The Instigator
Vulpes_Inculta
Con (against)
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The Contender
Magic8000
Pro (for)
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Kalam Cosmological Argument (Twist debate)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,802 times Debate No: 33781
Debate Rounds (5)
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Vulpes_Inculta

Con

Ave.

Magic and I have debated the KCA before, so we both understand each other's thoughts on the argument. While thinking one day, I asked myself what would happen if we switched roles and did it all over again. I send Magic a PM with this suggestion, and after accepted, I set up this debate.

First and foremost, this debate is just for fun. The debate should result in a tie, with neither side winning. The audience can still give a RFD on the comments or in a vote, but please do not assign any points to either side.

I should also note that this is a more of a written discussion than a debate, so point-by-point responses should be replaced with simple paragraphs.

I will be taking the position that the KCA is unsound. Magic will be taking the position that it is sound.

God is defined as the timeless (therefore beginningless), immaterial, spaceless, omnipotent, and personal cause of the universe existing.

Magic will post his opening statement in his first round. Afer that, we will have constant back and forth debate/discussion.

I'm looking forward to an exciting and interesting discourse.

Vale.
Magic8000

Pro

Thanks Con!

You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone! Here, atheists defend arguments for God!

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is as follows

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Premise 1 seems obvious. It's a simple deductive a priori statement. In modern physics, the first law of thermodynamics basically says

“...energy can be neither created nor destroyed (conservation of energy). Thus power generation processes and energy sources actually involve conversion of energy from one form to another, rather than creation of energy from nothing” [1].

Premise 2 has philosophical and scientific reasons for believing it. For one, an actual infinite can't exist. What I mean by actual infinite is an eternal past series of events. If such an infinite does exist, we would have to cross and infinite amount of events to get to now. However such a thing is impossible by what an infinite means. Second, many scientists have shown the Universe had a beginning.

“In the following decades this new understanding of space and time was to revolutionize our view of the universe. The old idea of an essentially unchanging universe that could have existed, and could continue to exist, forever was replaced by the notion of a dynamic, expanding universe that seemed to have begun a finite time ago, and that might end at a finite time in the future. That revolution forms the subject of the next chapter. And years later, it was also to be the starting point for my work in theoretical physics. Roger Penrose and I showed that Einstein’s general theory of relativity implied that the universe must have a beginning and,possibly, an end” - Stephen Hawking [2]

“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 - Alexander Vilenkin [3]

Premise 3 follows from above.

Why must this cause be God? Let's look at the properties of God and why the Universe's cause must have the same properties.

God is timeless, beginningless, immaterial, spaceless, uncaused, changeless, omnipotent, and personal.

The Universe's cause must also be timeless, beginningless, immaterial, spaceless, uncaused, changeless omnipotent, and personal.

Timeless, immaterial, spaceless.

Time, space and matter were created at the Big Bang. So logically the cause must be timeless (and therefore beginingless), immaterial, and spaceless

“The big bang is not like an explosion of matter in otherwise empty space; rather, space itself began with the big bang and carried matter with it as it expanded. Physicists think that even time began with the big bang.” [4]

The reason why so many physicists think time began at the Big Bang, is because of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

“However in 1915, Einstein introduced his revolutionary General Theory of Relativity. In this, space and time were no longer Absolute, no longer a fixed background to events. Instead, they were dynamical quantities that were shaped by the matter and energy in the universe. They were defined only within the universe, so it made no sense to talk of a time before the universe began” [5]

Uncaused

The cause must be uncaused, otherwise it wouldn't be beginningless.

Changeless

If the cause changes something in its nature, it would be an event, as that's what a change is. However an infinite series of events can't exist.

Omnipotent

The cause must be omnipotent, since it would have immense power to convert nothing into this complex Universe.

Personal

This one is a disputed one. The best justification I can give is, since the cause must be eternal and changeless, in order to cause the Universe, it must have a personal choice. When the question “How can a first event come to exist if the cause of that event exists changelessly and eternally?” Willliam Lane Craig and James Sinclair argue

“The best way out of this dilemma is agent causation, whereby the agent freely brings about some events in the absence of prior determining conditions. Because the agent is free, he can initiate new effects by freely bringing about conditions which were not previously present. For example, a man sitting changelessly from eternity could freely will to stand up; thus, a temporal effect arises from an eternally existing agent.” [6].

KCA rule 1: One does not simply argue for the Kalam without citing William Lane Craig.

Thanks Con, for this debate!

[1] https://chemistry.osu.edu...

[2] Hawking, Stephen. 1988. A Brief History of Time, p. 34

[3] Vilenkin, Alexander. 2006. Many Worlds in One, p.176

[4] http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu...
[5]
http://www.hawking.org.uk...

[6] Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology

Debate Round No. 1
Vulpes_Inculta

Con

Ave.

Christian philosophers, and most advocates of the Kalam in general, appeal to our experience in order to prove that the first premise is true. It simply feels right that everything that begins to exist has a cause. If it didn't. why don't we see unicorns pop into being from nothing, or angels? I'd like to argue that making larger metaphysical inferences based off experience is a sketchy thing to do when it comes to reality.

Think about the Euclidean geometry you learned in high school. Euclidean geometry has five postulates, and one of these postulates states that two parallel lines will never touch. Interestingly, there is no actual way of proving this is true. You simply can't show that those two lines won't ever touch. Therefore, many people are appeal to their intuition to show that the postulate is true. Consider the lines y=3x+4 and y=3x-5. They have the same slope, so they are parallel lines, and they look like this when graphed onto a coordinate plane. [1]



It seems obvious that these two lines will never touch. In our heads, we visually imagine these two lines going on for an infinity, and they never touch. However, the parallel postulate is only true in Euclidean geometry. There are geometries that demonstrate two parallel lines touching all of the time. Hyperbolic geometry, a geometry that rejects the fifth postulate, demonstrates it nicely. [2]



Therefore, the parallel postulate is only true for Euclidean geometry, and not other geometries. Why can't the casual principle operate in the same way? It could be true for our experiences that everything which begins to exist has a cause. That doesn't mean it's true for everything, just like the parallel postulate isn't true for all geometries.

I'd like to respond to Pro's point about the conservation of energy. Pro argues that, because energy is not created or destroyed, everything must have a cause. I don't think this argument demonstrates that at all. At most, this would show that energy simply changes forms, and never begins to exist. Therefore, nothing really 'begins' to exist, but is just a reformulation of parts that already existed.

I take you back to my geometry. Just like geometry, there are things in physics that are true for one part of physics, but not true for others. Think about classical mechanics and quantum mechanics. There are cases where the rules of classical mechanics are violated by quantum mechanics. In fact, energy coming from nothing is such a case! Energy can appear from nowhere in quantum mechanics! [3]

The Kalam argues that, because the universe began to exist, the cause must be god. I think there's a good argument for why this isn't true. Every state of the universe, in my view, is caused by another state of the universe. The universe is just the states of the universe, so if you explain that, then you've explained why the universe exists. It also removes the need for an initial state that needs to be caused. Therefore, if my argument is correct, there is no room for god to have created the universe. [4]



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

Pro argues that this couldn't make any sense because there would be an infinite amount of states before this state, which means we could never reach the current state. I don't think this is true, however. Imagine that T=1 is the start of your lunch and T=4 is the time you finished your lunch. You could divide that period of time into an infinite amount of states (T = 1.8, T= 1.8888), but you still finished your lunch! So, it's obvious that an infinite number of events does not stop you from reaching the present moment.

Pro may argue that time began to exist at the singularity, so there is an initial state to explain. However, as Quentin Smith notes, you don't need a singularity! In Pro's sources, he referenced Stephen Hawking's book, A Brief History of Time. I enjoy this because I've read the book as well, and Hawking has some interesting things to say on page fifty-three of the book.

'It is perhaps ironic that, having changed my mind, I am now trying to convince other physicists that there was in fact no singularity at the beginning of the universe--as we shall see later, it can dissapear once quantum effects are taken into account.' [5]

I think I can safely ignore the personal cause argument. If the argument I gave above is true, then there is no first cause, so there is no reason to pay any attention to whether that cause would be personal or physical.

The contentions I made in this debate can be summarized like this.
1: There is no reason to think that the casual principle is always true.
2: Conservation of energy can be violated in quantum mechanics.
3: There is no initial state for god to cause.
4: There is no need for a singularity.
5: An infinite series of events does not make the present moment impossible.
6: Given 3, a personal explanation of the universe cannot be possible.

Vale.

References
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] Davies, Paul. 1983. God and the New Physics.
[4] http://www.infidels.org...
[5] Hawking, Stephen. 1988. A Brief History Of Time.
Magic8000

Pro

1: There is no reason to think that the casual principle is always true. (Fallacy of Composition objection)

Con's first argument is basically, the causal principle being true in the entire universe, doesn't mean the entire universe has a cause. Similar to that of geometry. This is objecting that the Kalam commits the composition fallacy. This one is a tough one to tackle, because it's a good and valid objection. I'll try my best.


It's not argued that because everything in this set of the universe we see has a cause, that the universe itself has a cause. Craig gives 3 reasons for believing premise 1 [1].
1. Something can't come from nothing.
2. If something can come from nothing, why doesn't everything come from nothing.
3. It's intuitively true.

One can define the Universe as a contingent thing and get around this objection.


1. Every contingent thing or state of affairs that begins to exist has an efficient cause.

2. The earliest state of the universe (call it t1) is a contingent state of affairs that began to exist.

3. So, the earliest state of the universe (t1) had an efficient cause.
[2]

The conservation of energy does say that matter & energy can transform into one another, but if the Universe was eternal and energy never began to exist, we would've underwent an endless expansion ending the universe [3]. All the energy would've been used up.


2: Conservation of energy can be violated in quantum mechanics.

Con's argument is assuming the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum mechanics. The Copenhagen is just one interpretation out of many [4]. We have no idea which one is true, why should we believe the Copenhagen interpretation? Even with these indeterministic interpretations, these particles don't begin to exist in nothing. They still exist in space-time and are governed by the laws of physics. Furthermore, I think a link between these vacuum fluctuations and the beginning of the universe needs to exist in order to cast doubt in the conclusion. Finally, quantum mechanics is very complex, confusing and incomplete. We may find a cause to these later in the future.


3: There is no initial state for god to cause

I find this argument to be circular. It tries to prove the universe didn't begin to exist, but that's the very assumption it has. Why couldn't the first state begin to exist? He then objects to the possibility of an infinite, I'll get to this later. I would like to add, even if it's possible the states of the universe are infinite, this doesn't mean they are. It hasn't been proven these states are in fact infinite.


4: There is no need for a singularity.

I don't see how this is relevant. I understand Hawking doesn't accept the singularity theorem and I've never argued there must necessarily be a singularity for there to be an initial state. The very quote from Hawking says the universe had a beginning. The Penrose-Hawking theorem did prove there must be a beginning, but it's not believed to be a singularity anymore.


5: An infinite series of events does not make the present moment impossible.

Con gives us an analogy with the starting and finishing of lunch. The problem I find is, it's just us humans are breaking down the measurement of time into infinitely small parts. This doesn't mean time itself is infinite. I could break up the measurement between one end of rope to the other end infinitely, but does this mean I have an infinite supply of rope? No, the measurements themselves are human conventions based on physical things, they're not physical things themselves. One can infinitely break up the time measurements of L1(lunch start) and L2 (lunch finish), however this doesn't mean an infinite series of events between L1 and L2 has been crossed. You could measure it to the quark, but there is still a finite series of events.


Thanks!

Back to Pro

Sources

________________________________

[1] Video


[2] http://blogicophilosophicus.wordpress.com...


[3] http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov...


[4] http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk...

Debate Round No. 2
Vulpes_Inculta

Con

Ave.

I don't think that my argument relates to the fallacy of composition. My problem was not with the logical formulation of the argument. My problem was with reason three that Dr. Craig presented, which is that you can assert something to be metaphysically true by intuition. I used an example of something else intuition would justify, the parallel postulate. Yet, there is no reason to consider the parallel postulate to be true in all cases. Therefore, there are exceptions to the parallel postulate, just like there can be exceptions to the casual principle, even though all of our intution backs it up. My whole objection was that the casual principle doesn't have to be something that's always true, but it can be true for some things, like our experience...same as the parallel postulate.

I think Pro misundertood what I was getting at. I wasn't trying to make an argument for an eternal universe based off energy existing forever. I was just trying to show that he still had his work cut out for him, which was to demonstrate that energy not arising ex nihilo proves the casual principle. I just argued that his reasoning was incomplete, and at best it leaves us with the conclusion that energy doesn't begin to exist. I don't actually argue for that conclusion, I'm just stating that it's the only reasonable one to make from the facts Pro gave us.

My argument didn't depend on the Copenhagen interpretation. If energy comes from nothing, then energy comes nothing, and it doesn't matter if energy came from nothing based on probability or indeterminism. You can say that the energy comes from nothing based on probability (non-Copenhagen) or that energy comes from nothing based on indeterminism (Copenhagen), and it wouldn't have any implications on the fact that it came from nothing.

Let's talk about nothing. In his first round, Pro argued that energy doesn't come from nothing based off the conservation of energy. This is a claim about physics. He is claiming that, in physics, energy does not come from nothing because of conservation. Therefore, any point I bring up about nothing is going to relate to the definition of nothing in physics, not a philosophical definition. Does it satisfy philosophical ideas of nothing? Definitely not. Does that matter? No, because it's a claim about physics, and only physics terminology applies.

I think Pro, who argues that my 'every state is caused by every other state' is circular, confuses deductive argument and circular arguments. I am making the conclusion that there is no initial state based on the fact that every state of the universe is caused by another one. This is just deductive reasoning. Now, it's perfectly reasonable to ask why every state of the universe is caused by another one, but accusing the argument of being circular doesn't seem to be valid.

Remember the diagram I gave in my last round. Or imagine the present moment. The present moment was caused by the past moment, which caused by a past moment, which is caused by a past moment, all the way back to T=1. I already showed in the last round, using Hawking, that T=0 is an impossible state, so it logically follows that time never goes to 0, and you always have a decimal number. There is no smallest decimal number, so there is an infinite number of states, therefore there is no initial state. The premises could be stated like this.

P1: Every state of the universe is caused by another state.
P2: If every state of the universe if caused by another state, then an initial state is logically impossible.
C: An intial state is logically impossible.
C2: There can be no first cause.

The only thing I need to do is prove P1. After that, everything else follows logically.

I think it's important to define what exactly we mean by 'universe'. Dr. Craig defines the universe as the whole of all material reality. Dr. Vilenkin, however, defines it as the entire spacetime region. One has to wonder: how can you assert that the 'universe' as defined by Craig began to exist, and then prove it using Vilenkin, who has an entirely different definition of that word than Craig? The mind boggles. [1]

Reiterating what I said in the last round, I was quoting Hawking to explain the fact that there is no need for a singularity where T=0. That's relevant to my argument, because if there is a state where T=0, then there is indeed an initial state. I wasn't trying to accuse Pro of misquoting Hawking or taking his work out of context. I just thought it was interesting that a quote from his references supports what I am saying.

I think the rope analogy is a false analogy. It doesn't parallel the theory I'm putting forward. Yes, you can divide the rope into infinite parts, and it will still be finite. Let's consider a four foot rope where you have R=1, R=2, R=3, and R=4. You can divide these into smaller decimals ad infinitum, but the rope is still finite. Why is this? It's because there is a logical state of affairs where R=0, making the rope finite. This is why the analogy fails. If there is no singularity, then there is no state where T=0, so it can't be finite. That is the difference between time and the rope.

Vale.

References
http://debunkingwlc.wordpress.com...
Magic8000

Pro

Causal principle

The argument is still very similar to the fallacy of composition objection.

Intuition is not the only way the first premise is proven. The causal principle is not just simple intuition, it is a deductive axiom.

I understand you weren't trying to make an argument for the eternal universe, but the argument I was trying to make was that since energy cannot eternal, it must have a cause. Since it couldn't have been created with these laws, and it couldn't be eternal. Matter and energy make up the Universe [1], if they were uncaused, it would be within this Universe, violating the law. They can't be eternal, thus they must have a cause outside the Universe.

Quantum mechanics.

These vacuums aren't in nothing. Con does claim that physics defines nothing as something. However, this argument is philosophical. One can redefine their terms, but it will not refute the philosophical argument. The conservation of energy does propose a dilemma, if one accepts this redefinition of nothing, you still have the problem of the destruction of the Universe. Furthermore, these virtual particles do rely on the Copenhagen interpretation

"Others have used the creation of virtual particles from the vacuum as evidence that things can begin to exist without a cause. If the energy involved is small enough, and the period of existence is short enough, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle allows particles to emerge from "nothing" and to disappear shortly thereafter. However, this argument fails to distinguish between something containing no energy or particles and sheer nothingness. In quantum mechanics, the vacuum is not a nothing. It is the indeterministic cause of the temporary existence of the virtual particles." - Robert C. Koons (University of Texas) [2]

Koons also says this argument is making a category error between causality and determinism.

"For now, let me say that Smith seems to have confused causation with determinism. There is no absurdity in the idea of indeterministic, non-necessitating causation. The decay of a uranium atom is caused by the preceding state of the atom, whether or not anything about that state determined or necessitated that the decay should occur when it did. Similarly, my power of will is the cause of my free actions, even if those actions were not predetermined by any state of that will." [2]

States of the Universe

This argument did seem circular, but con cleared it up. The obvious problem is an infinite regress, I'll get to that later. Hawking does still argue that there was a t=0 state. In a recently filmed series called "Grand design", he argues that God couldn't cause the Universe, because time didn't exist at the big bang [3]. Hawking's definition of cause can be debated, but it contradicts my opponents argument.

On the definitions of Universe. How could the material reality exist without space time?

If the rope analogy is a false analogy, then your original lunch analogy is also false in trying to prove an actual infinite exists. The accusation that the rope analogy is false, is based on a category mistake. Con isn't trying to resolve the infinite regress problem, which his lunch analogy was. This rope analogy was responding to your attempt to resolve the regress, not the states argument.

Sources
[1] http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov...
[2] http://www.leaderu.com...
[3] http://www.youtube.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Vulpes_Inculta

Con

Ave.

I don't see how it's similar to the fallacy of composition accusation at all. As I pointed out in my last round, and as Dr. Craig states in his speech, the fallacy of composition is an objection to the logical validity of the KCA. The argument I'm putting forward has nothing to do with the logical validity of the KCA. It relates to the truth of the casual principle, which is the basis of the first premise. Pro doesn't even attempt to show that my argument is similar to the fallacy of composition objection. Instead, he relies on a bare assertion that they're similar, with no reasoning. Therefore, we have no reasons to believe that they are similar, and good reasons to believe that they are not.

Where does this leave us in my response to the casual principle? In my rebuttal to Pro's opening statement, I gave an analogy about to geometry to object to the casusal principle. Pro's response to this was to confuse with it with the fallacy of composition argument. Now that I've demonstrated that this isn't the case, Pro has no substantial objection to the analogy I gave. The casual principle remains unjustified...

..that is, until Pro gave a very short and incomplete justification of it. Pro argued that it is simply a 'deductive axiom'. This is, ladies and gentlemen, another bare assertion. We are given no reasons to believe that it is axiomatic and requires no justification. Things that are axiomatic, like mathematical truth, are rarely challenged by anyone who wants to be taken seriously. Yet, the casual principle is debated regularly. Why, then, should it be considered axiomatic? There are no reasons to accept Pro's only remaining justification for the casual principle, so by implication, there are no reasons to accept the casual principle itself.

Showing that energy isn't eternal doesn't assist Pro. Firstly, we are given no reason to think that just because something is not eternal, it had a cause. Sure, the fact that the thing is contingent means it began to exist, but to argue that reason means it must have a cause is to beg the question, because it assumes the casual principle. Secondly, we are still in the process of debating whether this energy can begin to exist, but come from nothing.

Pro points out that the quantum vacuum isn't a philosophical nothing. As I explained in my last round, I'm completely aware that the quantum vacuum is not the nothing that Leibniz would have thought of. However, this does not matter, because we are having a conversation about physics. Pro claimed that conservation of energy proves that something cannot come from nothing, and this claim falls solely under the domain of physics. Is it philosophical reasoning to say that we should use the physics definition of nothing in discussions about physics, as Pro says? Yes, that is philosophical reasoning. The problem for Pro is that I haven't dismissed philosophy. I have only dismissed philosophical terminology in a discussion which requires physics terminology. This is not physics refining philosophical terms, it's Pro trying to shove philosophical terms into areas where it doesn't belong.

The quantum vacuum is what nothing is in physics, and Pro cannot say 'nothing comes from nothing based on physics', and then try to use philosophical terms rather than physics terms, which is wha this argument is about. Even if I lose the debate on this principle, it simply doesn't matter. I've never argued that the universe came from nothing.

Pro tries to argue that I do, in fact, depend on the Copenhagen interpretation. The sad fact is that nothing in his Robert Koons quote had anything to do with my argument depending on the Copenhagen interpretation. Koons only states the opposing argument, and then talks about how the quantum vacuum isn't a philosophical nothing. What in the hell does this have to do with indeterministic interpretations of quantum phenomena? I'm completely unsure.

Pro agrees that my argument doesn't beg the question, and drops the earlier objection.

The Hartle-Hawking state is relevant to my argument, and should be brought up now that we're mentioning Hawking. This state argues that asking what caused the universe is like asking what is north of the North Pole. It's a malformed question.

Pro does bring up an interesting objection, however. How can you have an infinite series of events when time began to exist fifteen billion years ago in the Big Bang? My answer is that it simply means that, while every state of the universe was cauesd by another one, there was no state that existed before fifteen billion years ago.

The lunch analogy is valid because there is no period of time when you have been eating lunch for zero seconds! Therefore, an L=0 state is logically impossible, so it's parallel to the argument I gave about the universe.

Vale.

Magic8000

Pro

I wasn’t claiming at all that your argument is the exact same one as the composition objection. I was just pointing out that it was similar. My arguments still work regardless.


Premise one isn’t solely based on a physical law. It is a metaphysical principle. Why would the Universe’s cause be an exception to a metaphysical principle? Con says people don’t debate axioms. However, why can’t they? People have debated hard facts, take the Flat Earth Society for example. If an argument came along that would change someone’s worldview, even if it consisted of all axioms, they would debate it. Mathematical truths aren’t disputed because it doesn’t step on any toes in this day and age.


The causal principle is regarded as an axiom by many. One was Spinoza.


1663 geometrical exposition of Descartes' Principles of Philosophy


The eleventh axiom of Part I of the book states:


Nothing exists of which it cannot be asked, what is the cause (or reason) [causa (sive ratio)], why it exists.


In a brief explanatory note to this axiom, Spinoza adds:


Since existing is something positive, we cannot say that it has nothing as its cause (by Axiom 7). Therefore we must assign some positive cause, or reason, why [a thing] exists—either an external one, i.e., one outside the thing itself, or an internal one, one comprehended in the nature and definition of the existing thing itself (Geb. I/158/4–9).


Axiom 7, to which Spinoza appeals in the explanation, is a variant of the “ex nihilo, nihil fit” principle, and stipulates that an existing thing and its perfections (or qualities) cannot have nothing or a non-existing thing as their cause. [1]


Spinoza does say in another work that there is something with no cause, however it seems like he’s claiming that thing is God.


I would agree just showing something is eternal doesn’t mean it was caused, however if it can’t be created under natural laws, and can’t be eternal, the conclusion follows. I didn’t just claim it can’t be eternal. Contingent doesn’t assume the causal principle. Nothing in the definition would suggest that. It just means dependant on something [2]. You can believe vacuum particles have no cause, yet you can still accept that they’re contingent on space-time, existence, and a vacuum.


Can you give a source saying nothing in physics is something? I believe you misunderstood what I was getting at here. I was saying my main argument is philosophical and ex nihilo, nihil fit, is philosophical. Trying to refute these by using a physics definition is shoving the definition where it doesn’t belong. Where it would be relevant would be with the conservation of energy, but this wasn’t my only justification. The law says energy can’t be created or destroyed. If it was caused by this nothing, it would be created, violating the law; under the acclaimed physics definition of nothing, my argument still works. I never said nothing comes from nothing was based on physics; premise 1 has physical and philosophical justifications. Arguing that the Universe came from nothing or not does not mean you can ignore ex nihilo, nihil fit. This goes back to what Spinoza said.


Robert Koons’ quote does have relevance. The Copenhagen interpretation is an indeterministic interpretation. Koons said


In quantum mechanics, the vacuum is not a nothing. It is the indeterministic cause of the temporary existence of the virtual particles."


The second part I quoted from him was completely relevant; he talked all about indeterminism and causality.


I need Con to expand on the initial state section. Since no state existed before fifteen billion years, how do we have states now? This argument was against premise 2, but if no state existed, the states began to exist. Con said


“Assume that each of these are a state of the universe, where time equals something different in each state. T=4 is caused by T=3. T-3 is caused by T=2. T=2 is caused by T=1. T=1 is caused by T=.9, ad infinitum.”


Now Con is saying you can’t go back to infinity, but it must stop at fifteen billion years. What’s the deal?


Your lunch analogy does nothing to refute the regress argument. A state where L=0 is impossible, however there is a state where I began eating lunch. Just because there isn’t a state where you’ve been eating lunch for zero seconds, doesn’t mean we can have an infinite set of events.


Thanks


Now to Con for his last round.


Sources


____________________________________________________


[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...


[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Debate Round No. 4
Vulpes_Inculta

Con

Ave.

They're similar in the sense that they both argue that, just because something is true of one thing, does mean it is true of all things. However, the response Dr. Craig gave to my analogy would be wildly off-topic if given in a debate.

An axiom is something that is taken to be true without evidence. A spherical Earth wasn't axiomatic. It required observation and argumentation to disprove the idea that the Earth was flat, which was a notion supported by the same intuition that Dr. Craig appeals to when giving the KCA. An axiom can't be debated in the sense that most people feel stupid and irrational for doing so, like doubting mathematical truths. It's inherently irrational to argue against mathematical truths. There is nothing inherently irrational about arguing against the casual principle, or at the very least arguing that it doesn't apply to all things, which I'm trying to do.

I don't actually disagree with Spinoza. I haven't even doubted the casual principle in this debate. I've just doubted the universal application that theists are trying to give it. Even if the casual principle is true, it doesn't help the theistic case at all. I can accept that the universe began to exist, that the universe had a cause, and still reject the idea that god caused the universe to exist. I'm just trying to point out that the casual principle isn't as strong or obvious as Dr. Craig would like to think. If it is in fact true, I'm perfectly fine with it, because there's a way around it when it comes to the universe, which I'll get around to later on.

I wasn't trying to say that contingency assumes the casual principle. It would be absurd to say something like that. I was trying to argue that, just because energy is contingent (it began to exist), it doesn't follow that it had a cause. That is what would assume the casual principle. The argument is a non-sequitur, because there is no logical connection between 'energy began to exist' and 'energy has a cause of it beginning to exist'.

Like the casual principle, I'm fine with accepting the truth of ex nihilo nihil fit. It does not have any implications on the main argument I am giving in this debate, which is that every state of the universe is caused by another state. I'm just objecting to anyone who tries to assert this principle using physics. Philosophically, the principle is well-justified. Appealing to conservation of energy, however, is not necessary.

I argued that energy, in physics, comes from nothing. I also argued that this is true if you hold to non-deterministic or deterministic interpretations of quantum phenomenon. Pro tried to argue that I'm actually subscribing to the deterministic Copenhagen interpretation, and that my assertion depends on it. He quoted Robert Koons to try and show this. The only points Koons brought up was that the quantum vacuum isn't a true nothing. This is does nothing to show that my obsevation depended on the Copenhagen interpretation. Pro argues that the quote is still relevant because he mentions the Copenhagen interpretation as an indeterministic one. I'm still wondering why that matters. How does this demonstrate that my observation depended on the Coepnhagen interpretation? I would be depending on indeterministic interpretations if I had argued that that energy comes from nothing without cause. I didn't say such a thing, however. My observation was completely neutral to the two interpretations. Energy can come from nothing with cause, or it can come from nothing without cause. My point was that it came from nothing, and nothing is nothing, Copenhagen or Bohmian.

I didn't say that the states stopped at fifteen billion years. I said that there is no state that existed before fifteen billion years ago. You can have 14.9, 14.99, and 14.999, but you can never get to fifteen billion years, because that's when the universe began to exist. The states are infinite, but none of them are older than fifteen billion years. There is no contradiction between an infinite number of states and no state existing before fifteen billion years ago. You have an infinite number of states, but none of them occur before fifteen billion years ago. That is the sense in which the universe 'began to exist'.

I have to admit that I've lost track of Pro's form in regards to the lunch argument. Sadly, I don't understand what point is being made here. I'm incapable of answering to him. My apologies.

I'd like to remind the audience why this idea is so profound. I can grant every premise of the KCA and still deny that god exists. I can accept that the universe began to exist, that the universe had a cause, and all of Pro's metaphysical principles, and still deny that god exists. This is because I have offered an explanation of the universe beginning to exist that does not entail the existence of god. When you decide who won the debate, please decide it based upon my states of the universe argument. The debates over the metaphysical principles are important, but they aren't relevant to the conclusions the KCA makes, because one can accept those principles and still deny the existence of god.

I'd like to review the argument I gave for the states of the universe argument, and show why this argument beats the god hypothesis. I'll restate the premises, the support I gave, and why my arguments were better than Pro's.

P1: Every state of the universe is caused by another state. This premise is difficult to deny, and I don't remember any specific part of the debate where Pro disputed it. If T=9 did not exist, then T=10 could not exist, so T=10 is explained by the existence of T=9. You can repeat this exercise with every other state of the universe and come to the same conclusion.

P2: If every state of the universe is caused by another state, then an initial state is logically impossible. This follows logically from the first premise. The initial state is a state, but if premise one is true, then the initial state is not initial at all because it needs to be caused another state. Pro said that this begged the question, as it assumes an initial state cannot exist. However, I pointed out that it's not circular reasoning, but a use of deductive reasoning. Pro agreed that I sufficiently cleared up this issue.

C: An initial state is logically impossible. This follows logically is P1 and P2 are granted.

C2: A first cause can not exist. A first cause would have to cause the initial state in order to be a first cause. By the conclusion, this initial state is logically impossible. Therefore, there is no initial state, and there is no first cause.

How can there be an infinite number of states if the universe began to exist? The answer is that no state of the universe, S, existed before fifteen billion years ago. There are states like T = 14.9, 14.99, and 14.9 recurrign, but there are no states where T is 15. That is the sense in which the universe began to exist. Pro argued that this is a contradiction, but I believe I have sufficiently clarified this.

Doesn't the big bang singularity show that there was an initial state? Yes, if the big bang singularity needed to exist in moden day cosmology. However, it dissapears once the effects of quantum mechanics are incorporated. Hubble and Lemaitre didn't know about quantum mechanics when the theory was being developed, so it's not too surprising that they thought a singularity needed to be there.

In conclusion, I believe that the 'Every state caused by another state' explanation is superior to the god one. I geniunely thank Pro for an interesting and engaging discussion on this issue. I'm not just saying this because it's polite to do after a debate. I seriously mean to say that this was a wonderful discussion, and I look forward to doing something like this with other people.

Vale!
Magic8000

Pro

That’s what I was getting at, how they’re similar. I don’t see how Craig’s response would be off topic.


I wasn’t saying a spherical Earth was an axiom, I was just using it as an example as something that is now axiom-like with hard evidence. What is and isn’t irrational to argue is somewhat a matter of opinion. Craig isn’t using the same type of intuition. The flat Earth was inductive and the causal principle is deductive.


Spinoza did give a good argument to think it applies to a whole. By axiom 7 “From nothing, nothing comes.” Something can’t have nothing as a cause, this is true in part and whole. I know you can accept the Kalam and reject God, however that is why I included justifications for the attributes of God.


I wasn't trying to show energy began to exist, I was saying since it can't be created, it must have a supernatural cause. Your main argument was about the states of the Universe, however I was talking about ex nihlio, nihil fit in the context of causality, not about your states argument.


Robert Koons said the uncaused vacuum interpretation was an indeterministic cause. He also said indeterminism wasn't necessarily an uncaused cause. He didn't just say it's not a true nothing.


The states stopping and no states existing before 15 billion years, I think is just a minor technicality. I was thinking about going backwards; my argument works either way. If the states don't exist at 15 billion years, then it's not infinite. I said infinite was going on forever, beginning at 15 billion years isn't infinite. I stated in round 2, that breaking up the states infinitely isn't really an infinite.


The problem I find is, it's just us humans are breaking down the measurement of time into infinitely small parts. This doesn't mean time itself is infinite. I could break up the measurement between one end of rope to the other end infinitely, but does this mean I have an infinite supply of rope? No, the measurements themselves are human conventions based on physical things, they're not physical things themselves. One can infinitely break up the time measurements of L1(lunch start) and L2 (lunch finish), however this doesn't mean an infinite series of events between L1 and L2 has been crossed. You could measure it to the quark, but there is still a finite series of events.


Which brings us to the lunch analogy. First, you offered it as a response to my infinite regress argument, then you were acting like it had to do with the states argument, which is how we got the confusion.


Let me review my objections to your argument


P1: Every state of the universe is caused by another state.


I wouldn't dispute this.


P2: If every state of the universe is caused by another state, then an initial state is logically impossible.


The problem here is, it must answer the infinite regress argument. Stephen Hawking did say there was a time where T=0. If this initial state must be caused, it could be by God. God could be the state, outside the Universe. Even if I grant both premises, your argument still doesn't refute the Kalam.


How can there be an infinite number of states if the universe began to exist?


Your answer here would refute your argument. Because states beginning at 15 billion years, wouldn't be infinite.


Doesn't the big bang singularity show that there was an initial state?


Irrelevant, Hawking still said there existed a time where T=0.



In conclusion, I believe Con never answered the infinite regress argument. I also thank Con for this debate. I probably could've done better, but it was still a fun debate.


Voters, remember


The debate should result in a tie, with neither side winning. The audience can still give a RFD on the comments or in a vote, but please do not assign any points to either side.


Thanks again.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by hereiam2005 3 years ago
hereiam2005
"It is the indeterministic cause of the temporary existence of the virtual particles."
This is the worst BS of Vacuum state that I have ever heard.
Essentially, this translates to: Because in Vacuum State, something can be randomly created and annihilated, it is not a "nothing". Classic example of moving goalpost.
Posted by Bullish 3 years ago
Bullish
I remember doing this with a religious person once before.. All we did was accuse each other of misunderstanding.
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