The Instigator
Puck
Con (against)
Winning
45 Points
The Contender
beem0r
Pro (for)
Losing
44 Points

An atheist must believe "something comes from nothing."

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Con Tied Pro
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/26/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,728 times Debate No: 4518
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (43)
Votes (22)

 

Puck

Con

An atheist does not need to believe that something came from nothing.

Character Limits......................
beem0r

Pro

Since my opponent has not made a case for his side, I will simply state my case, plain and simple.

It is my position in this debate that atheists believe that something came from nothing.

However, I will go much further than that. I will argue that this is true for everyone, not just atheists.

Here's a premise we can all agree on.
1. There is a sequence of events.

This is obviously true. This paragraph is shown on this debate. This came from me hitting submit once I had my argument written out. This came from me seeing this debate and accepting the challenge. Etc. We can hypothetically track this back to the beginning of the universe. If the universe came from something, we can hypothetically track it back to the beginning of that thing. If that thing came from something, we can track it back to the beginning of this new thing. However, we are left in a conundrum. If these things all came from something, there would be an infinite list of causes - so that the beginning could never truly be reached. The only solution here is to either keep going, or just figure that something somewhere in the line indeed did not come from anything.

Even if you believe the cause of the universe's existence was a god, you must believe that something came from nothing. In this case, the something would be that god. Or if that god did come from something, then it would be whatever caused that god, or whatever caused that, etc. However, it can be agreed upon by atheists and theists alike that:
2. Somewhere, the sequence of events must stop.

From 1 and 2, we can clearly see that there is a 'first cause', as many call it. This first cause existed, yet did not come from anything. There was no thing it came from, it simply existed/happened.

And that, as they say, is that.
Debate Round No. 1
Puck

Con

"It is my position in this debate that atheists believe that something came from nothing.
1. There is a sequence of events.
2. Somewhere, the sequence of events must stop.
From 1 and 2, we can clearly see that there is a 'first cause', as many call it. This first cause existed, yet did not come from anything. There was no thing it came from, it simply existed/happened."

I will not argue the causal god side of this debate as that is unnecessary. "no thing" and "nothing" are separable outside of semantics and it was a clever ploy, but one I challenge. "no thing" is a causal statement; "nothing" is a form of negative existence. I clearly stated "nothing". Your syllogism is flawed by the way. No premise states anything about "cause".

Big Bang theory uses Einstein's general theory of relativity to draw the history of the universe back to a moment in time when the entire universe was concentrated in a point of infinite density, called a singularity. This account however ignores quantum mechanics: at a point in time called the Planck time, the universe was small enough to be subject to quantum mechanical effects. To know accurately what impact these effects would have had on the universe before Planck-time requires a theory of quantum gravity, which combines general relativity with quantum mechanics (so we have at least 2 possibilities).

General relativity:
One outcome of relativistic physics is that space and time (spacetime) are themselves inseparable aspects of the universe. Consequently, by general relativity alone, the origin of the universe was the origin of space and time. There cannot have been time prior to (or space outside of) the initial singularity; "prior to" (or "outside of") the singularity makes no sense. In turn, this shows that the vision of the universe somehow "arriving from" an elemental nothingness, far from being a proviso of Big Bang theory, is inconsistent with it.

For the universe to have "come from" nothing there would have to be a point when, there was nothing, and then, at some later point in time, the universe suddenly existed. One cannot argue that the universe existed at the first moment of time, and then, in the next breath, imply that there was a time before this first moment of time in which nothing existed.

"We have known for twenty-five years that Einstein's general theory of relativity predicts that time must have had a beginning in a singularity fifteen billion years ago. (Hawking 1993:46)"

Options with quantum gravity:
1. We still have a first moment in time.
2. The singularity is removed by some quantum mechanical effect. When we run the clock back, the universe does not reach a situation of infinite density. Something else happens when the universe reaches some very high density that permits time to continue indefinitely into the past.
3. Something new and different and quantum mechanical happens to time. Possibly we reach a state where it is no longer suitable to think that reality is composed of a series of moments that follow each other in series, one after another. In this case, there is perhaps no singularity, but additionally it also does not make sense to ask what happened before the universe was exceptionally dense. (Smolin 1997:82)

Possibility 1 gives us the identical situation as that described by non quantum mechanics Big Bang theory: a universe which exists at every instant of time, and hence cannot have "come from" nothing.

Possibility 2 arrives at a universe stretching back infinitely in time, similarly eliminating the supposed issues raised by the universe "coming from" nothing.

Possibility 3 (which is the scenario proposed in the quantum cosmological speculations of Hawking) again gives us a universe that cannot "come from" nothing, as the very concept of time-ordering ceases to have meaning in the early universe.

In fact, then, under possible options for a Big Bang supplemented with quantum gravity, it would still be mistaken to characterise the Big Bang as stipulating that the universe "came from nothing." On each possibility, there is no moment of time at which the universe did not exist.

Other theories of an uncaused/self causing universe can wait next round. :)
beem0r

Pro

My opponent does two things right from the get-go. First, he tells me that 'coming from no thing' and 'coming from nothing' are completely different. Second, he says my whole argument is meaningless, since I spoke of causes, and the resolution uses different meaning.

First, let me address the definition of nothing.
Nothing: 1 : not any thing : no thing
Source: Merriam-Webster

For example: If you ask me what I turned in for an English assignment, and I answer that I turned in nothing, I am stating that I did not turn anything in; that there was no thing I turned in. It does NOT mean that I turned in a negative state of existence, or whatever ridiculous definition my opponent wants you to use.

In this same way, something coming from nothing simply means that for some thing, it did not come from any thing, there was no thing from which it came.

"Something comes from nothing" doesn't mean there's some 'negative state of existence,' and all of a sudden it pops out a something. It simply means there is at least one thing that did not come from anything.

Next, the accusation that cause is irresolutional. This is ridiculous as well. It is obvious that a first cause, such as the Judeo-Christian god, by the very definition does not 'come from' anything. This is true for naturalistic first causes as well, such as the universe for those who believe the universe did not have a cause outside itself. The fact that it is not caused indeed does show that it does not come from anything.

A large portion of my opponent's round was targeted at the bad definition of nothing. As I stated, nothing literally means 'no thing.' My opponent's definition is simply wrong, and I challenge him to show otherwise. I not only provided a definition from a reliable dictionary, but also a use in context to show that my definition is the correct one to use.

My opponent lays out a case where the universe simply existed forever. In this case, the universe itself is the thing which does not come from anything. Therefore, "something comes from nothing" is true here as well, the something here being the universe.

My opponent also suggests that there could be a point when moments following each other in a sequence no longer exists, so that things at one moment are not caused by something else. In this case, too, this is something coming from nothing. Something being whatever it is that isn't being preceded by a causal moment.

My opponent's entire case is working to show that the universe possibly did not come from anything. However, using the correct definition of nothing, we see that he is indeed fulfilling my resolution for me with his possibilities.

My opponent says he will show more examples of an uncaused universe next round [who knows why he would do that, since CAUSE has nothing to do with the resolution, remember?]. Anyway, I welcome this, and I thank my opponent in advance for his generosity.

And the floor's back to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 2
Puck

Con

The definitions:
1 : not any thing : no thing
2 : no part

As can be seen, definition. 2 is the more appropriate for this debate. English words frequently have multiple meanings/uses.

Your example "...I turned in nothing"
The above example is a causal chain before "nothing". It is an erroneous example as we are discussing the 'beginning'.

""Something comes from nothing" doesn't mean there's some 'negative state of existence,' and all of a sudden it pops out a something. It simply means there is at least one thing that did not come from anything."

Again incorrect; negative state of existence if you refer to the definition would be timespace with no parts i.e. nothing. As I showed in R2 'nothing' was never in place at all. There was only the universe.

"Next, the accusation that cause is irresolutional. This is ridiculous as well. It is obvious that a first cause, such as the Judeo-Christian god, by the very definition does not 'come from' anything. This is true for naturalistic first causes as well, such as the universe for those who believe the universe did not have a cause outside itself. The fact that it is not caused indeed does show that it does not come from anything."

I said your syllogism was flawed. That infers nothing about causation itself, its validity or existence as a universal force. Again this is debate is not about any theistic notions of god as the first cause.

"The fact that it is not caused indeed does show that it does not come from anything." Anything is not the same as nothing. Its use is disingenuous.

"My opponent lays out a case where the universe simply existed forever. In this case, the universe itself is the thing which does not come from anything. Therefore, "something comes from nothing" is true here as well, the something here being the universe."

Again, the use of "anything" is incorrect. If I was arguing "anything" I would have stated as such. As such your argument here fails again. Saying the universe did not come from anything therefore it came from nothing fails on its own as well. The universe did not "come from", it always has been.

"My opponent says he will show more examples of an uncaused universe next round [who knows why he would do that, since CAUSE has nothing to do with the resolution, remember?]. Anyway, I welcome this, and I thank my opponent in advance for his generosity."

Wrong again. ;) A self causing universe removes the need of a causal chain therefore "come from" becomes irrelevant; just as relativity and quantum theory remove "nothing" and at times "come from" as well. So I will be "generous" as you put it and provide the most recent theory of a self causing universe. A self causing universe compliant with Big Bang Theory removes all essences of "something coming from nothing".
http://www.infidels.org...

There really is nothing left to argue. As an atheist, removing god as a first cause does not necessitate the universe "coming from nothing". Relativity and quantum theory both state that at no point was there "nothing" no time when "something" was not there. Attempts to derail the meaning of "nothing" are equally pointless.

Regards, Puck
beem0r

Pro

My opponent first provides us with the other definition.

I quote my opponent here:
"1 : not any thing : no thing
2 : no part

As can be seen, definition. 2 is the more appropriate for this debate. English words frequently have multiple meanings/uses."

WHAT? As can be seen? How is that? Let's just plug definition 2 into the resolution, and see if it even makes a small morsel of sense.

An atheist must believe "something comes from no part."
"As can be seen," this makes absolutely no sense. Note that my opponent gives no REASON why his definition is superior, besides "as can be seen."

Let us consider:
1> "No part" does not mean "A negative state of existence", "Nothingness", or "the state of there being nothing." No matter how you slice it.
2> My definition makes sense not only literally, but colloquially. Suppose a person believes the universe was uncaused. Suppose this person is asked "What did the universe come from?". Consider he gives the response, "Nothing". This is a truthful response.
3> My definition appears first, and it makes sense in this context. Therefore, it should be used.

So with that, the definition issue should be dealt with.

I said: "The fact that it is not caused indeed does show that it does not come from anything."
My opponent said: "Anything is not the same as nothing. Its use is disingenuous."

However, let us look at the definition. "NOT ANYTHING" If something did NOT come from ANYTHING then it came from NOTHING. Or if you prefer, it came from "NO THING", which is the same definition [definition 1 from Webster]. Any way you slice it, not having a cause does indeed mean coming from no thing.

My opponent uses this twice as a rebuttal. Did he not see that "Not anything" was a definition of "Nothing"? It's the first one listed, for god's sake! My points still stand. Not coming from anything is the same as coming from not anything. I just rearranged the words to make it sound better [there's hardly anywhere where the words "not anything" would go well right next to each other].

My opponent says:
"A self causing universe removes the need of a causal chain therefore "come from" becomes irrelevant; just as relativity and quantum theory remove "nothing" and at times "come from" as well."

If the concept of 'coming from something' is destroyed, then there is nothing to come from. Just as the concept of my own telepathic powers is meaningless right now, yet I am still telepathically communicating nothing. [Since this literally only means I am not telepathically communicating anything].

So let's pretend causation is out of the picture. Things now don't require causes.
First, let us realize there is still some point where this causal chain breaks - namely, the point where causality becomes meaningless. The "first cause" in this case would be the first thing that was not itself caused. As I have shown time and time again, anything without a cause automatically 'comes from nothing,' since it does not come from anything [else it would have a cause]. Even so, once causality is removed, my job is infinitely easier. Now, it is not just the first cause that comes from nothing, but also any outliers that are simply not part of any sequence of events. Since they didn't come from anything, they came from nothing. "Nothing" does not mean "NOTHINGNESS" [which is the state of nothing existing].

My opponent then provides a link. He wants me to read it. But why? I'm not here to read other people's theories. If you want me to respond to something, type it yourself. Links are meant as REFERENCES, not as argumentation. You have to do the arguing.

Ironically, my opponent closes with this:

"There really is nothing left to argue."

Indeed. There is not anything left to argue. There is no thing left to argue. I think I've made my point.
Debate Round No. 3
43 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Im_always_right 8 years ago
Im_always_right
wow...that hurt my teenage brain....uhhhh, i guess I'm voting con, since Puck knows what Atheists believe.

Oh, please don't label religion as a 'fairy tale', I resect your veiws, please respect mine...
Posted by beem0r-sucks 8 years ago
beem0r-sucks
Ha ha. Good job, puck. http://www.beem0r.justgotowned.com...
Posted by Arnaud 8 years ago
Arnaud
Ragnar. Don't use logic! That just screws up the whole god hypothesis. :(
Posted by Puck 8 years ago
Puck
Good 'ol incompatible properties arguments :D
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
Does that mean I completely refute the hypothesis of a God? No, since I have no proof against it."
I do.

"
An OMNIPOTENT being has all powers imaginable, and can perform any ACTION. CREATING something more powerful than omnipotent is an ACTION. It is not possible to CREATE something more powerful than omnipotent. Therefore, contradiction.

1. O->A (assumption, definition of omnipotent)
2. A->C (Assumption, dare you to defy it.)
3. ~C (assumption, definition of omnipotent)
4. O (Assumption of the existence of God)
5. A (4,1 by arrow out rule of logic.
6. C (5,2 by arrow out rule).
7. C & ~C (6,3, by ampersand in rule, CONTRADICTION, check premises).

"
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
See how retarded that sounds / is?
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
A-santa-ism can never truly exist, because the simple fact that you deny Santa Claus automatically acknowledges his existence.
Posted by Arnaud 8 years ago
Arnaud
Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a God. Nothing else. I'm tired of seeing theists label atheists otherwise. Of course we don't believe that the Universe came from "nothing." But to believe some magical sky fairy popped out of nowhere and created us is borderline ridiculous.

Does that mean I completely refute the hypothesis of a God? No, since I have no proof against it. I'll leave a shred of my beliefs open to a God, just like I will leave a shred of my beliefs open to fairies, gnomes, leprechauns and unicorns.
Posted by Puck 8 years ago
Puck
"Atheism technically can never be fully true, because the simple fact that you deny God or a "higher being" automativally acknowledges its existence."

If thoughts are reality I'm a millionaire.
Posted by Cg09 8 years ago
Cg09
Atheism technically can never be fully true, because the simple fact that you deny God or a "higher being" automativally acknowledges its existence.
22 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 10 months ago
fire_wings
Puckbeem0rTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:10 
Vote Placed by 2Sukh2 2 years ago
2Sukh2
Puckbeem0rTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: I felt pro was better
Vote Placed by m93samman 6 years ago
m93samman
Puckbeem0rTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: balancing vote bombs
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Puckbeem0rTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
Puckbeem0rTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
Puckbeem0rTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
Puckbeem0rTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by DiablosChaosBroker 8 years ago
DiablosChaosBroker
Puckbeem0rTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Vote Placed by burningpuppies101 8 years ago
burningpuppies101
Puckbeem0rTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:34 
Vote Placed by Im_always_right 8 years ago
Im_always_right
Puckbeem0rTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30