The Instigator
felixmendelssohn
Pro (for)
The Contender
PowerPikachu21
Con (against)

The Kalam Cosmological Argument Is False

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/15/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 335 times Debate No: 94745
Debate Rounds (4)
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felixmendelssohn

Pro

The Kalam Cosmological Argument has been greatly used to 'prove' the existence of a supreme being which 'brought' the universe into being. The argument goes as follow
1. Everything begins to exist, has a cause of its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore the universe has a cause.
At first glance, this is a completely sound argument with the first two seemingly obvious statements followed by a logical conclusion. However, despite the seemingly logical appearance, deep down under the rational surface is fallacies being used to pull the wool over people's eyes.
1.Here are the problems with the first premise.
1. Fallacy of composition: A fallacy of composition is, according to Google, "the error of assuming that what is true of a member of a group is true for the group as a whole". It is true that everything we see in our daily life has a cause. For example, a chair has to be made by a human being. But assuming what is true for the objects within the universe, to be true for the universe itself, is a fallacy. For examples, every cells in my body duplicate. Therefore I duplicate! Hopefully, that statement is self-evidently nonsensical.
2. The problems with the second premise.
1. Theists 'prove' that the universe had an absolute 'beginning' by showing that an actual infinity is not possible or self-contradictory. The problem with that kind of reasoning is that it presupposes human-constructed logic to be the absolute true that can be applied to the universe. In reality, could an actual infinity exist? The answer is I don't know but using human logic to show that infinity leads to a contradiction and therefore could not exist is not any better. Why? Because human developed a language of logic and reason in order to predict the patterns appear in nature. But, an actual infinity can nowhere be found on Earth. Therefore, the language of logic cannot be used to describe such a thing as infinity. However, an actual infinity cannot be found on Earth do not imply the impossibility of an actual infinity of the universe because human logic is non-applicable to the universe.
2. Even if the universe had a cause that brought it into existence, there is no possible reason to believe that God is that cause which brought it into being.
In conclusion, I think the conclusion does not follow. Even if the conclusion is true, that the universe has a cause of its existence; there is no rational reason to believe that the cause is a transcendent personal God.
PowerPikachu21

Con

I accept this debate, as I greatly believe thatthe Kalam argument is perfectly sound.

For those of you whodon't know what the kalam argument is, here it is:

P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
P2: The Universe began to exist.
C: Therefore, the Universe must have a cause.

Defense for P1: A cell phone began to exist. It came froma factory. A baby begins to exist via a mother.

Defense for P2: There is quite a bit of evidence suggesting the Universe began to exist. For example, if the Universe has always existed, we'd be out of usable energy by now, since there cannot be an infinite amount of energy. Also, the Big Bang did happen.

Therefore, the Universe must have a cause. Said cause must be powerful enough to create the Universe. The cause must also be uncaused, it must have always existed, without a beginning. To say "who created God", and say the Universe always existed makes no sense. Again, the Universe had a beginning, and its cause needs to not have a beginning in order for the Universe to exist.

Rebuttal:

Opening:

"At first glance, this is a completely sound argument with the first two seemingly obvious statements followed by a logical conclusion." It is simplistic, yes. How about you examine the premises?

"However, despite the seemingly logical appearance, deep down under the rational surface is fallacies being used to pull the wool over people's eyes." Explain the fallacies.

Premise 1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

Overview: I've expanded upon this premise earlier. A baby begins to exist, it comes from a mother. A computer comes from a factory. The factory also began to exist, humans created it.

Fallacy of Composition:

"But assuming what is true for the objects within the universe, to be true for the universe itself, is a fallacy." So the Universe has always existed? Premise 1 is basically an overview of facts, premise 2 is suggesting the Universe indeed begin to exist, and because of P1, we conclude the Universe has a cause.

I agree it would be a fallacy had the 2nd premise not existed. However, P2 states it has a cause, since evidence other than computers coming from factories.

Premise 2: The Universe began to exist.

So... what about infinity? Are you saying that infinite regression is possible? Please get to the point.

"Even if the universe had a cause that brought it into existence, there is no possible reason to believe that God is that cause which brought it into being." The Kalam argument states that the God is "Timeless, spaceless, beginningless, immaterial, uncaused, immensely powerful, and personal". Sure, this sounds a lot like how God would be described. But the Kalam argument merely states that the Universe must have a cause.You can call the cause God, Joe, Moe, BoBo, Mewtwo... it doesn't really matter.The Kalam argument doesn't go as far to prove that the cause is benevolent or anything.

Also, you haven't actually touched the 2nd premise. Did the Universe begin to exist?

In Conclusion...

"Even if the conclusion is true, that the universe has a cause of its existence; there is no rational reason to believe that the cause is a transcendent personal God." The Kalam argument doesn't go that far. Proving The Lord's existence isn't what the Kalam argument does. It merely shows that there must besome diety (You can call it Arceus, God, Mark, Giratina, Pikachu, Morgan Freeman, Joe...) that created the Universe.

One Question:

Did the Universe begin to exist? If it had a a beginning, then it must've had a cause. If It didn't have a cause, say why (And not scream "fallacy of composition", since that doesn't really say anything.). If you say the Universe didn't begin to exist, then ask what the Big Bang is.

So... do you also want Pokepuffs? I've got lots of flavors!
Debate Round No. 1
felixmendelssohn

Pro

I know this is going to be a good debate. : )

Rebuttal:

Premise 1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause

" I've expanded upon this premise earlier. A baby begins to exist, it comes from a mother. A computer comes from a factory. The factory also began to exist, humans created it. "

Yes! I agree! A computer definitely comes from a factory. A baby begins to exist, it obviously comes from a mother. However, I don't see any equivalence. I accused the argument of committing logical fallacies in my opening statement. Here are the two fallacies

1 - Fallacy of composition: Let me explain what a fallacy of composition is. It goes as follow:

P1: A is part of B

P2: A has property X
C: Therefore B has property X!

Ok, let's apply this reasoning to something that we can test the validity of.

P1: Cells are part of my body

P2: My cells replicate (or divide)
C : Therefore, I replicate!

I think that's self-evidently false. Starting with two completely sound premises, using the fallacy of composition, I arrived at a terrifying envisioning of self-cloning. So the argument fails when it applies the property of objects within the univese, to the universe itself. You defended the first premise by giving an example of a baby or a computer, which are objects in the universe and do not apply to the universe.

2 - Fallacy of equivocation: I'll give a brief definition of equivocation. Equivocation is "using an ambiguous term in more than one sense, thus making an argument misleading." Now, I would like to explain why the argument commits equivocation. The term 'begins to exist' is the confusing factor of the argument. Here are the reasons why:

a. The 'beginning to exist' of everything we can observe around us is actually just the rearrangement of the already existing atoms. For example, the atoms that make up a fetus already existed prior to the fetus's existence. Another example, when a computer 'begins to exist', the atoms that make up the computer do not just 'pop into being' out of nothing; but rather the already existing atoms being reformed into the shape of a so-called computer. Therefore, the correct thing to say is that everything begins to exist as a result of the rearrangment of the already existing atoms, has a cause. So, the Kalam argument should be rewritten more precisely as follow:


P1: Everything within the universe begins to exist as a result of the rearrangment of the already existing atoms, has a cause.
P2: But the universe began to exist as a result of the creation of space-time, energy, and atoms (or matter).
C: Therefore, the universe had a cause.



And that's the Kalam argument filtered out the fallacies. As you can see, the conclusion does not follow. Even if the universe began to exist as a result of the rearrangment of the already existing atoms, then it actually implies that the universe is eternal because atoms existed even before the Big Bang.



Premise 2: The Universe Began To Exist


" For example, if the Universe has always existed, we'd be out of usable energy by now, since there cannot be an infinite amount of energy. Also, the Big Bang did happen."


Cosmology is not my domain so I dare not claim anything about the origin of the universe. I neither claimed that the universe was beginningless or that it had a beginning. The point I made earlier was that "human logic cannot be used to prove that the universe can't be eternal." I argued that argument like "if the Universe has always existed, we'd be out of usable energy by now, since there cannot be an infinite amount of energy" does not work for the universe. Here are he reason why:


1. Logic is man-made:


a. I think you agree with me on this point. Logic is not the absolute true in the universe. Rather logic is something that evolved along with human, it is a tool invented by human that reflects the patterns of the surroundings. A better way of describing logic is that it is a language developed to describe what is true of the world around us.


2. If logic is man-made and reflects only what human have experienced, then it cannot be applied to something that we have never experienced such as the universe.




A bit in computer science can be thought of as a variable that can be assigned 2 values, either 0 or 1. The third law of the three fundamental laws of logic affirms this. The law of the excluded middle states "either P or non-P". According to the third law of logic, a bit can be either 0 or 1. If it's 0 then it can't be 1. Now, quantum computation says a bit to be both 0 and 1 simultaneously. That of course defies the law of the excluded middle states. But does that mean it is not possible? No. It actually implies that the laws of logic evolves over time to fit with the reality we are living in. You defended the second premise by saying that "the unvierse has to be finite because you cannot have an infinite amount of energy." You have never experienced an actual infinity does not imply that it doesn't really exist!


Yes!! I agree!! That you cannot have an infinite amount of energy on Earth! But can the universe has an infinite amout of energy? We don't know yet, but asserting no, is simply unsound. There are many infinity-related argument that is theoretically impossible but experiment shows otherwise.



Quantum physicists recently suggested that the universe is eternal. It may be or may not, I dare not say anything.



Conclusion


I think that's enough arguments to demonstate my point that: Showing that the universe has a cause and the impossibility of an eternal universe that way doesn't work.


Cited works:
https://www.logicallyfallacious.com...

http://www.skepticalraptor.com...

https://en.wikipedia.org...


PowerPikachu21

Con

It's nice to see Pro is continuing the site. Let's examine his arguments further, shall we?

Rebuttal:

Fallacy of Compsition:

Nice, we know what this fallacy is. So what you're saying is that something can begin to exist without a cause? I believe that's what you're implying. You'll need to back it up. Someone can claim something's a fallacy, but needs to back up their claims. Is the Kalam argument really commiting such a fallacy, or does everything that begins to exist have a cause?

"You defended the first premise by giving an example of a baby or a computer, which are objects in the universe and do not apply to the universe." So because it's the Universe, we can't use examples to show that everything that begins to exist has a cause? That doesn't sound right. Something cannot begin to exist because of "nothing" (Which I'll refer to as "emptiness", or clarity's sake). Ifsomething begins to exist, it must have something that made it start existing. Emptiness cannot create anything. But Pro's implying that emptiness created the Universe, but emtpiness isn't anything; it's nothing; it isn't capable of doing things.

Ultimately, we must answer 2 questions: Did the Universe begin to exist? And if th Universe did begin to exist, did it come from something? I'll expand on the 3 possible answers to the questions.

Fallacy of Equivocation:

"The term 'begins to exist' is the confusing factor of the argument." I don't see how. To begin to exist is to come into existence. Simple.

"a. The 'beginning to exist' of everything we can observe around us is actually just the rearrangement of the already existing atoms." This is true. Everything in the current day is made of, and has always been, made of atoms. But did the Universe's atoms always exist?

According to Pro, the fallacy of composition is "the error of assuming that what is true of a member of a group is true for the group as a whole". He attempts to counter the first premise of the kalam argument like this: "If everything in the universe begins via a cause, the Universe began to exist with a cause? Nonsense!". What does he say next? "The 'beginning to exist' of everything we can observe around us is actually just the rearrangement of the already existing atoms. For example, the atoms that make up a fetus already existed prior to the fetus's existence."

"If everything in the universe begins via a cause, the Universe began to exist with a cause? Nonsense!"
"Everything that's 'caused' is just the rearrangement of atoms, ergo, the Universe is a rearrangement"

Are these statements not similar? My opponent says that we cannot use objects within the Universe to reach a conclusion about the Universe. And what does he do? Use objects within the Universe to reach a conclusion about the Universe! My opponent has contradicted himself. Is the Kalam argument committing the composition fallacy? If yes, then so are you. If you aren't committing the composition fallacy, then the Kalam argument isn't committing the fallacy. Both of you are using a very similar line of reasoning.

And besides, who said the Universe's atoms have always existed? The deity could've made the atoms, which then were arranged to create planets and stars and whatnot.

"Even if the universe began to exist as a result of therearrangment of the already existing atoms, then it actually implies that the universe is eternal because atoms existed even before the Big Bang." Atoms existed before the Big Bang? Where's your evidence? And how exactly to you suppose the Big Bang happened?

Premise 2; The Universe began to Exist.

"Cosmology is not my domain so I dare not claim anything about the origin of the universe. I neither claimed that the universe was beginningless or that it had a beginning." Well, it's either the Universe did begin to exist, or it didn't begin, and has always existed. Evidence suggests the former.

""human logic cannot be used to prove that the universe can't be eternal." I argued that argument like "if the Universe has always existed, we'd be out of usable energy by now, since there cannot be an infinite amount of energy" does not work for the universe." I expect your own logic stating why. Luckily, you provided some.

"Logic is not the absolute true in the universe. Rather logic is something that evolved along with human, it is a tool invented by human that reflects the patterns of the surroundings." Logic isn't an object. It's a process of thinking. We didn't create logic, it came with us.

"If logic is man-made and reflects only what human have experienced, then it cannot be applied to something that we have never experienced such as the universe." Again, logic isn't an object, it's a process. We don't have to experience something to put thought into it. For example, we haven't experienced the results of the 2016 Election. But if we consider facts, Hillary Clinton will probably win.

"You defended the second premise by saying that "the unvierse has to be finite because you cannot have an infinite amount of energy." You have never experienced an actual infinity does not imply that it doesn't really exist!" I should have expanded upon this. Energy doesn't last forever, for example, a battery. Assuming we have infinite energy, we'd not be running out of energy.

But according to the 2nd law os theordynamics, energy gets used up. Eventually, we will run out of energy. Therefore, there must be a finite amount of energy.

Argument:

If the Universe began to exist, it must have a cause. Pro says that we cannot comprehend this, since we haven't actually seen the Big Bang. However, he avoids the real problem: Does the Universe have a beginning? Evidence says yes. If Pro thinks the 2nd premsie of the Kalam argument is false, he must show a reason to say the Universe had no cause. If the Universe has no cause of it's beginning, we must assume the Universe has always existed. But then Pro will have to show how it's possible for the Universe to have always existed.

So what do you say? ... Pokepuff?
Debate Round No. 2
felixmendelssohn

Pro

Thank you for such an interesting rebuttal!

1. Con believed that I implied that the universe could begin to exist without a cause and that I need to back up my claim.

NO! I didn't claim anything about the origin of the universe. I claimed that the method in which you used to arrived at the conclusion that the universe must have a cause, is unsound. I neither asserted that the universe doesn't need a cause nor otherwise. It may or may not, I am open to the idea. And yes I did back up my claims. What about the self-replication that I mentioned? I think Con forgot to give a response to the self-replication that I talked about. I applied composition fallacy to my cells as an example to desmonstrate that the fallacy of composition leads to a false conclusion. And, when you apply the fallacy to something you already know the validity of, you can test whether the composition fallacy leads to a right conclusion. Because everything within the universe has the property of having a cause, therefore the entire universe needs a cause? Apparently, infering whole from parts does not work very well for all cases.

2. But emptiness cannot create anything.

What boggled me is your usage of the word "emptiness". It sounds as if there were space to be empty! There was NO space before the Big Bang.

3. Con then went on to say that "Something cannot begin to exist because of "nothing".

Let's do a little thought experiment.
Imagine two intelligent bacterias who were inside a human body. Now, because all they can 'see' is cells replicating (Even the bacterias themselves replicate). They might think that the whole collection of cells around them also replicate, which we know to be false because humans don't do that! However, they might reason that "Well, anything not replicate will dissapear. But the 'body' we're living in do not dissapear. Therefore the entire 'body' replicate." What's wrong with that argument? The answer is because their minds are limited to their environment in which they live in, it is simply incomprehesible for them to think of a way for something to flourish without self-replicating.

Similarly, the human minds are also limited to the universe we are living in, so it is incomprehensible for you and me to even imagine something come out of nothing. I admit that I cannot name an object which comes in and out of existence that you can me can observe (except for my keys, because they sometimes do pop in and out of existence unexplainably), because if coming into and out of existence happens regularly like that, it would be such a normal phenomenon and so a universe from nothing wouldn't be considered as an impossibility like it is right now.

Here comes my arguments:
Is "nothing" really the opposite of "something", or is it just a human-constructed concept.

I am convinced the latter is true. Here are the reasons:

- If you imagine nothingness to be an infinite black void, then it is not really nothing. Because you've got space! Unless you can imagine nothingness without imagining space, which I don't think you can.

- Secondly, Can you really have a 'nothingness' in reality? Even in vaccum, you have a pair virtual particles that come into existence, and come out of existence by annihilating themselves.

- Thirdly, Is 'nothing' a natural state of the universe? What if the natural state of the universe is particles come in and out of existence all the time. The natural state may not be the nothingness that you insisted, which means 'not anything', not even a particle.

If so, then why do you assume that nothing is the 'default' state of the universe? It is a possibility that the concept of 'nothingness' does not exist in reality at all, that you always get particles annihilate each other even in the most nothingness you can get. My point is that a 'cause' is not the only alternative you have.

4. Con accused me of committing the fallacy of composition.

"Everything that's 'caused' is just the rearrangement of atoms, ergo, the Universe is a rearrangement"

Response:
That's some misunderstanding going on.

I did not claim that the universe is a rearrangement. Let me go over my argument one more time.

P1:Everything within the universe begins to exist as a result of the rearrangment of the already existing atoms, has a cause. That premise has 2 conditions: the object has to be within the universe, plus it has to begins to exist as a result of the rearrangment of the already existing atoms. If the two conditions are satisfied then the conclusion is sound. A chair, a baby, a book, a key, those are objects in the universe, begin to exist as a result of the rearrangment of the already existing atoms, therefore it follows logically they have a cause. Now the universe is not within the universe, and it did not begins to exist as a result of the rearrangment of the already existing atoms but a result of the creation of space-time, energy, and atoms (or matter). Therefore the conclusion that the universe had a cause does not follow.

Nowhere in my argument I said that the universe is a rearrangment. What I meant was "If you want the conclusion to follow the premises, then the universe must begin to exist as a result of the rearrangment of the already existing atoms (which means atoms existed before the Big Bang), in order to satisfy the condition stated in the first premise. But since the unvierse is not the rearrangment, it does not satisfy the condition, and therefore the conclusion is unsound.

5. But "The deity could've made the atoms, which then were arranged to create planets and stars and whatnot."

Definition: "domain of an argument" : the set of things that the argument can be applied to

So by definition, the domain of the first premise is everything within the universe begins to exist as a result of the rearrangment of the already existing atoms. Atoms is not rearrangment of the already existing atoms, therefore atoms lies outside the domain of the premise and cannot be applied to.

6. "Well, it's either the Universe did begin to exist, or it didn't begin, and has always existed. Evidence suggests the former."

We're debating the validity of the Kalam argument, not whether the universe had a beginning or otherwise. We can't know whether it had a cause or not. That's why I am trying to prove to you that arguments like those don't lead to the right conclusion.

7. "Logic isn't an object. It's a process of thinking. We didn't create logic, it came with us."

By 'Logic' I meant the laws of logic

Now, I have never said that logic was an object. And what if it's not an object? That does not concern my argument.

?Do you believe that Logic is the absolute truth in the universe?

My argument was that "The domain of logic is the environment where you live in."

Con went on to confirm my argument by stating that "We haven't experienced the results of the 2016 Election. But if we consider facts, Hillary Clinton will probably win." The election is within the environment in which you live, so applying logic to that is absolutely fine. What I am saying is one cannot apply the laws of logic to something foreign like the entire universe.

For example, acient Egyptians may argue: "All things fall down to the ground". Now the domain of that statement is everything on Earth (Stars do not fall to the ground). When you want to expand the domain of the argument, you need a better theory with a greater domain (Newton's Laws of Gravity is one such example). Now since the domain of the statement "Everything exists need a cause" is limited to the observable world on Earth and not something outside of it or something unobservable (like at the Quantum level).

8. "Energy doesn't last forever. Therefore, there must be a finite amount of energy."

In order to use the 2nd law of Thermodynamic, you assumed that the universe is a closed system. How do you know that? Anyways, I am not going to defend that the universe is eternal.

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