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The Kalam Cosmological Argument Successfully Demonstrates its Conclusion.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/3/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 687 times Debate No: 76148
Debate Rounds (4)
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Welcome, apologist opponent (most likely). Dr. William Lane Craig (WLC) has defended the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) as demonstrating its conclusion. Here is the argument.

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe had a cause. [1]

We will use WLC's definition of "begins," which he defines as "coming into being". A more rigorous definition of "coming into being" (according to WLC) is as follows.

"The kalam cosmological argument uses the phrase "begins to exist." For those who wonder what that means I sometimes use the expression "comes into being" as a synonym. We can explicate this last notion as follows: for any entity e and time t,

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." [2]

Pro may give another definition of "begins to exist" in round 1 which we will use for the debate, or he may use Craig's, but no changing definitions after round 1.

Rounds- Pro will argue in rounds 1,2, and 3. Con (me) will argue in rounds 2,3, and 4. In round 4, pro may only summarize points already made by him and give a brief explanation for why he should win each point. I will also give a brief explanation for why I should win each point at the end of round 4.

Burden of proof is on pro. Note that I am not asking pro to prove the cause is God. This should make things easier and more fun.

Please don't forfeit. It makes me cry on the inside.

Good luck!





In order to follow logically, we need to adjust the tense of #3 to "has a cause" rather than "had a cause." Otherwise, it would not follow strictly from a linguistic or logical standpoint.

Another way to contextualize this debate would be to argue that anything or anyone which is above time or transcendent to time cannot have a cause (at least a spatio-temporal cause).

That which is not above time or transcendent to time must have a cause.

The universe is not above time or transcendent to time.

Therefore, the universe has a cause and anything or anyone transcendent to time is uncaused.

As to the phrase, "begins to exist," I would propose something similar but simpler. If human consciousness were present, something or someone would be perceived to exist at one time and not exist at a prior or different time.

Thanks for the opportunity to debate this topic.
Debate Round No. 1


Welcome to the debate!

Response to Pro

I would like to apologize for saying "had" rather than "has." This was my mistake.

Pro's rephrasing of the argument- Pro argues that the universe isn't transcendent to time. However, the universe is "transcendent" to time because it, by definition, contains all time. The universe is, by definition, all space-time and its contents. Therefore, as it contains all time it can be properly said to transcend it. This new statement of the argument therefore fails.

Pro's definition- Pro defines beginning in terms of human consciousness. However, obviously human consciousness didn't exist 13.7 billion years ago. This is the main problem with his definition. I will therefore focus on WLC's definition unless pro proposes something more concrete.

B Theory of Time

The Kalam cosmological argument is predicated on an archaic, unscientific theory of time called the "A Theory." [1] What is the A Theory of time? The A theory of time is the theory of time based on absolute tenses of past, present, and future. [1]A theorists generally believe that the present has a higher lever of objective "existence" than the past or the future. However, thanks to special relativity we know that absolute present doesn't exist. Thanks to a complicated phenomenon known as "relative simultaneity", two events which occur simultaneously to one observer don't according to another. [2] This means that each person has his own perception of "the present" and that none are "objectively" the present. This means the whole of the A theory is incorrect, and we must instead turn to the B Theory.

The B theory defines time not in terms of past, present, and future but in terms of earlier, later, and simultaneous. [2] This approach understands that because the present is such a malleable thing, easily changed by accelerating the observer, we cannot use concepts such as the present to objectively describe reality. This completely discredits the idea that the present has a higher level of objective existence than the past or future because the present isn't an objective item. Therefore, according the B theory of time the past, present, and future are all equally real. In fact, the prevailing mathematical description of space-time, which most simply describes the phenomena of general and special relativity, is based on B theory. The so-called Minkowski space-time is used by almost all physicists to do calculations and is the mathematical extension of the B theory of time. [4] Modern physics has both proven B theory and developed the best model of reality based on it.

What does this mean for the Kalam cosmological argument? Firstly, WLC's definition of "begins" requires that an item's existence be "a tensed fact." According to special relativity and the B theory of time, there is no such thing as a tensed fact because past, present, and future are relative to the individual observer and therefore not objective. Additionally, the Minkowski space-time model views the universe as a 4-dimensional space-time object. Time is just another dimension, albeit one with slightly different properties than space (eg the sign of dt^2 is negative in the Minkowski metric). The universe no more "began" at time=0 than a yardstick "began" at distance=0. [5] It merely has an edge in the temporal dimension. Additionally, according to WLC, for item "e" to begin there must be "no state of affairs in the actual world in which e exists timelessly". The problem is that because the universe contains all time, it does exist "timelessly." To elaborate, the universe is an object that contains all time and space. Therefore, it is impossible to select any time in which the universe doesn't exist because that time would have to not itself exist. So we can say the universe exists timelessly even if it is not past eternal.

The deeper issue is that the standard justification for premise one (everything which begins to exist has a cause) falls apart when one considers the universe and WLC's definition of beginning. The justification for this principle is that we have never seen anything begin to exist without any cause. However, the whole idea of a cause is that it must precede its effect in time. By definition, nothing can precede the universe in time because there was no time "before" the universe. Therefore, the universe actually cannot have a cause in the usual sense of causality.

Additionally, everything we have ever scientifically observed come into being, according to Craig's definition, has a material cause. Pro, if you have example of something scientifically demonstrated to begin to exist without a material cause than please speak now. Therefore, if it is valid to say everything has a cause because we've never scientifically observed anything come into existence without a cause, everything which begins to exist has a cause, then it is equally valid to say that everything which begins to exist has a material cause. But obviously the universe can't have a material cause because by definition all material is in the universe. This therefore disproves the "material cause" argument. But if that argument is wrong, then because it relies on the exact same logic used to justify the Kalam the Kalam is also incorrect.

Finally, an claim based on inductive arguments, such as "everything which begins to exist has a cause," cannot be logically extended to all objects of that class. For example, a few years ago nobody knew for certain the Higgs Boson existed. Therefore, one could inductively make the claim "everything that exists is not a Higgs Boson" because every single item we had tested was not a Higgs Boson. The problem, of course, is that the claim "everything that exists is not a Higgs Boson" was made without considering the Higgs Boson itself. The Higgs Boson is the only exception to that claim. In the same way, the claim "everything which begins to exist has a cause" is made without considering the universe. In order for one to know that "everything which begins to exist has a cause", if the universe existed one would have to determine whether it had a cause before being certain of the statement. In other words, the justification for the Kalam commits the fallacy of begging the question. This is why scientists don't use Aristotelian-style arguments and instead develop a theory to test against the data.

Good luck next round, and I look forward to some spirited debate.


Note: this source is highly technical.
Note: I didn't take any information from this page, just its excellent yardstick analogy.


Thanks for the opportunity to engage on this interesting topic.

My opponent focuses a great deal of attention on different theories of time. The main problem with his critique of various theories of time is that they do not substantially relate to the issue at hand. He argues that the A theory emphasizes the "present" in contrast to the "past" and "future" and the B theory blurs those three categories. While this may seem like an interesting question, it is materially irrelevant to the fact that the universe had a beginning.

Let me use an example. Does the "B theory" of time de-emphasize the "present" so much that my opponent does not believe that there was a beginning point when he wrote his initial posting? Is it possible or plausible, since others might have not observed the beginning or reported it as occuring at the same moment, that the beginning [of his posting] did not happen? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. Thus, while the "B Theory" of time may emphasize the relative dimensions of time, it can never subtract, pure and simple, a beginning point for an event. And since it cannot subtract a beginning point, it cannot, therefore, subtract a cause.

The short version of the critique of my opponent's argument against the beginning of the universe is that the observation that the universe had to have a beginning and therefore a cause is not that scientists have merely inductively observed that all natural effects up to this point have had natural causes. If it were the case that the *only* reason that we had to believe that things had a beginning and cause was that inductive reason and probability had led us to do so, then we could not be absolutely certain that this was the case. But that is not the only reason. There is also intuitive or abductive (from the parts to the best "whole" conclusion) reason which can also lead us to believe that all "effects" must have a "cause" by definition.

My opponent has a woeful lack of reference to the great Scottish philosopher, David Hume. Hume is famous for noting that our habits of connecting causes and effects are often mistaken and misleading.[2] So, for my opponent to assume that *every* effect in the natural world has a material cause not only ignores major parts of the history of philosophy, but it violates his last paragraph (which refers to the limitations of induction).

The absolute best that my opponent can do, given his premises, is as follows:

a.) If the beginning of the universe is dependent on one's subjective perception of a "present" as opposed to a past and future, then the universe may not have a cause;

b.) The theory of time that is currently favored relies on subjective perception of the "present";

c.) Therefore, the universe may not have a cause.

Obviously, this argument does not work for presenting a necessity. That the universe *might* not have a cause is not strong enough to refute Craig's KCA or any similar argument. In order to be effective (or even interesting), my opponent has to present an argument for why *this* particular universe does not have a beginning or need a cause as we would expect from any other phenomenon, whether in this universe or any other.

I will move retroactively to my definitions for this debate. I had argued that what is "beyond time" [BT] does not have a cause or any obvious cause [C].

Thus, BT > ~C, and,

~BT > C.

My opponent seems to accept this as valid or as more reasonable than not.

So, in the formulation [where U is the universe]:

~BT > C

U = ~BT

Ergo, U > C,

my opponent actually objects to the minor premise rather than the major premise.

He argues that since the universe contains or encompasses time, that it must transcend time. Interestingly, he also notes that the universe cannot exist before time. Of course, time cannot exist "prior" to the universe. That would be either impossible or contradictory or both. Yet my opponent overlooks one obvious possibility: the instantiation of the universe and of time itself (whether viewed in "A" or "B" theory) are entirely coeval or contemporary. In that event, the universe does not "contain" time, per se, but is dependent upon time just as time is dependent upon the advent of the universe. Thus, Time and the Universe are co-original and co-terminous. If the instantiation of the universe and time are co-eval, then the universe is clearly not transcendent to time which lays to rest the objection to the minor premise.

Also, my opponent seems to assume that the cause cannot be simultaneous to the effect which is the only believable reason that he would have to objecting to the simultaneity of universe and time. I would refer him to J.L. Mackie's book, The Cement of the Universe, or other works based on Mackie's seminal work in order to better understand this simultaneity and coterminosity. [1]

With that objection thoroughly refuted, there is no plausible recourse left but to affirm the efficacy of Craig's KCA.


Debate Round No. 2


An interesting response. I will defend myself a little and put forth a few final arguments to get my point across.

B Theory and Beginning

I can easily conceptualize the temporal beginning of this hopefully persuasive argument. Why? Because the beginning exists within a universe containing all space and time. However, when one is speaking of a four dimensional manifold (mathematical object) that contains all time, one cannot truly say that it had a beginning. This is what the B theory really means: objects contained within space time, such as my hopefully appealing and comprehensive response, may be said to have a beginning because they are evolving and changing through time. To elaborate, think of a frog. A frog begins as an egg, changes into a tadpole, then soon becomes an adult. Notice that the frog is changing over time. However, the universe is not like a frog (quote of the day) because the universe contains all of time. Therefore, the universe cannot be said to evolve or change because it is a fixed object containing time.

Allow me to attempt to explain this in a simpler way. Suppose that all that exists is a very large sphere. It just sits there, and nothing ever happens to it. The sphere is changeless, timeless, and truly eternal. But if you look inside the sphere, you see complex lines that frequently intersect, and in doing so branch off in new directions. In addition, you notice that you can mathematically predict where any line is going by looking to the left. You can say that every point on the line can absolutely, with 100% certainty, be predicted by looking at all of the lines to the left. So you might say that the path of any line is "caused" by whatever is going on to the left. This would be the most perfect possible example of "causality": a 100% rate of correlation. Statisticians can only dream about that.

But although we know that the paths of our lines are "caused", can we then conclude the sphere itself is caused by something to the left? Well, no. Our rule of causality only applies inside the sphere. In addition, the term left has no meaning past the edge of the sphere because their can't be anything to the left of the sphere.

This, then, is our universe. Add an extra dimension, think of the "lines" as the paths traced by fundamental particles, and change the shape (especially on the right-hand side), and you have our universe. This way of thinking about the universe, with time as just another dimension, is what B theory and Minkowski space time are all about. As you can see, this view renders the Kalam simply ridiculous, and even William Lane Craig admits that the Kalam fails if this view is correct. [1]

Limits of Inductive Argument

I'm afraid pro rather missed the point with my "everything which begins must have a material cause" argument. My "argument" was not meant to be a sound and convincing argument but rather to demonstrate exactly the principles which pro quotes from Hume. I gave an argument which was obviously flawed, as I explained, to show the limits of inductive arguments. So I ask you, pro, what is the difference from my case that the universe had material cause and the Kalam? Both rely on exactly the same style inductive argument, and you haven't provided any event without a material cause, so it's just as valid to say everything which begins to exist has a material cause as to say that it has a cause. The inductive arguments used in either case are equally flawed.

The only saving grace, pro claims, is that "There is also intuitive or abductive (from the parts to the best "whole" conclusion) reason which can also lead us to believe that all "effects" must have a "cause" by definition." But this is no defense! Aside from it being an "intuitive argument", this is merely a tautology. I don't question that effects must have causes; I question whether "everything which begins to exist" must have a cause, and pro can provide no justification for this other than a flawed inductive argument. Pro's assertion of a meaningless definition in no way provides any justification for premise 1 of the Kalam Cosmological Argument.


Pro has failed to give a definition for "beyond time." By what criteria are we to decide whether something is or isn't beyond time? Without a definition his argument is meaningless.

Pro has failed to give a rigorous definition of "begins to exist." Considering that I ruined WLC's definition last round, I would think pro would try to bail himself out by giving us a good definition, but so far he hasn't despite my request,

By definition, the universe is everything that exists, including time. Please don't misquote me and attempt to play word games about time and the universe "coexisting." Time is simply a dimension of the universe.

Causality sans Time

Causality, as far as we know, only occurs within time according to natural laws. To try to extrapolate the principles of causality to something as alien and complex as the Big Bang, where space, time, density, and temperature approach infinity and reality is governed by an undiscovered model of quantum gravity, and "before" which time doesn't even exist, is preposterous. [2] Additionally, assuming the cause is anything other than natural is also profoundly unscientific. If the cause is natural, then the cause itself can be said to be part of the universe, negating the Kalam entirely.

Summing Up

1. The universe contains all time, and thus transcends time. Even WLC admits that if the B theory of time is true, the universe no more came into existence at the Big Bang than a yardstick does at the first inch. [1]
2. The statement "everything which begins to exist has a cause" has only an inductive argument to back it up. This argument extrapolates what we know about ordinary things within space time to the whole of space time, and to the Big Bang event, an event so radical that space and time both curve approaching infinity, "before" which there is no time, and for which the appropriate model hasn't even been discovered. This extrapolation of a general principle to radically different circumstances is clearly fallacious, as I showed by using the same reasoning to "show" that "everything which begins to exist has a material cause", a claim which pro rightly rejected. If we apply the same standard to the Kalam it fails on many levels.
3. Pro seems to have serious issues defining key terms in a rigorous way. Without rigorous definitions, a logical argument falls apart easily.
4. The Kalam cosmological argument extrapolates the fundamentally temporal principle of causality to a purported region outside the universe in which time doesn't exist. Pro just assumes that it can happen. Again, highly fallacious.
5. The burden of proof is on pro to show that the Kalam "successfully demonstrates its conclusion." Pro has provided little justification for this claim, and I have shown many flaws in this argument which make it impossible for the argument to succeed.


1- See Video


Well, a big "thank you" to Raistlin for setting up this debate. It is turning out to be a very fun and eventful debate. I believe that we will both be better informed after all is "said and done."

Raistlin begins in a most amusing manner by comparing the universe to various objects and he ends by comparing the universe to something eternal and changeless. But it has long been recognized and more recently confirmed through scientific investigation that the universe had a beginning or origin. "As the great English astronomer Arthur Eddington once put it, if the universe can be compared to a clock, the fact that the clock is continually running down leads to the conclusion that there was a time when the clock was fully wound up. The universe originated with its full supply of energy, and that is the fund that has been dissipating ever since." [1]

But is Raistlin correct that the B theory of time debunks a beginning of the universe and of time itself? Or is this theory irrelevant to how and why the universe began at all?

I would like to argue along three different lines of evidence to show that Raistlin's counter-Kalam arguments are ineffective.

1.) The universe cannot transcend time or contain time, if the universe is co-existent with time. My opponent dismisses this argument too quickly; thus, I will spend more time elaborating upon it. If the universe does not transcend time, then it can, indeed, have a beginning, which I will show.
2.) Despite what my opponent believes, his B theory of time has to apply to our specific universe, not merely to any universe which may (or may not) transcend the laws which governs its existence. This cannot be over-emphasized!
3.) My opponent does not present a solid reason, besides the fact that he doesn't like it, against the deduction which leads inevitably to the conclusion that the universe does have a cause [U > C].

Regarding #1, my opponent seems to be unaware of different types of causality. In fact, he is confusing causal priority with temporal priority. One cause may be temporally prior to its effect. Another cause may be causally prior (but simultaneous with) its effect. In fact, it is "temporal priority" which leads to so much confusion regarding causality. Our "common sense" gets a rude awakening from philosophers on causality.

Thus, there is no temporal distantiation between the origin of the universe and the origin of time. The two are blurred together and interdependent on one another. At this point, the B theory of time not only does not refute the KCA, it may actually support and reinforce it. [1]

It is the case that only if causal priority is incorrectly identified with temporal priority would the B theory of time challenge the basis of the KCA. But causal priority is clearly not to be confused with temporarl priority. Ergo, the KCA stands.

As I pointed out in the previous round, philosophers who have specialized in causality, such as British philosopher, J.L. Mackie, can readily dispel the notion that cause and effect cannot have real simultaneity. In fact, much of our common-sense ideas about the non-simultaneity of cause and effect (i.e., that some event which is causal in nature must precede its effect) are actually wrong!

As Mackie writes: "Our proposal to make the possible world just like the actual one up to the point of time at which the proposed antecedent X occurs in the actual world would have the undesired result of making temporal priority necessary, though not sufficient, for causal priority. For if Y had occurred before X in the actual world, it would have already been included, by the above proposal, in the possible world: we should have left no chance that the exclusion of X from the possible world might, as that world ran on, exclude Y also. But temporal priority is not conceptually necessary for causal priority." [2] I would like you to focus your attention, Raistlin, on that latter sentence. It is key for grasping this debate. I will return to it under section #2.

Thus, when you write under "Causality sans time" about the absurdity of extrapolating about a point before time based upon the origin of the universe, I would say that not only is that not absurd, but it is necessary for our own formulations of causality. Based upon what Mackie is saying, we do not have a full grasp of causality if we cannot logically distinguish between temporal and causal priority. And if we can distinguish between them, then we can grasp a point beyond time since causality need not be time-based or time-contingent.

Regarding #2, all that my opponent has asserted in favor of the B theory of time pertaining to this particular universe is that in this universe, time is contained within the universe. But then he jumps to the conclusion that the universe transcends time since it contains time. Nonsense! The set of all abstract objects is a set containing these objects. It does not follow that the set "transcends" the objects.

Finally, Mackie's observations on the non-temporality of causality refute the idea that the B theory of time applies to just this universe. In order for non-temporality (and hence, causality) to be intelligible, there has to be a sense of temporality and becoming. The B theory of time denies this per the Craig video. [3] Thus, it cannot apply to this particular universe since non-temporality must be intelligible.

Regarding #3, my opponent does not like my phrase "beyond time," even though he uses similar terminology to describe the relationship between the universe and time. OK. I can adjust the wording to suit his preference. That which is "beyond time" can become that which lacks time or is non-time [~T] where C is "cause" and U is "universe."


~T > ~C, and,

~[~T] > C

U = ~[~T]

Ergo, U > C.

Thanks again for this intellectually stimulating conversation on time and causality. I am really looking forward to our next round together!

[1] Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great about Christianity (Carol Stream, IL.: Tyndale House, 2008) 118-119.

[2] J.L. Mackie, The Cement of the Universe: A Study of Causation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974, 1980) 52.

Debate Round No. 3


Thanks for accepting the debate. It's been a good mental exercise, and an escape from summer boredom.

Eddington Quote

This is an interesting quote, and while I couldn't find it on the web, I did find some of his work on the so-called "Arrow of Time." The question seems simple enough: why does time appear to flow in only one direction? After all, when one considers the scientific 4 dimensional model of the universe, time seems very similar to other 3 dimensions, and there is certainly nothing to suggest that there is a fundamental difference between what we would call "forwards" and "backwards" in time. The answer (or at least a possibility suggested by Eddington) is that time is defined by the increase in entropy over time. Entropy can loosely be said to resemble disorder, and according to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, it increases over time. So rather than talking about "energy", which is of course conserved (mostly, with a few exceptions), Eddington appears to be talking about gradually increasing entropy. All that this implies is that at the Big Bang, entropy was at an absolute minimum. So this means we can not only distinguish time as a direction from the 3 normal space directions, but we can give time a "forward direction" which is not arbitrary. However, one may not assume that the universe is caused simply because there is an arrow of time. [1] Pro seems to be consistently thinking about the universe without considering its temporal component. I am trying to simplify the extremely complex mathematical structure of the universe, and I hope I have succeeded in doing so. My hope is that I can give a new way of thinking about the universe that explains the scientific concept of Minkowski space time and general relativity so that my objections to the idea that the universe had a "beginning" make sense to someone who isn't a physicist, and unfortunately it appears that I failed to communicate this idea to everyone as pro seemed to not be addressing the argument itself. Certainly the entropy argument confirms the existence of the Big Bang, but certainly not the beginning of the entire space-time continuum.

Pro's 3 Points

1. Again, by definition the universe is everything that exists including time. Science views time as a property of the universe. [2]

2. The B theory does apply to our specific universe, as I specifically showed using convincing scientific arguments which pro has failed to even address, much less refute.

3. It's not that I dislike your unique version of a cosmological argument, it's that you have (until just now) failed to define your terms. Now that you have, I will take a critical look at them.

The Theisticscuffles Cosmological Argument

Pro has come up with a definition for "beyond time." However, as he is about to discover, crafting definitions is harder than it looks.

Beyond time= "non time" or "lacks time"

Now, what's wrong with this definition? Well, let's say that, purely for the sake of argument, the universe is actually unbounded in the past and future, i.e. eternal. Well, the universe would certainly not "lack time", as it is eternal. And it clearly wouldn't be "non time" either. So the universe would NOT be beyond time. We can then use our best friends, logical symbols, to make a conclusion. So without further ado, let's define EU as an eternal universe, BT as "beyond time", and C as "cause".




In other words, an eternal universe isn't beyond time. And that which is not beyond time must have a cause. So an eternal universe must have a cause!

Except that is ridiculous and clearly a flawed conclusion. Even the Kalam admits that eternal objects don't require a cause in its 1st premise. Clearly then, the premise that whatever isn't beyond time has a cause is false as pro has defined "beyond time", else even an eternal universe would need a cause. Pro crafted a very clever definition of "beyond time" designed to defeat my conception of the universe as containing all time, but unfortunately he didn't account for an eternal universe, which would also contain all time, much more time than the universe in which we live. This is why I asked for a rigorous definition of "beyond time"; almost invariably, the definition will have a fundamental flaw in it. So let's get back to the topic of the debate, the Kalam cosmological argument, and consider the Theisticscuffles cosmological argument dead.

Simultaneity, Mackie, and Relativity

I am extremely interested to read what Mackie has to say about causality and have requested his book from my library. Until it arrives, however, I will have to give my independent analysis of why "simultaneous causality", as I shall call it, does not apply to the real world. Temporal priority might (and I will reserve judgement on this until I have seen Mackie's full case) not be conceptually necessary for causal priority, but certainly in the real world it is.

The best way to refute this comes back to a concept I introduced way back in round 2: relativity of simultaneity. Pro is contending that a cause may happen before or simultaneously to its effect; I say only before. According to special relativity, two events which are simultaneous to one another according to my frame of reference are not simultaneous in another frame of reference. If an effect and a cause occur simultaneously according to my perspective, then there exists a perspective according to which the cause happened AFTER the effect, which both of us agree is impossible. If one does the math involved with the physics, the conclusion is: event A can affect event B only if the difference in time multiplied by the speed of light is greater than the difference between the events and B doesn't precede A. So according to physics, a cause must be before an effect. [3]

So what is the difference between temporal and causal priority? If event A strictly precedes event B, then it is temporally "prior." This doesn't mean event A is causally "prior" to event B. However, if, without event A, event B wouldn't have occurred, then A is causally "prior" to B.

I have sufficiently demonstrated that, at least in the real universe, causal priority requires temporal priority, and therefore causality outside of time is not causality in the sense that we experience it. In some theoretical universe obeying different laws, this might not be true, but it is for the real world. So we can safely conclude that causality requires time, and as there was no time "prior" to the Big Bang, there was no causality.

Limits of Inductive Arguments

Pro dropped this argument. He has no answer to it. Therefore, the Kalam fails. It's that simple.

Was the resolution upheld?


1. Pro's only "proof" of premise 1 of the Kalam was inductive, and I have conclusively demonstrated his inductive argument to be invalid.

2. The universe is a 4 dimensional object and therefore didn't "begin to exist" like objects within it do.

3. I conclusively showed that Craig's definition of "begins to exist" doesn't apply to the universe.

4. Causality cannot be simultaneous in the real world. Causality requires time, which did not exist "prior" to the Big Bang. Therefore, the Big Bang cannot have a cause.

5. When pro finally defined "beyond time", his own argument broke down.

It's been a pleasure, Theisticscuffles. I hope that everyone learned something from this debate; I know I did. Please (obviously) don't introduce new arguments in the final round. I'll have a tough time responding.

2. Warning: highly technical source about properties of time.


Well, Raistlin, this has, indeed, been a very fascinating topic to debate with all sorts of
ramifications for other areas of study.

Thanks again for broaching it!

My opponent attempted to make a very theoretical case against the kalam cosmological argument
by showing that a particular theory of time should be applied. We are told that the B theory
is more adequate in terms of modern quantum physics. While that may be true and there may be
some truth to the B theory of time, it probably does not apply to the origin of the universe
in quite the way that he thinks it does, as I have demonstrated via Mackie and Eddington and
other philosophers who recognize some validity to the B theory of time but who also recognize
its limitations.

As I showed, Mackie's argument on the nature of causation conclusively entails that temporality,
i.e., a sense of not-being and being and a sense of becoming and not-becoming, is inherent in
causation. We simply cannot have one thing or event bringing about (causing) another without it.
Put otherwise, it is a sine qua non. Sans temporality, nothing about causation would work in our
universe. Thus, the B theory of time can have validity but not in the sense that it would erase
the ontic reality of becoming, passing into and out of being inherent in temporality. Therefore,
the YouTube video that you shared on the B theory of time has more conceptual limitations than
you are perhaps willing to acknowledge.

Raistlin rebuts Mackie's argument by attempting to demonstrate that the B theory of time entails
different, subjective senses of when an event began. That is all well and true but it does not
touch Mackie's argument.[1] We are talking about a real, ontic beginning point. In fact, it is pre-conditional or necessary that one
event or thing be distinguishable temporally from another (caused) event or thing in order for the
notion of simultaneity of causality to be understandable or intelligible.

And speaking of simultaneity and causation, in a strange turn of events, Raistlin renovates his emphasis that causality is so dependent on time that a cause must be temporally prior to its effect in order to be causally effective. Ironically, he argues against his own presentation of the B theory of time to make his point. Well, the obvious question emerges: "Doesn't that open up the possibility that the B theory of time may be misguided in ruling out a beginning of the universe?" In one sense, it doesn't matter because he is still mistaken about this. Simultaneity of causation is possible according to the Law of Causation and has been observed (even by various people with different perspectives). [2]

There can be no language about beyond time or without time according to my opponent. That doesn't
seem like a fair debate: to rule out a priori anything beyond time or without time simply because
one does not like the language. Then, Raistlin proceeds to assume that non-time (~T) entails that
the universe is eternal. Not at all! Something not subject to time is not part of the time-based
universe. That is all. Thus, his argument about the EU (eternal universe) misfires on all cylinders.

Raistlin complains that I only used inductive reasoning to arrive at the notion of origins or
beginnings that I did to defend Kalam. Not at all! Please re-read my previous responses! I actually
argued that the form of logic called "abductive"[3] where one reasons from various proposals to the
best explanation or from various parts to a whole that makes sense. So, I certainly never concluded
that inductive reasoning was the only form of reasoning to conclude that the universe had a
beginning point in time. Quite the contrary! In fact, one doesn't have to use inductive reasoning
at all.

In sum, (1.) the B theory of time is limited in scope and does not overturn empirical evidence which supports the notion that the universe had a beginning. Oddly enough, my opponent seems to grant this in some measure without fully acknowledging its force; (2.) Mackie shows conclusively that causal priority does not entail temporal priority and, therefore, Raistlin cannot logically believe that both the universe and succession of time could not be brought about simultaneously; (3.) other forms of logic, besides induction, can easily be used to determine that the universe had a beginning and therefore a cause.

Thanks again for setting up this debate and I wish you a great, non-boring rest of your summer.

[1] J.L. Mackie, The Cement of the Universe: A Study of Causation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974, 1980).


Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Nivek 2 years ago
The last debate i read on this topic was roy' that was however an interesting read given my ignorance. Wouldn't mind reading more. Let's hope there's no forfeits
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