The Instigator
Miles_Donahue
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Rational_Thinker9119
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Is the Kalam Cosmological Argument Sound?

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Post Voting Period
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after 6 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/7/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,466 times Debate No: 35374
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (53)
Votes (6)

 

Miles_Donahue

Pro

The kalam cosmological argument (KCA) may be summarized as follows:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
4. If the universe has a cause, that cause is a timeless, spaceless, changeless, immaterial, uncaused, beginningless, enormously powerful mind.
5. Therefore, the cause of the universe is a timeless, spaceless, changeless, immaterial, uncaused, beginningless, enormously powerful mind.

In this debate I will defend two contentions:

I. There are good reasons to think that the KCA is sound.
II. There are no good reasons to think that the KCA is not sound.

Establishing the first contention will involve giving good reasons to believe the three premises of the argument. Establishing the second contention will involve answering the objections my opponent has to any premise.

Here are what I see as the fairest rules:

(1) The burden of proof will be on me to establish that the KCA is sound.

(2) Con must use his first round for acceptance only.

(3) A maximum of 8,000 characters each round.
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Miles_Donahue

Pro

Introduction

The kalam cosmological argument may be formulated as follows:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
4. If the universe has a cause, that cause is a spaceless, timeless, changeless, immaterial, beginningless, uncaused, enormously powerful Mind.
5. Therefore the cause of the universe is a spaceless, timeless, changeless, immaterial, beginningless, uncaused, enormously powerful Mind.

I will argue that each premise in this argument is more plausibly true than false, and because it is logically valid, the conclusion (5) is therefore more plausibly true than false.

Preliminary Definitions

By cause, I mean an efficient cause. An efficient cause is that which brings its effect into being. Whether that thing also has a material cause is incidental. We must keep these two types of causes distinct. For example, when a carpenter makes a table, he is the efficient case of the table. The stacks of wood out of which the table is made is the material cause. What I am claiming is that whatever begins to exist has something which brings it into being, whether out of preexisting material or not.

By universe, I do not mean everything that exists, or even all physical reality. Rather, I mean a connected spacetime. If two things are causally connected within time and space, then they are part of the same universe. Under this definition, there can be other universes, for there can be other disconnected spacetimes “out there”. All that I’m claiming is that this connected spacetime which we find ourselves in began to exist.

I will leave the rest of the terms to be defined intuitively. We now turn to the evidence for each premise.

Whatever Begins to Exist has a Cause

1. Something cannot come from nothing – in other words, being only comes from being, being cannot come from non-being. This principle of metaphysics seems intuitively obvious, when you think about it. For how could the potentiality for something’s existence be turned into actuality without something that caused it to do so? In the case of the universe, this should be even more obvious, for in this case there wasn’t even the potentiality for the existence of the universe, for there wasn’t anything prior to the universe!

2. If something could come into being out of nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why anything and everything don’t come into being out of nothing – if universes can come into being out of nothing, why can’t horses and potatoes likewise do so? If they can, then why don’t they? Why aren’t lions and tigers and bears coming into being right now, if it’s possible that they can? What would make nothingness so discriminatory? But nothingness isn’t anything, and therefore it can’t discriminate, right?

3. Common experience confirms and never falsifies premise (1) – some have appealed to virtual particles as an empirical falsification of premise (1), but this is false. If my opponent wishes to raise this objection, I will answer it. Suffice it to say that premise (1) has experience on its side.

The Universe Began to Exist

Here I will sketch two arguments for premise (2), a scientific argument and a philosophical argument.

1. The Impossibility of an Actually Infinite Number of Things

An actual infinite is a collection of things who’s total number of members is infinite. It is not growing towards infinity, it is complete and actual. An example of this would be the set of all positive numbers. I will argue that an actual infinite, so defined, cannot exist because its real existence leads to absurdities.

Imagine an infinite collection of marbles, numbered 1, 2, 3, and so on out to infinite. Now imagine that you want to give your friend some marbles because he doesn’t have any. You take away all the even numbered marbles and give them to your friend. How many marbles do you have left? An infinite amount, for you still have all the odd numbered marbles. Here infinity minus infinity equals infinity. But now rewind the scenario, so that you have all the marbles again. This time you decide to give your friend all the marbles numbered 3 and above. How many marbles would you have left? Well, 2. Here infinity minus infinity equals 2. But that contradicts the answer we got in our first thought experiment. Because the real existence of an actual infinite leads to contradictions, it cannot exist in reality.

But if the universe is eternal in the past, then there have been an actually infinite number of events in the history of the universe prior to today. Because an actually infinite number of things cannot exist, the universe cannot be eternal. Rather, it had a beginning.

We can summarize our argument as follows:

1. An actually infinite number of things cannot exist.

2. An infinite number of past events is an actual infinite.

3. Therefore, the number of past events must be finite.

2. The Big Bang Theory

In the early 1900s, Albert Einstein formulated his General Theory of Relativity. One of the disturbing implications of this theory was that it predicted that the universe was either expanding or contracting, which contradicted the then dominant idea that the universe was static and unchanging. A few years later two physicists independently found solutions to the equations of General Relativity (GR) which predicted an expanding universe. Later that same decade Hubble observed that the light from distant galaxies was shifting towards the red end of the spectrum, which implied that they were moving away at fantastic speeds. This implied that the universe was expanding. This was the first of many empirical confirmations of what later became known as the Big Bang theory.

Because this theory is based on the equations of GR, it does not predict that galaxies are being pushed apart from a central point, but rather that space itself is expanding. As you trace the expansion backwards in time, space gets smaller and galaxies get closer together. The universe gets denser and denser, until you reach a time when everything is crushed down to a point. The density of the universe at this point is infinite. Before this, the universe did not exist. Cosmologist Alex Vilenkin writes:

“Some people suggested that the big bang singularity was an artifact of the assumption of exact homogeneity and isotropy that Friedmann adopted to solve Einstein‘s equations…Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking…proved through a series of theorems showing, under very general assumptions, that the Big Bang singularity cannot be avoided.” [1]

Of course, over the years alternative models have been proposed to avert the Standard Model, but until my opponent raises a model as a potential way of restoring an eternal universe, I will not respond to it.

If the Universe has a Cause, that Cause is a Spaceless, Timeless, Changeless, Immaterial, Beginningless, Uncaused, Enormously Powerful Mind

Having established that the universe has a cause, we may now inquire what such a cause must be like. As a cause of space and time, this cause must be spaceless and timeless (that is, it must transcend space and time). It must therefore be immaterial and changeless. This cause must be uncaused, for we’ve seen that there cannot be an infinite regress of causes; you must get back to an Uncaused First Cause. This cause must therefore be beginningless, for anything with a beginning has a cause.

But I think we can go beyond that and establish that this cause is also personal.

Abstract Objects vs. Unembodied Minds

There are only two things which could be spaceless and timeless, and therefore only two things which could be a cause of the universe: abstract objects, such as a number, or unembodied minds. But abstract objects can’t cause anything, let alone the universe. That’s part of what it means to be an abstract object. Therefore, the cause of the universe must be an unembodied Mind.

I eagerly await my opponent’s response.

[1] Vilenkin, Alexander. Many Worlds in One. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006. Print.
Rational_Thinker9119

Con


Premise 2: The Universe Began To Exist

Science and philosophy show that the second premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is false. I will address my opponent's arguments, then show why this is the case.

-- An Actual Infinity Is Not Impossible

Pro claims that an actual infinities lead to absurdities, like the ones below:

- = 0
- =
- =1

However, the absurdities only appear when treating infinity like a finite number, and dealing strictly with classical arithmetic. Cantorian Set Theory[4] makes coherent use of infinities:

[1,2,3…n] - [1,2,3…n] = 0
[1,2,3…n] - [2,4,6…n] =
[1,3,5…n]
[1,2,3…n] - [2,3,4…n] =
1

As one can see, once one applies Cantorian Set Theory, infinities become logically consistent.

-- The Big Bang Theory

The Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking Penrose Theorems are outdated, and the Hawking-Hartle state shows that there need not be a singularity[5]. The singularity is a dead idea to cosmologists:

"It is widely expected that this new improved theory [involving Quantum Gravity] will not contain the singular histories that characterised Einstein’s theory." - John Barrow[6]

"The BGV theorem, together with some more recent work (e.g., arXiv:1204.4658) suggests that the universe did have some sort of a beginning, but we certainly cannot say that this represents the beginning of space and time. This does not necessarily mean a singularity -- that is, simply, a breakdown of physics." - Alexander Vilenkin

"There is no reason to believe that our Universe came from a singularity, and this outdated idea should have died as soon as inflation was accepted." - Ethan Siegel[7]

"There was in fact no singularity at the beginning of the universe." - Steven Hawking[8]

"... I don’t think that any result dealing with classical spacetimes [singularity] can teach us anything definitive about the beginning of the universe."- Sean Carrol[9]

Additionally, the Big Bang model is incompatible with the Kalam Cosmological Argument, as this combination violates mathematical laws and logic. There are three basic principles of mathematics I am going to be appealing to here:

1) n/0 (division by zero) entails a logical contradiction

What's 10 divided by 2? It's 5, because 10 split up evenly into two groups has 5 in each. 10 divided by 1? 10 in 1 group has 10. But 10 in 0 groups? What would that even mean?” [10]

2) Every real number is in between two real numbers[11]

3) There is no first decimal after zero (as I demonstrate below)

The singularity at t=0 proposed by The Big Bang theory posits temperature, density, and curvature that entail n/0. Since this is mathematically impossible and leads to contradiction, the singularity at t=0 could not have ontologically existed. If we delete the singularity at t=0, which is logically necessary, then there is no first state of the universe at any time in the past! This is because any state one could assert as the first state is preceded by another necessarily:

t=… 0.1 > 0.01 > 0.001 > 0.0001 > 0.00001 > 0.000001 > 0.0000001 > 00000001 > 0.000000001…

If there was a t=0, then one could appeal to Supertasks to claim there was a first state. However, without a t=0, then a first state is impossible. Every real number is in between two real numbers, so any state no matter how far back you go has to be preceded by another state not matter how small. Also, there cannot be any first decimal after 0 as well as I showed above.

“Take 0 and 1. Now… take out 0 (t=0) because that’s a singularity; a physically impossible state…There is no first decimal after 0.” – Quentin Persifor Smith. American contemporary philosopher, scholar and professor of philosophy at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan[12]

Due to these mathematical laws and the impossibility of a Big bang singularity, a first state of the universe is impossible. The universe did not begin to exist in the sense that there is a first state for any God to cause ex nihilo. Even if the universe has a finite past in years, there would be no actual first state which springs up from either “nothing”, or “something that is not the universe”, as any hypothetical state of the universe is preceded by another state of the universe. This means the universe never really truly begins to exist even under an A-Theory of time, if one accepts modern Cosmology.

Note: The argument above does not deny anything that happens after the singularity as far as The Big Bang model is concerned, the arguments just deny the singularity as it is logically incoherent.

B-Theory

I showed above that mathematics, logic, and philosophy favors the universe not coming into being under an A-Theory of time. Now I am going to show how science and philosophy support the B-Theory of time, which disproves the second premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Even the Champion of the Kalam Cosmological Argument agrees that if B-Theory is true; the argument is finished:

"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[13].

The reason is that temporal becoming is a necessary condition for anything to come into being. If B-Theory is true though, then there is no temporal becoming:

“[T]he theory of relativity conceives of events as simply being and sustained relations of earlier and later, but not as 'coming into being' - Adolph Grunbaum

Now, I will argue A-Theory is logically impossible. Ergo, it has to be false. McTaggart's Paradox[14] shows that each "now" moment has all three classical A-Properties, because it is the present, it is the past to the future, and the future to the past. However, each "now" moment can only have one A-Property (the property of being "present") if A-Theory is true. It cannot both be true that each "now" moment both:

(i) Entails only one A-Property
(ii) Entails three A-Properties

Therefore, A-Theory is incoherent.

Also, B-Theory is demonstrated by science. This assumption rests on Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity. Einstein's theory has been tested time and time again, and has passed flying colors. The most scientifically feasible interpretation of this theory is the Minkowski space-time view[15]. This is due to its success with making testable predictions that have been verified (time dilation and length contraction). This interpretation proves B-Theory but spells death for A-Theory, because A-Theory entails a universal "now" moment. The Minkowski space-time view entails that there is no universal "now" moment, and is the most scientifically sound interpretation.

Conclusion

Mathematics, logic, philosophy, and science all confirm that the universe did not begin to exist. The resolution has been negated.

Sources

[1] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[2] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[3] http://commonsenseatheism.com...
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://debunkingwlc.wordpress.com...
[7] http://scienceblogs.com...
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[9] http://www.preposterousuniverse.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Miles_Donahue

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for his thought-provoking criticisms of the kalam cosmological argument. But the question before us is, do his criticisms show that the two premises of the KCA are not more plausibly true than false? It seems to me they do not.

(2) The Universe Began to Exist

You’ll recall that I offered two reasons to think that the universe began to exist. I’ll look at each in turn and see if they stand against my opponent’s objections.

1. The Impossibility of an Actually Infinite Number of Things

All my opponent really had to say here was that Cantorian Set Theory shows that subtracting infinite sets does not lead to contradictions. He is quite right in pointing out that the set of all natural numbers minus the set of all even numbers gives you the set of all odd numbers, and so forth, but that is not where the contradiction is supposed to lie. Rather, the contradiction lies in the fact that in each case, you subtract an identical quantity from an identical quantity, and get non-identical results.

The set of all even numbers is numerically equivalent to the set of all natural numbers. In other words, the number of members in each set is the same. The number of members in the set {1, 3, 5…} is equivalent to the set {1, 2, 3…}.

[1,2,3…n] - ∞[1,2,3…n] = 0
[1,2,3…n] - ∞[2,4,6…n] = ∞[1,3,5…n]
[1,2,3…n] - ∞[2,3,4…n] = 1

My opponent's examples above clearly demonstrate my point. Every set above is numerically equivalent, and yet, when they are subtracted from each other, non-identical answers result. For this reason, the actual infinite cannot exist in reality.

2. The Big Bang Theory

My opponent is quite correct that the Standard Big Bang model needs some corrections. The primary reason for this is that when the universe shrinks below the plank length (10-43), quantum mechanical effects take over. Because we do not yet have a quantum theory of gravity, we cannot say what happened during this period of time.

Yes, the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems do not imply that quantum gravity models must require a singularity. But the point remains that all of the quantum gravity models available today involve an absolute beginning of the universe, even if is didn’t begin to exist at a point. Even the Hartle-Hawking model, which my opponent briefly mentions, involves an absolute beginning to the universe. Indeed, their model is a way of representing a non-singular beginning to the universe, but a beginning nonetheless.

The BVG Theorem

In 2003, Arvind Borde, Alan H. Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin published the BVG theorem, which demonstrated that any universe which is on average in a state of cosmic expansion cannot be past eternal, but must have had an absolute beginning.[1] What makes their proof so powerful is that it holds regardless of the physical descriptions of the early universe. Even though we do not know what happened during the first split second after the Big Bang, nonetheless we do know that the universe had a beginning.

Alex Vilenkin himself writes:

“It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men, and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” [2]

In conclusion, even though the Standard Model does need correction, it is correct in its fundamental prediction of an absolute beginning of the universe.

Getting Smaller and Smaller…

My opponent raises the objection that if there is no initial cosmological singularity, then there are an infinite number of events prior to any event you choose in the past, with each event being preceded by a shorter event. In this way, you can squeeze an infinite number of events into a finite amount of time. I have three responses:

First, this does not undermine premise (2), for although there are an infinite number of events of decreasing length, you still must get to the first hour, the first second, the first microsecond, or what have you. You must get to the first of a specified length of time, and that’s enough to establish that the universe began to exist, even if there was no first instant of its existence.

Second, I don’t think anything begins to exist in an instant. For if time moved instant by instant, there would be no time, because an instant by definition has zero duration. It is for that reason that I think there is no minimum duration of the present. We must simply talk about the present hour, present minute, etc.

Third, this objection is undermined by my argument against actual infinities.

The A-Theory of Time

My opponent also notes that the KCA is predicated upon an A-Theory of time. I whole-heartily agree. But, he says, the A-Theory of time is incoherent as shown by McTaggart’s Paradox.

The problem with McTaggart’s Paradox is that it is based on a misunderstanding of the A-Theory of time. On the A-Theory, only present objects exist, and therefore there aren’t past objects or future objects. They literally do not exist. When an object becomes present, it does not exchange futurity for presentness. Rather, it simply comes into being. And when an object becomes past, it goes out of being. There are only objects with the property of being present Thus, I deny (ii).

William Lane Craig says this:
“Sharp-sighted critics of McTaggart…have insisted from the beginning that a dynamic…theory of time implies a commitment to presentism, the doctrine that the only temporal entities that exist are present entities. According to presentism, past and future entities do not exist. Thus, there really are no past or future events, except in the sense that there have been certain events and their will be certain others; the only real events are present events. Thus, there can be no question of an event's swapping futurity for presentness or cashing in presentness for pastness. Temporal becoming is not the exchange of tense on the past of tenselessly existing events but the coming into and going out of existence of the entities themselves. Events no more change tenses than they exchange properties of non-existence and existence!” [3]

The B-Theory of Time

My opponent says that Special Relativity shows the truth of the B-Theory of time. I disagree. You see, there are three interpretations of the mathematical core of SR:

1. Einsteinian Relativity – this is the view Einstein originally held to, where three dimensions of space endure and evolve through one dimension of time. Granted, on this view simultaneity and temporal becoming are relative to inertial frames, but space and time are distinct entities.

2. Minkowskian Relativity – on this view space and time are unified in a four-dimensional spacetime. Past, present, and future are all equally real.

3. Lorenzian Relativity – this is the view that absolute space and absolute time do exist, and that time dilation and length contraction are due to objects' motion through absolute space. This view distinguishes our empirical measures of time from time itself. It is the case that the contraction of our instruments cause us to get contradictory results as to when an event occurred, but that doesn’t affect time itself, it merely implies that our measurements are mistaken. Lorenzian Relativity is compatible with the A-Theory of time.

What isn’t generally realized is that all three interpretations are empirically equivalent (though there are problems with Einsteinian relativity). Because of this, it has not been shown that Relativity theory implies the falsity of the A-Theory of time.

We've seen no objections to premises (1) and (4), so I conclude that the KCA is a sound argument.

Notes

[1] http://arxiv.org...

[2] Vilenkin, Alexander. Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006. Print. 176.

[3] Craig, William Lane. Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time. Illinois: Crossway Books, 2001. Print. 148.

Rational_Thinker9119

Con


The Impossibility Of An Actually Infinite Number of Things


Pro concedes that Cantorian Set Theory makes coherent use of infinite sets. What he objects to is the idea of an identical infinity being subtracted by an identical infinity. However, this seems like a fallacious red herring. If the universe extends into the past without a starting point, then there are no identical infinities being subtracted by identical infinities. There is successive addition of one point after another. Just because something cannot be done with regards to infinity without leading to contradiction, does not mean that infinity cannot exist without leading to contradiction; this is a non-sequitur. One cannot just cannot treat infinity exactly like one would a finite number. So, while it may be true that certain things cannot be done with infinity logically, it does not mean that some form of infinity itself cannot exist lacking those certain mathematical operations.

Now, the arguments for why a successive addition of past events with no starting point cannot exist fail. To say that we would never reach "now", one has to assume a starting point. However, if the past is boundless, then there would be no starting point they could claim they could jump from to reach "now". As philosopher Wes Morriston notes:

"The only sense in which [One cannot 'reach actual infinity' by 'successively adding one member after another']
is clearly true is this: one cannot, beginning with any one member of an infinite set, complete the task of successively adding in all the others. But what follows from this is only that an infinite series could not have been 'formed' by a 'successive addition' that started with a first member. Why could it not have been formed by a 'successive addition' that did not start with a first member?" - Wes Morriston. Professor of Philosophy University of Colorado, Boulder[1]

Pro has not shown how an actual infinity is impossible, or the type of infinity entailed by a boundless past. He has just shown that you cannot always run regular mathematical operations on infinity without leading to contradiction.

The Big Bang Theory

My opponent claims that all quantum gravity models involve an absolute beginning. He has not supported this assertion with a single shred of evidence. Thus, it remains a bare-assertion. He also claims that the Hawking-Hartle State still involves an absolute beginning of existence, or coming into being. This is false, as the Hawking-Hartle state is a no-boundary proposal[2]. How could space have had an absolute beginning of existence when space is boundless under that model seems very bizarre indeed.

The BVG Theorem

The BVG Theorem can be evaded by many methods. For example, Anthony Aguirre and Steven Gratton evaded the theorem in a paper called "Inflation without a beginning: a null boundary proposal"[3]. No-boundary proposals do not involve absolute beginnings. Also, Alexander Vilenkin rejects that terminology. In a conversion with Victor Stenger, he said:

"[T]he words 'absolute beginning' do raise some red flags…" - Alexander Vilenkin[4]

Getting Smaller And Smaller

My opponent is mistaken, as this objection from me absolutely disproves the second premise assuming an A-Theory of time.

"You must get to the first of a specified length of time, and that’s enough to establish that the universe began to exist, even if there was no first instant of its existence." - Pro

There has to be a first instant of the first specified length of time, or else one cannot claim that the universe either:

(i) "Came from" nothing
(ii) "Came from" something that =/= the universe

Every state would be preceded by another state. Pro also claims that he does think anything begins to exist in an instant. However, this directly contradicts the standard Big Bang model he claims to endorse. This model proposes the universe beginning at the instant t=0 (with no intervals of time existing). I showed that the singularity is logically impossible. Since there could be no singularity at t=0, and no first decimal after 0, there is no first instant of the universe. With no specified first instant of the universe, we cannot even begin to claim the universe begins to exist. Here is Dr. Craig's definition:

e comes into being at t if and only if (i) e exists at t, (ii) t is the first time at which e exists, (iii) there is no state of affairs in the actual world in which e exists timelessly, and (iv) e’s existing at t is a tensed fact.[5]

Pro either needs to fill the variable t in with a time, or provide a different definition. Otherwise, Pro's objection to my argument hold no weight. Usually, we would not need to be this strict when dealing with something beginning to exist, as we can pin point times in which that thing did not exist. Thus, we would know something began to exist without a specified time. With regards to the universe, it is a whole different ball game.

Additionally, I already showed why the arguments against an infinity fail. Therefore, they do not undermine my argument either.

A-Theory

McTaggart's Paradox is not based on a misunderstanding of the A-Theory of time. Ironically, my opponent's objection actually misunderstands McTaggart's Paradox. Less say t1 is 5 minutes ago. If A-Theory is true, it would be incoherent to call t1 the "past", as t1 can only have the property of being "present". However, t1 = the "past". Thus, there is massive contradiction in the idea of A-Theory. 5 minutes before t1, we would call t1 the "future". However, if A-Theory is true, then this is impossible, as t1 can only be the "present" (each moment can only be "present"). However it would be correct that t1 = "future", 5 minutes ago form t1.

McTaggart's Paradox is bulletproof. As Heather Dyke writes:

"The paradox of tense that McTaggart first revealed is indeed all-pervasive. It follows that time is not intrinsically tensed, so if time exists, it is tenseless." - Heather Dyke[6]

B-Theory

The Einsteinian view still entails B-Theory even if it was true that time is a distinct entity. The Minkowskian space-time interpretation is the most scientifically feasible interpretation regardless; this is why it is the standard interpretation, and the most commonly accepted:

"In mathematical physics, Minkowski space or Minkowski spacetime (named after the mathematician Hermann Minkowski) is the mathematical space setting in which Einstein's theory of special relativity is most conveniently formulated."[8]

Special Relativity under a Minkowski space-time framework predicts time dilation and length contraction. Both which have been confirmed[9]. Also, the Neo-Lorentzian view cannot explain length contraction[10], the Minkowskian view can. Since it has more explanatory power, it is much more likely than the Neo-Lorentzian view. Also, the Neo-Lorentzian view has to be false because it violates Maxwell's Equations, and thus the Laws of Electromagnetism. This view also violates the scientific symmetry principles of Earman[11]. The Neo-Lorentzian also predicted luminiferous anther, and came up with no results[12]. It is a scientifically forgotten about interpretation due to all the scientific problems with it.

B-Theory is still affirmed. Thus, Premise 2 is definitely negated.


Sources

[1] http://spot.colorado.edu...
[2] http://web.uvic.ca...
[3] http://arxiv.org...
[4] Victor J. Stenger, The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning, 2011.
[5] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[6] http://otago.ourarchive.ac.nz...
[7] http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu...
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[9] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...
[10] http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.ca...
[11] http://philpapers.org...
[12] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Miles_Donahue

Pro

Again I would like to thank my opponent for his engaging criticisms, but I don’t think they undermine the plausibility of any premise of the KCA.


(2) The Universe Began to Exist


For good or for ill, premise (2) has been the main focus of our debate. Let’s look at the two reasons I offered for it, and then the objections raised by my opponent.

1. An Actually Infinite Number of Things Cannot Exist

Cantorian Set Theory “makes coherent use of infinite sets” only by adopting certain arbitrary axioms. For example, subtraction and division are prohibited in transfinite arithmetic. But while you can slap the hand of the mathematician, you cannot keep someone from giving away their marbles (to use my example).

My opponent objects “…while it may be true that certain things cannot be done with infinity logically, it does not mean that some form of infinity itself cannot exist lacking those certain mathematical operations.” Right, it is possible to establish a “universe of discourse” where subtraction and division cannot be performed on infinity and therefore escape contradiction, but such a stipulation has no effect on the real world. For in the real world, I can subtract and I can divide. For that reason, actual infinities cannot exist in the real world.

2. The Big Bang Theory

The BVG theorem is what requires all quantum gravity models to have a beginning. If they evade the theorem, they’re rendered untenable on other grounds. The problem with the Hartle-Hawking model is that it only shows a way that the universe could have begun to exist without doing so at a point. The fallacy lies in thinking that you can get rid of a beginning by getting rid of a singular beginning point.




As Barrow points out:

"This type of quantum universe has not always existed; it comes into being just as the classical cosmologies could, but it does not start at a Big Bang where physical quantities are infinite . . . ." [1]

My opponent says “The Hawking-Hartle state is a no-boundary proposal.” That model is a no boundary proposal in the sense that the beginning of the universe is rounded off, instead of shrinking down to a singularity. Again, you do not need a singular boundary point to have a beginning. For example, if God simply created the universe as it is today, it would not have begun to exist at a singularity, right? I find it interesting that my opponent quotes the article he does, for it goes on to say, “The problem with Hartle and Hawking's theory is that it predicted the universe is ‘closed.’…observations favor the idea of an ‘open’ universe…” [2]

The BVG Theorem

I realize that alternative models have been proposed to escape the BVG theorem, namely models where the universe is not on average in a state of cosmic expansion throughout its history. But these models face other problems, such as contradicting the Second Law of Thermodynamics, or something of that sort.

He does mention the "null boundary proposal." But the problem with this model is that it reverses the arrow of time at the Big Bang, so that a universe evolves in the opposite direction of our arrow of time. Construed realistically, which in itself seems rather absurd, their model really represents the origin of two different universes, not one universe which is eternal in the past.

Alexander Vilenkin himself says this:

“Even though the spacetime has no boundary in the AG model, it does include a hyper surface on which the low-entropy (vacuum) boundary condition must be enforced by some mechanism. This surface of minimum entropy plays the role of the beginning of the universe in this scenario.” [3]

When asked specifically whether the universe began to exist, he says:

At this point, it seems that the answer to this question is probably yes.” [4]


Getting Smaller and Smaller

Because of a lack of space, I can only reiterate that my opponent's splicing of the first split second of the universe into an infinity of events contradicts my first argument for premise (2), which has been shown to be sound. In any case, the universe begins to exist if for any finite temporal interval in its history, there are a finite number of equal intervals before it, and that condition is satisfied even in this case.

The A-Theory of Time

On the A-Theory, each present event is not past relative to future events or future relative to past events, because there are no past or future events. McTaggart’s Paradox is really aimed at a hybrid A/B theory of time, where you could think of the series of events as being strung out like a series of light bulbs all existing at once, and the present moves along each event and momentarily “lights” it up. But on the pure A-Theory, this view is false. Only the present light bulb exists, so to speak. Therefore, the A-Theory does not entail that each event has three different properties and one property at the same time. Rather, all events that exist only have the property of presentness.

The B-Theory of Time

My opponent says that the Einsteinian interpretation of Special Relativity favors a B-Theory of time, but this is false. Rather, on this interpretation there are an infinity of different spaces and times. Only the Minkowskian interpretation entails a B-Theory of time. I agree that this interpretation is the most commonly accepted, but we must look at the reasons for this acceptance, not argue from authority.

He raises four objections to the Neo-Lorentzian interpretation of SR.

With regard to (i), I simply disagree. On the Lorentzian interpretation, length contraction is due to an object’s motion through absolute space. Concerning (ii), how in the world does a Neo-Lorentzian interpretation violate Maxwell’s equations? Please elaborate on this argument.

With respect to (iii), I’ll leave it to William Lane Craig to answer:

“One should like to have some sort of constraint on the postulation of gratuitous space-time structures. With the difficulty with (SP1) and (SP3) [the principles of Earman] is that they are too restrictive, or to put the point another way, they can be overridden by considerations broader than the laws of motion. Indeed…questions of time and space are metaphysical in character, so that such considerations cannot be ignored.” [5]

He goes on to argue that Earman’s principles actually presuppose space-time realism (Minkonwoski‘s interpretation of SR), and so cannot be used to argue for a spacetime interpretation over a Lorenztian interpretation.

Finally, let’s consider (iv). Yes, the Lorenztian interpretation does commit us to the existence of a preferred reference frame, that is, to the ether. But amazingly, current astronomical observations confirm the existence of such a reference frame: the cosmic microwave background radiation. Because this radiation permeates all of space and is at rest relative to space, it serves the function of the ether. [6] There have even been recent tests which detected the Earth’s motion through the background radiation, thus confirming so-called “ether wind.” [7]

Notes

[1] John D. Barrow, Theories of Everything (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), p. 68.

[2] Wong, Jack. “No End of Universe-Creation Theories” http://web.uvic.ca... Accessed 9 July 2013.

[3] Vilenkin, Alexander. “Arrows of Time and the Beginning of the Universe” http://arxiv.org..., 19. Accessed on 9 July 2013. Emphasis mine.

[4] Ibid. “Did the Universe have a Beginning?” http://arxiv.org..., 5. Ibid.

[5] Craig, William Lane. Time and the Metaphysics of Relativity. The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001. Print. 188.

[6] Michael Heller, Zbigniew Klimek, and Konrad Rudnicki, “Observational Foundations for Assumptions in Cosmology,” in Confrontation of Cosmological Theories with Observational Data, ed. M. S. Longair (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1974), 4.

[7] G. F. Smoot, M.Y. Gorenstein, and R. A. Muller, “Detection of Anisotropy in the Cosmic Blackbody Radiation,” Physical Review Letters 39 (1977): 899.

Rational_Thinker9119

Con

The Impossibility Of An Actually Infinite Number of Things

My opponent did not adequately refute my objection with regards to this section. Thus, it stands. Just because one can subtract and one can divide in the real world, doesn't mean one can subtract infinity or divide infinity in the real world. That is a fallacious non-sequitur. In fact, the logical contradictions that arise prove that one cannot subtract, and one cannot divide by infinity in the real world. Once more, this only shows that:

(i) There are things one cannot do with regards to infinity

Not:

(ii) Infinity cannot exist

My opponent has only shown that logical contradictions arise when dealing with certain mathematical operations pertaining to infinity. My opponent has not shown than an actual infinity cannot exist. Therefore, this support for Premise 2 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument fails.

The Big Bang Theory

My opponent says that if one evades the BVG theorem (like Anthony Aguirre and Steven Gratton did[1]), then the evasion is "untenable on other grounds". Pro never mentioned what those grounds were. Thus, my claim that the BVG theorem has been evaded stands. My opponent also claims that the Hawking-Hartle state still shows the universe had a beginning. This all depends on your definitions, but this is intuitively false. This no-boundary proposal includes space not having a beginning, only time and other aspects of the universe. My opponent cannot support an absolute beginning of the universe if space still pre-existed prior to The Big Bang. The Hartle-Hawking state does not support an actual beginning. Also, John Barrow's quote deals with certain models, not all. Eternal inflation, for example, deals with no beginning of the universe[2]:



Pro has not shown how the Hartle-Hawking state shows an absolute beginning of space and time. This would be impossible, as space does not begin to exist in that model. Pro also has not ruled out eternal inflation. The BVG theorem will not suffice, as that can be easily evaded as I have already shown (there are also eternal inflation models immune to this theorem).


Getting Smaller and Smaller

My opponent relies on his arguments against an actual infinity to counter this section. However, his arguments all involve starting off with infinity and running mathematical operations on it. I already showed why that does not prove that an actual infinity cannot exist. My opponent has not shown how a boundless past is impossible as I argued in my previous round Pro would have to do. Now, if Presentism is true (I assume my opponent rejects Growing Block Theory like most A-Theorists and B-Theorists due to its fatal problems), then only the “present” exists ontologically. The “past” does not exist, and the “future” does not exist. However, the “present” is just an instant that takes up zero duration! The “present” has no thickness. Intervals of time do not have ontological existence under Presentism, as any interval from “now” to the “future”, or “now” to the “past” wouldn't exist. This means, that if the universe began to exist under A-Theory, then there had to have been a certain “present” instant with no duration which was also the first instant of the universe with no duration. Since I showed the singularity at t=0 is impossible, and there is no first decimal after 0, then there is no first instant of the universe. This means, under A-Theory, a beginning of the universe is mathematically impossible if we assume standard Big Bang cosmology.

The A-Theory Of Time

My opponent does not understand McTaggart's Paradox. The Paradox is not just aimed at at a hybrid but the A-Series itself. McTaggart was wrong in that B-Series requires A-Properties (one can just posit that temporal becoming is an illusion). However, the contradiction with regards to A-Theory is still there. If my opponent denies that each moment has all three A-Properties then he cannot talk about the past without contradiction. He cannot say 5 minutes ago was the "past" because that moment 5 minutes ago can entail the property of "present". However, 5 minutes ago = the "past". This is the contradiction that Pro seems to be avoiding here. He cannot say that 5 minutes from now is the future, as that moment can only have one property (the property of "presentness"). However, we know that 5 minutes ago = "past", and that 5 minutes from now = "future". Therefore, the contradiction is still clear as day.

The B-Theory Of Time

My opponent is incorrect, as the Einsteinian view does entail B-Theory as time is still relative to the observer under this view:


“Once we know that your ‘now’ can be what I consider the past, or your ‘now’ can be what I consider the future, and your ‘now’ is as every bit as valid as my ‘now’, then we learn that the past must be real, the future must be real… The past, present, and future are all equally real; they all exist.” – Brian Greene[3]

Also, I did look at the reasons for why the Mikowskian space-time view is the most accepted, and I did not just argue from Authority. Therefore, my opponent's claim there is rather bizarre. Now, he claims that length contraction, under a Neo-Lorentzian framework is due to an object’s motion through absolute space; however this requires time to actually be relative. This contradicts the Neo-Lorentzain view, and under the Lorentzian view length contraction is a brute fact that is not explained. I suggest my opponent looks more into this issue, because length contraction is not explained under a Neo-Lorerntizan framework. Also, The Minkowski interpretation actually predicts time dilation and length contradiction, the Neo-Lorentzain view does not. The Neo-Lorentzian view also violates Maxwell's Equations and thus the Laws of Electromagnetism because the equations require the speed of light to be constant, and not Galilean invariant [4]. However, under the Neo-Lorentzian view, the speed of light is Galilean invariant. Thus, the Neo-Lorentzian interpretation is not compatible with known science. Also, all Dr. Craig is doing with regards to the principles of Earman is essentially saying:

"The Principles of Earman are not favorable to my conclusion, therefore, they are too restrictive."

However, that is just appealing to consequence. Space-time is physical, and the Neo-Lorentzian view violates known scientific principles. Every symmetry of the space-time posited by a theory should be a symmetry of that theory’s dynamical laws and vice versa[5]. The Neo-Lorentzian view does not comply. Pro claims Craig argues that the principles actually pre-suppose that time is not relative. However, this is a strange position indeed, and Pro did not support it; thus my arguments still stand. Pro then claims that the cosmic microwave background is a preferred reference frame because it permeates all of space. However, this only means that light permeates all of space, which means that the speed of light is constant, and thus time is relative. My opponent is actually arguing against his position without even knowing it. Also, Pro has not shown how Earth's motion through the radiation demonstrates any preferred reference frame temporally.

The Minkowskian view predicts time dilation and length contraction; both have been confirmed. The Neo-Lorentzian view does not predict them. Length contraction is just a brute fact under the Neo-Lorentzian view. Also, the Neo-Lorentzain view has to be false because it violates known science:

(i) Maxwell's Equations, and thus, the Laws of Electromagnetism

(ii) Symmetry Principles of Earman

This is why virtually all scientists accept the Minkowskian interpretation, and reject the Neo-Lorentzian view. Dr. Craig is playing philosophical dodgeball.

Sources

[1] http://arxiv.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] Video Source
[4] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...
[5] http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu...

Debate Round No. 4
Miles_Donahue

Pro

What a mind-expanding debate we've had! I thank my opponent for challenging me and engaging my arguments. But in the end, I believe my case for the soundness of the KCA remains strong, even in light of his criticisms.

(2) The Universe Began to Exist


Premise (2) has been significantly challenged by my opponent. Let’s review the two reasons I offered for affirming its truth.


1. The Impossibility of an Actually Infinite Number of Things

We are presented with three incompatible propositions:

(i) An actual infinite can exist in reality.

(ii) In the real world, subtraction and division can be used and applied to any collection of things.

(iii) The subtraction and division of the actual infinite leads to contradictions.

Now, which proposition do we deny? My opponent agrees with (iii), so he must deny (ii). But certainly that’s absurd. What keeps me from moving around my collection of marbles, to use my example? If I have an infinitely powerful machine that can move this collection around, do I freeze up right before I turn it on? Clearly any collection in the real world can be subtracted from and divided by. So we must deny (i).

But I feel this doesn’t really get to the point. Even if we couldn’t touch the infinite collection of marbles, we could mentally move them around. In our mind’s eye, we could move the odd marbles away, we could move the marbles greater than five away, and so forth, and contradictions would ensue. In a way, the absurdities are all implicitly there in the actual infinite. Physically moving subtracting from it merely makes them explicit.

2. The Big Bang Theory

He says I didn’t mention why models that evade the BVG theorem cannot be past eternal. I mentioned the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which he did not respond to. Also, many alternative models fall prey to quantum fluctuations, which keeps them from being in a static state. For a survey by Vilenkin, see the following note. [1]

With regard to the Hartle-Hawking model specifically, I simply disagree that it implies the eternality of space:




Space is represented by the horizontal direction, and it gets smaller and smaller as one goes back in time. Again, on this model, there is no first instant of the existence of the universe, but there is a beginning nonetheless. I defend this claim below.

Well of course Barrow’s quote only deals with certain models. I was quoting him concerning this model, not all models. [2]

As for eternal inflation, it falls prey to the BVG theorem. Eternally inflating universe are an average in a state of cosmic expansion throughout their history, and therefore they cannot be past eternal. [3] If my opponent thinks there are eternal inflationary models immune to the BVG theorem, I wish he would have told us what they are. If he mentions them in his closing remarks, I cannot respond.


No Beginning Point

The problem with this argument is that it assumes that having a beginning entails having a beginning point. But this definition would commit us to the reality of points and instants, which is clearly overloading the term “begins to exist.” Many cosmologists cut out the initial singularity by making it a mathematically idealization. But they don’t think they’ve therefore solved the problem of the origin of the universe.

William Lane Craig says this:

The key idea in having a beginning is past metrical finitude. Time may be said to begin to exist just in case for any non-zero, finite interval of time that one picks, there are only a finite number of congruent intervals earlier than it. Or, alternatively, time begins to exist just in case for some specified non-zero, finite interval of time, there are no congruent intervals earlier than it. On either explication beginning to exist does not entail having a beginning point.” [4]

We can give an explication of “begins to exist”, where "t" ranges over any non-zero period of time:

x comes into being at t iff (i) x exists at t, and the actual world includes no state of affairs in which x exists timelessly, (ii) t is either the first time at which x exists or is separated from any t′< t at which x existed by an interval during which x does not exist, and (iii) x’s existing at t is a tensed fact.” [5]

On this definition, we are not committed to thinking that having a beginning entails having a beginning point.

My opponent says “the ‘present’ is just an instant that takes up zero duration”. Not at all. I’m inclined to think that that present has no minimum duration. The present would then have to be defined case by case. We’d have to talk about the present hour, the present minute, the present second, etc. We could then divide those units of time into sub-units of past, present, and future. So I don’t think presentism entails that the present is an instant in duration.


The A-Theory of Time

It seems to me that I am not the one who has misunderstood McTaggart’s Paradox, but no matter. As I said, presentism entails that the present alone exists, so there are no future or past events which present events could be future or past relative to. Things that exist only possess the property of being present. I don’t see why I cannot talk about past events, and I don’t think he has shown us why I cannot, on an A-theory of time. His remarks seem a bit confused to me. He says the “moment 5 minutes ago can entail the property of ‘present’.” An event five minutes ago cannot entail the property of being present, because it is past and therefore does not exist. It doesn’t possess the property of “pastness” either, because it simply no longer exists.


The B-Theory of Time

Einsteinian and Minkowskian relativity (ER and MR, respectively) are very often confused, but they must remain distinct. The former commits us to the existence of an infinity of different spaces and time, each being composed of a different inertial frame. The latter commits us to the existence of a 4D spacetime block.

(i) He claims that length contraction commits us to relative time. On ER it does, but not on Lorentzian relativity (LR). LR was actually the first to affirm that length contracted when in motion. Lorentz's “transformation equations” then became the mathematical core of Special Relativity.

(ii) LR is based on Maxwell’s Equations, so I would hope it doesn’t contradict them. Since Wikipedia has apparently become an authoritative source, I quote:

This theory, which was developed mainly between 1892 and 1906 by Lorentz and Poincaré, was based on the aether theory of Augustin-Jean Fresnel, Maxwell's equations and the electron theory of Rudolf Clausius.” [6]

(iii) I said Earman’s principles presuppose spacetime realism, not the relativity of time. The former is an expression of MR, while the latter is an expression of ER. I do not feel that my opponent has dealt with Craig’s response.

(iv) He’s correct, I don’t know how I’m arguing against my position. Saying that the cosmic microwave background radiation permeates all of space and is at rest relative to space does not entail in any way that time is relative.

Conclusion

My opponent has not touched premises (1) or (4), so I think we can all agree that they are more plausibly true than false. It seems to me that I’ve presented a strong case for the soundness of the KCA, and my opponent has not launched any insuperable objections to it, and so I conclude that the KCA is a sound argument.


Notes

[1] Vilenkin, Alexander. “Did the Universe have a Beginning?” http://arxiv.org....

[2] For a fuller critique of this model see: “The Ultimate Question of Origins”, http://www.reasonablefaith.org.... Subheading, “Quantum Gravity Models”.

[3] Vilenkin, "Inflation is not Past Eternal" http://cds.cern.ch...

[4] Ibid. “J. Howard Sobel on the Kalam Cosmological Argument” http://www.reasonablefaith.org....

[5] Ibid.

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org... Emphasis mine.

Rational_Thinker9119

Con

The Impossibility Of An Actually Infinite Number of Things

My opponent is treating infinity like a finite number, which is fallacious. He claims that there would be nothing to stop him from moving things around with regards to infinity. That line of argumentation assumes that there is something allowing him to move things around with regards to infinity in the first place. There is no reason to believe that any collection can be subtracted or divided from. One can make the case for any finite collection, but Pro gave us no reason to believe this is the case with an infinite collection. Additionally, the contradictions arise when starting with infinity, not with a successive addition. Also, my opponent says that because we can imagine moving items around, that this still shows a contradiction in infinity. However, imagining being able to do "x", does not mean you can do "x".

Here is the fatal flaw in my opponent's argument:

If A-Theory is true, then reality has only consisted of individual "now" points. This means, ontologically, there would never be an infinite collection that exists even if the past is boundless. This is because at any given "now" point one can point to, an infinite of collection of past events never exists at the "now" point. Yet, any given "now" point is all that is ontological real under A-Theory. This means that to claim an infinite number of past events is an ontologically real infinite collection would be to concede that Presentism is false! Thus, my opponent either has to:

(1) Admit that an infinite past is not an infinite collection that involves an ontological contradiction

(2) Concede a tenseless theory of time (my opponent did not oppose to my assumption in the last round that we can assume theories like Growing Block false)

Pro cannot go with (ii). Thus, (i) must be rejected. The argument against an actual infinity fails.

The Big Bang Theory

The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not refute eternal inflation. This line of refutation begs the question against the idea that each universe may have different laws. Also, a "finite past" does not equate to a "coming into being". There is a distinction between:

(1) A beginning state of the universe (a 1st state)

(2) A beginning state of the universe which came into being from no beginning state of the universe, e.i. "nothing" (transition from no 1st state, to a 1st state)

Arguments for a finite past only demonstrate, at best, (1) not (2). I have argued they do not even show (1). If A-Theory is true and the universe has a finite past, it would not follow that the universe came into being, or violates ex nihilo nihil fit. Likewise, the Hawking-Hartle state involves starting off with 4 dimensions of space. A quantum fluctuation would turn one of those dimensions of space into time:

Instanton

"The realization that time can behave like another direction of space means that one can get rid of the problem of time having a beginning." - Stephen Hawking[1]

The Hartle-Hawking no-boundary proposal involves no actual beginning of space itself, and only a conversion beginning of time from a direction of space in imaginary time, not an absolute beginning at all.

No Beginning Point

"The problem with this argument is that it assumes that having a beginning entails having a beginning point. But this definition would commit us to the reality of points and instants." - Pro

My opponent is exactly correct, but this is precisely what A-Theory necessitates. If my opponent denies points and instances, then my opponent denies Presentism itself. This means, Pro concedes B-Theory; and thus the debate. This is because if Presentism is true, then the "present" is just an instant which takes up no interval of time:



An ontologically existing length of time would require a tenseless theory, or something like the horrendous Growing Block Theory. Also, William Lane Craig is incorrect about the existence of instances:

"There are instantaneous causal relations (as is shown to be the case in the actual universe by the Bell-Aspect experiments)" - Quentin Persifor Smith. American contemporary philosopher, scholar and professor of philosophy at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan[2]

They have been confirmed by scientific testing[3]

Also, Pro's extremely vague variable filling (or lack there of) with regards to Dr. Craig's definition does not allow him to wiggle his way out of needing a beginning instant; the ontology of A-Theory demands it.

A-Theory

Pro argues that McTaggart's paradox can only get off the ground if the privileged present shares a relationship with the future and past in order to be deemed a point with all three A-Properties. Since the past and future do not exist under this theory; there is no problem. However, this is misguided:

"The A-theorist’s claim is that 1900 is present in 1900, future
in 1800, and past in 2000—and that because it is not present, past and future at the same time, there is no contradiction. This is a mistake: there is a contradiction." - Nicholas J.J. Smith[4]


First of all, the past still did exist and the future still will exist:



It seems strange how each "now" point wouldn't still have all three A-Properties with respect to each other. Regardless, as David J. Buller and Thomas R. Foster note, this line of refutation only deals with first-level temporal predicates, not second level[5]. No matter where the theist tries to solve the contradiction, another one arises because one can posit another level of temporal predicates, with another contradiction for A-Theory necessarily. Thus, McTaggart's Paradox stands in light of my opponent's objection.

B-Theory

I am not confusing Einsteinian and Minkowskian relativity, this is a red herring. The truth is that under both of them; time is relative and not absolute. This implies B-Theory even though the two are not the same interpretation. This is my opponent's mistake.

-- Length Contraction and Time Dilation

The problem is that the Neo-Lorentzian view will never have the explanatory rigor, with regards to length contraction, of the Minkoskian space-time view:

"Consider the phenomenon of length contraction...
By its very nature such a theory-of-principle explanation will have nothing to say about the reality behind the phenomenon. A constructive version of the theory, by contrast, explains length contraction if the theory provides an empirically adequate model of the relevant features of a world in accordance with the two postulates." - Yuri Balashov and Michel Janssen[6]

Also the NL view writes off time dilation as a measurement anomaly. This is ad hoc.

--Maxwell's Equations

The NL view is based on Maxwell’s Equations, but the contradiction is still there. The NL view requires the speed of light to be Galilean invariant:

"Galilean invariance or Galilean relativity states that the laws of motion are the same in all inertial frames"[8]

--Principles of Earman

We are on good grounds to accept the Principles of Earman, because otherwise it is just a huge coincidence that
the laws effectively governing different sorts of matter all share the property of Lorentz invariance.

-- The CMB

Any point in the CMB could be used to assert an inertial frame. Space-time is homogeneous and isotropic locally in that frame. Space-time is also locally homogeneous and isotropic in every other frame. This frames in which the CMB is not isotropic. Anisotropy of the "stuff" that is contained in space doesn't imply anisotropy of space at all. Thus, the CMB is not a privileged frame in context.

Conclusion

All of my arguments stand; the resolution has been negated.

Sources

[1] The Grand Design (pg. 134-135)
[2] http://www.infidels.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www-personal.usyd.edu.au...
[5] http://www.niu.edu...
[7] http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu...
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 5
53 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Miles_Donahue 3 years ago
Miles_Donahue
Haha thanks! (:
Posted by IslamAhmadiyya 3 years ago
IslamAhmadiyya
If we humans are able to get this intelligent, then I guess God has to exist.
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Miles_Donahue wrote:
: I cannot wait to debate you to put those claims to the test. (;

Cool. I'm looking forward to this. I admire what I read of your performance in this debate.
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
: Wiploc, did you read the definition from William Lane Craig that I provided in this debate?

I doubt it.

: "e comes into being at t if and only if (i) e exists at t, (ii) t is the first time at which e exists, (iii) there is no state of affairs in the actual world in which e exists timelessly, and (iv) e"s existing at t is a tensed fact."

God began iff:
1. God existed at a particular moment.
2. That moment was the earliest moment at which he existed.
3. Okay, this one I don't understand.
4. I don't get this one either.

: It rules out timeless existence. So, if God has timeless existence then there is a definition right there which potentially includes the universe, but rules out God.

I'm lost. I'd like your help. I'm willing to work hard. (I read one of Plantinga's books: studied it, digested it, solved it, refuted it.) I just don't know what WLC is trying to say in 2 and 3. Can you rephrase them for me? I want to understand how they exclude god but include the rest of the universe.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"I've never heard a definition of "begin" for which god didn't begin and the rest of the universe did."

Wiploc, did you read the definition from William Lane Craig that I provided in this debate?

"e comes into being at t if and only if (i) e exists at t, (ii) t is the first time at which e exists, (iii) there is no state of affairs in the actual world in which e exists timelessly, and (iv) e"s existing at t is a tensed fact."

It rules out timeless existence. So, if God has timeless existence then there is a definition right there which potentially includes the universe, but rules out God.
Posted by Miles_Donahue 3 years ago
Miles_Donahue
wiploc:

I cannot wait to debate you to put those claims to the test. (;
Posted by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
Does your argument claim that the universe can have an infinite number of past events, under the most common believed theory of time?

I define beginningless as without a beginning. In other words the universe never began but has always existed, in one form or another.

Isn't that the crux of your argument?
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
: It also depends on what you mean specifically by "beginning".

I doubt that. I've never heard a definition of "begin" for which god didn't begin and the rest of the universe did. They can use any definition they want, and, if you hold them to that one definition rather than letting them equivocate, then their argument fails.
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
*Strike the word "continuing." I apologize for thinking you were dodging and weaving.
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Sargon wrote:
: Now you're trying to make it look like I'm backtracking and calling the whole issue irrelevant because I was contradicted.

That was my impression, yes.

: That's obviously not the case, as I provided a response to you and RT contradicting my assertion, using a poll. So your narrative is obviously flawed and stupid.

I see that you did make such a post. I'm going to assume that it is relevant to this discussion; that is, I'm going to assume that many-worlds is an alternative to Copenhagen. In which case, I'm happy to apologize for thinking you were continuing to dodge and weave.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
Miles_DonahueRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: I did the same as wIploc
Vote Placed by medv4380 3 years ago
medv4380
Miles_DonahueRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Nicely done counter to the argument against infinities. Pro might have been able to counter by going further into set theory, but that's hard to say. The bar for the BOP for soundness is very high so Cons counter wins.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 3 years ago
MrJosh
Miles_DonahueRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO went from arguing the soundness of Kalam to arguing for plausibility. He has not met his BOP. CON efficiently countered every part of the argument that mattered.
Vote Placed by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Miles_DonahueRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Sorry, I posted a comment here. I didn't intend to vote.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
Miles_DonahueRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by ModusTollens 3 years ago
ModusTollens
Miles_DonahueRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to correctly address Con's refutations of the KCA's claims, especially with regard to the nature of infinity. His/her claim on infinity essentiall boils down to, "Well it's very weird so it must not be true."