The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Everything that begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist. Therefore, it has a cause.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/14/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,415 times Debate No: 36551
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)




The three basic premises.

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


I would like to focus on the above three premises of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. You are requested to otherwise put aside the whole KCA thing, I'm just interested in debating the above. I don't necessarily agree with the whole argument to begin with, but I do believe in the above and as such I am curious as to why it would not be true.

I'm debating the Kalam Cosmological Argument elsewhere and there I have for the first time heard about the A-Theory and B-Theory. I particularly welcome anyone who uses the B-Theory as an argument against the above premises. I am very interested in learning more and debating is a great way to do that.

The Burden of Proof will be equal, and as such will fall on both parties. I will certainly be trying to prove the above premises, and I expect Con to actively try to undermine or disprove the above premises.

Con shall begin arguments immediately in this round.

In the final round Con may not bring in any new arguments. Con may however make a final conclusion based on previous rounds. I ask voters to keep this in mind, in case Con forgets him or herself.


Good luck, and I hope we can both enjoy a stimulating debate.


The KLA argument is a popular argument given for the existence of God.

What makes a logical argument

A logical argument proper is one that if the premises are true and the truth is preserved from the premises to the conclusion, then the conclusion is true as well. By truth preservation, I mean the conclusion can only consist of information inherent in the premises already. Information which is not in the premises themselves can appear in the conclusion, without violating the this integrity.

This Argument proposed by Pro, is itself of very simple Aristotelian categorical logic.

The most common example given is the following:

P1. all men are mortal,

P2. Socrates is a man,

C1 Therefore Socrates is mortal.

The Fool: That is, in so far as there exist a class of "things" which has a certain set of properties, all "entities" of the same class share the same set of properties necessary to be that class.

In this case "men" is a category which "we" predicate as having the property of mortality. Therefore if "Socrates" is a man, then he would be correctly classified as being mortal.

The Socratic syllogism is true categorically, but perhaps it turns out that Socrates "himself" only appeared to "us" as a human, but was really a God, like Jesus perhaps. If this was "really the case" and the argument was being applied to Socrates "himself" the argument would be false, as Socrates would have been falsely classified as merely a man.

To be a sound argument, an argument must not only be internally valid, by virtue of categorization, but must also have external validity, that is, the terms being used must actually correspond to the objects that "actually" exist, and they must actually have the properties they are being claimed to have.

Everything that begins to exist has a cause?

The first premise presumes that there is a "class of things" which "began to exist".

For example it appears obvious that this paragraph, in this very way, which I'm writing right now began to exist as I wrote it. And so if this is true, this would entail, that this paragraph, by categorical virtue, in the exact way it is now, to myself, goes under "the class of things" which begin to exist.

I stress, to myself as it appears, for perhaps I've written it many times and I have merely forgotten. Perhaps what you read is not this foolish Paragraph in front of me, but something in between us has distorted the information transferring from my perception to yours.

For I myself can only claim what I can recognize. For any other claim I make besides that which I recognize in some way, that is "Know" in some way, would leave me open to the charge that I "literally" don't know what I'm talking about. And so any proof for an entity, which I do not already possess some sort of knowledge about would be nonsensical.

Either type corruption jeopardizes truth preservation between the claimer and what is being claimed enabling the possibility for Attribution Error.

Attribution Error

By attribution error, I mean misjudging where a particular property lies. Is the particular property of focus in the object which it is believed to be in or is it a property of the perceiver and their perceptions? Another common cause for errors in judgment is in the way we speak of things. Language is our conventional way of classification and categorization. Most people and especially People as a collective do not use language consistently enough. If they did, it could never come about that there were different languages. Personal bias and perception has a strong effect on what we call things, and since language is a measure of our ideas and thoughts, inconsistent language can corrupt how we think, judge and even perceive.

For even when I create this sentence, I merely pooling from information together, from thought, memory or perception, into an external form perceivable by vision.

This is the only way, that I myself, perhaps foolishly, recognize what the term "creation" means. That is, creation as far as “I” can say without appealing to ignorance, is always some, reorganization, or transforming something which is already there. I may then call this new composition or degradation something New, but it is always of the same overall "some thingness" that "IS" already.

Similarly, the only sense of beginning "I" The Fool, can claim is that which I begin “to recognize.” For even as a Fool, I understand that something does not cease to exist simply by the fact that I can no longer recognize it and nor can I claim Truly that, "the thing" which is being "seen" exist only when seen, if it is a thing that can have the possibility of being seen at all.

The Beginning of the END

Let's consider the expression "begins to exist".

Is there something awkward about the expression? How often is it that we say that "something is beginning to exist"? Try using it in an everyday sentence.

"It is beginning to exist that it is sunny outside" !!???

This is very abnormal compared to simply saying "it is sunny outside", or that "the sun is coming "OUT."

A logical language, is simply a well-defined language. While logic, "itself” is an a priori process of thinking. Thus, when you learn something about logic it should always seem like it was something you knew intuitively, but were just not able to put into words.

The awkwardness unnaturalness of a premise, tends to indicate that the language or argument is being forced and/or warped, to “Appear correct” as appose to “Being” correct.

Is it "beginning to exist", that the first premise is "beginning to exist" to look sketchy?

If there is nothing wrong, with the first premise this should flow nicely. But there is something "excessive about it...

There is something extra in the expression and premise which should not be there if the premise is true.

What's the problem with this expression?

To say that "something", is beginning to exist, has already presumed "the something" which of course should not yet be there if it did not already exist previously

"In some sense".

Therefore if a thing is to have the property or action of "becoming” did not exist "at all" already, it could NEVER be true, that it IS a Thing becoming or that “it IS” a Thing “being caused”. And what is a Cause without “something” being effected?

Perhaps energy, and or action. And so it can be said with less assumptions, and more soundly that the universe HAS Cause or CAUSALITY, as a property. Not that the Universe was Caused, or is caused or will be caused.

From where does it “begin to exist” that “the universe” need “Be“ if IT IS ANYTHING that needs To Be Caused?


The End of the Beginning

Furthermore, if a “class of things” which begin are synonymously a "class of things "which have been caused, it follows that all beginnings are caused. Especially if what is meant is the beginning of “something.” I personally don't know what the beginning of nothing is. Perhaps foolishly, perhaps not.

The Fool: But does this is help the conclusion out at all. Or does it make it worse?

Let's examine this closely, if all beginnings, must be caused then this includes the Beginning of Cause.

Therefore if the first premise is true then it is Truly False. As nothing in particular can "begin to cause anything" Without itself first being caused to "begin to cause", to “cause to begin” to “begin to cause” ..And so on. And so forth.

But infinity is something that could never follow by any “order”, as there is no end from which it can begin, or begin to end.


Thus if the Proposition Pro proposes is true. There could never be a cause of anything, AT ALL. EVER, PERIOD.

But, that which could NEVER be true is by Necessity false!

Foolish Fatality……


Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting the debate. I find his arguments most interesting, if not always to the point and relevant. He brings up some interesting points so let me begin by addressing some of them.

Scientific assumptions can be wrong as well

As Con so kindly pointed out, arguments based on what we know and what we assume can be wrong because though evidence suggests that our assumptions are true, they may nevertheless be false. This is a sword that cuts both ways.

In the case of the argument I'm making, it may well be that the universe did indeed begin to exist(or have a beginning), despite assumptions, assertions, or evidence to the contrary. Our assumptions and knowledge, have no bearing on the reality of the matter. In other words, we may continue building a scientific picture of a universe with no beginning, but be wrong the entire time because of a single wrong assumption.

The whole picture science is building, of a universe that has always existed by sheer virtue of its current existence, might not be true. But then again... as we will see below, perhaps science isn't really making such an argument after all.

Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

The first premise does indeed presume that there is a class of things that "begin to exist". I'm not sure however if Con is truly understanding the intended meaning of said phrase. For the sake of avoiding semantics let me clear up the meaning of the first premise.

"Everything the begins to exist" basically refers to anything that hasn't existed forever. Or in other words it refers to anything that has a beginning or starting point.

With that in mind the premise was intended to mean the following: Everything that has a beginning has a cause.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument for God is an argument attempting to prove the existence of God through logic. Considering that context, the meaning of the first premise becomes clear. The first premise sets the framework for later premises of the KCA argument which state that God has always existed, making Him exempt from the first premise.

Basically the "class of things" which "began to exist" is meant to refer to everything in the universe as well as the universe itself. This is made clear in the next two premises that state that the universe began to exist and that it therefore has a cause.

I would like to minimize and avoid semantic discussions and as such the above should be clear enough to both Con and any readers. If not I can try to clarify it further, but that really shouldn't be necessary. I ask that Con focus on debating the content of the resolution rather than the wording of the resolution.


Language is a tangent to the topic at hand and could easily be a whole debate of its own. This debate is not about the nature of language, and it isn't about how best to define or word the first three premises of the KCA argument either. The debate is about the ideas and concepts behind the premises.

I ask that Con focus on disproving or undermining the premises, and not on misinterpreting them. Likewise I ask the readers and voters to kindly overlook semantic arguments that have no direct bearing on the issue at hand.

Having said all that, Con has in the midst of his semantic arguments, made some points worth addressing.


The first premise is only an attribution error, if the universe did not begin to exist. As I said earlier, begins to exist refers to two things.

1. The universe has a beginning.
2. The universe has not existed forever.

Put the two together and you get "The universe began to exist." Simple.

To put it simply, science suggests that the universe began with the Big Bang approximately 13.77 Billion years ago. Science can't say this one moment... and then turn around five second later and say... oh, wait the universe didn't actually begin at all.

How can you even give the universe an age if it has always existed? So yeah, it would seem that science ultimately supports that idea that the universe has a beginning. They just don't like the idea that it may suggest even a remote possibility of a first cause or God.


Creation can indeed be interpreted as an organization or transformation of one thing into another. The Big Bang can easily be considered such a transformation can it not? None of the premises suggest that the universe was caused from nothing, merely that it did have a cause.

There is no conflict or contradiction between creation being a transformation, and the universe being the result of a transformation. One does not exclude the other and they can, on the contrary, quite easily follow each other.


Unfortunately it would seem that Con has gone through a lot of trouble to create a whole argument around semantics. As I have stated earlier, I have no intention of getting into such an argument. I have outlined what was meant by the first premise, and unless Con has not understood the intended meaning I will leave it at that.

I will only address any actual arguments pertaining to the content of premises rather than semantic arguments about how the premises have been phrased. I don't have to time to get into semantics... if this was a much longer debate I would honestly consider it and maybe even be interested in including semantics in the debate... but we only have a few rounds so let us please stick to the point.

I will readily admit that the phrasing of the premises are a bit unusual but their intended meaning is not of the day to day variety. As I have shown earlier, given the context, the meaning is actually quite clear. Otherwise I don't feel that the phrasing of the argument has any bearing on whether or not the universe has a beginning and therefore a cause. That is ultimately the issue at hand.

If Con admits that the universe has cause as a property... upon what basis does he argue that it was not itself caused?

All Beginnings are caused

Yes, while everything that begins must have a cause this is limited to everything that begins. Nothing does not begin, and is irrelevant anyway. And something infinite, or something which has always existed does not have a beginning.

The first premises are meant to lead up to the point that there is essentially something which is infinite and has no beginning. This debate does not get into that however, and merely focuses on whether or not the universe began. And whether it therefore has a cause.

I hope to see more relevant arguments by Con. And hopefully less semantic arguments. I nevertheless thank Con for the entertaining read, and maybe we can debate semantics separately sometime. I woudn't mind... we just don't have the time or space for it here.


It it unfortunate that there is a black out where I am and so I must write this round brief by mobile phone. But it is important to mention that pro is has undermined his proof in many ways. The first is his drop from a logical proof to a mere possibility.. He claim that not only what he assumes can be possibly false but what he"knows". He extends this claim universally,but he is not warranted to conclude from his knowledge that others don't have true nicknamed..He has also went against his own request to put aside the KFC argument and focus on the argument
Debate Round No. 2


I thank Con for posting despite his circumstances and shall keep this brief.

Ultimately what I "claimed" with regards to assumptions is that any assumption can be wrong. It is of course perfectly logical that what I assume can be false. Likewise not everything I "know" or believe to be true, is absolutely true. That is the nature of human experience... we are limited by our beliefs, perceptions and experiences. This applies to Con as much as it does to me or any of the readers and voters of this debate. Keep this is mind during the debate because it is relevant.

I did indeed refer to KFC arguments, to put things into context. Ultimately though, as I have said and still say... this debate is focused on the first three premises, going beyond that requires another debate.

Anyway... I haven't said much this round. Hopefully, the black out will not be a problem anymore and you can post a full argument. I am curious what all your comments were referring to.

I look forward to reading your arguments.



The_Fool_on_the_hill forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


It would seem the Con couldn't post his arguments in time, I suspect that this was not an intended forfeit. At any rate, I will go ahead and make my closing arguments... and Con can go ahead and make all his arguments in the last round.

In this last round I will begin by going through the three premises one by one.

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

I would like to begin by examining the premise. This premise claims that everything that begins to exist has a cause... by extension it also claims that everything that has a cause begins to exist. We will shortly see why this is true, and why it applies to the universe.

Imagine however for a moment that the premise stated that everything that exists has a cause. Note that there is no reference to beginning in this case. Let us consider what this would mean.

If everything that exists has a cause, this would basically mean that existence itself had a cause. How can existence be caused by that which does not exist? To put it another way, how can something that does not exist, cause something to exist? No matter how you look at it, it is completely illogical.

Now then, let us take this a step further. Without considering the nature of existence or that which has always existed, let us consider for a moment that which we call time. Like existence, time can not begin to exist. The reasons are simple. First of all a beginning is meaningless outside the context of time. Secondly, time can not be caused because causality is also completely meaningless without time.

Neither existence nor time have a beginning or cause. Therefore neither existence nor time, are included in the above premise. With this in mind, let us get back to examining the premise.

The premise as I have shown, does not claim that existence came from nothing. The premise states that everything that begins to exist has a cause. What does it mean by beginning to exist? Well, that means that it did not exist at one point in time, and at a later point in time it does exist. Beginning to exist refers to the first point in time at which something exists, regardless of the form or state in which it exists at that point.

To summarize, something that exists from a a certain point in time onwards, began to exist. Everything which falls under this category has a cause. This means that something that did exist, caused something else to begin existing. There is an empty meadow, a farmer buys the meadow and builds a farm. The house did not exist, and then it was built and began to exist. Began to exist does not refer to a progressive act of becoming, but to the point in time at which something can be considered to exist.

One person might argue that the house existed the moment the architect conceived it in their mind, another might argue that the house existed the moment it was put on paper, and someone else might argue that the house existed the moment the walls and roof were up, finally someone might claim it only began existing as a house when it is complete. It matters not when one says something began to exist. That is besides the point. The point is that the house did not exist at a moment in time, and then at a later moment in time it can be said to exist.

The same point applies to everything else that begins to exist whether it is a tree, a dog, a shoe, a stone, a planet, a computer, a book, a ball, a game, or a universe. Different people may say the same thing begin existing at different points of time, but that is irrelevant. The point is the did not exist, and later they did or do exist.

Let us move on to the next premise.

2. The universe began to exist.

I have already explained that existence has no beginning and no cause. I have likewise argued that time has no beginning and no cause. Now let us quickly see why the universe has both a beginning and a cause.

If the universe is all that exists, or existence itself, then the universe has no beginning and no cause. Basically if the universe has always existed, then it has no beginning and is exempt from the first premise. The Bang Theory completely and utterly destroys this idea. How can the universe have began with the Big Bang, if it has always existed? How can the universe be given an age if it has always existed?

Basically if there was a point in existence, when the universe did not exist, then it had a beginning and a cause. That is the first premise in a nutshell.

We have already established that existence itself could not begin or be caused. We have also established that something that does not exist, can not cause something to exist. Now I ask you... can either of these points be applied to the universe. Let me put it into two simple question.

Is the universe existence itself?
Has the universe always existed?

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

During the first premise we have already made it abundantly clear that everything that begins has a cause. Now if the universe is not existence itself, and if it has not always existed... then something existing before the universe caused the universe to exist. It is that simple.

There has to be something that has always existed, because existence can not be caused by the non-existent. Perhaps it is the essence of existence itself... but is this the universe? I doubt it.

I thank my opponent for accepting the debate. It has been enjoyable, though it is very unfortunate that he could not make use of all the available rounds. I would happily debate him again. I hope to have made myself clear to both Con, and all the readers.

Please remember that burden of proof is equal.


The_Fool_on_the_hill forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 4 years ago
Posted by Magic8000 4 years ago
"I'm particularly focused on this aspect of the Kalam Cosmological Arguments argument partly so that I can properly defend the full argument later"

Most people only go after the first three premises. Not very many go after the fourth and fifth premise. Not sure why, the fourth and fifth are what critical to proving God.
Posted by Elusivetruth 4 years ago
@Subutai I'll change it if nobody takes it up, otherwise I may post such a debate when I'm done with my current one. I'm particularly focused on this aspect of the Kalam Cosmological Arguments argument partly so that I can properly defend the full argument later... if I still feel it makes sense, anyway.

At any rate, I will keep you in mind when I debate with such a resolution.

@Mikal I have been reading a bit on the other Kalam Cosmological Arguments, and often the first two premises are debated. It certainly is the case in the one I'm currently involved in. I need to get to the bottom of the whole A-theory , B-Theory argument without God in picture to distract from the whole "universe can't come into being" arguments.

I wouldn't argue that God necessarily caused the universe directly in any case. I'll be sure to post such a debate later since it really does seem popular. Kinda funny cause I had never heard of it before joining DDO.
Posted by Mikal 4 years ago
Agreed, if you take on the BOP and change the resolution as to prove a God is the cause I will take it. To say anything must have a cause, is utterly subjective. You can insert (x) values as the cause and make it anything you want it to be. Define the cause and I may take it.
Posted by Mikal 4 years ago
Agreed, if you take on the BOP and change the resolution as to prove a God is the cause I will take it. To say anything must have a cause, is utterly subjective. You can insert (x) values as the cause and make it anything you want it to be. Define the cause and I may take it.
Posted by Subutai 4 years ago
Change the resolution to "The Kalam Cosmological Argument for a Cause to the Universe Is Sound", or something like that, and I may accept.
Posted by Elusivetruth 4 years ago
I'm not using it as a premise to prove God. Not in this debate, anyway. I don't follow, what would you expect me to put into my resolution exactly?

I have no intention of defining what the cause is. Merely that if the first two premises are true... then the third logically follows. What comes after the third, a.k.a the cause, is not something I will really be getting into.

My main focus is the first two premises.
Posted by Subutai 4 years ago
Are you using the KCA as a premise to prove God? If not, are you willing to put that into your resolution. If the third premise of the KCA is true, you're going to have to define what this "cause" is.
Posted by Elusivetruth 4 years ago
I'm already doing that, but yeah I'm particularly interested in the first three premises. That's the main reason why. I also don't want to be stuck trying to prove God exists or something like that.
Posted by Magic8000 4 years ago
Why not just do "The Kalam Cosmological argument is sound"?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF. And good job.