The Instigator
GeoLaureate8
Pro (for)
Winning
61 Points
The Contender
Apologician
Con (against)
Losing
45 Points

Cosmological Origins: Conscious Multiverse vs. Personal Creator

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/25/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 10,812 times Debate No: 8917
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (104)
Votes (19)

 

GeoLaureate8

Pro

In this debate over cosmological origins, I will demonstrate that a conscious Multiverse is the most probable cause of our universe. My opponent, Apologician, will argue that a personal creator is a more probable cause. I welcome him to this challenge and hope it turns out to be an intriguing debate.

Definitions:
The relationship between our universe and the Multiverse: "Our universe is a bubble or membrane floating in a much larger Multiverse or megaverse of bubble-universes." - Michio Kaku (Astrophysicist) [1]

Multiverse: Everything that exists, including other dimensions.

.

==========
The Multiverse
==========

I will first establish that the Multiverse exists.

The Multiverse is a cosmological theory that describes what existed before our universe and holds that multiple universes exist in an infinite hyperspace (according to Astrophysicist, Michio Kaku). Every universe is either born out of other universes, or simply emerges out of the Multiverse.

(Here is an illustration to help visualize the Multiverse.)
http://roberthowardweb.com...

Not only is the Multiverse theory probable, but it is supported through scientific reasoning and evidence.

===============
Argument from Reason
===============

- Our universe was once condensed into a singularity point at the conception of the Big Bang in some sort of void. It has also been observed that our universe is a sphere as is evident by cosmic inflation in all directions. Einstein and Stephen Hawking also proposed that the universe is a soap bubble. This means that our Universe is finite, yet exists in an unknown void.

- If the above is true, it would be logical to conclude that other singularity points or universes exist within this void. If not, it would beg the question as to why only one universe exists in this infinite void. It may be wrongly assumed that a single number is more parsimonious than a whole set of numbers, but in reality, the whole set is the simplest. [2]

Therefore, through scientific reasoning, it can be concluded that it is necessary for a Multiverse to exist.

=============
Supporting Evidence
=============

- The University of Minnesota discovered a massive void of space that measured a billion light years across in 2007. [3] Physics Professor Laura Mersini-Houghton asserted that this discovery is "the unmistakable imprint of another universe beyond the edge of our own."

- According to Stephen Hawking: "It is well-known that if the quantum formalism applies to all reality, both to atoms, to humans, to planets and to the universe itself then the Many Worlds Interpretation is trivially (obviously) true." [4]

- David Deutsch, a legendary Oxford physicist, asserts that "The quantum theory of parallel universes is not the problem, it is the solution. It is not some troublesome, optional interpretation emerging from arcane theoretical considerations. It is the explanation, the only one that is tenable, of a remarkable and counter-intuitive reality."

- The Multiverse was known by the ancients and can be found in ancient Sanskrit, Chinese, and Vedic texts. [5] This is not a new idea. (It may be weak evidence, but evidence nonetheless.)

===============
Nature of the Multiverse
===============

- Since the Multiverse exists and is capable of creating and sustaining highly complex universes that are finely tuned (at least ours is), it must be conscious. The chances that an unguided explosion (rapid expansion) resulted in a cosmos with highly sophisticated processes such as evolution are next to none.

- Whether it's a universe or a Multiverse, it would be an absolutely absurd notion to suggest that it is dead, stupid, and mechanical. It authored all of the scientific laws that still baffle scientists to this day, assembled entire galaxies, star systems, and ecosystems, and formed advanced civilizations.

- According to PhD Quantum Physicist, Amit Goswami, "Mystics, contrary to religionists, are always saying that reality is not two things -God and the world- but one thing, consciousness. […] The problem with science has always been that most scientists believe that science must be done within a different monistic framework, one based on the primacy of matter. […] quantum physics showed us that we must change that myopic prejudice of scientists, otherwise we cannot comprehend quantum physics. So now we have science within consciousness, a new paradigm of science based on the primacy of consciousness that is gradually replacing the old materialist science. […] the new paradigm resolves many […] paradoxes of the old paradigm and explains much anomalous data."

- This website outlines the scientific evidence of a living, conscious Universe: http://www.mindpowernews.com...

As the great philosopher Alan Watts said: "You cannot get an intelligent organism such as a human being out of an unintelligent Universe."

=======
Conclusion
=======

In conclusion, I have demonstrated that a conscious Multiverse is the most probable cause of our universe through scientific reasoning and evidence. My opponent must now demonstrate that a personal creator is probably responsible for the origins of the cosmos.

[1] http://mkaku.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.dailygalaxy.com...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net...
Apologician

Con

My thanks to GeoLaureate8 for engaging me in this debate. My strategy in this debate will be two pronged. I will (1) present several arguments against my opponent's position, and (2) I will present one positive argument of my own in favor of my position.

Definitions: by God, I simply mean a monotheistic personal creator.

An Evaluation of Con's arguments

Let me begin by pointing out what I see to be a grave mistake in Con's definition of multiverse. He defines the multiverse as "everything that exists." But this definition is too general, for Con basically defines himself into winning. If the multiverse is simply "everything that exists," then even if I disprove the existence of universes other than ours, Con's theory still holds, since his definition is so broad as to escape falsification in principle. This definition is doctored, and not how cosmologists define multiverse. Hence, I propose this definition instead:

"[T]he hypothesis that there are many universes or regions of space-time in which the constants and initial conditions of the universe, and in some versions the laws themselves, vary from universe to universe." [1]

Now that we have that cleared up, Con argues that a multiverse is implied through standard big bang cosmology. On his view, our universe is simply one among others. Unfortunately, he fails to specify why this must be the case. Certainly, a multiverse is compatible with standard big bang cosmology, but why should we prefer this explanation over, say, a single universe? Con simply asserts that a multiverse is the best explanation without telling us why. I propose a more parsimonious alternative, one that does not violate Ockham's razor by multiplying entities beyong necessity: A single deity created one universe.

Now, supposing I did grant that our universe exists within a void, that there exists other universes alongside it simply does not follow. Con argues that this begs the question, but I cannot see where. Con then argues that a whole set of numbers is more parsimonious then simply one, but what is this even supposed to mean? This also seems to be an improper application of Ockham's razor. If one number exists, then it logically entails that the entire set of numbers must exist (Since a number is what it is by virtue of its place on the number line). [2] But this has no bearing on whether or not a multiverse exists. Numbers and universes are two fundamentally different things. Simply because the entire set of natural numbers must exist does not at all imply that there must be multiverses to boot. This seems to be a non-sequitur.

1. The massive void of space
-From reading Con's own source, this void was discovered within our own universe. But simply because cosmologists have discovered a massive void of space in our own universe does not at all imply that there must exist more than one universe.

2. Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics
-There is no good reason to accept the Many Worlds Interpretation of QM. Indeed, it is one among more than twenty different interpretations, all of which are empirically equivalent. Additionally, the MW interpretation violates Ockham's razor by multiplying entities beyond necessity. As such, there is no good reason to accept it, especially when there are more than twenty other empirically equivalent interpretations.

3. Textual argument
-As Con has pointed out, it is indeed weak evidence. In response, I can just simply point to absolute creation as found in early Jewish, Christian, and Muslim writings. But neither is rendered more plausible simply by being mentioned in ancient texts.

A Personal Multiverse?

Even if I were to grant the existence of the multiverse, I see no reason to think that it must be conscious. Why must it be conscious? Con responds that because there exist conscious and rational beings, who cannot have been the product of a non-rational and non-conscious multiverse. I happen to agree with Con on this point, but unlike Con, I see no reason to suppose that the multiverse must be the conscious and rational cause. Instead, it would make more sense to suppose that the rational and conscious cause is God, a personal agent. It seems bizarre to attribute this property to the multiverse. By all appearances, nature is amoral, arational, and unconscious. There is simply no good reason to think that this cause must be the multiverse, instead of God. Thus, it makes more sense to suppose that it was God who endowed creatures with reason and consciousness, and who authored the laws of nature.

____________
I will now defend a positive argument in favor of my position. I will be defending three major premises:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

Premise one is uncontroversial, and I will focus my criticism on premise two, which seems to be the one which Con will attack.

Approaching the second premise from a philosophical perspective, the universe must have begun to exist because if it were eternal, then its past duration would be actually infinite. However, since actual infinities are impossible, it follows that the past duration of the universe must be finite. [3]

DEFINITIONS:

Potential infinities -sets that are constantly increasing toward infinity as a limit, but never attain infinite status. A more accurate description would be to say that their members are indefinite.
Actual infinite - a set x that contains a subset x' that is equivalent to x. [4]

Suppose that there exists a coin collector who owns an infinite number of rare coins. Being a generous person, he one day decides to donate his entire collection to a museum. One way he could do this is to simply give the museum his entire collection of coins. This way, the collector is left with no coins to himself while the museum is left with an infinite amount of coins. Another way is for the collector to give the museum every odd numbered coin in his collection. Using this method, both the collector and the museum end up with an infinite number of coins. The collector is left with the same amount of coins as he started with. Yet another way is for the collector to give the museum every coin in his collection except the first seven. Here, the museum is left with an infinite number of coins while the collector is left with seven. In fact, using the last method, one could yield an infinite number of answers.

But how can any of this be? Though each method starts off with the same amount of coins, they all yield different answers to the same equation. In the first example, infinity minus infinity equals zero. In the second example, infinity minus infinity equals infinity. Finally, in the third example, infinity minus infinity equals seven. What these contradictory answers demonstrate is that an actually infinite number of things cannot exist, as they entail contradictions. Instead, the notion of an actually infinite set is purely conceptual and has no relation to reality. It should be noted here that while one is able to work with actual infinities in set theory and calculus, they cannot exist in reality. Strictly speaking, actual infinities are not not logically contradictory, but their existence in reality is metaphysically impossible (unactualizable). From this it follows that the universe began to exist.

It must be noted that since there is nothing prior to the cause of the universe, it cannot be explained scientifically, as this would imply the existence of antecedent determining conditions. Hence, because there are no prior determining conditions, the cause of the universe must be personal and uncaused. It seems that the only way this could be possible is if the cause was a free agent who has the ability to effect a change; for if the cause of the universe was impersonal, then it would not have created.

SOURCES:

See comments
Debate Round No. 1
GeoLaureate8

Pro

I thank Apologician for accepting this unique debate. Now that my opponent has contended my argument and provided a positive argument of his own, I will address each contention and proposition in order.
.

========
Clarification
========

My opponent contends that I provided an unfalsifiable, doctored definition of "Multiverse" which was "everything that exists." However, I made it clear twice what was meant by Multiverse, which in this case was multiple bubble universes. I was merely *clarifying* (not defining) that this Multiverse would replace the "Universe" as everything that exists. Under the Multiverse paradigm, nothing can exist outside of it, and I needed to make that clear.

================================
Parsimonious Multiverse, Unparsimonious Creator
================================

Definitions:

Singularity Point: Big Bang singularity; an infinitesimally small, dense, singularity that is continually expanding [1]

[For the sake of semantic clarity when discussing the Multiverse]
Universe: Everything that exists
universe: A "soap bubble" or singularity point

Visual Aid: http://astroweb1.physics.ox.ac.uk...

My opponent contended that the Multiverse is unparsimonious because it was multiplying entities beyond necessity. However, this is not the case. Let it be understood that (as clarified earlier), the Multiverse is now the Universe, everything that exists. The only difference is that there are *multiple singularity points* in the Universe. But it's still just ONE Universe.

It would be more appropriate to think of the Universe (that I am proposing) as an ocean of singularity points, hence a Multiverse of smaller bubble universes. So let me ask you this. Are the oceans on Earth unparsimonious because there's trillions and trillions of water molecules? Are the sandy beaches unparsimonious because of the trillions of grains of sand? If the answer is no, why can't the same be true for the ocean of bubble universes? It's one ocean, one beach, and one Multiverse. There are no entities being multiplied beyond necessity, and thus rules out the possibility that it is unparsimonious.

My opponent offered the proposition that a single deity that created one Universe is more parsimonious. However, I am only proposing one Multiverse, he is proposing one deity AND one Universe. Instead of allowing for the Universe to have always existed, he is *adding* beyond necessity, a deity that always existed. But as Carl Sagan pointed out, if you want to say that God always existed, why not save a step and say the Universe has always existed. (Carl Sagan also liked the idea of an "infinite number of universes," so he might also imply that the "Universe" entails an infinity of smaller ones within it. [2])

=================
Edge of Another Universe
=================

The massive void of space that was discovered, was found in our own universe, however, the Multiverse doesn't require that it be entirely detached from ours. In fact, the Multiverse theory says that baby universes sprout from larger bubble universes.

==================
Many Worlds Interpretation
==================

My opponent seemed to have misunderstood Stephen Hawking's assertion. He stated that there's no good reason to accept the Many Worlds Interpretation of QM among the many other equally valid interpretations. However, that's not the point that is being made. Hawking asserted that if quantum physics applies to all of reality, then the Many Worlds Interpretation is quite obviously true. It's not just selecting one out of the twenty other interpretations, it's an inevitable choice given that the premise is true, which is very likely.

==========
Consciousness
==========

My opponent agrees that the cosmos must be the result of a conscious cause.

=====
Infinity
=====

Apologician has provided us with a syllogism, also known as Kalam's Cosmological Argument. This can get confusing because it's not entirely clear if he uses the word "universe" to refer to the Big Bang singularity, or the whole of existence. I'm assuming he is referring to the Big Bang singularity, and for good reason. If he were to propose that a deity created "everything that exists," then we come to a contradiction. Because the deity would also be included in the "everything that exists" and thus he would not be independent of the creation. So we have an impossible paradox where he exists, yet he also created everything that exists.

Given that by "universe," he means the Big Bang singularity, then it is a sound syllogism. However, after examination, it doesn't rule out the Multiverse. It logically proves that there must be a cause, whether it be a Multiverse or personal creator.

He then presents a false analogy fallacy by comparing a mathematical infinity of coins to an eternal Universe. Coins are clearly defined objects that can be counted. A problem does indeed occur when you have an infinity of pennies where you add or subtract one, and still left with infinity. However, any attempt to numerically divide time or assign numbers to time, is entirely arbitrary. On top of that, it makes the assumption that the B-Theory (a linear past, present, future) of time is correct as opposed to A-Theory (only the present exists). My opponent is trying to make a connection that you cannot have an infinite number of events leading to the present moment, however, any attempt to define what constitutes as a separate event would also be entirely arbitrary. So, this mathematical concept of infinity only applies to clearly defined objects (in this case, coins), not reality. The Universe has always existed, yet my opponent is trying to throw numbers at it to demonstrate that a mathematical infinite can't exist.

*Crucial Point: If he claims that the Universe can't exist for an eternity, then this also applies to his God who has also existed for an eternity. So if his argument were true, it would rule out both of our eternal causes. It's a lose-lose situation for my opponent, because he cannot possibly make this argument without it refuting his own proposition.

>>><<<

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that matter and energy cannot be created nor destroyed. First, this implies that the matter and energy of the Universe has always existed. Secondly, to propose a creator, directly violates this scientific law. If matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, how can there be a creator in the first place? (You might say that my Multiverse created our universe, however, in this case the matter and energy already existed and is merely transferring it, not creating it.)

Let me also note, that if my opponent is to define God as something not subject to scientific laws, something that is outside of, or not bound by space-time, that would be a doctored definition that defines himself into winning; just as he accused me of doing with the Multiverse (which I already clarified that I did put forth a falsifiable definition.) My opponent cannot just keep adding properties and definitions to this hypothetical being, because then he could define it as "a being who exists, no matter what the case may be." Also, if this being is not bound by scientific laws, then my opponent would have to concede that his argument is unscientific, which has a hopeless chance at convincing anyone.

=========================
Arguments Against a Personal Creator
=========================

One of the fatal failures of theist arguments is that they don't support a theistic, personal creator. They only support a deist God, and it would be making an impossible and illogical leap to go from deism to theism. You may be able to demonstrate that there is some intelligent designer or prime cause, but you cannot demonstrate that it's a personal creator, especially one from any specific religion.

I thank you all for reading.

Sources:

In comments section.
Apologician

Con

=Parsimony=

The definitions that Con has employed in this argument strikes me as puzzling and hard to follow. In his OP, under definitions, he defines he multiverse as "Everything that exists, including other dimensions" to which I objected was doctored. In his round 2 OP, he responds by saying that the proposed definition was really a clarification. This strikes me as odd, since it was included under the definitions subsection of his OP. Now, I'm not trying to argue semantics here, but I'm simply trying to establish what is meant by multiverse and universe. I will thus go by the definitions that Con has offered in his most recent post.

He responds to my parsimony argument by stating that there are multiple universes (what he calls singularity points) that exist within the multiverse. But this does not even come close to solving the problem. Wouldn't it still be more parsimonious to eliminate everything but one universe (singularity point)? Indeed, to multiply the number of universes and then to posit a sort of "cosmic soup" in which all these universes exist in (the multiverse) seems flatly unparsimonious, so it is not evident how Con's response even comes close to solving the problem. Instead of picturing the multiverse as a cosmic soup which contains smaller universes, it would be more parsimonious to eliminate the soup and other universes entirely in favor of just one universe.

Con seems to miss the target of my criticism. Indeed, it is still one Universe (capital-U), but that is not where the addition of entities is supposed to lie. Instead, it lies in the positing of additional universes which exist within the Universe. Whereas Con posits multitudes of universes which exist in a Universe, I simply posit one universe and one deity.

Secondly, Con misunderstands Ockham's razor. According to the razor: all things being equal, entities should not be multiplied beyond _*necessity*_. In the case of beaches and oceans, all things are _not equal_ and it is thus _necessary_ that entities be multiplied. Con begs the question by presupposing things to be unequal, which is not how Ockham's razor is correctly formulated.

Additionally, Con states my it is my proposition which is the parsimonious one. But how exactly is that the case? Whereas Con posits a multiplicity of universes that exist in a Multiverse, I am merely affirming one deity and one universe. It seems evidence thus that my position is the more parsimonious one.

=Edge of Another Universe=

If the void of space that was discovered was actually in our own universe as Con admits, then it does not give us any reason to think that a multiverse exists, since it does not tell us whether or not it is probable that there are other universes. It is consistent with multiverse theory, but it cannot be said to lend credibility toward it (Since it is equally consistent with there just being one universe).

=MW Interpretation=

Con still has not given a good reason to accept the MQ interpretation of QM over others. He only states that an MW interpretation would be correct if quantum physics applies to reality. He has yet to demonstrate that conditional. Moreover, it does not seem clear how this would solve anything, since another empirically equivalent interpretation would just reinterpret the evidence along other lines.

=Infinity/KCA/Time=

Con argues that the KCA does not demonstrate a personal creator over a conscious universe, only that it demonstrates a deistic god. In my OP, however, I specifically outlined several traits of this cause which demonstrate that it must be a personal creator. To quote:

It must be noted that since there is nothing prior to the cause of the universe (This relies on the assumption that a multiverse does not exist, a task which I relegate to my previous arguments), it cannot be explained scientifically, as this would imply the existence of antecedent determining conditions. Hence, because there are no prior determining conditions, the cause of the universe must be personal and uncaused. It seems that the only way this could be possible is if the cause was a free agent who has the ability to effect a change; for if the cause of the universe was impersonal, then it would not have created.

Con responds to my argument against actual infinites by stating that on the A-theory of time, the series of past events is merely potentially infinite (By virtue of only the present existing). Moreover, he also states that time, unlike numbers, cannot be divided unarbitrarily. However, the problem here is only epistemic. Firstly, the nonexistence of past events "is no hindrance to their being enumerated." [1] Simply because on an A-theory of time only the present exists does not mean that we cannot form a set of past events. Second, regarding the issue of what constitutes an event and how things can be unarbitrarily divided, I see no problem here at all. There would be a problem in the framework of a B-theory in time, in which all events tenselessly exist. But in an A-theory of time (Which the argument assumes), there is a real difference between events such that they can be numbered and placed into a set. Hence, though we cannot specify an exact division, we simply specify an arbitrary division point for the sake of clarity. Additionally, there are several problem with the B-theory which space constraints do not allow me to elaborate on. But very briefly, these include the problem of intrinsic change (A B-theory of time cannot adequately account for continuity through time), the charge of "spatializing" time, and the experience of temporal becoming (To which some thinkers have argued that the B-theory is self-refuting).

Sidenote: Con's response seems a bit confused. The KCA does not assume the B-theory of time to be valid, it assumes the exact opposite.

Con also claims that my argument backfires, since it must also apply to God, who has existed for an eternity. This is not the case. The argument against the eternal existence of the universe works by demonstrating that one cannot have an infinite sequential number of past events (Something cannot exist for an infinite amount of time). In the case of God, he simply exists without time. So there is no problem for God.

Con charges that the idea of a creator violates the first law of thermodynamics, and any attempt to make a creator exempt to this principle is to propose a doctored definition, one that would define myself into winning. I do not see how this is doctored at all, I am defending the traditional concept of God as a necessary being. Laws of nature are by definition contingent, and contingent laws cannot be expected to bind a necessarily existent being. To argue that the laws of nature must adhere to God is to assume that they are valid on all possible worlds (a possible world is simply a logically consistent state of affairs), which is clearly false. (For clarity: Contingency and necessity are being used in the modal sense). Moreover, laws of nature are descriptive, not prescriptive. They are empirical generalizations that do not dictate that something must happen. Hence, the first law of thermodynamics does not dictate that the universe must have existed forever.

SOURCES:

See comments
Debate Round No. 2
GeoLaureate8

Pro

=======
Parsimony
=======

My opponent contends my parsimony argument by stating that Occam's Razor would eliminate multiple universes and instead favor just one. This is a gross misunderstanding of its definition and application. Occam's Razor doesn't eliminate all propositions and variables, it eliminates all EXCESSIVE EXPLANATIONS, not simply the quantity of an outcome. If a Multiverse is found to be probable, Occam's Razor does not counter that by saying there are too many universes. That would be absurd.

My opponent manipulated the definition of Occam's Razor by stating "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity" and used that to assign "universes" as the unnecessary "entities." The problem is that theses entities, referred to by Occam's Razor, are explanatory or causal, not consequential. He left out an important detail which you can see here in this definition from Dictionary.com: "The maxim that *assumptions introduced to explain a thing* must not be multiplied beyond necessity." The Multiverse itself is the ONE explanation for our universe, not the multiple neighboring universes. All of these other universes share the same explanation, and only one explanation.

According to one source:
"Misconception: Occam's Razor rules against a plethora of unobservable universes – Occam would prefer just one universe; i.e. any non-MWI interpretation.

MWI response: Occam's razor actually is a constraint on the complexity of physical theory, not on the number of universes. MWI is a simpler theory since it has fewer postulates." [1]

My opponent contends that I posit a multitude of universes within a Universe, whereas he just posits one universe and one deity. Problem: He posits an extra explanation for the existence of the Universe, I posit that the Universe (Multiverse) just exists with no explanation. He asserts a deity as if it is more parsimonious. But here's the nuance; this deity is a much more complex, excessive explanation than the Multiverse. Our universe exists, so we already know how it's possible for others to exist. This deity however, is highly unlikely, and causes too many scientific problems to arise. This is a deity that exists outside the universe which implies that he lives in some other realm, transcendent of space-time where ordinary scientific laws don't apply. And on top of that, this is a personal deity who can listen to 6 billion people's prayers, who can intervene in our world and brings with it, a whole set of unanswerable, superfluous problems. This is just pushing the problem back further: what and where is this realm outside of space-time, void of scientific laws that he apparently exists in. Clearly, this deity is extremely unparsimonious, improbable, and outright absurd.

================
Edge of Another Universe
================

My opponent contends that this massive void of space doesn't favor a Multiverse or a single universe. However, the physics professor clarified that "standard cosmology cannot explain such a giant cosmic hole" and the article I sourced further elaborated that "a hole this size was essentially impossible to explain under the constraints of current scientific theory." [2] This is partly why she concluded that it is the "unmistakable imprint of another universe beyond the edge of our own." So at the current moment, this discovery is leaning towards multiple universes.

============
MW Interpretation
============

Apologician asks that I explain why MWI is inevitable (suggested by Hawking) given the premise that QM applies to all of reality. First let me note that there are four "phases" of the Multiverse theory, which are all compatible with each other. Phase I is the proposition of multiple Hubble Spheres, or as I called them, singularity points. Phase III is the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics which holds that there are *parallel* universes. In quantum mechanics, "certain observations cannot be predicted absolutely. Instead, there is a range of possible observations each with a different probability. According to the MWI, each of these possible observations correspond to a different universe." [3] This means that if QM applies to reality, where every possibility exists, MWI is inevitably true.

=====================
Kalam's Cosmological Argument
=====================

My opponent argues that the KCA does argue for a personal God over a deist God, yet he provided no good reason behind this assertion.

{*Hence, because there are no prior determining conditions, the cause of the universe must be personal and uncaused.*}

This is a non-sequitur. I understand that we are assuming the premise that nothing existed before the creation of the universe, but this does not lead us to conclude that the initial cause is a personal creator. Let me make this clear; "personal God' means the God of the monotheistic religions. If my opponent denies that, then he concedes that this God, or first cause, is the deist God (non-religious, non-intervening, and acts only as the creator.)

===========
Infinity and Time
===========

{*Regarding the issue of what constitutes an event and how things can be unarbitrarily divided, I see no problem here at all. Though we cannot specify an exact division, we simply specify an arbitrary division point for the sake of clarity.*}

The core of my opponent's argument against infinity is that there cannot be an infinity of events leading to this current moment. First of all, he agrees with A-Theory which says that past events don't even exist. Second of all, he concedes that you cannot unarbitrarily divide past events. If you cannot empirically define separate events, the problem of infinity is null. There are no separate events until we arbitrarily define them, bottom line.

Sidenote: My opponent says KCA assumes the A-Theory over B-Theory, but this is not the case. KCA requires that the universe had a beginning, a moment of creation. This moment of creation was a past event which was the beginning of a linear timeline implied by B-Theory. A-Theory holds that only the present exists and that no such beginning of time (past event) could have occurred. The present exists infinitely.

===========================
God and the First Law of Thermodynamics
===========================

Apologician states that he is defending the traditional concept of God. He didn't really specify, but I will assume that he means that this God exists outside the universe, outside of space-time, and is not bound by scientific laws. I don't have a problem with this definition (except the last bit), however it is a self-defeating one. It concedes that this being is beyond all scientific inquiry. I argued that my opponent can't claim this being isn't subjected to scientific laws and he responded that they are descriptive, not prescriptive. This is not true. The Universe has indicated to us that these laws do dictate everything in reality, and we just put names to them. So the laws aren't descriptive, they are prescriptive and we just give them descriptive names for identification purposes.

So my opponent is wrong, the first law of thermodynamics (matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed) does dictate that the Universe must have existed forever, and that a creator is not possible. And if he wants to claim that he is not subject to these laws, again, I object to this definition for it is an unfalsifiable, untestable claim.

=======
Conclusion
=======

In conclusion, my opponent has yet to provide for a personal creator, only a deist God. He tried to argue that this deity has intentions, thus making him personal. But this does not constitute as a personal, monotheistic God, only a deist one. Even the deist God had to have intentions to create the Universe. He has ultimately failed to show that the first cause was a personal creator, or even a deist creator, over a conscious Multiverse.

Sources: Comments.
Apologician

Con

=Parsimony=

Let me begin my response by setting forth a clear definition of Ockham's razor as given by the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy:

"Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity" [1]

Pro hasn't quite grasped my argument. As such, here is a visual aid of the positions defended by both sides: http://philapologia.org...

From this diagram, it is very evident that Pro's proposal multiplies entities beyond necessity, and hence should be ruled out on the basis of Ockham's razor. His response is simply that the multiverse is "the ONE explanation for our universe, not the multiple neighboring universes," yet that is exactly what I am attacking. What I am proposing is that the multiverse itself and the pluralities of universes that are contained within it should both be discarded in favor for a single universe that does not exist in a multiverse, as illustrated by the visual aid. It is evident that a single universe which exists by itself is more parsimonious as opposed to a plurality of universes that exist within one multiverse.

Pro responds by stating that the postulation of a deity is unparsimonious. Suppose I grant this, it would still follow that Pro's position is ultimately still the more umparsimonious view. For whereas I only posit two entities (A deity and a universe), Pro posits a multiverse which is populated by countless unobservable and unproven entities. Pro also charges the postulation of a deity as incoherent, asking "what and where is this realm outside of space-time, void of scientific laws that he apparently exists in." This is an incoherent question, it is a category mistake. Such a deity would be immaterial, having no physical parts. It would thus make no sense to ask "where" this realm is, since there is no spatial dimensions to this real. Just exactly how is it absurd?

=Edge of Another Universe=

Pro argues that the discovered of a void of space is impossible to explain using standard physics. This is not evidently the case. Mersini-Houghton's conclusion is actually rather controversial, as it depends on string theory, a relatively new area of physics which has secured no experimental proof. In fact, its equations haven't been fully formulated yet! And by interpreting it along the lines of string theory (which presupposes the existence of other universes), to use this as proof is to beg the question. Many different competing explanations exist, and it is not evident why Pro's (controversial) explanation should be preferred.

=MW Interpretation=

Pro still has not demonstrated that QM applies to all of reality. He has only stated that if QM applies to all of reality, then a MW interpretation would be correct. Up to this point, he has failed to demonstrate that conditional (that QM applies to all of reality). As such, Pro's assertion remains unproven. Additionally, it is not evident that of QM applies to all of reality, then MWI must be true. Since the other competing interpretations are empirically equivalent, then QM could simply be interpreted along those lines. MWI would thus simply be one of many.

=Kalam Cosmological Argument=

Pro's responds to my first argument by simply asserting that the conclusion that the cause is personal does not follow. Yet what is his basis for doing so? I have provided good reasons for why this should be the case. Let me rehash. Prior to the creation of the universe, there were no antecedent determining conditions that would necessitate the creation of the universe. As such, the act of creating the universe must have been a free act that was initiated free of any determining conditions. That is, a being freely willed to create the universe. This is an obvious sign that the creator must have been personal. Pro argues that by personal, I must demonstrate the existence of a God who intervenes within creation. But that is clearly not what the debate is over, it was over _cosmological origins_. It is thus sufficient for me to show that the cause of the universe must have been personal (in that it freely chose in the lack of determining conditions) without showing that it still intervenes in creation.

=Infinity and Time=

Pro's counter-argument is analogous to ancient Sorites paradoxes. However, pro has forgotten that even though the division of events are arbitrary, divisions still exist. Previously, I stated that "But in an A-theory of time (Which the argument assumes), ___there is a real difference between events such that they can be numbered and placed into a set. Hence, though we cannot specify an exact division, we simply specify an arbitrary division point for the sake of clarity."____ He states that if we cannot empirically define with precision what an event is, then the problem is null. But that is an assertion that I find no warrant in at all. Simply because we cannot define what constitutes an event with absolute precision does not mean that divisions do not exist. Pro is committing the fallacy of the beard: simply because I cannot specify with exact precision when a stubble ends and a beard begins does not mean that any difference between them is non-existent. Though we cannot give an exact cut-off, we specify an arbitrary division for the sake of clarify. This does not at all imply that a distinctions do not exist.

Hence, in the case with the kalam argument, there _are_ real divisions between events (since it presupposes the A-theory of time in which there are real distinctions between past, present, and future). However, these divisions, though they exist, cannot be specified with precision. As such, we simply specify an arbitrary cut-off for the sake of clarify. This does not at all imply that divisions do not exist.

Pro also charges the KCA with assuming the B-theory of time over the A-theory of time. This is rather bizarre, as all proponents and opponents of the argument have acknowledged that it presupposes the A-theory of time. On a B-theory, there is no beginning of the universe, since all events have ontological parity, which is why it is referred to as the static theory of time (all events exist at once, and are not ordered by relations of tense -- the universe has a "beginning" in the sense that a yardstick has a beginning, but all points on the yardstick are coeternal). Pro also misrepresents the A-theory when he states that the present exists infinitely. That is simply untrue. On an A-theory, temporal becoming exists (time is flowing -- which is why the A-theory is also called a dynamic theory of time). At t1, E1 is present and at t2, E1 is past and E2 is now present. [3]

=God and Thermodynamics=

Pro charges my definition is being self-defeating, but how? He simply states it without stating why. Indeed, the definition of God I proposed makes him beyond scientific inquiry -- but surely this is a virtue and not a vice. Scientific constraints only apply to contingent beings, whereas God is traditionally thought of a necessary being who exists in all possible worlds. To define God as a limited being who is bound by the laws of nature is to redefine the parameters of the word "God." By God we mean the greatest possible being, and this would entail that he cannot be bound by mere contingent scientific laws.

Pro insists that the laws of nature are prescriptive, that they prescribe what must happen. But is it not clear as to how they are prescriptive. What we call the laws of nature are really empirical generalizations which describe how the patterns in which the universe functions, but they do not prescribe how it functions. Suppose we observe the sunrise everyday and conclude that the sun rises in a particular time. Can we conclude on the basis that the sun _must_ rise at that particular time? No. Simply because nature _is_ a certain way does not mean that it _must_ be a certain way. This is a non-sequitur. Is does not imply must anymore than it implies ought (David Hume's famous is-ought problem of ethics).
Debate Round No. 3
GeoLaureate8

Pro

=======
Parsimony
=======

Here is an illustration that compares our propositions:
http://i46.tinypic.com...

Occam's Razor is still being misused by my opponent. He is using it to shave away any and all numbers greater than 1. He might as well just come out and say the number 1 is simpler than the number 5 simply because it's a smaller number. Occam's Razor doesn't work like that.

IMPORTANT! *It shaves away all excessive postulates, causes, and explanations, NOT the sheer quantity involved in a theory or proposition.* IMPORTANT!

There's a difference between qualitative and quantitative excess, yet my opponent fails to realize this important point.

"Occam's razor actually is a constraint on the complexity of physical theory, not on the number of universes. MWI is a simpler theory since it has fewer postulates." [1]

According to cosmologist PhD Max Tegmark (Berkeley and MIT): "A common feature of all four multiverse levels is that the simplest and arguably most elegant theory involves parallel verses by default. To deny the existence of those verses, one needs to complicate the theory by adding experimentally unsupported processes and ad hoc postulates: finite space, wave function collapse and ontological asymmetry. Our judgment therefore comes down to which we find more wasteful and inelegant: many worlds or many words." [2]

From the same source: "Thus, according to Tegmark, paradoxically the multiverse scenario is more parsimonious than that of a single verse. David Lewis, however, draws a distinction between qualitative and quantitative excess. Postulating extra universe just like our own does not increase the number of kinds of things there are, and thus is only quantitative excess." [2]

{*Such a deity would be immaterial, having no physical parts. It would thus make no sense to ask "where" this realm is, since there is no spatial dimensions to this real. Just exactly how is it absurd?*}

Beyond absurd.

My opponent asserts:

1. Personal, immaterial entity with no physical parts.

- This makes no sense and fails to explain anything, let alone the origins of our Universe. An immaterial entity with no physical parts is an entirely unscientific assertion and one that a human mind can't even comprehend. Sounds like a complicated, unnecessary, excessive entity.

2. This deity exists in a realm with no spatial dimensions.

- None of this makes sense scientifically or mathematically.

All of this takes Occam's Razor, snaps it in half, and throws it in the garbage.

Let me point out that my opponent is asserting an unknown, unparsimonious, superfluous explanation by introducing a being that has yet be known to exist. I am asserting multiple universes which poses no problem at all given that we already know that at least one exists. Just like the water molecules. If it is known that at least one water molecule exists, why can't there be others? In fact, it would be absurd if only one did exist.

================
Edge of Another Universe
================

My opponent claims that Mersini-Houghton's conclusion relies on string theory, but that's not the case. We have actually observed what is likely the edge of another universe. My opponent also attacks string theory saying that it hasn't been fully formulated yet, however this is not true. Michio Kaku, co-founder of string field theory, has said that the math checks out, it's just that these strings haven't been observed yet.

============
MW Interpretation
============

Apologician proclaims that there is no good reason to accept the MW interpretation over the other quantum theories, however, I have evidence to the contrary.

"To deny the existence of those verses, one needs to complicate the [quantum] theory by adding experimentally unsupported processes and ad hoc postulates" - Max Tegmark (cosmologist) [2]

====================
Kalam Cosmological Argument
====================

Con claims that he provided good reasons as to why the cause was personal. He argues that the first cause was a being that freely willed to create the universe and therefore personal. Again, let me remind the readers the difference between Deism and Theism. The Deist God is impersonal, the Theist God is personal. A personal God is a God of the monotheistic religions.

Critical Point: If he denies that this God is a religious deity, then he concedes that it's a Deistic God, not a Theistic, personal one. Personal God = Religious God. Impersonal God = Deist God.

{*Pro argues that by personal, I must demonstrate the existence of a God who intervenes within creation.*}

I never claimed that. I was alluding to the personal God as a being who also happens to intervene.

{*But that is clearly not what the debate is over, it was over _cosmological origins_. It is thus sufficient for me to show that the cause of the universe must have been personal (in that it freely chose in the lack of determining conditions)*}

Either A. This deity is a religious deity or B. This deity is a deistic one.

===========
Infinity and Time
===========

Con says that because we can assign arbitrary divisions or events, therefore the divisions and events exist. This is false. He is making a bare assertion that separate events exist, even though we can't clearly define them. He admits that we arbitrarily divide events and says that I'm commiting a fallacy of the beard. This is making the huge assumption that separate events actually exist. I say until we can empiracally and precisely define separate events with a proven scientific method, then these so-called separate events don't exist. Therefore, at this current moment, an eternal Universe is valid. The mathematical problem of infinity does not apply the existence of the Universe because it is not necessary to assign numbers to it.

=================
God and Thermodynamics
=================

This specific argument between me and my opponent is based on the properties of the proposed being. He defines this being as one who is not bound by scientific laws, I contend that his definitions are unfalsifiable. He claims it's the traditional concept of God, well if that's the case, it's an unfalsifiable one.

============
The Smoking Gun
============

"No new hypothesis is needed to consider multiple universes. In fact, it takes an added hypothesis to rule them out-- a super law of nature that says only one universe can exist. But we know of no such law, so we would violate Occam's razor to insist on only one universe." - Astrophysicist Victor Stenger [3]

========
Conclusion
========

In conclusion, my opponent's core argument fails: Kalam's Cosmological Argument. It assumes that the Universe had a beginning (which I refuted) and based on that assumption, it still only argues for a Deist God and nothing more. My opponent keeps trying to define a personal God as merely one that had freely willed to cause the Universe. But if this deity is not a religious, intervening God who answers prayers, then it is merely a Deist God.

Thank you for reading.

Sources:

[1] http://www.answers.com...
[2] http://www.wikinfo.org...
[3] http://skeptico.blogs.com...
Apologician

Con

My thanks to Pro for challenging me to this debate, it was a very fruitful discussion.

=Parsimony=

Pro charges me with misusing Ockham's razor, citing that it is properly used to "shave away all excessive postulates, causes, and explanations." However, that is exactly what I am doing. Though both may purport to explain reality, a multiverse that is filled with countless universes is much more excessive that simply postulating one universe, one deity and no multiverse. Both explain what we have, but all things being equal, the latter hypothesis is preferred because the number of entities needed to explain reality is smaller. Imagine that you need to balance a scale by placing fifty pounds on it. One way to do this is to fill a box (whose weight is negligible) with twenty-five two pound weights. Or, one can simply place a fifty pound weight on the scale. It is the latter that is more parsimonious. Applied to the multiverse, it should be ruled out on the basis that it multiplies entities beyond the number that are needed to explain the relevant phenomena.

Pro then charges standard physics with "complicating the theory by "adding experimentally unsupported processes and ad hoc postulates." On the contrary, this does not violate Ockham's razor, which states that entities should not be multiplied beyond _necessity_. Just as it is necessary to posit some phenomena to account for the multiple universes on multiverse theory, it is necessary to posit certain phenomena in order to explain reality.

=Immaterial God?=

Pro appears to treat the idea of an immaterial being with no physical parts as an unintelligible notion. He charges this as being an unscientific concept that the human mind cannot comprehend. This is correct, but just exactly why is this considered to be a bad thing? Pro appears to presuppose that something is intelligible only if it is able to be analyzed by science. This, however, is a self-refuting venture, for that assumption itself cannot be analyzed by scientific means. Philosophers recognize the existence of a wide range of immaterial existing objects, including: numbers, universals, properties, propositions, laws of logic, etc... Simply because my conception of God cannot be analyzed empirically does not mean that it is non-nonsensical. The origin of the universe is just as much as an exercise in metaphysics as it is in physics. And how exactly is an immaterial being with no physical parts a complicated being? It would have no physical parts, and thus, a fortiori, it would be incredibly simple!

=Edge of Another Universe=

Pro simply asserts that Merisni-Houghton's conclusion does not rely on string theory, but this is simply false. [1] Her conclusion does rely on string theory, which is still in its infancy. He also restates that "we have actually observed what is likely the edge of another universe." Again, this is true only if we interpret the void according to string theory and a MW interpretation. Consequently, Pro needs to demonstrate why an interpretation along the lines of string theory and MW should be preferred. Pro responds by stating that "the math checks out." That however, was not my criticism. The math may check out in regards to what we have, but all of the equations for string theory have not even been formulated yet. [2] Pro did not respond to the fact that there are explanations for the WMAP under standard physics. In fact, to posit a speculative explanation that rests on a speculative theory that has secured no amount of empirical evidence and whose equations have not even been fully formulated yet is unparsimonious.

=MW Interpretation=

Pro's response is rather weak. He simply cites a quote in which states that it complicates quantum theory by "adding experimentally unsupported processes and ad hoc postulates." However, the addition of these processes are explanatory necessary, and hence their addition is necessary. Moreover, this is not a very strong reason as to why we should accept an MW interpretation over more than a dozen competing interpretations, all of which are empirically equivalent.

=Kalam Cosmological Argument=

Pro doesn't seem to respond to my argument at all. Instead, he presents two alternatives: a deistic creator and a theistic creator (of which the latter is personal). I am arguing, of course, for the latter conception of deity. I have already established this point through prior argumentation (In order to create in the lack of prior determining conditions, the creator must have freely willed to create, thus indicating that it is personal). As far as I can tell, Pro does not respond to this argument.

Pro does seem to charge the conception of deity as one that is compatible with deism, and thus I have failed to demonstrate the existence of a personal creator. Notice however, that this equivocates on the meaning of "personal" as indicated in the debate topic. This debate is about cosmological origins, and whether or not the creator of the universe had the property of being a personal cause. A deistic creator, though he does not intervene within creation, is still personal in the sense that it freely choose to create in the lack of determining conditions. Thus, regardless of whether or not the conception of deity I have proven is deistic (does not intervene in creation) or theistic (active in creation), both have the property of being a personal cause of the universe. Thus, they can both be described as personal creators. Thus, contrary to Pro, I have succeeded in demonstrating the existence of a personal cause.

=Infinity and Time=

Pro attacks a strawman. My argument is NOT that "because we can assign arbitrary divisions or events, therefore the divisions and events exist." As I outlined clearly, on the A-theory of time, divisions between events are real by virtue of the reality of temporal becoming. However, because it is hard to determine the exact division of events on an A-theory, we simply substitute it with an arbitrary division of events for the sake of simplicity. For example, it is clear that there is a difference between a few pieces of trash and a giant heap of trash. But simply because we can't specify when exactly a few pieces of trash becomes a giant heap of trash does not mean that there is no distinction between the two. For pragmatic reasons, we therefore simply specific an arbitrary distinction in place for a distinction that we know exists but which can't be specified with certainty. Pro's argument is simply a modern version of the sorites paradox.

=God and Thermodynamics=

Note firstly that Pro has completely dropped his argument about the laws of nature being prescriptive as opposed to descriptive in light of my previous criticism.

Pro charges my conception of deity as being unfalsifiable because it is not bound by scientific laws. This is flatly incorrect, as falsifiability does not depend solely on science. It is very possible to falsify the traditional conception of God: simply show that there exists a contradiction in his attributes. If such an argument succeeds, then the existence of God is falsified.

=Pro's "Smoking Gun"=

Pro argues that to insist on only one universe is to violate Ockham's razor. But just why should I accept that assumption? He quotes Victor Stenger as stating that "no new hypothesis is needed to consider multiple universes" and that it "takes an added hypothesis to rule them out." I see no reason to accept any of this. Positing the existence of multiple universes is explanatory superfluous when one universe is enough (On non-MW interpretations of QM, there is no entities being multiplied beyond necessity in regards to a single universe hypothesis). It is thus multiverse theory, and not a single universe, which violates Ockham's razor.

=Conclusion=

Pro has failed to demonstrate that a conscious multiverse should be preferred over a personal creator. Thanks for reading!
Debate Round No. 4
104 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Apologician 4 years ago
Apologician
I would prefer to see some reasons for voting.
Posted by Apologician 4 years ago
Apologician
SOURCES:

[1] - William Lane Craig and James D. Sinclair, "The Kalam Cosmological Argument" in William Lane Craig (ed) and JP Moreland (ed), The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Oxford: Blackwell. 2009)
[2] - http://www.newscientist.com...
Posted by GeoLaureate8 4 years ago
GeoLaureate8
Yes, a deist God is impersonal. The point I'm making in the debate is that what my opponent asserts as a personal God is actually a deist God. He says that just because the deity freely willed to create the Universe, that is a personal God, but even the deist God "freely willed" to create the Universe. I see the personal God as the God of monotheism, one with theology attached. The deist God has no theology attached.
Posted by popculturepooka 4 years ago
popculturepooka
"My opponent keeps trying to define a personal God as merely one that had freely willed to cause the Universe. But if this deity is not a religious, intervening God who answers prayers, then it is merely a Deist God."

Isn't a deist god by definition impersonal, Geo?
Posted by Vi_Veri 4 years ago
Vi_Veri
Aaaah, ok... I must not have read any of the NEO-Loretnzian work... I should do that promptly. My mistake. // Anyway, Time Theory B does not imply that time flows - but that time is static. There is no "flow" or "passage." Think of time as a place, in his theory, as apposed to temporal becoming in A theory. That's why I said it is like a book - you have all of time as one entity (the book as a whole), but consciously "reading" it separates it into parts and creates a story. // I think you may be confusing the theories, Geo? And yes, Apologician, that is exactly what I meant - that time flows, with the past never happening again.
Posted by Apologician 4 years ago
Apologician
No, because what is present is constantly changing (The A-theory affirms the reality of temporal becoming, the passage of time). So at T1, E1 would be present. At T2, E2 would be present and E1 would be in the past. And so on, so forth. So while the only the present exists, the events that have the status of being present are constantly changing.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 4 years ago
GeoLaureate8
@Apologician

If only the present exists, how can it end? Would it not have to exist forever?
Posted by Apologician 4 years ago
Apologician
Of course, I never said it was *literally* linear (That's the B-theory), but that it's linear in the sense that time flows (Which I think was what Vi meant). If you're talking about actual infinites, then I would happen to agree with you that the B-theory implies the existence of an actual infinite. The A-theory, on the other hand, does not.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 4 years ago
GeoLaureate8
@Apologician

"The A-theory is not a literal line (that's the B-theory) but time is linear in that time flows in one direction."

The fact that it flows does not necessitate that it be a line.

"Additionally, that doesn't really help. Are you referring to infinity in a potential or actual sense?"

Actual. That being, there is no beginning and no end. It's not just potentially infinite, it is infinite.
Posted by Apologician 4 years ago
Apologician
Firstly, we're talking about the *Neo*-Loretnzian interpretation. It's not exactly the same as what Loretnz originally proposed. Second, Einstein's interpretation simply presupposed the non-existence of an absolute reference frame (I believe that there does exist an absolute reference frame, but not withstanding, I reject Loretnz's identification of this as the ether gas). Finally, the cosmic microwave background radiation can be seen to provide an empirical absolute reference frame in which the A-theory can function.

:::::

@Geo

The A-theory is not a literal line (that's the B-theory) but time is linear in that time flows in one direction. There is a real difference between before and after (Since tensed relations are real), it's just that the past does not exist anymore.

Additionally, that doesn't really help. Are you referring to infinity in a potential or actual sense?
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments i found to be more convincing, and Pro failed to address the issues presented by Con's arguments. Pro had more sources, and established a more official stance on the topic, but unltimately still lacked the finishing touch.
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