An argument is a deliberate attempt to move beyond just making an assertion. When offering an argument, the person offering a series of related statements which represent an attempt to support that assertion to give others good reasons to believe that what you are asserting is true rather than false.
Sometimes we hear such statements referred to as propositions. Technically speaking, a proposition is the informational content of any statement or assertion. To qualify as a proposition, a statement must be capable of being either true or false.
The above represent positions people hold, but which others may disagree with. Merely making the above statements does not constitute an argument; no matter how often one repeats the assertions. To create an argument, the person making the claims must offer further statements which, at least in theory, support the claims. If the claim is supported, the argument is successful; if the claim is not supported, the argument fails.
This is the purpose of an argument: to offer reasons and evidence for the purpose of establishing the truth value of a proposition, which can mean either establishing that the proposition is true or establishing that the proposition is false. If a series of statements does not do this, it isn't an argument.
When we analyses the financial statements of the company we can make assertions about the strength and weaknesses of the company .These statements cannot make a valid argument. An Important prerequisite for an argument is a deliberate attempt to move beyond just making an assertion. When offering an argument, you are offering a series of related statements which represent an attempt to support that assertion to give others good reasons to believe that what you are asserting is true rather than false.Example1
If a service company going for debt financing rather than equity financing will destroy the financial stability of the company when the books of accounts of the company shows a huge fluctuation in the pattern of income.
Premises are statements of (assumed) fact which are supposed to set forth the reasons and/or evidence for believing a claim. The claim, in turn, is the conclusion: what you finish with at the end of an argument. When an argument is simple, you may just have a couple of premises and a conclusion:Examples for premises
- When company has too much outside capital owners of the company may lose the control over the affairs of the company
- Recent studies shoes that the companies opt for equity financing doing well as compared to debt financing
In the above statements there is one premise is missing. After all, there is never a sentence stating that how debt financing prove to be fatal for the company. This is an example of fallacy of ambiguity.
With these fallacies, some sort of ambiguity is introduced either in the premises or in the conclusion itself. This way, an apparently false idea can be made to appear true so long as the reader does not notice the problematic definitions.Adding the missing premise
- In the case of a service company where the return is not fixed company will find it difficult to pay off the fixed debt. Where us in the case of equity dividend only if there is income
The third type is an inferential claim it expresses the idea that some matter of fact is related to the sought-after conclusion. This is the attempt to link the factual claim to the conclusion in such a way as to support the conclusion.
A service company doesn't have fixed income should not go for debt financing The Third type is an inferential claim it expresses the idea that some matter of fact is related to the sought-after conclusion. This is the attempt to link the factual claim to the conclusion in such a way as to support the conclusion.Example 2
Inferences are the reasoning parts of an argument. Conclusions are a type of inference, but always the final inference. Usually an argument will be complicated enough to require inferences linking the premises with the final conclusion:
- Doctors earn a lot of money. (premise)
- With a lot of money, a person can travel a lot. (premise)
- Doctors can travel a lot. (inference, from 1 and 2)
- I want to travel a lot. (premise)
- I should become a doctor. (from 3 and 4)
Here we see two different types of claims which can occur in an argument. The first is a factual claim, and this purports to offer evidence. The first two premises above are factual claims and usually not much time is spent on them either they are true or they are not.
The second type is an inferential claim it expresses the idea that some matter of fact is related to the sought-after conclusion. This is the attempt to link the factual claim to the conclusion in such a way as to support the conclusion. The third statement above is an inferential claim because it infers from the previous two statements that doctors can travel a lot.
Without an inferential claim, there would be no clear connection between the premises and the conclusion. It is rare to have an argument where inferential claims play no role. Sometimes you will come across an argument where inferential claims are needed, but missing you won't be able to see the connection from factual claims to conclusion and will have to ask for them.
Unfortunately, most arguments aren't presented in such a logical and clear manner as the above examples, making them difficult to decipher sometimes. But every argument which really is an argument should be capable of being reformulated in such a manner. If you cannot do that, then it is reasonable to suspect that something is wrong.Example 3
I think it is safe to say that Dr. William Lane Craig is probably the most skilled debater for Christianity alive. His most developed argument, a version of the Kalam Argument, is very extensive, sophisticated, and has been debated in various circles, and therefore merits the utmost attention. In my opinion, it is the most rigorous argument for theism that has ever been presented. This is the argument I will examine in this article.
- "Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
- "The universe began to exist [because infinite time is impossible].
- "Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
- "If the universe has a cause of its existence, then [we find that] an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is beginning less, changeless, immaterial, timeless, space less, and enormously powerful and intelligent.
- "Therefore, an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is beginning less, changeless, immaterial, timeless, space less, and enormously powerful and intelligent.
Dr. Craig usually shortens it even more to only 1-3, but we will also examine a few parts of point
This argument differs from standard first cause arguments because it does not use things like change or complexity as its basis. Rather, it uses temporality, which dispels the special pleading fallacy that is so common to such arguments.
In debates, the common method atheologians have used to criticize the argument has been to attack the set of arguments that compose proposition 2. Although Dr. Craig's support for it is uneven, I find the arguments used by atheologians in this regard to be inadequate also. The energy used to argue "infinity is energy wasted, when modern cosmology does not posit that the universe is infinite, and when the term itself is ontologically negatively defined. While infinity has great use in mathematics, it is a mathematical abstraction, nothing more : and we should not attempt to apply it any more than we should seek a perfect circle or the square root of -1.
No, it is clear that the knot of the argument is the first premise, and its use in deducing proposition 3. While the deduction that the universe existed for a limited amount of time is trivial, and we can accept that some of Craig's supposed divine attributes follow, the passage from one to the other is extremely weak. What evidence does he have to prove that whatever begins to exist must have a cause? In his opening case, he states:
The premise that whatever begins to exist must have a cause of its existence I think is so intuitively obvious that scarcely anybody could sincerely deny that it is false.
The motions of elementary particles described by statistical quantum mechanical laws, even if uncaused, do not constitute an exception to this principle. As Smith himself admits, these considerations "at most tend to show that acausal laws govern the change of condition of particles, such as the change of particle x's position from q1 to q2. They state nothing about the causality or acausality of absolute beginnings, of beginnings of the existence of particles.
This is a highly unsatisfactory rebuttal, as it shifts the goalposts of his first premise. Dr. Craig (by proxy) isolates "absolute beginnings as being important, but his first premise only states that "whatever begins to exist has a cause. He should very well know that physics has shown that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, thus making any such example impossible. But this does not detract to the strength of the counter-example. The radioactive decay of an atom is indeed "something, it is a property of the atom in question. Thus "something began to exist.
We must now turn to point 2. Before I continue, I have to clarify something about its formulation
"The universe began to exist [because infinite time is impossible].
In the actual point, the arguments used to support that the universe began to exist, only prove that the universe has existed for a finite amount of time.
Dr. Craig seems to assume that this passage is obvious, since he does not even bother to validate it, but a finite past is not a sufficient condition to deduce the existence of a beginning. It is perfectly coherent to posit, as many atheists do, that the universe has a finite past and yet had no beginning. Modern cosmology agrees with this position. As Mark Vuletic correctly points out in "Does Big Bang Cosmology Prove the Universe Had a Beginning ?, we cannot explain with any precision what happened prior to Planck time.
The problem is that prior to the Planck time, the universe is so small that quantum mechanical effects become very important. Therefore, a correct description of the behavior of the universe prior to the Planck time requires a synthesis of quantum mechanics and general relativitya theory of quantum gravity, in other words. And to this date, no full theory of quantum gravity has been developed, much less attained the consensus status that post-Planck-time Big Bang theory enjoys. Without such a theory, we cannot draw from cosmology any conclusions about whether the universe had a beginning or not.
He concludes that there are, as of present, four possibilities : there may still be a first moment, there may not be a first moment, there may not be any time, or there may not be a Big Bang singularity at all.
The underlying fallacy of the first half of this argument is simple, and can be observed in less sophisticated cosmological arguments also. The latter simply assume that non-existence has priority over existence, and then ask bemusedly why anything exists. It is a non-issue since non-existence is simply not a possibility. The same thing is true with Dr. Craig's argument as it relates to a temporality as a privileged position over temporality, and demands an explanation a cause for entities having a beginning. As we will see, a temporality is simply not a possibility for a Creator.
In the second half of this article, I will briefly examine some of the properties deduced as belonging to the Creator implied by proposition 3. These properties are: personal being, a temporal, powerful, and intelligent.
Argument that the cause of the universe is a personal Creator: The universe was brought into being either by a mechanically operating set of necessary and sufficient conditions or by a personal, free agent. The universe could not have been brought into being by a mechanically operating set of necessary and sufficient conditions. Therefore, the universe was brought into being by a personal, free agent.
To explain why a mechanical set of conditions cannot give rise to the universe, he gives the following argument:
But this is a complete non sequitur. Nothing tells us that a mechanical set of conditions must remain unchanging: and if it must, then so must the Creator's context as well. Other facts tell us that this distinction is purely semantical :
- Whether the Creator is a mechanical set of conditions or a personal being, the fact remains that an atemporal being cannot affect anything, since actions require change.
- There is no reason to posit that a mechanical set of conditions could not affect the same states of affairs than a personal being. To put such limitations on immaterial properties implies that Dr. Craig can define immateriality positively, which he obviously cannot do since it is a negative term. As Michael Martin concludes :
Now Lucas is clearly correct, I think, in maintaining that a succession of contents of consciousness in God's mind would itself be sufficient to generate a temporal series. But what if God's mental life in the absence of any created world is not discursive, but changeless? Why could the contents of God's consciousness not be comprised of tense less true beliefs and be such that He never acquires and never loses any of His beliefs? Would not such a changeless consciousness of truth be plausibly regarded as timeless? 
And by saying so, claims that God can know everything and be conscious of everything. He also gives similar arguments in reply to other objections, especially in assuming that God can create other beings, despite such creation being inherently temporal.
But it is easy to see the error in the quote above. Obviously there is an equivocation on consciousness here. No one disputes that God may very well possess all knowledge, but in the absence of temporality, it cannot be conscious of such knowledge. Atemporality entails that specific states are possible, but not actions. Thus the notion of an atemporal Creator fails even the most basic test for consciousness.
The Creator is timeless. In the complete absence of change, time does not exist, and the Creator is changeless.
I have noted a few times before that atemporality contradicts divine creation. If we accept the conclusion, then we must conclude that the only possible first causes are first causes that begin to exist, thus contradicting premise 1.
Dr. Craig does have a counter-argument, however, in that his position is more complex than "God is timeless. Rather his position is that "God is timeless sans creation and temporal since creation.
With the creation of the universe, time began, and God entered into time at the moment of creation in virtue of His real relations with the created order. It follows that God must therefore be timeless without the universe and temporal with the universe.
But this does not solve the problem of the act of divine creation being performed by an temporal being, since God was still timeless before the act of divine creation. Rather, it introduces a further problem of how an temporal, changeless being can be transformed into a temporal being. This is as contradictory as a person in a painting suddenly rising up and leaving his material frame.
Therefore, I must conclude that this argument fails completely in demonstrating that a god exists.