soundness. I do not believe, however, that it meets the second criterion of soundness, which is that the premises and conclusion are true statements; this is because I believe the first premise is untrue.
Premise one is that “what ever begins to exist has a cause.” This premise is often assumed to be true because cause and effect seem to be intuitional for humans and necessary for humans to make sense of the world. However, because a principle allows us to make sense of the world and seems to be true, does not mean that it is true. It is plausible that cause and effect—pattern recognition—could be an evolutionary adaptation, which then manifested into a scientific construct, rather than cause and effect being a universal law. In other words, our assumptions and the proofs used to “prove” our assumptions may only be the product of a bias or limited outlook on the workings of the universe. With a strong enough will and imagination, proof of almost any concept can exist. For example, children do not only believe in Santa, but find evidence of him in multiple ways: by hearing things on the roof on Christmas Eve, affirming their belief with other children, finding gifts under the tree labeled “from Santa,” and finding crumbs on the kitchen table. If one dismisses this example as juvenile, then here is an example from our scientific history that depicts the faults of following intuitions and “scientific data:” Roughly two thousand years ago, humans thought that the earth was flat and that it was situated at the center of the universe, because it not only appeared as such, but was tested as such. We, however, no longer believe in that model of the universe because further scientific investigation has shifted the scientific paradigm. Nonetheless, the two examples given suggest that biases manifest in intuitions and appear in scientific data, and because of this, one should always be skeptical of intuitions and the conclusions resulting from them.
I want to be clear, what I have said above does not prove that the first premise is false; it suggests that our intuitions concerning cause and effect could be fabrications of the human mind and human biases, and because of this plausibility, the first premise cannot be accepted as true.
The theist may respond to this by stating that to live with such a skeptical mindset is unsustainable. This mindset entails that the truth of every premise, with a plausible alternative, should be disregarded; and, therefore, the only arguments that could ever satisfy such a skeptic are arguments that Kant would call, “analytic” arguments: arguments that are true by definition. For example, “all bachelors are unmarried” is an analytical statement because being a bachelor necessitates that one is unmarried. However, with this criterion, nothing can be learned other than what is analytically true, and therefore there would be no point in studying science. Yet, surely the claim “what ever begins to exist has a cause” is so blatantly apparent in everyday life that it can be accepted as true.
If the above argument were accepted as true, given that the first premise of the Kalam argument is “blatantly apparent,” it could only be accepted as true in our current universe, not in what was prior too. Meaning, if the claim that “what ever began to exist has a cause” were true, it could only be true in our universe where space and time exists; the premise cannot extend to a time before our universe. In our universe, every material item has a material cause, or as premise one states: “what ever begins to exist has a cause.” This is because our universe operates in space and time. In a universe before space and time, however, one could not measure cause and effect because cause and effect necessitates a time in which something can come into being and a space in which it can exist. Therefore, premise one may be true in a universe with time and space, but it cannot be true before space and time existed—which is the time we are analyzing. Moreover, if “what ever begins to exists has a cause” necessitates space and time, than a universe without space and time may not need something to come into existence with a cause. In fact, because there is something rather then nothing suggests that before space and time, something could arise from no cause, hence the existence of our universe. In other words, something must have come from nothing, or else I would not be writing this essay.
One possible rebuttal for the claim that something can come from nothing by saying that it is a logical impossibility: If true nothingness exists, then nothing can arise from nothing, because in order for something to arise there must be something to cause it: a room filled with nothing will always be a room filled with nothing, unless something alters it.
The objection above seems to be true, but once again only from our current understanding and conditions. Given, however, that the conditions before the Universe came into existence were radically different then our current conditions, and given that our logical constructs are developed given our current conditions and can only be tested and applied in our current reality, it is safe to assume that those conditions that existed—before our reality—do not apply to our current logical system. And therefore, something could plausibly come from nothing, given different conditions. Furthermore, the idea that something can come from nothing may not be as logically impossible as once thought, even in our current construct of reality, considering that something has come from nothing: the Large Hadron Collider, which is used to conduct experiments with quantum particles has shown that particles have been entering and exiting existence without any causal explanation as to why; in other words, these partials appear to be coming into existence without cause. Given this, it seems as though the first premise of the Kalam argument can be negated not only by reasoning, but also by scientific evidence.
In this essay I have explained the two criteria needed for a sound argument. One of which is validity, the other being true premises and a true conclusion. Subsequently, I have given reasons why I believe the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument—“What ever begins to exist has a cause”—is untrue; starting with the idea that scientific explanations cannot be trusted to explain reality because scientific investigation follows one’s intuitions and not necessarily reality. This argument did not negate the truth of the first premise; however, it explained that it could not be trusted as true or false, and therefore should not be used as a premise in an argument. I went on to say that even if the first premise were true, it is only true in our space and time reality, because without space and time, the material cause suggested in premise one of the Kalam argument cannot exist, and if it can not exist then at one point something must have came from nothing, considering that there is a universe. Lastly, I argued that the idea that something can come from nothing is not logically contradictory, for two reasons. The first one being, given that our logical constructs exist in accordance to our current construction of the universe, does not mean that these logical constructs were true before the universe. Therefore something could logically come from nothing; however, we would never know because we would have had to exist under those conditions. The second argument concerned current scientific investigation. With this argument I gave an example of how the Large Hadron Collider is evidence that something can come from nothing, because that is exactly what appears to be happening: partials seem to be coming into existence with no causal correlation, which directly negates the first premise of the Kalam argument. Considering these arguments I find it difficult to believe that the first premise of the Kalam argument is true, and if the first premise is not true, then the argument is not sound and should no longer be considered a logical argument for the existence of God.