The Instigator
Vulpes_Inculta
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Nordenkalt444
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Big Bang cosmology supports atheism over theism.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/26/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 806 times Debate No: 34213
Debate Rounds (4)
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Vulpes_Inculta

Pro

Ave.

The resolution of this debate states that 'Big Bang cosmology supporst atheism over theism.' I will be arguing that BB cosmology supports the conclusion that god does not exist. Con will be arguing that BB cosmology supports the conclusion that god does exist. The winner of the debate should be the person who elucidated their case more effectively, and responded to their opponents arguments with more skill.

God is defined as the personal, rational agent that caused the initial state of the universe.

General expectations of DDO conduct should be followed. Interactive sources like pictures and videos are encouraged. Pictures with text on them are fine if they are pictures of your sources. However, please do not type out your arguments, take a picture of it, and then post it on this debate.

The first round is for acceptance of the debate format and rules. For the second round, both sides will present their opening statement. For the third round, both sides will rebutt their opponents opening statement. The final round will be used for further debate and closing remarks.

Vale.
Nordenkalt444

Con

I accept this challenge and agree to your terms.
Debate Round No. 1
Vulpes_Inculta

Pro


Ave.




Contemporary theists such as William Lane Craig argue that BB cosmology affirms the existence of god. Dr. Craig formulates it as follows. [1]




1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.


2: The universe began to exist.


3: The universe has a cause of its existence.




By deductive reasoning as to what that cause would be, that cause is therefore god. I will argue in my opening statement that, even if those three statements are granted, it does not entail the existence of god. It will be my position that Big Bang cosmology supports the idea that the universe caused itself. I do not mean this in the sense that X caused X. It is logically impossible for the universe to have caused itself in that way. Rather, I am arguing that the universe caused itself in the sense that Z was caused by Y, which was caused by X, which was caused by W, ad infinitum. Allow me to state the premises of my argument, which is based on Quentin Smith and what is called 'cosmological atheology'. [2]




1: Every state of the universe is caused by another state.


2: If every state of the universe if caused by another state, then an initial state is logically impossible.


3: From 1 and 2, an initial state is logically impossible.


4: From 3, there can be no cause of the initial state.


5: According to the definition of god, god cannot exist.



1: Every state of the universe is caused by another state.
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Assume that each of these are a state of the universe, where time equals something different in each state. T=4 is caused by T=3. T-3 is caused by T=2. T=2 is caused by T=1. T=1 is caused by T=.9, ad infinitum. If you assume that we are living in the trillionth state, or some such large number, you can perform the same exercise, but I prefer to keep this simple. The conclusion of this argument is that there is something because there is something else to cause that something, there is no initial state for god to cause, and therefore, god cannot have caused the universe.




Theists argue that the BB singularity represents a state where T is 0, so there is indeed an initial state that cannot be explained by prior states. They point to the Hawking-Penrose theorem which posits a singularity that the universe came from. However, Hawking and Penrose have withdrawn this theorem a long time ago. Why? They realized that, once you take quantum mechanics into account, there is no need for a singularity. Hawking has this to say in his book A Brief History of Time. [3]



“It is perhaps ironic that, having changed my mind, I am now trying to convince other physicists that there was in fact no singularity at the beginning of the universe--as we shall see later, it can disappear once quantum effects are taken into acc
ount.”




Quentin Smith, professor of the philosophy of physics as West Michigan University, also says more.




“The cosmic singularity is a hypothetical time t=0 at which all the laws of nature, space and time break down. It is hypothetical or merely imaginary because if it did exist, it would be a physically impossible state, due to the breakdown of all laws, even the laws required for time to exist. This breakdown at the hypothetical t=0 implies there is no first instant t=0 of the finitely old time-series and that each instant is preceded by earlier instants. An instant is a time that is instantaneous or has zero duration. An interval is a time that is temporally extended and has a duration of a certain length, such as one hour or one minute.” [4]




Therefore, there is no T=0. There are only an infinite number of states that are less than one but not exactly zero.




One may ask how, if the universe began to exist, such an infinite regress of states is possible. I believe that this question can be satisfactorily answered. The universe began in the sense that there is no state that existed before thirteen billion years ago. There are states like 12.9, 12.99. 12.9999999, but there is no state that existed before thirteen billion years ago. That is the sense in which the universe began to exist.




2: If every state of the universe if caused by another state, then an initial state is logically impossible.




The initial state is a state of the universe. It is distinct from the other states because it is the first one. We’ve established in premise one that every state is caused by another state. It logically follows from this that there cannot be a state that exists which was not caused by another state. If an initial state existed, it would not be caused by another other state. Therefore, an initial state is logically impossible.


(This is my support for premise three as well.)




4: From three, there can be no cause of the initial state.




God is defined as the cause of the initial state of the universe. The initial state is logically impossible given the other premises. God couldn’t have caused the initial state because the initial state is a logically impossible state. In fact, there is nothing that could have caused the initial state, because it’s a logically impossible state.




5: According to the definition of god, god cannot exist.



God is defined as the cause of the initial state. From 4, no such cause can exist. Therefore, god can not exist.

Conclusion
BB cosmology removes the need for a singularity, or a T=0 state. This allows every state of the universe to be cauesd by another state, since there is no initial state that requires explanation. This means that it is logically impossible for god to exist, because there is no initial state for god to create. It also means that the universe is explained naturalistically. Once you have explained every part of the universe, you have explained the whole of the universe. My argument does such a thing without reference to god. Therefore, BB cosmology makes god logically impossible, and allows the universe to be explained naturalistically.

Vale.

References
1: http://plato.stanford.edu...
2: http://plato.stanford.edu...
3: http://en.wikipedia.org...
4: http://www.infidels.org...

Nordenkalt444

Con

I want to thank my opponent for making such logical arguments, but it doesn't have to be that complicated. Let's just take the time to examine the Big Bang theory, for those of you who don't know it it's the concept that the universe began from a pinpoint and expanded from there. This could be recognized as scientific law, even for some Christians, but it doesn't mean that it can be possible that it happened "by itself". But there's no reason to make it so numerical in this debate.

Now, some scientists say that it can be a possibility that the Big Bang was simply caused by nuclear fusion. This is probably the most likely explanation, but who/what could start the genesis of any scientific process? It would have to be a force, and some people like me willingly call it "God, Creator of the universe". He could have somehow caused the nuclear fusion itself which resulted in the Big Bang and the creation of each planet. It's even scientifically impossible for these molecules to somehow and for some reason bind or create without a force making them do so.

Which brings me to one of the most basic scientific laws, the law of motion. This has nothing to do with motion, but it can be compared with any molecular activity. If we apply it to this case, it would say that nothing can even move or stop without a force making them do so. If that's true, then why would molecules just bind and create the universe for some reason? There has to be a force that puts everything into place to cause the Big Bang or create anything in this universe.

I took a look at your sources, first of all I have a bit of a pet peeve with people posting the same website in two different links (1 and 2). The third one is just too complicated to even read, and I'm not sure if it even has anything to do with the Big Bang or creation theory. The fourth one is the closest source that can work but it seems to contradict itself when the author states in the beginning "I agree that the claim of a self-caused universe is incoherent" but then goes on to defend the idea of a self-caused universe.

http://www.deepastronomy.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Vulpes_Inculta

Pro

Ave.

First of all, my picture from my opening statement did not appear. I apologize for this. Here is the picture that didn't appear in my opening statement under my defense of the first premise.



It seems that Con is not going to give an opening statement where he shows that BB cosmology favors theism over atheism. Rather, it looks like Con is going to criticize my argument, which demonstrates that BB cosmology is supportive of atheism. Therefore, I will devote this round to defend my argument for a self-caused universe based off of BB cosmology.

I think Con has mischaracterized modern day cosmology. The Big Bang model does not necessarily describe the expansion of the universe from a pinpoint, which seems to be Con's word for singularity. I demonstrated in the last round that such a singularity is unnecessary when quantum mechanics is considered. So, there is no basis to Con's description.

Con states that scientists think the Big Bang was caused by nuclear fusion. This is a straw man and doesn't represent the opinion of any scientist that I know of. Nuclear fusion is when two or more atomic nuclei collide at high speeds and create a new type of atomic nucleus. [1] This is the process that powers stars like our Sun. It's also the reason we have helium and other elements. In what way could this process have caused the Big Bang? I don't even understand how this concept could be made conceptually coherent. I encourage the audience to read the two sources that Con provided. None of these sources mention scientists who think that the Big Bang was caused by nuclear fusion. There is no factual basis to the assertion that any scientist thinks the Big Bang was caused by nuclear fusion.

Con argues that it's scientifically impossible for molecules to form atoms. This isn't true at all. Science has explained how the subatomic can give rise to the atomic. Nucleosynthesis is the explanation of how nucleons (things like electrons and protons) formed atomic nuclei. Nucleons were able to escape becoming part of an atom because the high temperatures in the early universe would allow them to move at such high energies as to escape the effects of gravity. [2] That may sound absurd, but gravity is by far the weakest force, and you can demonstrate the weakness of gravity just by moving. [3] Once the universe cooled, the temperatures were lower, so nucleons were not able to escape the effects of gravity.

Con cites Newton's laws of motions to argue for the first cause. The problem with this argument is that Newton's laws of motion relate to classical mechanics. Classical mechanics breaks down at the subatomic level and anything before Planck time. My fourth reference explains why classical mechanics cannot be applied in this way. [4]


'Newton's laws are valid only under certain conditions.
  • In general, the distances with which one works must be much greater than the size of atoms and molecules. If this is untrue, then quantum mechanics must be used in place of classical mechanics.
  • In general, the speeds which one works with must be much less than the speed of light. If this untrue, then relativistic mechanics must be used in place of classical mechanics.
  • Even when the above are true, Newton's laws are only valid with respect to inertial frames of reference.'

The Big Bang's cause would have to be something subatomic, because it gave rise to the existence of atoms. Therefore, classical mechanics cannot be applied to the cause of the Big Bang.

Even if all of the explanations I have given are wrong, it does not mean that cosmology favors theism. That would be a 'god of the gaps' argument, and even theists agree that such arguments are fallacious. You cannot posit the existence of god by putting him into an ever-shrinking gap of scientific knowledge. [5]

Con launches an attack on my sources. He takes issue with the fact that I cited the same website twice. However, this was necessary for me to do. The website I cited is from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It was an article that was divided into many parts. By linking two URL's, anyone who reads the source is brought to the specific part I was citing, rather than being forced to start from the beginning on a huge wall of text.

Con also attacks my article on the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorem. His problem is that the article was too difficult to understand. I'm sorry, but it's simply not my fault if Con doesn't understand physics. Besides, you don't even need to read the whole article. That wasn't the point of my reference. I referenced that article because it featured my quote from Stephen Hawking. It's a way of showing the audience that I'm not making the quote up.

Con also argues that Quentin Smith's paper, which was my forth citation, contradicts itself. It only seems to do this because he took Smith's words out of context. Smith argued that the universe causing itself in an 'X caused X' way is incoherent. He explains that he means self-caused in the sense of 'Z caused by Y caused by X', ad infinitum. It's only in the former sense that the idea is incoherent, not the latter, which is what Smith is trying to argue.

In conclusion, Con's argument is very weak and filled with errors. Here is a list of all of my criticisms at this point.


1: There is no evidence that scientists think the BB was caused by nuclear fusion.
2: There is an explanation of how atoms formed.
3: Newton's laws of motion are irrelevant to the cause of the BB because the cause of the BB has to be subatomic, while Newton's laws only work for classical mechanics, or things on the scale of atoms.
4: Even if my scientific explanations fail, it does not follow that BB cosmology supports theism over atheism.

Vale.

References
1: https://en.wikipedia.org...
2: http://burro.cwru.edu...
3: http://astroreview.com...
4: http://en.wikibooks.org...
5: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Nordenkalt444

Con

Nordenkalt444 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Vulpes_Inculta

Pro

Vulpes_Inculta forfeited this round.
Nordenkalt444

Con

Nordenkalt444 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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