The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
Naysayer
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Atheism Doesn't Necessarily Entail That A Universe With A Finite Past Came From Nothing

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/16/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,248 times Debate No: 37806
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (51)
Votes (3)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

I will be arguing that the assumption that God does not exist, and the assumption that the universe has a finite past does not necessitate that the universe must have came from nothing. My opponent will be arguing that if God does not exist, and the universe has a finite past, then the universe must have come from absolutely nothing. First round is for acceptance, Good luck...
Naysayer

Con

I accept the debate. I wil be arguing that a finite past necessitates a universe that came from nothing, excluding a creator. I thank my opponent for the opportunity.
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Introduction

I would first like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. Secondly, I desire to state that many theists believe that without God in the picture, the universe must either be infinite in age or have came from nothing; there are many reasons why this is a false-dichotomy[1]. However, I will only be focusing on one in this debate, as that is all that is needed to establish the resolution. Thirdly, I just want to say that I will not need much room to make my point, so hopefully the viewers are not expecting a novel.

The Universe Coming From Nothing Can Be Avoided

If the universe came from nothing, then at first, nothing at all exists...then the first state of the universe exists and expands; this seems to be what people have a problem with metaphysically. However, this whole scenario assumes that we start with absolutely nothing at all. Why not just assume that at first, the first state of the universe exists and expands? This way we cut the "nothing" out of the equation, making any talk of the universe coming from "nothing" a non-starter logically. So, instead of assuming:

a) At first, nothing exists, then, the first state of the universe exists

We can just as easily assume:

b) At first, the first state of the universe that exists

If we don't start with nothing, then any claim of the universe coming from nothing is false from the get go. Instead of adhering to the notion that the universe came from absolutely nothing, we can just assume the first state of the universe didn't "come from" at all; it just existed 13.7 billion years ago and expanded. Here is a diagram to illustrate the difference between a "something coming from nothing" scenario, and a situation where that is cut out and is not the case:




If you look above the red line, you see a "something from nothing" scenario, where at first there is absolutely nothing (no space, no time ect.), then the first state of the universe magically pops up; there is a transition. If you look below the red line, you will not see a "something from nothing" scenario, as there is no "nothing" preceding the first state of the universe to plug in; there is no transition.

Conclusion

The universe only could have came from nothing, if we start with nothing. Then, a transition must occur. However, there is no room for a transition involving something from nothing if we just start with the first state of the universe and cut the "nothing" completely out of the picture (as shown by the bottom half of my diagram). Since there is nothing logically or metaphysically impossible with this scenario, then I have shown that it is not necessary to assume the universe came from nothing to be an Atheist (an Atheist maintaining the universe has a finite past, of course). Instead of "there is nothing, then the first state of the universe", we can just assume "there was a first state of the universe". This view self-evidently logically excludes any something from nothing scenario.

Source

[1] http://www.nizkor.org...
Naysayer

Con

Greetings! I would like to thank my opponent for the opportunity to clarify the issue of the universe’s generation to assist in his general philosophy of the nature of the universe.

The way I understand his statements, (And he insists I am misunderstanding him.) he claims that the universe is finite, approximately 13.7 billion years old. He claims that the first state of the universe, however, is that it existed. Then (And this is what I take issue with.) he claims that the universe is not eternal, neither does it form spontaneously from nothing. This is all assuming no creator force.

My position is that the universe must either be eternal (as in, it always was) or it spontaneously generated from nothing, if we assume no creator.

I would like to note that Pro has attempted to pre-empt my argument by stating that to assume such a position is a false dichotomy. It basically boils down to arguing over the definition of nothing. As such, I will prove that this is an accurate dichotomy and a necessary one to the situation, unless one makes an assumption that the absence of any universe does not equate to nothing, an assumption he has not been willing to make.

The relevant definition of nothing is as follows:[1]
1
a: something that does not exist
b: the absence of all magnitude or quantity; also : ZERO 1a
c : NOTHINGNESS, NONEXISTENCE

Nothing is the absence of anything. It is zero, nothingness. Nothing means there is nothing. There is no value to the presence of nothing. In mathematical terms, it is undefined.

The major reason I would object to my opponent’s theory is because it lacks the answer to this question: What came before this finite universe? What was there one second before 13.7 billion years ago?

There are only two general answers to this question: 1. Something. 2. Nothing.

If one assumes the first answer, what is it and what came before that? If one assumes the second answer, then we reach the crux of the issue.

There are only two possibilities for a finite universe. Either it came from something else or it came from nothing. This is a necessary dichotomy. Pro speaks as if nothing is a measurable substance and thinks to eliminate its existence through argument. The problem is that nothing is the lack of substance and assuming there is no substance, one is left with nothing. This is unavoidable.

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Con's Position Is A Non-Starter

As I already alluded to in my last round (which my opponent himself even seemed to notice), Con's whole position is based on a false-dichotomy; which is an elementary logical fallacy. Here is a direct quote from my opponent:

"My position is that the universe must either be eternal (as in, it always was) or it spontaneously generated from nothing, if we assume no creator." - Con

First of all, I already gave a third option in my first round breaking this non-dilemma. Secondly, my opponent's position is logically incoherent as his definition does not comply with the English Language. Con tries to equate "eternal" with "it always was" as if they have identical meanings. This is problematic, because "always" by definition simply means "at all times":


"al·ways
(ôlwz, -wz, -wz)
adv.

1. At all times;"[1]


As far as we know, the universe has existed at every point of time there ever was (which includes 13.7 billion years). This means, that defining "eternal" as "it always was" is a non-starter from the get-go, as even with a finite past the universe has always existed. This means, that Con's position is fatally flawed by default due to the definition error on behalf of my opponent.

Con's Definition Of Nothing

This whole section from Con is essentially pointless, as I do not disagree with my opponent's definition; my argument works assuming this very definition. This section from my opponent is also a Red-Herring, as I deny the "nothing" aspect completely in my view, making squabbles about the definition of "nothing" a fruitless distraction.

Addressing The Problem Con Has With My Argument

"The major reason I would object to my opponent’s theory is because it lacks the answer to this question: What came before this finite universe? What was there one second before 13.7 billion years ago?" - Con

My view assumes that there is no "before" the first state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago. Thus, asking what came "before" is a logically flawed question as far as my position is concerned. It would be like asking what is in the basket in my room, when there is no basket in my room... The question is inherently illogical. Similarly, if there is no "before" the first state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago, then asking what was "before" this first state would be equally absurd.

"There are only two general answers to this question: 1. Something. 2. Nothing." - Con

If there was a "prior", or "before" the first state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago, then yes; we would have to ask if there was something, or nothing. This is self-evidently a true-dichotomy. However, this question only has meaning if there was a "prior" or "before" the universe to even ask such a thing. My view is that the universe existed in a very compact state 13.7 billion years ago and expanded, but there was no "before" this state. Once more, if there is no "before", then asking what was "before" is an unreasonable question if we are trying to determine the truth involving an ontologically real scenario.

"There are only two possibilities for a finite universe. Either it came from something else or it came from nothing." - Con

I already pre-rebutted this assumption from Con in my last round:

"Instead of adhering to the notion that the universe came from absolutely nothing, we can just assume the first state of the universe didn't 'come from' at all; it just existed 13.7 billion years ago and expanded." - Me

We can just assume that the first state of the universe all those billions of years didn't "come from" at all, it just existed and expanded. To say the universe "came from" either something or nothing, assumes the universe must have came into being if it has a finite past. While this is a common position, it is dead false. In order for the universe to have come into being, then prior to the first state of the universe, the universe must have been out of being (something cannot come into being, unless it was out of being prior). However, since my view denies any "before" or "prior" to the first state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago, then there was never a "prior" to the first state of the universe at which it did not exist. This means, that even with a finite past, the conclusion that the universe came into being can be easily avoided. Here is a diagram to illustrate the different between:

(i) A universe with a finite past, that came into being (or "came from" either something or nothing)

and

(ii) A universe with a finite past, that did not come into being (or, did not "come from" either something or nothing)



If you notice picture (i), you will notice that the universe is out of being prior to the first state it exists. Thus, the universe has a finite past and comes into being. If you take a look at (ii), you will notice that there is no "prior" to the universe at which it is out of being. Thus, claiming it came into being as far as (ii) is concerned, would be a harsh misnomer to say the least.

In a nut shell, Con's claim that a universe with a finite past must have either come from something or nothing is clearly false. Thus, my opponent claiming that it is a necessary truth was nothing short of outrageous to put it mildly.

Conclusion

Many of my opponent's concerns were already addressed in my last round, which leads me to believe Con did not properly read my last round, or simply did not comprehend the concepts I was putting forward. In my first round, I outlined the difference between a first state of the universe that comes from nothing, and a first state of the universe that doesn't come from nothing. Since Con did not show any logical or metaphysical problems with my diagrams in the last round, then I proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Atheist can assume the universe has a finite past without assuming the universe came from nothing. In this round, I showed that Con's position is a non-starter from the get go as it is based on a faulty definition, and is fallacious. I also demonstrated in this round that a finite past need not even come into being, and the the universe always existed even with a finite past.

Since I addressed all of Con's concerns sufficiently, while Con has yet to make a dent in any of my argumentation; the resolution is strongly affirmed.

Sources

[1] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Naysayer

Con

Pro has now successfully broken both parts of his argument. Not only did he claim that there wasn't anything before the universe, but this does not equate to nothing, he's now claiming that his universe is finite but "always" and "at all times." And more, he claims this does not equate to eternal.

Eternal:
: having no beginning and no end in time : lasting forever
: existing at all times : always true or valid
: seeming to last forever[1]

Therefore, we have both eternal and always as meaning at all times and yet Pro argues that his universe is finite and always exists. A conundrum of logic, no doubt.

Pro dismisses my definition of nothing, but fails to recognize it is not my definition. I understand he wouldn't like the definition as it refutes his claim at logic, but it stands on its own merit, not my opinion. Nevertheless, for the sake of assurance, I am more than willing to provide the definition from Pro's own selected dictionary:

Nothing:
1. Something that has no existence.
2. Something that has no quantitative value; zero:
3. One that has no substance or importance; a nonentity:[2]

If there was not a prior to the universe, there was nothing prior to the universe. My opponent has pretended at logic while attempting to twist language to attempt a fantastic new state of being where the lack of anything does not result in nothing and eternal and finite have the same meaning.

While Pro claims I do not understand his position, the lack of understanding is his and involves simple word usage. He speaks with great confidence, but his reasoning just does not stack up to inspection.

Pro has claimed a finite universe that always existed, that began, but not from nothing, even though there existed nothing previous. I even allowed him the assumption that the lack of any universe does not equate to nothing, yet he refused the suggestion and insists that it is self evident, a curious claim in itself.

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Con's Misunderstanding Of My Argument

Unfortunately, Con still hasn't even shown a basic understanding of my argument and it is rather embarrassing. He comes out of the woodwork with a straw-man in his last round:

"Not only did he claim that there wasn't anything before the universe..." - Con

I never once said that there wasn't anything before the universe. That would assume that there was a before the universe, at which not anything existed. My position is that there was no before the universe. There is a huge difference between these two statements:

(i) There was not anything before the universe

(ii) There was no before the universe

If (i) is true, then there was a before the universe (at which nothing existed). If (ii) is true, then there was no before the universe. Two statements that entail completely opposite conclusions cannot be logical equivalents, thus the assumption that (i) and (ii) really mean the same thing is dead false. (i) assumes there was a before the universe, and (ii) assumes the exact opposite. If one refers back to my diagrams in my first round, the difference is as clear as day. Above the red line, you will see that there is not anything prior to the first state of the universe. Below the red line, you will notice that there is no prior to the first state of the universe at all:





So, as I have shown, my opponent is straw-manning my position. The view isn't that there was not anything prior to the universe, as that would assume there was a prior to the universe at which nothing existed. My position is that there was no prior to the universe. Both of these statements cannot be true:

a) There was a before the universe
b) There was no before the universe

Therefore, it is logically necessary that these two statements do not mean the same thing:

(i) There was not anything before the universe

(ii) There was no before the universe

One assumes a before (at which not anything exists), and the other assumes no before.

Definition Of Eternal

Lets examine Con's definitions of Eternal, and I will number each one for ease:

"Eternal:
: having no beginning and no end in time : lasting forever (1)
: existing at all times : always true or valid (2)
: seeming to last forever" (3)

If we go with (1), then the universe is not eternal as it has a starting point 13.7 billion years ago. However, if we go with (2), then even with a finite past the universe is eternal! This is because the universe has existed at all times (all 13.7 billion years of time). Con's mistake is assuming that "all" equates to "an infinite amount". This is rather outrageous, as that is obviously not true. If I have "all" the cars in the world, that is still a finite number. If I have "all" the women in the world, that is still a finite number. Thus, if the universe has existed at "all" times (all 13.7 billion years of time), then the universe is eternal even with a finite past according to Con's own definition provided.

Con states:

"Therefore, we have both eternal and always as meaning at all times and yet Pro argues that his universe is finite and always exists. A conundrum of logic, no doubt." - con

There is nothing illogical about that at all. If Con is defining "eternal" and "always" to mean "at all times", then yes, even with a finite past the universe is eternal and has always existed. Remember, "all" doesn't mean "an infinite amount", so if the universe has existed for all 13.7 billion years of time, then it has always existed. Thus, the only conundrum of logic is the opposition to my view, not my view itself.

Definition Of Nothing

Here is more proof that either:

A) Con is not reading my rounds

or

B) Con is not understanding my rounds

My opponent states:

"Pro dismisses my definition of nothing, but fails to recognize it is not my definition. I understand he wouldn't like the definition as it refutes his claim at logic, but it stands on its own merit, not my opinion." - Con

However, in my last round I said:

"I do not disagree with my opponent's definition; my argument works assuming this very definition." - Pro

I am baffled at the fact that Con can type with a straight face that I dismiss his definition as flawed, when I said I did not disagree with it in my last round. I actually feel insulted, as it is clear Con isn't even paying attention to the debate we are having. What is the point of having a debate if you aren't even going to pay attention?

Coming Back To Con's Misunderstanding Of My Argument

My opponent states:

"If there was not a prior to the universe, there was nothing prior to the universe." - Con

I already debunked the above statement in this round. Those two cannot be equivalents, as they entail opposite conclusions. If there was not a prior to the universe, then that means there was no prior to the universe. If there was nothing prior to the universe, then that means there was a prior to the universe, at which nothing existed (one could argue that the term "nothing prior" is not even coherent terminology, but that is not really relevant to the resolution).

Since one statement entails no prior, and the other one entails a prior (at which there is not anything), then they cannot mean the same thing. One entails no prior, the other entails a prior. Once more, two statements entailing opposite conclusions cannot mean the same thing. This should be simple logic.

Con also stated:

"My opponent has pretended at logic while attempting to twist language to attempt a fantastic new state of being where the lack of anything does not result in nothing and eternal and finite have the same meaning." - Con

What state of being where the lack of anything does not result in nothing are we talking about here? I completely agree with Con in that if there was ever a lack of anything in existence, that would equate to nothing. This is a Red-Herring though, as my view lacks this "lack of anything" prior to the universe, as my view entails there was no prior to the universe for there to be a "lack of anything".

Also, a universe with a finite past can indeed be eternal if we define eternal as "existing at all times", as "all" does not equate to "an infinite amount". If we define eternal as "having no beginning" then no, the universe is not eternal, as the universe had a starting point 13.7 billion years ago.

"Pro has claimed a finite universe that always existed, that began, but not from nothing, even though there existed nothing previous." - Con

Once more, my view denies a "previous" to the first state of the universe. There could have only been either something or nothing previous to the universe, if there was a previous to the universe for there to be either something or nothing. My view is that there was no "previous" at all. Thus, under my view, both of these statements are false:

i) Previous to the universe, there was nothing

ii) Previous to the universe, there was something

Both of those statements self-evidently assume a "previous to the universe". Since my view assumes no "previous to the universe", then both of those statements are false necessarily. We can only ask if there was something or nothing prior to the universe, if there was a prior. If there was no prior, then such questioning is inherently illogical.

Conclusion

This whole debate has proven to be a waste of time really, as Con doesn't even seem to have the slightest grasp of the concepts I am putting forward, and he is misrepresenting my position to no end with shameless straw-man arguments. I also question whether or not he is even paying attention to this debate (his claims regarding me "dismissing" his definition of nothing as false gave that away in my eyes). I have shown in this debate beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe can have a finite past without God, and still not come from nothing. Con hasn't even come close to rebutting any of my arguments successfully, and I doubt he will pull a miracle out of his hat next round.

The resolution has been strongly affirmed. Vote Pro.
Naysayer

Con

There is an idiom in the English vernacular regarding having your cake and eating it, too. The intent is that one gets what they want and is left without the results of that getting. My opponent is attempting such a position in his description of the origins of the universe.

His claim is that a finite universe can exist at all times and that there was no before the universe and yet we are not allowed to describe such a situation as nothing before the universe.

He attempts to scoff at my understanding. He"s even drawn a couple of really nice pictures to demonstrate. It"s not a very complicated concept to understand what he"s trying to say. It"s just wrong.

A universe that exists at all times is eternal, not finite. A universe that exists for a measurable amount of time is finite and does not exist at all times.

If something only existed up to a measured point in history, there are only two answers to the question, "What existed before?" Something. Or nothing. Unless you are Pro, clearly.

My opponent is attempting to come up with a new concept. This is an admirable trait. However, when defining or describing such a concept, one must use words and respect the definitions of those words. If one desires to make new usage for said words, assumptions need to be made, assumptions my opponent foregoes in his earnest desire just to be right.

What he ends up with is a mess of contradictions and a faulty view of logic.
Debate Round No. 4
51 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Orangatang 3 years ago
Orangatang
@Naysayer:

Lmao please debate again if you think it is not logical. I predict your loss again and your continuous intellectual failure.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Would you like to debate this again, so you can lose again?
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
I didn't have abandon any logic, my position is completely in line with logic (which probably explains why I won the debate 9 -0). You abandoned logic by committing countless straw-man fallacies. Nice try lol
Posted by Naysayer 3 years ago
Naysayer
There's a significant difference between rational thinking and rationalizing. Your little fanboy summed it up best, "if this theory is true, then it disproves any first cause God."

You're attempting to refute God and it's a little ironic that you have to abandon logic to do so. Good luck on that.
Posted by Orangatang 3 years ago
Orangatang
@Naysayer:

Lol all I can say is that I was right you were wrong.
(1 week ago) Orangatang: Don't trip bud I will, and you'll lose as you should. You haven't shown any understanding of the argument and any reasonable person would agree.
(1 week ago) Naysayer: I know. And we'll see.

Learn how to debate bud and how to admit failure like a true intellectual.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
You couldn't even understand my argument, let alone rebut it lol
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Coming from you? You are correct... I guess that explains why you lost so bad.
Posted by Naysayer 3 years ago
Naysayer
Oh, the dumbness.
Posted by Orangatang 3 years ago
Orangatang
@PGA:

Thank you for your understanding, let us know if you have any objections you've thought of or if you still do not think this belief is rational/justified.
Posted by PGA 3 years ago
PGA
Thanks for your answers. Let me think about this.

Peter
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
Rational_Thinker9119NaysayerTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I have to apologize for the brevity of this RFD, but the winner is clear and apparent. Con did not understand the argument that was presented by Pro. It seemed that (s)he spent more time complaining about how he doesn't understand the argument. Pro successfully showed that most of what Con was saying about his argument was not an accurate portrail and was therefore a straw man. Con failed to bring up any relevant criticisms of the truth of Pro's premises or the logical validity of his argument. This alone should constitute an arguments vote for Pro. Furthermore, Con conceded all points made in the final round as well. For all practical purposes, he ignored the points made by Pro in the previous round. This is why I am giving Pro arguments.
Vote Placed by Orangatang 3 years ago
Orangatang
Rational_Thinker9119NaysayerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Clearly Con did not understand Pro's argument and did not give an valuable rebuttals against it. Con did not attack Pro's argument at all rather, a far off straw man of another argument relating to something coming from nothing. There could have been many valid criticisms against Pro's claims however Con did not make any. Easy vote.
Vote Placed by HeartOfGod 3 years ago
HeartOfGod
Rational_Thinker9119NaysayerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: con never responded to the argument pro was actually bringing and just committed countless straw man fallacies. While I do believe God exists pro proved his case pretty easily.