The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points
The Contender
KeytarHero
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument Is Sound

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/29/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,332 times Debate No: 35164
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (27)
Votes (4)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Con

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. My opponent does not have to show that any hypothetical cause must be personal, just that the universe has a cause.
KeytarHero

Pro

I thank Con for instituting this debate. As per the rules, I will give my opening argument first and not argue in the last round.

The KCA is a very simple, yet very powerful, argument for the existence of God. It's dubious whether one can reach the conclusion that God exists from the KCA alone, but that's why philosophers like William Lane Craig use the argument in a cumulative case for God's existence. Craig argues that you can infer that the Creator is timeless, spaceless, and immaterial from the KCA since all space, matter, and time began at the Big Bang event. But as per the rules I do not have to show that the cause must be personal, just that the universe has a cause. So that I will attempt to do.

The argument is formulated as follows:

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

I have put the words "begins to exist" in bold type because it tends to cause confusion in this argument. The argument says that everything that begins to exist has a cause, not that everything has a cause. So arguing what caused God? is not a proper response to this argument.

P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

Doctor Craig, in his book On Guard, lists three reasons to believe that premise 1 is true:

1 -- Something cannot come from nothing.
2 -- If something can come into being from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything or everything doesn't come into being from nothing.
3 -- Common experience and scientific evidence confirm the truth of premise 1.
[3]


I can't think of a single thing that comes into existence without a cause. In fact, William Lane Craig (who is the man that comes to mind when you think of the KCA) wrote, regarding the KCA,

"When I first published my work on the kalam cosmological argument back in 1979, I figured that atheists would attack premise 2 of the argument, that the universe began to exist. But I didn't think they'd go after premise 1. For that would expose them as people not sincerely seeking after truth but just looking for an academic refutation of the argument.

"What a surprise, then, to hear atheists denying premise 1 in order to escape the argument! For example, Quentin Smith of Western Michigan University responded that the most rational position to hold is that the universe came 'from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing'
[1] -- a nice close to a Gettysburg Address of atheism, perhaps!" [2]

Quentin Smith is utterly mistaken. Nothing can come from nothing uncaused. Nothing is literally nothing; it has no qualities, no potentialities. It literally does not exist. Before the universe existed was nothing, and if nothing existed, nothing can come from it without cause.

I can't think of a single thing that comes into existence uncaused. And if it did, then it remains inexplicable why just anything and everything doesn't come into existence from nothing. I exist, and the reason I exist is because my existence was caused by my mother and father conceiving me. The van I drive exists because people built it. Things don't just come into existence.

Premise one is simply a common sense premise. I'm not sure how one could be a sincere seeker of truth and not accept premise one. It's at least more likely true than its negation. It would be like denying that the universe exists. You can't prove it does but it would irrational to deny its existence. The only reason that Con and I are here to debate this topic is because our parents conceived us. Everything that begins to exist requires a cause of its existence.

P2: The universe began to exist.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics affirms that the universe is running out of usable energy and, hence, cannot be eternal. We also see that the universe is expanding, and at an accelerated rate. As we see the universe is expanding more and more rapidly, and the universe is running out of usable energy, the universe will inevitably run out of usable energy and result in a "heat death." As the universe is expanding and not static, we can see that the universe, indeed, had a beginning as it is not eternal.

We can also approach this from a philosophical viewpoint:

1) If an infinite number of moments occurred before today, then today would never have come, since it is impossible to traverse an infinite number of moments.
2) But today has come.
3) Hence, there was a finite number of moments before today; the universe had a beginning. [4]

William Lane Craig describes the argument as follows: "...a collection formed by successive addition cannot be an actual infinite. Sometimes this is described as the impossibility of traversing the infinite. In order for us to have 'arrived' at today, temporal existence has, so to speak, traversed an infinite number of prior events. But before the present could arrive, the event immediately prior to it would have to arrive, and before that event could arrive, the event immediately prior to it would have to arrive, and so on ad infinitum. No event could ever arrive, since before it could elapse there will always be one more event that had to have happened first. Thus, if the series of past events were beginningless, the present event could not have arrived, which is absurd." [5]

So premise two is supported because whether or not an actual infinity can exist, there could not have been an infinity of time otherwise this present moment would never have arrived.

The conclusion is affirmed, and I await Con's rebuttal.

[1] William Lane Craig, On Guard, Ontario, Canada, 2010, pp. 75, 77, and 78.
[2] Quentin Smith,William Lane Craig, On Guard, p. 76
[4] Norman L. Geisler, The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Books, p. 399.
[5] William Lane Craig,
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Con


Premise 1: Everything That Begins To Exist Has A Cause


This premise is not self-evident, and it is not as uncontroversial as my opponent believes. At best we can say that the premise seems reasonable on its face, but it is inherently problematic once you start unpacking the implications of its details.

-- A Priori Support

The synthetic a priori support for the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is the metaphysical principle that something cannot come from nothing, or that out of nothing, nothing comes (ex nihilo nihil fit). However, it seems strange as to how this is really solid support for the first premise. Something can begin to exist from something and still be uncaused. Thus, even if ex nihilo nihil fit is true, the first premise could still be false. Causation as a whole is split up into two parts, or categories philosophically:

(i) Necessary Causation

(ii) Sufficient Causation

As Wes Morriston notes, if something came into being that stood in relation to necessary conditions, but with no sufficient conditions in the equation, then that would be something coming into being without a cause [1].

"How could it be that necessary, but not sufficient, conditions can cause something to come into existence? Causation requires both."[1]

We would not refer to the necessary condition as a necessary cause without the accompanied sufficient cause. You cannot have half a causal process, anymore than you can half a pregnancy. Thus, if something came into being that stood in relation to a necessary condition, or came from not "nothing", but there was nothing sufficient to bring said object into existence, this would clearly being a situation lacking a real causal process. Thus, even if ex nihilo nihil fit is true, that is no real support for the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Take a flat sheet a paper. Now, envision a dent appears in the paper for no reason. Nothing changed pertaining to the paper to cause the dent, and nothing happened externally to cause the dent. Simply because the dent came from pre-existing paper (not "nothing") which served as a necessary condition for the dent, it would be a misnomer to claim that paper actually caused the dent without a sufficient cause for the dent. Without the required sufficient condition, or conditions, we lack full, and proper causal conditioning. Therefore, ex nihilo nihil fit could be true even if the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is false. This suggests that ex nihilo nihil fit is rather bizarre support for the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument indeed. This is because it could be true, while the first premise itself is false simultaneously.

-- A Posteriori Support

We have empirical and prima facie support for the notion that everything that begins to exist at the macroscopic level within space-time has a cause. The notion that everything that begins to exist has a cause enjoys no such support. Any examples provided by my opponent in support of the first premise can only support the former premise that I assert is warranted; not the latter.

While the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument seems intuitively reasonable, its strength starts to break down once critically examined.

Premise 2: The Universe Began To Exist

--
If The B-Theory Of Time Is True...

Lets take a look at the two main schools of thought with regards to the metaphysics of time:

(i) A-Theory (left)

(ii) B-Theory (right)

I have seen my opponent argue before that the B-Theory of time being true would not refute this premise of the Kalam. That is just embarrassing I am afraid. Temporal becoming is a necessary condition for something to come into being, or begin to exist. This is because you could hypothetically time how long that thing has existed since its inception if it came into being, and this would necessitate that time is tensed, thus temporal becoming would have to be actually real. However, if the B-Theory of time is true, then temporal becoming is an illusion of consciousness with things only seeming to come into being due to the past, present, and future all sharing the same ontological status as real. Therefore, under this theory of time, nothing ontologically comes into being in reality. What we would call "The Big Bang" for instance would just exist on a tenselessly eternal 4d or n +1d space-time block. Therefore, it follows that the universe could not have objectively began to exist if the B-Theory of time is true, because this would require objectively real temporal becoming; which demands the A-Theory of time (Also, something eternal self-evidently cannot come into being). This point, which is necessarily true based on a simple unpacking of the metaphysics of time, is even conceded by the champion of the Kalam Cosmological Argument himself:

"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 [2]

The problem for William Lane Craig is that the B-Theory of time is probably true, and the A-Theory of time is probably false. A-Theorists themselves (like Dean Zimmerman) even admit that the A-Theory of time does not have as much backing as B-Theory of time in philosophy amongst metaphysicians of time:

"The A-theory is almost certainly a minority view among contemporary philosophers with an opinion about the metaphysics of time.” - Dean Zimmerman [3]

There are many logical problems with A-Theory. These errors were pointed out by McTaggart and his famous paradox against A-properties, and by other philosophers such as Simon Prosser who brought forward another devastating problem. However, my argument for B-Theory and against A-Theory will not be based on the a priori problems with A-Theory, but with scientific problems with it.

My support for B-Theory rests on Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity. Einstein's theory has been tested time and time again, and has passed flying colors[4]. The most scientifically feasible interpretation of this theory is the Minkowski space-time view[5]. This is due to its success with making testable predictions that have been verified (time dilation and length contraction[6]). This interpretation spells death for A-Theory, because A-Theory entails a universal "now" moment. However, the Minkowski space-time view entails that there is no universal "now" moment, and is the most scientifically sound interpretation.

This above suggests that the B-Theory of time is probably true. Thus, the second premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is probably false. The B-Theory of time and the second premise are incompatible.

-- If The A-Theory Of Time Is True...

My opponent argues for the finitude of the past by appealing to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and philosophical arguments in favor of the notion in question. However a finite past only gets one, at best, "a starting point of the universe". Not a "starting point point of the universe that came into being from no starting point (i.e. nothing)". The latter does not follow from the former, and is not synonymous with the former. Thus, my opponent's arguments do not actually support the second premise.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, Pro has not met his burden of proof; the resolution has been negated.

KeytarHero

Pro

I thank my opponent for his thoughtful response, but I believe he is speaking too hastily when he claims that the KCA starts to break down once critically examined.

Premise 1 -- everything that begins to exist has a cause.

Con is simply incorrect when he says the premise is not self-evidence. All the experience we have in the world tells us that things that begin to exist has a cause. Beginning to exist is an effect, and the nature of effects are that they have causes. It seems there would be no need for science itself if it were not self-evidence that everything that begins to exist has a cause, since the job of science is to find answers to our questions about the universe.

So let's take a look at Con's arguments.

1a. A Priori Support

If we want to get really philosophical, there are actually four types of causes, as formulated by Aristotle: The material cause (which is what something is made out of), the fomal cause (which is the shape a thing is formed into), the efficient cause (which is the agent or thing that forms the object), and the final cause (which is the purpose being served by it). [1] So when a Theist argues for the KCA, we argue that the cause, in particular, is an efficient cause. Which means that Con's discussion of necessary vs. sufficient causation, while interesting, is ultimately an equivocation on the word "cause."

Second, Con's discussion about something coming from something else adds nothing to his argument. Nothing is literally "no thing." It does not exist. So even if something could come from something uncaused (which is still a very dubious claim, since if something comes from something, it's being caused by, at least, a material cause), the nature of nothing makes it impossible that something could come from it uncaused.

Third, Con's argument about the paper and the uncaused dent also adds nothing to his argument. I think it's very dubious that there really is a possible world in which something comes from something else uncaused, but let's assume for a moment that it is possible. This still proves nothing about the actual world. Con must show how, in the actual world, something can come from nothing (or something) uncaused. One could simply add a qualifier to the first premise: in the actual world, everything that begins to exist has a cause and we'd be back in the ball game.

In fact, Alexander Pruss would argue that Con's claim that he can imagine a dent occurring in a piece of paper without a cause is, in fact, false. The claim is not that Con is lying, but that there are certain details inherent in the situation that Con is possibly not even aware of. Pruss writes,

"...we can imagine a brick coming into existence in the absence of a brickmaker, a brick not resulting from the baking of clay, a brick not made by an angel, demon or ghost. But that is not the same thing as imagining a brick that comes into existence completely causelessly. To imagine that, we would need to imagine every possible kind of cause—including the unimaginable ones—as absent. That seems to be a feat beyond our abilities. We can, of course, say the words 'This is causeless' both with our lips and with our minds while imagining the brick, but the claim that whenever one can imagine an F and say of it, with lips or minds, that it is a G, then possibly there is an F that is a G, would not only be highly defeasible, but would surely be a non-starter. I can imagine a circle and say the words “This is a square” while imagining it." [2]

Finally, the dent is not an example of a thing coming into existence. Surely the dent is a part of the paper? If I bend my arm, do I bring the bend in my arm into existence? That's just a facon de parler: what's actually happening is that I cause my arm to be bent. But this is general event causation, not causation of existence, which is what the KCA is concerned with. [3]

1b. A Posteriori Support

This, again, does not support Con's argument. If we have support at the macro level, this gives us evidence for the same at the micro level. Con must support his argument, not simply assert it.

It's also worth pointing out that Con only addressed my third point from my opening argument, leaving my first two points uncontested. So I extend them into the next round. Premise 1 remains affirmed.

Premise 2 -- the universe began to exist.

If
the B-Theory of time is true is a very big "if." Con's quote by Dean Zimmerman is nothing but an Argumentum ad Populum fallacy and should be ignored. The majority can still be wrong. Also, Con has read too much into the quote, as the quote says nothing about which theory has more evidence to support it, only that the majority accept a B-theory of time. For all we know, they accept the B-theory of time to avoid the Thestic implications inherent in the Big Bang.

Con's use of my alleged argument has been ripped out of context, and is nothing but a personal attack. It should be disregarded, especially as what matters is this argument, not what I may or may not have stated in the past. Doctor Craig may disagree that the KCA works on the B-Theory of time, but again, Doctor Craig may be wrong about this. I exist now because my parents conceived me in December of 1980. I would not exist now if they hadn't. Similarly, even if time exists tenselessly, the universe would still require a cause as to how it exists now. I don't see how the B-Theory of time would refute this, since I began to exist and would not now exist if I had not begun to exist.

If we interpret "beginning to exist" phenomenologically (that is, on one B-theoretic view, something begins to exist when it's worldline starts), then the intuitive warrant and the arguments for the first premise remain. For the second premise, the argument from the impossibility of actual infinities stays and the scientific arguments stay. [5]

I think we can safely disregard pretty much all of Con's argument in support of the B-Theory of time, since all he does is assert these things and give sources to back them up (and of course, there may be detractors who give reasoned arguments as to why these positions fail). It's not my job to go through Con's sources and pick out the arguments, Con, himself, must argue these points (which would also demonstrate that Con has understanding of these issues and is not simply asserting them as an appeal to authority mixed with an Argumentum ad Populum.

Con has not addressed my argument against actual inifinities. If that argument succeeds, then the argument for B-Theory can safely be rejected (or, if possible, brought in line with the KCA). Time cannot have infinitely existed so therefore, the universe had a beginning.

Besides, the B-Theory of Time leads to absurdities. I'm low on space, so I'll get into the absurdities later. One of these absurdities includes the Grim Reaper Paradox (which I'll tease now but go into detail in my next argument). [5]

At any rate, considering that Con has not addressed my argument against an actual infinity of time, this premise stands affirmed.

Conclusion -- Therefore, the universe has a cause.

The argument has not been successfully rebutted, so the conclusion stands.

[1] Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book 5, Section 1013a.
[2] https://bearspace.baylor.edu...
[3] [4] I owe my friend, Roland Elliott, for these observations.
[5] http://alexanderpruss.blogspot.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Premise 1: Everything That Begins To Exist Has A Cause

My opponent is mistaken, as this first premise is not self-evident. Pro claims that our experience confirms that things that begin to exist have causes. This is true. However, our experience does not confirm the notion that everything that begins to exist has a cause. This is an unjustified leap of faith; we do not have access to everything to make such empirical assumptions. Our every day conscious experience is limited to that which is within space-time and at the macroscopic level. We cannot make claims about everything in this sense.

-- A Priori Support

Pro mentions Aristotelian causality, but even Aristotelian causality's four causes can be placed under the framework of either necessary causation, or sufficient causation[1]. Therefore, my opponent mentioning Aristotelian causality is a fallacious red-herring. Also, Aristotelian causality requires all four causes to be present, or we do not have causality:

"Aristotle offers his general account of the four causes. This account is general in the sense that it applies to everything that requires an explanation."[2]

If something has a causal explanation, then the four causes apply. If the universe lacks a material cause, then it lacks a full causal process, as Aristotelian causality is split up into four categories as a necessary condition for this. You cannot have 3/4 of a causal process anymore than you can 3/4 of a pregnancy. It the universe comes into being without a material cause, then this actually violates Aristotelian causality. Thus, Pro is both appealing to Aristotelian causality and going against it simultaneously. This makes his case self-refuting.

"I think it's very dubious that there really is a possible world in which something comes from something else uncaused, but let's assume for a moment that it is possible. This still proves nothing about the actual world."

There doesn't seem to be anything logically or metaphysically incoherent about it. Also, Pro has not shown that a scenario similar to the one I mentioned with the paper could not be the case in reality. He also says something rather bizarre below:

"Finally, the dent is not an example of a thing coming into existence." - Pro

Yes it is. The dent exists at t, but it did not exist before t. Thus, it began to exist at t. Just because it did not begin ex nihilo, it still began to exist ex materia. The dent is part of the paper, but it is still something which began to exist ex materia. If you see a message appear indented in the sand, would you say the message did not begin to exist because it is a part of the sand? No, that would be absurd.

-- A Posteriori Support

My opponent says that if we can infer something about the macroscopic level, we can infer it at the sub-atomic scale. This is false. As Relativity holds classically at the macroscopic scale for example, but not so much at the quantum scale:

"In our macroscopic world, we are used to energy conservation, but in the quantum realm this holds only on average." - Taner Edis. Department of Physics Truman State University Kirksville [3]

The above is a valid Argument from Authority, as it shares consensus and it is a quote from an expert in the field. The rules at the quantum scale seem to be quite different than at the macroscopic scale. Therefore, my opponent is drawing a false equivalence.

Since all of Pro's support for Premise 1 crumbles; Premise 1 can be dismissed.

Premise 2: The Universe Began To Exist

-- If The B-Theory Of Time Is True...

An Ad Populum fallacy would be present if I was arguing that my position was correct because most philosophers of time believe so. However, I was arguing that my position is probably correct because the Minkowski space-time interpretation of Special Relativity is probably correct. The quote was additional to my argument, as perhaps a potential "bulk up". It was not my argument itself.

"I exist now because my parents conceived me in December of 1980. I would not exist now if they hadn't." - Pro

This commits the fallacy of presumption. He has to presume A-Theory to make that claim. When you say they "hadn't", that presumes an ontological motion. However, if B-Theory is true, then your birth, existence, and death all exist tenselsssy on a 4d or n + 1d space-time block.

"Similarly, even if time exists tenselessly, the universe would still require a cause as to how it exists now." - Pro

No it does not. My opponent just simply does not understand the metaphysics of time. If the universe is tenselessly eternal, then my opponent did not come into being in the 80's, it only appears that way as temporal becoming is just an illusion. Pro confuses:

(i) What appears to be due to the illusion of temporal becoming
(ii) What ontologically is

If time is tenseless, then nothing begins to exist, as temporal becoming is a necessary condition for something to come into existence, and temporal becoming is an illusion if B-Theory is true. If Nothing begins to exist, then the second premise is false necessarily.

Now, Pro mentions arguments against an actual infinity. However, they fail because they assume classical arithmetic. Cantorian Set-Theory makes coherent use of infinities[4]. Also, the absurdities with regards to things like the Grim Reaper Paradox only arise once you try to add, subtract, divide, or multiply with regards to infinity, on top of any finite representation. If you have an actual infinity that is "frozen" tenselesslsy, then you cannot add, subtract, divide, or multiply this block. Therefore, the theist has no argument that there would be any absurdities when dealing with a 4d or n +1d block that extends infinitely in the later than direction. Also, if the block extends finitely in the earlier than direction, this still says nothing in favor of an ontologically real beginning in context. Pro has no case.

Also, A-Theory is logically impossible. Ergo, it has to be false. McTaggart's Paradox shows that each "now" moment has all three classical A-Properties, because it is the present, it is the past to the future, and the future to the past. However, each "now" moment can only have one A-Property (the property of being "present") if A-Theory is true. It cannot both be true that each "now" moment both:

(i) Entails only one A-Property
(ii) Entails three A-Properties

Therefore, A-Theory is incoherent.

Lets get back to the science, as my opponent ignored my scientific argument for B-Theory and just hand-waved it away. Special Relativity, under the Minkowski space-time framework, tells us that time is relative to a specific reference frame and is not absolute. This has been confirmed by experiment[5]. This means A-Theory is false
because it requires a universal "now" moment.

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

The only way to avoid this would seem to be a Neo-Lorentzian view of Special Relativity. Why is the Minkowski space-time interpretation more scientifically sound than the Neo-Lorentzian view? This is because Special Relativity under a Minkowski space-time framework predicts time dilation and length contraction. Both which have been confirmed[6]. Special Relativity under a Neo-Lorentzian view cannot be explain length contraction, and its prediction of luminous ether came up short with no results. The Neo-Lorentzian view also violates the scientific symmetry principles of Earman[7].

-- If The A-Theory Of Time Is True...

My argument still stands unscathed. A finite past =/= a true coming into being

Conclusion

The resolution has been negated.

Sources

[1] http://std.about.com...
[2] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[3] http://atheism.about.com...
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://ston.jsc.nasa.gov...
[6] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...
[7] http://philpapers.org...
KeytarHero

Pro

I once again thank Con for his argument. As per the rules, this will be my final round of argumentation.

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

=Con has still failed to respond to my first two points from round one (if something can come into being from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything or everything doesn't come into being from nothing, and something cannot come from nothing). For this fact alone, premise one should be considered by the voters as affirmed. It would not be fair for Con to finally address them in this argument, as I will not have a chance to respond to it.

But let's look at the rest of his argument.

Con admits it's true that our experience confirms that things that begin to exist has causes. It's not an unjustified leap of faith to claim that everything that begins to exist has a cause. While it may not prove the first premise, it is evidence for it, and makes it more likely than its negation (that not everything that begins to exist has a cause).

1a. A Priori Support

My use of Aristotelian causality is not a fallacious red-herring; Con continues to insist on equivocating on the term "cause," which is truly fallacious. It doesn't matter how Con wants to use the term, it matters how the term is used in the argument, itself. Con's source does not justify his argument that Aristotelian causes must be thought of in terms of "necessary" or "sufficient" causation. Even if we do, we can see that the cause of the universe is both necessary and sufficient. An intelligent, all-powerful cause would be sufficient to create the universe from nothing, and in order for something to come from nothing requires an intelligent, all-powerful cause. Therefore, an intelligent, all-powerful cause would also be necessary for the universe to come from nothing.

Additionally, it is possible for something to be caused without necessary or sufficient causation. Con is mistaken that ex nihilo nihil fit can be true while the first premise is false; in fact, it's absurd to even say that, since they're both saying the same things. Non-deterministic causation is still real causation. Consider the following example: Bob pulls the trigger of a gun, which randomly (ontically) either fires a bullet or not each time. Imagine, then, that at one instance, Bob pulls the trigger and the gun fires a bullet. Surely Bob's pulling of the trigger caused the bullet to fire? But this is a case of nondeterministic causation, then, and so the pulling of the trigger is not sufficient.

My case is not self-refuting (a self-refuting statement is one that fails to live up to its own criteria for truth). Con actually means my case is contradictory. But it's not that, either. First, Con's appealing to a pregnant is a false analogy; Con should be appealing to fertilization, which is the process that causes a pregnancy (or perhaps the sex act, which sets the pregnancy in motion). Second, all of the conditions need not be met for Aristotelian causality if some of the conditions logically can't be met (such as the material cause not being met, since the universe had to begin and it began from nothing). Some conditions are required in Aristotelian causation (such as the efficient and final cause), but the material cause is not required in the case of the universe, since the universe was created from nothing. As William Lane Craig has once stated, this may be puzzling, but it's less puzzling than a universe without either a material or efficient cause.

Con states that there is nothing logically incoherent about something coming into existence from something else uncaused, but this is simply mistaken. Con has not shown how something can come from nothing uncaused, and he has not offered any true examples of something that can.

Con seems confused by my statement about the dent not coming into existence, but his confusion is puzzling. The dent is a change in the paper -- it is not a separate entity beginning to exist. It is a property of the paper, just like the message in the sand is a property of the sand. And my response to his "dent in the paper" from last round stands, as he has not responded to it.

1b. A Posteriori Support

Quantum mechanics is not a counter-example to the KCA. Even if we can't infer from the micro level what is true at the macro level (even though, as I argued earlier, it is evidence in support of it), quantum mechanics does not prove the KCA wrong. Quantum mechanics only shows that something can come from something (the quantum vacuum, which is not "nothing"), but it doesn't show that it is uncaused. The Copenhagen interpretation is only one of many, and many are indeterministic as well as deterministic.

Premise 1 stands affirmed. Con has not given sufficient reason to reject it, and on top of that, he has failed to respond to two of my points from the original argument. For that reason alone, premise 1 stands affirmed.

Premise 2 -- the universe began to exist.

Con's use of the quote was still an ad populum fallacy, since it adds nothing to his argument. If he was trying to use it to bolster his argument (even though not his main argument), then it is a fallacy because that doesn't speak one way or the other toward the truth of his argument.

I am not committing the fallacy of presumption in my analogy of being conceived. If Con's assertion is correct, then my parents could not have done otherwise than to have conceived me on that day. So I'm guessing Con does not believe in free will, since his position entails that one is not free to do other than what exists on the "block" of time. This is not an argument to debate free will, but free will is generally understood to entail that one is free to do otherwise than that which they do. My parents certainly could have decided not to have sex on that night, thereby not conceiving me. My parents had the free will not to conceive me. But then again, if Con does not believe in free will, then why is here debating the KCA with me, since I and the readers will believe or not believe the KCA is sound apart from any of the arguments given here.

As to my contention that the universe would still require a cause, I do understand (at least as far as a layman can) the metaphysics of time. But Con simply does not seem to understand the philosophy of it. Thomas Aquinas has argued that even if the universe exists eternally, it would still require a First Mover, since everything that moves needs someone to initiate the movement. However, even the KCA would still work because as I needed to be conceived to exist now, an intelligent cause was needed to begin the universe, even if time exists "tenselessly."

Even philosophers agree that the A-Theory of time is the commonsense view of time. Only philosophers believe in the B-Theory of time, which reminds me of something G.K. Chesterton once wrote: "Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated of taking educated people seriously." Intelligent people can argue themselves into and out of anything. But it would be irrational, despite being unable to prove it, to believe that the universe doesn't exist, that it is only an illusion. It seems equally irrational to believe that time passing is only an "illusion." After all, we witness ourselves growing older, we speak of time passing, and we die. We can only travel one way along this "time block," forward, and not backward.

Con has actually misunderstood the Grim Reaper paradox. He completely misunderstands the Grim Reaper (GR) argument here. The GR argument does not depend on tense, but on related causal actions (ie. the GRs overlap causally). The absurdities of the Grim Reapers do not arrive because of the paradoxical nature of transfinite arithmetic, that's a different argument.

I am out of space. Premise 2 has been affirmed, so the conclusion stands.
Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Premise 1: Everything That Begins To Exist Has A Cause

My opponent starts off his last round with a fallacious red-herring. He claims that I never responded to ex nihilo nihil fit. This is because I never contested ex nihilo nihil fit, I only contested the fact that it proves the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Since Pro never supported that it was necessary for "x" to come into being from nothing, in order for "x" to be considered uncaused; Pro has not affirmed the first premise. He never refuted the argument from Wes Morriston that a sufficient cause is required for a casual process. Pro is appealing to some extremely loose definition of causation, by which something is caused if it finds origination in an ontological antecedent. We are left with no reason to prefer this view of causation over a stricter view. Since Pro has the burden of proof; the first premise is negated in context.

Pro also asserts that the fact that we view things that begin to exist have causes makes the first premise more likely than its negation. However Pro hasn't shown how our epistemic knowledge within space-time can produce a probability with regards to everything that begins to exist. This is just a bare assertion from Pro, and a fallacy of presumption.

-- A Priori Support

Any theory of causation can be put into the framework of either necessary or sufficient causation. If not, then one could argue that it is not even causation. Even with Pro's example of the gun, the trigger pulling is still sufficient for the bullet being released from the gun if the gun is perfectly working. If the gun is not perfectly working, and we just do not know about it, then this is human ignorance. It does not show anything actually indeterministic. There is a difference between something being ontologically indeterministic, and something that we lack knowledge of which creates that impression. Thus, Pro is guilty of using a false-analogy. Additionally, Pro does not understand Aristotelian causality:

"In his argument on the intrinsic causes, Aristotle deduces these causes of change by holding this view; that the relationship between the absence and presence of Form cannot happen unless it happens within a persistent substratum that persists throughout the whole transformation process of an object. This is what he called the Material Cause."[1]

"First, he [Aristotle] says, there is that of which and out of which a thing is made...This is called the material cause."[2]

Aristotelian Causality is pretty clear. If a thing is made; it has a material cause. This even holds true for the universe as he believed God had to have made it ex materia. If God made the universe ex nihilo, then this prima facie violates Aristotelian causality:

"Aristotle’s understanding of the four causes begins with the assumption that is present in all Greek philosophy, the notion of pre-existing matter." [3]

Pro appeals to Aristotelian Causality, but rejects it simultaneously by claiming a thing can be formed, or made without a material cause. A Material cause for a thing was fundamental to Aristotle's theory of causality. Since we are left with no alternative theory of causality from Pro; this alone negates the resolution.

Now:

"Con has not shown how something can come from nothing uncaused, and he has not offered any true examples of something that can." - Pro

The above is a fallacious shifting of the burden of proof. I do not have to disprove the first premise, Pro has to prove the first premise; which was not accomplished.

Also, as far as the dent is concerned, even if "x" is part of "y", it doesn't follow from this that "x" is not its own entity. We all are all part of the universe, but I am still an individual. Therefore, we can dismiss this bizarre logic from my opponent.

-- A Posteriori Support

As far as this section is concerned, Pro has not shown how quantum mechanics does not prove him wrong. Once more this is shifting the burden of proof regardless. My claim was that because things behave differently at the quantum level, we can not infer truth abut the sub-atomic scale based off of the macroscopic scale alone. This means that our every day experience does not affirm the first premise here. Also, many scientists do believe that quantum mechanics refutes the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument:

"Quantum events have a way of just happening, without any cause, as when a radioactive atom decays at a random time." - Taner Edis. Department of Physics Truman State University Kirksville[4]

"Uncaused, random quantum fluctuations in a flat, empty, featureless spacetime can produce local regions with positive or negative curvature" - Victor Stenger. American Particle Physicist[5]


Pro did not even scratch the surface.

Premise 2: The Universe Began To Exist

-- If The B-Theory Of Time Is True...

Pro does not address McTaggart's Paradox which proves that A-Theory is impossible, thus it stands, and the resolution is negated. Pro also did not address my argument appealing to the Minkowski space-time interpretation of Special Relativity, thus it stands, and the resolution has been negated, as I demonstrated that the B-Theory of time is true which is incompatible with premise 2 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument (as temporal becoming is a necessary condition for something to come into being):

“[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


This, basically, is just embarrassing for Pro, as he completely ignored the most important points of this debate. Pro goes on to say that the universe would still require a cause even if it was eternal. However, this is the Leibniz Cosmological Argument Pro is mentioning, not the Kalam Cosmological Argument. This means Pro is switching the goal posts and changing the entire course of the debate. Either way, his argument fails because it is based on "motion" which requires temporal becoming. Since there is is no temporal becoming ontologically under a tenseless framework, not even appealing to Leibniz in this context can get Pro's points off of the ground. If B-Theory is true, there is no ontological motion or mutability. Therefore, we are left without any reason to think the universe is contingent and requires a cause even under a Leibnizian framework. Also, as far as the Grim Reaper Paradox is concerned, Pro did not even defend it. If he tried to, we would see that it does indeed presume a tensed theory of time as it deals with the successive addition of moments.

-- If The A-Theory Of Time Is True...

As I stated in my first round, there is a distinction between:

(i) A starting point of the universe (a 1st state)

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

(i) follows from (ii), as the truth of (i) is included in (ii) itself. There is no logical or metaphysical link requiring (ii) to follow from (i). An a posteriori argument will not work, as any examples given will have time as a background. Arguments for a finite past only demonstrate, at best, (i) not (ii). 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.

Conclusion

Pro did not provide a theory of causality which supports his position. Also, I proved that B-Theory is incompatible with premise 2, and that B-Theory was true. Pro also did not even show that a finite past equates to a coming into being! Clearly, the resolution is negated.

Sources
KeytarHero

Pro

No argument will be posted here as agreed.
Debate Round No. 4
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
This is what makes it very hard for the theistic A-Theorist, because even if A-Theory is true, and the "present" moment is "present" for everybody; the Moving Spotlight Theory could be true. If this theory is true, then the past, present, and future are all real, but the "present" objective and privileged. So, it is like B-Theory in that the universe does not begin to exist, and in that the past, present, and future are real. However, it differs because they are not all EQUALLY real. It is still a tensed theory of time, because the present would be privileged (unlike B-Theory).
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
The Growing Block Theory is a subset of A-Theory. You have Presentism (Dr.Craig's view, and the view of most A-Theorists), Growing Block Theory, Shrinking Block Theory, and the Moving Spotlight Theory. There may be others, but those theories under the A-Series. For tenseless theories of time, you have the B-Series and the C-Series. I do not think anyone defends the C-series, and the B-Series has more explanatory rigor.

The main debate with regards to the metaphysics of time is between Presentism and B-Theory.

Now, as far as Growing Block is concerned, it is compatible with the KCA. Shrinking Block Theory is not compatible with the KCA and neither is the Moving Spotlight Theory. So, as far as the A-Series goes, Presentism and the Growing Block Theory are both compatible with the KCA, but the Shrinking Block Theory is not compatible with the KCA, and neither is the Moving Spotlight Theory. B-Theory is obviously not compatible with the KCA, and neither is the C-Series.
Posted by Magic8000 3 years ago
Magic8000
Does the KCA work with the Growing Block theory or just strictly the A theory?
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
And I will vote on that debate as well!
Posted by KeytarHero 3 years ago
KeytarHero
That works. Take your time.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
However, the debate will be just over the truth of the first premise with you holding the burden of proof to establish it. I accept the logic of the argument, so there would be no need for you to explain modal logic in the debate.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"Well, I'd say I've soundly lost this debate. Good show, Rational."

I appreciate that, and good show to you as well.

"If you'd still like to debate the OA, I'm ready whenever you are."

I'm in the middle of a pretty big debate on the Kalam Cosmological Argument right now. Well, actually, there is only one more round left for the both of me and my opponent (so, really not the "middle"). After that debate is completed, I would still like to debate you on the Modal Ontological Argument.
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
You did pretty well. I would have written about your good moments, but I didn't have the room.
Posted by KeytarHero 3 years ago
KeytarHero
Well, I'd say I've soundly lost this debate. Good show, Rational. If you'd still like to debate the OA, I'm ready whenever you are.

And yes, thanks Guy_D.
Posted by Guy_D 3 years ago
Guy_D
You're welcome.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Guy_D 3 years ago
Guy_D
Rational_Thinker9119KeytarHeroTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter ModusTollens vote.
Vote Placed by ModusTollens 3 years ago
ModusTollens
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Reasons for voting decision: Con seemed unable to grasp the fact that it is fallacious to assume that everything that began has a cause. For thousands of years, all human experience showed that if you push something, it will move faster in the direction you pushed it. Then, in 1905, Einstein demonstrated that an object moving at light speed would not conform to this Newtonian principle. Under extraordinary circumstances, such as the beginning of the universe or near-light speeds, observations made under ordinary circumstances cannot be held irrefutable even if every piece of evidence you have previously observed points a certain way. New methods of observation must be developed, and nothing in the formal logic suggests that the universe required a cause, regardless of whether it did in fact begin to exist.
Vote Placed by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Magic8000 3 years ago
Magic8000
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments were objecting to P1 and arguing from the B theory of time. I think Con mainly won with his B theory argument. Con showed by special relativity the B theory is true. Pro misunderstood the B theory and was arguing that beginning to exist can still happen. Even myself, with a limited understanding of the B theory knows this is totally untrue. Con showed that Pro was assuming the A theory instead of trying to get the KCA to work with the B theory. Con also refuted Pro's proposition of an infinite regress. Pro then starting going off on free will and then moved the goal post because his argument for the Universe having a cause would be from Leibniz not the KCA. In the P1 section Pro basically committed a special pleading fallacy claiming these events are only on a micro and don't have any bearing on the macro. Pro also argued from other irrelevant positions, such as a vacuum not being "nothing".