The Instigator
mecap
Pro (for)
Losing
8 Points
The Contender
J.Kenyon
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

Kalam Cosmological Argument for God is Invalid

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/3/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,567 times Debate No: 16842
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (29)
Votes (7)

 

mecap

Pro

I will present an argument, which is based on Scott Clifton's (TheoreticalBullshit) argument which attempts to use's William Lain Craig's Kalam Cosmological Argument for God to prove that God does not exist. My opponent should defend the KCA.

Cliffton's argument [1] can be summarized as follows:

P1: Nothing which exists can cause something which does not exist to begin existing.
P2: Given (1), Anything which begins to exist was not caused to do so by something which exists.
P3: The universe began to exist.
P4: Given (2) and (3), the universe was not caused to exist by anything which exists.
P5: God caused the universe to begin to exist.
C1: Given (4) and (5), God does not exist.

Defense of P1
---------------
There are technically two types of logical causality: necessary and sufficient [2][3]. Actually there are three types of causality, but the third one is the "contributory cause" and it is not relevant to this debate, imho.

Necessary Causes: If x is a necessary cause of y, then the presence of y necessarily implies the presence of x. [3]

Sufficient Causes: If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y. [3]

Furthermore, there are Philosophical Laws of Causality [4] which is what Dr. Craig uses: "Everything that begins to exist has a cause."

I will come back to these statements a little bit later.

It's important to determine what this premise really means and to determine why W. L. Craig's response is inadequate, at best. To be specific here is what Dr. Craig wrote:

"The problem is that (P1*) is patently false. I, for example, began to exist. Did I do so without a cause? According to (P2), which follows from (P1*), everything that begins to exist just pops into being uncaused. Not only is that patently false, but so believing would make science and life itself impossible. No need to learn about the birds and the bees! Do internet atheists really expect people to swallow poppycock like this in order to avoid theism?"[5]

If my opponent accepts Ontological Reductionism [6], then the patently false statement is that Dr. Craig "began to exist" or that anything, aside from energy, began to exist. Dr. Craig began to exist no more than a fist began to exist when I squeezed my fingers to my palm or that a cross began to exist when I nailed two 2x4's together. In essence, a fist is a relationship between my fingers and my palm (both of which already exist); a cross is a relationship between two 2x4's and a nail (all of which already exist).

The only thing that's happening in these cases is that entities, which already exist, interact in a specific manner and we label the result of that interaction as something else. However, the result of interacting entities is not a new entity in itself, it's merely the same entities as before, just in a different formation. As we saw before: a fist is merely my palm and fingers coming together; my palm and fingers are merely cells arranged in a certain way; the cells are merely chemicals arranged in a certain way; the chemicals are merely atoms arranged in a certain way; atoms are matter; matter is energy [7]. The First Law of Thermodynamics already states that mater can be neither created nor destroyed, so if my opponent does not object to that then I will enter this as Defense 1 of Premise 1 (P1).

Dr. Craig suggests that there is an ontological difference between the parts and the whole, which may also be interpreted as Holsim [8], but I will not address this point unless my opponent disagrees with Ontological Reductionism. My position is that our interpretation of the whole is not ontologically different from the parts. As I will show next, the laws of causality make it impossible for things which exist to cause something which does not exist to come in existence.

So back to causality: in all of our present examples, causes are applied to things, which already exist, to produce an effect. For example: a nail is driven through two 2x4s to produce a cross. So let's try to apply that principle to God causing the universe to exist, so in the initial state:
1. God exists (for the sake of argument).
2. Nothing else exists.
3. God exerts a cause.
4. The Universe begins to exist

However, there is a big leap between 3 and 4, namely: what is the cause applied to? Well, nothing else exists, so the cause is applied to "nothing" or the cause is applied to the Universe. If the cause is applied to the Universe, then the Universe existed prior to it being created, therefore God did not create the Universe. If the cause is applied to "noting" then the conclusion is pretty straight forward: God exerted an affect "nothing" therefore "nothing" was caused. If my opponent agrees with this logic, then I will enter it as Defense 2 to Premise 1 (P1).

One thing to note is that while Defense 1 and Defense 2 seem to be mutually exclusive, they're meant to cover to different criticisms of Premise 1 so the defenses should be taken in the context of those criticisms. Defense 1 addresses Dr. Craig's response that he "began to exist." Defense 2 addresses the claim that something, which exists, can cause something else, which does not exist, to start existing. Specifically, it addresses the claim God caused the Universe to start existing.

Defense of P2:
---------------
P2 is simply a restatement of P1, so the Defense of P1 applies here.

Defense of P3:
---------------
P3 is essentially P2 of the KCA [9], so I assume that my opponent accepts it without the need for further defense.

Defense of P4:
---------------
P4 follows from P2 and P3, so no further defense is necessary.

Defense of P5:
---------------
P5 is essentially the same as P5 of the KCA [9], so I assume that my opponent accepts it without further need for defense.

Good luck to my opponent!

[1] http://12tuesday.com...
[2] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://nobelprize.org...
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[9] http://www.leaderu.com...
J.Kenyon

Con

Thank you, Mecap, for issuing this challenge. I look forward to a competitive and thought provoking debate.

I'll begin by admitting that Pro's argument is indeed valid. It's fairly simple, and formalized it runs thus:
(1) P → Q
(2) Q → ~P
(3) Q
(4) ~P
(5) G → P
(6) ~G

Now let's consider the Kalam argument. In sentential logic:

(1) What begins to exist has a cause.
(2) The universe began to exist.
(2) Therefore, the universe has a cause

And formalized:

(1) P → Q
(2) P
(3) Q

The Kalam argument is logically valid as well. So it appears we're at a standstill: we have an antinomy. An antinomy exists when two arguments with contradictory conclusions each appear to be definitive. But wait, is this really an antinomy? Well no, actually. I left out a crucial bit of information. An antinomy only occurs when conflicting deductions are reached from the same theoretical standpoint. Pro is arguing from different causal premise. Consider the following arguments, each of which has a different causal premise:

(1) If I'm in a particularly vindictive mood tonight, then God exists.
(2) I'm in a particularly vindictive mood tonight.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

(1) If Mecap is a turd who votebombed one of my debates, then God exists.
(2) Mecap is a turd who votebombed one of my debates.[1]
(3) Therefore, God exists.

(1) If Mecap is a moron who wasn't very careful with the phrasing of this resolution, then God exists.
(2) Mecap is a moron who wasn't very careful with the phrasing of this resolution.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

I could go on, but you get the point. It might be worthwhile now to consider the definition of "valid."

Valid: so constructed that if the premises are jointly asserted, the conclusion cannot be denied without contradiction.[2]

This seems to be the case in all three arguments I presented, as well as with William Lane Craig's Kalam cosmological argument. They are perfectly valid inasmuch as they are so constructed that if the premises are jointly asserted, the conclusion cannot be denied without contradiction. Pro's only real objection is to the first premise of the KCA, but bear in mind that an argument with false premises is not necessarily invalid. According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "a deductive argument is said to be valid if and only if it takes a form that makes it impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion nevertheless to be false. Otherwise, a deductive argument is said to be invalid. A deductive argument is sound if and only if it is both valid, and all of its premises are actually true. Otherwise, a deductive argument is unsound."[3] Thus, it seems that even if Pro's critique of P1 is correct, the argument is still perfectly valid and I win the debate.

Conclusion:

At best Pro might demonstrate that the Kalam argument is unsound, however, this does NOT mean that it is invalid. Perhaps Pro should be more careful next time with the phrasing of the resolution.

Thanks for reading, and vote Con! :)

1. http://www.debate.org...
2. http://dictionary.reference.com...
3. http://www.iep.utm.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
mecap

Pro

Clarification
-------------
I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate and also thank you for providing a definition for the term "valid" [1], which I will repost here:

val•id
–adjective
1. sound; just; well-founded: a valid reason.
2. producing the desired result; effective: a valid antidote for gloom.
3. having force, weight, or cogency; authoritative.

I used the terms invalid/valid in the colloquial sense, where valid is synonymous with sound (definition 1 of Con's dictionary reference).

Rebuttal 1
-------------
Con's Conclusion: "At best Pro might demonstrate that the Kalam argument is unsound, however, this does NOT mean that it is invalid."
Response: I hope the above clarification is enough for Con to accept my usage of valid/invalid, so in that sense Con also agrees that the argument is unsound, in which case we can end the debate here…

Rebuttal 2
-------------
If Con doesn't accept the above clarification, then I would like to address his definitions of valid/invalid argument. I would like to turn everybody's attention to the definition provided by Con:
"a deductive argument is said to be valid if and only if it takes a form that makes it impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion nevertheless to be false. Otherwise, a deductive argument is said to be invalid. A deductive argument is sound if and only if it is both valid, and all of its premises are actually true. Otherwise, a deductive argument is unsound."

At the very bottom of that article there is a section about the author and it states:
"The author of this article is anonymous. The IEP is actively seeking an author who will write a replacement article."[2]

This indicates that the article may be replaced with a "more accurate" article; however, I'm not dismissing my opponent's reference, but I'm merely raising the point that a supplement to that definition may be necessary, so I submit the following supplement:
"Remember that an argument is valid if it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false at the same time. To show that an argument is invalid, we must give an example of a possibility in which the premises could be true and the conclusion false at the same time."[3]

To that end, I have provided an example where the premises are true, but the conclusion is false, my opponent has conceded that point, therefore KCA is invalid in both the colloquial sense of the word and the definition above.

Rebuttal 3
-------------
Con: "They are perfectly valid inasmuch as they are so constructed that if the premises are jointly asserted, the conclusion cannot be denied without contradiction."
Response: Given that an argument can be demonstrated to be invalid by offering an example of a possibility in which the premises could be true and the conclusion false, then I have done so in the first round, to which Con has agreed by stating: "I'll begin by admitting that Pro's argument is indeed valid."

The KCA argument is indeed invalid because the premises can be jointly asserted (which is exactly what Clifton does) and the conclusion is denied without contradiction, see Rebuttal 4 below for more details.


Rebuttal 4
-------------
Furthermore, Con summarizes KCA as:

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

I have specifically referenced Craig's full argument which includes 2 more points:

(4) If the universe has a cause of its existence, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent
(5) Therefore, an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is "beginningless," changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent.

If the KCA argument was to merely stop at point 3, then Con would be correct in his claim that there is an antinomy, but the KCA argument makes two more points which are in fact proven impossible by Clifton's argument. Specifically the latter two parts of the argument state that God (the Creator) exists and God (the Creator) cause the Universe to exist, and since Con agrees that my argument is valid, then the conclusion of KCA cannot be true.

Conclusion
-------------
I have demonstrated that KCA's conclusion cannot be true; therefore, by the very definition(s) provided by Con, I have demonstrated that KCA is in fact invalid. Please vote Pro!

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[3] http://faculty.uncfsu.edu...
J.Kenyon

Con

Thank you, mecap, for not throwing a fit and running away, as I'm sure many people would do. I'll start by fixing a typo I made in the first round. P1 of Cliffton's argument should read "P → ~Q" rather than "P → Q."

Pro is trying to have his cake and eat it too. In his attempt to salvage his case, he equivocates wildly over the meaning of "valid," alternating when convenient between his "colloquial" definition and my technical definition. This makes his rebuttals, especially Rebuttal 4, extremely difficult to follow.

Rebuttal 1:

Pro did not offer a definition of "valid" in the first round. This is not a trivial issue. According to the National Forensics League, important definitions should be given in the 1AC.[1] Because no binding definition was set out in the framework, this leaves the debate open to interpretation. Moreover, "an expert definition from an economics or legal
dictionary or encyclopedia would be preferable to a standard dictionary."[2] This is a philosophical debate centered on formal logic. It's not at all unreasonable to demand that a proper technical definition of the word be used. Note that this IS a voting issue. Anyone who sides with Con is engaged in judicial activism. If you must, deduct a conduct point from me, but there should be no ambiguity over which side wins arguments.

Rebuttal 2:

Pro points out that the IEP article I cited includes a disclaimer at the bottom. But this is a genetic fallacy and totally irrelevant unless he intends to actually dispute the content of the quote I cited. The meaning of "valid" and "sound" are not at all controversial. Strangely enough, Pro seems to concede this himself. He goes on to cite a second source that basically re-iterates what I already said. His source states: "to show that an argument is invalid, we must give an example of a possibility in which the premises could be true and the conclusion false at the same time." He claims that Cliffton's argument demonstrates that this is the case with the KCA, which is patently false. He even goes so far as to insinuate that I've conceded this point, which is again false. I have conceded that Cliffton's argument is logically valid. However, as I've pointed out, the two arguments begin with different causal premises, and thus both can be valid though only one can be sound.

Rebuttal 3:

Pro is just repeating Rebuttal 2, claiming that Cliffton's argument demonstrates that even if the premises of the KCA are true, the conclusion is false. To support his claim, Pro asserts that I've conceded Cliffton's argument is valid. But again, I've only conceded that the argument is logically valid, I haven't conceded that it is "valid" with respect to Pro's colloquial usage of the term. Pro is guilty of equivocation. The premises of the two arguments are mutually exclusive. If Cliffton's premises are correct, then the KCA is indeed unsound, but it is not logically invalid as Pro is attempting to prove here. This is not debatable. The KCA is simple modus ponens argument. I'll re-state it here for emphasis:
(1) P → Q
(2) Q
(3) P
Anyone who disputes the logical validity of this argument is mentally deficient and has no business either debating or judging debates.

Rebuttal 4:

First of all, Pro doesn't even understand his own argument. If P1 of his argument is correct, then P1 and P2 of the KCA are false. End of story. I'll say it again, because Pro apparently still doesn't get it. Just because an argument rests on false premises does not mean that it is logically invalid.

Second, Pro incorrectly claims that my summary of the KCA doesn't included the entire argument. The KCA consists of two premises and and one conclusion. Graham Oppy has actually criticized the argument for being overly simplistic. Craig responds that a successful argument need not have "dozens of complex premises. The supporting arguments and responses to defeaters of the argument's two basic premises can proliferate in an almost fractal-like fashion."[3]

But let's play along with Pro just for fun and pretend steps 4 and 5 are part of the argument itself. We'll start by formalizing it:
(1) P → Q
(2) P
(3) Q
(4) Q → G
(5) G
So there you have it. The argument is still logically valid. Pro's superfluous addition of a supporting argument doesn't change anything.

Conclusion:

Not only is Pro a moron who doesn't know what words mean, he apparently can't even be consistent in the application of his own incorrect definitions, and thus contradicts himself repeatedly. In Rebuttals 2 and 3, Pro tries to show that the KCA logically invalid by demonstrating that it's unsound. In Rebuttal 4, he tries the converse. He fails hard on both fronts.

Resolution negated. Vote Con.

1. http://www.nflonline.org...

2. Ibid.

3. Craig, William Lane, and James D. Sinclair. "The Kalam Cosmological Argument." The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Ed. William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland. John Wiley and Sons, 2009. pg 102.



OFF CASE: Everything below this point is irrelevant to the judging of the debate.


The following is for informative purposes only.

Objection 1 to the KCA's causal premise:

I do indeed disagree with Pro's ontological reductionism. Reductive materialism is a total joke; it's self referentially incoherent and virtually all secular philosophers have moved on to non-reductive forms of materialism, namely functionalism and property dualism. I endorse the latter. However, this isn't particularly relevant to the debate. The statement "Dr. Craig began to exist" only implies a formal or an efficient cause. The KCA attempts to establish that God is the material cause of the universe.

Objection 2:

Pro claims that that the universe can't begin to exist because of the First Law of Thermodynamics. But as Victor Reppert points out, the laws of thermodynamics are just inductive, empirical constructs describing the behavior of closed physical systems.[1] It's not logically impossible for matter to be created or destroyed. The proposition "X is logically impossible" is true if and only if there are no possible worlds wherein X obtains.[2] For example, the existence of square circles or married bachelors is logically impossible. Pro is making a nomological claim that the creation of matter and energy is impossible, which begs the question with regards to physicalism.

Objection 3:

Pro claims that causes can't be applied to things that don't exist. But things that begin exist are not formerly non-existent things that become existent. By definition, non-existent things don't exist. The idea behind creatio ex nihilo is not that X undergoes some change and subsequently becomes A or B, it's the idea of X simply becoming. As I previously pointed out, there is no reason to think this is logically impossible. Moreover, according to physicist Paul Davies, the consensus view among cosmologists is that matter and energy really did begin to exist at the singularity.[3]

1. Reppert, Victor. "The Argument From Reason." The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Ed. William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland. John Wiley and Sons, 2009. pg 382.

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

3. Craig, William Lane, and James D. Sinclair. "The Kalam Cosmological Argument." The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Ed. William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland. John Wiley and Sons, 2009. pg 130.
Debate Round No. 2
mecap

Pro

I would like to start out by pointing out that Con has engaged in intellectual dishonesty in both of the rounds so far:
“If the person is knowingly aware that there may be additional evidence but purposefully fails to check, and then acts as though the position is confirmed, this is also intellectual dishonesty.” [1]

He is specifically advocating a position which he knows I’m not defending and/or he’s advocating that I defend a position which he did not take the due diligence to verify. Con knows that there is a distinction between the colloquial meaning of “valid” and “logically valid”, but he’s continuously engaging in dishonesty by initially not verifying and later ignoring the meaning I was referring to. Despite the fact that I have made the clarification in Round 2, Con still continues to attack this straw-man argument as if it is the position I’m really defending.

Con himself makes a correction of a typo in Round 2, i.e. "P ? ~Q" rather than "P ? Q." This is not a “trivial issue” and people engaging in a debate should know the difference between Q and ~Q, but I didn’t attack that position because it would have been intellectually dishonest not to grant my opponent the benefit of the doubt. Of course, my opponent doesn’t grant me the same courtesy.

Rebuttal 1

I did make a clarification in the second round, but my opponent continues to ignore it. Con continues to engage in intellectual dishonesty by attacking a straw man argument. He knows that I’m using the term “valid” in its colloquial sense. As my opponent’s own reference points out:
“If the team feels that the opponent’s case is based on a faulty or unfair interpretation of the resolution, they should provide counter definitions and convincingly explain why their perspective is more appropriate.” [2]

My interpretation of the term “valid” is neither unfair nor faulty, because I’ve already demonstrated in Round 2 that valid is synonymous with “sound.” Furthermore, given the general audience of debate.org, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that such use of the term “valid” would be acceptable. Secondly, my opponent has not provided a convincing explanation as to why we should use the alternative meaning.

Rebuttal 2

First, I would like to correct a typo: “To that end, I have provided an example where the premises <strike>are</strike> could be true, but the conclusion is false...”
Con claims that I’m committing a Genetic Fallacy, but it appears that Con doesn’t know the meaning the term:
“A critic commits the genetic fallacy if the critic attempts to discredit or support a claim or an argument because of its origin (genesis) when such an appeal to origins is irrelevant.”[3]

Pointing out that my opponent’s source has an explicit disclaimer stating that the publisher is actively seeking a replacement for the article is hardly a genetic fallacy. If I was really dismissing my opponent’s reference on the grounds of its origin, then it may have qualified as a genetic fallacy, but I actually accepted that source. However, on the basis of the disclaimer, it’s entirely reasonable to add another reference which provides specific guidance on how to demonstrate that an argument is invalid (which was not present the IEP article).
------
The reference I provided states: “To show that an argument is invalid, we must give an example of a possibility in which the premises could be true and the conclusion false at the same time.”

I would also like to remind my opponent exactly what I said, because he seems to have a really difficult time with honesty representing my argument:
“To that end, I have provided an example where the premises [could be] true, but the conclusion is false, my opponent has conceded that point, therefore KCA is invalid in both the colloquial sense of the word and the definition above.”

I’m specifically saying that my opponent has conceded that I have provided a logically valid example whose premises could be true, but the resulting conclusion is false.

So, here is the summary:
1. My example uses all of the premises from the KCA.
2. The example is logically valid (as my opponent agrees).
3. Both, my example and KCA, assume that the premises could be true (see Rebuttal 4 for more details).
4. The conclusion is false (see Clifton’s conclusion).
5. Therefore, based on the reference on how to demonstrate an argument is invalid, I have indeed demonstrated that KCA is invalid.

Rebuttal 3

I never claimed that Con conceded to the colloquial use of the term “valid,” this is a flat out lie from Con. To be specific, I said:
“...an example of a possibility in which the premises could be true and the conclusion false, then I have done so in the first round, to which Con has agreed by stating: ‘I'll begin by admitting that Pro's argument is indeed valid.’”

To remove any doubt here: this does not mean that my opponent agrees that I have provided a valid example in the colloquial sense, but that I have provided a logically valid example for which the premises could be true but the KCA’s conclusion is false. It seems that Con has fallen victim to his own game and is blaming me of equivocation, yet I specifically took the effort to quote my opponent in order to preserve the original meaning of his statement.

Rebuttal 4

I have satisfied the requirements stated by the reference for proving that an argument is invalid, here it is again… Clifton’s P1:
P1 (Clifton): Nothing which exists can cause something which does not exist to begin existing.
Also here are P1, P2 and C1 and of KCA:
P1 (KCA): What begins existing has a cause.
P2 (KCA): The universe began to exist.
C1 (KCA): The universe has a cause.

Given P1 of Clifton then C1 (KCA) is negated: the cause of the universe does not exist => the universe does not have a cause. The conclusion is negated by presuming that Clifton’s P1 is true and KCA’s P1 and P2 are both true. Based on the Rebuttal 2 and Rebuttal 3 definition of invalid, this argument is demonstrated to be invalid!!!

Con also states that: “KCA consists of two premises [and] one conclusion.”

This is not the case when we look at the entire KCA as seen on Craig’s web site [4]:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
4. If the universe has a cause of its existence… then Creator of the universe exists (shortened).
5. Therefore… [a] Creator of the universe exists (shortened).

I will reiterate what I said in Round 2 again: #4 and #5 are false given Clifton’s argument. In KCA P1, P2 and C1 there is no mention of God/Creator, only in 4 and 5 do we see a mention of the God/Creator. I have provided a quote explaining how an argument is demonstrated to be invalid (in Rebuttal 2 and Rebuttal 3), I have satisfied all the steps required to show an argument is invalid based on that quote, therefore KCA is invalid.

Conclusion:
Off the case comments not addressed due to character count limitations.
I have shown that my opponent is intellectually dishonest, falsely accuses me of committing a genetic fallacy and equivocation. I have also demonstrated that, based on the definition I provided, KCA is invalid. Vote Pro!

Conduct:

Vote Pro, because Con consistently engaged in ad hominem attacks, using thinly veiled insults such as: “Mecap is a turd,” “Mecap is a moron,” “Not only is Pro a moron,” etc.

Convincing arguments:

Vote Pro, because Con attacked a position which I never held, used ad hominem attacks and was intellectually dishonest even after I clarified which definition of “valid” I was addressing.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.nflonline.org...
[3] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[4] http://www.leaderu.com...


J.Kenyon

Con

First of all, I'd like to note that Con has made no effort to defend his premises against the attack I laid out in my rebuttal. So even if you don't buy my semantic argument that "Pro is a retard who doesn't know what 'valid' means," I still win the debate. Some may object that I stated the off case section doesn't relate to the voting issues. This is true, and I stand by my assertion. But the only reason I asserted this is because the resolution requires of me merely to prove that the KCA is valid, not sound. So if you buy my reasoning for considering this issue "off case," you also agree with my interpretation of the resolution. Informative purposes aside, the reason I included the off case part is because I know some people are going to engage in judicial activism and vote me down unless I try to refute the premises of Cliffton's argument.

The usage of the term "valid" in both its proper technical sense and the colloquial sense throughout the debate has caused significant confusion. Therefore, in my final round I will use "valid" only to refer to the technical meaning of the term while I will refer to a successful argument as "sound."

Rebuttal 1: Pro's protestations basically amount to "J.Kenyon is being a meanie." Mean or not, I don't care. This isn't Fox News, this is a serious debate. If two academic philosophers were debating the KCA and one tried to argue that the KCA is invalid, he would be laughed off the stage after being gleefully chewed out by his exultant opponent. Do you know why in scholarly philosophical literature philosophers differentiate between "valid" and "sound?" Because they mean two completely different things. If Pro doesn't like it, too bad.

To place this issue in context, consider TheSkeptic's opening round in this debate: http://tinyurl.com... Con included a lengthy explanation of what was meant by "valid" to avoid the predicament Pro has placed himself in. By contrast, in this debate: http://tinyurl.com... the instigator made the same mistake as my opponent and he paid the price. He acknowledged his mistake and conceded the debate.

Pro tries to turn my NFL source against me. But the NFL guide is specifically referring to the second team. Seriously, read it. It's up to the first team to lay out the important terms in their first round, as TheSkeptic did in his debate.

Rebuttal 2: We've come to the agreement that "to show that an argument is invalid, we must give an example of a possibility in which the premises could be true and the conclusion false at the same time." Good. Next, Pro claims that he has "provided an example where the premises [could be] true, but the conclusion is false, my opponent has conceded that point." So far so good. Then he goes full retard. Pro summarizes his argument thus:

1. My example uses all of the premises from the KCA.
2. The example is logically valid (as my opponent agrees).
3. Both, my example and KCA, assume that the premises could be true (see Rebuttal 4 for more details).
4. The conclusion is false (see Clifton's conclusion).
5. Therefore, based on the reference on how to demonstrate an argument is invalid, I have indeed demonstrated that KCA is invalid.

Cliffton's argument does not incorporate all the premises of the KCA. P1 of the KCA is "what begins to exist has a cause." Nowhere in Cliffton's argument can this premise be found. In Rebuttal 4, Pro takes us through some mental gymnastics trying to show that the KCA's causal premise is incorporated into P1 of Cliffton's argument, but this is clearly ridiculous. Cliffton's P1 states "nothing which exists can cause something which does not exist to begin existing." The contrapositive of this statement implies that if something begins to exist, it was caused to do so by nothing. But non-existent things aren't causally efficacious, so this directly contradicts P1 of the KCA.

Rebuttal 3: Pro spends a lot of time ranting about my character, but never seems to actually get around to defending his argument. I realize now that I misrepresented Pro's point and I apologize. I'll quote him directly: "Given that an argument can be demonstrated to be invalid by offering an example of a possibility in which the premises could be true and the conclusion false, then I have done so in the first round." I assumed he meant that because Cliffton's argument is sound, the conclusion of the KCA must be false. What he actually meant is that that because Cliffton's argument incorporates the premises of the KCA into an argument with a false conclusion, the KCA must be invalid. I was a bit thrown off because Cliffton's argument doesn't actually incorporate all the premises of the KCA. Additionally, Cliffton's conclusion that "Given (4) and (5), God does not exist" is actually true assuming his premises are sound. Finally, even if he could incorporate all the premises of the KCA into an invalid argument, this would not prove that the KCA is itself invalid. Consider the following:
P1: What begins to exist has a cause.
P2: The universe began to exist.
C: Therefore, J.Kenyon will likely win this debate.
Clearly, this inference is not sound (though Pro is welcome to disagree). However, this does not prove that the KCA, which shares the same premises, is wrong as well. So yes, I misunderstood Pro's argument. But the only reason I made this mistake is because I was giving him the benefit of the doubt. My interpretation of Pro's argument is marginally less retarded than Pro's actual argument.

Rebuttal 4: Pro claims to have shown the KCA is invalid (in the technical sense of the term). This is literally the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. For the umpteenth time, the KCA is a simple modus ponens statement. I'll walk us through this one more time because Pro apparently still doesn't get it.

P1: What begins to exist has a cause.
We'll summarize this point as "P → Q."

P2: The universe began to exist.
We'll summarize this point as "P."

Therefore, we can jointly assert the following:
1. P → Q
2. P
3. Q
If Pro is right and the KCA is logically invalid, then he has dispoven propositional logic. This is clearly ludicrous. Just because you add 2 + 2 and end up with 5 doesn't mean you've disproven math; it just means you don't know how to count. Chyrsippus' ghost is literally crying right now.

Pro objects that the KCA includes a third premise and a second conclusion, citing Bill Craig's website. I invite the reader to consider the following quote from the exact same link: "The argument is really very simple and consists primarily of three steps. (1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence. (2) The universe began to exist. (3) Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence. And then in premise (4) we conceptually unpack what some of the principal attributes would be of a cause of the universe's existence."[1]

But this isn't particularly relevant, so I'll just agree with Pro for the sake of argument.
P3: If the universe has a cause of its existence, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent.
All Pro has proven is that Cliffton's argument incorporates two contradictory premises since this goes directly against Cliffton's P1, making it completely worthless.

Conclusion:

Pro has offered no defense of his premises. Admittedly, this should not be held against him since he has focused the majority of his case trying and failing to prove that the KCA is logically invalid. However, this decision entails an implicit agreement to argue the debate on semantic terms. He had the opportunity to re-focus the debate on the causal premises on which the two arguments are predicated and he opted not to do so.

Vote Con!

1. http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 3
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mecap 5 years ago
mecap
Let's see which way the pendulum swings...
Posted by Kinesis 5 years ago
Kinesis
I'm going to vote for...oh no, I'm from the UK. Fvck.
Posted by mecap 5 years ago
mecap
@Cliff.Stamp
I'm really not sure what will happen here! I feel like this one is going to be a total surprise!
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
The votes are going to be interesting.
Posted by maninorange 5 years ago
maninorange
This has been an interesting discussion of logic and semantics... Though it's rather disappointing that we couldn't get past all of that and discuss what was meant to be discussed: The Kalam Cosmological Argument.
Posted by ExNihilo 5 years ago
ExNihilo
Your objection 2 in the "off case" is unnecessary since the First Law only applies after the beginning. Thats all you would have to say. Objection 3 is the defeater.
Posted by ExNihilo 5 years ago
ExNihilo
Everyone should look at Dr. Craig's critique of this argument on his Q&A section. He points out that 2 does not follow from 1. In order that 2 should follow from 1, 1 needs to be changed to the following:

1' "Nothing can cause something that exists but did not formerly exist to begin existing."

"(P2) wouldn't follow from (P1). For things which begin to exist are not non-existent things that became existent."
Posted by J.Kenyon 5 years ago
J.Kenyon
Last time. Change P1 from "P --> Q" to "P --> ~Q" and it makes sense.
Posted by J.Kenyon 5 years ago
J.Kenyon
Let's try that again. Change P1 from "P &#8594; Q" to "P &#8594; ~Q" and it makes sense.
Posted by J.Kenyon 5 years ago
J.Kenyon
Mecaps argument is valid. I made a typo. Change P1 to "P &#8594; ~Q" rather than "P &#8594; Q" and it makes sense. I'll point this out in my round.

I plan to actually address Cliffton's argument, but in the off case section of my rebuttal. It's not a voting issue. The only issue relevant to the judging of the debate is whether or not the KCA is valid. Scott makes a serious (and extremely obvious) mistake. that being said, I still think the KCA is a lousy argument.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by iamnotwhoiam 4 years ago
iamnotwhoiam
mecapJ.KenyonTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Yep valid. Not a good argument, but valid.
Vote Placed by Freeman 5 years ago
Freeman
mecapJ.KenyonTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Well, the argument is valid...
Vote Placed by Grape 5 years ago
Grape
mecapJ.KenyonTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The only think Con was required to prove was that the Kalam argument is logically valid. It clearly is, so /debate. In a debate that wasn't strictly about philosophy I might grant some credence to Pro's complain, but he's talking about a specific logical argument. Talking about a specific logical argument and asking that logical terms not be used because you screwed up is nonsense.
Vote Placed by ExNihilo 5 years ago
ExNihilo
mecapJ.KenyonTied
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Reasons for voting decision: So, Kenyon is a troll, and he has provided evidence of that in the debate. However, he clearly won the "valid" debate. Pro tried to be clever, but Kenyon showed that the premises of the KCA were not all incorporated into the one to which mecap appealed and was therefore not comparable. I was not going to consider con's points against the actual argument, because he told me not to. pro completely dropped these points when the premise on which he based his case was that the arg should be debated.
Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 5 years ago
LaissezFaire
mecapJ.KenyonTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I think Con wins this just with the 'valid' issue, but even discounting that, Con clearly wins, because Pro didn't demonstrate that the Kalam argument was unsound either. Since Pro failed to fulfill his BOP (either the one mandated by what the resolution actually said, or what Pro meant), Con wins arguments.
Vote Placed by Amveller 5 years ago
Amveller
mecapJ.KenyonTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Long read but pro made more convincing arguments
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
mecapJ.KenyonTied
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Reasons for voting decision: "Then he goes full retard." - it was the commentary after this which clinched the debate. mecap conceded to Jeff's use of valid and then it was shown clearly by Jeff that he had not demonstrated the Kalam was invalid as the premises were not identical. Another solid argument win by Kenyon, 1 pt to mecap for taking Jeff's jibs in good humor and another pt for trying to hang in there. 5:2 and very dominating performance by Jeff.