William Lane Craig's Science of Cosmology

Dr. Craig doesn’t have a science background, so although he studies the findings well, he tends to get the science wrong as most non-experts do. But he is readily admits his misconceptions and lets the experts correct him on the science. I saw him do this with Sean Carroll on physics, entropy, and quantum mechanics. I give him a lot of credit for being able to do this. But Craig, the theologian and philosopher, is getting squeezed in by science and more recently by mathematicians.

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Craig has multiple peer reviewed publications in the philosophy of time, general relativity, philosophy of cosmology and astrophysics. The old hat that he gets his science wrong is dishonest. Larry Krauss said the same thing and Craig humiliated him. By the way all the models that Carroll promoted in that debate (including his own Carroll-Chen cosmology) are dead. Where did Craig get his science wrong? Craig even had to correct Carroll on a serious mistake Carroll made in his own paper.

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Sadly Patrick is engaging in falsehoods. I remember back in 2009 Craig debated Ayala and pretty much dished out one of the most one-sided intellectual kickings I have ever seen. Of course this did not stopped atheists from claiming Craig misunderstood the science as in the debate he mislabelled an eukaryote as a prokaryote once. Pretty sad that Patrick is engaging in ad homs.

As for mathematics he has recently published two books on the philosophy of mathematics/logic, abstract objects and God. The first was published by OUP and the large research level monograph by Springer. Patrick you are either dishonest or ignorant.

We certainly have differences of opinions here. This is a great forum to discuss both the science and the mathematics. Let’s do it. You can chose any of Craig’s arguments and we can all discuss the merits of them. There is certain enough scientific, mathematical, philosophical, historical, and theological brain power here that it will most certainly be lively and fun. And we will all learn a lot. Perhaps even WLC will participate.

Here’s an idea. The Final Planck Satellite results have been published. Does this support the “universe from nothing” argument" or the “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth” argument. We can apply all of the work of Craig, Lennox, Krause, Carroll and Hawkings in the discussion.

Please provide references for these or better yet the actual publications.

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Please provide the alleged falsehoods.

I am neither.

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The Planck Satellite results have nothing to do with multiple universes, M-theory, quantum fluctuations, universe origins, creation from nothing etc. The results have only confirmed, to far greater degree, the standard big bang model of the universe. The universe is probably a little older, a little flatter than pervious estimates. The only thing of real interest was, although expected, no evidence of special geometries. Clearly you are not a physicist or mathematician. You remind me of Richard Dawkins who exclaimed that the finding of the Higgs ( a boson with spin 0) would destroy religion. Clearly Dawkins, as a zoologist, knows nothing about elementary physics - a bit like Lawrence Krauss in fact.

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Craig CV is on line and I will not waste my time writing everything down. However as they are less numerous I will list some of his peer-reviewed monographs in the philosophy of physics and time.

The tensed theory of time. Springer.
The tenseness theory of time. Springer.
Time and the metaphysics of relativity. Springer
God time and eternity. Springer. With combined his work on time with philosophical theology.

Edited volumes or contributed volumes.

Einstein, Relativity and Absolute Simultaneity.
Theism, atheism and big bang cosmology. Series of debate articles with atheist Quinten Smith from their articles in the British Journal of Science and other places. The interesting thing about this book it was too philosophically sophisticated for most physicists and too scientifically demanding for most philosophers.

Craig was also president of the Philosophy of Time Society for seven years.

Perhaps I could take back dishonest. But clearly you know nothing of William Lane Craig or his work but still seem to feel free to claim that he has no credentials in the fields he debates in.

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I clearly know a lot about William Lane Craig and his work for decades. And he has no credentials in cosmology, GR, Quantum Physics, nor mathematics.

Yes, it is science engaged philosophy. He is engaging real science faithfully BUT he then gets the mathematicians upset by getting the logic wrong in his Kalam cosmological argument.


Indeed, going “beyond” science is exactly what philosophers do—because science itself is basically a “spin-off” of philosophy, a subfield of philosophy known as natural philosophy. Several centuries of Christian philosophers developed the scientific method and a set of rules to distinguish natural philosophy from the rest of philosophy. They realized that setting limitations on the methodologies of natural philosophy restricted it in various ways but in the process such methodologies proved very valuable and effective in answering questions about the natural world.

I’m often amused when philosophy-ignorant “science only” advocates lash out at philosophy as “irrelevant” and “useless” when it was philosophers who developed the rules of logic and the scientific method itself. Many would argue that Science is the #1 most valuable and brilliantly effective product of philosophy, the greatest accomplishment of many generations of philosophers. (Many would also point out that this grand accomplishment was almost entirely dependent on the work of Europe’s Christian philosophers.)

Patrick, I read through the linked material you provided and got the impression that the poster has a poor understanding of philosophy. Of course, I could say the same for many of the mathematicians who get “upset” about William Lane Craig’s logic in his version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

I do not claim to be a philosopher but I think I know enough of the basics to see how many mathematicians and WLC critics don’t understand the nature of proofs in philosophy. Formal proofs in mathematics are not the same as the kinds of proofs Bill Craig is talking about when he discusses the Kalam Cosmological Argument. You should not assume that such “proofs of God” are like mathematical proofs which settle some issue once and for all and render all doubt moot. No, in other fields of philosophy a proof [many prefer the term “argument”] tends to be an explanation for why some position is reasonable. That is, it expresses sound reason. I don’t think I can emphasize that enough. [Of course, many would say that some such arguments are more than just reasonable. They consider them overwhelmingly compelling. But philosophical proofs don’t necessarily require such extremes.]

Therefore, the Kalam Cosmological Argument does not mean that all of the world’s mathematicians must now become theists (much less Christian theists) because the logic has eliminated all denials of God’s existence and forced atheists to change their minds. No, the Kalaam is a philosopher’s summary of why the concept of such a deity is reasonable. Accordingly, there are plenty of atheist philosophers who can affirm the Kalam argument as valid and reasonable without feeling compelled to go to church every Sunday.

(By the way, if you want to strain your brain, I dare anyone to engage the current debate among philosophers about the demarcations between the philosophy of logic and philosophic logic! This is yet another of my excuses for not becoming a professional philosopher.)


Well said.

By the way, Joshua, many webpages dedicated to allegedly debunking Dr. Craig’s version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument waste a lot of verbiage on controversial issues such as the exact definition of the universe and whether there is a multiverse and prior entities, etc. etc. etc., thinking that those possibilities somehow render the Kalam invalid. No. Indeed, the very fact that there are so many different positions on such topics leaves the Kalam itself intact. Yes, there may be other reasonable positions but the fact remains that the Kalam itself, based on its own reasonable foundations, remains a valid argument of philosophers.

@Patrick, perhaps someday the physics will be utterly clear and the origins of the universe well understood to where philosophers will unanimously reject the Kalam argument. Until then—and I’m not predicting that that will happen—the Kalam Argument is most certainly a reasonable position.

[By the way, I find myself constantly having to correct my spelling from “Kalaam” to “Kalam” to reflect the standardized spelling. The Arabic word for “speech” (and later for “medieval theology”) is KALAM with the second “A” being long, and I got in the habit years ago of spelling it KALAAM as a result. It has proven a difficult habit to break. So my apologies if I still inconsistently mix Kalam and Kalaam in my posts. It may seem like a trivial point but there may be students and others who quote from Peaceful Science, so I try as hard as I can to keep my posts academically sound even in what may seem like minor details.]

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That day is today. I am preparing a post on the Final Planck Satellite Results that were released yesterday. Physics is now utterly clear on the origin of the universe. Philosophers no longer needed. Time for philosophers to move on to other areas.

@theman8469 welcome to the forum! We are glad to have you here. Personally, I look forward to seeing how this specific thread unfolds.

You just met @Patrick. Let’s understand each other before we start throwing around accusations like this.

No one is disputing WLC’s credentials. More likely. @Patrick misread him, or has something new to learn about the science of cosmology, or perhaps WLC made an error that is small from our point of view and consequential to him. Let us start with that presumption first.

Better phrased, some good excerpts of papers relevant to the conversation would be helpful. @Patrick, I think the burden is somewhat on you. You said he tends to get the science wrong. What exactly are you referring to?

I’d like to know about that. Can you give us the story and documentation?

I would agree with you @Patrick. You can be a sarcastic bomb dropper, saying the opposite of what you mean for a laugh. This, however, is not what is going on here.

@theman8469, this may be surprising, but @Patrick has some affinity for Craig. See here:

This is more likely than you know. If you guys can engage productively and hone in on a well conceived and careful question together, I’ll ask him to answer it. He might even come here to discuss it. He is not still figuring out his position on Adam, but this is a topic he would love to engage.

I’d suggest we all back off the instinct to “defend” our chosen champions. They can defend themselves. Let’s instead if we can better understand them, and see if there is any validity to Craig missing something important in the science of cosmology.

With that in mind, I’ve added some earlier related posts that were off topic on another thread.

@theman8469 will probably drop a few bombs for fun, but I expect he will also be reasonable to you. He is not th enemy.

Focus on this.

Clearly you are wrong on the science. The 2018 Final Planck Satellite results have a lot to say about multiple universes, M-Theory, quantum fluctuations, universe origins, creation for nothing. The conclusion is rather simple, the Lambda CDM 6 parameter model of the universe is confirmed with sub-percentage accuracy. The simplest model of inflation is strongly favored (slow roll inflation proposed by Guth and Linde in 1980). You don’t need multiple universes, M-theory, quantum fluctuations to explain the origin of the universe.