The Instigator
Apeiron
Pro (for)
Losing
84 Points
The Contender
DakotaKrafick
Con (against)
Winning
131 Points

The KCA is Sound

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 41 votes the winner is...
DakotaKrafick
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/1/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,831 times Debate No: 33127
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (130)
Votes (41)

 

Apeiron

Pro






I dedicate this debate to Typhlochactas, that legend among mortals, that formidable foe and friend. May he rest in peace, yet remain in haunting vigil throughout the DDO empire. Vale...


Introductions
This debate premiers the widely anticipated tournament for the DDO champion. In the words of its orchestrator, Pennington, this series determines "who is the best debater on DDO, period."


http://www.debate.org...

I welcome Dakota as my first opponent as well as his insight into the argument we'll be debating, the kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA, hereafter). This is a simple argument (though not simplistic) with a rich history in the minds of brilliant philosophers throughout thousands of years dating back to Plato's Timaeus, circa 360 BCE.


Definitions

First Cause - The aggregate of all first causes

Eternalism
- all points in time are equally "real," as opposed to the presentist idea that only the present is real.[1]


Contingent Existence - dependent for existence [2] ... such things are generated and later corrupted. A thing is generated just if there is a time when it exists and an earlier time when it does not. On the other hand, these things are corrupted just if there is a time when it exists and a later time when it does not. These things are therefore temporally contingent, for since they come into and go out of being, then they are possibly generated or possibly corrupted. And so every temporally contingent being begins to exist at some time and ceases to exist at some time. Such beings, then, seem to exist for a finite period of time.[3]

cosmos - all of space and time, matter and energy to include whatever multi-verse, etc.


Reductio ad absurdum - an argument from absurdity demonstrates that a statement is true by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its denial.

a priori & a posteriori Reasoning -
A given proposition is knowable a priori if it can be known independent of any experience other than the experience of learning the language in which the proposition is expressed, whereas a proposition that is knowable a posteriori is known on the basis of experience. For example, the proposition that all bachelors are unmarried is a priori, and the proposition that it is raining outside now is a posteriori.[4]

Personhood - a non-naturalist identification of agency, a substance endowed with free will and self-awareness. Charles Taylor writes, "What is crucial about agents is that things matter to them. We thus cannot simply identify agents by a performance criterion [contra-naturalist], nor assimilate animals to machines... [likewise] there are matters of significance for human beings which are peculiarly human, and have no analogue with animals."[5]


Burden of Proofs
The resolution states that the KCA is sound and so that is what I must defend first and foremost. However, since the KCA is part of a larger cumulative case against atheism, then it would seem that no one who accepts its conclusion should be able to genuinely maintain his atheism. This is because the KCA seeks to prove a personal creator of the cosmos, and no one who accepts that the universe was created by a personhood out of nothing would seriously call themselves an atheist! This brings me to my central claim of which I bear the burden, and it is also the claim that Dakota must defeat.




Central Claim: "Plausibly, a First Cause exists as a supernatural Personhood"



Historical Background
Early Christian fathers, convicted with the longstanding biblical tradition of creatio ex nihilo, sought to combat the Aristotelian notion of an eternal cosmos. With the advent of Muslim conquest over north Africa, these cosmological arguments became development into the KCA by the Sunni philosopher Al-Ghazali before later transmission back into the embrace of Christian scholastic theology.


The word kalam is Arabic for ‘speech’ and according to the 14th century theologian al-Idji, kalam is the "science which is concerned with firmly establishing religious beliefs by adducing proofs and banishing doubts."[6]

Now a scholar of this science is known as a mutakallim (plural mutakallimiin), and as a proud defender of the kalam, I hope to cast light on the origin of the cosmos while, hopefully, admitting Dakota and the good people of the jury to see a little further into reality by standing atop the shoulders of giant mutakallimiin.


Citations

1. Kuipers, General Philosophy of Science, p.326
2. http://dictionary.reference.com...
3. http://philosophy.lander.edu...
4. http://www.iep.utm.edu...;

5. Taylor, "The Concept of a Person", Philosophical Papers, 1985, 98-102
6. al-Idji, 1971

DakotaKrafick

Con

I. Acceptance

I accept.

II. Acknowledgements

First and foremost, I thank Pennington for hosting the tournament without which this debate might have never happened. As Apeiron mentioned, its purpose is to answer the question "who is the best debater on DDO"; though that need be amended to "who is the best debater on DDO who also signed up for this tournament" as we are noticeably missing some of our finest. Despite that though, Pennington has worked hard to assemble these brackets with very notable contestants (including YYW, larztheloser, ConservativePolitico, phantom, imabench, Contra, and many more). It pleases me to be part of such an impressive roster and I have no doubt this tournament will be a fun and engaging one.

I also thank my opponent, Apeiron, for whatever insight he brings to the Kalam Cosmological Argument, perhaps the most famous (and infamous) argument for God there is. I'm sure we've all seen it argued time and time again, so hopefully Apeiron and I can hold your attention with arguments that are more interesting and exciting than they are banal.

Lastly, I thank any audience members and jury members who will be committing themselves to thoroughly reading my inane ramblings over the course of the debate and for voting as fairly as possible.

III. Burdens of Proof

Apeiron has stated his central claim to be: "Plausibly, a First Cause exists as a supernatural personhood". This is the claim he will be trying to establish and defend during the upcoming rounds of banter and he will be doing this in large part by proving the KCA is sound.

So what exactly is my onus in this debate? Take note, it's not to prove Apeiron's central claim is false, nor is it even to prove the conclusion of the basic KCA false (that the universe therefore had some cause to its existence). Attempting to do so would no doubt prove impossible (as impossible, I think, as proving the central claim true), not to mention it would be out of line with my own beliefs.

Instead, it is my onus in this debate to simply explain how Apeiron's argument fails, to show that whatever reasons he gives to support his central claim are, themselves, flawed in some way. If there truly is a flaw in his argument, and I find and exploit that flaw (which I wholly intend to do), then based on this debate alone, there would be no reason for us to believe Apeiron's central claim; and if there is no reason for us to convert to theism based on this debate, then who can say the theist here has won?

IV. Four is my favorite Roman numeral

With nothing else relevant left to say, Apeiron, I give you the floor. Wipe it with me 'till the audience can see their beautiful faces in it.

Debate Round No. 1
Apeiron

Pro






Introduction

Cosmologists Audrey Mithani and Alexander Vilenkin argued that the mathematics of eternity (eternalism) prove that all the current models of space and time require a beginning, they say “None of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal.” [7-9]

Mithani and Vilenkin’s latest scientific paper was titled with a question, “Did the universe have a beginning?” … Their professional answer was a univocal yes. This conclusion is staggering, for if all space, time, matter and energy began then it couldn’t have sprang into being from nothing! The causal principle that out of nothing, nothing comes, is prima facie justified. For this is a metaphysic not based on the shifting sands of sense experience, but rather based on critical rationality and direct insight, and since this principle is always verified and never falsified, then within the absence of any empirical defeaters; one is warranted in believing its truth. I shall call this causal principle, CP hereafter.


Now the question is not whether things exist, rather it is how: contingently or necessarily? If something exists necessarily, then it does not come to be or pass away and so cannot be said to have a cause. But contingent things on the other hand do come to be and pass away. Parmenides argued that what is cannot come to be or perish: If it comes to be, then it was not, if it perishes it will not be … to begin, it first had to not be and to end, it has to stop existing: it must become what is not. However if it were not, what would impel it to come into being? Parmenides thus argued that “from what does not exist nothing can come into being.”


So the only way out of this dilemma is to affirm that contingent things have a transcendent cause of their beginning from some pre-existing reality (whether contingent or necessary). Thus if we are to avoid a Parmenidean contradiction, then the causal principle, CP ought to be affirmed; contingent things have causes! This has been an enduring principle in metaphysics ever since the 5th century BCE philosopher of Elea graced us with its discovery, and it doesn’t seem to be defeated anytime soon.


Furthermore, since the cosmos itself had a beginning, then one cannot logically appeal to merely an ex materia cause, for that would be alteration, not a true beginning. And anyone who says the CP is true in the universe of but not of it, is simply mistaken- recall the CP is prima facie justified given the alternative of a contradiction. As Sherlock Holmes once said,



"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

It just remains to be the case that nothing in the universe falsifies the CP. So to charge against this principle by demanding evidence for it is to miss the rational point! It is a truth we assent to without the need for proving it true by more basic assumptions, just as 2+2=4 is intuitive and cannot be proven by more basic assumptions or by less basic evidence.


What then of the cosmos? We know that this beautiful space-time reality (richly endowed with all of her properties and near unlimited creative potential) not only has a finely-tuned structure that allows for that creative potential, but also permits the possibility of conscious, embodied moral agents capable of reasoning. But is it plausible that something inherently Rational is responsible for the rationality we find in the universe?







We summarize this kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) as follows -




Argument Outline

P1, The cosmos began

Grim Reaper Paradox

The greek philosopher Zeno waged against the idea of the existence of many things in place of a unity. He demonstrated how ontological pluralism lead to absurdity. For example, suppose the distance on a large ruler were measured in half, then half of that half was halved, and so on. As the argument goes, one could never measure a first unit! For there would exist always one more to halve!

For an infinite set, suppose one could measure half ... by half of that... by half of that... etc, and so on until infinity. The question is, would your measurements only be constrained by your devices? Or would you reach an end point called infinity?

Zeno assumed an actual infinite in the paradoxes that would later be graced by solutions from Aristotle: only potential infinity is found in nature, otherwise we are stuck with an impossibility. Now suppose if time were like that ruler - if this were the case, then Zeno-class dilemmas can apply just as much to space as it does to time (whether A or B theories), so that any objection to P1 faces a Grim Reaper death by a reductio ad absurdum (or proof against it by contradiction). Consider the following argument.







P2, If the cosmos began, then it has a transcendent cause


Theistic Implications
Conceptual Analysis of a First Cause

Ultramundanity

Because it is impossible for the cosmos to cause itself (for in order to do so it would have to exist before it existed- which is incoherent), the cause must be transcendent and therefore uncaused since an infinite causal series reduces to the absurd as we have seen. It must also transcend space and time since it created it. And lastly it must be unimaginably powerful since it created all matter and energy.



Personal

Noncontingent First Cause

Since the first cause is the cause of all causes, it must be an end in itself. Therefore, the first cause must be a necessary reality with certain essential properties (like personhood and omnipotence). But, as mentioned by Craig, the only things which exist necessarily or at least timeless are either abstract ideas or a mind (plausibly with those ideas, if so, then it would be an omniscient mind). But since abstract ideas by definition are causally impotent, then it follows that a necessarily existing, plausibly omniscient mind is the best candidate for the first cause. I say "plausibly omniscient for sake of parsimony, for it may even make sense to consider abstract objects as perhaps the way God thinks, thereby allowing us to affirm one necessary reality rather than many. (For what it’s worth, this is a step in the advancement of simplicity at its best! Occam smiles on the KCA).



Personal Over Scientific Explanation

As WLC mentioned, only two types of explanation exist, personal or scientific, and since it can't be scientific, the cause of the universe must be personal. [11]



Temporal Effect from a Non-temporal Cause

Again as mentioned by WLC, out of state-state, event-event, and agent causation, the first cause of space-time cannot be the former two, thus the cause must be a free agent since the effect isn’t coeternal with the cause. Of course this free act would be simultaneous with the origin of the cosmos, nevertheless God was still changeless (though obviously not immutable) without the creation event. In this way, God is timeless and unchanging without creation but enters into time at the moment of undertaking in his creation. God is therefore causally prior to the big bang, not temporally prior.



Cosmic Properties

The First Cause is an entity that has produced a finely tuned cosmos, containing beauty and creatures attuned to beauty, containing moral obligations and creatures aware of them, a universe containing conscious beings with free will, a universe some of whose contents have objective functions (eyes are for seeing, and so on). Thus the the idea that the first Cause is more plausibly a extremely intelligent and very powerful person acting purposively is highly plausible given all this data. [12]






I invite Con to give a more plausible explanation than what theists have always affirmed, until he does so, it would seem more reasonable to affirm an intentional personal creator of the cosmos, given the truth of a first cause.



Argument Map Summary


Citations

7. http://arxiv.org...
8. http://arxiv.org...
9. http://www.debate.org...
10. http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
11. Swineburne, The Existence of God, (Oxford, 1991), 32-48

12. Pruss, Cosmological Arguments, bearspace.baylor.edu/Alexander_Pruss/www/papers/LCA.html

DakotaKrafick

Con

Thank you, Apeiron, for presenting your case and thank you, DDO-coding, for refusing to let him present it in the form of a comic-book. Now to delve in (apologies in advance for not having any pretty pictures to substantiate my points):

(Nota bene: For simplicity's sake, I will be assuming the Big Bang of our universe was the first point in the cosmos' finite past in order to avoid talking of convoluted things like the "bang-crunch model" and the "multi-verse model," things which Apeiron and I are certainly mere laymen.)

P1: The cosmos began to exist.

Apeiron spent the majority of his previous round proving the cosmos must have a finite past (probably because this is the only claim he made that actually can be proven). Relax, Apeiron, I wholly agree: the cosmos must have a finite past.

And if the only condition which must be met for something to "began to exist" is "has a finite past" (making the terms synonymous), then by extension, I agree the cosmos began to exist. However, note that Apeiron has made no such attempt to define what "began to exist" means.

P2: If the cosmos began to exist, then it has a transcendent cause.

There are three types of existence: necessary (in which X exists in all possible worlds), impossible (in which X exists in no possible worlds), and contingent (in which X exists in some possible worlds but not others; it may or may not exist in the actual world).

So which describes the cosmos? Obviously, it's not impossible; the cosmos does exist! To figure out if it's contingent or necessary, let's take a look at the definitions of "contingent" Apeiron provided in his previous rounds:

"But contingent things on the other hand do come to be and pass away. Parmenides argued that what is cannot come to be or perish: If it comes to be, then it was not, if it perishes it will not be … to begin, it first had to not be and to end, it has to stop existing […]"

"such things [that have contingent existence] are generated and later corrupted. A thing is generated just if there is a time when it exists and an earlier time when it does not."

We can conclude from both of these definitions that there are at least two conditions X must meet in order for us to sensibly say X exists in the actual world and is contingent:

(i) there must be a time T in which X exists, and
(ii) there must be a time prior to T, -T, in which X does not exist.

Patently, condition (ii) does not apply to the cosmos, since there was never any time prior to time existing when time did not exist! (In other words, for all actual points in time, time has existed, which is simply tautological.) Because condition (ii) does not apply, Apeiron must agree the cosmos is therefore not contingent.

This demonstrates the salient difference between (a) X having a finite past, and (b) X being contingent or having a cause. While it is the case that all actually-existing contingent things have finite pasts, it may not be the case that all things with finite pasts, like time itself and the cosmos, are contingent.

"What? No cause to the universe?" I hear the fool shouting at me from atop the hill. "What about the beautiful casual principle (CP) Apeiron mentioned? From nothing, nothing comes, you imbecile!"

Indeed, nothing can pop into existence "ex nihilo" (from some previously or alternately existing state of non-existence). I find the idea of a state of non-existence existing absurd anyway, and I do not posit that such a thing ever did exist or that the cosmos came from it. In short, while Apeiron’s CP is true, it's ultimately irrelevant in this case since neither I nor any reasonably person I know would argue the cosmos popped into existence from a previous state of absolute nothingness.

Instead, I posit that there was no previously existing state of affairs before the cosmos existed or, at least, that there is no good reason to believe there was. Because of this, there is no good reason to believe the cosmos must have been caused. (If Occum's Razor is smiling at Apeiron's argument like he said, then it must be giving my argument head or something.)

Now the question becomes: is it reasonable to claim the cosmos' existence is necessary instead of contingent?

Well, as Apeiron so wilily quoted earlier, "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." We have eliminated the possibilities of it being either impossible or contingent, so however seemingly improbable, the cosmos must be necessary (and therefore uncaused).

Simply put, there are only two possibilities: either (1) there was no state of affairs before the cosmos' beginning and so it didn't need to be caused, or (2) there was a state of affairs before the cosmos' beginning and so it did need to be caused. Apeiron must show that (2) is in fact the case, that there was a state of affairs before the cosmos' finite past. But he can't merely state that there existed some previous state of affairs (i.e. God) to explain that the cosmos must have had a cause: God!

Central Claim: Plausibly, a first cause exists as a Personhood.

As defined in Apeiron's opening round, the "Personhood" in which he is trying to prove the existence of is "a non-naturalist identification of agency, a substance endowed with free will and self-awareness".

It's the property of having free will which I'd like attack. Can it be adequately supported that this Personhood must have free will? Let's take a look at what Apeiron has to say on the matter: well, really, he has very little to say on the matter.

He says (as mentioned by WLC), "out of state-state, event-event, and agent causation, the first cause of space-time cannot be the former two, thus the cause must be a free agent since the effect isn't coeternal with the cause". So much jargon, so little time. This is the one and only short instance in which Apeiron tries to defend that his posited Personhood has free will!

Yet he makes so little effort in providing context or explanations for anything he says here (he doesn't even define "agent causation," the crux of his argument), that I feel it's not even worth refuting. A building must first be built for it to stand or to be knocked down and, while Apeiron has provided us with a pile of bricks, he's done nothing to cement them together.

Unwilling to showcase Apeiron's argument better than he did and then argue with myself, I simply urge for elucidation; without any, the idea that this Personhood must be endowed with free will remains disappointingly unsupported.

Debate Round No. 2
Apeiron

Pro








Introduction


I'm pleased to note that Con doesn't really object at all to the argument! Rather he focuses his case on terminology and clarification points, which is like a backhanded compliment to the KCA by its own right. My opening round had some technical difficulties, but the case easily stands. First, recall my claim that plausibly, a First Cause exists as a supernatural Personhood. Second, this argument takes place against the backdrop of what the best explanation of the cosmos seems to be. The space-time reality with which we find ourselves is endowed with a beautiful mathematical structure that allows for embodied moral agents and physical regularity together with the reliability of that regularity.

1


2


The kCA can be summarized as follows -

3



Argument Outline

P1, The cosmos began

Note what Con affirms, "I wholly agree: the cosmos must have a finite past … [it] began to exist." His only reservation is that I must clearly define what "began to exist" means. But that's easy! Take "begins to exist" to be synonymous with "comes into being." In this case, the cosmos comes into being just if it is finite.... well that was simple enough, what about Con’s tautology that everything in time is in time?


First, Con mistakes a temporally prior state for a causally prior state of affairs. He merely posits, “that there was no previously existing state of affairs before the cosmos existed.” Clearly he means there was no state of affairs temporally prior, not causally prior, and I agree. But the KCA demonstrates a causally prior state of affair, to think otherwise is to beg the question against the mutakallim. We’ll need to know why there can be no causally prior state. (No one’s arguing there was a temporally prior state, indeed I'm arguing against it).


The KCA therefore successfully argues that there must be a causally prior state of affairs since, as Con already agrees, being cannot arise from a state of non-being. A cosmos can’t arise from a state of non-cosmos, otherwise it faces the Parmenidean Reductio that Con totally failed to address! Con has simply done nothing to eliminate the possibility that the cosmos is in fact contingent, he’s just mistaken the CP (see below). And so the BOP is on him to show that there was no state of affairs causally prior to the cosmos' beginning.


Second, Con complains that the definition of contingency appears inadequate, he says this because it seems that temporal talk is equivocated with causal talk. This just takes an easy clarification. When we speak of things beyond space and time, we use misnomers to describe such things, but that does not imply that what these misnomers are attempting to describe or convey is therefore incoherent or false. At worse we would just have to revise our provisional definitions. For instance, taken in terms of the two criteria for contingency that Con derived from our provisional definition,


(i) there must be a time T in which X exists, and

(ii) there must be a time prior to T, -T, in which X does not exist.


… We can revise it thusly,


(i') there must be a state in which X exists, and

(ii') there must be a state in which X does not exist


… the definition for contingency therefore becomes,



By this definition, Con get around there having to be a cause. For we can state the first tensed fact, that at t=0 the cosmos comes to be, as well as stating it tenselessly, the cosmos began. So in addition to tenseless facts, there also appear to be tensed facts, but if there are tensed facts, then time itself is tensed, therefore, temporal becoming is real- there is a dynamism about reality, a constant becoming of reality in time! What could be more obvious that the cosmos is contingent? [13]


So by his own stripes Con must admit that the cosmos, including time itself, must have come to be, it must have been generated. As if this point weren’t solidified enough, consider the following argument that renders time itself contingent-


Grim Reaper Paradox

4


Empirical Confirmation

Other than the cited work done by Vilenkin and Mithani, cosmic expansion and thermodynamics provide empirical confirmation of a cosmic beginning.


Cosmic Expansion

The big bang name is misleading since the singularity didn't occur at some point in a preexisting empty space like a superdense pellet exploding. The theory is more radical than that, since space and time as well as matter and energy came into being. For as we trace the expansion back in time, distances between any two points equals zero- space and time can't be extended any further back than this.





P2, If the cosmos began, then it has a transcendent cause




Parmenidean Reductio

[Argument Extended]


Lack of Empirical Defeaters

[Argument Extended]

Modal Argument

5



Theistic Implications
Conceptual Analysis of a First Cause

Ultramundanity

[Argument Extended]


Personal

Again, Con offered no argument here that the cause is more plausibly personal. He complains that “agency” wasn’t defined. But I already said that a necessary condition for agency or Personhood is freedom of the will. And the existence of such a cause is the conclusion of the KCA as well as the conceptual analysis of the first cause I give below. It argues first that the only things which exist immaterially or at least timelessly are either abstract ideas or a mind. But since abstract ideas by definition are causally impotent, then it follows that a mind is the best candidate for the first cause. This is argued under, “Noncontingent First Cause.”


Second, under “Personal Over Scientific” it was argued that only two types of explanation exist, personal or scientific, and since it can't be scientific because whatever created the universe is causally prior to it, then the cause of the universe must therefore be personal. Then the personhood of the first cause was argued for under “Temporal Effect from a Non-temporal Cause” and then “Cosmic Properties” of the universe was shown to indicate the plausibility of a personal cause over a non-personal one. Let’s look at each in turn.



Noncontingent First Cause

[Extend Arguments]


Personal Over Scientific

Here it was argued that there are two types of known explanations sufficient for any cause, scientific or personal. But the universe cannot be given a scientific explanation since it is the cause of space-time. There is no spatiotemporal thing before or beyond space and time so it couldn't be accounted for in terms of laws operating on initial conditions. It can only be accounted for in terms of personal explanation in terms of volition, a personal explanation wherein something new is created spontaneously by an immaterial timeless being.


Temporal Effect from a Non-temporal Cause

Here we saw that there are three known classes of causation, state-state, event-event, and agent causation. Recall that the first cause of space-time cannot be the former two, thus the cause must be a free agent since in state-state and event-event causality, the cause is sufficient to produce its effect, meaning that the cause must be coeternal with the effect. But if the cosmic cause is timeless and so exists permanently, why isn’t the effect also timeless and permanent as well? I argued that the best answer remains to be found in agent causation wherein a free person spontaneously creates a new thing! (This is what agency is defined by).


Cosmic Properties

6


Con doesn’t at all reply to this point however, other than just asserting that the cosmos with these collective properties is necessary. But that doesn’t at all seem possible, first because of the KCA, and second because we could just as easily imagine a possible world in which the cosmos doesn’t have these properties. The cosmos by definition therefore is not only contingent, but plausibly willed.



Argument Map Summary






Citations

13. http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
14. http://www.abc.net.au...
15. Wersinger, “Genesis: the Origin of the Universe,” 1996

DakotaKrafick

Con

Apeiron has brought dishonor upon his family's name with his last round. Note, ladies and gentlemen of the audience, that he has despicably exploited a loophole to bypass the very generous 8,000 character limit this debate has.

He's posted quite a few "pictures" that are nothing but paragraphs of text. I copied/pasted his actual text into a Word document and then typed out everything that was said in the "pictures" and, altogether, the character count came out to be 17,903 (with spaces; because DDO counts spaces toward the character limit). That's over two full rounds of content!

Unfortunately, Apeiron likes rambling more than I like listening to his rambling. I signed up for this debate under the condition that each round would be limited to 8,000 characters. I don't have the time or the verve to thoroughly read and respond to that ridiculously long monologue. (If 8,000 characters is not enough to say everything you want, Apeiron, perhaps you should take a breath sometime between sentences and cut some of the fat off, like, you know, every member of DDO is expected to do. A tactic such as this shows nothing but weakness.)

This is a real disappointment because I was looking forward to this debate (just look at how I excited I was in the opening round) and I was looking forward to doing it well with Apeiron; but now my interest in it has plummeted.

Apeiron has revealed himself to be someone who is less worried about engaging in a fair debate and more worried about drowning us all with his unending babbling. Prime example, and this is verbatim taken from his last round:

"For wholly contingent facts with causes obtain in worlds lacking indiscernibles. But if wholly contingent facts with causes obtain in worlds lacking indiscernibles, then wholly contingent facts with causes obtain in wordlds not lacking indiscernibles also because indiscernible things are maximally specific."

What the heck does this even mean? Does Apeiron even know? Because he’s given no indication that he does by doing something like, I don’t know, explaining it…

An act as disgraceful and unfair as this Is, in my opinion, as worthy of forfeiture as plagiarism. Again, I don’t have the time or the verve to read and respond to over twice as much text as what I originally agreed was the maximum! Nor should I be expected to.

Debate Round No. 3
Apeiron

Pro





Introduction


My last round only used 6,500 characters! If one counts the characters in the pictures, it only numbers a measly 1k characters over the limit, that's two short paragraphs to make up for the technical difficulties experienced in R2. Yet Con spends his whole round avoiding the kCA and dropping arguments? This is an embarrassing a last ditch effort to win cheap conduct points made obvious by the overly dramatic tone of his last round (I'm no where near 17,903 charaters!). But again we see no real objections to the kCA from Con! He merely spends his last round ranting against the logistics of the debate in hopes of scoring conduct points. But I violated no predetermined conduct since pictures are allowed.


Moreover it was strange that Con never responded to my answers of his earlier clarification points, nor did he attempt to formulate these clarifications into objections. His two points were,


1) that the cosmos has always existed in time, so there's no temporally prior cause. Here I showed that's not a problem since the kCA argues for a causally prior state, not a temporally prior state. Con's second clarification point was;


2) his confusion on how the cause is free, but there I gave 4 arguments for thinking the cause is a mind or agent endowed with free will. In his last round, Con merely brings up one clarification point and then uses most of his round as an emotional tirade on the logistics of the debate, namely with my use of pictures. We'll look at these both first under "modal argument" and then the tirade under "conclusion."


Argument Outline


P1, The cosmos began

This is where Con agrees yet complains that there can be no temporally prior state and so the cosmos always was in time. However the kCA shows that a causally prior state is the cause, not a temporally prior state, he even admits his position is circular in the form of a tautology. [extend arguments]



P2, If the cosmos began, then it has a transcendent cause

Here Con never responds to the Prima Facie warrant that the causal principle enjoys apart from any empirical defeaters. He does, however, express confusion on my third argument -


Modal Argument

Clarification point: Recall the basic premises of the modal argument for the fact that for anything which could have a cause, does have a cause; the cosmos could have a cause; therefore it does have a cause.
Since I've already defined contingency into the ground for Con, the only word possibly requiring definition is "indiscernible." This evokes what's known as Leibniz's Law, which simply states that "no two distinct substances exactly resemble each other." [16]


Note that a world that has only indistinguishable substances would be a maximally specific world by definition. Thus, if there's a world in which caused contingent things lack distinct substances, then such things can also obtain in worlds without distinct substances. Therefore, the causal principle holds true for all worlds for all contingent facts, including the actual world if it is contingent.

[extend arguments]-Resolution affirmed



Theistic Implications
Conceptual Analysis of a First Cause


Ultramundanity

[extend arguments]


Personal

[extend arguments]

Here it was shown that the collective properties of the cosmos (embodied moral agents, beauty, reliable regularity, etc) strongly disconfirmed a nonsentient cause over a sentient one. The cosmos could have been many different ways that make a non-sentient cause more probable. If, say certain features like the cosmological constant had been altered, or if the the initial conditions put in as boundary conditions within the Planck era, if any of these had been very slightly different not only would life be impossible, but so would the regularity and reliability of that regularity that science demands. In fact it’s namely intentional action that requires this reliable regularity. But more importantly it also requires our implicit assuming its regularity, our cognitive faculties therefore must somehow be adequated to this particular reality. And it makes no sense to say this adequation to reality arose by chance since evolution selects for survival and not for true beliefs. Therefore, the statistical success of the adequation of our intellect to this reality strongly disconfirms non-sentient creation over what theists have always affirmed, that God is mindful of man, and that mind comes from Mind.


Secondly, Con never responded to the fact that agent causation, a person freely causing, is the only alternative to a cause arising from a timeless and changeless state. For event causing events would mean that the effect would have to be coeternal with the cause, and the same goes for states causing other states. Therefore, the only way out of this dilemma is to admit agent causation wherein a free person creates something new from a timeless state.


Third (and forth), Con never responds to the cause requiring a personal explanation over a scientific one, nor does he even address the fact that only a mind can cause from a timeless and immaterial state since abstract objects are causally impotent.



Conclusion
Now I used over 6500 characters in my previous round but counting the characters in pictures adds about 2500 more equalling roughly 9k worth of characters to have to read, that's barely two paragraphs over the limit that I had to make up for in my last round anyhow due to technical difficulties. In any professional debate this would have been allowed. Plus this round I have 1500 characters that I planned on forfeiting remaining in all fairness anyway, note Dakota's PM -




So in essence poor Con must respond to 2 short paragraphs over what he normally would have.. and this is what causes Con to spend his whole round pleading for conduct points rather than deal with my arguments? Even if pictures count as characters, my average count would even out since I only used a few words this round and in my round 2 due to technical difficulties. But in fact, pictures don't count as characters and so no conduct violation has occurred! Power-point presentations are used in many debates outside DDO with standards much rigorous- do PPT's therefore count against an opponent's allotted time just because it conveys more information than the debater otherwise would verbally say?


But leave that aside, not only do I have more sources in terms of quality and quantity, but I easily gave more convincing arguments than Con to show that the kCA is sound. Indeed I went out of my way to clarify the argument for Con, whose approach basically consisted of, "I don't get it.. therefore I win." Because of all this, I declare victory!



Citations

16. http://plato.stanford.edu...

DakotaKrafick

Con

I must apologize to the audience that this debate, which initially had the potential to be something great, has been marred by Apeiron's unsporting breach of the debate's terms and (most recently) by his lies.

Almost everything he says in defense of himself is disingenuous in some way. For one, he claims to have exceeded Round 3's character limit to make up for technical difficulties experienced in Round 2. Though Round 2 was already near maximum! If you count the characters of R2 like DDO counts them (with spaces included), it comes out to about 7,795. Barely enough for anything else.

To clarify the PM he so respectfully posted without my permission (the "P" in "PM" stands for "private," Apeiron): we were discussing the pictures he had tried to post but failed in R2; I thought he had only meant to post pictures in the actual sense of the word with some minor header text explaining them, not pictures in the "Apeiron" sense of the word which apparently means just blocks of text. Obviously, I never would have agreed to let him post double the text that is supposed to be allowed.

For two, he says even if you count the pictures, he only went above the character limit by a measly 1,000, that there were only a couple paragraphs posted in picture format. To this I say, he shouldn't make claims that are not only false, but easily proven to be false.

When I said I copied/pasted his entire R3 argument into a Word document and typed out everything that was part of a "picture," I wasn't bluffing. I didn't do what I'm about to do now in my last round because I didn't think he'd take exception to my tally of ~17,900; I thought Apeiron was smart enough to know how easy it would be to prove, but here were are: standing in the face of Apeiron's assurance that my count was waaaaay off. Apparently, he thinks I can't count even when Microsoft Word does the counting for me.

Alright then, fair enough. I now urge Apeiron, and every member of the audience here, to confirm for him-/herself my tally's accuracy. I took his argument, written in its entirety, and posted it to a thread here on DDO. Threads have an identical character limit to debate arguments: 8,000 characters. Lo and behold, it took me THREE thread posts to fully post his argument (over two debate rounds full of content, which is more than he even had left at the time). The link to this thread is here so that you may copy/past the text in a Word document and see for yourself:

http://www.debate.org...

Note that since posting his argument, Apeiron has somehow deleted a few of the "pictures" of text from his round. But you can still see the image stamps where they once were (labeled as numbers "1", "2", etc.) and if you look at the bottom of Apeiron's argument, you can see he's listed sources [14] and [15] but citations for those sources appear nowhere in his round! This is because they were part of the pictures he deleted, and if you click on the link I provided to his fully written argument, you can see them.

To conclude, I must say (though it may be unsportsmanlike) I truly hope Apeiron does not win this debate; not because I personally want the win. As I've said, my interest in this debate has plummeted. But because I sincerely hope it's not possible to win a debate here on DDO by doing what Apeiron has done, by cheating and lying.

Debate Round No. 4
130 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
dylancatlow
It appears Apeiron has bit the dust.
Posted by DakotaKrafick 3 years ago
DakotaKrafick
Glad you had fun, Apeiron. Good show.
Posted by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
Just to be very, very clear: I am not a "grudge voter" by any means whatsoever. Apeiron's complaints are because 1 other time I voted against him.
Posted by Apeiron 3 years ago
Apeiron
Haha, this has been too much fun
Posted by LucyLucy 3 years ago
LucyLucy
My rfd: after discussing it over with tom I conclude there's good reason to counter bladerunner, for not only is this guy a grudge voter, but he gave no rfd except to say that pro's "conduct is so egregious that it extends beyond the "conduct" category" ... ok, but how? What reason does he give for this? None. Furthermore I'm using my grammar vote to counter medv4380's better spelling and grammar's vote" to con" vote bc although he admitted pro "followed the Letter of the Rules" yet he also said that pro "violated the Spirit of the Rules" " but how does this count as a reason for vote? What does this mean? This vote is easily under-warranted. But then also how are we to know that Apeiron actually removed the pictures containing the argument? Wasn't he having trouble early on in the debate with pictures? How do we even know these were word pictures and not picture-pictures? I am open to discus this however since it's controversial. I want my votes to be as fair as possible.

Now for my actual vote. Pro gets better conduct because despite his use of pictures, he didn't drop arguments, which is a more serious offense where I come from. Pro also easily gets more convincing arguments, and most reliable sources bc as apeiron argued Con never really objected outside of clarifications points.. plus Pro used more reliable sources.
Posted by x2MuzioPlayer 3 years ago
x2MuzioPlayer
@Apeiron- No problem. From what I've seen among votes that went to Con, the pattern is that the framework (8,000 characters) was broken so much that it's warranted as a priority voting issue over the case you presented. I went back and read a few RFDs, including bladerunner060's and F-16_Fighting_Falcon's. The RFDs are similar, but not exact. There's a difference between agreeing with an RFD and following one. Before we leap to the conclusion that there's some proactive measure being taken against you, try looking at the actual RFDs. What you essentially did was break the scales and expect people to try and weigh the arguments. When Con brought up an objection you had to win two things: one, that the structure was "good enough"; and two, you had to win your case. You won the latter, but not the former. That's more or less a linear breakdown of these votes in general. I don't want to defend their votes too much, so I'll leave it at that. If you have a problem with their RFDs, ask for a clarification or give them a question about it rather than being condescending. It's a much more productive direction to take.
Posted by Apeiron 3 years ago
Apeiron
x2MuzioPlayer, that was rather coded, you'll have to clarify what you mean.
Posted by x2MuzioPlayer 3 years ago
x2MuzioPlayer
@Apeiron- The pattern developing among RFDs may not necessarily be some "herd mentality" effect, rather the voters agree having a general debating framework is a prerequisite to the substance of the debate itself. Rather than calling them all biased sheep, it may be more productive to seek out the core of their objections to granting Pro arguments/sources points. Most likely, you'll hear a structural answer centered on the expected fairness within a legitimate debate framework.
Posted by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
Which are? Since you only lobbed "sheep" once I voted in this way, using the same reasoning, which you have now acknowledged as a well reasoned vote?
Posted by Apeiron 3 years ago
Apeiron
You are sheep for other reasons that I think you're quite aware of.
41 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by HelpFindingBooks306 3 years ago
HelpFindingBooks306
ApeironDakotaKrafickTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: my my, this has been an interesting debate up until the point DAKOTA decided to give up just because Pro had alot to say! DAKOTA's sins are worse IMHO, and so Pro gets conduct as well as arguments because of a FF. Pro also had better sources. redo! :)
Vote Placed by LucyLucy 3 years ago
LucyLucy
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by TomCruise 3 years ago
TomCruise
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Welcome now Apeiron's event horizon.
Vote Placed by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con dropped arguments and Pro had better sources, thus conduct, arguments and sources is won by Pro.
Vote Placed by Reason_Alliance 3 years ago
Reason_Alliance
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Kairos is coming
Vote Placed by Sola.Gratia 3 years ago
Sola.Gratia
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter Tom
Vote Placed by Vulpes_Inculta 3 years ago
Vulpes_Inculta
ApeironDakotaKrafickTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I don't see how that was a VB that needed to be countered. Con dropped every single point of the debate so he could on a tangent about length. That's better placed in a conclusion statement than a rebuttal round. It seems overt to vote against someone who dropped all the points, but I'll tone my vote down to account for whatever reason YYW has. Edit: My vote is just fine. I'll take the extra points off when YYW stops countering me.
Vote Placed by A.WitherspoonVI 3 years ago
A.WitherspoonVI
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: "Pro gets sources because he used more and conduct because Con dropped arguments. Pro also gets convincing arguemtns because Con only brought up questions, not objections to the kCA. And at that Apeiron answered those non-objections sufficiently." Leo siad it best.
Vote Placed by GUSTAV 3 years ago
GUSTAV
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Further down
Vote Placed by dylancatlow 3 years ago
dylancatlow
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: This might be overkill.... but why not! RFD: Pro cheated and ruined the debate.