The Instigator
Sidewalker
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Rational_Thinker9119
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points

I will PROVE that a finite past of the universe doesn't equate to it coming into being

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/9/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,765 times Debate No: 38683
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (47)
Votes (5)

 

Sidewalker

Con

My opponent has repeatedly claimed that his argument constitutes proof of the resolution in a thread as follows:

Rational_Thinker9119 contended:
"this assumes that if the universe has a finite past, or a beginning point, that it came into being. I disproved that already"
"I argued that a finite past doesn't necessitate that the universe came into being, and proved it."
"I proved in the OP that a finite past of the universe doesn't equate to it coming into being."
"I proved in the OP that a finite past of the universe doesn't necessitate that it came into being:
"It is an argument, and I proved my case in the OP"
"I already proved this was true in the first round"
"I proved already that a finite past of the universe doesn't necessitate that it came into being"

I am contending that he has not and can not "prove" the assertion without resorting to equivocation, conflicting axioms, shifting the burden of proof, or other logical fallacies and the challenge is for him to accept the burden of proof and make a valid argument.

Consequently, the burden of proof is on Rational_Thinker9119 to demonstrate with a valid logical argument that a finite past of the universe doesn't equate to it coming into being.

I would like to thank Rational_Thinker9119 for agreeing to debate me, it is appreciated and I am looking forward to an interesting debate with a worthy opponent.
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Introduction

I would like to thank my opponent for initiating this debate. My opponent tries to claim that my argument contains fallacies right off the bat, well, if that is the case then I look forward to the explanation of this. Now, this is an interesting topic because most people believe it is just a given that if something has a finite past; it came into being. However, I am hoping to put an end to this common misconception (especially with regards to the universe). It could very well be true that the universe did come into being, but the finitude of the past of the universe is not enough to establish this conclusion.

Assuming The A-Theory Of Time

If something comes into being, then this entails that prior to the first state of that thing existing, that thing was out of being. This seems like a self-evident truth. For example, we know I came into being because prior to the first state I existed, I was out of being. I existed in 1987, but not in 1986; there is a transition. Basically, what I am saying is that there must be a transition from "out of being", to "in being" for the term "came into being" to have any meaning in context. I will concede that most things that have a finite past do come into being, as there was a point prior to it's first state at which it was out of being. With the universe however, it is self-evidently possible that there is no "prior" to it's first state at all. According to our best science, the universe is around 13. 7 billion years old[1]. This entails that 13.7 billion years ago was the universe's first state (whether it be a singularity at t=0, or something else). What if there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe all that time ago? Then there could be no "prior" to the first state of the universe at which the universe did not exist, meaning that we cannot say it came into being if that was the case; that would be a harsh misnomer. It seems at least possible that there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago, at which there was no universe (whether a temporally prior, or an atemporally prior), simple Modal intuition tells us this. It is possible that "the buck stops" as they say, at the first state of the universe at t=0. It would then not make sense to ask whether there was nothing or something prior to the universe, as that question would assume there was a "prior" to the universe in the first place.

In the diagram below, I will use "e" to describe the universe. (i) shows a universe with a finite past that comes into being (as there is a "prior" to it at which the universe is out of being), and (ii) shows a universe with a finite past that doesn't come into being (as there is no "prior" to it at which the universe is out of being).





Since both are self-evidently metaphysically conceivable scenarios, then it cannot be true that (i) is necessary assuming a finite past of the universe. However, (i) has to be necessary assuming a finite past in order for Con's position to be true; there is nothing about a "prior" to the universe that makes it metaphysically necessary. The problem is, for the universe to have come into being, there must have been a "prior" to it in which it was out of being. We have no reason to think that a "prior" to the universe had to have been the case. Thus, it is more than reasonable to conclude that I established the resolution assuming the A-Theory of time.

Assuming The B-Theory of Time

If the ontology entailed by the B-Theory Of Time is true, then nothing at all comes into being (and this holds even if the universe as a finite past). This is because The Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago would just represent the edge of a 4d or n+1d space-time block that exists tenselessly eternally. If it exists eternally, then it self-evidently cannot come into being. As Christian Philosopher William Lane Craig states:

"From start to finish, the Kalam Cosmological Argument is predicated upon the A-Theory of time. On a B-Theory of time, the universe does not in fact come into being or become actual at the Big Bang; it just exists tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block that is finitely extended in the earlier than direction. If time is tenseless, then the universe never really comes into being, and, therefore, the quest for a cause of its coming into being is misconceived." - William Lane Craig[2]

This is not even controversial. If the B-Theory of time is true, then the universe did not come into being even if it has a finite past. To make this easier to conceptualize, William Lane Craig uses the analogy of a yard stick to show that a finite past of the universe (which extends back 13.7 billion years ago) doesn't necessitate that it came into being 13.7 billion years ago assuming B-Theory.

"On the B-Theory of time, nothing really comes into existence. The universe 'begins to exist' on the B-Theory only in the sense that a yard stick begins to exist at the first inch; it just has an edge... The yard stick doesn't come into existence at the first inch." - William Lane Craig

Conclusion

I have proven that a finite past of the universe doesn't automatically mean that the universe came into being. Why? Well, it is possible that there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago (its possible because it entails no metaphysical or logical contradictions or problems).If there was no "prior" to the universe 13.7 billion years ago, then the universe did not come into being, even with a finite past, as there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe at which it did not exist. The universe could very well have a "prior" to it, I am not arguing that it does not. However, the very mere possibility of it not having a "prior" is enough to establish the resolution. Another reason that a finite past of the universe doesn't necessarily entail that the universe came into being is that the B-Theory of time could be true. If this theory is true, then time is tenseless; and nothing comes into being. This holds whether or not the universe has a finite past or not.

Due to my two arguments, the resolution has clearly been established.

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, pp. 183-184
Debate Round No. 1
Sidewalker

Con

Introduction

Rational_Thinker9119 (RT) references the "Kalam Cosmological Argument" in his argument and while we are not actually debating that, it's clear that this debate derives from RT's deep interest in it. Personally, I'm just not all that interested in the Kalam Cosmological Argument, I don't debate the existence of God because there is a reason the word "faith" is associated with such belief, and therefore it is not amenable to logical proof one way or another.


That said, I am a student of philosophy and will note here that the Cosmological Argument has been debated by many of the greatest minds the world has ever produced for over 2,500 years; it was put forth by no less a towering intellect than Aristotle and is unresolved and therefore it is still being debated by brilliant thinkers to this day. I would certainly not be so presumptuous as to even think that I could finally resolve it after 2,500 years, but my opponent has repeatedly made a claim that amounts to contending that he has in fact finally resolved the 2,500 year old debate with a "logical proof". I consider this to be an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence, hence the challenge.

That is why the resolution was worded the way it was, and it is why the debate challenge was so explicit regarding RT carrying the burden of proof regarding his oft repeated assertion.

My opponent has presented two arguments, one assuming the A theory of time, the other assuming the B-Theory of time. I will address his second argument first as I believe it can be summarily discarded as a non-sequitur simply because the resolution being argued does in fact explicitly assume the A-Theory of time.

Assuming the B-Theory of Time

The argument "Assuming the B-Theory of Time" is completely invalid because it conflicts with the basic premise of the resolution it is attempting to argue. "A finite past" is the given assumption of the resolution, and whether or not that finite past necessitates the universe coming into being is the question being debated. The B-Series is of course tenseless, there can be no past, finite or otherwise, in the B-Series.


Consequently, it is logically incoherent to assume the B-Theory in support of an argument regarding the implications of a finite past when the B-Theory denies the very existence of a finite past. My opponent summarizes the argument as follows, "If the B-Theory of time is true, then the universe did not come into being even if it has a finite past". This is clearly the equivocation fallacy contained in a single sentence, if the B-Theory is true, the universe did not come into being AND it does not have a finite past, it is certainly not valid to say "even if" it has a finite past. My opponent states that "This is not even controversial" to which I would have to respond with a Wolfgang Pauli quote, "It isn't even wrong", it is just logically incoherent.

Hence, the argument "Assuming the B-Theory of Time" cannot be considered a valid logical argument.

Assuming the A-Theory of Time

My opponent's argument "Assuming the A-Theory of Time" merits more consideration and a deeper analysis.


The problem I see with RT's argument is that it provides no evidence whatsoever that he can in fact prove anything associated with his extraordinary claim, it is in fact unclear to me whether it even qualifies as a logical argument, and I am certain that it does not constitute "proof" by any stretch of the imagination.

I must start by addressing my opponent's extraordinary claim and the resolution itself because RT used the phrase "harsh misnomer" to characterize use of the phrase "it came into being" if in fact there was no prior to the first state of the universe. But if that is the case, then the debate resolution itself is a "harsh misnomer" and his extraordinary claim simply makes no sense. What is being debated here is the implication of a "finite past", to say that the universe has a "finite past" is to say that it is temporally finite, and by definition it must be temporally "bounded or limited" in order to be "finite". Within the context of time, which is what temporal means of course, to contend that the totality of time is coextensive with the past of the universe is to deny that the past is temporally "finite". There would be no difference between finite and infinite in the case my opponent is arguing because the past is not bounded or limited within the temporal dimension being addressed. So in that context, the word finite is the misnomer and my opponent"s extraordinary claim is simply a matter of misguided semantics.

That said, now I will address his argument.

If
A = there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe
And
B = we cannot say it came into being

Then the logical form of his argument is:

1) If A then B
2) Therefore B

This of course, is not a valid argument, the valid argument would be:

1) If A then B
2) A
3) Therefore B

But in his argument RT only maintains "If A, then B" without doing anything whatsoever to establish A, and as such, it amounts to simply saying that "If I am right, then I am right, and I am right", which might a reasonnable characterization his assertion, but it is not an argument. The only things he has even attempted to offer in order to establish A is that "It seems at least possible" and his contention that A is "self-evidently metaphysically conceivable". I certainly don't see how what it seems like to my opponent can be considered evidence or proof, and his contention that A is "self-evidently metaphysically conceivable" is nothing but an unwarranted assertion, it is not in fact, self-evident.

"It seems" and "it is self-evident" are not valid arguments in defense of the extraordinary claim my opponent has made and they certainly do not constitute a logical proof, they appear to simply be a semantic rewording of the extraordinary claim rather than a logical argument in support of the claim. With these two contentions RT is only really saying that if one were to accept his claim on faith, then one would have no reason to question it, and that certainly isn't an argument.


RT only offers two other contentions that could even vaguely be considered supportive of his claim, one is his oft repeated assertion that "We have no reason to think that a "prior" to the universe had to have been the case" and the other being "According to our best science, the universe is around 13. 7 billion years old".

The first contention appears to be nothing more than a subtle attempt to shift the burden of proof, in the context of such an extraordinary claim it only really says "You must prove me wrong", so it is not a valid argument. It is also flat out wrong, there are certainly good reasons to think that, but I am running out of space and will have to offer that refutation in the next round. RT's reference to our "best science" as it relates to cosmology invokes the Lambda-CDM model "as if" it supports his claim when it clearly does not, this misguided representation of there being scientific evidence in support of his extraordinary claim is based on an equivocation, but again, due to character limitations I will have to address that misrepresentation in the next round.

Conclusion

RT has repeatedly made an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence, and as explicitly stated in the debate challenge, "I am contending that he has not and cannot "prove" the assertion".


I believe this initial review of my opponent's argument explicitly demonstrates that "it provides no evidence whatsoever that he can in fact prove anything associated with his extraordinary claim". Again I will quote Wolfgang Pauli, "It isn"t even wrong", and in fact, the case has been made that it isn't even an argument.

Consequently, he has not provided a logical argument, and what he has provided certainly does not constitute "proof".

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org...\

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Introduction

There is no consensus in philosophy on the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Many philosophers believe it has been shipped off the grave yard already (Wes Morriston, Quentin Smith ect.), others believe that its success has already been established (Like William Lane Craig). In order to prove my opponent's assertion that the Kalam Cosmological Argument is unresolved, he would have to show that all of the philosophers who believe it is resolved; are wrong. Con has not done this, so his argument that it is has been unresolved remains a bare-assertion. Just because the argument still gets debated to this day, doesn't mean it is unresolved; it could only mean that one side hasn't realized the resolution. Either way, as Pro stated, the Kalam Cosmological Argument is not really what this particular debate is about, so I will get into my opponent's objections.

B-Theory

Pro claims that there cannot be a finite past under B-Theory, because B-Theory is a tenseless theory of time, and the word "past" implies tensed time. Thus, the B-Theory section of my last round is void by default. However, tensed language can be used when dealing with tenseless theories, so this objection simply does not work. B-Theory is a type of eternalist theory anyway, which entails that the that the past, present, and future all exist ontologically. If my opponent was correct, then B-Theory would entail that neither the past, present, or future exist; which is the exact opposite of what B-Theory claims. B-Theory is an eternalist theory, and eternalism means that the past, present, and future exist. Now, if my opponent is correct, and there can be no "past" on an eternalist theory of time, then it should also be true that there can be no "future" either. However, once, more, this goes against what eternalism actually is:

"Eternalism is a philosophical approach to the ontological nature of time. It builds on the standard method of modeling time as a dimension in physics, to give time a similar ontology to that of space. This would mean that time is just another dimension, that future events are "already there", and that there is no objective flow of time."[1]

How can future events be already be there if the future doesn't exist? They self-evidently cannot.

"The ontology of time is currently dominated by two theories: Presentism, according to which 'only currently existing objects are real,' and Eternalism, according to which 'past and future objects and times are just as real as currently existing ones.'"[2]

My opponent simply hasn't proved that the past, present, or future cannot exist under B-Theory. This seems rather embarrassing for a philosophy student, because simple research begs to differ. Additionally, physicists who adhere to B-Theory describe it as such:

"The past, present, and future are all equally real; they all exist." - Brian Greene[3]

"If you believe the laws of physics, there is just as much reality to the future and the past, as there is to the present moment." - Sean Carrol[3]

"The past is not gone, and the future isn't non-existent. The past, present, and future are all existing in exactly the same way." - Max Tegmark[3]

The above can be put into a logical syllogism:

P1: B-Theory is an eternalist theory
P2: If eternalism is true, then the past, present, and future are all real
C: If B-Theory is true, then the past, present, and future are all real

Therefore, it follows logically that that my opponent's claim below is false:

"[T]here can be no past, finite or otherwise, in the B-Series."

What Con means to say is that there is no past with respect to an objective present in a tenseless theory, but with respect to any given point selected on the 4d or n + 1d block, there is a finite extension in the earlier than direction, which can be called a the past even on a tenseless theory as long as we are not discussing a past with regards to an objective present.


A-Theory (Prelude)

My opponent states that I have not provided any evidence for my assertions. However, my argument is an a priori argument, which doesn't really require any external evidence to support it[4]. He then commits the appeal to ridicule fallacy twice by saying my argument isn't "even an argument" and it is just an "extraordinary claim". Well, it certainly seems as if my opponent isn't convinced of my argument. The question that remains pertains to whether his reasons are sufficient or not.

He starts of by implying that even if a coming into being without a "prior" is a harsh misnomer, that wouldn't effect the resolution. However, a misnomer entails incorrect terminology:

"A misnomer is a word or term that suggests a meaning that is known to be wrong"[5]

The specific terminolgy being incorrect was part of the support for my argument in favor of the resolution.

Now, Con makes the following statement:

"There would be no difference between finite and infinite in the case my opponent is arguing because the past is not bounded or limited within the temporal dimension being addressed." - Pro

There would be a clear difference because if the universe has an infinite past, then any state of the universe you could hypothetically point to necessarily has another state of the universe preceding it (there would be no first state of the universe). However, if the universe is finite, then it seems as if there would be a first state of the universe, which of course necessitates a lack of a preceding state of the universe. Thus, the claim that my argument is just an argument in semantics is false.

A-Theory

My opponent starts off this section with a straw-man. He claims that my argument is:

"If
A = there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe
And
B = we cannot say it came into being"

I never once made that argument, so I am not sure where Con is deriving this misinterpretation from. My argument was that nothing about a finite past tells us whether there was a "prior" to the universe or not. Since a "prior" to the universe is necessary for a true coming into being, then even if we know the universe has a finite past, that doesn't mean we can say it came into being; more info is needed (such as, whether there was a "prior" to the universe or not). Since a finite past by itself doesn't tell us whether or not the universe came into being, then the two clearly cannot be properly equivalent.

Therefore, it wasn't me that committed a logical fallacy with any non-sequitur argument, it was Con who committed the straw-man fallacy my not representing my argument properly.

Additionally, there being no "prior" to the first state of the universe is not an extraordinary claim, but actually an extremely modest one! As far as my "self-evident" claim, my opponent simply completely disregards Modal intuition. Something is possible if it doesn't contradict any of the laws of logic or metaphysics. There being no "prior" to the first state of the universe violates no laws of logic or metaphysics, thus is it possible by definition. Essentially, it is self-evident that no "prior" to the first state of the universe doesn't violate these laws upon simple reflection. If we follow my opponent's logic, then we cannot say anything is possible based of Modal intuition. I am sure that Con's philosophy teacher would have something to say about that, as simple reflection upon this claim can tell us whether or not it necessarily cannot be the case, or is possible. It is self-evident that there being no "prior" to the universe doesn't violate any logical or metaphysical rules (like a perfectly spherical cube would for example), thus it is possible.

Conclusion

All of Con's objections were either based on logical fallacies, or just plain false. My arguments still remain unscathed.

Sources

[1] http://www.princeton.edu...(philosophy_of_time).html
[2] http://people.umass.edu...
[3] Video Source
[4] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 2
Sidewalker

Con

Explicitly stated in the challenge, my contention is that “he has not and cannot "prove" the assertion without resorting to equivocation, conflicting axioms, shifting the burden of proof or other logical fallacies and the challenge was for him to "accept the burden of proof and make a valid argument”. I will bold these logical fallacies from now when he does resort to these fallacies.

Introduction


I had simply stated that he is making an extraordinary claim and he has not tried to refute that, but he still responded with the tactic of shifting the burden of proof through equivocation. He begins by stating that. “There is no consensus in philosophy on the Kalam Cosmological Argument” which supports my comment that it is unresolved, and then equivocates on the very definition of “unresolved” to try to shift the burden of proof, saying that “I must prove” that all philosophers agree on the subject and therefore there is absolute consensus, in order for it to be “unresolved”. It just makes no sense to claim that I must prove it is “resolved” to say that it s “unresolved”. RT appears to want to have a different debate with me than the one we are having, if he wants to argue that the KCA is resolved, or that “unresolved” means “resolved”, then perhaps he can challenge me to another debate after this one is over and I will accept, but as far as this debate is concerned, he did agree that this isn’t what we are debating, and he did in fact validate my contention that he cannot prove his extraordinary claim without equivocation and shifting the burden of proof. He is equivocating on what we are debating and on the definition of “unresolved”, and trying to shift the burden of proof by insisting that I must prove that “unresolved” means “resolved”, clearly a logical fallacy.

B-Theory

RT’s entire argument is based on an equivocation between McTaggart’s mutually exclusive A and B Series of time, it asks us to assume two conflicting axioms, and then shifts the burden of proof by challenging me to prove his equivocations wrong, this of course is not a proof by any reasonable standard of logic.

I dismissed his B Theory argument on completely valid grounds and he now appears to want to have yet another different debate with me about B Theory and Eternalism, and again, perhaps he can challenge me to another debate after this one is over and I will accept, but I would like to finish this debate first.

I correctly showed that his assumption of the B-Theory negates the resolution and his argument because the B-Theory is tenseless and the equivocation between assuming a finite past under the A Theory and then concluding that it “doesn’t equate to it coming into being” under the B Theory is in fact the logical fallacy of equivocation. He claimed that “tensed language can be used when dealing with tenseless theories”, which is only an observation that tensed language is typically used when the tenselessness of the B Theory is compared
to the tensed A Theory, but it is a “begging the question” logical fallacy. It remains true that “
Those who wish to eliminate all talk of past, present and future in favour of a tenseless ordering of events are called B-theorists [1]”and he does assume the B Theory while talking about the past. My dismissal of this as a logical fallacy stands unscathed.

He goes on to have an argument with himself about A and B Theory, and Presentism and Eternalism, contradicting himself, presenting references that actually support my assertion, presenting a false logical syllogism about Eternalism and the B Theory which states that the past, present, and future are all real when McTaggart's A and B Theory argument was an argument that time itself is not real. He somehow concludes from this self
dialog that what I meant to say “is that there is no past with respect to an objective present in a tenseless theory”,
but that is not what I meant to say, what I meant to say is what I said, that “the argument "Assuming the B-Theory of
Time" cannot be considered a valid logical argument
”.

In the end, it is another attempt to shift the burden of proof by stating “My opponent simply hasn't proved that the past, present, or future cannot exist under B-Theory”, which I certainly don’t need to do, I only need to point out the logical fallacy inherent his argument’s equivocation between A and B theory, and the logical fallacy of assuming the B Theory to talk about a finite past, and I have done both.

He again tries to mock my simple comment about being a philosophy student, which I have been for over thirty years, saying “This seems rather embarrassing for a philosophy student, because simple research begs to differ”, despite the fact that even the simple research he referenced disputes the validity of his argument. Mocking an opponent under false pretenses might be a common Internet debate tactic, but it is not a valid logical argument and it certainly does not constitute proof of an extraordinary claim. Perhaps my opponent should become a philosophy student to learn what a logical argument is and what constitutes a logical proof.

A-Theory (Prelude)

RT begins with another semantic equivocation, the fact that he has not provided “any evidence for his assertion” is
refuted by claiming that “external evidence” is not required in an a priori argument. Nonsense, an a priori assertion is certainly not proven by assertion only, at least something is required to prove an extraordinary claim.

He then proceeds to another Internet debate tactic of demeaning my approach by claiming that am appealing to ridicule by saying his “argument isn't "even an argument" and it is just an "extraordinary claim", when it is a fact that he has yet to present a logical argument to support what is indeed an extraordinary claim.

He then equivocates between the “temporal dimension” of my valid point, and an “existential dimension” of the universe having a first state, as if it supports his argument when it actually refutes his argument because the existence of a temporal prior to the existence of the universe does in fact equate to it coming into being, another logical fallacy.

A-Theory

RT equivocates about what he said and didn’t say here; he refutes my valid representation of the form of his argument, by claiming “I never once made that argument”, which simply isn’t true. I represented the form of his argument as stating “if there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe”, then “we cannot say it came into being", and that is what he argued, I will quote what he said:

With the universe however, it is self-evidently possible that there is no "prior" to it's first state at all. What if there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe all that time ago? Then there could be no "prior" to the first state of the universe at which the universe did not exist, meaning that we cannot say it came into being if that was the case.”

Clearly he did he make that argument, and it is in fact the only argument he has yet to make.

He goes on to try to mock my philosophy student comment again with a peculiar invalid argument that I should know that claiming an assertion is self-evident constitutes an a priori proof, nevertheless, an “extraordinary claim” is not proven by simply declaring it “self-evident”.

Conclusion
I do not carry the “shifted burden of proof” to prove the equivocations about his argument’s “conflicting axioms” wrong, I only need to prove that his argument is based on these logical fallacies to make my case and I have done so conclusively. My opponent needs to engage in the actual debate we are having and attempt to either present an actual argument that constitutes “proof” of his extraordinary claim, or just concede the debate, and he has yet to do either one.
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Introduction

All of my opponent's accusations pertaining to logical fallacies on my behalf are completely misguided, and I committed no such fallacies. I will show why my opponent's reasoning is flawed in this round. He claims that I am shifting the burden of proof when I request that he support his claims that the Kalam Cosmological Argument is unresolved. Of course, that is not shifting the burden of proof, because it doesn't matter who has the burden of proof to establish the resolution, we both have the burden of proof to establish the claims we make within the debate. Thus, Con is committing the fallacy of equivocation with regards to the "burden of proof", as there are two types:

(a) The burden of proof to establish the resolution

(b) The burden of proof to establish the claims we make in a debate, regardless of the burden of proof to establish the resolution

Even if (a) only applies to me, (b) applies to both of us. Thus, asking Con to support his claims is not shifting the burden of proof. He then claims that I equivocate with regards to the word "unresolved", but he never asserted the meaning behind that word when he used it so it makes no sense to say I'm equivocating. Con also commits the straw-man fallacy by implying that I want him to prove that "unresolved" means "resolved", but that has never been my intention which is clear from my last round. He also keeps talking about an "extraordinary claim" but never supported his assertion that I am endorsing any wild claim. Thus, he is just bare-asserting things without warrant.

Ironically, in his introduction section alone he committed the equivocation fallacy, the straw-man fallacy, and the bare-assertion fallacy.

B-Theory

Con starts off this section with a fallacious non-sequitur. Even though the A and B series of time are mutually exclusive, it doesn't follow from this that I committed the fallacy of equivocation. Also, once more, asking my opponent to support his assertions is not shifting the burden of proof, as we both have the burden of proof to have a foundation for our claims (he just doesn't have the burden of proof to show that the resolution is false).

I already showed why Con was wrong in his first round about there being no past on the B-Theory, and I even provided a bulletproof logical argument showing this:

"P1: B-Theory is an eternalist theory
P2: If eternalism is true, then the past, present, and future are all real
C: If B-Theory is true, then the past, present, and future are all real"

Both premise P1 and P2 are not controversial, and Con did not even attempt to undermine my argument (he just called it false without any reasoning). He also accused me of begging the question, but did not even explain how I was doing so. He provided one source to support his position that we cannot talk about a "past" from Wikipedia that states:

"Those who wish to eliminate all talk of past, present and future in favour of a tenseless ordering of events are called B-theorists"

However, the very next line from his own source states:

"B-theorists believe that the past, the present, and the future are equally real."

The above clearly supports my position, because obviously if the past, present, and future are real then the past, present, and future exist. Thus, the past exists and we can talk about it under B-Theory contrary to what my opponent claims. Therefore, the resolution has been established as true, as I have provided sources that don't have internal contradictions within them to support my position, unlike Con, who only presented a Wikipedia source which actually supports my position. Nothing comes into being under B-Theory (something coming into being presupposes temporal becoming), thus even if there is a finite past (with respect to any given point on the 4d or n+1d block, not an objective present), the universe doesn't come into being. I am still waiting to know how I am equivocating with regards to the a A-Theory and B-Theory of time, because this still remains as an unsupported assertion from Con.

This B-Theory section from me alone proves the resolution true.

A-Theory (Prelude)

My opponent kicks off this section with a straw-man fallacy. I did not once claim that one can prove an a proiri argument by assertion only. I only stated that one doesn't need evidence, as that implies external verification which goes against the very nature of an a priori argument. Con accuses me of another equivocation with regards to a “temporal dimension” and an “existential dimension”, but didn't explain how I committed the fallacy.

A-Theory

My opponent also quotes me to show that his syllogism was actually a true representation of my argument. However, it is still a false representation. When I stated:

"...we cannot say it came into being if that was the case"

It was pertaining to:

"it is self-evidently possible that there is no "prior" to it's first state at all."

Which means that it is the possibility of there being no "prior" which makes it so we cannot say the universe came into being strictly based on a finite past. Con misrepresented my argument by claiming that I was arguing that it actually had to be true that there was no "prior" to the universe, but it only has to be possible. Also, my opponent is correct that a temporally prior to the universe, at which there was no universe would mean that the universe came into being. However, there is nothing about a finite past which necessitates this assumption that there had to be a "prior" to the first state of the universe, thus a finite past and a coming into being cannot mean the same thing and be equivalent.

Conclusion

Con spent his whole last round accusing me of fallacies I did not even commit (by either simply bare-asserting that I committed these fallacies, or by using other logically fallacious arguments to support his flawed assumptions), which seems like a waste of a round. My opponent also hasn't even addressed my argument without misrepresenting it with shameless straw-man arguments. He claimed that we cannot speak about a past on a tenseless theory, but I refuted that argument by stating that we can talk about a past, present, and future on a tenseless theory for two reasons:

i) B-Theory entails that the past, present, and future are all real (which Con's own source supported, and my sources in my last round supported)

ii) There can be a past on the B-Theory of time, as long as it is a past with respect to a hypothetically selected point on the 4d or n+1d block, and not to an objective present

Con did not touch on i) or ii). Thus, as it stands I have established the resolution with my B-Theory argument. Even if the universe has a finite past, that doesn't mean that the universe came into being. Under B-Theory, the universe would still have a finite past (which leads to the edge of the block), but the universe could not come into being.

As far as the A-Theory argument is concerned, my argument has remained completely unscathed. Modal intuitions tell us that it is at least possible that there was no "prior" to the universe, at which the universe was out of being. However, an established "prior" to the universe at which the universe is out of being is necessary before we can say it came into being. Saying the universe can come into being when it was never out of being, is like saying that the basketball went in the box even if it was never outside the box. The problem is that we simply don't know whether there was a prior to the universe at which it was out of being, thus we cannot say it came into being at this time. We know the universe has a finite past though! Thus, a finite past and a coming into being cannot be the same, and and a finite past cannot equate to it coming into being. If that was the case, then we could say the universe came into being based on a finite past alone, but as I have argued, we cannot.

Not one objection from Pro was valid. My arguments still strongly stand without a scratch.

Source

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Sidewalker

Con

Introduction

RT is committing the fallacy of thinking I’'ll continue to follow him down these rat holes extrinsic to the actual debate we are supposed to be having, but I won't.

I see no need to explain the meaning of the word unresolved, we have dictionaries for that, and I will let the voters decide for themselves whether my use of the word “unresolved” requires unanimous consensus from all philosophers. I consider RT’s repeated assertion that the basis of the 2,500 year old Cosmological Argument has been resolved with a logical proof to be an exceptional claim, and I don’t accept that “it is just self-evident” and there is “no reason to think otherwise” constitute proof of that exceptional claim and won’t debate it further. I will simply leave it to the voters to decide for themselves if it is reasonable to think that Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Gottfried Leibniz, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Bertrand Russell and hundreds of other brilliant philosophers spent the last 2.500 years just wasting time on a first cause debate when it is was self-evidently obvious that there is no real argument to be had, and they can also decide for themselves whether or not the various reasons these profound thinkers have debated over the centuries didn’t actually exist.

Frankly, his approach leads me to wonder if my opponent learned to debate by watching Monte Python’s “Argument Clinic” skit and I intend to give the relentless stream of unrelated disputes and semantic distractions no further consideration. Instead, I will turn my attention to the task at hand and try to find something in my opponent’s ramblings that might vaguely be interpreted as supportive of his exceptional claim so I can address that.

B-Theory

The simple fact remains that the B Theory is “tenseless” and the follow on quote from my reference was taken out of context, the point made was that the A Theory’s “past, present, and future are equally real" and exist concurrently without tense, the word “past” expresses “tense” and is meaningless in the B-Theory. The B-Theory does in fact deny a coming into being, but it also denies the “finite past” of the resolution, so the argument is not valid and does not constitute proof of his extraordinary claim by any stretch of the imagination.

A-Theory Prelude)

More irrelevant semantic distractions, dismissed without further comment.

A-Theory

After I quoted him, RT now recants his objection that he “never once said that” and concurs that “If A then B” is in fact his argument. But he now claims he need not substantiate anything for it to constitute the proof of his exceptional claim other than to say “it only has to be possible”. He makes no other effort whatsoever to establish that it is possible other than to assert that it is “self-evidently possible”, which is not a valid argument.

The validity of an argument depends solely on whether or not the argument has a valid logical form” [1]

As I pointed out, “If A then B” does not have a valid logical form.

An argument must have at least two premises and one conclusion” [2]

Yet it only has one premise, consequently, my refutation was not an appeal to ridicule as RT accuses, it was just a statement of fact that it “isn’t even an argument”, and as such, it certainly cannot be the “proof” of his extraordinary claim.

As promised, I searched through my opponent’s ramblings to find something else that might be construed as supporting his extraordinary claim and all I found is his oft repeated assertion that “We have no reason to think that a "prior" to the universe had to have been the case”. That assertion is simply false, there are in fact plenty of reasons to think that, and I will address only a few that my remaining space permits.

RT stated, “Also, my opponent is correct that a temporally prior to the universe, at which there was no universe would mean that the universe came into being”, so he has acknowledged that the existence of these reasons would completely refute his argument. Note that the contention is strictly epistemological, nothing more than “a reason to think it” is required; what follows are only a few of the many reasons to think it:
  • While the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) is certainly controversial, it is a necessary presupposition of both logic and science in the pursuit of intelligibility, and it states that everything must have a reason or cause. The PSR is the methodological basis of all arguments and of reason itself, and given the PSR, a finite past to the Universe necessarily raises the question of what an antecedent cause or reason for its first state would be, and clearly an antecedent cause or reason for the first state would necessarily precede it temporally. The PSR is certainly a valid “reason to think” there must be a prior, and to simply ignore the PSR is to dismiss the foundational principle of logic, science, arguments, and reason itself.

  • In his so called “proof” RT equivocates between treating time as a neo-platonic incorporeal variable, and a substantivalist treatment as a kind of substance or entity, which is logically inconsistent. There are two general ways to think of time, as an epistemological construct, defined simply as “what our clocks measure”, and as having ontological status independent of human existence, which is Einstein's relativistic spacetime component of the fabric of the universe. Kant’s primary achievement, why he is considered “The father of modern philosophy”, was to demonstrate that the mind is constructive of reality, and space and time are the frameworks of how we think about reality, so we necessarily think of time in terms of the epistemological construct mentioned.

  • When RT says the Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago he is in fact using the epistemological construct measured in terms of temporal distance from the present, and in such a construct, there is indeed a measurement that corresponds to 13.8 billion years ago, which would temporally precede the first state and by his own admission, necessitate a coming into being. His equivocation to substantivalist time to insist there need not be a prior to the first state is a misinterpretation of the “best science” he references to make the point. In cosmology, “our best science” is the “standard” or “Lambda-CDM” model, which explicitly states that spacetime came into existence during the Big Bang, which necessitates a temporal “prior” to its emergence. RT’s own misinformed reference to “our best science” actually refutes his extraordinary claim and is therefore a logical fallacy.

  • Lastly, the General Theory is explicitly ontological, it tells us what space, time, matter, and energy are, and what it says they are is relationships, as such, they are contingent substances, and their postulated coming into being at a specific point in time by the Lambda-CDM model does in fact logically necessitate a prior realm or framework upon which they can be contingent.

Conclusion

I have shown conclusively that RT has yet to provide the stipulated logical proof and in fact, has yet to even
present an argument in support of his extraordinary claim. All that he has provided so far is semantic distractions, logical fallacies, and self-refuting references, certainly nothing here yet constitutes proof of his claim.

He has also gone first in this debate and will get to go last, which is fine because I didn’t say the first round was for acceptance only. But in the interest of an honest debate, I would ask that he finally present an argument in the next round so I have an opportunity to respond to it, if his tactic is to wait till the final round to actually present an argument I will be forced to use the comments section to respond.

I am still waiting to see the logical proof of your extraordinary claim RT, please present one next.

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Rational_Thinker9119

Pro


Introduction

Con Restates that claiming to have resolved the unresolved Kalam Cosmological Argument after 2,500 years is an exceptional claim. However, my opponent is committing the fallacy of presumption by assuming the Kalam Cosmological Argument is unresolved in the first place (many philosophers believe it is resolved, and that the argument has been in the graveyard). Until Sidewalker proves that the Kalam Cosmological Argument is unresolved, then his claim that I have made an exceptional claim cannot even get off the ground. I have seen random bloggers tear down the Kalam Cosmological Argument, so to act like its exceptional to claim to have defeated it is just ridiculous. It's an easy argument to tear town, and plenty of philosophers have torn it down already.

B-Theory

Con essentially drops all my points from the last round, and thus concedes this section (and the debate in the process). I proved in the last rounds that B-Theory entails that the past, present, and future are all real. On a theory that the past, present, and future are all real, then we can obviously talk about the past, present, and future. On a tenseless theory, there only cannot be a past, and future with respect to an objective present on the 4d or n+1d block. However, there is a still a past, present, and future with respect to any hypothetically selected point on the block (also referred to as the earlier than, or later than direction). So yes, there would be a finite past as the universe would have an edge (at The Big Bang), however it simply wouldn't be a past with respect to an objective present. Even on a tenseless theory we can used tensed language, as long as it is not with respect to an objective present. Remember, in my last round I stated:

"He claimed that we cannot speak about a past on a tenseless theory, but I refuted that argument by stating that we can talk about a past, present, and future on a tenseless theory for two reasons:

i) B-Theory entails that the past, present, and future are all real (which Con's own source supported, and my sources in my last round supported)

ii) There can be a past on the B-Theory of time, as long as it is a past with respect to a hypothetically selected point on the 4d or n+1d block, and not to an objective present

Con did not touch on i) or ii). Thus, as it stands I have established the resolution with my B-Theory argument."

Con still did not touch on my points, and conceded that nothing comes into being on B-Theory. As it stands, the resolution has been affirmed with this B-Theory section from me.

A-Theory (Prelude)

This section from Con was just hand-waved away, thus Con concedes my points.

A-Theory

I didn't recant anything. Even after Con quoted me, I still proved in my last round that he was misrepresenting my argument. He then says that saying something is self-evident is not an argument, I agree. However, something that is self-evident requires no external argumentation[1]:

"self-ev·i·dent
adj.

Requiring no proof or explanation."

For example, I don't need an argument from anybody to prove that I am typing right now, it is self-evident. Similarly, based on Modal intuition, it is self-evident that nothing makes a "prior" to the universe at which it did not exist metaphysically or logically impossible (like a perfectly round square is logically impossible). If nothing makes it metaphysically or logically possible, it is possible by definition. Also, my arguments are logically valid, so the claim from Pro that my argument doesn't follow valid logic is absurd. Lets form another syllogism:

P1: If it is possible that there is no "prior" to the universe at which it was out of being, then we cannot say the universe came into being strictly off of the basis of a finite past of the universe

P2: It is possible that there is no "prior" to the universe at which it was out of being

C: We cannot say the universe came into being strictly on the basis of a finite past of the universe


P1: If we cannot say the universe came into being strictly on the basis of a finite past of the universe, then a finite past of the universe and a coming into being of the universe cannot be equivalent.

P2: We cannot say the universe came into being strictly on the basis of a finite past of the universe

C: A finite past of the universe and a coming into being of the universe cannot be equivalent

The above arguments follow Modus Ponens perfectly[2], so Con's claims of invalid argumentation are false.

Con then proceeds to give reasons for the assertion that there must have been a "prior" to the universe, at which it was out of being. First, as a prelude, he discusses the PSR:

"While the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) is certainly controversial, it is a necessary presupposition of both logic and science in the pursuit of intelligibility, and it states that everything must have a reason or cause." - Pro

Many scientists actually reject the notion that causality is a presupposition of science:

"Quantum events have a way of just happening, without any cause, as when a radioactive atom decays at a random time." - Taner Edis. Department of Physics Truman State University Kirksville[3]

"Uncaused, random quantum fluctuations in a flat, empty, featureless spacetime can produce local regions with positive or negative curvature" - Victor Stenger. American Particle Physics[4]


He then claims that given a finite past, we have a right to ask what cause brought it into being. However, this begs the question. This assumes the first state did come into being, which necessitates a "prior" to it in the first place! This means Con is assuming his position to demonstrate his position; which is illogical. Even if I accept that the first state has a reason, that reason could be that it had to be that way. If that's the reason, then a cause of such a state is impossible (if it was caused, then it didn't have to be that way). It is at least possible that the reason the first state existed was because it had to; this satisfies the PSR. Thus, this takes care of Con's argument pretty easily. He then makes the claim that I am equivocating with regards to the word "time" but this is a fallacious red-herring. It doesn't matter how we view time, because if we view it as something having ontological existence, then if time had a beginning 13.7 billion years ago; there is no such thing as 13.8 billion years ago. If time is epistemologically viewed, this doesn't mean that we can speak of a 13.8 billion years ago; that is a non-sequitur (also, a non-finite past is illogical and leads to infinite regress). Also, the Standard Big Bang model has nothing to say about the universe coming into existence, it only speaks about a first state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago that expanded. Con still leaves us with no reasons to think that a "prior" to the universe at which it does not exist was the case.

"Lastly, the General Theory is explicitly ontological, it tells us what space, time, matter, and energy are, and what it says they are is relationships, as such, they are contingent substances, and their postulated coming into being at a specific point in time by the Lambda-CDM model does in fact logically necessitate a prior realm or framework upon which they can be contingent." - Pro

The above is a bare-assertion. Con has not argued in favor of his position above that the standard Big Bang model necessitates a prior realm. Thus, the above can be dismissed.

Conclusion

My B-Theory argument proves that a finite past of the universe doesn't equate it to a coming into being, and Con essentially concedes this by dropping all points. My A-Theory argument was misrepresented, and Con's objections are all logically fallacious. My arguments remain unscathed, and the resolution has been established.

Sources

[1] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://atheism.about.com...
[4] http://www.infidels.org...
Debate Round No. 4
Sidewalker

Con

Introduction
I consider it an extraordinary claim, perhaps it is debatable, but debating that does not prove his assertion, which is what this debate is supposed to be about. His enthusiasm for believing he can “prove” God doesn’t exist is noted, but that also has nothing to do with this debate. I suspect it is confirmation bias regarding his religious beliefs that make him think philosophers don’t understand philosophy as well as random bloggers, that’s fine; but we aren’t debating RT’s religious beliefs here either. I will instead address the philosophical issues he has raised that relate to the actual debate we are trying to have here.

I have and will continue to show how he takes a principle of logic and presents its opposite result in most instances. A good example is in the introduction where he has claimed that a single dissenting philosophical opinion refutes my use of the word “unresolved”, but it is obvious that the existence of dissenting opinions implies an issue is “unresolved”, if all philosophers agreed on an issue, it would be “resolved”. Such misrepresentation of contrary conclusions characterizes his approach to this debate.


B-Theory

I haven’t conceded anything; I’m just tired of hearing RT blather about the B Theory when it doesn’t apply and it doesn’t make his point.

The B Theory defines time in a way that may suit his agenda of declaring proof without an argument, but the definition simply eliminates the defining features of time. A definition that denies change, says time does not flow, says events are not even sequential but rather that all moments exist concurrently, and relegates the most defining characteristics of time to mere illusion is defining something other than time. In the B Theory, conclusions don’t follow from premises, conclusions aren’t true, they just exist independent of premises; invoking the B Theory cannot possibly constitute a logical argument that proves his assertion.


A-Theory (Prelude)

I can’t have conceded his point because what he presented was pointless; so I didn’t need to respond. My opponent needs to understand that he can’t just repeat a false claim until it becomes a true claim; that is not how logic works.


A-Theory

RT accepted the burden of proof and took the challenge to provide a logical argument that proves his extraordinary claim; he then simply asserts that it is self-evident. The only argument he presents is that he doesn’t need to present an argument, his assertion “just is”. He thinks he can win the debate by denying the challenge and voiding the debate and I can’t imagine a single voter will accept his idea that unaccepting the challenge and refusing the terms of the debate constitutes a “win”.

His so called argument simply declares the assertion to be self-evident, as if it is some kind of magical incantation that automatically “proves” whatever you apply it to. He provides the definition of “self-evident as if this proves his claim and yes, its definition is “evident in itself without proof or demonstration; axiomatic” but that only applies if the assertion is actually self-evident, and it isn’t. I could just as easily refute his argument by making an opposite claim and declaring that to be self-evident, but that would also be pointless. He must demonstrate why it is self-evident to make that claim, and he hasn’t.

He then challenges the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) by invoking quantum physics without understanding either quantum physics or the PSR. There is a difference between predictability and causality, on the quantum level the connection between cause and effect is not entirely severed, it only undermines deterministic predictability. Quantum uncertainty does provide causal statistically probabilities related to what we know about antecedent states, and consequently, a probabilistic argument for a cause of the Big Bang is possible. Therefore it does not follow that quantum uncertainty proves that a necessary cause cannot exist as RT claims. Modal logic supports the opposite to be true, that if it is possible that it is necessary that a cause of some sort exists, then it is necessary that a cause of that sort exists, which “proves” my assertion, not his.

RT asks us to consider a “first” state of the universe 13.7 billion y nears ago, it logically follows that temporally prior to that first state nothing exists and the Universe necessarily came into being. To follow time back to a point 13.7 billion years ago one must traverse a series of sequential moments back in time, each moment in the journey has both a before and after moment, as is the case with sequential numbers. It is not logical to simply say that the sequence could just stop for no reason. as if you could logically prove that the set of whole numbers is finite by simply saying “if it is at least possible” that you could come to a number that you can’t add one to, then you have proven that whole numbers are finite. His own attempt at an argument actually refutes his extraordinary claim that he has proven that the universe did not necessarily come into being.

He claims that the PSR is satisfied by stating that the “reason” for the first state of the universe is that there is “no reason”, it just is, which of course, is not a reason. Again he is presenting a logical opposite as fact, just as “unresolved” isn’t “resolved”; “no reason” isn’t a “reason”.

RT argues that a finite universe has no space-time boundaries and hence lacks a beginning, but it is certainly possible that time might be either multi-dimensional or epistemically imaginary (“unreal” in B Theory), which is in fact what the “best science” he invokes argues. This clearly indicates that his contention that he can prove that the universe did not necessarily come into being is patently false.

RT seems to think modal logic entails “semantic possibility”, that it must be true if it is at least possible to say it. Using the same “logic” and “argument” RT uses to “prove” his claim; one could also “prove” that the set of whole numbers is actually finite, simply because his special kind of “modal logic” allows me to say it.
That argument goes like this:

The A Theory of Numbers

If you could come to a number which you cannot add one to, then whole numbers are finite.

Based on Modal intuition, it is self-evident that nothing makes a number to which you cannot add one metaphysically or logically impossible. If nothing makes it metaphysically or logically possible, it is
possible by definition.

P1: If it is possible that there is a number to which you cannot add one, then whole numbers are finite.

P2: It is possible that there is a number to which you cannot add one.

C: Whole numbers are finite.

The above argument follows Modus Ponens perfectly, so claims of invalid argumentation are false.
The PSR is satisfied by saying that the reason you can’t add one to that number is that there is no reason, “it just is”.

So there you go.

The B Theory of Numbers

The B Theory of numbers is a theory that defines numbers as non-sequential, all numbers exist equally and the number that A Theorists think follows the largest existing number just doesn’t exist. The sequential nature of numbers is an illusion as is the presumed ability to add one to the largest existing number.

Under the B Theory of numbers, I have proven conclusively that whole numbers are finite.

So there you go.


As you can see, RT’s same approach to proving his extraordinary claim can be used to prove anything. It isn’t logic at all; it is a matter of thumbing your nose at logic.

Conclusion

RT has not proven anything here; he has made a mockery of philosophy, logic, arguments, proof, and reason itself. The only thing he has proven is that he doesn’t understand logic and doesn’t know what constitutes a proof.

He accepted the burden of proof for his extraordinary claim and has failed to offer a logical argument that constitutes proof.

Rational_Thinker9119

Pro




Introduction


It is not obvious in the slightest that dissenting opinions implies an issue is unresolved, it could only mean that one side hasn't acknowledged the resolution. For example, the issue of Evolution has been resolved in science; we know it happened and does happen. The existence of creationists with different points of view in no way dents the fact that the issue is resolved.

Con still hasn't supported his assertion that the issue of the Kalam is actually unresolved. Thus, we can write that off as a bare-assertion


B-Theory

By not addressing my 2 arguments for why we can talk about a past on a tenseless theory, Con concedes all points; and thus the debate. My opponent continues to commit the fallacy of presumption by just assuming that his objection is correct, when I have proven his objection wrong many times in this debate. Sidewalker claims that events are not sequential under B-Theory but that is not true. Any point on the 4d or n+ 1d block could be hypothetically selected, and there are moments in the earlier than direction, and the later than direction (which can be also considered a past or future). There only cannot be a past, or future with respect to an objectively existing present on a tenseless theory, but that doesn't mean we cannot speak about a past, present, or future at all on a tenseless theory. Also, the idea that conclusions don't follow from premises on the B-Theory is absurd. It doesn't matter what theory of time is true, conclusions will obviously follow from their premises as the laws of logic are necessary regardless of time, so I am not sure where Con is deriving these random assertions from.

To sum up, I presented two arguments in the favor of being able to talk about a past on B-Theory:

"i) B-Theory entails that the past, present, and future are all real (which Con's own source supported, and my sources in my last round supported)

ii) There can be a past on the B-Theory of time, as long as it is a past with respect to a hypothetically selected point on the 4d or n+1d block, and not to an objective present"

Con did not refute either of them sufficiently. As it stands the resolution is affirmed off of my B-Theory argument alone.


A-Theory


My opponent starts off his round by claiming my burden was to prove my argument, not simply claim it is self-evident. The problem with this is that it equates a premise of the argument with the argument itself, which is a fallacy of composition. Even if one of the premises is self-evident, I still proved the conclusion with the logical argument as a whole itself. Thus, pointing out that one of the premises is self-evident does not mean that I didn't prove the argument is true. Con then claims that the assertion that there is nothing metaphysically or logically impossible with there being no "prior" to the universe is not self-evident, when it clearly is (just like it is self-evident that there is nothing metaphysically or logically impossible with the idea that my dog didn't have to exist). The fact that someone does not use there Modal intuitions, or does not pick up on a self-evident truth in no way undermines the fact that a truth is self-evident. He then claims I would have to explain why something is self-evident, yet that goes against the very definition of what "self-evident" means, so his assertion violates the law of noncontradiction. If he tried to reverse the claim and assert that the negation of what I am saying is self-evident, it wouldn't work because if one of the laws of logic or metaphysics was broken by the the idea of no "prior" to the universe, then there would have to be a reason for that. We only have to use our Modal intuition to come to the conclusion that no "prior" to the universe (finite past or not) is at least possible.


He then claims that I don't understand Quantum Physics based on my post about the PSR and virtual particles, but the problem with this is that I actually quoted physicists who assert that quantum events are uncaused. All we have is Sidewalker's word, which means much less as he is not a physicist! If physicists conclude that quantum events are uncaused, then that is more convincing than Sidewalker's words. He did not source anything to back up his arguments with regards to Quantum Mechanics or causality, thus his arguments can be dismissed. With virtual particles, there would be no sufficient cause for their coming into being, only a necessary condition (the vacuum itself). However, as Wes Morriston points out, we cannot call something "caused" unless a sufficient cause is present. A summary of this principle is as follows:

"How could it be that necessary, but not sufficient, conditions can cause something to come into existence? Causation requires both."[1]


Also, the uncertainty principle [(delta-E • delta-t >= h/(4*pi)] does imply acausality:

"[A]n amount of energy delta-E can spontaneously come into existence and then (before the interval has elapsed) cease to exist.
There is observational evidence, albeit indirect, that this uncaused emergence of energy or particles (notably virtual particles) frequently occurs." - Philosophy of physics Quentin Smith[2]


Con then states:


"If it is possible that it is necessary that a cause of some sort exists, then it is necessary that a cause of that sort exists, which 'proves' my assertion, not his." - Con


I can just reverse that, and say that if it is possible that it is necessary that there was no cause of some sorts, then it is necessary that no cause of some sorts was the case. Thus, the two argument nullify each other.


It was also said that:


"RT asks us to consider a 'first' state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago, it logically follows that temporally prior to that first state nothing exists and the Universe necessarily came into being." - Con


Actually, that is a non-sequitur fallacy as it doesn't follow. It's possible that there was no "prior" to the universe at all, thus making the above assertion false by default. My opponent also states that because all numbers have one before, and one after, that a time before the first state of the universe was the case. This is another non-sequitur. Just because we can imagine a time before the first state of the universe that corresponds to a number, doesn't mean it had to be the case. Being able to imagine something doesn't make it necessary. Also, I never said that "no reason" was the reason for the first state either (Con clearly doesn't even know what the PSR is, and he straw-manned my argument). The PSR states that everything exists either because it has to, or because it has a cause [3]. If the first state existed because it had to, then it satisfies the PSR.

The A-Theory Of Numbers


Actually, it is not possible for there to be an number you cannot add one too. If we represent this number as X, we can always write down "X + 1". Thus, P1 of his argument is false, which means that his conclusion has not been established as true (even if the argument is logically valid).

The B-Theory Of Numbers


This argument has nothing to do with the resolution, and is a red-herring because of it.

Conclusion


I conclusively proved that a finite past doesn't necessarily equate to the universe coming into being because under B-Theory the universe would have a beginning edge (a finite past from any selected point on the 4d or n+1d block), but not come into being. As far as A-Theory is concerned, there may not even be a "prior" to the first state at which it did not exist. Thus, even with a finite past of the universe we cannot say it came into being off of that alone.

All of my opponent's objections were either based on logically fallacious arguments, false premises, or claims that had no sources to back them up with. My arguments all remain unscathed, and the resolution has been established.


Sources



Debate Round No. 5
47 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by thg 3 years ago
thg
After re-reading this debate, my impression is that there is a semantic problem afoot. I'm unclear from RT's argument as to just how he defines "coming into being" and "having a beginning" and "finitude". It appears he is attempting to make a distinction, or prove that finitude and "having a beginning" are not mutually contingent and/or he appears to be attempting to distinguish between "having a beginning" (which he concedes the universe does, in fact, have) and a "coming into being" (which he tries to show the universe doesn't HAVE to have). It's almost like trying to distinguish soccer from football (in Europe)...as though the two terms actually relate to two different sports, when they actually are two terms for the same sport. I just don't get it. The fault could all be due to my feeble mind, and I am open to correction, but, to me, an attempt to distinguish between "having a beginning" and a "coming into being" is an exercise in futility. So, had I voted (if I had been more on task), my vote would have leaned toward supporting Sidewalker as having the more valid and persuasive argument. I'm not sure I could have given points on any other categories, as each debater was fairly thorough and articulate, but I believe Sidewalker's logic held up more consistently and persuasively.
Posted by thg 3 years ago
thg
I was asked to vote on this debate, and I was fascinated by it, and wanted to vote...but, alas, I ran out of time. I didn't pay attention to the voting period limit. I've been swamped lately, so I just dropped the ball. My bad. My apologies to both RT and Sidewalker. I cannot go into great detail right now, and much of this debate involved material that was over my head, but my impression thus far is that both RT and Sidewalker made many excellent points...many of which I believe I agree with...but that RT never quite proved his premise adequately (and Sidewalker, even if some of his points seemed somewhat shaky, maintained his end of the debate more effectively). I'll try to share a little more detail when I get a chance (in the next day or so?).
Posted by Polaris 3 years ago
Polaris
While not precisely what I was looking for, it's close enough. I will give you the benefit of the doubt. I will and do, as promised, concede that tenseless-ness does change the usage of "eternal" in a way that avoids a definitional conflict with a finite past. Let it not be said that I am unfair or unreasonable. That being said, for future reference you need to define your terms before the debate, not after it, in the comments section.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
If someone says they want to eat nuts, that doesn't necessarily mean testicles (lol). They could mean the food. In case you didn't know, sometimes the SAME word has DIFFERENT meanings. So, when I say "eternal", I am NOT committed to your definition. The quicker you learn that, the quicker you will know why your argument is crap.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"No, you most certainly did not. You provided a definition of "eternal", I challenged you to produce a definition of tenselessly eternal, since you strongly insisted that there is a difference between the two."

No I didn't. I insisted there was a difference between the definition of eternal you provided and tenselesssly eternal, the definition I provided is consistent with tenselssly eternal. Here's another description:

"The tenseless view of time entails bivalence, i.e. that every statement is either true or false, because in this view all events are 'eternally' spread out in" [http://www.siue.edu...]

"Eternal" is in brackets so confused people like you don't think it entails the classical definition.

"So 'eternity' means everlastingness. However, in the course of philosophical discussion the idea of everlastingness has been further refined". [http://plato.stanford.edu...]

So the word eterternal has been redefined plenty of times philosophically. When I speak of eternity, I don't mean "with no beginning or end", that is only ONE definition.

" If there is a contradiction in terms with the resolution that would invalidate your argument, and you fail as a debater to define your terms before the debate, then you lose that debate." - You

There is no contradiction, only if we use your definition is there one. We don't have to use your definition. Thus, if you believe there is a contradiction, you have to prove your definition is necessary. Of course you can't, as there are tons of definitions .

"What you've done is the debate equivalent of declaring "sloppy" in the middle of a game of billiards, after missing an intended hole but making another."

What you have done is the fallacy of equivocation.By eternal, I don't mean what you mean. Thus, you are equivocating. Since your argument is invalid. I win.
Posted by Polaris 3 years ago
Polaris
It is your obligation as a debater to define your terms on the outset. If there is a contradiction in terms with the resolution that would invalidate your argument, and you fail as a debater to define your terms before the debate, then you lose that debate.

What you've done is the debate equivalent of declaring "sloppy" in the middle of a game of billiards, after missing an intended hole but making another.
Posted by Polaris 3 years ago
Polaris
"I already did provide such a definition LOL Learn to read."

No, you most certainly did not. You provided a definition of "eternal", I challenged you to produce a definition of "tenselessly eternal", since you strongly insisted that there is a difference between the two. I said I would gladly concede the point if you could meet this challenge. You did not. Some excuse is to follow, I predict.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
You can't commit me to a definition of "eternal" that wasn't implied when I used it. Thus, you have to admit your error.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
If you define "nuts" to mean testicles, but I mean "nuts" as in the food, then you are committing the fallacy of equivocation. By "eternal" I didn't mean "didn't have a beginning", I meant "didn't come into being, and is immutable".

Thus, you are guilty of eqvuivocation fallacy.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"You keep repeating this as if it were some sort of salient point."

It is, look into the philosophy of time.

:f you can show me with some credible source where "tenselessly eternal" is a coherent concept with a definition distinct from "eternal" in a way that doesn't result in a conflict with finite, then I will concede the point. However if you cannot, then you must concede error."

I already did provide such a definition LOL Learn to read.

"It's not my definition. I didn't write the dictionary. You don't get to pick and choose definitions willy-nilly to suit your argument, especially after the fact."

You are the one picking the definitions to suit your argument, I am not going by your definition of eternal, but the other definition I provided.

"Obviously. If this is the level of intellectual sophistication you wish to display, this will take longer than I thought."

Dido. If you already know there are multiple definitions, then quit acting like the one you provided is necessary. By "eternal", I mean the definition I brought forward, not the one you brought forward. Your definition is not necessary, so there is no contradiction.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Magic8000 3 years ago
Magic8000
SidewalkerRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by HeartOfGod 3 years ago
HeartOfGod
SidewalkerRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: The A Theory squabble was hard to follow really so I had to judge based on the B Theory argument. Con appeared to neglect pro's argument that a past can exist in a tenseless domain as long as it is not the past to an objective now. This supported the resolution enough for me (pro had more and better sources too). Both debaters did very well though, good job to yall!
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
SidewalkerRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: As noted in the comments, I do not feel qualified to score this debate. Regardless, after staring at the resolution for a bit, I can kind of see why PRO thinks that BoP is on CON...PRO need only prove a negative claim, meaning that he only needs to sow doubt on the positive claim (i.e. the CON position, that "a finite past of the universe equates to it coming into being"). This would lead me to preliminarily conclude that the resolution is worded in a manner that would heavily favor the PRO argument.
Vote Placed by medic0506 3 years ago
medic0506
SidewalkerRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Even if I were to grant that Con concedes to Pro's B-Theory argument, nothing in that argument suffices as upholding the debate resolution, as written. Con is correct that this is largely a non-argument, an attempt to shift BoP in the larger Kalam debate. A lot of this debate was superfluous argumentation, and Con did try to reign it in and focus on this particular resolution, thus his argumentation was more on point. The resolution puts the BoP squarely on Pro, and he did not meet that burden.
Vote Placed by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
SidewalkerRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in the comments as to why I gave conduct. The rest of the debate was too complex to give an accurate RFD for.