The Instigator
Stephen_Hawkins
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
Rational_Thinker9119
Pro (for)
Losing
3 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 4 votes the winner is...
Stephen_Hawkins
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/16/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,326 times Debate No: 24938
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (85)
Votes (4)

 

Stephen_Hawkins

Con

The debate is as it is set out in the title, where the Kalam being that promoted by W.L.Craig, roughly:

Everything that begins has a cause
The Universe has a beginning
Therefore the universe has a cause
The cause is God.

God is defined as the deity of Abrahamic properties (i.e. properties of, or similar to, the Abrahamic God, such as powerful, intelligent, creator, etc.).

A sound "argument" would be one which rationally leads us to conclude a cause similar to God. This does not include the life of God, or the bible's accuracy, or the historicity of any event, but simply whether this argument accurately acts as a 'clue' that points towards God.
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

I'll play devil's advocate, and argue in favor of the Kalam Cosmological Argument.
Debate Round No. 1
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

Any argument, to be true, must follow a strict set of rules. To paraphrase Graham Oppy, dialectical efficacy is not enough: each premise involved must be true, and the argument must mean the conclusion necessarily follows. This means the premises must be, beyond reasonable doubt, true. So if I can rationally reject any premise, or its validity, then the argument cannot be sound.

“Everything that begins to exist has a cause”. This is the first premise of the Kalām: Craig’s defence of it being that it is “philosophically unobjectionable”. This is simply a hasty assumption by Craig: many disagree, myself included. As Oppy said, “Grünbaum [and I] observes on several occasions [that] many of us find it hard to make any sense of this suggestion”. The reason is simple: Craig conflates transformation with creation.

For others, the first premise appeals to the principle of causality: all effects have a cause. My aim is to show the disconnect of this with the topic at hand.

Causality is an idea stemming from Aristotle, one of the most prominent philosophers of time. Indeed, the principle of causality comes from Aristotle’s work. Causality itself, though, is part of four things: the four causes, or aitas, of Aristotelian causality. If we dismiss Aristotelian causality, we dismiss the principle of causality. So, we must learn more of this idea, in order to continue discussion of the subject. To make this clear, if I can show the universe doesn’t follow Aristotelian causality, then I have shown that the universe, by virtue of beginning, doesn’t need a cause.

Aristotle’s causality consists of four things: the material, formal, efficient and final cause. To explain, I shall use the analogy of a marble statue. When the statue was caused into being, to describe the cause, we need to know the four things that caused it. The first is the material cause: what was used to make the statue. In this case, a block of marble. Then, we need to know the formal cause – how it is organised to look as if it is a statue. So the statue’s organisation is the face, arms, etcetera. The efficient cause is what caused it into being – the chiseller of the statue. Finally, the final cause, is why it has been caused into being.

The first problem revolves around the material cause: the universe has none. If we believe my opponent, then the material cause of the universe is nothing: there is no material cause. God created the universe out of nothing. This shows explicitly that this is a case when we can’t employ the principle of causality: this is the difference between ex nihilo and ex materia creation. The universe doesn’t fit the necessary characteristics for having an Aristotlean cause. So how can it follow Aristotlean causality? The answer is it can’t: it does not follow the principle of causality. Further, the evidence of the first premise rests solely on ex materia causes. This extrapolation is, quite simply, absurd, and can be rationally dismissed.

There is another problem: things exist without efficient causes. Remember, the efficient cause is things without a causer. Atomic decay, for example, lacks cause. "It's not merely that we can't find any [cause]. It's that … there aren't any. The theory has been subjected to all sorts of experimental tests, and has passed with flying colours." Science, it seems, is on my side: the causality principle just doesn’t come up to scratch.

Thirdly, I wish to bring up points about the impossibility of an actual infinity. This is an interesting topic in itself: the idea stems from the Hilbert’s Hotel, which essentially states that there cannot be an actual infinity. But the problem here is quite simple: for every period of time, there’s a period of time before and after it. This is simple: time is that which is infinitely reducible. Meaning, I can keep getting smaller units of time, and these still exist. I may have 1x10-23 seconds, and reduce it further to 1x10-24 seconds. Further, I may have this time in the future. If this is true, then this infinity exists in actuality. Thus, the impossibility of the infinite regress is completely dismissed, and with it the need of an uncaused cause.

Moreover, we can state that the Hilbert’s Hotel analogy presupposes a beginning of a series, and infinity at the same time. As the Uncertainty Principle implies, we can know where we are relative to other events, and we can know the infinite size of the set of time we inhabit, but we cannot know both. How can we say we’re in the 3rd quartile of an infinite set? Mathematicians and logicians worth their salt would dismiss this as ludicrous: we know that the set is infinite, or we know whether we are before or after another place in the set, but we cannot rationally claim to know whether we are objectively at the middle of time in an infinite set, as the Hilbert’s Hotel analogy attempts to do.

While we are on the topic of time, I wish to bring up a further point: time itself. The Big Bang is defined as when time begins to exist. Yet, for the Big Bang to be an event, there must have been an external cause, according to P1 of the argument. This cause must have been “Prior to creation, there was no time at all, for time cannot exist unless there is change”[1]. But a cause prior to time is impossible: “The cause and effect must be contiguous (meaning next in sequence) in space and time”[2]. The Kalām promotes the idea that time began, yet this statement is inherently inconsistent. If time began, then there was a point of no time transitioning into time, which requires time to already exist! A horrible mess of inconsistent irrationalities.

I also wish to use a slightly more sophisticated argument of "who designed the designer": all I do is point to a simple dichotomy about the general argument. God, simply, is either something, or is nothing. If God is something, then we have every right to ask why something exists: the ultimate question of why there is something rather than nothing which Cosmological and Kalām arguments attempt to solve, goes unanswered. An explanation for God still is needed. Simply stating that God is necessary, or God never began, does not solve any problem: not only can we apply either of these to the universe, but we can still ask why God has these properties. Somewhere, we have to draw the line at where something is "just there". My opponent must justify why we must add a step and add the highly complex idea of God to it.

To conclude, I have made a series of objections on the Kalam. I object to it for misrepresenting causality to justify premises. I object to the misapplication of Aristotelean causality where it cannot suffice: namely that the universe requires a material cause and how aristotelean causality only applies for ex materia events. The argument also rests on events that begin have efficient causes, yet things without efficient causes begin to exist. An infinite past remains logically valid, and finally the Kalām argument contradicts our understanding of how time works. I await my opponent's opening argument and rebuttal to my case. Thank you for reading.


[1] Existence of God, W.L.Craig, page 87

[2] A Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume, Section XV

Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Premise 1


This premise can be supported a priori and a posteriori.


Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit

The principle of ex nihilo nihil fit (from nothing, nothing comes) can be backed up without need for any additional observation or confirmation. What is being referred to as "nothing", is non-being. Why is it impossible for being to come from non-being? Well, for this to have happened, there must have existed at least the potential for being. It is self-evident that without the potential for something to happen, it cannot happen because without potential, there is no possibility (potentiality and possibility are synonymous). However, if there would "be" this potential, then what we are discussing is not non-being. This potential for being would serve as the seed with regards to this being, and thus would be its cause. Therefore, something cannot come from nothing (being cannot come from non-being), and something would have to come from nothing in order for the first premise to be false. In sum, if something 2 comes from something 1, then something 1 is a reason something 2 exists, and thus would be its cause. There is little hope in a logical path one could take to prove this premise false.

Always Verified and Never Falsified

When a cup begins to exist, it has a cause. When a human begins to exist, this human has a cause. Basically, the first premise seems to be an intuitively true notion that is always verified no matter what the case. When things begin to exist, they always have a cause. Now, do we ever see tigers and baseballs popping into existence, uncaused? Of course not, this would be absurd. This means, based on observation, we have a posteriori support to back up the first premise as well as a priori support.


Premise 2

The Big Bang theory seems to provide compelling support to some people with regards to the universe having a beginning. However, we do not know exactly what was going on before Plank time (10-43 seconds) [1], so there were very plausible scenarios in which the universe could have not have had an actual beginning at one point. These theories are not plausible anymore however, this is because a paper by Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin demonstrated a definite finite past of the universe independently of any questions hanging regarding Plank time [2].

"It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning" - Alexander Vilenkin [3]

Based on modern cosmology, one can only conclude that the second premise is true.

Premise 3

The conclusion logically follows from the preceding premises, and the preceding premise are true. Thus, there is no escaping the conclusion: The universe has a cause.

Conflating Transition with Creation

Con seems to believe that Dr. William Lane Craig is confusing transition with creation. The problem with this argument, is that creation, and transition in this sense, both infer the beginning of an existence. Whether something is "created" (creatio ex nihilo) or there is a "transition" (creatio ex material), the point is that both of these situations involve something beginning to exist. If the universe began to exist from nothing, and by God, then it belongs to the set of "things which begin to exist". If a paper plane begins to exist from paper, and by a human, then it still belongs to the set of "things which begin to exist". Since both "creation" and "transition" in this sense infer the beginning of existence, then acting like there is some sort of confusion, is false.

Aristotle and Causation

One problem I see with this argument off the bat, lies within the The Final Cause:

- “the end, that for the sake of which a thing is done”, e.g., health is the end of walking, losing weight, purging, drugs, and surgical tools.

However, when two tectonic plates rub together and cause a mountain to begin to exists, there is no "sake of which the thing is done" (it is simply the a bi product Earth's movements). Basically, there are things which begin to exist without a final cause at all, and are just an accident or a bi-product of something else. If my opponent states that all four causes must be in place for something to be considered caused, then he resorts to having to claim that things like mountains are not caused.

"Note that Aristotle does not say that all four explanatory factors are involved in the explanation of each and every instance of natural change. Rather, he says that an adequate explanation of natural change may involve a reference to all of them." - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [4]

Basically, all four causes are not necessary in order for something to be considered a cause. These four causes are just what you will most likely find within nature. Thus, a beginning of something could lack a material cause, and still be considered caused.

Atomic Decay

My opponent states that atomic decay lacks an efficient cause, however he did not sufficiently support this with anything. He presented a quote without even mentioning who is he quoting. Also, if an atom is decaying, then what exactly is beginning to exist? Regardless, I already proved that something can be caused even without having all four Aristotelian causes in place.

Infinity

My opponent seems to not know the difference between a potential infinity and an actual infinity. You may have 1x10-23 seconds, and then be able reduce it further to 1x10-24 seconds and so an and so forth (ad infinitum). However, a complete infinite set of time with a specified unit in mind is impossible, even if a potentially infinite is possible. Regardless, if there was an infinite past, we never would have reached this point in time. If the lifespan of the universe is infinite, then there has not been, and never will be, enough time elapsed yet for us to reach this particular point in time we are in (it would take an infinite amount of time).

Who designed the Designer?

This argument fails for rather obvious reasons. To be the cause of the universe, is to also be the cause of time (the laws of physics along with time itself collapse at the initial singularity). The cause of time would have to be timeless, thus atemporally eternal. The cause would have to be atemporally eternal because time would not be a factor with regards to the existence of this cause. This means, that a beginning is not a factor with regards to this cause. If a beginning is not a factor, then asking what caused this timeless entity makes no sense. It would be atemporally eternal. The reason the universe needs a cause is because it began to exist, but since the cause of time must be timeless (thus, without beginning), it needs no cause.

Conclusion

The first premise must be true a priori and a posteri. Being cannot some from non-being. Also, this principle is always verified and never falsified. The second premise must be true we well, because it is logically necessary (an infinite number of past events is impossible), and it is concluded scientifically.

Now, Con based the bulk of this argument on the idea that all four causes of Aristotle need to be in place, in order for something to be considered caused. This is nonsense, as I pointed out, because many things begin to exist without a proper final cause, that are clearly caused. Also, Aristotle never claimed that all four things have to be in place in order for something to be considered caused. This was just his theory. Also, God need not be designed, because he is atemporal. The universe is temporal, thus, requires a cause.

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[3] Alexander Vilenkin: Many Worlds in One (P. 176)
[4] http://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

Ex Nihilo, aliquid fit

My opponent has named a couple of objections. The first of which is that from nothing, nothing comes, because nothing has no potentiality. Potentiality, though, necessarily predicates Aristotelean causality: potentiality and actuality are the two sides of Aristotelean causality. To put it quickly, from potentiality change occurs to create actuality. However, as Aristotle rightly noted, this creates a logical inconsistency with the creation of the world[1], and requires things that exist from nothing, or create from nothing. However, my opponent clearly disputes this when saying "something would have to come from nothing in order for the first premise to be false" - though more interestingly later claims falsity of Aristotelean logic, which is the justification for the argument.

Firstly, this means my opponent must now affirm that the universe was not created from nothing. This does not become solved simply by positing God, though. It must also posit eternal matter existing to be shaped and create the universe. Of course, once eternal matter is posited, the entire argument fails to be convincing, as the eternal matter is all that is needed to exist. The additional positing of God falls due to Ockham's razor: an unnecessary cause and complexity.

Secondly, my opponent must still posit some rational causal chain in order to be substantial in his argumentation. Scientists both agree that the laws of nature break down at the beginning of the universe[8], making observed phenomenon valueless in prediction[3], and it still suffers: "Aristotle makes it very clear that all his predecessors merely touched upon these causes...the use of causality was not supported by an adequate theory of causality. According to Aristotle, this explains why their investigation, even when it resulted in important insights, was not entirely successful."[4] Without this, the first premise still remains unsupported. After all, the scientific laws did not exist at the start of the universe, so we need a rational law. And no amount of empirical data creates rationalism. My opponent is trying to get out of this hole by not providing rationalist justification, but it is clear that empirical justification is not up to scratch, at a time when there is no empirical laws.

In short, put bluntly, my opponent is right in saying that I cannot posit a universe of pure potentiality. That is why the universe holds actuality. The eternal matter of the universe is necessary for not just my argument, but for my opponent's, to remain valid.

Never Verified and Never falsified makes Karl Popper an unhappy man.

As a reader, try to name an event without a material cause. This is an interesting proposition, and very relevant as the first premise rests on this event never occurring. Firstly, we have atomic decay, which is known to create new atoms from old ones, as well as many quantum effects[5] which is well agreed on among scientists to having none of the four causes. This alone would give falsification to the unbreakability of the principle of causality.

But further, let us look at the examples provided. A cup is made from pre-existing materials. A human is made of pre-existing materials. Yet the God Hypothesis does not state not only that we were made from non-pre-existing materials, but that we still need an efficient cause for such creation. This means that it no longer follows in the set of things created as per the rules of causality. What my opponent tries to do is equivocate the set of "things that begin to exist" with "things that begin to exist in accordance to the principle of causality". As these sets are hypothetical, we know already these sets are different because we can think of things that exist in one set but not the other. In short, to repeat what has already been said, my opponent needs to actually state, as well as justify, the principles of causality he is discussing.

The Final Cause

Ironically, my opponent has provided a criticism of his own case. Because the principle of causality is flawed - the principle based off of Aristotlean causality - we simply cannot use it to prove the first premise of the argument!

However, I wish to go over two things. Firstly, 'cause' in greek means aiton. We use 'cause' as it is the best translation, however, what we mean by the final cause is "what it is for". For writing on is what a table is for. The final cause of an earthquake is death and destruction ensuing (or the rubbing of the plates being for the beginning of an earthquake).

Secondly, the quote by stanford is simply false. One must realise that the source is written by philosophy undergraduates mostly - a group which are 99% of the time right, but in the treacherous realm of deciphering Aristotle's original writing, has had it's 1% of being wrong. The quotation defending the source is this: "Now, the causes being four, it is the business of the physicist to know them all, and as long as he refers his problems back to them, he will assign the [cause] in the way proper."[6] For us to appeal to causality, we must know them all.

Infinity

I actually agree with my opponent: a complete infinite set with a specific unit in mind is impossible. Asking "What is ten percent of infinity" is like asking "What is ten percent of multiplication?": it is nonsensical. This of course doesn't mean multiplication is impossible, anymore than this makes infinity impossible. And about how we'd get to now is quite simple. Imagine the set of all positive integers. The set is firstly infinite, and the set secondly has a beginning. Say we are at t=5. The beginning is t=1. Thus, we add 4 to get to where we are now. All time has elapsed.

Designing the designer

Firstly, the term "atemporally eternal" is inconsistent. If one is eternal, you are everlasting, and exists for all time, which necessarily means existent in time. One cannot be atemporally eternal anymore than one can be physically imaginary or a shape with no size. More importantly, though, the dilemma is not solved. I simply as "Why is there an eternal atemporal [inconsistent] designer?" So all problems exist.

Dropped points

We still have a severe problem of how God can create the universe. If he does so, he creates time. Further, creation is a change of state. This creates two problems. Firstly, God is changeless scripturally[7], but more importantly rationally. As god exists outside of time, yet he changes from not-creating to creating to not-creating of everything, for example, necessitates time to already exist. Thus, time must already exist. But, as time exists inside the universe, the universe must necessarily also exist already, which means there is no creation event by a god to cause it.

Further, I explicitly stated that the principle of causality only affects that which is created ex materia - or things with material causes, then I stated that the universe has no material cause. However, my opponent has only provided evidence that has material causes. This needs to be addressed.

Also...

I also wish to remind the audience that the Big Bang was not a creation of a thing, but an expansion event. In other words, the beginning of the universe is its expansion from pre-existing materials. Thus, the universe did not come from nothing, but pre-existing materials of the singularity. Did these materials come from nothing, or are eternal? Scientists opt for the latter[8]. In the same essay, Smoot et al. explains how the matter can interally cause a superexpansion due to how the unfathomably large amount of energy acts, and thus can act without external influence.

1 - Physics, Aristotle
2 - Metaphysics Book XII,
Aristotle
3 - http://www.hawking.org.uk...;
4 - http://plato.stanford.edu...
5 - http://tinyurl.com...
6 - http://tinyurl.com...;(minor structure changes in accordance to commentary); 198a 21-23; lecture 11.
7 - Genesis accounts, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, etc.
8 - Smoot, George, Davidson. Wrinkles in Time. p. 36
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

This will be very short.

Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit

My opponent is saying, that ex nihilo nihil fit actually hurts my case if I am trying to demonstrate a cause of the universe from nothing. This is false, because the potential for the universe would exist within God himself, not the "nothing" he created it from. My argument is that if there is non-being (which includes no God), then there would not even "be" potential for the universe to exist. This means, that I am rational for claiming that God could have created the universe out of nothing, but it would be absurd to think this would be possible without a cause.

Always Verified and Never falsified

My opponent contradicts himself here. He states that new atoms come from old ones with regards to this decay, and that none of the four caused are present. However, if an atom comes from another atom, then the other atom would be a material cause. Thus, it would still have a cause. Regardless, my opponent has just asserted these beginnings are uncaused without justification. This argument from Con should go ignored until he actually supports the idea that they are uncaused. Until then, the causal principle in the context of this debate remains never falsified and always verified.

Also, Con has not supported the idea that if not all four causes are present, then causality is not present with regards to a situation (he just presupposes it). An efficient cause is still an efficient cause, whether or not there is a material cause.

The Final Cause

Now, Con states:

"Ironically, my opponent has provided a criticism of his own case. Because the principle of causality is flawed - the principle based off of Aristotelian causality - we simply cannot use it to prove the first premise of the argument!"

However, he gave no proof to back up the claim that Aristotelian causality is absolute, or why the principle of causality has to follow his specific rules of causality. Until my opponent does this, his whole case is baseless here.


He also claims:

"However, I wish to go over two things. Firstly, 'cause' in greek means aiton. We use 'cause' as it is the best translation, however, what we mean by the final cause is "what it is for". For writing on is what a table is for. The final cause of an earthquake is death and destruction ensuing (or the rubbing of the plates being for the beginning of an earthquake)."

This is founded on confusion however. The final cause is based on that the thing is made for, not based on what it just so happens to do after it is made. Con basically has to resort to saying that the mountains weren't caused, since they were not made with any purpose. Of course, this is absurd. There is no reason why all four causes must be present in order to call something caused.

Infinity

Con says:

"Imagine the set of all positive integers. The set is firstly infinite"

"All" positive integers means an actual infinity. Which I already proved is absurd. You cannot have an actual infinity because you can always add one more.


Designing the designer

We do not have to use the word "eternal". We can just say the cause has to be timeless because he created time. Asking what caused God is useless, because only things with beginnings have causes, and God cannot have a beginning because he is timeless, and beginnings only have meaning with regards to things that are temporal.


Dropped points

God causes the universe to begin to exist simultaneously with it actually beginning (causally prior, not temporally prior). This means, the change (cause) would be occurring within time, but while there is no universe, God is timeless and changeless.


Also, yes. I only mention things that have material causes. However, if an omnipotent being thought that he wanted to create a universe, and it occurred from nothing, this means he caused the universe to begin. Causation simply refers to giving rise to something.

cause/kôz/





Noun:


A person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition.




[1]

Whether God gave rise to the universe from nothing, or something, makes no difference. He gave rise to it, and thus, we have causality by definition.

Also ...

The singularity could not have existed forever though, time had its first moment at The Big Bang according to modern cosmology. Thus, it must have had a beginning.

"Smoot et al. explains how the matter can internally cause a superexpansion due to how the unfathomably large amount of energy acts, and thus can act without external influence."

Does this internal causation adhere to all 4 causes?

Sources

[1] http://oxforddictionaries.com...


Debate Round No. 3
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

As this is the final round, no new argument should be brought up here. I'll attempt to round off the debate at this point as well.

The first premise: Everything that begins to exist has a cause

The first premise is a simple one, but has awkward consequences. As I have pointed out, causality is a sticky subject. The Kalām argument affirms an Aristotelean sense of causality to work, according to Craig[1], yet my opponent repeatedly rejected it. This, of course, is not an important criticism: my opponent could defend the argument using Liebnizian causality instead. However, instead of that, my opponent has, again, rejected to provide any causal system, to explain what causality is. Without actually stating what causality is, and how to explain something being caused, my opponent’s definition of causality is weak at best. Stating that causation is that which begins is just as flawed: for causality must be able to differentiate between different causes: meaning, the cause for, say, a chair, must be different from a statue. However, without providing for any useful definition of causality, my opponent is guilty of Aristotle’s criticism: without even an understanding what causality is, my opponent can hardly lecture on that which does or does not have causes. By contrast, I have put forth an explanation of what causality is. “It is the business of the physicist to know them”[3], after all. I have defended it to an extent, and pointed out the limitation of what causality can explain, which includes the lack of sufficient explanation for the beginning of the universe, yet my opponent rejects this. Thus, on two counts, my opponent has not shown anything regarding what causality is, and thus has not shown how the first premise is true, for he is stating “cause” without considering the metaphysical complication it leads to.

More on Aristotle

My opponent refers to potentiality again, saying where there is nothing, there is no potentiality. Ironically, by saying this, my opponent has to affirm the Aristotelean causality he has rejected, as potentiality and actuality rests on Aristotle’s cause system. However, as Aristotle makes explicitly clear, at the beginning, there cannot be potentiality, only actuality (causes to have occurred or be non-existent) for the start of the universe! After all, if there is potentiality, then it must change into actuality, which requires something already to exist to influence it. Meaning for God to actualise an event such as creating the universe, he must have some change to cause this, which makes no sense. Thus, at the beginning, there can be no potentiality. I am reiterating this from last round in more depth to make this clear: God or no, if there was potentiality at the beginning at the universe, as my opponent affirms, then he has created his own infinite regress: or at the very least a cause of God.

The sticky nature of causes

This interesting point becomes true time and time again: one ignores evidential claims. I have sourced this multiple times[4]: there is a giant consensus on subatomic particles being exempt to efficient causes, or the atoms lacking“the source of the primary principle of change or stability”. As a result, we say that these things are uncaused. It still has a formal cause and a material cause, but if it lacks any of the four causes, then it is not caused in the same way as, say, a chair. Imagine it this way: can you think of something which has all four causes, yet does not exist, or exists eternally? It is utterly impossible to do so. This is because, with all four causes, we can know fully of all objects. Even with the final cause, the truth is, it works in such a way that the final cause is “what we make of it”: what the object is used for is its final cause. Without knowing this, we cannot fully explain an object’s cause. Without this existing, though, there simply is no cause to discuss.

Aristotlean causality

This is simply a turn in every description of the word. Even if we reject Aristotelean causality, as I’ve stated repeatedly, my opponent has now got no way to explain what causality is, and thus we cannot say anything, in reality, about the causes of objects.

Infinities

Imagine the set of all positive integers. If you cannot tell what numbers are in the set, then the actual infinity is absurd. If you can tell what numbers are in the set, you know an actual infinity is not absurd; it’s as simple as that. You can always name another number in a set if you describe infinity in finite terms, just like you can always state different possibilities of what x could be in a mathematical equation y=x. This doesn’t make infinity impossible: it just means that your way of describing infinity is inefficient. If I describe this set as Aleph-zero, then I have fully described the set, just like by describing x I say “x”, not “one or two or three…”.

Designing the designer

This is the thing: no matter how you try to rationalise it, the question is still possible. “Why do timeless things exist” is still a possible question, and a perfectly rational one. “Why don’t more exist”, or even “why do any exist” are still feasible questions we can ask.

Causality

My opponent states causality is purely the efficient cause. However, if I said that “I made this chair from nothing”, I haven’t described at all the cause of the chair: all I have described is what was the changer. But if the chair wasn’t made from anything, but I made it, it is clear the chair doesn’t exist and I’m simply being mad. Similarly, if I said I made a chair, but it’s use was as a pylon, then I haven’t made a chair. All four causes are necessary to give a full account of what an object is.

Smoot

No. which affirms my side of the motion. The four causes are only true due to the world’s natural laws, but as they deteriorate at the beginning of time, and closer we get to the singularity, then the causality systems would stop applying.

Simultaneous causation

Never happened, never shall, never will. The idea needs to be expanded upon, as it is a vital crux of the argument, and is worrying that my opponent has only just mentioned this.

Dropped points

My opponent does not explain how changeless things can change from potentiality to actuality. Meaning, how a deity can go from not creating to creating the universe. This has been dropped twice now. My opponent has given no evidence that things that come from nothing have an efficient cause.

The evidence (such as atom decay) leads us to believe that, if something comes from nothing, then it has no efficient cause. Meaning, no material cause, no efficient cause. And as we know material causes are necessary for an efficient cause, which leads us to one conclusion: the universe, which comes from nothing, has no causer.

And again, because this is vital, my opponent still has not explained a system of causality to us. This essential debating point has been heavily ignored by my opponent, and thus essentially means the first premise is lacking substantiation.

I thank you for reading this debate. The argument by myself comes down to, in short, a critique of causality, and how causality occurs. For causality to be such a large portion of the argument, one must actually provide an explanation of causality. Not only has my opponent not, but I have provided the form of causality commonly used by W.L.Craig, and shown how inconsistencies arise between theology, rational thought and empirical data. Further, I have shown major problems with the impossibility of infinity, as well as what the kalam attempts to do as a whole. With all of this in mind, I urge a vote CON. Thank you.

1 - http://www.reasonablefaith.org...;
2 - http://plato.stanford.edu...;

3 – Physics, 198a

4 – www.tinyurl.com/chaloun

Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

A lot of what my opponent has said is correct, and do not really have good responses for his claims. I concede the debate.
Debate Round No. 4
85 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
I never knew you were consonant to being CON, I thought you were always vowel...
Posted by CarlosMarti123 4 years ago
CarlosMarti123
"Nothing you said below refuted anything I said."

I don't think it was meant to. Not every conversation consists in 'refuting.'

"Ex nihilo nihil fit means "being" cannot come from "non-being"."

My problem is not with the parts in quotes, but rather the part in-between them. I need to get a better understanding of what you mean when you say a wooden chair "began to exist from" a wooden tree, or a paper ball "began to exist" from a paper tee, since that will obviously affect how we understand "nothing comes from nothing" in the ex nihilo principle (which is what this whole conversation is about).
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Ex nihilo nihil fit means "being" cannot come from "non-being". Tree's would "be". If a chair began to exist from a wooden tree, and there was nothing internally going on within the tree, or the environment which could have caused the chair to begin to exist. Then, ex nihilo nihil fit could be true, with the first premise being false. To deny this, shows you don't know the meaning behind ex nihilo nihil fit.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Nothing you said below refuted anything I said. I presented examples of the first premise of the Kalam being falsified, with ex nihilo nihil fit being true. Thus, ex nihilo nihil fit cannot be used as prior support for the first premise. A wooden tree is not nothing, and paper is not nothing. If something began to exist from a tree, or paper, without a cause, ex nihilo nihil fit could still be true.
Posted by CarlosMarti123 4 years ago
CarlosMarti123
@'Rational_Thinker9119'

In both of the cases you presented, there is no guarantee that the ball is made out of the same paper that went missing from the sheet, or that the chair is made out of the same wood that went missing from the tree. For the sake of argument, however, I will assume this is the case. What these examples have in common, from what I understand, is that the *materials* that constitute the new entities were already present in old ones. In other words:

Principle. For every X and every Y, if X contains all the material constituents of which Y is made of, then Y comes from X.
Example A. If the paper sheet contains all the material constituents of which the paper ball is made of (paper), then the paper ball comes from the paper sheet.
Example B. If the wooden tree contains all the material contituents of which the wooden chair is made of (wood), then the wooden chair comes from the wooden tree.

Applying the above principle to 'nothing comes from nothing' results in:

Example C. If nothing contains the material constituents of which nothing is made of, then nothing comes from nothing.

But such a definition would reduce the ex nihilo principle to a logical tautology, rather than a causal principle. Since the antecedent is vacuously true, the consequent (assuming the implication is true) would also be vacously true. This doesn't seem to be the way "X comes from Y" is being used in the ex nihilo principle "nothing comes from nothing" to support the first premise of the argument.

"Contiguity in time and place is therefore a requisite circumstance to the operation of all causes."

I'm not sure how that is relevant to our discussion.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"Contiguity in time and place is therefore a requisite circumstance to the operation of all causes"- David Hume
Posted by CarlosMarti123 4 years ago
CarlosMarti123
"Hume also stated that applying causality to anything so general as the universe or matter is absurd, and breeds contradictions. Further, he warned of these problems of causality."

That depends on how exactly you 'apply' causality to the universe. Arguing for 'the universe has a cause' from 'everything in the universe has a cause' would, without any other premises, be invalid. However, that does not mean all such applications of causality are 'absurd,' otherwise I could arbitrarily declare that causality does not apply in a certain instance (i.e. fossil evidence) without any justification because it's 'absurd.'
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Hume also stated that applying causality to anything so general as the universe or matter is absurd, and breeds contradictions. Further, he warned of these problems of causality.
Posted by CarlosMarti123 4 years ago
CarlosMarti123
@Stephen_Hawkins

Furthermore concerning the historical interpretations of causality, even Hume wrote, "I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that something could arise without a cause."
Posted by CarlosMarti123 4 years ago
CarlosMarti123
"However, it certainly isn't me playing pool. That's a prerequisite, not a cause."

Actually, you playing pool is not *quite* a prerequisite either. There is a possible world where the red ball is put without you playing pool, or where your body is teared by a bullet without signing up for the army. If you deny the existence of non-sufficient and non-necessary (but contributory) causes, these are left as sort of 'ghostly events' should but don't actually bear any causal relations to those eves whatsoever. This is because they are neither necessary nor sufficient for the effects. In your framework of causation, that exhausts all possibilities. This is why I find the thesis you propose somewhat deficient for describing examples of causality in our world and what causality is.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
Stephen_HawkinsRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded, which is consonant with his personal position that there are no adequate justifications for the Kalam argument.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 4 years ago
KRFournier
Stephen_HawkinsRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded. Con's arguments were some of the best I've seen. I might be interested in debating Con on this subject at some point.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
Stephen_HawkinsRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Pro for his concession, arguments to Con for the same reason.
Vote Placed by Clash 4 years ago
Clash
Stephen_HawkinsRational_Thinker9119Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded, although he could have won having in mind that Con's arguments against the KCA was not, in my opinion, that very good - just like with all other objections against the KCA.