First Rejoinder - Shandon L. Guthrie
I appreciate the attention my small presentation has spawned. So I would like to take a look at the three-stage argument I
advanced and see how Mr. Hodge addressed them.
First, I suggested that everything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence. Hodge responded by noting the classic BBC debate with Copleston and Russell (with which I am familiar). But does the premise commit the problem of reification? Not at all. To reify would be to imply the reality of a universal as did Plato did with Forms. The idea that all things that begin to exist require a cause is not a hypostatic claim but an idealistic claim. Call it a synthetic a priori truth. But maybe Hodge was aiming for the fallacy of composition, one which sees an attribution from the parts to the whole. However, when I assessed the first premise I never made this assertion either tacitly or overtly. Instead, I appealed to the intuitive metaphysic that perceives the origination of any object with its need for a cause.
Secondly, I gave two reasons for supporting the second premise, and the philosophical reason was never responded to. With respect to Hodge's claim, that Hawking does not deal with the universe as the entire space-time continuum but, rather, as a universe existing in superspace, is misguided. Concerning inflationary models, Hawking writes that " . . . even the inflationary model does not tell us why the initial configuration was not such as to produce something very different from what we observe" (A Brief History of Time, p. 133). As such, Hawking tries to make the singularity of our universe a quantum event that exceeds the boundary of space-time. The idea that Hawking does not address superspace is immaterial to Hawking's theories.
But what about the Big Bang theory itself? Is it speculative? As with all theories, they are inferences to the best explanation. I gave two reasons why the universe must be finite and they were never addressed by Hodge and were even undergirded by Leonidas. But the Big Bang theory itself enjoys much attestation of which I detail in my essay on the Kalam Cosmological Argument. So I think the consensus of cosmology today is vouchsafed by observations by astronomers. Those that contest the Big Bang model only end up speculating about vacuum fluctuation models and cyclical theories which are designed to eradicate two pressing questions: Where did the universe come from and why does it exist instead of just nothing?
Finally, I deduced from the argument that God probably caused the universe simply by observing what the nature of a cause of the universe would most likely be. I explained that the nature of the universe must be timeless, non-spatial, powerful, and intelligent. These issues were never addressed, except for a few fleeting comments about the nature of timelessness (but nothing has been said directly contrary to this). Hodge, however, agreed that God's immutability was in question since God was not a creator and then, with the inception of the universe, became one. I have two responses to this. First, this rebuttal clearly confuses "function" with "being." How a being functions surely does not alter the essence or nature of the one acting. Secondly, Aristotle himself made a distinction between Essence and Accidents. The latter are add-on attributes that occur occasionally with certain beings. The former, however, is a necessary attribute for the identification of the being. And it is Aristotle's metaphysics in general that perpetuate the philosophers of the middle ages.
Therefore, I think that the responses to my argument in my previous post remains relatively unscathed. Unless and until an adequate reason for rejecting any or all of the premises can be adduced, I am under no obligation to think that the argument is unsuccessful. Hawking himself admits that if the Big Bang model, apart from his own unbounded model, is true then the universe "smacks of divine intervention" (Hawking, A Brief History of Time, p. 9).