The Instigator
Stephen_Hawkins
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
phantom
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points

The Kalam Argument is a sound argument for the existence of God

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Stephen_Hawkins
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/11/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,060 times Debate No: 24177
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (43)
Votes (5)

 

Stephen_Hawkins

Con

The argument is as stated in the title, for the tournament phantom is currently active in. I will be CON, and my opponent PRO. The argument can be presented in any way by my opponent. First round, as the Burden of Proof is on my opponent, is for his opening argument. As the rounds would therefore be unbalanced, my opponent should leave his final argument blank, so we have equal characters.

My opponent can argue any Kalam Argument, as long as it consists of arguing for a first cause being God.
phantom

Pro

I look forward to an inevitably good debate, and wish good look to my opponent.


The formulated argument I will be defending will be as presented bellow.

P.1 Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

P.2 The universe began to exist.

C.1 Therefore, the universe had a cause.

P.3 The cause must be God.

C.2 Therefore God exists.





P.1 Everything that begins to exist has a cause.



This premise is affirmed in just about every aspect of our life. Experience and reasoning tells us that occurrence requires cause. That is a necessary and evident logical fact as demonstrated by the principle of causation. In order for something to happen there must be a reason as to why that happened. Nothing can occur without anything leading up to its occurrence. No observation has shown to us an occurrence without a cause. It thus follows that nothing can begin to exist without a cause either. The principle of causality is quite evident in nature. Nowhere in the world can something occur without previous causes leading up to that occurrence. We live in a world of cause and effect. It is an extremely evident fact in creatio ex-materia that whatever begins to exist has a cause. We have no reason to believe it is any different for creatio ex-nihilo. Furthermore, if we deny the causal nature of existence there is nothing to prevent things from just popping into existence at any time or place. We can therefore conclude that for everything that begins to exist there is a cause of existence.





As conceded, we have yet to observe things coming into existence from actual nothingness. We have yet to observe creatio ex-nihilo, even quantum fluctuations--an argument my opponent is sure to mention--does not occur in actual nothingess as empty space is not actually nothing[http://universe-review.ca...], but that in no way concludes that we have no evidence for this statement. Through observation of nature and life as well as pure reasoning we can conclude the high likeliness that everything that begins to exist has a cause. As said, we live in a world of cause and effect. Facts require explanation. Chemical reactions require cause. Existence requires cause. Every aspect of life we see cause and effect. We know for a fact that things coming into existence from pre-existing matter have a cause. There is no reason to believe that matter itself coming into existence has no cause. That is contrary to all reason and experience.






P.2 The universe began to exist.


Science




I. The Second law of thermodynamics affirms this fact. The universe is running out of usable energy which leads us to the fact that it is not eternal. The amount of energy is always decreasing as we do work. When work is done that work results in heat but not all is turned into energy. If the universe were eternal we would have run out if energy by now. If usable energy is always decreasing than we can affirm that there is a supply of it and that that supply is limited. It is obvious that any limited supply would run out in an infinite amount of time. Supply would be finite and time infinite. It necessarily follows that supply would be used up, and thus the universe began to exist some billions of years ago.







II. Furthermore, as in accordance with the big bang model, astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe expanding in all directions at the same and constant velocity. As time progresses the universe is getting larger and thus 1 million years ago the universe was smaller than it was now. One million years before that it was even smaller and if we go back in time, smaller and smaller until it was at a point of density. That point was the big-bang in which the universe began.








Philosophy




It can be shown through pure reason alone that an actual infinite cannot exist. This can be demonstrated with the Hilbert's hotel paradox which was made by German mathematician David Hilbert. Consider a hypothetical hotel with countably infinitely many rooms, all of which are occupied – that is to say every room contains a guest. One might be tempted to think that the hotel would not be able to accommodate any newly arriving guests, as would be the case with a finite number of rooms. Suppose a new guest arrives and wishes to be accommodated in the hotel. Because the hotel has infinitely many rooms, we can move the guest occupying room 1 to room 2, the guest occupying room 2 to room 3 and so on, and fit the newcomer into room 1. By repeating this procedure, it is possible to make room for any finite number of new guests. It is also possible to accommodate a countably infinite number of new guests: just move the person occupying room 1 to room 2, the guest occupying room 2 to room 4, and in general room n to room 2n, and all the odd-numbered rooms will be free for the new guests.


http://en.wikipedia.org...'s_paradox_of_the_Grand_Hotel




There is more to say but I would like to see what part of the argument my opponent will disagree with first.






C.1 Therefore, the universe had a cause.



The logic of the KCA posits that if p is true than q must be true, with the resulting conclusion that p is true therefore q is true. As I have shown P.1 and P.2 to be correct the conclusion must be true.




P.3 The cause must be God.


This is quite an easy premise too affirm. The cause of the universe must necessarily be uncaused and personal. Since there is nothing prior to the cause of the universe it can't be explained scientifically. Moreover the first cause would transcend time and matter. As an infinite cannot exist he would create time. Lastly only an incredibly powerful being could cause the existence of the universe ex-nihilo. There is no other possible first cause other than a mind possessing being. I do not predict my opponent will attempt to refute this premise.





I hand it over to the con.
Debate Round No. 1
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

The Kalam cosmological argument, promoted by W.L.Craig, has gained support among apologists, and attracted a lot of attention in the philosophical community.

For an argument to be sound, each of the premises must be convincingly true, and the conclusion necessarily follows. The premises must be convincing due to the fact that, if the premises aren't convincing, then we can simply dismiss them and therefore the argument. To paraphrases Graham Oppy, dialectical efficiacy is not enough: to be rationally sound and convincing, it must be able to convince one who starts from a position of rejecting all premises and the conclusion, to accepting all the premises and the conclusion. In short, if I can rationally reject any of the premises, then the argument cannot be considered sound.

Another requirement is that the arugment logically follows. That is, the argument must be valid. In the words of Oxford's philosophy division, "An argument is valid just if it would be impossible for its premises all to be true and its conclusion false simultaneously."[1] In other words, if the premises are true, then the conclusion is necessarily true.

First premise

The first premise itself seems quite simple in itself. "Everything that begins to exist has a cause". Many seem to think intuitively that this is true, and it has been capitalised due to this ad populum by many: W.L.Craig himself justifies in his original book on the Kalam that the premise is "philosophically unobjectionable"[2]. However, I do not see this as so philosophically unobjectionable, nor do I see the premise as being intuitively true. And many agree with me: "Grünbaum observes on several occasions [that] many of us find it hard to make any sense of this suggestion". And there's good reason for this: material creation does not happen.

Craig, Aristotle, and material causes

Craig in his work is a fond appealer to Aristotle (not a criticism: the best do it repeatedly). He speaks, when justifying his work, as the first premise being justified as all things need an efficient cause. The argument that justifies this is all things observed has an efficient cause, therefore it must follow the universe does as well. It is stated by many that things exist without efficient causes: for example, atomic decay occurs without efficient (and final) causes, similar to quantum dynamics, and the most prominent theories (from Copenhagen Interpretation to Many Worlds) accepts this. Indeed, we are getting more and more used to the fact that things exist which are without these efficient and final causes, and empiricism is rejected in favour of rationalism, which I shall expound on later.

The material problem

Things are uncaused if "they have the...four causes [of Aristotle]"[2], says Craig. However, the reasoning of material causes - what things are made from - of the universe is lacking. We say that, using Aristotle's example of a statue, it is made of marble. But the marble is simply restructured to another form: making this a formal cause. Aristotle actually makes sure he is discussing this in the material realm, and states there is no ethereal world. Why? Because, when we accept an ethereal realm, that means matter must have been created. But being made ex nihilo , not ex materia , means that the material cause must be entirely abandoned. To return to my opponent's argument, he states that there is no reason to abandon the idea that ex nihilo is differnt to ex materia: well, seeing as the Kalam argument rests on an ex materia understanding of the world, yet abandons it to create the argument, it holds an internal inconsistency. Anything made by nothing has no material cause, but this means that our understanding of causes has disintegrated before us. Thus, our understanding of the laws of causality are intrinsically undermined, when attempting an ex nihilo view. Thus, the first premise, resting on the laws of causality, can be rejected.

Rationalism, Causality and Plato

The opposite of empiricism, rationalism, is promoted by Aristotle's arch-rival, Plato, who stated how our sight is repeatedly and easily tricked, and only reason is what counts. We used to think that what we saw was the truth, and our senses were the pathway to being fooled: only reason gets us there. "thought is best when the mind is gathered into herself and none of these things trouble her--neither sounds nor sights nor pain nor any pleasure"[4]. Reality itself actually causes more problems than solutions: empirical thought, or inductive thought, we know is intrinsically flawed. In fact, one can go as far to state that the flaws of empirical reasoning goes so far that we can reject the binding level of knowledge that this argument gives us.

Hume and empiricism

Hume is one of the most well-known empiricists, but famously said "Though experience be our only guide in reasoning concerning matters of fact; it must be acknowledged, that this guide is not altogether infallible, but in some cases is apt to lead us into errors." I wish to say this is a case where empiricism leads us to errors, mostly by referring to his own argument against the cosmological argument.

An example is apt here to introduce his criticism: imagine you only just came to earth (or came from 500 years past) and saw a bus. Ignoring how that's impossible seeing as they're always either too late or too early (and yes, I am annoyed at getting home 2 hours late because the bus driver forgot that London has cars in it)...where was I?

Imagine you just saw the bus, and you see someone else put their hand out the side of the road. The bus then comes to a stop, they get on the bus, and go off.

Now, from the position of someone who has never seen a bus before, why would it be wrong to conclude that the hand coming out to stop the bus is the efficient cause to why it stopped, and not the bus driver? Or imagine it is 500 years in the future, where buses are fully automated with no need for a driver (they'll still manage to be late though). When you put your hand out to stop, would you be wrong to conclude, first time around, that a bus driver stopped the bus?

The example is to illustrate that we may make assumptions about cause and effect, and this can easily be mistaken. Hume argued that we assume that there is a relationship between cause and effect, because our minds have developed a habit, societally or otherwise, of seeing effects and automatically associateing causes. Hume states that, as a matter of logic, one cannot assume that all effects have a cause. After all: the cosmological argument sets out to make the exception! We can tell quickly: the premise Whatever has a beginning of existence must have a cause is uncertain at best.

I also wish to give one final criticism by Hume: the famous fallacy of composition. Hume questioned the necessity for the whole universe to have a cause, simply because things inside the universe has causes. Indeed, the primary premise (ignoring the myth of its philosophic inobjectivity) is justified by, and my opponent states this, that "every aspect of life we see cause and effect". However, to expand this to the universe proper, we have came to the fallacy of composition. One often quoted example by Bertrand Russell is that "the human race hasn't a mother: that's a different logical sphere". Of course, it may hold that the human race contains mothers, just as the universe contains contingent events. However, this does not mean the human race was born from a single person. To use a more modern example, a football team (usually) has team spirit, but team spirit does not exist in a single player.



1 - http://logic.philosophy.ox.ac.uk...;, tutorial, 3rd section (Validity)
2 - Kalam Cosmological Argument, 1979 ed.
3 - Professor William Craig's Criticisms of Critiques of Kalam Cosmological Arguments By Paul Davies, Stephen Hawking, And Adolf Grünbaum 1995 ed.
4 - Phaedo, accessible here: http://classics.mit.edu...
phantom

Pro

Well done con. I can tell I am in for a challenging debate.


Con has chosen not to refute premises two and three meaning that he essentially concedes that the universe had a beginning and that if everything that begins to exist has a cause, the cause of the universe must be God. But as he has pointed out, all he needs to do is refute one premise for the conclusion to fail. Therefore it seems this debate will rest solely on whether everything that begins to exist has a cause of existence.


I also agree with him on terms of soundness and validity. The simple logic of the KCA proves that it is valid.

If p is true than q is true
p is true
Therefore q is true

Whether it is sound will rest on the validity of each premise.


P.1 Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

Con presents an array of mostly philosophical arguments to refute this premise.


"Craig, Aristotle, and material causes"


The crux of cons argument here is that we can observe things coming about uncaused in this universe which is contrary to what KCA advocates would state.


I would first like to note that my opponent makes some scientific claims without providing any source. Science necessarily requires backing or else of course, it's useless. Con may makes claims that atomic decay occurs without a cause but none of those claims bare any weight if he does not provide both reasoning and backing. He has failed to use either. Furthermore it makes it harder to respond if I don't have any source to look to when seeking the basis of my opponents objections. I will though address these statements.


Contrary to my opponents assertions, radioactive decay does have a cause; various possible causes as a matter of fact. Let's take the case of tritium, 3H1. If an atom has too many neutrons to be stable it cannot simply kick out one neutron but instead the neutron turns into a proton. 3H1then becomes 3He2. As Hydrogen has one proton and helium two you'd end up with double the amount of initial positive charge. Going back this can be explained by when 3H metamorphoses into helium 3 it gains a negative which cancels out one proton. This process is known as the beta decay which can be formulated in equation 3H1 => 3He2 + 0e-1.


As Craig says, quantum phenomena does not refute the KCA. Some necessary conditions are involved. It is not completely devoid of causal conditions. Considering the beginning of the universe however there are no prior necessary causal conditions.

[2] Craig, in Craig and Smith, 1993, 146; see Koons, 203


"The material problem"

I am a little confused on my opponents argument here. Sometimes it seems he is saying ex-nihilo is not a plausible view on the universes origins but he has already decided not to refute premise two which would say otherwise. I am still not quite sure what my opponent means by the material problem, or what exactly the problem is. Now he does bring up that premise one is supported by an ex-materia understanding while the origins of the universe is ex-nihilo. However, as I have already stated there is no reason to reject the causal nature of existence ex-nihilo if it is evident with ex-materia. Once we prove the principle of causality we do not need to observe creatio ex-nihilo because it would already be founded that existence is causal. My opponent also says "Anything made by nothing has no material cause", but no one is asserting that nothing is creating something. Maybe it would makes sense if he said anything made from nothing has no material case, but I have already address that.


"Rationalism, Causality and Plato"

Immanuel Kant rejected both rationalism and empiricism on the fact that both reasoning and experience are used to garner facts. Reasoning without experience is flawed as is experience without reasoning. Rationalism and empiricism must be synthesized. In fact,often times those who claim to be rationalists have to base their reasoning somewhat off observation. Latter on my opponent himself indirectly demonstrates why such a view on logic is more superior. In his analogy of the bus, the observer would be clearly flawed in thinking that the hand caused the bus to stop. If we were to take an empiricist view we would however have to conclude that. That is of course wrong thus we must use both observation and reasoning. Through observation we can foresee certain possible facts. By reasoning we can conclude whether these facts are true. Using only reasoning would be flawed because observation is the tool to knowledge.

[3] Kant; a very short introduction


Furthermore rationalism can be demonstrated as flawed by the very fact that all reasoning rests on sensory appeals. All logic is based upon our logical intuition which itself is very much categorically along the lines of sense perception! Centuries ago the Greeks realized the foundation of geometry must be based off of intuitivily derived facts; that two points always makes a straight line for example. If we were to ignore our sense peceptions we would also have to ignore our logical intuition. But logical intuition is the whole basis of rational thought.


Furthermore, I would posit that causality could be supported from a rationalist leaning view. Pure reasoning supports the principle as we have always viewed facts and occurrences to have an explanation and have also sought to find these explanations. When presented with a fact it is basic human reasoning to conclude there must be an explanation to the fact.


"Hume and empiricism"


My opponent here presents us with his analogy with the bus. The problem with the analogy is that it is not directly applicable to the KCA. Even if the observer was wrong in concluding what the cause was for the bus stopping, there still was a cause. It does not serve to say we are often wrong about what the cause is of certain events for a cause still exists which is all that matters.


The analogy can in fact be used to defend my case. What would be fallacious to assume would be to say that the bus stopping did not have a cause. The observer might think there is no possible way a hand can cause a large object to come to a stop. He might say there is no foreseeable cause other than that which is an impossibility thus there is no cause. This however would be clearly fallacious. There is a cause for the bus stopping. Even when we see things happening that appear uncaused that in no way means no cause exists. Thus my opponent own argument could be applied to his claims that uncaused events do occur.


Furthermore the knowledge of the observer is not anywhere near comparable to our current knowledge of the world. It is safe to say we are increasingly advanced in terms of understanding, logic and knowledge. No longer do we see lightning and conclude it's from God. We have learned to critically analyze things until we have a plausible understanding. Therefore we do not see the bus stopping at the same time the mans hand was raised and conclude it was the hand that stopped it. Now we would search more into the actual meaning instead of coming to such hasty conclusions.


My opponent goes on to present the fallacy of composition. However I fail to see how this refutes the argument. In fact, I would say it could support it. If everything inside the universe is governed by cause and effect it would follow, rather than be fallacious, to assume that however the universe came into being was the same. The laws that exist inside this universe are not solely dependent on the existence of the universe or whether you are in the universe or not. For example, if we were to take my opponents reasoning, one plus one would only equal two if the universe existed. That would be to assume relative rather than objective logic. One plus one always equals two. It is not dependent on our universe, just as the principle of the causation, we can extrapolate, is not dependant on the universe.
Debate Round No. 2
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

Alright, let's get straight in otherwise character limits will start killing me.

Science and the uncaused

I shall restate my case for this point: there are things without efficient causes exist. The efficient cause is that which is the "primary source of change"[1]: the efficient cause of a statue is the artisan. Firstly, atoms do not have that efficient cause, due to the fact that "there is no cause to be known."[2]. My opponent states "it's the instability of [atoms that] causes the decay, right? I mean, it's not really uncaused", which a scientist responds "Right, but what's uncaused is that one atom will decay earlier and one will decay later...there is no cause to be known". Of course, maybe there is some hidden cause? The physicist replies: "It's not merely that we can't find any. It's that our theory shows there aren't any. The theory has been subjected to all sorts of experimental tests, and has passed with flying colours. Mainstream science accepts it nowadays". Thus, I have substantiated how things can lack an efficient cause, which concludes a problem with the first premise of the KCA, which collapses the argument.

The material problem

OK, let's go back in history. Aristotle is well known. He is doing his science. He is the first scientist, many suggest. His work showed that things in the natural world (which we get the law of causality from, that is, that things which being to exist have causes) have a cause, and that cause is split into multiple causes: the material, the formal, the efficient, and the final. The material cause is what something is made from. For example, a statue is made of marble. If the universe is made ex nihilo as my opponent states, then the universe lacks a material cause, so it cannot possibly fit the requirements to the law of causality. If it does not have a material cause, then the universe lacks a cause (in the same way that you cannot be three quarters pregnant, only 3/4 of the way along, you cannot have 3/4 of a cause, either a full cause or none at all). Thus, the conclusion is meeting contradiction: it can only be concluded that the universe cannot follow the law of causality. To make this another way, all things that follow the law of causality must come from a material. The universe does not come from some material. Therefore, the universe cannnot follow the law of causality.

Kant, rationalism and empiricism

My opponent firstly does not address the analogy: he simply states that we know what caused the bus to stop. I suggest that only our current perspective is making us think the bus is being stopped by a driver. Without experience knowledge, we agree, one can come to wrong conclusions. However, with experience knowledge, one can similarly come to the same conclusion: in fact, in the analogy, one could constantly think that the bus is stopped by your hand going out.

Stop the bus!

My opponent needs to actually give reason why it is wrong to conclude that the cause of the bus stopping is your hand. He is simply claimed it is obvious, but if we critically think about this, from the view of someone who does not know how a bus works (similar to how we don't know how the universe works), can we honestly conclude the cause of the bus stopping? The rational answer is no.

Reason based from experience?

Reasoning occurs without experience: experience is not necessary. My opponent states that essentially geometry is learnt through visibilities: however, I suggest that geometry is learnt rationally. The intuitively derived facts are learnt through a priori reasoning. We see two things and a priori think they are the same. We see two lines and think a priori they are parallel. However, we don't need a priori experience of a shape to know it: I have never seen a 934 sided shape (or something like a Nonaitetracontagon), but I know what they are. I have never experienced i (√-1) but I can calculate with it. I have never experienced the billionth term of 3x2-2x-1+1, but I can calculate it. A priori pure can allow us to use logic and mathematics. A posteriori does not allow us anything. And ironically, intuition is a priori and part of rationalism, not empiricism.

Hume and Empiricism

My opponent brings forth an interesting dilemma about what causes the bus to stop: even if we misconstrue why the bus stops, then we still know the bus has a cause. I reject this on two grounds. Firstly, if we've misconstrued the reason of why the bus stopped, then we've got a serious issue: remember the conclusion to a God being that it must be personal and transcendent and the omni-qualities? We have to dismiss these! How, I ask, can we state the qualities of the causer, when we don't know what the causer is? I mean, the bus driver has two hands and two legs. My arm over the road is an arm. Doesn't have two arms or two legs. The bus driver is rational and (hopefully!) can see. My arm cannot. The causer's qualities cannot be known, and, thus, we cannot conclude a God.

Secondly, I shall use a new analogy to make a clearer case. Imagine if there is a horse race and a dozen are running. My opponent suggests that, at the end of the race, one of the horses wins. This is put forth by William Rowe: "We know that although no horse in a given horse race necessarily will be the winner, it is, nevertheless, necessary that some horse in the race will be the winner"[3]. Firstly, this causes the problem previously mentioned: what are the characteristics of the horse? Second, it is possible that all the horses break a leg and none finishes the race. The point is, there is no reason to state that there has to be a cause of the choices: there can still be none.

Fallacy of Composition

The fallacy of composition still stands. My opponent has given no reason to actually suggest that 1+1=2 outside the universe. There is no reason that the laws of the universe exist outside our universe: in fact, there's every reason to not make that supposition: the fact that these are laws that inhabit the universe. Extrapolating them outside the universe requires a "leap of faith", so to speak. My opponent has not stated why this "leap of faith" is justified. Thus, I can reject this leap for the reason that it is unjustified.

As an aside, 1+1=2 outside the universe due to "1+1=2" is using artificial a priori reasoning that is only affected by our mind, not our setting.

As I have some spare characters, I am going to make a new argument, as it is only round 3.

Kant and Cosmology

Kant's criticism of the Kalam argument is the final argument I shall bring up to critique the argument. It works, actually, from criticising the argument as a whole. The argument itself is fundamentally flawed for a simple reason: it works from the empirical to the non-empirical. Take the following argument:

P1 - All bachelors are men
P2 - John is a man
C1 - Therefore, John is a bachelor.

The argument is one which is ontological: it is a semantic argument. It starts from definitions, and ends with definitions. The kalam argument, however, works from the empirical evidence (if we ignore all other criticisms) to a non-empirical one (that God exists). The reason that this is problematic is that we are trying to move outside our ability to know things. The conclusion itself is outside of the boundaries of what we know and can observe: thus, an argument trying to propose it is going past the borders of what can be known. Our knowledge is limited to what we can know, and what exists inside spacetime and the logic which exists within it. The argument attempts to use logic which is inside the universe to prove that which is outside it. This assumes that the rules are the same: an unjustified extrapolation. Thus, it is reasonable to reject the argument.

For those reasons provided, I hold the resolution negated. I await my opponent to post another equally stimulating response.

1 - Physics, Aristotle
2 - Philosophical Consersations Robert M. Martin, page 215 [http://tinyurl.com...]
3 - The Cosmological Argument, William Rowe
phantom

Pro

I thank con for the enjoyable debate and the voters for taking their time to read it.


Science and the uncaused




Con continues to assert that the atom decays uncaused. His hypothetical conversation I'm afraid, does not represent my side. He states, "what's uncaused is that one atom will decay earlier and one will decay later". This however, does not disprove what I stated. In the case of 3H1, the atom has too many neutrons which causes it to have double the amount of initial positive charge. Therefore we do know why they decay when they do decay.





And as stated in the previous round, cons analogy of the bus could be applied to this argument. Even if we didn't see a cause that doesn't conclude no cause exists. Now, my opponent may state that theories prove that there is no cause, but I'm afraid that's a little far-fetched. Proving that no cause exists is a difficult task, simply because you're trying to prove the non-existence of something that requires ultimate knowledge. You need to know all the facts before you can conclude no cause exists. And when I say all the facts, I mean that in the sense to which it is impossible. It's similar to proving the non-existence of God. You would need to have knowledge about the whole universe before you could prove that God does not exist, hence why the burden of proof rests on the theist. In the same way, no one has the knowledge to prove that there is no cause. I am not saying this proves there is a cause (I did that earlier). I am just pointing out that cons assertions that theory proves there is no cause are flawed.





The material problem/fallacy of composition




Note, that I've condensed two arguments for basis of similarity and to save space.





The problem with my opponents argument is that all we have to do is affirm the principle of causation in order to fulfil the statement that the universe was caused into existence. Therefore, it does not serve to say creatio ex-materia is different then creatio ex-nihilo so the first does not apply to the latter. The causal principle does not state only material causes exist. It applies to all causes. We use certain aspects of existence to formulate conclusions on others. Thus, once we can view it as a sound principle, we also can affirm the fact that the universe came about by a cause.




Furthermore, I find cons statements to be quite problematic in other ways. My opponent does not refute P.2 thus it is conceded for this debate that all matter that makes up the universe had a beginning and thus came about ex-nihilo. Take the bellow picture.












This diagram demonstrates how cause and effect works. One cause eventually leads to another, or multiple, causes and so on. Now would it be plausible to assume that the first event has no cause? That would be completely inconsistent and contradictory. How could we demonstrate a chain of events and say all follow the same rule except for this first one?? It would be fallacious. We would have to assume that the laws of logic apply to all of them. Otherwse we are begging the question. Where is the justification in saying the first event is exempt from following th laws of the others?





My opponents objections about laws outside of the universe do not stand. Simple mathematical principles are what you would call necessary laws. Certain concepts do not need to exist, but others do. Mathematical principles are ones which do. The belief that 1+2=3 must exist in any possible world simply because of impossibility to the contrary. How could there be a world in which 1+2=4 for example? It's an impossibility. Moreover, according to my opponents statements, logic would have to be considered as relative rather than objective.








Rationalism, Causality and Plato


Now then, the observer would not be justified in concluding that the hand stopped the bus for reasons that it is counter-logical. If he was an empiricist he would take that view, however if he took the more Kantian approach he should not. It is not at all reasonable to view the cause of the bus is the hand stopping for two reasons. Firstly, it is a very hasty conclusion. You don't just observe things that are seemingly linked and deduce that they are linked by cause. Secondly he would have no reason to believe that it is even possible for a hand to cause a bus to stop. To justifiably hold a belief it obviously must be one in which holds no impluasible premises.




My opponent completely misrepresents my attack on rationalism. I never once claimed geometry was gained from observation. I don't know why my opponent states that. The point I was demonstrating was that rationalism is a self-refuting philosophy. It supposedly denies our sensory abilities but at the same time, completely relies on them! We can only use reasoning if trust our logical intuition. There are many facts that are only derived from intuition. Arthur Schpenhauer developed four very basic ones as shown below.




      1. A subject is equal to the sum of its predicates, or a = a.



      1. No predicate can be simultaneously attributed and denied to a subject, or a ≠ ~a.



      1. Of every two contradictorily opposite predicates one must belong to every subject.



      1. Truth is the reference of a judgment to something outside it as its sufficient reason or ground.








Therefore rationalism is completely flawed as it's basis rests on that which it denies. And you can't say, well rationalism deems senses as flawed except for our logical sense. Where do we justify the "except"?





My opponent also suggests that we do not know how the universe works just as he observer does not know how a bus works. While this is an interesting point, it again fails. I demonstrated it in the last round. The knowledge of the observer is not comparable to our knowledge of the laws of the universe. The observers knowledge is very primitive. Ours is very advanced. We do have a reasonably good understanding of the universe to the extent that we can reasonably debate many issues without appealing to ignorance. The causal nature of existence is one.





Hume and Empiricism




My opponent starts off by making completely unfounded assumptions on the character of God. He states that God must possess all the omni characteristics but this just begs the question. There are many theists who don't view God as omnipotent, omniscient etc...I'm one of them. I see nothing to suggest that God must be any of these characteristics. The KCA doesn't set out to prove a certain type of God. Just a conscious being who could be considered as God.





I'm not sure I fully gasp my opponent purpose of the horse analogy. Nevertheless I will speculate. I would take the deterministic view that one horse will inevitably win the race. Each horse possesses a blend of hundreds or thousands of small characteristics. These characteristics are a big factor on how the race will play but there are also many other factors that play in. For each occurrence there is a long chain of inevitable events. In similar style to Laplace's demon, we can posit that all actions lead up to an inevitable outcome. Therefore, there is an inevitable winner, or no winner, of the race. We just don't have the absolute knowledge to know which one.




As my opponents responses both fail in their attempt to uphold this contention, I do not feel he has adequately responded to my objections.





Kant and Cosmology




My opponent claims he will make a new argument since it is "only round 3". However, as I am not using the fourth round to make an argument, this is essentially the exact same thing as making a new argument in the last round. This is contrary to basic debate conduct and I am not required to respond to it. I was going to, but I've already exceeded the character limit. Thus, as new arguments presented in the last round are, by standard, to be ignored, viewers please disregard this argument.
Debate Round No. 3
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

I'll get straight into the argument, seeing as I have less than an hour to write it... and get the conclusion done quickly. Beforehand, I'd like to point out that my opponent and I have both agreed that the argument on Kant (the previous round argument by myself) has been dropped, and a conduct point (not the full arguments) goes to myself. If I have misread this, phantom, please message me. Also, due to the structure of the debate, this is the final round. The other round can be used to dispute any technicalities (like the point on Kant) if needed.

The uncaused

The contention to my criticism is purely on whether atoms can be caused, and that I have misrepresented his side. Actually, when I reread his point, I think I stated it perfectly: I agree that a condition - or effect, but I'll get onto that in a second - of tritium decay is too many neutrons. But this means that it will decay eventually. Half of the atoms decay after 12.32 years[1], but it can still decay after 3 minutes of formation (and some do) or ten thousand years (and some feasibly can do). With 14C, its half-life is roughly 5000 years, but can decay after a couple years. The reason for when a single atom precisely decays is not addressed: it does not spontaneously decay when it has too many atoms, so this is not the cause. Thus, there are things which are still uncaused. This breaks the law of causality, the first premise of the Kalam, and makes the argument unconvincing and unsound, negating the resolution.

Also, regarding the second criticism of the theories not being able to show no cause: theories have been empirically tested on the cause, and all fail: the only that remains is the lack of causation. My opponent's rebuttal has came down to "Proving that no cause exists is a difficult task". I would state that the proof is one that is inductive: not certain, but it still holds. That is, it holds more likely than not (by a large margin) that it is uncaused than caused. Thus, this essentially makes it more rational to reject the law of causality. Thus, this makes the Kalam argument unsound, negating the resolution.

The material problem

My opponent seems to misunderstand me: he states that, as long as we affirm the law of causality, then it does not matter whether it is ex-materia or ex-nihilo. My statement is that the law of causality only affects that which is created ex-materia. If one rejects the law of causality, one need to justify its existence. Its justification for existence is based empirically. The empiricism works purely inside the realm of that which is created ex-materia. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, there is the material problem which states that all things which are caused, as we learnt from Aristotle, have material cause: a material which it is made from. The universe lacks a material cause, because it is made ex nihilo. This, therefore, means it does not have a full cause which can be explained by the principle of causality (which is justified to exist by predicating itself on Aristotle's four causes. This can be seen to criticise either P1 or P2, but I never explicitly said that I concede either premise (as an aside, I'd dispute both, given enough characters). However, the criticism stands. In reference to the diagram, I enjoy it as it shows how things with a previous material cause can be fully explained to be caused. What my opponent is essentially debating though is those which simply 'exist' without an arrow pointed towards it (symbolising the causer). The diagram itself necessitates uncaused causes, which I propose is the universe. Now, would it make sense to say the same law of causality works for those which are not caused? Of course not: we need a different law.

The fallacy of composition

I'd like to go over a new image:




The idea is simple: if something commits a logical fallacy, then the argument is invalid. The fallacy of composition is one which states that the parts don't follow the same rules as the whole: if so, then there is a tangible element of football teams which make the team spirit. If it were not a fallacy, then the fact that we are made up of atoms and that atoms are invisible necessarily concludes that we are invisible.

Finally, the idea that mathematics exists outside the universe is still fallacious, as the only reason given is that the impossibility of the contrary. This begs the question: why is it impossible for numbers to not exist outside the universe. The solution is selfevident: numbers don't physically exist in spacetime. Thus, they do not exist in the universe. Numbers obviously don't take up space, so it isn't that which inhabits the universe.

Rationalism, Causality, and Plato

The argument my opponent made here is one that, essentially, I am going to use as well: "it is a hasty conclusion. You don't just observe things that are seemingly linked and deduce they are linked". It is a hasty conclusion to conclude anything about a cause of the universe, of even if it exists at all. Any conclusion, in fact, is unjustified, so nailing any of them down as correct is fallacious.

Further, the new argument about the rational intuition falls under the basis of rationalism: a rationalist would acccept these statements as intuitively true. Though some are disputed, such as the Law of Excluded Middle, they are accepted. Further, for the Kalam argument to be logically sound, it must inhabit the realm of reason (an argument that is logically sound which uses, as my opponent has done, a dismissal of logic, is inconsistent, and therefore worse than invalid).

Characteristics of God

I am going to quickly state this case again: the argument in the first round claimed that it supposes a God that is transcendent, among other characteristics. These characteristics are unfounded as made in my previous argument.

The Horse analogy
The analogy is to say that, although it may seem that there must be some positive result - that is, some cause - it is not necessarily true. I agree with the claim we "don't have knowledge to know which one", or whether there is "an inevitable winner, or no winner" due to the simple truth that it could be any cause, or no cause at all. Thus, the characteristics of God are impossible. And if it does not have the characteristics of a God, then it simply is not a God, and thus the argument is not sound.

Again, I reiterate this is the final round to make the rounds we had equal. This was a very good debate, and it was certainly an intellectually stimulating one. Thank you, and due to the closeness of the debate, please be clear with the RFDs simply so we know where to improve. Thank you to my opponent and readers.

1 - http://en.wikipedia.org...;
phantom

Pro

I would again like to thank my opponent for a very good debate.

In concordance with the debate structure I will not post anything this round.

And also, as stated, please give my opponent the conduct point for my mix-up.
Debate Round No. 4
43 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
Not to mention the argument wasn't even mentioned by con once in the debate.
Posted by CarlosMarti123 4 years ago
CarlosMarti123
RoyLatham: "Classic presentation of the same old stuff. Kalam is an "argument from incredulity." An uncaused God is allowed, but not an uncaused universe. It doesn't work."

You have evidently misunderstood the argument right off the bat. I'm surprised you even dared cast a vote with such a poor understanding of the issue. If you had actually taken the bother to read the premises of the Kalam cosmological argument, the conclusion that the universe has a cause is based on the premise that it had a beginning. No similar situation exists for God, since nothing points to God, unlike the universe, having a beginning. Shame on you for voting without doing any research on the matter.
Posted by Reason_Alliance 4 years ago
Reason_Alliance
I sometimes respond late as well...
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
R_A, you vote too early.
Posted by Reason_Alliance 4 years ago
Reason_Alliance
SH, you cry too much.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
True
Posted by phantom 4 years ago
phantom
If it is a Vbomb, it will just cancel with Roys.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Oh, and the taxi-cab fallacy is no more of a fallacy than proposing more than one argument is fallacious.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
I think it's safe to say that this was a VB, in all honesty. I can't possibly think of an interpretation of "I'm taking my time reading it" to justify reasonably the vote. Nor does it make sense that the conduct would not be recieved if actually read all the way through.
Posted by Reason_Alliance 4 years ago
Reason_Alliance
Woe.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by cabio 4 years ago
cabio
Stephen_HawkinsphantomTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I do not feel that Con adequately responded to the claims of the Kalam Argument. In a way, Con has a near impossible job, since the argument has survived in the highest ranks of philosophers as being arguable for hundreds of years. Pro won.
Vote Placed by Reason_Alliance 4 years ago
Reason_Alliance
Stephen_HawkinsphantomTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Reasons for voting in comments
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Stephen_HawkinsphantomTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I agree with Pro that Con should get conduct here. Also, Pro did not sufficiently rebut the point that the creation of the universe would not follow the current criteria for causation (ex materia). Since this point stood, I feel Con had the better argument overall.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
Stephen_HawkinsphantomTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Classic presentation of the same old stuff. Kalam is an "argument from incredulity." An uncaused God is allowed, but not an uncaused universe. It doesn't work.
Vote Placed by CiRrK 4 years ago
CiRrK
Stephen_HawkinsphantomTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Though I find many faults with the argument, I vote Con based on the Material Problem. Phantom makes the fatal error of underestimating argument from the start and not sufficiently responding to it. The logic that Con provides goes pretty clearly extended: for the principle of causality to be pertinent it must be ex-materia, which the KCA relies on but then must abandon to apply to an ex-nihilo creation. As pointed out by Con, this creates an internal inconsistency in the argument.