The Instigator
warpedfx
Con (against)
Losing
13 Points
The Contender
ExNihilo
Pro (for)
Winning
16 Points

The KCA is sound

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/18/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,977 times Debate No: 17547
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (90)
Votes (7)

 

warpedfx

Con

I would like to challenge ExNihilo on a debate regarding the Kalam Cosmological Argument as supported by William Lane Craig which in my experience the opponent does support.

The KCA:
A.Whatever begins to exist has cause
B. The universe began to exit
C. .'. the universe has a cause.
ExNihilo

Pro

Observation: I agree to the formulation of the KCA my opponent listed in his opening remarks. However, I retain the right to slightly change a premise based on the arguments to which my opponent chooses to appeal to show that the argument is immune from semantic-based arguments, if that is the path he takes.

Premise One: Whatever begins to exist has a cause

This premise is simple. It is merely to affirm the following conditional: If X comes into being at a point in the finite past, such that it had a first moment of its existence, X necessarily has a cause. Note that this conditional can be true and its antecedent false, in order to show premise one to be true, I need not affirm that things actually begin to exist (come into being at a point in the finite past, such that it had a first moment of its existence). I need only prove that IF things DID begin to exist, then they would have a cause.

Warrant: Given the definition, to which I have appealed, of ‘begin to exist,’ the negation would mean that non-being, which lacks ALL properties, including causal ones, could cause things to begin to exist. That is, a denial of P1 is the same as saying non-being can cause something to begin to exist at a point in time, prior to which it did not exist. But this is impossible since it involves a contradiction. Non-being has no properties and therefore cannot cause things to do anything. Thus, we have a priori warrant for the view that things that begin to exist at a point in time prior to which they did not exist must have a cause, since non-being cannot cause being.

The Principle of Contradiction would therefore apply since non-being and causality are mutually exclusive. I am not talking merely about material causation, I am talking about efficient causation.

Premise Two: The universe began to exist

Remember, ‘began to exist’ means there was a point at which the universe had a first moment of its existence.

Warrant: Actual infinites cannot exist in reality. If the universe did not begin to exist, that necessarily means that the number of past events is actually infinite. The actual infinite, however, leaves us with several problems. First, say I have an actual infinite number of dollar bills in a line. I take every even-numbered bill such that there is now a new line. This means that infinity minus infinity is infinity (both lines remain actually infinite). But now suppose there is one line again and I take away every single bill except the first three such that there are two lines: one with three bills, the other with an actually infinite number of them. Now, infinity minus infinity is three! This means that the actual infinite works in mathematics because we can place rules and restrictions on the addition and subtraction of infinites to avoid contradictions. However, in reality, we are dealing with physical objects and groups of objects, from which things can be added and subtracted. But this means that contradictions would exist, but we know this to be absurd. Thus, the actual infinite does not exist in reality.

1’ An actually infinite cannot exist
2’ An infinite number of past events is an actual infinite
3’ Therefore, an infinite number of past events cannot exist

But if an infinite number of past events cannot exist in reality, that means that there is a point in the finite past at which the universe began to exist and prior to which the universe did not exist. We therefore have evidence for the beginning of the universe.

Warrant 2: Empirics.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics is evidence of a past-finite universe, or one that began to exist. Since the universe is a closed system, eventually maximum entropy will be reached and heat death becomes inevitable. At this stage, all life is impossible and this WILL happen. The problem is that life exists and the universe is not in a state of heat death. But, if the universe were eternal that would mean that heat death would have already happened and we would not be here. Since heath death is yet to come, that implies that the universe is not eternal in the past, but began to exist at some point in the finite past.

BVG Theorem:

I quote directly from the 2003 paper of the theorem: “Our argument shows that null and time- like geodesics are, in general, past-incomplete in inflationary models, whether or not energy conditions hold, provided only that the averaged expansion condition Hav > 0 holds along these past-directed geodesics. This is a stronger conclusion than the one arrived at in previous work in that we have shown under reasonable assumptions that almost all causal geodesics, when extended to the past of an arbitrary point, reach the boundary of the inflating region of spacetime in a finite proper time (finite affine length, in the null case).” [1]

This finding is particularly strong since the only assumption on which it is based is that “the average expansion rate in the past is greater than zero:”[2] Hav>0. The assumption is obviously true since there is and has been a constant rate of expansion since the beginning.

Vilenkin explains the strength of these findings:“A remarkable thing about this theorem is its sweeping generality. We made no assumptions about the material content of the universe. We did not even assume that gravity is described by Einstein’s equations. So, if Einstein’s gravity requires some modification, our conclusion will still hold. The only assumption that we made was that the expansion rate of the universe never gets below some nonzero value, no matter how small. This assumption should certainly be satisfied in the inflating false vacuum. The conclusion is that past-eternal inflation without a beginning is impossible.”[3]

Note that this is NOT controversial. The second premise can be found in any physics journal/textbook. The premise in itself is theologically neutral and is based on the scientific evidence. Even Stephen Hawking conlcluded, in his new book The Grand Design, that the universe did begin and was “created,” he just believes that the universe came from nothing (my defense of P1 would apply). [4]

Conclusion: Therefore, the universe has a cause.

This follows logically and necessarily, which means at this point the KCA is a sound argument. What can be implied, however, by the conclusion of this argument? Well, if the universe, and by extension all of matter, energy, space and time, began to exist, that necessarily means that the cause must be beyond and independent of space, time, matter and energy. The cause is necessarily immaterial and transcendent. It must also be extremely powerful, for it brought into being everything.The problem with positing an impersonal creator is explained by William Lane Craig:

“There seems to be only one way out of this dilemma, and that is to say that the cause of the universe's beginning is a personal agent who freely chooses to create a universe in time. Philosophers call this type of causation "agent causation," and because the agent is free, he can initiate new effects by freely bringing about conditions which were not previously present. For example, a man sitting changelessly from eternity could freely will to stand up; thus, a temporal effect arises from an eternally existing agent. Similarly, a finite time ago a Creator endowed with free will could have freely brought the world into being at that moment. In this way, the Creator could exist changelessly and eternally but choose to create the world in time. By "choose" one need not mean that the Creator changes his mind about the decision to create, but that he freely and eternally intends to create a world with a beginning. By exercising his causal power, he therefore brings it about that a world with a beginning comes to exist. So the cause is eternal, but the effect is not. In this way, then, it is possible for the temporal universe to have come to exist from an eternal cause: through the free will of a personal Creator.” [5]

Vote PRO.

Debate Round No. 1
warpedfx

Con

Pro implies that the concept of "beginning to exist" is essentially a non-controversial concept, defining it as "If X comes into being at a point in the finite past, such that it had a first moment of its existence, X necessarily has a cause" and that he bears no particular burden of proof but that "IF things DID begin to exist, then they would have a cause."

Firstly, how would one define the case of something "beginning"? One could invoke common sense and intuition to point out for example the opponent himself, to me, to a chair- just about anything in the universe. After all, if things do not begin to exist, did he or I or a chair ALWAYS exist? It's important to note "You" or the "chair" are labels given to particular arrangements of pre-existing materials that have formed in a constant state of flux. In this one could say they "began to exist" as the formation. Certainly this satisfies the opponent's criteria of "X", in this case a particular arrangement had "begun" to exist from a finite past. However, what follows in his definition is problematic since because of the constant state of flux, the idea of its "first moment of existence" isn't very well defined and are often times arbitrary. For one, from what point does the ocean become the beach? To claim despite this that there is a "first moment of existence" here is as nonsensical as claiming "Y" (a label given to one cheerleader formation) begins to exist in an ever-changing series of cheerleader formations. In any case, even if we were to gloss over these points and accept this loose sense of "beginning", it's worth pointing out that always, there are material existing already for it to be caused and for it TO cause anything.

This brings the question of "cause", the second important key word in the first premise of the KCA. It is important to note, however in quantum mechanics, however, things such as quantum fluctuation occur spontaneously, perhaps not without cause but certainly without any external ones. Once again this already requires things to exist for there to be any form of cause.

But what does this have to do with the KCA? It's important to point out what's evidenced in the case of anything "beginning to exist", and one that the argument requires. Pro will have to agree that the "beginning" referred to in the first premise points to a qualitatively different kind than one we are familiar with. This "beginning" of course alludes to something "beginning to exist" via a creative god, as the conclusion alludes to, causing the universe to exist without any physical ingredients. However, this particular brand of "beginning to exist" is not of being evidenced, and it is importantly to stress just how qualitatively different it is from the previous case of "causality". Certainly, ANYTHING beginning to exist in this sense would in fact be a direct violation of the First Law. Despite this, Pro goes on to claim that he doesn't have to prove THAT things begin to exist, but that IF they do, they would have a cause. Given the fact that we have no evidence of things beginning to exist in the creative sense, this is essentially nothing more than a bare assertion.

The question of cause is of course similarly important, in that we now have a question of what evidence we do have of god conceivably being able to cause a creation from nothing. In what Pro called a purely efficient cause, god is said to have caused, without material to act upon, to create the material. The problem of course is that this, like the concept of a "beginning" as a creative process, is but a bare assertion and one that is in fact incoherent. In any and all examples of efficient cause/causation, it requires a material cause TO be effected. A sculptor must chip at a block of marble to form a statue. Otherwise, how could there be any statue to begin with?

Arguably, it is the connection of the second premise that the universe "began to exist" with the first premise that "whatever begins to exist has a cause" in that under the "evidenced" variety of the first premise is truly uncontroversial. The latter, qualitatively different flavour of a creation from nothing, however, is not and because of this, does not pass the test of scrutiny for it to be accepted.
Pro began with pointing out the purported absurdity of an "actual infinite". However, even a cursory glance at the objection proves to be misguided, in that essentially he mistakenly treats infinity as a finite number, and not a concept. In essence he had attempted to put a cap at each "ends" of infinity, treating them as if they're finite numbers, rightly deriving absurd conclusions from this, then proclaiming therefore infinity itself is impossible. Indeed, Josh Dever has pointed this exact thing in his critique of the attack on "actual infinity" in saying that "this oddity, mathematicians have long since conceded, is not indicative of any problem – it's just a failure of ideas about the finite to extend to the infinite".[2] Furthermore, it is worth pointing out that infinity is an important aspect of physics and cosmology.

Pro continues to argue the 2nd premise, citing the Second Law of Thermodynamics as evidence that the universe could not have existed in the eternal past, which would have resulted in maximum entropy and thus a heat death in which life is impossible. This of course is false, as of course life DOES exist and that we are nowhere near heat death.
The problem here of course is that this isn't an argument for the beginning of the universe but one against the outdated Steady State theory. However, we have more than ample evidence of a change in entropy in a finite past in a cataclysmic expansion of space, time and energy in an event called The Big Bang.

The Pro then cites the BVG theorem which seems to be a knock-down evidence of the beginning of the universe: that not only did the universe begin to exist, it HAD to have begun to exist, and that even if there is no evidence of anything "beginning to exist" in the sense that the Kalam Cosmological Argument requires, the theorem proves that is in fact the ONLY solution. But is it truly the case?

Simply put, Pro has rather been presumptuous with what the conclusion of the theorem states, and that though the theorem states "our universe probably doesn't exist infinitely into the past" , this doesn't automatically translate to the notion that the "universe began to exist", not least of which because it fails to rule out many other theorems, such as the No Boundary Proposal which suggests time to be finite but without beginning (much like a sphere), or even Vilenkin's works which suggest that the universe "began" in fact without the aid of a god. In fact, the BVG itself states: "What can lie beyond the boundary? Several possibilities have been discussed, one being that the boundary of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of the Universe in a quantum nucleation event." This is a direct reference to Vilenkin's 1982 paper which discusses the "birth" of a universe through quantum mechanics from a quantum "nothing", which is still "something" or in short, a "universe". Even this "creation from nothing" in fact requires the existence of pre-existing material, which here is in the form of a quantum vacuum field. In short, it directly contradicts the claim that the BVG posits an "absolute nothing" from which the universe arose as Pro suggests.

This finally leads to the conclusion of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, that the universe therefore has a cause of its existence. The argument follows deductively, but given the lack of evidence to support the previous premises, especially the first, the conclusion can be deemed as not sound.

[1]http://www.merriam-webster.com......
[2]https://webspace.utexas.edu......
[3]http://www.onpointradio.org......
ExNihilo

Pro

Premise 1

Remember that I defined “begin to exist” as X coming into being at a point in the finite past such that it had a first moment of its existence. My opponent argues that things do not “begin” to exist because the stuff from which they are made is pre-existing. He then asserts that nothing begins to exist since there is “material existing already. I said I was defending a conditional to support premise one:

If X comes into being at a point in the finite past, such that it had a first moment of its existence, X necessarily has a cause.

With this in mind, three responses:

(1) Even if things that “begin” are really composed of parts that existed prior to the “beginning,” this does not disprove the causal premise. In fact, it supports it. I began to exist such that I had a first moment of my creation. While I am composed of parts that existed prior to my beginning, the arrangement of those parts cannot happen without a cause.

(2) He misunderstands my argument. In premise 1, I have not argued that things do or have begun to exist. Rather, I am arguingif they do begin, in the way I defined, then they must necessarily have a cause. A conditional can be true and its antecedent false. The antecedent of the conditional “X comes into being at a point in the finite past.” Disputing that X comes into being at a point in the finite past does not disprove the conditional, so that if things did begin in this way, they would need a cause

(3) He argues that my definition is not “well-defined.” He props up straw man examples. My definition is clear. Things begin to exist if they come into being at a point in the finite past prior to which they did not exist in their current state or such that they had a first moment of their existence

Quantum Mechanics:

He gains no ground here. He even agrees that quantum fluctuations have causes. The indeterministic nature of their origination is in dispute, not whether they have a cause. It is not true creatio ex nihilo because the particles pop into and out of being as a result of causes.

Nature of beginning:

He asserts that we know beginning to mean things that are caused by pre-existing material. We know of no beginnings of things without “physical ingredients.” (1) That we do not know or experience X does not mean X is not true. (2) This is irrelevant to premise 1 since I am proving a conditional and not its antecedent, which I do in premise 2.

Warrant for P1:

In any case, my opponent has dropped the warrant I gave. It is contradictory to deny the first premise since it requires the assumption that non-being, which lacks all properties, including causal ones, can cause things to come into being. Premise 1 is therefore extended.

Premise 2

First Law:

He asserts that beginning in the way I mean contradicts the First Law. This is to confuse the application of the First Law, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. The First Law only applies to the universe after the universe begins to exist. It only applies in the universe and because of the universe. If this were true, almost every cosmologist would be wrong. [1]

Warrant: Actual Infinites

He challenges this by saying that I confuse infinity as a finite number and not a concept. This just is to concede my point! Infinity is inherently a concept existing only in the mind and not something that exists in reality. I don’t treat it as a finite concept in terms of putting “ends” or “caps” in my absurdities because if the infinite did exist in reality with physical things then we can add and subtract from them. Think about it, if infinite number of coins existed, nothing would stop us from taking away a certain number X from them. Our doing so, however, brings about absurdities, which is a point to which he did not respond. Thus, he fails to grasp the fact that infinity, if it existed in reality, is no longer a concept, but is a thing from which we can add and subtract, which brings about contradictions like the ones to which I appealed. Thus, the universe began to exist as per the syllogism, which stands unrefuted.

Warrant: Empirics

Second Law:

He asserts that this is just evidence against the “steady state theory (SST)”. This is false. The law refers to the fact that, in closed systems, there will always be a point at which maximum entropy/disorder is reached, which leads to heat death. The universe, SST or not, is a closed system. Therefore, it will reach a point at which energy runs down and life is impossible. That the universe is not in a state of heat death is evidence for the fact that the universe began to exist since if it did not, we would not be here in order to contemplate this issue.

BVG:

He then applies, without warrant, the no-boundary proposal. First, there is absolutely no evidence to support this hypothesis. Second, there are good reasons to reject it, including but not limited to the idea that “imaginary time” is inherently “unintelligible” because it would allow for us to reach to point at which the universe began, or to go back to a place that already happened. [2]

He then quotes Vilenkin about how things might exist prior to the existence of our universe. First, the beginning is not in dispute and therefore the universe must still have a cause. Here, my analysis of the cause, which my opponent dropped, would give reasons that work against Vilenkin’s speculation. Second, Vilenkin is speculating as to what can be before the beginning of our universe, not what was actually there. Third, this does not contradict the conclusions reached in his 2003 paper, which proves that not only our universe began, but it would also apply to the things outside of the universe. Moreover, time is finite, which means if there was always just pre-existing material out of which the universe originated, he concedes tacitly the warrant I gave from actual infinites since we would have a case in which existing events were actually past-infinite, which would allow for the addition and subtraction of physical events.

Conclusion:

Note that he dropped the analysis of causation. This means that even if the universe began to exist while there was pre-existing material, you should prefer the warrant I gave to think that the cause is personal.

[1] http://www.reasonablefaith.org......

[2] http://www.reasonablefaith.org......

Debate Round No. 2
warpedfx

Con

Premise 1
My opponent claims my contention with regards to "beginnings" of the existence of things is largely irrelevant as it does not rebut his definition of the phrase "beginning to exist". This however assumes the transformative process does in fact show this, and that effectively anything truly "begins to exist" at all. With the lack of a clear delineation of a "beginning" even in a transformative cause (when does a block of marble become a sculpture? When does the ocean become the beach?), it points to the very definition of the "beginning to exist" as untenable since we have no evidence of anything experiencing a "first moment" in a constant state of flux. Without this being established, whether things have causes is itself a bare assertion- a fact he tries to shift the burden of proof when he claimed that "That we do not know or experience X does not mean X is not true." It is up to him to prove it is true.

Denying that "all things that begin to exist have causes" does not automatically translate to that "nothing can create something". For one, "nothing" itself as a complete absence of being is an incoherent notion. Also, it is worth noting that though he had previously claimed ex nihilo nihil fit, he then claims that exact thing had occurred when the universe was created by a personal agent.

Premise 2

My opponent erroneously claims that the First Law only applies once the universe is already created, which is an implicit assumption that he assumes the universe was created to begin with. Due to the fact that a "nothing" itself is an incoherent concept this assumption regarding the universe is already baseless, especially given the classic definition of universe as "the whole body of things and phenomena observed or postulated: cosmos" [1], this already knocks that notion down. He further goes to claim that almost every cosmologist claim that the universe was created ex nihilo- a claim which is without evidence.

With regards to actual infinities, he misses the boat when he claims that I've somehow conceded his point when I said that infinity is a concept and not a number, and thus does not exist in reality. However, one could extend the argument to include numbers themselves. There are no "3", but there are 3 bananas. He only shows his ignorance with regards to the use of infinity when he claims that one could "add or subtract" from infinity, when with taking out a certain number of coins from an infinite number of coins would still leave you with infinite coins, not a number less than infinite since there are no longer. All this shows is that the opponent is mathematically ignorant, especially with regards to what infinity entails. Notice that previously he had argued that infinity itself was an absurd, incoherent notion which he no longer claims, granting it has at least a conceptual validity, and has yet to answer the charge that it is in fact used in both physics and mathematics to solve real problems.

He goes on further to ignore the fact that the second law of thermodynamics is a statistical law, all the while ignoring the First Law which is one of the fundamental laws of physics. In short, the second law can be violated. It's not a common event but given the extensively long period of time one that presumably a heat death would occur in, it's not inconceivable that it would occur at least once. In fact we have evidence of this occurring, namely the Big Bang. It is an event which went from a compressed state of low entropy expanding to high entropy. That's not where the dishonesty lies, however.

Firstly, my opponent's analysis of the "no-boundary proposal" as being "un-warranted" is based not on solid science but in a misunderstanding of several key concepts of the theory. Like his ignorance regarding infinity, he mistakes "imaginary time" as being "intelligible" without proper regard to what it means. Hawkings himself had written "If the universe really is in such a quantum state, there would be no singularities in the history of the universe in imaginary time. … In real time, the universe has a beginning and end at singularities that form a boundary to space-time and at which the laws of science break down. But in imaginary time, there are no singularities or boundaries. So maybe what we call imaginary time is really more basic, and what we call real time is just an idea that we invent to help us describe what we think the universe is like."[2]

With the BVG theorem we enter a less than honest venue of misinterpretation and wilful ignorance regarding what it actually states. To begin with, Vilenkin himself challenges the claim that the BVG states the universe must've had an "absolute beginning", noting that

"No. But it proves that the expansion of the universe must have had a beginning. You can evade the theorem by postulating that the universe was contracting prior to some time." [3]

He further points out that the "conclusion" of his theory is avoidable.
"For example, Anthony in his work with Gratton, and Carroll and Chen, proposed that the universe could be contracting before it started expanding. The boundary then corresponds to the moment (that Anthony referred to as t=0) between the contraction and expansion phases, when the universe was momentarily static. They postulated in addition that the arrow of time in the contracting part of space-time runs in the opposite way, so that entropy grows in both time directions from t=0." [3]

In short, any and all charge regarding the "certitude" of what my opponent claims the theory entails is false. It is also worth noting that the BVG applies to certain MODELS of the universe, which given the current wall of evidence of the planck time, is not complete.

Later, my opponent attempts to cherry-pick what the author Vilenkin states by claiming certain aspects were speculations (despite the fact that they do pose possible extensions beyond the BVG) while others are more or less unshakeable truths. By further mis-applying the term of "beginning to exist", he attempts to obfuscate the case and thereby making it seem as if the BVG states that it states the universe in fact "began to exist" from nothing- and not just nothing in the quantum sense (or a quantum vacuum) but an absolute nothing- an absence of being. With his question regarding time's finitude, however, that is when he shoots himself in his proverbial foot.

Premise 3:

With the assumption that time is finite, it logically follows that god is "outside of time", or timeless. With this, my opponent sends his entire house of cards crashing, even if all his previous arguments and rebuttals were somehow to turn out to be correct. Firstly is the problem of a timeless mind. This is, to put it succinctly, paradoxical. Mind is based on change, which is based within time. Without time, there is no change. Without time, there is effectively no "mind" that can "cause" (another temporal concept, by the way) anything, much less a universe to exist. Furthermore, with the finitude of time it raises further paradoxical question of "time beginning". How does time "begin" to exist? In order for something to "begin existing", there must first be a prior moment in which it did not exist, or else it effectively never "did not" exist. This is enough of a problem with the universe "beginning to exist"

Finally, it is Vilenkin's quote on the theorem itself which nails the case shut in my favour:
"Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God … So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist."
ExNihilo

Pro

Premise 1
Conditional: If X begins to exist such that it had a first moment of its existence, then it has a cause.

Remember that a conditional can be true and its antecedent (X began to exist) false. In this premise I need only prove that IF things did begin in this way then a cause is necessary. My opponent did not refute the reducio ad absurdum warrant I gave for this argument and I will restate it: Non-being, by definition, lacks any and all properties, including causal ones. Keeping this in mind, suppose that X could come into being from non-being. This would mean that non-being is the cause of X. But surely this is absurd for non-being lacks causal properties. Therefore, to say non-being caused X is incoherent and violates the law of non-contradiction.

Refuting “refutations”

I am not “assuming” that anything begins to exist. He drops the analysis that I need only prove the conditional true to support premise 1. Premise 1 can be true and it may also be the case that things do not actually begin to exist. However, if they did begin to exist, then they would necessarily require causes.

My opponent says “nothing” is an incoherent concept. I concur absolutely. However, he seems to conflate true nothingness with the absence of all things physical. That nothing physical exists does not equate to the statement “nothing exists.” This would beg the question against an immaterial realm, which is the very thing he is trying to disprove and which he assumes as true in his argument.

Premise 2

Does the First Law preclude a beginning?

Again, my opponent is confused here. He said my response assumed that the universe had a beginning. Suppose it did not. This would not change the statement that if it did, then the First Law would not contradict that fact. The reason is that the laws of thermodynamics assume the existence of the universe! So that if the universe did begin then, necessarily, the First Law would not apply. It applies once the universe exists. Thus, this does not show that the universe did not begin, as all physicists acknowledge (especially the vast majority who do hold that the universe began). As Craig points out, “They don’t seem to realize that if that were true, then the standard Big Bang model would violate the laws of nature! But as you point out, the law only holds once the natural realm exists. It governs everything in spacetime but not the origin of spacetime itself.” [1]

Warrant: Actual Infinites

He just drops this entire argument because his arguments do not respond to the warrants I gave. He says that you cannot add or subtract from the infinite. In concept that may be true. Remember, he conceded that infinity is a concept. However, if the infinite did exist in reality, that is, if an infinite set of concrete objects existed, there would be nothing stopping me from subtracting or adding. This leads to self-contradictions (contradictions to which he has yet to answer). Suppose I have an infinite number of coins. Suppose I take away every even-numbered coin. Infinity-infinity=infinity. Now suppose I take away every coin except for the first three, infinity-infinity=3! These contradictions cannot exist in reality. He has yet to answer the argument. He then offers a red herring about how physicists and mathematicians employ the infinite. Yes. In concept. It breaks down in reality. Thus, the universe began:

1’ An actually infinite cannot exist

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

3’ Therefore, an infinite number of past events cannot exist

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

All he says here is that there are exceptions to the law, namely, the big bang. Even if this were true, he ignores the fact that these laws are true once the universe exists. It is not something that can be used in terms of appealing to the creation event! In any case, the Second Law is as well established as any other law. It is consensus that heat death will happen because maximum entropy will be reached since all things tend toward disorder. Since we are not in a state of heat death (we would be if the universe is eternal and indeed there would be no “we”), the universe must have begun.

BVG

He concedes that Vilenkin agrees that his theorem is evidence for the beginning of the universe UNLESS you avoid it by appealing to contraction. The only theorem to which he appeals, however, is not even specific to this universe, as the authors admit. It, therefore, does not undermine the assumptions with which BVG functions. BVG works provided Hav>0, that is, that there is some average rate of expansion greater than 0. Our universe is expanding which is why the conclusion holds.

Note that even if BVG is not sufficient evidence for this premise, I am winning the argument from actual infinites and the Second Law. Thus, if BVG is a reason to support the second premise, it is icing on the cake.

Premise 3

He then tries to indict the cause as God by claiming that a timeless/changeless mind is incoherent. However, he drops the warrant (from Craig) in the very first argument I presented that shows that since the cause is necessarily timeless and therefore changeless, the only way to have a cause is a mind! The coherence is outlined in the evidence I presented in that argument.

[1] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...

Debate Round No. 3
warpedfx

Con


I’d like to thank my opponent for taking the time to debate me despite his very busy schedule and provided some real challenges and real learning experience in not only learning about the most current defense of the KCA but of the science and philosophy therein.


That being said, the conclusion of the soundness of the KCA still remains controversial and the Pro has yet to have dealt with my objections adequately. From the largely irrelevant objections to claims I’ve never made (regarding things coming out of nothing which interestingly enough he has no evidence to support except intuition) to pointing out a conditional that has nothing to do with the crux of my objection to the first premise, it was mostly a case of missing the mark. I never made the case that there was ever a nothing, and that in fact “nothing” (never mind assuming the immaterial to exist, which unless it is proven to exist, it can’t BE assumed to exist), or absolute non-being was in itself an incoherent notion which he agreed to. In fact the case could be made that his “proving” of the conditional largely relies on argument from ignorance since BECAUSE we don’t have evidence of anything beginning to exist it is simply an assertion, much like the rest of the KCA itself. It’s also worth


With that the argument hits further snags, and possibly faces the most challenge in both the defense and in the criticism is the 2nd premise. My opponent makes the mistake in thinking the First Law is irrelevant to the objection of the premise, when it speaks of creation and destruction of energy being impossible. The fact that the “beginning of the universe” that he proposes directly violates this apparently does not seem to have crossed his mind. He further runs into problems in assuming the Big Bang in any way points to a beginning of the universe. This view has been, as I’ve pointed out in previous rounds, is in no way supported by any evidence (including the BVG) and has largely been discarded in modern cosmology. To further compound the problem he hasn’t been able to deal with the issues regarding actual infinities, putting forth erroneous examples of “contradictions” which simply point his inability to comprehend the nature of infinity, rather than the failings. His argument deals with infinity not just in “reality” (which he fails to address, instead treating it as if it were finite, that is NOT infinite, finding this brings about absurd results, then claiming it is infinity itself and not his treatment of it that is flawed) but in concept as well, if wrongly. In short he is asking me to “get to infinity” as if it were some end point, finding this is a nonsensical demand, claims it is not his demand that is absurd but infinity that is. What he fails to note is that all numbers and all mathematics are conceptual, and they do not exist in and of themselves in reality. It is their relations to concrete objects that make them “real”. Finally, if I were to hypothetically grant his objection to infinity, his argument will still collapse as I will point out in premise 3. But first:


He mangles the Second Law of Thermodynamics (as well as assert again that the big bang was a creation event without an iota of evidence to support this) in bringing up a Heat Death example which current science shows as a meaningless “objection”. Not only is it a statistical law compared to the fundamental First Law which means that though unlikely, the violation of it is in fact possible, the “heat death” that would arise from this (which erroneously purports the universe was always expanding which is contradicted by the fact that the big bang, the expansion occurred a finite time ago) would in fact lead to a very unstable quantum vacuum (or a physicist’s “nothing”) from which inflationary theory posits the expansion of new universes from it.


My opponent unfortunately dishonestly claims that I’ve conceded that the BVG was evidence of the beginning of the universe despite the fact that I’ve previously quoted Vilenkin denying this very thing. He further admits that the results of the BVG is avoidable with mechanisms that Vilenkin as well as several other cosmologists such as Stenger, Aguirre, and Gratton to name some examples posit as at the very least possible such as contraction as well as other competing theories in existence.


With his failure to deal with actual infinity except to point out his ignorance in the calculation therein, his irrelevant argument against the First Law as well as the causal principle, one might wonder how else the defense could go wrong.


But there is.


Just as his argument against actual infinities, if I were to hypothetically grant it, would point to the beginning of the universe as inevitable, it would also point to the impossibility of the universe beginning at all, especially as a product of causation. Cause, beginning, and mind are all temporal concepts. Without time they have no meaning. To say the universe began would necessarily mean that it had a previous instance in which it did not begin. To say the universe was caused would necessarily mean there was a previous time in which it was not caused to exist and the effect had not taken place. But most damning of all is the concept of a mind. Not only has he never once provided evidence of a mind existing outside of a brain, he simply asserts that it is timeless- a bold-faced absurd claim considering a mind is based in time, since it is a dynamic entity- one based ON change. Thoughts are produced which is the function of the mind. In fact, the creation of a universe is a textbook case OF change, which once again requires time as a prerequisite. A truly timeless mind is one of complete stasis, unable to produce thoughts, let alone cause a universe. If his argument concludes the logically impossible as the only possible solution, it necessarily means that his argument is quite simply wrong.


ExNihilo

Pro

I thank my opponent.

Premise One:

Extend all of the arguments I made here. He continuously misses the point about the argument. In this premise, I only defend the idea that IF things did begin then they would have a cause. The second premise is where I show that things do begin, namely, the universe. So he has tacitly conceded the warrant to the first premise since his objection is merely the idea that we don’t know if things truly begin to exist. Thus, if I refute his objections to premise 2, 1 also is extended.

Premise Two:

He brings up the First Law again. He never responds to the evidence that this is true in the universe, but it is not true of the universe. Cosmologists who believe the universe began (i.e. the vast majority of them) are not being illogical since they are not contradicting the First Law—it doesn’t apply to before the universe (that would be absurd).

Actual Infinites:

Here my opponent makes ad hominem assertions but does not advance objections. He just asserts I don’t know what infinity is. On the contrary, it is because I understand that infinity might be a sound concept but cannot be true in reality that I recognize that absurdities would ensue if the actual infinite were possible. Thus, you can extend the entire argument since the infinite is just not possible in reality. Extend the examples that prove this.

1’ An actually infinite cannot exist

2’ An infinite number of past events is an actual infinite
3’ Therefore, an infinite number of past events cannot exist

Thus, this is reason to vote for me right now, since premise two is necessarily true insofar as he has yet to deal with the argument. The universe began to exist since an infinite number of past events cannot exist.

Second Law:

My opponent makes assertions without warranting his statement. He just says it’s a “statistical law.” No, the Second Law is absolutely true. Close systems (i.e. the universe) tend toward disorder and therefore heat death is inevitable. Since we are here, the universe must have begun—we are not observing heat death.

BVG:

We all know that these cosmologists will disagree with the conclusion about God that I am drawing. I am not using Vilenkin to prove that God exists. I am using his theorem to prove the universe began, something he would agree with. Thus, move away from the rhetoric and look to the warrants:

BVG assumed a mere average expansion rate (Hav) greater than zero. They concluded that any universe wherein Hav>0 was true must be past-finite, the expansion collapses back to a beginning. This would be true of any alternative provided that there is expansion. I know Vilenkin does not believe in God, but that is irrelevant. His theorem proves the universe began:

“A remarkable thing about this theorem is its sweeping generality. We made no assumptions about the material content of the universe. We did not even assume that gravity is described by Einstein’s equations. So, if Einstein’s gravity requires some modification, our conclusion will still hold. The only assumption that we made was that the expansion rate of the universe never gets below some nonzero value, no matter how small. This assumption should certainly be satisfied in the inflating false vacuum. The conclusion is that past-eternal inflation without a beginning is impossible.”

Conclusion: The universe has a cause

He says time, beginning and mind are all temporal concepts. This just assumes atheism in premises that attempt to prove atheism! Just because these things are temporal in our experience does not mean that they are temporal necessarily. In fact, the analysis of the conclusion from Craig indicates that a mind is necessary as the cause for only a mind would be able to freely give rise to a new effect in time. I concede, the cause is changeless. God is changeless! He has failed to show why this is impossible and indeed most Christian philosophers advance the claim that God is changeless and this is actually a warrant for Him being the cause (see the Craig analysis). If the two premises are true the cause is necessarily a person since nothing physical can be the cause of everything physical! The universe is all things physical which means it is incoherent to say something physical caused it. The cause is immaterial, powerful. Non-personal immaterial things do not stand in causal relations, so its probably a mind.

Debate Round No. 4
90 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
warpedfx
"I mean, Joe admitted he doesn't even understand the distinct difference between a qualitative and quantitative infinity."
where? RogueAngel might have, but I'm not rogue.

"I might as well, granted your line of reasoning, list moral reasons to believe in God with my vote on a debate detailing the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Notice this has nothing to in line with the vote reason, or even what meatros has done. Meatros hasn't said "I'm voting against Ex because he didn't prove the resurrection." A voter votes based on whether the arguments are convincing or not. He found Ex's position unconvincing based on the fact that he misrepresented Vilenkin. This is fully within his parameters.

In other words, try to see what's actually being said here. Frankly the fact that your vague reasoning and allusions in EVERY post you've made here just further discredits YOUR view. From "Con failed to properly dismantle ExNihilo's position. Con begged the question, and as such has lost points on who made the most convincing arguments." you might as well say this is in fact wholly dishonest because you make no concrete references to which one can pinpoint how I've committed each of the errors. Your "comment" there is just so vague that you might as well have not read the debate. At least Meatros had the decency to point out where he felt Ex was being wrong in his arguments.
Posted by Dimmitri.C 6 years ago
Dimmitri.C
I am sorry for referring to you as dishonest, Meatros. But if you are going to vote you can't argue against an opponent. You need to vote on the debate and not what on you want to debate. The fact of the matter is that you introduced a vote with a comment detailing a principle foreign to this debate. I mean, Joe admitted he doesn't even understand the distinct difference between a qualitative and quantitative infinity. I am just asking you to please vote fairly on the debate with what has been said.

At least I have the deceny to be fair toward you by changing my vote, Joe. I think you should behave consistently. The fact that you try and justify Meatros vote, of which is sincerely irrelevant, would cause havoc. I might as well, granted your line of reasoning, list moral reasons to believe in God with my vote on a debate detailing the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Your conclusion is practically absurd.
Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
warpedfx
every comment he makes, he lists absolutely no concrete examples. In a separate discussion outside of this site he accused me of "improper conduct" while refusing to provide a single concrete instance to support the charge.

Also, gotta love his comment for voting:
"Con failed to properly dismantle ExNihilo's position. Con begged the question, and as such has lost points on who made the most convincing arguments."

he might as well not have read the debate.
Posted by Meatros 6 years ago
Meatros
I mean, shoot, at least I gave a few specifics, instead of appealing to nebulous reasons (any specifics on how the argument was able to stand? No appraisal of any supposed solid contentions on Pro's part? What question was begged? Con couldn't sufficiently attack premise A, B, Pro responded to Con's point X, Etc.). Frankly speaking, with your behavior (vote wise) and your utter lack of specifics I'm begging to think you might be projecting a bit.
Posted by Meatros 6 years ago
Meatros
How was I dishonest Dimmitri?

I felt one argument made sense and the other didn't.

Now, that might make me philosophically naive, as you originally attempted to imply (without any real elaboration), but that doesn't make me dishonest. I could have, I guess, attempted to squeeze in more comments on why I felt warped had a more compelling argument, but I figured that I'd point out the biggest point.
Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
warpedfx
by the way, you never did say exactly what question i was begging, or what position i was unable to dismantle.

Dishonesty on my part you say? hmmm...
Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
warpedfx
what's actually funny is the fact that Meatros has actually posited his reasons which upon view does show it to be valid, namely
"The sites I posted were meant to show how Pro was using Vilenkin improperly (essentially quote mining). Further, his position was contradictory, therefore the argument was incoherent."
even the "alien" argument with regards to infinity is his evaluation of the con's argument which he as a voter has full rights to.

all this he's done while naming no faults in mine. whether this is bias or not is something YOU have to prove. In fact, I distinctly recall Meatros calling you out on it and all you've done is repeat "it's alien, poor conduct" without once being able to substantiate the charge.

much like everything else you've done here.

the fact that you docked marks from ME to begin with for how another voter has acted IN YOUR VIEW is what's hypocritical, not my failings in consistencies.
Posted by Dimmitri.C 6 years ago
Dimmitri.C
I am not sure if you have noticed, but I amended my vote, Joe. However what is funny is that you are complaining about how unfair my change of vote was based on another voters bias, yet you are not concerned with the fact that another voter has dishonestly voted for you. Are you above and impervious to your own hypocritical criticism, Joe?
Posted by ExNihilo 6 years ago
ExNihilo
bored af text me lol
Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
warpedfx
"lmao roflcopter,u mad dawg?"

rational gang, everyone.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
warpedfxExNihiloTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had highly poor refutations to pros arguments. Pros overall arguments where superior and he proved the premise correct. Con was defeated
Vote Placed by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter to Ricky Zhand.
Vote Placed by Ricky_Zahnd 5 years ago
Ricky_Zahnd
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Reasons for voting decision: Con clearly demonstrates a better understanding of concepts key to this debate, including lol u mad.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
warpedfxExNihiloTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Science is way past the KCA, so the subject is really not debatable. Con argued the science substantially correctly. Science allows anything that is not definitively contradicted by observation. Current scientific theory is that the universe always existed in higher dimensions, and that the Big Bang is an instance. It's unproven, but science accepts it as possible, and an abstract argument cannot overcome that. Con cites science, Pro cites religious faith.
Vote Placed by Dimmitri.C 6 years ago
Dimmitri.C
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Reasons for voting decision: Con failed to properly dismantle ExNihilo's position. Con begged the question, and as such has lost points on who made the most convincing arguments.
Vote Placed by awatkins69 6 years ago
awatkins69
warpedfxExNihiloTied
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Reasons for voting decision: "What follows in his definition is problematic since because of the constant state of flux, the idea of its "first moment of existence" isn't very well defined and are often times arbitrary." Semantic or conceptual indeterminacy does not imply ontological indeterminacy. I'm also with pro with regards to infinity. The problem is not that we can't use infinities. I do this all the time in math work. What's wrong is to suppose it metaphysically possible to be instantiated in a series of events.
Vote Placed by Meatros 6 years ago
Meatros
warpedfxExNihiloTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro misstates cosmologist, Vilenkin: http://www.youtube.com/user/skydivephil?feature=mhum http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0370269382908668 This goes to sources. Con's case is bolstered by the apparent contradiction in asserting that infinities do not exist, yet accepting current cosmology which states that singularities are infinitely dense. He further seemingly supports Vilenkin's argument, which states that future eternal states can exist.