I am currently drinking blueberry tea, eating pizza, and writing an outline for a talk I am giving on premise 2 of William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological argument. Earlier I was playing a chase-and-tickle game with my adorable baby son, who is constantly in a state of getting a kick out of being alive and belonging to Lindsey and I. Before that I was enjoying an americano at Java, working on some invoices, and wondering why my cheek muscles were twitching. It wasn’t until I couldn’t stop smiling for about an hour straight this evening at home with my family that I realized just how much use my smile muscles are getting!
In other news, between the fire department, the gas company, and two different gas appliance specialists, nobody can detect any CO or identify any significant problems with our gas appliances in terms of burning efficiency or ventilation. Lindsey’s theory is that the furnace vent up on the roof (shout out) was blocked with snow and ice while we were gone and the t-stat (short for thermostat – I’ve been hanging around lots of technicians of late, so I know all the lingo) was set so low (also there is the fact that our house got about 18 inches of snow while we were gone!). Then, when her mum came by and turned it up on her way to picking us up at the car rental place, it built up CO in the house until the heat melted the vent. This would account for 1. the build up of CO between when Margaret came by and when we got home, 2. the swift lowering of the CO levels after we opened windows (since the blockage had been melted away and subsequent exhaust had been venting properly), and 3. our inability to raise the CO levels again for troubleshooting purposes. So its explanatory scope is pretty broad, and it isn’t as contrived as some of the theories the professionals were throwing around, such as “maybe the firemen were picking up exhaust from their truck on their meters” or “maybe your neigh(shout out)bors’ snowblower’s exhaust wafted back into your house through a vent”. Also, its explanatory power is fairly great, as I can easily imagine all of the CO found in the house being accounted for on such an explanation.
But back to Craig’s Kalam. He says that everything that begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist, and so the universe had a cause. There is a lot of discussion in the scholarly literature about each of the whopping 2 premises. (Nobody disputes the validity of the logic.) I actually think that both premises are true and so I accept the conclusion, but one of the arguments Craig makes in favor of premise two is mistaken (and it comes in two stages – both of which contain errors in my humble opinion). Expressing my critique along with an explanation of why I think his argument succeeds despite it, in technical philosophical jargon, is an ongoing project of mine. Tonight I am presenting the current state of my work to a group of lay, undergrad, and graduate philosophers who meet monthly. They just liked what I had to say last time and were interested in hearing more.
Thus the blueberry tea and pizza.
I will come back to explanatory scope, explanatory power, and degree of contrivedness as criteria for assessing multiple competing hypotheses in a later post.