The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points
The Contender
Elusivetruth
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument For God Is Sound

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/5/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,083 times Debate No: 36406
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (50)
Votes (2)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Kalam Cosmological Argument For God's Existence


1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

4. If the universe has a cause, there exists an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe who sans the universe is beginningless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, changeless, and enormously powerful.

5. Therefore, there exists an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe who sans the universe is beginningless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, changeless, and enormously powerful.


Rules/ Stipulations


The burden will be on Pro to demonstrate that the KCA is a sound argument. My burden is to undermine the argument, and/ or the support for it. The first round will not be for acceptance, as my opponent will make his opening argument in the first round. However, in round 4, Pro must simply put:

"No argument will be posted here as agreed."

PS. I would respectfully ask that nobody who has been a debate on the KCA with me recently accept this debate. I want to keep it fresh.
Elusivetruth

Pro

Hi, I'm Elusivetruth and this is my first debate here. I look forward to stimulating debate and discussion. I may not immediately take this in the direction you may expect but stay with me. By the way... my approach is kinda philosophical so I won't be citing many sources, at least not yet. Anyway, good luck.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

4. If the universe has a cause, there exists an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe who sans the universe is beginningless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, changeless, and enormously powerful.

5. Therefore, there exists an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe who sans the universe is beginningless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, changeless, and enormously powerful.

If one accepts all the above as true then the Creator caused the universe whether directly or indirectly. By this I mean to say that there may be a chain of causation extending between the Creator and the beginning of the Universe.

The Creator could have worked from a far higher level than we can comprehend. We barely understand the workings or origins of the Universe. We are not at a point where we can conclusively claim that the phenomena we observe in the world around us are not the results of design. Who is to say that the phenomena we observe is not the result of "programming" not unlike but far greater than the programming in a complex computer game?

The phenomena observed and explained by science can seemingly be described or explained by theories and laws[1]. While some claim it is our own perception and interpretation of the world around us, there seems to be order and organization to the world and the universe. Scientific theories and facts, suggest that phenomena in the universe around us are not as random as they may at times seem.

Many phenomena are and have been considered random until science figured out the how and what of them. As we continue to advance in our understanding of the world, phenomena which didn't make sense, turn out to have reasons which are perfectly logical. Is this logic simply of our own making, or is there an inherent order in the world around us?

Consider for a moment that we still have much to learn about the universe, and that it is highly likely that we would understand and explain a great deal more over the centuries and millenia to come. Anything that can be observed can likely be explained by science with enough time and the right technology. As the body of scientific knowledge grows, laws become more apparent, connecting various phenomena. If you were to for a moment imagine that we understood the universe entirely, would it be strange to find out that it operates according to a few changeless Principles existing since the beginning of the universe?

With that in mind is it so impossible or hard to believe that a Creator existing outside of the Universe and not bound by it's Principles could have been the one to design and cause the Principles? Keep in mind the nature of the world as we know it... from quantum physics all the way up to the cosmic level. How does one explain an ocean of energy randomly forming itself into the universe that we can scientifically observe and explain by chance? Is it not logical and perfectly possible that Principles have guided the formation and operation of the universe?

Such Principles being designed by a Creator is perfectly possible and logical even. If our entire universe is essentially a vast ocean of energy, then the Principles which transformed it into the variety of phenomena we observe and experience would have to be caused. An Ocean of energy does not simply organize itself and start producing a universe and phenomena that we happen to make sense of.

I suggest that the Creator could have caused our Universe, whether directly or otherwise, by designing and creating Principles that formed, guide, and operate our Universe. Is the KCA therefore sound? I suggest that it is. I say nothing about probabilities or other sound possibilities but I don't see why the KCA is not a sound argument.

I'm looking forward to your rebuttal, and I'm curious where you will take things. It's a bit strange arguing from somebody else's premises but it's a fun challenge.

Cheers!

1. http://www.livescience.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Introduction

I thank my opponent for his arguments. However, they ultimately fail.

Rebutting My Opponent

Pro has only argued that God is possible, not that God exists. The Kalam Cosmological Argument is an argument attempting to show that God exists, not that God is just merely possible. Since Pro has the burden of proof to show all the premises are true, and my opponent failed; the conclusion has not been established. Additionally, Pro has not shown that his dichotomy of either "pure chance" or "God" is a true-dichotomy (it is in no way self-evident).

Did The Universe Come Into Being?

If the Kalam Cosmological Argument was sound, then God would be required to explain the universe. I am going to show indirectly that the argument cannot be sound, as the universe can be explained without any appeal to God at all. Pro talks about how energy just appeared. However, by "appear" this means "come into being". It is not clear that the universe came into being, even if it did indeed have a finite past.

There is a distinction between:

(1) A starting moment of the universe (a 1st state)

(2) A starting moment of the universe which came into being from no starting moment of the universe, e.i. "nothing" (transition from no 1st state, to a 1st state)

(1) follows from (2), as the truth of (1) is included in (2) itself. There is no logical or metaphysical link requiring (2) to follow from (1). An a posteriori argument will not work, as any examples will involve parts of the universe, not the universe as a whole itself. Arguments for a finite past (The Big Bang, Philosophical arguments ect.) only demonstrate, at best, (1) not (2). If A-Theory is true and the universe has a finite past, it would not follow that the universe came into being, or violates ex nihilo nihil fit under Atheism. This means, that a finite past of the universe is not sufficient to establish that the universe came into being. In order for it to be true that the universe came into being, the universe must have been out of being (pasty tense not necessary, any type of prior state of affairs established would work). The theist hasn't established that the universe has ever been out of being. It certainly does not follow from a finite past, and is not synonymous with it.

Dr, Craig has a definition of coming into being:

e comes into being at t if and only if (i) e exists at t, (ii) t is the first time at which e exists, (iii) there is no state of affairs in the actual world in which e exists timelessly, and (iv) e’s existing at t is a tensed fact.[1]

The definition is insufficient. This is because it only speaks on a starting moment of the universe, not a starting moment of the universe that came from no starting point of the universe. Also, time is tensed under the Moving Spotlight Theory of time but it is an eternalist theory of time[2]. Meaning that a universe under an eternalist framework would have to come into being under Craig's definition, which is simply not the case. Philosophers Richard Swinburne and Adolf Grunbaum have a definition as well[3]. It can be formulated like this:

e comes into being at t if and only if (i) e exists at sometime t and (ii) there is time prior to t at which e does not exist.

The above definition is not sufficient, because even though priority is necessary, there is no reason why temporal priority is necessary. I developed a sufficient definition with regards to a coming into being:

e comes into being at t if and only if (i) e exists at t, (ii) t is the first time at which e exists, (iii) prior to t, is out of being, and (iv) eternalism is false

The above describes a true coming into being, not just a finite past. Also, it solves the problem of Dr. Craig's definition pertaining to the Moving Spotlight Theory.

Here is a diagram (assuming non-eternalism) showing the difference between a true coming into being, and just a finite past:



My definition actually describes the model in the top frame, which makes it sufficient. So, while the universe may have had a first state, that doesn't mean that the first state came into being. My opponent must not only show that the universe has a finite past, but that the universe actually began to exist. This has not been accomplished, and Pro has the burden of proof to establish the resolution.

If The Universe Came Into Being, Can This Be Explained Without God?

If we define the universe as time, space, and everything within space; the universe can be explained without God. Alexander Vilenkin's model of comic origins[4] describes the universe emerging from a quantum tunneling event (without a sufficient cause) with a finite size (a = H-1) and with a zero rate of expansion or contraction (da/dt = 0). It is plausible that the universe emerged in a symmetric vacuum state without an initial cause, which then decayed with the inflationary era beginning; and after this era ended, the universe evolved according to the standard Big Bang model. Space-time and energy would emerge out of a void with no space or time. This means that there is no infinite regress implied by the model.

Conclusion

Even if the universe had a starting point, that doesn't mean the starting point came into being from no starting point. We have no solid reason to conclude that the universe began to exist. Also, even if it did, the universe can be explained by the laws of physics, without God needed (space-time is contingent upon the laws of physics, not the other way around).

Thus, the Kalam Cosmological Argument fails.

Sources

[1] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[2] http://web.mit.edu...
[3] http://commonsenseatheism.com...
[4] Alexander Vilenkin: "Many worlds in one: The search for other universes" (P. 181)

Elusivetruth

Pro

I thank Con for his arguments. I must however disagree with a number of points he brings up.

Before we begin I will quickly clear up a misunderstanding. I need not prove that God exists in order to prove that the KCA argument is sound. My burden in this debate is to "demonstrate that the KCA is a sound argument". Nothing more and nothing less. While the KCA argument may indeed be trying to show that God exists, my own arguments are only meant to show that the KCA argument is sound. God does not need to be proven to exist for this to be demonstrated.

Con says the following: "the argument cannot be sound, as the universe can be explained without any appeal to God at all."

What Con is essentially saying is that if the universe can be "explained" without any appeal to God then the KCA argument is not sound. This is not necessarily logical or true.

Things can be explained in any number of ways, and one explanation has no bearing on how sound another explanation is. Let us therefore say for a moment that Con successfully explains the universe without appeal to God. Let us even go as far as to say that his argument is sound. Does this invalidate any other explanations of the universe? Other explanations of the universe are irrelevant and have no bearing on how sound the KCA argument is. We are judging and assessing the KCA argument, not making comparisons.

Con says the following: "Pro talks about how energy just appeared."

I do not believe I made such a claim, but allow me to clarify anyway.

I refer to the fact that our universe is essentially a vast ocean of energy. According to quantum physics everything in the universe can be broken down into elementary particles[1]. One could therefore essentially say that the entire universe is like an ocean of elementary particles. These particles behave as both particles and waves and their motion is inherently random[2]. This is the metaphorical "ocean of energy" that our universe is made up of, from the smallest to the largest scale.

My argument was that the universe is essentially an ocean of energy, made up of elementary particles. These miniscule particles that behave like both waves and particles, and move in an inherently random manner, have somehow come to form the universe as we know it. This is, by the way, what I mean when I say "come into being" or "beginning to exist".

Why and how have the elementary particles formed the atoms and molecules that make up the matter of the universe? How has the matter in turn evolved into the universe itself. And within the universe how has matter spontaneously developed into Earth, the Sun, trees, humans, cars, books e.t.c? Last but not least... why can we seemingly explain and understand the world around us, and find patterns and organization in various aspects of our reality?

The KCA argues that the universe was created by God, and that through whatever means He used, the universe formed and operates as it does. Is this less sound than the idea of elementary particles coincidentally and inexplicably forming into the universe in all it's diversity and complexity?

Con says the following: "It is not clear that the universe came into being, even if it did indeed have a finite past."

If the universe has a finite past, that implies that it came into being no matter how you slice it. Let us for a moment say that before the universe "formed" there was an infinite ocean of elementary particles. At that moment the universe did not exist, but it developed to form the universe. Just like none of us existed until our parents conceived us. Did we come into being out of nothing? No. Did we already exist as ourselves before being conceived? No. Likewise the universe was not the universe as we know it before the Big Bang... and therefore the universe essentially "came into being".

The KCA argument may not define exactly how the universe was caused or what existed before it(other than God)... but nowhere does it say that the universe came out of nothing. The KCA argument claims that there was at the very least God, before the universe... who knows what chain of "things" and causes there may be between God and the universe?

The KCA does not claim to know what existed before the universe, other than God. God is at the very least something... even if He is immaterial. Remember by the way that matter is made up of elementary particles which behave as waves and particles. Can one truly call these particles material? Our entire universe is essentially immaterial in that sense.

Cause and Effect. Time and Space.

Cause and effect is a concept that only makes sense in the context of time and space. If we speak of the universe beginning therefore, a problem does indeed arise. Did time and space begin with the universe? Or did they exist before the universe.

What if we for a moment flip the question around. Will the universe ever stop existing? And if it does will time and space also stop existing? I would say no to both. But, let's say that the universe does stop existing at some point, whether it implodes, explodes, disintegrates, or whatever. Does time end at that moment?

In fact what is the meaning of time beginning or ending in the first place? Beginning and ending are meaningless in reference to time itself, because they are both terms that only have meaning in relation to and within the context of time.

With that in mind I would argue that, time is a tangent with no real relevance to the issue at hand. The KCA says nothing about time, it only says that whatever begins to exist has a cause and the universe began to exist. Don't get caught up trying to figure out how time fits into the whole picture. It's a paradox... time can not begin because there is no meaning to "beginning" without time. The universe and time are two different things. The KCA argument claims that the universe began, it does not claim that time began.

Conclusion

Coming back full circle, I spoke of order in the previous round and earlier in this one. Order and organization are surely caused? There are phenomena which can be explained by laws and theories, can one claim that they came about without cause? Why should the universe, if you for a moment think of it as a phenomenon, be any different? Is Con essentially arguing that the universe has no cause?

What seems more logical? A universe intentionally being caused to exist whether directly by God or otherwise... or a universe "emerging" spontaneously and randomly developing.

The KCA argument may not definitively prove God, and it is not the only viable or logical possibility, but it is sound.

I thank my opponent for their arguments, and hope I made myself clear to both him and my audience. I look forward to the next round.

1. http://www.thingsmadethinkable.com...

2. http://library.thinkquest.org...



Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Con





Clearing Up Some Confusion


I think Pro is confused. The Kalam Cosmological Argument is an argument trying to show that God exists. So, yes, Pro does have to show God exists to win this debate. Pro has to show that all 5 premises of the argument are true. My opponent just misses the entire point of this debate. If I can explain the universe without appealing to God, then the Kalam Cosmological Argument fails. This is because if the Kalam Cosmological argument succeeded, then the existence of God would be logically deduced; God would be the only explanation of the universe. Thus, the very fact that my explanation has not be shown false, proves that this debate has already been won in my favor.

Pro's Energy Argument

"My argument was that the universe is essentially an ocean of energy, made up of elementary particles. These minuscule particles that behave like both waves and particles, and move in an inherently random manner, have somehow come to form the universe as we know it. This is, by the way, what I mean when I say 'come into being' or 'beginning to exist'."

This is an incoherent view of "beginning to exist" though. Thus, it can be dismissed. The particles cannot form, or create the universe as the particles (even in a superposition state) are part of the universe. Self-evidently, a part of the universe cannot "form" or "create" the universe. Nothing my opponent said can be reasonably interpreted as philosophically sound explanation of "begins to exist".

Pro then goes on to say that God is the cause according to the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Obviously, I know this, as I am the one that provided the argument to be debated over here in the first place. Pro has to show that God caused the beginning of the existence of the universe. Pro hasn't even tried to meet his burden of proof.

Coming Into Being/ Finite Past

My opponent says that no matter who you slice it, a finite past means a coming into being. This is obviously false. There is self-evidently no logical or metaphysical link requiring that something with a finite past, comes into being necessarily. I proved this in my last round by showing a clear different between a universe that just has a finite past and came into being, and a universe that just has a finite past:



This diagram proves that a universe that just as a finite past is conceivable, without the universe having to come into being (like on the top diagram). Therefore, Pro's claim that a finite past necessitates a coming into being is not true. If the universe has just has a finite past, then it doesn't "come from" at all. Thus, the problem of the universe "coming from nothing" is avoided. All we know is that the universe has a finite past, that does not mean that it came into being.

Cause and Effect. Time and Space.

I agree that if the universe began to exist, it had to have a cause. However, there is no reason why this cause has to be God. Pro still has not met his burden. Also, Pro says something utterly outrageous:

"The KCA says nothing about time, it only says that whatever begins to exist has a cause and the universe began to exist. Don't get caught up trying to figure out how time fits into the whole picture."

The nature of time has everything to do with the Kalam Cosmological Argument (well, not everything, but it plays a huge role). William Lane Craig even admits that the entire Kalam Cosmological Arguments rests on the A-Theory of time:

"From start to finish, the Kalam Cosmological Argument is predicated upon the A-Theory of time. On a B-Theory of time, the universe does not in fact come into being or become actual at the Big Bang; it just exists tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block that is finitely extended in the earlier than direction. If time is tenseless, then the universe never really comes into being, and, therefore, the quest for a cause of its coming into being is misconceived." - William Lane Craig[1]

The reason is that temporal becoming is a necessary condition for anything to come into being. If B-Theory is true though, then there is no temporal becoming:

“[T]he theory of relativity conceives of events as simply being and sustained relations of earlier and later, but not as 'coming into being'” - Adolph Grunbaum

We have good scientific grounds for the claim that B-Theory is true, and thus, the claim that the universe did not begin to exist. This rests on Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity. Einstein's theory has been tested time and time again, and has passed flying colors. The most scientifically feasible interpretation of this theory is the Minkowski space-time view[2]. This is due to its success with making testable predictions that have been verified (time dilation and length contraction[3]), and it has more explanatory rigor with regards to time dilation and length contraction than other interpretations. This interpretation proves B-Theory but spells death for A-Theory, because A-Theory entails a universal "now" moment. The Minkowski space-time view entails that there is no universal "now" moment, and that the past, and future exist (which is exactly what B-Theory posits). Minkowsian space-time is the most scientifically sound interpretation of Special Relativity.

In sum, we actually have good philosophical and scientific grounds to support the claim that the universe did not begin to exist. This is because, as William Lane Craig notes, even if the universe has a finite past, the universe doesn't begin to exist if B-Theory is true (as I have argued, this is even possibly true for A-Theory, but it is metaphysically necessary as far as B-Theory is concerned). I have argued that Special Relativity demonstrates B-Theory. Thus, Pro has no escape; even with a finite past, that doesn't mean the universe came into being. Many philosophers agree that Special Relativity proves B-Theory:

"As it turns out, it is actually impossible to find any objective and universally acceptable definition of 'all of space, taken at this instant.' This follows … from Einstein’s special theory of relativity. The idea of the block universe is, thus, more than an attractive metaphysical theory. It is a well-established scientific fact." - Rudy Rucker[4]

"Special relativity [by itself] appears to provide a definite proof of the block universe view." -Vesslin Petkov

Vilenkin's Modal

Pro has not shown that Vilenkin's modal of cosmic origins is false, thus he has not shown P4 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument to be true. Under this model, the universe is "caused" by a zero energy state describable by the laws of physics which allow space, time, and energy to spontaneously be created; no God needed. This model abides by all the laws of physics. This mean, P4 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is refuted. P4 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is:

"If the universe has a cause, there exists an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe who sans the universe is beginningless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, changeless, and enormously powerful."

However, Alexander Vilenkin's modal proves that the universe can be explained without God. This means that P4 is either false, or extremely unlikely based on the support given for it. Pro has to show that the universe cannot be explained without God.

Conclusion

Pro completely dodged most of my arguments in a hand-waving fashion. Even if the universe has a finite past, that doesn't mean it came into being (this is true "anyway you slice it"). Pro also claims that time has nothing to do with the KCA, when the entire argument depends on A-Theory being true. I showed (by using Special Relativity), that the B-Theory of time is probably true. Ergo, the second premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is probably false. My opponent hasn't come anywhere near close to meeting his burden of proof.

Sources

[1] The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, pp. 183-184
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...
[4] The Fourth Dimension, p. 149.
Elusivetruth

Pro

I thank my opponent for his enlightening arguments. I admit that I had not realized I needed to prove all premises true. I'm a little out of my element in formal debate, and some terms still elude me. That included the significance of the term "sound" in this context. I would argue that the KCA argument is inherently inductive rather than deductive, but that isn't the resolution I accepted so never mind that.

Explaining "Begins to Exist"

Since this seems to be so important to Con, I will take the time to briefly explain what this means. Begins to exist only has meaning in relation to time. Within the context of time, it means that at a moment in time something did not exist, and later it came into existence. A house does not exist in a meadow at one point in time... and few years later a house has been built and has therefore come to exist in that meadow. Simple.

Now outside of the context of time, "begins to exist" has no meaning. Neither I nor the KCA argument however have argued that the universe lies outside the boundaries of time. And if Con would like to make such an argument... that is fine, but he can take on the burden of proof for it himself.

Below in Rebuttal 1, I will show why B-Theory does not make sense, and in Rebuttal 2 I will show why it is logical that the universe began to exist.

Rebuttal 1

The B-Theory of time, as explained by Con, seems to be an argument which is not sound. If the premises behind the B-Theory are not true, then the whole argument founded upon the B-Theory has no merit.

The B-Theory as explained by Con proposes that the universe is a four-dimensional space-time block that simply exists tenselessly. It serves no purpose, goes through no changes of any kind, and ironically "emerges" in a completed state. While it does have a finite past, it wasn't caused and doesn't go through any process of development or becoming... because at its starting point it is already complete.

Note by the way that emerge means "To become manifest" or "To rise from"[1].

Now, I ask a simple question... if the universe itself has no cause, and did not begin to exist, can anything within the universe have a cause or begin to exist? No. You see, if the universe is a four-dimensional space-time block, that was not caused and did not begin to exist... then it logically follows that no aspect or part of that block could have been caused or begun to exist either. Why? Because if the universe existed in a complete state from its starting point, then no part of it went through a process of becoming and no part of it was caused.

I will remind the readers that Con claimed that if B-Theory is true "then there is no temporal becoming." This essentially means that Causality does not exist in B-Theory time.

Even if the B-Theory is true

It would mean that cause as it applies within the universe could be applied to the universe itself as well if it has a finite past. A finite past would suggest that the universe is inside something in the same way that we are inside the universe. It may be a larger four-dimensional block of space-time, or something with even more dimensions beyond space-time. Whatever it is, the universe would have the same relation to it, that we have to the universe; in which case the universe would have been "caused" within the greater block.

If we therefore claim that anything at all is caused within the universe... there is no logical reason to claim that the universe itself was not caused.

Rebuttal 2

I appreciate the pictures Con has provided to "prove" how the universe didn't come into being, I'm not however sure how it constitues evidence of anything. Just because you draw something a certain way doesn't prove your argument. I also haven't failed to note Con's wonderful argument that goes a little something like this.

"There is self-evidently no logical or metaphysical link requiring that something with a finite past, comes into being necessarily."

Let us do some substitution and see what happens.

There is self-evidently no logical or metaphysical link requiring that a house with a finite past, comes into being necessarily. Hmmmm... the house wasn't built? I can't quite bring myself to accept that proposition. It seems therefore that it is indeed self-evident that something with a finite past, comes into being. At least that can certainly be argued in the vast majority of cases... why the universe is an exception is something Con should explain. And perhaps he should give us actual evidence that a finite past does not necessarily mean coming into being.

Rebuttal 3

Con says the following "All we know is that the universe has a finite past, that does not mean that it came into being"

Well... if it does not mean that the universe came into being... then does it mean that the universe did not come into being?

My Arguments

A lot of my arguments in the previous round were not addressed.

First of all there is the "energy argument" as Con calls it. I argued that energy(elementary particles) existed at or before the beginning of the universe, like ingredients, but there is no explanation for how the ingredients(elementary particles) came together to form the universe in all it's complexity and diversity. The quantum level is still not understood very well, and is as such new territory. This does not however justify the proposition that a phenomenon on the quantum level has no cause. Just because a cause is not known, does not mean that it is not there. Yet this is exactly what Con proposes.

The KCA argument essentially states that anything that begins to exist has a cause. Why should this not apply to the quantum level of existence? Quantum fluctuations are not excempt from having causes. Neither their size nor their nature means that they have no cause.

As such any event or phenomenon of any scale is included in the first premise of the KCA argument. That also applies to anything with a finite past, unless there is evidence that said thing essentially has no past at all and is eternal. If it has a past, it has a cause according to the KCA argument. Based on that premise only something eternal is exempt. There is no evidence to suggest that the universe, which began with the big bang, is eternal. Therefore the universe had a cause, no matter how tiny, spontaneous or insignificant it may seem.

A cause by definition is "a person or thing that acts, happens, or exists in such a way that some specific thing happens as a result"[2]. Under this definition there is no way for Con to claim that the universe has not been caused. Whether it was a quantum fluctuation, a quantum tunneling event, or anything else. If the universe exists as a result of any occurence, phenomenon, event, action, or for any reason at all it was caused by said reason.

The KCA argues that the universe was caused. And as such scientific evidence, such as the Big Bang supports that idea.

The B-Theory only proves that the universe did not have a cause under one condition. And that condition is that the universe does not have a finite past. The universe must have no past at all for the B-theory to preclude a cause.

Unfortunately I do not have space to argue why God was the cause, I did already provide the gist of the argument in previous rounds however. Some of which were completely ignored or overlooked by Con. It has never the less been a pleasure debating... though there wasn't enough time or space to take things all the way.

I hope I at the very least gave readers some food for thought.


1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
2. http://dictionary.reference.com...












Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Con





Definition Of Begins To Exist

"it means that at a moment in time something did not exist, and later it came into existence." - Pro

However, what if the first state of the universe was the first moment of time itself? This means, there couldn't have been a time before that in which the universe was non-existent. Thus, the universe did not begin to exist under this very definition. If Pro wants to use this definition, then he must show that there was a "prior" to the universe at which the universe = out of being. This has not been accomplished. For all we know, the first state of the universe was the first moment of time itself (making a "temporally prior" to that logically impossible). Since Pro did not rule this possibility out, then by this definition; the beginning of the existence of the universe has not been established.

B-Theory

"The B-Theory as explained by Con proposes that the universe is a four-dimensional space-time block that simply exists tenselessly. It serves no purpose, goes through no changes of any kind, and ironically "emerges" in a completed state." - Pro

The above is incoherent. A B-Theory universe doesn't "emerge", a B-Theory universe just exists tenselessly eternally.

My opponent then goes on to say:

"Now, I ask a simple question... if the universe itself has no cause, and did not begin to exist, can anything within the universe have a cause or begin to exist? No. You see, if the universe is a four-dimensional space-time block, that was not caused and did not begin to exist... then it logically follows that no aspect or part of that block could have been caused or begun to exist either. Why? Because if the universe existed in a complete state from its starting point, then no part of it went through a process of becoming and no part of it was caused." - Pro

The above is correct. However, this undermines B-Theory none. B-Theory acknowledges that change and causality as we know it do not ontologically exist; they are just illusions of consciousness. Pro has not shown why this is a problem.

"A finite past would suggest that the universe is inside something in the same way that we are inside the universe." - Pro

Pro has not shown how a finite past suggests anything of the sort. Therefore, this remains a bare-assertion, and can be dismissed. Why couldn't the universe just be self-existent and self-explanatory, without needed to be inside anything?

My opponent did not even come close to undermining B-Theory. Pro also completely ignores my scientific argument in favor of it in the last round. Since B-Theory remains unscathed by Pro's objections; it stands. Thus, I have shown the universe probably did not begin to exist indirectly.

A Finite Past =/= A Coming Into Being

"I appreciate the pictures Con has provided to "prove" how the universe didn't come into being" - Pro

The above is a straw-man. The pictures don't "prove" the universe did not come into being. The pictures show that a universe can have a finite past, but not come into being. Thus, more has to be established than a finite past before we can say the universe began to exist. Pro completely misses the entire point of the diagram.

"There is self-evidently no logical or metaphysical link requiring that a house with a finite past, comes into being necessarily." - Pro

The above is absolutely correct. We know that the house began to exist, because before the first state of the house, the house did not exist. However, the universe as a whole is different because there is no reason to think there even is a "before" the universe. Regardless, this is fallacy of composition from Pro. Even if everything inside the universe that has a finite past, began to exist; it wouldn't follow that if the universe as a whole has a finite past, that it began to exist.

"It seems therefore that it is indeed self-evident that something with a finite past, comes into being." - Pro

It is only self-evident that parts of the universe that have a finite past, come into being. It is not obvious for the universe as a whole. This, once more, is a fallacy of composition from Pro. Since Pro's argument here is based on an elementary logical fallacy; it can be discounted.

"Well... if it does not mean that the universe came into being... then does it mean that the universe did not come into being?" - Pro

The above is a logical fallacy known as a false-dichotomy. A third option would be; it means that we can't determine whether the universe came into being or not, strictly off of the basis of a finite past. Remember that Pro has the burden of proof.

Pro's Arguments

Pro said that I did not address his arguments, when I did address them sufficiently. He argued that particles served as a seed for the universe. I showed in my last round that this entails a logical contradiction. Particles are an inherent part of the universe. It is logically incoherent for a part of the universe, to be a seed for the whole of the universe to exist. Thus, the idea that particles served as an ingredient to the universe makes no sense at all. Since Pro did not respond to this in his last round, I find it ironic that he talks about me not addressing his arguments. Pro is the one not addressing arguments.

"Just because a cause is not known, does not mean that it is not there. Yet this is exactly what Con proposes." - Pro

It is not that a cause is unknown, it is that there are no causes of certain quantum events at all. In order for virtual particles to be sufficiently caused for example, there would have to be "hidden variables" that we do not know about (which my opponent is alluding to). This requires a deterministic interpretation of quantum mechanics. However, local hidden variables have been ruled out by Bell's inequalities [1], and non-local hidden variables have been ruled out by Leggett's inequalities[2]. Thus, it is not that no cause is known; scientifically, there can be no sufficient cause of certain quantum events. Pro has not shown that something beginning to exist without a sufficient cause, can still be deemed a caused coming into being.

"Under this definition there is no way for Con to claim that the universe has not been caused." - Pro

Even with the definition provided, it is not clear why the universe has to have been caused. Pro just assumes this without any argument.

"The B-Theory only proves that the universe did not have a cause under one condition. And that condition is that the universe does not have a finite past." - Pro

The above is false. Even with a finite past, the universe still does not come into being under B-Theory. Ergo, there is no reason to posit a cause of the universe. I have even argued that under A-Theory a finite past of the universe does not equate to a coming into being.

Pro then completely ignores defending P4 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. I already proved, by appealing to Alexander Vilenkin's model of cosmic origins, that God is not needed to explain the universe.

Conclusion

All of Pro's arguments were based on elementary logical fallacies. I showed that B-Theory is probably true by appealing to the Minkowsi space-time interpretation of Special Relativity, and why it is probably the correct interpretation. Since B-Theory is probably true, then the second premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is probably false. Pro did not even provide any arguments in favor of the universe beginning to exist. I also showed that a finite past doesn't entail a "coming into existence". Additionally, even if we accept that the universe began to exist, Vilenkin's model shows how this can occur naturalistically. This means, God is not needed

Not a single premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument has been shown true by Pro. The resolution has been negated.

Sources

[1] http://phys.org...
[2] http://www.quantumphil.org...

PS. This is just a reminder that the debate is now over. In Pro's last round, Pro must only put: "No argument will be posted here as agreed".
Elusivetruth

Pro

No argument will be posted here as agreed.
Debate Round No. 4
50 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
I'll be voting on this soon.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
That's all assuming A-Theory. As a B-Theorist, it is self-explanatory my position on how the universe did not begin to exist. William Lane Craig (the biggest mainstream supporter of the argument) agrees with me:

"From start to finish, the Kalam Cosmological Argument is predicated upon the A-Theory of time. On a B-Theory of time, the universe does not in fact come into being or become actual at the Big Bang; it just exists tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block that is finitely extended in the earlier than direction. If time is tenseless, then the universe never really comes into being, and, therefore, the quest for a cause of its coming into being is misconceived." - William Lane Craig

So, if B-Theory is true, then the Kalam is easily avoided. Science and logic favor B-Theory over A-Theory. A-Theory is riddled with paradoxes, and is hard to make compatible with Special Relativity in a reasonable fashion (the Neo-Lorentzian interpretation of SR is the only one that is compatible with A-Theory, but this is the most problematic, and least accepted in the field of science, and metaphysics).
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
So instead of going from 0 to 1 ("nothing" to "the first state of the universe"), why not just start with the 1 in the equation? There is no reason to assume a "0" preceding the 1. Thus, there is no 1 from 0 (something from nothing). If one just assumes this, then the problem of ex nihilo nihil fit goes out the window. If there is no "nothing" in the equation, then talking about something from nothing ontologically is trivial.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
The universe, at least in some form, might necessarily exist. It's possible that there is no "prior" to the universe, at which a cause can exist, or at which the universe is "out of being". Thus, there is no good argument I can see in favor of the notion that physical reality is contingent; even if we assume a finite past and some type of a starting point (or "beginning"). God violates Occam'z Razor, as a God is not needed to explain anything about our experience as humans, or the world we live in.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
If something begins to exist, then it comes into being. If something comes into being, then prior to the first state of existence pertaining to that thing, that thing must be out of being. However, if there is no "prior" to the universe, then there could be no "out of being" with regards to the universe. This would make it metaphysically impossible for the universe to begin to exist. A finite past of the universe does not establish that it began to exist. The theist must not only prove A-Theory, but show that there was a "prior" to the first state of the universe (not necessarily temporally prior), at which the universe is non-existent. However, why not just assume that there is no "prior" to the universe? Then we cannot say it came into being, or came from nothing. The universe can only come from nothing, if we start with nothing in our scenario. If we just start with the first state of the universe, then the "nothing" is cut from the equation. The existence of physical reality is either a brute fact (something with no explanation), or it's explanation is that it is factually necessary.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
*They clearly show a difference...
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
The Atheist only has to deal with the problem of "something coming from nothing" if the scenario is:

"At first there was nothing, then, there was a first state of the universe"

There is no reason to rule out this scenario though:

"At first there was a first state of the universe"

We cut the "nothing" completely out of the equation, or scenario. Thus, the claim that the Atheist believes "something came from nothing" is a shameless straw-man. I don't believe the universe "came from" at all. The whole "finite past" thing is a red herring, and doesn't establish that the universe came into being at all; and I proved that with my diagrams. They clearly shows a difference between:

(i) A universe that comes into being, and has a finite past
(ii) A universe that JUST has a finite past, but does not come into being

Do you understand now? There is no problem of ex nihilo nihil fit that the Atheist has to face. I'm a B-Theorist anyway, and William Lane Craig even admits that even with a finite past, there is no way a B-Theory universe can come into being.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"I see him trying to get around the Kalam argument by stating that the universe did not have a beginning, it just materialize, yet how does something finite exist or materialize without beginning to exist?"

You really need to go back and read what I wrote, as it is clear you are just ignoring it, and repeating the same thing over and over again. Elusivetruth did not even summarize my position properly. I accept the universe has a beginning, but I don't accept that it came into being, or began to exist. A finite past doesn't establish Premise 2 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. This should be a really simple concept, but PGA just doesn't get it.
Posted by PGA 3 years ago
PGA
Thanks Elusivetruth,

"To put it simply Con was suggesting that both the universe and time have a finite past. Therefore beginning to exist, with regards to the universe is meaningless because without time there is no "beginning", "begin to exist" or "come into being"."

I agree with time and the universe having a finite past, but that does not explain what I'm getting at. I asked RT if the universe exists. If he agrees that it exists and if it has a finite past (finite speaks to me of a beginning to its existence simultaneous with time beginning) then there must be a reason that it exists. Time and the universe would begin together, which to my limited understanding would solve the problem of the existence of the universe. I have no problem with that. What I have the problem with is without God, an intention and reason, then it would be chance, no intention or reason.

Since RT has stated that nothing comes from nothing then what is his reason for the universe? This to me is the mystery that I don't see him answering, or even hinting at, just asserting, yet he seems to imply that God is an illogical reason or not probable. He would not be an atheist if he thought otherwise.

He talks of and pushes the universe back to a 'first state.' What does this first state really mean? It still materialized if it has a finite past, along with time, did it not? If it is finite and it exists then what is the reason for its existence? Does RT know or even have a guess?

I see him trying to get around the Kalam argument by stating that the universe did not have a beginning, it just materialize, yet how does something finite exist or materialize without beginning to exist?

Definition of FINITE

b : having a limited nature or existence <finite beings>
Posted by Elusivetruth 3 years ago
Elusivetruth
Common sense can't always be relied upon, that is for sure. I do think PGA has a point though... I think at the heart of the matter is the question of whether or not time began with the universe... and closely connected is the question of whether or not there was therefore a before the universe. That is without even considering the nature of a possible existence outside the scope of time and space. But yeah... those could be entire debates of their own.

At any rate... there is indeed a logic to your argument. Though there is of course no absolute evidence either way.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by HeartOfGod 3 years ago
HeartOfGod
Rational_Thinker9119ElusivetruthTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pretty easy debate to judge. while I believe the KCA is sound, con had a much more in depth argument that was based on science. pro didn't even know his burden until the end lol
Vote Placed by IslamAhmadiyya 3 years ago
IslamAhmadiyya
Rational_Thinker9119ElusivetruthTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Both did well however Pro's arguments were easy to understand and were simple and to the point.