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The Kalaam Cosmological Argument is Unsound

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/28/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,011 times Debate No: 70784
Debate Rounds (4)
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1. Acceptance (agreeing with everything stated in the first round)
2. Opening arguments
3. Rebuttals/Refutations to opponent's opening arguments
4. Defence of your opening arguments (no new arguments)

Kalaam Cosmological Argument- An argument for the existence of a theistic God that is generally framed as follows:

P1: Everything we know (from experience, intuition or rationale) which comes into being ex nihilo has an efficient cause
P2: The Universe began to exist
C1: Ergo, The Universe has a cause of its existence
P3: If the Universe has a cause of its existence, that cause is an uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, omnipotent, omnipresent personal creator (God) who sans creation.
C2: The cause of the universe's existence is God.
C3: Therefore, God exists.

Unsound- describing an argument in which either the conclusion does not follow from its premises or in which the premises themselves are false.

Just to be clear, I am arguing that the KCA is unsound, Con will be arguing that it is sound. BoP is shared.


Thanks for letting me debate this, Pro!

I accept everything said in round 1.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks Philocat! I look forward to a riveting exchange of views. Due to character constraints, I could not defend everything in round 2. Please note, I use the phrase "comes into being ex nihilo" and "begins to exist" interchangeably. The first premise was reformulated to reduce the time taken to explain the terminology

Premise 1 - "Everything we know which comes into being ex nihilo has an efficient cause"

Premise one faces the problem of induction. Although inductive reasoning can affirm probability, it lacks justification and hence, its soundness cannot be established. With Hitchens' razor, prima facie plausibility isn't sufficient in determining how the world objectively is. In the first premise, if the everything which is being addressed here must be the universe itself, then this would be a case of circular reasoning/converse error. If not, there would be no justification for everything having an efficient cause as this would simply be committing the fallacy of composition. Even if it had a cause, it doesn't follow that it still has one.

Fallacy of Composition:

P1) All examples of causes involve parts within the universe
P2) Our sense of causality is only based on parts within the universe
P3) The fallacy of composition arises when one infers that something is true of the whole if it is true of some, or every part of the whole.
P4) Claiming the universe had an cause (efficient or otherwise) is committing the fallacy of composition
P5) If P4 is fallacious, the kalaam cosmological argument is unsound
C1) P4 is fallacious, ergo, the kalaam cosmological argument is unsound

P2 is logically self evident until we have an account for causality not relating to parts within the universe.

Thomas Aquinas made the a posteriori argument for efficient causes based on empirical observation and thus, its conclusion cannot be followed with certainty. We have never witnessed anything come into being ex nihilo. The only support for this assumption is based on the popular philosophical definition for it and for an efficient cause. The "efficient cause" of an object is equivalent to that thing that brings something about. For example, in the case of a statue, it is the person chiseling away which transforms a block of marble into a statue. (1)
The mere notion of nothing is contradictory and inconceivable. For example, asking why doesn't anything appear spontaneously is nonsensical in the sense that the very notion of nothing doesn't exist anymore, if it ever did. One may argue that nothing is the absence of anything, but in the very absence of logic, logic cannot be applied to this notion, as it can be said that something can come from nothing. As William Lane Craig himself puts it, its validity is only self evident if the metaphysical intuition of nihilo nil fit is adopted. However, intuition cannot be proven to be reliable as there are many different intuitions on how the universe started and due to the lack of clarity and definition of the abstract conception any defense for the existence of intuition is unfounded. Also, one cannot derive an inductive law from causality and apply it to causality itself. This would be the equivalent of saying all swans are white due to seeing only white swans. Though at first glance, this may be seen as inductively plausible, it is not deductively sound. For example, virtual particles are not known to have any known cause. Simply stating that the vacuum/ the universe is a requirement for this to happen lacks justification, and would there constitute to an argument from ignorance. Another example, can be when an atom in an excited energy level drops to a lower level and emits a photon, a particle of light, we cannot say there is a known cause. Another example can be radioactive decay. If one purports Quantum events as due to probabilistic causality, in doing so, they will admit that the first cause could also be due to probabilistic causality. Not to mention, there are difficulties with the spurious concept of causality which are missed by Thomas' notion of the efficient cause of a factor such as: (1) accidental correlation (accidental generalizations need not always be causal relations and thereby, applying this to the universe is an informal fallacy of false cause called post hoc ergo proter hoc), (2)simultaneous causation and (3) the B theory of time.

Problem of Simultaneous Causality

The best example for this is to propose the idea of a ball resting on a pillow existing in that state eternally, then the cause would not be said to have preceded its effect. If eternally means eternal in the same sense of a block universe then in an ontological sense, the block universe doesn't come into being. Also, if any tenseless theory of time is acknowledged, it invalidates the cosmological argument. To safely justify simultaneous causation the tensed theory of time must be shown to be true. However, it is hard to wrestle with the idea of anything eternal under the tensed theory of time. Also, there is no way to know what caused what in simultaneous causation. One problem with simultaneous causation is that if A can cause B at the same time, what's not to say that A can cause B which can cause C at the same time too? You can then imagine an infinite amount of causes and effects and say they all occur simultaneous and end up with a what can appear to be nonsensical. If an infinite number of simultaneous causes and effects isn't possible, then one occurring simultaneously, probably isn't either. If it is claimed that A being had to will change from a state of timelessness to one with time, then it needs to be shown that consciousness, self awareness or will has causal powers. This is also a problem but I will digress for now. Simultaneous causation produces the same paradox that the logical contradiction of an actual infinite existing brings.

Presentism vs Eternalism

There is no reason to favor the A theory of Time over the B theory of Time, rather than appealing to its familiarity or utility. Without a preferred reference frame for identifying a simultaneous moment which would be called "now", one has to conclude that presentism is false. It is more probable that Minkowskian interpretation has greater explanatory rigor than the Neo-Lorentzian interpretation of space-time. The Neo-Lorentzian interpretation violates the symmetry principles of Earman (1989, p.46), which state that every symmetry of space-time posited by a theory should be symmetrical of that theory's dynamical laws and vice versa. Objections of this are as follows:
Gerenal Relativity restores an objective view on temporal relations, eg. an objective notion on the age of the universe
Our intuitions lead us to favor Presentism over Eternalism since we intuitively experience the 'flow of time' as something real

Answer to 1 - However, the fact that we can approximately determine th age of the universe does nothing to show that presentism has been restored rather it stems from idealization of the model.

Answer to 2 - dynamic theories of time do not have an explanatory advantage and nor are tenseless theories of time falsified or rendered implausible by intuition. The reasoning can been found in the following link
Therefore, the both theories of time predict the same intuitions, and hence, the tenseless theory of time cannot be falsified or rendered implausible by intuition.

Arguments against A theory of Time
P1) Future, present and past are incompatible properties, but
p2) In time, every event appears to posses them all
C1) P1 & P2 entail a contradiction

Arguments against P2 will lead to an argument against a first cause for the universe.

Presentism cannot explain the relativity of simultaneity and the equations of special relativity and quantum mechanics. The Neo-Lorentzian interpretation of Special Relativity is unverifiable and therefore, unfalsifiable and therefore, unscientific. Even if this interpretation could be shown to be true, this would not constitute a falsification of Eternalism, since if perfect simultaneity were true, this would not mean the past does not exist nor that the future does not exist. There is also a quantum experiment which shows how time emerges from entanglement, and thus confirms the B theory of time. Physics also confirms the B theory of time

Premise 2 - Contingency of The Universe

There is strong evidence to suggest inflation is true and a zero energy universe is highly probable., All evidence that suggests the universe began to exist is making an assumption. It doesn"t necessarily follow that the universe came into being ex nihilo, only that it had a finite beginning.

Premise 3 - Personal Cause

Firstly, it makes a false dichotomy. A third option can be an impersonal first cause. The only reasoning to prefer an disembodied mind over an impersonal cause is due to familiarity but leaves no justification for why the first cause, if there is one, must be familiar, nor is there evidence to show that the mind has any causal powers. Not to mention the incoherence of thinking that consciousness can exist without time, as self awareness, thought and free will all rely on the passing of it.

Arguments against Substance Dualism

P1) If substance dualism is true, then the mind interacts with the material
P2) The mind cannot (and therefore does not) interact with the material
C1) Substance Dualism is false


As per the debate structure, I will make my opening arguments now, and go on to refute Pro's arguments in round 3.

To recall, the argument uses the logic:

P1: Everything which begins to exist has an efficient cause of its existence
P2: The Universe began to exist
C1: Ergo, The Universe has an efficient cause of its existence
P3: If the Universe has an efficient cause of its existence, that cause is an uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, omnipotent, omnipresent personal creator (God) who sans creation.
C2: The cause of the universe's existence is God.
C3: Therefore, God exists.

This forms an inductive argument, so its veracity is not dependent on its deductive logic, but whether or not its logic asserts a sufficiently high probability (to the point of certainty) that the conclusion is correct.

In order to defend the argument, all I need to do is defend both the veracity of the premises and the logical validity of the conclusions.

P1: "Everything which begins to exist has an efficient cause of its existence"

This premise is inductively verified a posteriori. The induction is apparent when we assert this premise based on the prior knowledge that "everything that we have experienced that begins to exist does so with an efficient cause".
So, to justify the premise, I must first justify this synthetic statement of causality, and then justify the inductive step to conclude that this assessment of our experience is soundly applied to objective reality.

Firstly, it seems apparent that everything we observe to come into existence ex nihilio has an efficient cause. For example, a lamb comes into existence because of the sexual intercourse undertaken by a ram and a ewe. Prima facie, this constant of causality seems apparent.
Some examples have been posited, however, to refute the notion that all existence requires an efficient cause. The main one being that of virtual particles, which appear to come into existence spontaneously.
Yet nevertheless even these particles have an efficient cause, which is the presence of a magnetic field, a "sea" of potential energy, without which virtual particles cannot come into being. As a cause is defined as a "sufficient reason" (1), virtual particles do have a cause.

Hence, it is verified that everything we experience has an efficient cause, now I will justify the leap the premise makes to conclude that, objectively, everything that comes into being has an efficient cause.

The principle justification for this leap is the fact that the fundamental particles we experience here on earth are the same as what is present throughout the universe (based on spectroscopic evidence). So if we experience a property of these particles here on earth, we should expect these properties to be present throughout the universe. It is not as if the particles on the opposite side of the universe are different to the particles here on earth.

Therefore, the extrapolation from experience to universal reality is a valid one. Hence P1 is justified.

P2: The universe began to exist

I base this premise on the A theory of time - that which ascribes the objective forward-flow of time and acknowledges that events have tenses. A theory, as opposed to B theory, states that tenses are objective properties of events relative to the present, that is, the point in time which separates actualised events and potential events. One of the reasons that the A theory of time is correct is that, if the B theory is correct, the past, present and future are all actual at the same time and that the conception of the present as a border between past and future is an illusion. Yet this raises a significant question: why then do we all experience the same view of the present as each other? If the present is an illusion, what would determine which point in time we perceive to be the present? It seems absurd to suggest that the present is an arbitrary illusion created by the consciousness.
Furthermore, it is unwarranted to simply state something is an illusion without evidence that this is actually the case, especially as such an accusation runs contrary to all our intuitions. We could all be brains in vats, to coin the common analogy, but there is no evidence that this is actually the case and our intuition points otherwise.

Now, accepting the A theory of time, we can see that the universe began to exist. This is because the very concept of the universe existing for an infinite time is absurd.

To say that the universe is infinite is also to say that the universe has been existing for an infinite time and hence has had an infinite past. An infinite past, in mathematical terms, would amount to infinite seconds (∞ s).
So now, I could say that the universe has been existing for ∞ s, but in 10 seconds time I would have to say that the universe has been existing for (∞ + 10)s. But infinity is necessarily the largest number - a number such as (∞ + 10) is an absurdity.
Therefore, as an infinite universe leads to absurdities, the negation of such a conclusion must be true. Hence the universe has been existing for a finite time. This is the same as saying that the universe began to exist. Thus P2 is verified.

C1 deductively follows from P1 and P2. I need not defend a deductive conclusion as it is, by definition, absurd to negate it (unless, of course, one negates the premises).

P3 is arguably the most difficult premise to justify, as it makes so many claims. I will go through them individually and justify why the efficient cause of the universe possesses all the attributes presented in P3.


To be caused to is to have been created - to have a beginning. If a being is beginningless then it follows that this being is uncaused. As I will explain below, the efficient cause of the universe (which I will hereupon call 'ECU' for the sake of character count), is beginningless.


A beginning of a being entails that said being has been existing for a finite period of time - which is also to say that it's existence is bounded by time. Yet time cannot bound the existence of the ECU because time is contained within the universe. The ECU must be outside the universe as otherwise it would have created itself, which is paradoxical. As it is outside the universe, its existence cannot be bounded by that which is within the universe i.e time.
Therefore, the ECU is beginningless because its existence cannot be bounded by time.

Changeless? / Timeless?

First off, it is important to note that the ECU is outside the universe (as otherwise it would have created itself), and therefore it is outside time. It is timeless. Change, on the other hand, necessitates a temporal transformation in essence - without time there can be no change. Therefore, as the ECU is timeless, it is also changeless.

Immaterial? / Spaceless?

As mentioned above, the ECU is outside the universe. Yet as the universe is 'all existing matter and space considered as a whole' (2), all matter is necessarily within the universe. Therefore anything outside the universe must be immaterial.
Ergo, the ECU is immaterial.


This claim is more inductive than deductive. The reasoning that the ECU is omnipotent is based around the fact that a lack of omnipotence is instilled by a limiting physical factor. E.g I cannot lift up an elephant due to the limiting factor that my arms can only apply a given force, that which is less than the weight of an elephant.
The ECU is outside the universe and so cannot be physically affected in any way - this includes limiting factors. As the ECU cannot therefore have a limiting factor, there can be no physical limit to its power. Hence it is omnipotent.


For something to not be omnipresent is to entail that this being is spatially limited - it can only occupy a certain amount of space at a given time. However, the ECU cannot be spatially limited because it is outside the universe and hence cannot be limited by that which is inside the universe. As the ECU is not spatially limited, it is omnipresent.


The ECU must be personal because, firstly, it must be immaterial because it is outside the universe. Yet an immaterial essence can only be an abstract essence such as a number or a logical device, or a personal mind. It cannot be the former because abstract essences cannot create anything. Therefore by process of elimination, the ECU must be a personal mind.

Sans creation?

A beginningless being cannot have a beginning. Without a beginning, it is nonsensical to suggest that there can be a creation.
Ergo, the ECU sans creation because it is beginningless.

As I have verified all of God's ascribed attributes, P3 is verified.

C2 is justified because the attributes presented in P3 pertain to the established definition of the God of classical theism.

C3 is justified because a non-existent being cannot cause anything, and as we have established that God is the cause of the universe, we can conclude that God exists by virtue of the axiom that the universe exists.

As I have justified all the premises and conclusions, the argument is sound.

Thus I negate the resolution.

Debate Round No. 2


Premise 1 - Refutation
The KCA is a deductive argument which imports inductive reasoning. The conclusion follows that God exists, not that God probably exists. This debate is about soundness. [1] Inductive arguments are arguments which do not attempt to establish a thesis conclusively. [2] However, the KCA tries to do exactly that. Therefore, its veracity is dependent on its deductive logic to establish its soundness. "". if the Problem of Induction cites a lack of justification for beliefs about the past that are out of the range of experience and observation.... Since the premise lacks justification, there"s no way to establish its soundness. It follows that we cannot establish the soundness of the argument as a whole." [3] My opponent has confirmed how apparent this is, in premise 1. [4]

Con's explains why virtual particles pop in and out of existence. Now simply stating the conditions it arises in does nothing to prove that it's dependency nor does Con cite any evidence for this claim. This is a false cause [5] Just because there is a correlation between two variables does not necessarily imply that one causes the other [6]. It's the equivalent of saying whatever happens within the universe is caused by the universe. To make the assertion that without it virtual particles cannot come into being is illusory. Now my opponent defends this statement by alluding to the PSR. The PSR is a principle that everything must have a reason for coming into existence. PSR has prima facie plausibility, however, this would lead to an infinite regress. Not every fact can have an explanation, for there cannot be an explanation of the Big Contingent Conjunctive Fact which is itself the conjunction of all the contingent facts. If a possible world is conceivable in which the PSR is false, then the PSR is not true necessarily, and cannot be accepted a priori. Since our experience does not give us sufficient knowledge of causality that would bring the Universe into existence, we cannot confirm the PSR

1.Assuming the PSR is true, suppose all contingent things make up one big contingent proposition, i.e. C
2.Since C is contingent, if the PSR is true, C"s explanation must be necessary (if the explanation were contingent, it would be a part of C and could not be C"s explanation.)
3.Something with a necessary explanation must be necessary.
4.If C was the result of a necessary explanation, then it follows that C must be necessary.
5.Yet, C, by definition, cannot be necessary.
6.Therefore, the PSR is false.

If infinite regression is illogical then the KCA is unsound, as it is based on the PSR which cannot be shown to be true. [7] It cannot be logically proven that there must be a sufficient reason for everything, without assumptions or committing the fallacy of composition. Now it is equally plausible that if God does not require an explanation then a multiverse theory is equally plausible. Since this argument does not pertain to the probability of God but the actuality of God, any categorical generalization of efficient causes are grounded on the fallacy of composition.

Premise 2 " A theory of Time.
Con uses the argument from incredulity by saying "It seems absurd to suggest that the present is an arbitrary illusion created by the consciousness" thus making an appeal to ridicule. Now addressing Con"s argument against the B theory of time, there is an easy rebuttal of this which can be seen in the following syllogism
(1)There is an event/instant, t, such that it is (objectively) present
(2)Some t is past, present and future
(3)Necessarily, nothing is past, present and future
(4)(1) Entails a falsehood (i.e. (2)), and is therefore false

Now Con supports his argument with two trends of thought.
(1)It goes against our intuitions
(2)No evidence has been provided to support this view

Answer to (1) - Both theories predict the same intuitions. Consider the following, Person A exists at a certain point in time T. At time T person A remembers the moment T* that lies in the past and anticipates the moment T**, that lies in the future. The only intuition that person A can have is the memory of having experienced T*, experiencing T right now and anticipating T** in the future. At any point of time this is the only knowledge about time that person A can have. But this tells A nothing about the nature of time. At time T person A will have a memory of the moment T* and an anticipation of T** whether presentism or eternalism is true. Even if eternalism is true, this doesn't change the fact that at moment T, the moment T* is merely a memory and T** has not yet been experienced. The only intuitions A can have is his memory, his present awareness and his anticipation, none of which are excluded on an eternalist point of view. Therefor dynamic theories of time do not have an explanatory advantage and nor are tenseless theories of time falsified or rendered implausible by intuition. See link [10]

Answer to (2) - Evidence in favour of the B theory of time [8], [9] and [13].
"Velocity time dilation tests, Gravitational time dilation tests and Velocity and gravitational time dilation combined-effect tests [11] which supports Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Time is relative, as Einstein showed us. When objects move, their clocks tick slower. So if a traveling alien billions of light years away starts moving away from us and their "now" becomes our past, the straight line of time between us that represented our "now", becomes angled for the alien backwards towards our past. But ahead of the alien, in the direction he's (or it's) travelling, that diagonal angle points toward someone or something else's future
"An experiment has been done which proves time is static [12]
"Philosophical Arguments. See [8], [9] and [13]

Also, it should be noted that Con has presented no evidence for the A theory of time rather than appealing to our intuitions, familiarity and utility of this intuition. However, it is clear that scientific discovery clearly supports a B theory of time over the A theory. [14 and [15]

Objection to Premise 3 - Problem of Personal Being
Con states gives us only two options "a number or a logical device" or "a mind". There are many problems with this line of reasoning. Firstly, it presents the false dilemma I was stating in Round 2, why immaterial essence must be due to familiarity. Secondly, substance dualism has not been proven to be true. It has been shown to more likely false than true. [16] and [17]. Ergo, Con has to show how a mind can be independent of the material brain. Since, it cannot be known alluding to intuition or the PSR, the mind is dependent on a material basis. Therefore, a mind requires a material basis. Also, trying to get around the problem of an eternal cause having a temporal effect has the problem of simultaneous causality which I mentioned above. Con also has the burden of showing the coherency of atemporal personhood, since the only properties that could be ascribed to the mind is consciousness (knowledge which is attained by considering or analysing possibilities), thinking and reasoning (sequence of events) and intention (free will).

If PSR is true, then free will is not possible. Illustrated by the following syllogism:
P1. If free will exists, then there exists a world 1 and a world 2 where a conscious entity took two different choices (t=0).
P2. If w1 exists, then there exists a SR for it's existence
P3. If w2 exists, then there exists a SR for it's existence
P4. SR for w1 =/= w2 from w0
C. P4 entails a contradiction

Now the problem with free will leads us to the problem of agent causation of freely choosing to make the effect temporal and not eternal which shall be explained for defence of premise 3.

Omnisicience vs Free Will [18] - If a being knows all things, then by necessity the being must do what he knows what he will do and cannot change his mind on any matter. He knows not what he wants to do, but what he must do and cannot do otherwise. Therefore, if A (God) is a necessary object that must exist, then B (The Universe) must necessarily exist too since it is impossible that B cannot exist.

The Defense for the compatibility of omniscience vs free will
"A Contingent Effect from the ECU must be a personal agent (This runs into the problem stated above)
"The only candidates for metaphysical necessary beings are minds or abstract objects. (False Dilemma, addressed in Round 2)

Con must:
1.Rectify the omniscience vs free will problem
2.Explain how minds can exist independent of a physical brain
3.Show coherency of a timeless mind

Knowledge must also be shown not to have any foundation in sense experience (material) itself



Defence of P1

Firstly, I would like to apologise for my glaring error - I stated that the KCA is an inductive argument where it is actually deductive. What I meant to say is that it is a deductive syllogism - it is a deductive argument that uses some cogent premises (premises that are strongly inductive). Therefore the KCA is sound insofar as its premises are at least cogent, in other words the premises need not be deductively verified, but they can be inductively verified. The reason this must be the case is that all a posteriori premises are inductive because it is a presumption that our experiences our veridical. To assert that a deductive argument requires deductive premises would then entail that only a priori arguments can be deductive, which is not the case, given the nature of deductive arguments (1).

Pro attacks my P1 induction by attempting to discredit the PSR. He says:

1. The PSR does not necessarily exist and so cannot be accepted a priori
2. Our experience does not give us sufficient knowledge of causaility so cannot be accepted a posteriori.

I agree with the first assertion; instead I assert that the veracity of the PSR is affirmed a posteriori.
Pro cites the problem that 'correlation does not imply causation', yet this is clearly flawed. Considering the definition of 'imply', we can see that X need not deductively entail Y for X to imply Y - X only needs to inductively suggest Y.
So, to say that correlation does not imply causation is to say that correlation does not suggest causation; yet it most certainly does do this! If I experience that virtual particles never appear without interaction with a magnetic field, then this implies that the appearance of virtual particles is caused by interaction with a magnetic field.
Of course, correlation does not deductively entail causation, but I can still assert the veracity of P1 using inductive reasoning so I need not rely on a deductive application of causation.
Hence the second option is incorrect, our experience does give us inductive grounds to verify the PSR because we have observed uncountable events of entities coming into existence and every single one abides by the PSR - if this is not inductive proof of the PSR I don't know what is.

Pro uses a form of reductio ad absurdum to try and disprove the PSR. Yet the flaw in this syllogism is premise 4, which states:

'Something with a necessary explanation must be necessary.'

This is not verified, nor does it seem evident that it can be verified. There is no logical reason why a necessary entity (X) cannot be the explanation as to why a contingent entity (Y) exists. Just because X is necessary it is non sequitor that Y is necessary.

So, to summarise, I acknowledge that we cannot logically prove the PSR, but there is very strong inductive support for the PSR so this contributes to the overall inductive veracity of P1, which renders it a cogent premise.

Defence of P2

Pro states that I appeal to incredulity when I appeal to the intuitional absurdity of an illusory present. However, this is only fallacious if incredulity is appealed in support of a proposition when one is presented with cogent arguments against the proposition. I maintain that the arguments for the B theory of time are not cogent and so, if intuition infers the veracity of the A theory, then it is more prudent to trust our intuitions (in the absence of rational evidence).

The syllogism that Pro uses as a rebuttal does not appear to pertain to my arguments, and even if it does, premise 2, that:

'Some t is past, present and future'

Is not asserted by A theory. Hence it cannot be used to present a contradiction within the A theory.

Intuitional argument

Pro attempts here to show how both A theory and B theory appear the same from intuition, yet in doing so he consistently refers to tenses such as the past, the present and the future. Yet B theory is a tenseless theory of time.
The fact remains that our intuition maintains the reality of tenses, that at the present (the point at which we actually exist and experience reality), the period of time previous to the present that has the property of being in the past tense, and that the period of time after the present has the property of being in the future tense. Intuition asserts this theory of time, which is the A theory and not the B theory.

Rebuttal of the B theory

Time dilations and the assorted theories of relativity are cited in order to conclude the idea that events do not have an objective tense. However, these do not refute the central premise of A theory; which is that there exists a constant flow of time which entails tenses relative to the present experience of an entity. All time dilations prove is that time can speed up or slow down; time still flows forward and tenses still exist, albeit they are relative to the present of the experiencer.
To use an analogy, we are fish floating down a river (the progression of time) and the section of the bank that we see at a given time is the present. Sections of the bank that we previously saw are the past and sections of the bank that we will see are the future. For the fish, they only observe that the sections of the bank change, which is to say that their 'present' changes. However, sometimes a fish can get caught in a series of rapids which causes the rate at which they experience the changing bank-sections to increase - when the rapids end they have a different present to the rest of the fish that were not caught in the rapids (ananologous to time dilations).
Yet this does not disprove the reality that a river exists, and that there are bank-sections that form the past as well as other sections that form the future. Hence the existence of time dilations does not refute the A theory, which entails that they do not provide sufficient evidence to verify the B theory.

Therefore, my appeals to intuition still remain significant, as only sufficient evidence in favour of B theory would render them insignificant. Yet none has been presented thus far.

Defence of P3

Pro presents supposed problems with the concept of a personal God:

1. A number/logical device or a mind is a false dilemma
2. There is no proof that an disembodied mind can exist
3. Free will does not exist if the PSR is true.

Number 1 is a fair point, but remember that the premises of the KCA need only to be inductively proved. So even if there logically could be immaterial entities that are not numbers, logical devices or minds, the fact that we cannot conceive of any provides inductive cogency to the proposition that an immaterial entity could only be one of the above three options.

Number 2 is refuted by the inductive inferrance that minds are not inextricably material and physically present within the brain, which would entail that a disembodied mind is a possibility.
What is this inductive inferrance? You may ask.
A pioneer of neuroscience, Wilder Penfield, wrote in his book that even when the brain is stimulated by electrodes in order to move a patient's hand or vocalise, the conscious patient does not consciously decide to do these acts. As he put it:

"There is no place in the cerebral cortex where electrical stimulation will cause a patient . . . to decide" (2)

This suggests that there is an immaterial aspect to the mind that contains one's decisions and contemplations.

Furthermore, there is a distinct difference between the brain and one's self/mind. Let us suppose that I am kidnapped by an evil scientist who plans to remove my brain and swap the left hemisphere with the left hemisphere of another kidnapped victim. The end result being that half of my brain will be in one body and the other half will be in another body.
Yet, despite all the progress in neuroscience, it is not vacuous to ask: 'what will happen to me?'.
If the self was contained in a particular physical part of the brain then this question would be easily answered, but it is not clear as to what actually happens to the self. This suggests that the self/mind transcends the physical brain.

Number three is based on Pro's syllogism that concludes that the PSR is mutually exclusive with the existence of free will.
Yet this syllogism is based on a false premise, namely:

'If free will exists, then there exists a world 1 and a world 2 where a conscious entity took two different choices (t=0).'

This is not correct, either w1 or w2 is only a potential world, they cannot both be actual worlds. The actual world is determined by the actual decision of the agent. I will remind voters that potential worlds do not actually exist and so they do not require a sufficient reason. This premise asserts that when an agent makes a dichotomous choice, there exists two actual worlds where the agent made different choices. Yet this is not verified to be true, indeed it seems fanciful that it could be verified to be true.

Pro goes on to assert that omniscience raises problems, stating that:

'if A (God) is a necessary object that must exist, then B (The Universe) must necessarily exist too since it is impossible that B cannot exist.'

If God exists and he desires that the universe should exist, then the universe will exist. But if God did desire the universe NOT to exist, then it would not exist. Therefore the universe only exists insofar as God wishes it to exist, and hence the universe is contingent and not necessary. If it is necessary that God wishes the universe to exist, then the universe necessarily exists, yet this prerequisite is not met because God could have not wished that the universe exists.

Hence the resolution is negated, and the KCA remains sound.

(2) Penfield, Wilder: MYSTERY OF THE MIND p77
Debate Round No. 3


Con has not shown how the PSR is not an example of a false cause which commits the fallacy of cum hoc ergo propter hoc. Con must address my other two examples. Con defines cause as a "sufficient" reason, however this reason is not qualified [1] Philosophers & Physicists believe there are uncaused events

"There is observational evidence, albeit indirect that this uncaused emergence of energy or particles (notably virtual particles) frequently occurs." Quentin Smith [2]

Science shows that causes of virtual particle fluctuations would have to be non-local hidden variables. The locality for local hidden variables has been tested by recent and old experiments, and they were ruled out by violations in Bell's inequalities. Therefore, it seems like these fluctuations happen spontaneously without causes. [5]
If the ECU is omnipresent then there cant be "nothing" since something always existed. It must follow that the first cause created the universe out of itself therefore P1 would be affirming the consequent [6]
Inductively inferring a universe came into being is a fallacy of composition. Con must addresses this objection. If we allowed this, we would end up with Russell"s paradox [7]. P1 is logically invalid.

It is logically valid to say that C is necessary if C is a necessary consequence of a necessary proposition. I will explain the Van Inwagen objection. Take the BCCF for example. This is itself a contingent proposition. It must have an explanation or a true proposition which is contingent or necessary. If it is contingent, then this explanation will itself be a part of the BCCF. But if this explanation both explains the BCCF and is contained in the BCCF then inter alia, it explains itself. But no contingent proposition can explain itself! Thus, the explanation of the BCCF must be necessary. But an explanation has to entail that which it explains. Thus entails circular reasoning and absurdity ensues [8] Therefore, BCCF has no explanation and PSR is necessarily false. If a proposition is necessary, it cannot explain any contingent proposition because to explain something is to answer the question "Why not otherwise?" No interpretation of "God exists" as a necessary truth can explain why things were not otherwise.

Simultaneous Causation is contradictory and still needs to be addressed..

Contingency of The Universe
If the universe came into being, it is equally plausible to have happened by spontaneous quantum tunneling. "As a result of the tunneling event, a finite-sized universe.. pops out of nowhere..Remarkably, the answer is that no cause is required." Alexander Vilenkin.[9] The leading theory for resolving this has been the inflationary model of the universe" [10].

"There are two varieties of the A-theory, Presentism and the growing block universe. Both assume an objective present..." [11] A theory states that there is an objective now which implies every time has three A-properties. If the A theorist says then, that each time is successively future, then present, then past, but does not have these properties all at once, this will lead to an infinite regress. Events being successively past, present and future uses temporal notions; but until we have a coherent A-theory, we have no coherent conception of time; thus, temporal notions can"t be used to show that the A-theory is in fact coherent by appealing to intuition [12]

According to McTaggart"s analysis, time cannot depend on its nature of successive parts, i.e. parts that do not coexist, but on its existence of coexistent parts. This is the paradox. [14] A theorists claim that "t was future at some moment of past time and will be past at some moment of future time. But this objection fails, according to McTaggart because the additional times that are invoked in order to explain t's possession of the incompatible A properties must themselves possess all of the same A properties. According to him, we never resolve the contradiction inherent in the A series, but instead, generate an infinite regress of contradictions [15]

Semantics can"t render the B theory implausible just by appealing to the utility of language. The appearance of a flow of time is explicable, under the B theory. Some recent experiments show that the appearance of the flow of time is due to the nature of quantum entanglement [16] The experiment shows that observers within the universe would experience time, even though the Wheeler-DeWitt equation describing the universe lacks a time unit. There would still be causation. It isn't causation that it being claimed to be illusory here, just the flow of time.

Presentism cant explain the relativity of simultaneity and the equations of special relativity and quantum mechanics. Physicist Paul Davies notes, "Nothing in known physics corresponds to the passage of time." "We do not really observe the passage of time", "what we actually observe is that later states of the world differ from earlier states that we still remember. The fact that we remember the past is an observation not of the passage of time bit of the asymmetry of time."* It is self-evident [17] See Deng argument [18]

The strength of the B theory is due to the data from physics consistent with reality. Time dilation and Length Contraction are used to justify the B theory of time [19] B-Theory is plausibly true because the Minkowskian spacetime interpretation of Special Relativity entails it, and we have good reason to think the interpretation of Special Relativity is true. "Minkowski's interpretation is tenseless because it is described in terms of a 4-dimensional geometrical object called spacetime. All points in spacetime exist. Things are extended in time just as they are in space. Hence, there is no temporal becoming." - William Lane Craig [20] The Space-time interpretation of Special Relativity is plausibly true because a NASA experiment which ended in 2011 confirmed it [21] This would mean the Newton's Theory of Gravity should be true. However Einstein's Theory of Gravity appears to be the correct one.

Premise 3

It is conceivable that an immaterial, unchanging, atemporal being/entity exists, for I can think of the properties and the conception of transcendence. On Con"s point how is an unchanging mind conceivable without alluding to a temporal process? Minds are only conceivable within time. The only postulation for implying agent causation is to rule out unfamiliar affiliations. However there is no support for why the ECU must be familiar. If Con agrees it is possible, he is admitting to the fallacy within the premise and its invalidity

Con inductive inferrance can be shown as follows:
1). Human beings make decisions
2). The reasons for this are either materialistic, or dualistic.
3). There's no scientific explanation for this phenomenon
4). Therefore, the dualistic explanation is true.

There are many things wrong with this argument. Points 2 & 3 are a false dilemma: a) there could be other explanations for this phenomenon and and b) a lack of scientific explanation now, doesn't make the dualistic explanation true thus Con is appealing to ignorance [22]
Substance Dualism is false for the following reasons
1.Immaterial minds do not fit with the emerging picture of the physical world.
2. Evolution would"ve had to produce immaterial minds somewhere along the lines of our lineage which seems improbable/ inexplicable and unaccountable.
3.Atemporal Agent causation is incoherent. A mind requires thoughts and thinking [23]
4.Substance dualism gives a very poor account of why brain damage affects the mind
5.Using Occam"s razor, Monism is more plausible than substance dualism

Self Identity
Con is special pleading to argue for a distinction between the mind and the brain. His example only suggests that we don"t know what will happen to the "self". Since the brain is destroyed by death, the mind as a whole is probably destroyed as well. Since inductively, all known mental activity has a physical basis, there are probably no disembodied minds.

Omniscience VS Free Will
This potential world is merely stated hypothetically, and doesnt assert that there are two actual worlds. Therefore, while the Strong PSR is compatible with self determinism for creation ex nihilo, it cannot account for free will. Self determinism uses circular reasoning.

1.An agent could have acted otherwise than it did.
2.Actions are events.
3.Every event has a cause.
4.If an event is caused, it is causally determined.
5.If an event is causally determined, the agent could not have acted otherwise

Thus, we should not grant the validity of Con"s defence of the premises due to fallacies within and lack of justifications throughout. The resolution is affirmed. Vote Pro!

[9]Alexander Vilenkin: "Many worlds in one: The search for other universes" (P. 181).
[19] @5:23 and @8:00



Whilst it is true that, if one attempts to ascribe that every event or entity has a sufficient cause, they will commit the cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy but ONLY if they attempt to do so deductively. This is because there is no apparent deductive link between correlation and causation. Yet as I have maintained, there is an inductive link if it is observed that X always correlates to Y. If it is not usual that X correlates with Y then we have no inductive grounds to assert a causal link, yet if X is observed to exclusively and consistently correlate with Y, then it is reasonable to use inductive reasoning to conclude a causal link.
As a sufficient reason exclusively and consistently correlates with that which it is the reason for, then we can inductively conclude that the PSR is correct.

Just as a side, whilst Hume does cite the problem of induction and the non-deductive essence of causality, he nevertheless maintains that:

"I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that something could arise without a cause."(1)

Although Quentin Smith calls the emergence of virtual particles "uncaused", all this is saying is that there is not a particular event that causes virtual particles to arise. Moreover, this is an appeal to authority. Recall the definition of cause:

"good or sufficient reason" (2)

So to determine whether virtual particles have a cause, we must ask ourselves whether they have a sufficient reason as to why they emerge.
This sufficient reason is that virtual particles exclusively and consistently only arise within a magnetic field; so we can inductively conclude that a magnetic field is the sufficient reason as to why virtual particles emerge.

Pro goes on to state:

"If the ECU is omnipresent then there cant be "nothing" since something always existed. It must follow that the first cause created the universe out of itself therefore P1 would be affirming the consequent"

But this commits the fallacy of division. Even if the ECU created the universe out of its (necessary) self, then it does not follow that the universe is necessary. The ECU as a whole is necessary (to suggest otherwise would entail further causes for the ECU, which is needless multiplication and violates Occam's Razor), yet it is not a sound conclusion that any individual part of the ECU must also be necessary.

Furthermore, the KCA does not commit the fallacy of composition. To reiterate; this is its logic in a simplified form:

P1: Everything which comes into being has an efficient cause
P2: The Universe came into being
C: The Universe has an efficient cause

Although the premises may be inductive, the actual reasoning (the logical step from premises to conclusion) in the above syllogism is categorically, necessarily deductive and correct. It is absurd to suggest that it could be logically invalid. Therefore it cannot have committed the fallacy of composition because such a fallacy concerns itself with the logical connection between the premises and the conclusion - yet the logical connection is inarguably valid.
If the syllogism is to be refuted, its premises must be attacked since no fault or induction lies in the actual reasoning. However the fallacy of composition cannot be applied to individual premises.

In regards to the connection between necessary essence and necessary explanation, I maintain that such a link is unsound.
If all the contingent entities are lumped together (let us call this C), then I agree that its explanation cannot be contingent (as this would be retro-causation; an absurdity) so it must be a necessary explanation. Yet C is not therefore necessary by virtue of it having a necessary cause.
To put it in logical form, if entity Q has property P and causes entity Y, it does not follow that Y has property P.
Therefore, it is perfectly possible for a contingent proposition to have a necessary cause, as properties are not necessarily transferred by causal link, which is what Pro's argument entails.

Finally, simultaneous causation is not contradictory at all; it is a common phenomenon. Simultaneous causation is when the effect occurs simultaneously to its cause. An example of this is the act of sitting down; when I sit down I create a lap (as my knees are bent). Sitting down is the cause of the effect of having a lap. The effect (sitting down) is simultaneous to the effect (having a lap), yet there is no contradiction in this.
Therefore, simultaneous causation is not contradictory, which therefore means that God could have caused the universe simultaneously at time t=0.

Pro cites Alexander Vilenkin, who supposes that quantum tunnelling could have caused a finite universe to spontaneously come into existence, yet there is no apparent reason why quantum tunnelling could ever achieve this effect. As such, Pro is just making an appeal to authority as all he has done is post a quote from a scientist, and not actually explained the scientist's reasoning.
Therefore, this point is unsupported and thus invalid.


Pro attempts to force me to accept that acceptance of the A theory necessarily encompasses an acceptance of a universally objective present. He says that the growing-block and the presentist A theories are the only varieties, yet his source says different. The cited article states that these are the two principle A theories, they are not an exhaustive categorisation. The basic distinction between A and B theories is that the latter is tenseless and the former ‘takes tense seriously’ (3). So irrespective of whether the present is objective or relative, A theory simply asserts that tense is a meaningful and actual attribute of events.

McTaggart’s argument fails upon the premise that a time, t, has three A properties (being past, present and future). The A series would only be contradictory if all these properties were held simultaneously, yet we know that contradictory properties can be held by the same event or entity but at different times. For example when I was in junior school I was not depressed but when I was in senior school I was depressed. These properties are contradictory but only if they are held simultaneously. If they are not then it is not contradictory. Hence a time, t, does not simultaneously have three A properties, so McTaggart’s premise is false.

Furthermore, quantum entanglement is a nuclear phenomenon and so cannot create the psychological illusion of a flow of time. Pro’s source that supposedly suggests otherwise, does not mention anything of the sort. Therefore the assertion that the flow of time is illusory is unwarranted.

Pro goes on to refute presentism; which is a straw man because I never asserted the veracity of presentism.

Finally, A theory is not incompatible with the scientific concept of time as a fourth dimension. Tenses can still be taken seriously (and therefore the A theory as well) as one can consider tenses to be properties of events relative to one’s position in the fourth dimension. Just like a footprint has the property of being behind a person in the spacial dimensions, an event has the property of being in the past relative to a person’s position in the temporal dimension. Time dilations in the temporal dimension are analogous to fluctuating velocity in the spacial dimensions. For example, a car can speed up or slow down, but positions still have the properties of either being behind or in front of it. Hence the present can speed up or slow down, but events still have the properties of either being past or future.
Therefore, scientific conceptions of time do not refute the A theory.

Characteristics of the ECU

Pro asserts that a timeless, unchanging mind cannot exist because it is not conceivable. Yet this is non sequitor. It is perfectly possible that a timeless mind can exist but we do not have the intellect to conceive of how this could occur.

Next, Pro accuses me of appealing to ignorance in my argument for dualism. However, such a fallacy is only fallacious in non-dichotomous arguments. Yet the options of immaterial and material are dichotomous. Hence if there is no evidence (despite extensive neurological investigation) that all mental aspects are material, then we have inductive implications that some mental aspects are immaterial, as there is no other option to assign for them.

' not fit with the emerging picture of the physical world.'

Disaccordance with current paradigms does not constitute falsity; for example evolution was true despite it not according with the established biblical paradigm.


Evolution is only posited to account for the development of our biological bodies, it cannot be expected to account for the development of human minds.

'Atemporal Agent causation is incoherent.'

This is not an argument against substance dualism.

'brain damage'

Brain damage is simply damaging the tool with which the mind works. As we can only see the outward projections of the body, we do not know whether it is both the mind and brain or just the brain that is damaged. For example, a good carpenter will appear to be a poor carpenter if he has a broken saw.

'Occam"s razor'

Occam's Razor is only used in absence of rational argument either way regarding a resolution, yet this is not the case in the monist/dualist debate.


I do not engage in special pleading. My argument was that, if the self was material, we would probably be able to confidently answer questions of what would happen to it in partial brain transplants. As we cannot do this, there is inductive inference that the self is immaterial.

Free will

Premise 5 assumes that the causal determined nature of an event is external to the agent. It is possible that the agent is what causally determined the event. Therefore the agent had a free choice as to what to causally determine, which is essentially what free will is.

Hence I negate the resolution. Thanks for the debate, CorieMike!

Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Philocat 1 year ago
I didn't know anything about either of those before I did this debate :P
Posted by CorieMike 1 year ago
@Tej Yeah I eventually realized that
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago

Presentism =/= A-series
Eternalism =/= B-series

Moving spotlight and possibilism are models...
Posted by CorieMike 1 year ago
@tejretics Thanks buddy :)
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
Brilliant debate ... I actually took the time to go through ever inch of it and I'm very impressed by both the debaters. Great job. Haha, I spend half my time on DDO refuting the KCA ...
Posted by Philocat 1 year ago
Thanks for the feedback, Jellon :)

It's a pity nobody voted, but I enjoyed the debate itself and that's what matters ultimately.
Posted by CorieMike 1 year ago
Thanks Jellon! Your honest RFD was much appreciated. Unfortunately time ran out, but a tie isnt such a bad thing. Philocat was a good opponent!

I know my references were not all good, had to rush down and shorten my arguments, hence I wasnt able to double check my references lol Maybe my points were a little jumbled up :) Good constructive criticism though. I am guilty of assuming many people would be familiar with the terminology, mainly because I see DDO as a place where intellectuals express their views and religion being such a passionate subject, would have alot of people familiar with the arguments I laid.
Posted by Jellon 1 year ago
Not everything in my last comment would be part of a formal RFD, but I thought I'd include some extra feedback. I didn't go into a lot of specifics. If either of you want additional feedback on specifics, ask in a comment and I might get back to you.
Posted by Jellon 1 year ago
After all that... I can't vote on the debate. I lost my RFD when I tried to cast my vote so... here goes again...

When I decided who should win the debate, I focused on the definition of unsound. Pro either must show that one of the premises are false, or show that a conclusion does not follow the premises. Pro brought up a contradiction between omniscience and omnipotence in round 3, and explicitly required Con to address it. Con never did. In terms of this debate, P3 from the original argument was negated. That fact alone could cost Con the debate, and I believe it should.
I don't believe that Con's use of inductive reason, at least not in this particular case, categorizes it as unsound as defined in round 1. The definition does not seem to imply that a sound argument must be provable, only that it follows good reasoning; for the most part, Con follows good reasoning. It was a close debate which Con could have won, space permitting.
Pro used a lot of references. Some were good, many were not. Con, on the other hand, used references mostly to define terms or provide history. Con ineffectively substantiated any of Con's claims with sources. Pro would have gotten my vote for sources. Pro, your link in round 2 to how stuff works is broken. Just goes to the main page. Careful of that. I cannot be bothered to watch a 55 minute youtube video on A and B series of time. Use youtube sources VERY sparingly, if at all. Most people here don't like video references at all, no matter how short. If you use a video, make sure you provide a reading reference with it if possible, although I like your reference to a specific time in a video. :)
Con, book references are frowned upon by many, and will not score you many points with voters.
Con did a much better job with presentation. I had a very hard time following Pro compared to Con. Good job Con.
Posted by Jellon 1 year ago
I haven't gotten past round 1 yet, and I already know why no one has voted yet. LOL. Pro assumes that voters are all experts on the subject already. I would be completely lost if I wasn't already familiar with his terminology and the experts he references.
No votes have been placed for this debate.