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Re: [Phys-L] Kalam cosmological argument

On 1/13/21 9:21 AM, Antti Savinainen via Phys-l asked about:

1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Line (1) assumes things that are not true.

It has been known for some time that the basic laws of mechanics do
not express causation. The laws of physics must say what happens, but
they need not say how it happens, and they almost never say /why/ it
happens. This is what sets modern science apart from medieval
science. This is what sets physics apart from metaphysics and
philosophy. Galileo made a point of this in 1638:

The present does not seem to me to be an opportune time to enter
into the investigation of the cause of the acceleration of natural
motion, concerning which various philosophers have produced
various opinions .... Such fantasies, and others like them, would
have to be examined and resolved, with little gain. For the
present, it suffices .... to say that in equal times, equal
additions of speed are made.

Rejection of causal inquiries was Galileo’s most revolutionary
proposal in physics, inasmuch as the traditional goal of that science
was the determination of causes.

Let me say it again: Galileo’s statement is the epoch, i.e. the
defining moment, defining physics as we know it. Modern physics starts
from the realization that we don’t need to know whether F causes ma,
or vice versa, or both, or neither; for a wide range of purposes it
suffices to know that F equals ma.

Newton went to school on Galileo (literally and figuratively). Seventy
five years later, Newton expressed the same idea, explicitly
disclaiming causation:

Hactenus Phaenomena caelorum et maris nostri per Vim gravitatis
exposui, sed causam Gravitatis nondum assignavi.... et Hypotheses
non fingo.

Hitherto we have explained the phenomena of the heavens and of our
sea by the force of gravity, but have not yet assigned the cause
of this force.... and I will not pretend to guess.

Anything that blurs the distinction between causation and mechanics
sets science back almost 400 years.

Details and references here: