The Instigator
Apologician
Pro (for)
Winning
40 Points
The Contender
XimenBao
Con (against)
Losing
37 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God is Sound

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 13 votes the winner is...
Apologician
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/15/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,533 times Debate No: 10123
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (25)
Votes (13)

 

Apologician

Pro

My goal in this debate is to demonstrate that the Kalam cosmological argument is sound. My OP will be a very general outline and defense of the KCA, and I will leave it to my opponent to deliver and develop his specific criticisms in his OP before I go in depth, lest I attack straw men that are not a part of my opponent's argument. [1]

The Kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God is one of the most popular arguments of natural theology today. Its foremost contemporary defender is philosopher William Lane Craig. Other proponents include Mark Nowacki, J. P. Moreland, and David S. Oderberg. According to atheist Quentin Smith, "A count of the articles in the philosophy journals shows that more articles have been published about Craig's defense of the Kalam argument than have been published about any other philosopher's contemporary formulation of an argument for God's existence." [2]

The KCA is formulated as follows:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

PREMISE ONE

The first premise is relatively uncontroversial, and is rooted in the metaphysical principle that out of nothing, nothing comes. The denial of the first premise, although strictly logically possible, is metaphysically unactualizable. By definition, nothing has no potentialities. Thus, it is impossible for something to arise out of nothing, for how can its existence be actualized if the potential is not there? [3] The truth of the causal premise is additionally supported by our everyday experience. If the causal premise were false, then it is quite odd as to why we don't observe things coming into existence uncaused and out of nothing in our everyday experience. Presumably, nobody lives their life worrying about the possibility of an elephant suddenly appearing out of nothing in their living room. Writes Craig:

"Why is it only universes that can come into being from nothing? What makes nothingness so discriminatory? There cannot be anything about nothingness that favors universes, for nothingness does not have any properties. Nothingness is the absence of anything whatsoever. As such, nothingness can have no properties, since there literally is not anything to have any properties. Nor can anything constrain nothingness, for there is not anything to be constrained." [4]

PREMISE TWO

The second premise of the kalam cosmological argument is supported by both philosophical and scientific arguments. Arguments under the former category involve showing that the existence of an actually infinite number of things is metaphysically impossible. If the universe never began to exist, then its past duration would be actually infinite. [5] Since actual infinities cannot exist, then the past duration of the universe must have been finite, implying that the universe must have begun to exist. Even if one grants that it is possible for an actual infinite to exist, it still cannot be formed by successive addition, and henceforth the past duration of the universe must be finite. From a scientific perspective, the beginning of the universe is strongly supported by modern big bang cosmology. The proponent of the KCA thus finds himself comfortably seated in the midst of mainstream cosmology. Combined, these two reasons lend strong support to the truth of the second premise. Additionally, an eternal universe is ruled out by the second law of thermodynamics.

Before I move on, I just want to offer some definitions of the different types of infinity lest my opponent choose to attack that particular argument.

Potential infinities are sets that are constantly increasing toward infinity as a limit, but never attain infinite status. A more accurate description would be to say that their members are indefinite. An actual infinite, by contrast, is a set x that contains a subset x' that is equivalent to x. "The crucial difference between an infinite set and an indefinite collection would be that the former is conceived as a determinate whole actually possessing an infinite number of members, while the latter never actually attains infinity, although it increases perpetually. We have, then, three types of collection that we must keep conceptually distinct: finite, infinite, and indefinite." [6]

PREMISE THREE

Since it has been established that the first two premises are true, the conclusion follows logically; the universe must have been caused to exist. But caused by what? Some object that the first cause need not be God, but was rather an impersonal in nature. There are, however, good reasons to believe that the cause of the universe was a personal cause with attributes that closely resemble a monotheistic conception of God.

Firstly, it must be noted that since there is nothing prior to the cause of the universe, it cannot be explained scientifically, as this would imply the existence of antecedent determining conditions. Hence, because there are no prior determining conditions, the cause of the universe must be personal and uncaused. Moreover, the cause must transcend space both matter and time to create both matter and time. It must also be changeless, since there was no time prior to the creation of the universe. Interestingly enough, this also lends credibility to the notion that the cause was personal, for how else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect? It seems that the only way this could be possible is if the cause was a free agent who has the ability to effect a change; for if the cause of the universe was impersonal, then it would not have created. Finally, in order to create the universe ex nihilo, this cause must be enormously powerful, if not omnipotent. One is warranted in concluding that therefore, God exists.

__________

FOOTNOTES:

[1]. My OP incorporates modified excerpts from my essay "The Kalam Cosmological Argument" http://scaeministries.org......

[2]. Quentin Smith, "Kalam Cosmological Arguments for Atheism" in Michael Martin (ed), The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (Cambridge University Press) p. 183

[3]. In fact, denial of P1 entails a contradiction, although I will not elaborate on this unless P1 is attacked in my opponent's OP.

[4]. William Lane Craig and James D. Sinclair, "The Kalam Cosmological Argument" in William Lane Craig (ed) and J. P. Moreland (ed), The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009) pp, 18

[5]. This assumes the validity of the tensed or A-theory of time. Although there are good reasons to accept the validity of tensed time over tenseless time, I will not cover this in my OP due to space constraints. I will elaborate on this only if my opponent chooses to attack this point.

[6]. Craig and Sinclair, "The Kalam Cosmological Argument", in TBCNT, pp. 105
XimenBao

Con

For the purposes of this debate, I will concede the first two premises, reserving the right to contest them later. I will constrain myself to debating Apologician's interpretation of the third premise, that whatever caused the universe to exist was God. My central argument for this debate will be that you can't get from the Kalam Cosmological Argument to capital-G God.

Response to Arguments:

Knowing nothing?

Apologician begins his interpretation of the Kalam Cosmological Argument by asserting that there was nothing prior to the creation of the universe. This is an unsupported assertion. Current scientific thought holds that prior to the causation of the universe, there existed a singularity which we can only speculate about since it existed outside of this universe [1]. Whether the existence of this singularity assists or opposes the existence of God is a separate argument, but if one is to base argumentation on pure nothingness one must overturn the current consensus on the universe's origin or the remainder of the arguments fail immediately.

Even if we were to take the minority position that the singularity is a mathematical artifact, that position asserts that there was always a moment in the universes existence prior to each previous moment, and to accept that would refute the first two premises of Kalam [2]. At this point, all of Apologician's interpretive arguments can be dismissed on this basis.

Lack of Antecedents, Lack of Argumentation

In Apologician's defense of the interpretation that the Kalam Cosmological Argument indicated God, he asserts that prior to the formation (cause) of the universe, there were no antecedent conditions. I disagree that this can be asserted as fact as discussed above, but Apologician's claim that the lack of antecedent conditions logically necessitates a personal and uncaused cause is a non-sequitur, even apart from the problematic premise. There is no chain of argumentation linking a lack of antecedent conditions to a need for personality and non-causation, thus this argument can be dismissed.

Timelessness =/= Personal Cause

Apologician tries to justify the need for a personal cause shortly thereafter, arguing that the timelessness of a pre-universe state necessitates a personal agent because only personal causes can be timeless and create temporal effects. This is an unsupported assertion and I have no need or desire to grant it.

Just because we cannot access events which happened prior to the big bang, outside our time frame, does not mean that that no events happened and nothing changed [3]. There very well could have been time involved, just not our time in our time-frame. Even if we accept that timelessness necessitates a personal cause, Apologician hasn't demonstrated timelessness.

However, there's no need to accept that. Apologician gives no supporting arguments to his assertion that timelessness requires a personal agent, asserting that if the cause was impersonal it would not have happened, but not supporting that view.

Perhaps Apologician addresses this in his phrase "Moreover, the cause must transcend space both matter and time to create both matter and time." I find this grammaticality and semantically incoherent and believe it must be the result of an error while typing. If Apologician would like to correct this, I will be happy to reply in Round 2. Until then, the argument for a personal cause based on timelessness can be dismissed.

Arguments Against:

At this point, I have rebutted Apologician's interpretive arguments on Kalam supporting the existence of God. That is all that is required from the contender, to defeat the arguments of the instigator. However, I will go on to make three more arguments about why the Kalam Cosmological Argument's case for God should be rejected. [4]

The Believer as Astrophysicist

The Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God requires it's proponents to be able to comprehend and understand a high degree of physics in order to be legitimately confident in their argument. Understanding the beginning of the universe is a highly advanced field of study requiring skills in mathematics and a variety of sciences.

Even then, the theories are shifted and modified regularly. Is it good practice to make one's theology contingent on the consensus supporting weak vs averaged null energy conditions for theories of singularities? Is it good practice to make belief in God contingent on how well nonminimally coupled scalar fields and massive gravity can be justified in light of their apparent violation of local or universal energy conditions?

I argue that it is not good practice, that the Kalam Cosmological Argument far overextends itself when it tries to place theologians in the same conferences as physicists. For a believer, this is irrelevant as I'm sure your faith is not based on whether current cosmological theory is compatible with your conception of God and creation. However, since you are using the argument as a tool to convince others, the theories it relies on are either tentative in an experts view or simply inaccessible to a layman. An argument that relies on fluctuating and/or inaccessible data to support its premises and conclusion is a bad argument, and should be rejected.

Heads You Win, Tails God Exists

While I have no reason to suspect that the argument made by Apologician is made in anything but good faith, defeating this argument is pointless from the perspective of a skeptic of monotheism. Today, some people know something about the cause of the universe and we can struggle to understand what they say and make theological interpretations based on that.

However, the argument itself has it's roots in Aristotle's Prime Mover argument, and was first expressed (I believe) closest to its present form by the Islamic Mu'tazilah school of theology in the 10th century. This argument did not enjoy universal acceptance, because when trying to rationalize the existence of an all-powerful-being one already believes in, access to how the world really works is unnecessary.

If I was to irrefutably prove that the universe had no beginning, that the singularity model was false, that each moment of the universe's existence was preceded by a previous moment, and that the premises to the Kalam Argument were just false, it wouldn't matter.

God created it that way. God created it to look that way. God exists outside the realm of existence in which that matters and started it causally from there. God has presented those facts as a test of faith.

I've heard these, or close analogues, when arguing evolution, which has a similar dynamic to arguing Kalam ('only God could create life like this' vs 'only God could create the universe') and it suggests to me that arguments like this are pointless. God-belief is based on faith. Legitimate debates on the subject should be about whether such faith is justified, not about whether tertiary argumentation exists that isn't the basis for God-belief in the first place.

For that reason, the Kalam Cosmological Argument should be rejected.

Pick a God, Any God!

As stated, the Kalam Cosmological Argument could be an argument for Allah; Atum; Brahma; Jehovah; God; Ranginui and Papatuanuku; Rod; or Vishvakarman. Nor does it rule out the possibility of multiple causes working together at the same time. With such a wide variety of interpretations in addition to supporting the capital-G God, it should be dismissed.

[1] Bojowald & Kennedy, What Happened Before the Big Bang? http://www.science.psu.edu...

[2] J. Brian Pitts. "Why the Big Bang Singularity Does Not Help the Kalam Cosmological Argument for Theism." British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. Volume 59, Number 4

[3] Hawking, The Beginning of Time. http://www.hawking.org.uk...

[4] Following my opponents lead, my response uses edited excerpts from [2].
Debate Round No. 1
Apologician

Pro

I wish my opponent the best as we debate this topic!

Firstly, I wish to note that my opponent has not responded to my argument for the impossibility of an actual infinite nor my argument from thermodynamics. Very briefly, the existence of an actual infinite (See my OP for a definition of what an actual infinite is) is impossible because inverse operations of mathematics involving actual infinites entail contradictory answers. For example, what is infinity minus infinity? Well, you get contradictory answers. Therefore, the existence of an actual infinite is metaphysically impossible. If the universe had existed for eternity, then its past duration would have been actually infinite. Since actual infinities are impossible, the past duration of the universe must have been finite. According to the second law of thermodynamics, had the universe been existing for eternity, it would have attained maximum entropy buildup. However, since the universe has not attained maximum entropy buildup, it cannot have been eternal.

"This is an unsupported assertion. Current scientific thought holds that prior to the causation of the universe, there existed a singularity which we can only speculate about since it existed outside of this universe"

This is not true at all. The initial singularity was not in space-time, but instead, constituted a boundary to space-time itself. [1] There was no "before" the big bang since time (At least, physical time) itself began to exist in the big bang. This in turn implies that space-time began to exist. According to P. C. W. Davies:

"If we extrapolate this prediction to its extreme, we reach a point when all distances in the universe have shrunk to zero. An initial cosmological singularity therefore forms a past temporal extremity to the universe. We cannot continue physical reasoning, or even the concept of spacetime, through such an extremity. For this reason most cosmologists think of the initial singularity as the beginning of the universe. On this view the big bang represents the creation event; the creation of not only of all the matter and energy in the universe, but also of spacetime itself." [2]

This also implies that there were no antecedent conditions "prior" to the big bang.

I will not respond to my opponents second argument as I do not believe that the initial singularity was a mathematical object.

"[T]he timelessness of a pre-universe state necessitates a personal agent because only personal causes can be timeless and create temporal effects. This is an unsupported assertion and I have no need or desire to grant it."

As we have already established, the universe had an absolute beginning which marked the first moment of time and the universe had a cause. However, since the beginning of the universe marked the first moment of time, its cause must be timeless. But how could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect? If the necessary and sufficient conditions that produced the universe were eternal, then the universe must have been eternal too, but obviously we know this is not the case. Craig offers the following example:

"Let's say the cause of water's freezing is sub-zero temperatures. Whenever the temperature falls below zero degrees Centigrade, the water freezes. Once the cause is given, the effect must follow, and if the cause exists from eternity, the effect must also exist from eternity. If the temperature were to remain below zero degrees from eternity, then any water around would be frozen from eternity. But this seems to imply that if the cause of the universe existed eternally, the universe would also have existed eternally. And we know this to be false." [3]

The solution for how a timeless cause can give rise to a temporal effect can therefore be found in agent causation. Given this, the cause of the universe is a personal agent who freely chooses to bring about conditions that are not previously present. A timeless cause therefore freely chooses to bring about a temporal effect. Hence, the cause of the universe is timeless, but the effect is not. Therefore, the cause of the universe must have been a personal cause.

"There very well could have been time involved, just not our time in our time-frame."

Absolutely, but this is completely irrelevant. Defenders of the KCA (such as Craig) are receptive to the possibility that sans creation, there was metaphysical time. But we are not talking about metaphysical time, instead we are talking about the physical time that began in the big bang. Secondly, this seems to presuppose a B-theory of time, to which my opponent has not justified.

"Perhaps Apologician addresses this in his phrase "Moreover, the cause must transcend space both matter and time to create both matter and time." "

I think it what I said was pretty evident, even if I did manage to jumble a few words while typing. So, let me restate it: The cause must transcend matter, space, and time in order to create matter, space, and time.

"An argument that relies on fluctuating and/or inaccessible data to support its premises and conclusion is a bad argument, and should be rejected."

I see no reason to accept such stringent criteria, and from a little reflection this turns out to be absurd. According to the criteria that my opponent has offered, we should reject most of modern science on the basis that theories tend to change with the discovery of new evidence. Science fluctuates all the time, but it progressively gets better and better precisely due to these fluctuations, which help to separate truths from falsehoods. So, on the contrary, these fluctuations are a sign of progress. If the KCA is truly valid, then we should eagerly away these fluctuations in the hopes that advances in science will further confirm the KCA. Dismissing it on the basis that scientific data tends to shift is simply bad logic, for it rules out the successfulness of the argument a priori. Finally, the data behind the KCA is, on the contrary, very straightforward and accessible to layman. The concept of the argument is fairly easy to grasp. It only gets muddy if one conducts an extended analysis of the premises (As we are attempting to do).

Moreover, the fact that an argument relies on technical evidence has no bearing at all on its soundness. Pragmatically, this might be the case, but it has no bearing whatsoever on the truth of the premises. Hence, my opponent is not warranted in rejecting the KCA simply because it is too technical.

I will not respond to my opponents section titled "Heads You Win, Tails God Exists" because I do not endorse any of the counter-arguments that he erects in place of the theistic position. I do not believe that the KCA is ultimately based on faith.

"As stated, the Kalam Cosmological Argument could be an argument for Allah; Atum; Brahma; Jehovah; God; Ranginui and Papatuanuku; Rod; or Vishvakarman. Nor does it rule out the possibility of multiple causes working together at the same time. With such a wide variety of interpretations in addition to supporting the capital-G God, it should be dismissed."

This is completely irrelevant to my argument. I never offered the KCA as an argument for the existence of the Christian God, but simply a monotheistic conception of God. My goal is rather modest: to demonstrate the existence of a personal being. Regarding multiple causes, they can simply be ruled out through Ockham's razor, since they multiply entities beyond necessity (Unless my opponent wants to show that multiple deities are necessary -- a tall task to accomplish).

I thus conclude that my opponent's objections ultimately fail. Thus, the KCA remains sound.
___________

SOURCES:

[1]. Craig and Sinclair, "The Kalam Cosmological Argument", in TBCNT, pp. 129-30
[2]. Davies, as cited by Ibid.
[3]. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith (Wheaton, IL: Crossway. 1994) pp. 117
XimenBao

Con

I also wish the best to my opponent, as space constraints prevented me doing so previously.

Easy vote:

There is an easy way to judge this debate, and it comes in a short form. My opponent's burden is to demonstrate that "The Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God is Sound." He does not win the debate if he demonstrates "The Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of a Primal Cause which Bears Resemblance to Monotheistic Theology is Sound." Nor, were you to be more generous in your interpretation, can he win by demonstrating that "The Kalam Cosmological Argument for Monotheism is Sound."

In his round 2 argument he has conceded that he has not done this. He stated that he considered it irrelevant to his goal. He stated his goal was to demonstrate the existence of a personal being. Regardless of whether you think he has accomplished that goal or not, that goal won't win him the debate. The debate is about the capital-G God that, in the English language, is a proper noun referring to the deity of a specific religious conception [1], rather than the lowercase-g god, which is a generic form. He could argue that he means a different conception than the Christian God, which should not gain him ground for two reasons:

1.The Christian God is the most reasonable interpretation given both Apologists profile, and more importantly, the beliefs of William Lane Craig, who is the primary source for pro's arguments and a self-described Christian apologist [2].

2.The specific conception is irrelevant. Pro has consistent used the proper-noun form of God in every usage. Not once did he use the term "god." Even if you were to grant that he was not referring to the Christian conception, the proper-noun usage means he was referring to some other religion's conception, whether Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, or any other religion which refers to their supreme deity as "God."

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is, at best, an update of Aristotle's Prime Mover argument. Granting all assumptions and arguments, the only detail you can draw from it is that at one point there was an uncaused cause. However, there is no way to get from an uncaused cause to the head god of a particular religion.

In order to win this debate the pro must do this. He has not and he cannot. This is the clearest and strongest reason to vote negative.

Playing Telephone with William Craig:

While reiterating that this debate should go to negative as even a successful argument here by pro cannot meet the criteria for success, the arguments presented are unclear and do not address the negative's contentions.

It is not enough that Craig has made a defense of Kalam's Cosmological Argument, for pro to get any use from it in this debate, he must clearly express and defend it. I contend he has failed to do so.

For example, pro notes that I have not responded to his claims of the impossibility of infinities. As pro has not established those claims in connection to any point under contention, I have no obligation to do so.

In response to my claim that there was a singularity prior to the creation of the universe and thus outside of it, pro attempts to disagree by saying that the singularity was a boundary to space time and that speaking of 'before' the Big Bang is meaningless. That is essentially the same claim that I have made, as singularities of this nature do not conform to our concepts of 'before'.

Causality and our understanding of physical laws breaks down as we approach time zero. This means we CANNOT know what the situation was at that point and we CANNOT state what if any conditions existed. All the laws of physics and causality break down as we approach time zero [3]. This means that all common-sense comparisons to how things work in our frame of reference where we have knowledge of how the laws of physics and causality operate are irrelevant.

It doesn't matter how water would freeze under extreme conditions, the laws of causality and physics aren't in effect. Claiming that water at eternal sub-zero temperatures would remain frozen for eternity in a world where physics and causality are broken is no more or less justified than claiming that water at eternal sub-zero temperatures would transform into a three-legged clone of Marilyn Monroe and sing selections from Victor/Victoria. In the world of physics and causality we are familiar with, the first is somewhat more likely. In the world of physics and causality relevant to the debate, it's impossible to say.

Pro also errs when he tries to use personal agency as a method of circumventing timelessness.

If we accepted that reality was stuck in a state of timelessness, nothing could change. Time is an expression of some kind of change, of action, of motion [4]. If absolutely nothing can change, if timelessness is absolute, then so too are any agents that may exist. I am an agent, pro is an agent, and both of us operate in time. If either of us were somehow trapped in a state of timelessness, we wouldn't be able to cause anything, or do anything else for that matter. We would be unable to move or change because doing so would be operating in time, which is ruled out by the parameters of the scenario. Therefore, agency cannot be the deciding factor that starts time and creates a temporal universe from a timeless state, it must be something else.

Without agency as the deciding factor for circumventing timelessness, agency is no longer necessary in this scenario. With agency not necessary in this scenario, a cause with a sense of agency is not necessary in this scenario. Without a cause possessing a sense of agency necessary in this scenario, pro does not meet his own modest goal (which would not win the debate anyway) of showing that the cause was a personal being possessing agency.

I choose to drop to argument regarding the KAC as a philosophically undesirable argument (the Believer as Astrophysicist) due to space issues and the belief that the arguments presented here are sufficient for a negative win.

The OP clearly stated the win condition was to prove the existence of God; a proper-noun, a specific religious conception. Pro has admitted that his argument only attempts to prove a personal being of unknown qualities rather than God as required by the OP. Examination of his argumentation shows pro has not even met that lower goal.

At the end of Round 2, voting negative is the clear choice.

[1] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
[2]http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[3]http://www.hawking.org.uk...
[4]http://www.sciencedaily.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Apologician

Pro

The crux of my opponent's criticism seems to be over which God is implied by the KCA. I have made it fairly clear that I am not arguing for any _specific_ conception of God, but rather a general conception of God as a personal being who created the universe. Though I am a Christian, the intention stated in my OP was to simply demonstrate the existence of "personal cause with attributes that closely resemble a monotheistic conception of God." My opponent seems to have neglected this, and his insistence that my argument must prove a specific concept of God is simply a strawman.

"The Christian God is the most reasonable interpretation given both Apologists profile, and more importantly, the beliefs of William Lane Craig, who is the primary source for pro's arguments and a self-described Christian apologist"

My being a Christian is simply a red herring. Though I am a Christian, I am not using this argument to demonstrate the existence of the Christian God, but rather just a general conception of deity. I defined the meaning of the term "God" in a very general sense. So though this argument cannot prove a specific conception of God (Which was never my goal to begin with), it is still sound. Interestingly enough, Craig himself does not believe that the KCA entails the existence of the Christian God. Hence, my opponent's point backfires.

Additionally, my use of God as a proper noun is simply another red herring. I used it simply out of reverence (I happen to believe in the Christian God, but I never claimed the KCA entailed the existence of that specific concept of deity).

Con seems to focus more on the type of deity proven by the argument instead of the factuality of the argument itself. Such nit-picking should raise some eyebrows.

"The Kalam Cosmological Argument is, at best, an update of Aristotle's Prime Mover argument. Granting all assumptions and arguments, the only detail you can draw from it is that at one point there was an uncaused cause. However, there is no way to get from an uncaused cause to the head god of a particular religion."

Con's historical analysis of the KCA is simply false. The TCA (Thomistic cosmological argument), and not the KCA was based off an Aristotelean system of metaphysics. In fact, the KCA was formed _in opposition_ to Aristotle's doctrine of the eternity of the universe. Islamic theologians such as al-Ghazali (1058-1111) were the first to develop it into an argument for the existence of God. Hence, it is the TCA which is similar to Aristotle's original argument (In fact, Aquinas presupposed an eternal universe).

Additionally, if Con's point is that we should reject the KCA on the basis that Aristotle's original argument was invalid, then he is guilty of two logical fallacies. Firstly, he simply begs the question by assuming Aristotle's argument to be false. Secondly, he commits the genetic fallacy -- the origins of an argument do not invalidate it.

"For example, pro notes that I have not responded to his claims of the impossibility of infinities. As pro has not established those claims in connection to any point under contention, I have no obligation to do so."

On the contrary, I have. Con seems to have neglected where I tied in the impossibility of an actual infinite to the impossibility of an actually infinite past. In my first post, I very clearly tied this point in with the impossibility of an eternal universe. To quote my OP:

>If the universe never began to exist, then its past duration would be actually infinite. Since actual infinities cannot >exist, then the past duration of the universe must have been finite, implying that the universe must have begun to >exist. Even if one grants that it is possible for an actual infinite to exist, it still cannot be formed by successive >addition, and henceforth the past duration of the universe must be finite.

I encourage Con to carefully read through my OP.

"Causality and our understanding of physical laws breaks down as we approach time zero. This means we CANNOT know what the situation was at that point and we CANNOT state what if any conditions existed. All the laws of physics and causality break down as we approach time zero [3]. This means that all common-sense comparisons to how things work in our frame of reference where we have knowledge of how the laws of physics and causality operate are irrelevant."

Con seems to be confused here. I never stated anything about the initial conditions of the singularity, only that the singularity itself constituted the boundary to the space-time manifold, which establishes the fact that the universe must have had an absolute beginning. It is true that the standard Friedmann-Lemaitre cannot tell us what the initial conditions are, but that has nothing to do with my argument. I made no claims to what the initial conditions were. I only stated that the singularity constituted the boundary to the space-time manifold and hence an absolute origin ex nihilo is postulated.

"It doesn't matter how water would freeze under extreme conditions, the laws of causality and physics aren't in effect."

Con completely misses the point of the analogy. The analogy was not to demonstrate that physics were operative in the absence of time (That was assumed in the analogy to prove a point), but that if the cause of the universe were a set of necessary and sufficient conditions, then the effect also must exist eternally. Immanuel Kant used the example of an eternal ball smushing an eternal pillow. If both were timeless, then the cause and effect must be co-eternal. Whether or not physics applies is simply irrelevant -- the point of the analogy is to show that in a state of timelessness, the effect must be co-eternal with the cause if the cause is not of a personal nature.

"If we accepted that reality was stuck in a state of timelessness, nothing could change.... Therefore, agency cannot be the deciding factor that starts time and creates a temporal universe from a timeless state, it must be something else. "

Con seems to think that divine timelessness must be an essential property. There is no reason to accept this claim. A personal cause would be a free agent, and thus timelessness would not be an essential property, but a contingent, or accidental property. Think of a sitting man who, existing in a state of timelessness, freely wills to stand up.

Con has appeared to have dropped several points, including his pragmatic argument against the KCA. Additionally, Con has not responded to my thermodynamic argument for the finitude of the universe or the argument from the impossibility of an actual infinite.

" Pro has admitted that his argument only attempts to prove a personal being of unknown qualities rather than God as required by the OP. Examination of his argumentation shows pro has not even met that lower goal."

This attacks a straw man. Nowhere did I state in my OP that my argument must demonstrate the Christian conception of God. I specifically made it clear in my OP (Which my opponent appears to have not read), that the type of deity that I will be arguing for is a "personal cause with attributes that closely resemble a monotheistic conception of God."

Con has thus failed to rebut the KCA. As such, my arguments for the soundness of the KCA still stands.
XimenBao

Con

Pro's arguments that he should not have to defend a specific religious conception fail, and he is losing he debate on that basis.

The topic is that "The Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God is Sound." For reasons discussed in my previous argument "God" through it's capital letter means the proper name of a particular deity.

In the OP's second paragraph, pro refers to the "Kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God" where only the proper names are capitalized, once again suggesting it refers to a specific deity.

Even more obvious than that, is pro's attempt to explain the capitalization. Pro claims that he capitalized the term out of reverence because he is a Christian. I find it difficult to believe that pro is willing to show reverence to a vague and general concept by sharing with it the honor normally reserved for his own God. In fact, it would probably be a violation of the first, third, and arguably second commandments were he to do so. It's clear that Apologician reveres God, not a featureless first cause, and that is what he meant by the term.

The term God was never explicitly defined in the OP, let alone in a 'very general sense.' Pro spent time defining infinities, but never God, and thus the common definition should be used. Pro takes the text of an argument within his third premise, "There are, however, good reasons to believe that the cause of the universe was a personal cause with attributes that closely resemble a monotheistic conception of God," and tries to make this retroactively serve as his definition for God. This fails for two reasons:

1.This is not a definition. This is part of a larger argument attempting to establish that the Kalam argument actually proves God exists. Look at the immediately preceding sentence: "Some object that the first cause need not be God, but was rather an impersonal in nature." Pro is anticipating that I will object to the need for a personal cause and attempting to bolster his contention that the cause is God through appeals to similarities between his interpretation of the KCA and the conception of God. He is not attempting to define God here, he is offering reasons to believe.

2.Even if we were to accept this as a definition, we must ask, which monotheistic conception of God? Monotheistic religions have far more characteristics of their chief deities than simply creating the universe. They are loving, angry, jealous, wrathful, sorrowful, etc. They place rules and interact with humanity. They create pantheons of other gods or angels and occasionally have conflicts and wars with them. They promote systems of morality, definitions of good and evil. If you are willing to grant pro a change of definition of God to "a personal cause with attributes that personally resemble a monotheistic conception of God," that still doesn't excuse him from choosing which, singular, conception of God he is referring to and proving that the KCA does indeed resemble the attributes of that conception.

The resolution calls for the pro to use the KCA to prove the existence of a specific conception of God. Pro does not contest that he fails to do so. Instead he tries to argue that he should not have to. His arguments to that effect fail as described above. Thus, no further arguments need be considered to cast a negative vote.

-------

Should you reject, for whatever reason, the arguments above, pro still does not win a vote due to his failure to adequately argue for his interpretation of the KCA.

It is not, as pro suggested multiple times, that I have not read his arguments, but that his arguments are lacking.

Pro has complained that I have not addressed his arguments regarding the impossibility of infinities, yet he has still not shown how they are relevant to any of the points under contention. He points out that he has tied it into a discussion of the impossibility of an eternal universe. However, since the existence of time zero has been granted and its significance debated in depth, pro has still failed to connect the impossible infinities argument to any points actually being debated.

Pro goes on to agree that the initial conditions of the singularity cannot be known, but then argues that he never made claims about what those conditions were. As a point of fact, pro's formulation of the KCA relied on the initial conditions including "no prior determining conditions." If pro is willing to concede that he cannot know if there were no prior determining conditions, then he is conceding the last paragraph of the OP, his third premise, and the debate.

Timelessness:

Pro claims that I have missed the point of his water analogy, that he was trying to demonstrate "that if the cause of the universe were a set of necessary and sufficient conditions, then the effect also must exist eternally." However, he agrees that the analogy assumed the existence of a causal physics, which may or may not have existed. That is the point of my criticism of the analogy, that it makes unfounded assumptions in order to demonstrate its point.

Pro has not engaged my arguments about how agency is not a counter to timelessness. His response claims that a personal cause would be a free agent and thus timelessness would not hinder him. Pro uses the example of a sitting man in a state of timelessness who freely wills to stand up.

In a state of timelessness the sitting man could not will to stand up. Willing involves a change of state. If changing one's mental state from wanting to sit to wanting to stand was possible, it would not be a timeless state, according to the definitions I discussed in my Round 2 argument.

Pro's argument that a personal cause suggests free agency and thus avoids the problems of timelessness only holds if we allow a fallacy of equivocation using the word 'free.' A free personal agent does imply that the agent is free to have its own thoughts, feelings, and actions in the sense that it is uncontrolled by other agents. However, it is fallacious to then change that understanding of 'free' to mean free from logical and physical constraints, as the agent would have to be to perform any action of thought or deed in a period of timelessness.

Personal agency has not been shown to defeat the problems timelessness implies, and I repeat my conclusion from Round 2, that without agency as the deciding factor for circumventing timelessness, agency is no longer necessary in this scenario. With agency not necessary in this scenario, a cause with a sense of agency is not necessary in this scenario. Without a cause possessing a sense of agency being necessary in this scenario, pro does not show that the cause was a personal being possessing agency.

I remind the judges that while the initial condition and timelessness arguments are both valid grounds to vote con, they need not even be considered, as pro has not attempted to defend a specific conception of God as required by the topic, and thus gives con the win before other arguments are considered.
Debate Round No. 3
Apologician

Pro

Let me first begin by noting that Con has effectively dropped every single one of his scientific arguments (Dedicating very little room to them) and has completely dropped his historical analysis of the KCA along with his pragmatic argument against the KCA, choosing to focus only on the type of deity entailed by my argument (Which I have already stated to be irrelevant). These concessions on my Con's part strongly warrant a vote toward Pro. If Con's only major contention is with with the type of deity entailed by my argument, then Con has all but conceded away the entire debate. The fact that I personally am a Christian does not mean that all of my arguments ought to prove the existence of the Christian God.

"The topic is that "The Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God is Sound." For reasons discussed in my previous argument "God" through it's capital letter means the proper name of a particular deity."

Con has repeatedly failed to realize that in my OP, I explicitly stated that I would _not_ be using the KCA to prove a specific conception of deity. Instead, I stated my goal was to demonstrate the existence of a "personal cause with attributes that closely resemble a monotheistic conception of God."

"Pro claims that he capitalized the term out of reverence because he is a Christian. I find it difficult to believe that pro is willing to show reverence to a vague and general concept by sharing with it the honor normally reserved for his own God. In fact, it would probably be a violation of the first, third, and arguably second commandments were he to do so. It's clear that Apologician reveres God, not a featureless first cause, and that is what he meant by the term."

Con's argument here seems to be ad hominem. I have already stated that I do not believe the conception of deity entailed by this argument to be fully that of the Christian God. Con simply is obvious to this point, concentrating on my usage of God as a proper noun. I happen to use a proper noun in place for a common noun because I do believe the Christian God exists. However, this does not mean that I also believe that the KCA entails the existence of the Christian God. My belief that it is the Christian God who exists is irrelevant to what I believe can be entailed by the KCA, so my opponent continually attacks a straw man on this point. The KCA only proves the existence of God insofar as his being a personal cause. I simply happen to believe that the identity of God demonstrated by the KCA is the Christian God, but I emphatically denied that this was an essential part of the argument.

"This is not a definition... He is not attempting to define God here, he is offering reasons to believe."

Where or not it was a definition in the strict sense is irrelevant. I used that clause to state in advance the type of deity that was proven by the KCA. What I offered there was a clarification of the type of deity implied by my argument. Basically, what I said was alone the lines of "Some say that the KCA proves Y, but there are good reasons for believing that the KCA demonstrates the existence of an X type of being."

"If you are willing to grant pro a change of definition of God to "a personal cause with attributes that personally resemble a monotheistic conception of God," that still doesn't excuse him from choosing which, singular, conception of God he is referring to and proving that the KCA does indeed resemble the attributes of that conception."

Con apparently still doesn't see the point. I never stated to begin with that the KCA is applicable to any singular and specific conception of God. I have only claimed that it is successful insofar that it demonstrates the existence of _a deity_, not _which deity_. People who think the argument is successful can make what they think of it, I never claimed that the argument entailed a specific type of deity. The fact that I personally am a Christian does not mean that all of my arguments ought to prove the existence of the Christian God.

"However, since the existence of time zero has been granted and its significance debated in depth, pro has still failed to connect the impossible infinities argument to any points actually being debated."

One of Con's minor contentions is that the universe might have existed eternally, to which the two arguments I gave are immediately relevant to. Their goal is to demonstrate, contrary to my opponent, that the past duration of the universe is finite. As such, Con still needs to respond to the argument from the impossibility of an actual infinite and the thermodynamics argument.

"As a point of fact, pro's formulation of the KCA relied on the initial conditions including "no prior determining conditions."

Indeed! But Con is confusing initial conditions with prior determining conditions. I have stated that standard big bang cosmology does tell us what the _initial conditions_ to the big bang were. But the fact that the singularity constituted the boundary to the space-time manifold does tell us that there could not have been any prior conditions. Expressed in layman's terms, big bang cosmology tells us that the universe had an absolute beginning (no prior determining conditions) and that the initial conditions were unknown. That is, it states that the universe had an absolute beginning, but we cannot know what _took place_ during that initial moment. It does not tell us what the initial conditions were, but that there was nothing "before" these initial conditions.

"However, he agrees that the analogy assumed the existence of a causal physics, which may or may not have existed. That is the point of my criticism of the analogy, that it makes unfounded assumptions in order to demonstrate its point."

The existence of physics in the analogy is completely irrelevant. It would still work even if we took out physics. Let us say that X is a necessary and sufficient condition for causing Y. If X has been eternal, then this entails that Y must have been eternal too. If the causal conditions for the bringing about of an effect are eternally existent, then the effect must be too. The cause must be co-eternal with the effect.

"Pro has not engaged my arguments about how agency is not a counter to timelessness. His response claims that a personal cause would be a free agent and thus timelessness would not hinder him. Pro uses the example of a sitting man in a state of timelessness who freely wills to stand up."

This is simply not true. I responded to Pro by stating that he confused essential properties with accidental properties. Timelessness is not an essential property -- a type of property that God is "locked" into. Rather, it is an accidental property -- a type of property that God may freely choose to have or not. So, a timeless God could freely choose to enter into temporal relations.

"In a state of timelessness the sitting man could not will to stand up. Willing involves a change of state"

That's not a problem analogy -- it's precisely the point of it. As soon the the man willed something, then he would have entered into time. That illustrates the very point of the analogy -- that timelessness is not an essential property, but an accidental property. Hence, a free agent in a timeless state can simply will to enter into temporal relations.

"However, it is fallacious to then change that understanding of 'free' to mean free from logical and physical constraints, as the agent would have to be to perform any action of thought or deed in a period of timelessness."

My opponent attacks a strawman, I never used the term "free" to mean being unrestrained by logical constraints. As regard to physical constraints, God is obviously free to violate physical constraints, since they are contingent truths.
XimenBao

Con

Pro begins his argumentation in round four by claiming that he explicitly stated in the OP he would not be proving a specific conception of deity. Please examine the OP, as nowhere in that text does such an explicit claim appear. Pro goes on to say that his goal was to prove a "personal cause with attributes that closely resemble a monotheistic conception of God." In my round three argument, I gave two specific reasons to reject that argument.

The first was that it was not a definition. Pro claims whether it was or was not a definition "in the strict sense" is irrelevant. It is very relevant. Pro was not defining God in that clause. To use the format pro suggest we view the clause in, it was "Some say the KCA proves a cause other than God, but there are good reasons for believing that the KCA demonstrates a being that resembles a monotheistic conception of God."

That is not a definition of God, nor is it a limitation to a generic conception of a god. Quite the opposite. Pro disagrees with people who claim the KCA indicates a cause other than capital-G God and offers perceived similarities to a monotheistic conception of God as evidence for his disagreement. God, the proper noun, the Christian conception, is a monotheistic concept. Even here, in his supposed generic definition, he has used the proper noun. This proper noun can be written as "The Christian God." Here is the full text of the supposed generic definition with that replacement made: "Some object that the first cause need not be the Christian God, but was rather an impersonal in nature. There are, however, good reasons to believe that the cause of the universe was a personal cause with attributes that closely resemble a monotheistic conception of the Christian God."

This is semantically coherent and logically equivalent to the use of the proper noun, capital-G God. We can see that this in no way suggests a generic god, and pro should not be allowed to use that as a defense. I note that the Christian God was chosen as pro was offered the choice of a different singular conception and declined.

The second reason to reject this clause as a defense, is that even if we were to grant that this argument was really a definition, pro still has to define and defend "a" monotheistic conception of God. Pro's response is that he has only argued for a deity, not which deity. That is the response that my second reason pre-empted. Even if we are to accept his clause as a definition, it is "a" monotheistic conception of God. The capitalized form of 'God' means a specific conception, but one that is not specified. Given that there are multiple monotheistic conceptions of God, when pro points out that he hasn't defined which he was talking about, he is making a concession, not a defense. If the phrasing was "the monotheistic conception of a god" he might have ground to argue, but he consciously avoided that phrasing and thus his arguments should not be accepted as if he had. I remind the judges that I reject the use of this clause as a definition, but it fails on these grounds as a defense even if you grant it could serve as a definition.

Pro goes on to claim an ad hominem attack was made against him. An ad hominem attack occurs, simply put, when one attacks the arguer instead of the argument. In this instance, pro has interjected himself as part of the argument. If his defense of using the proper-noun form of God is that he did it out of reverence, it is only fair to discuss what he would have been reverent to. Pro reiterates that he used a proper noun in place of a common noun because he believes the Christian God exists.

I have no objection to him doing so, but I must insist that he accept the logical consequences. If he chooses to use the proper noun of the God he believes in rather than the generic term god, he must recognize that he is referring to the proper noun capital-G God that he believes in rather than some generic god. Whether would like us to interpret it otherwise is irrelevant, we must go by what he has actually written, and pro concedes that he has continually written the proper noun name of his specific God, thus we must hold him to that when he claims "The Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God is Sound."

In short, Pro has failed to show that the resolution does not refer a specific conception of God and has not attempted to show how the KCA supports such a conception. Pro is still losing the debate on this point and this should be a voting issue before further points are considered.

Pro's arguments as to initial considerations and timeless are still lacking. Before going further, I note that the 'minor contention' that the universe might be infinite was part a conditional argument activated if pro argued that there was no singularity outside of a mathematical abstraction. As he explicitly said "I will not respond ... as I do not believe that the initial singularity was a mathematical object," I have no need to engage his infinite universe or thermodynamic arguments as they do not relate to a point actually under discussion.

In regard to the initial conditions debate, pro agrees that his formulation of the KCA relies on initial conditions including "no prior determining conditions." Pro also agrees that initial conditions were unknown, but then states that we CAN know that "there was nothing 'before' these initial conditions"

The problem with this argument rests in the word 'before.' As discussed previously, the use of the word 'before' in relation to the beginning of time is meaningless. It is a nonsense word in this context. He might as well say that we can know that "there was nothing xxxxxxxxxx these initial conditions."

Apart from a descent into semantic meaninglessness, pro also fails to recognize the problems of causality involved, or more specifically, the problem the lack of causality involve. His is arguing that certain things had to happen to cause the universe to be created in the way that it was. This is the same kind of argument he uses in his ice analogy. Both involve certain causal conditions being satisfied to bring about an effect. However, when causal physics are removed you can't make causal arguments. Pro has failed to engage this argument, and he needs to in order for his interpretation to be accepted.

His response was to claim physics was irrelevant and to ignore them.

You can't DO that. It doesn't work. This entire argument is about causal argumentation. When it's pointed out that causal physics aren't in play, you can't just say you're ignoring physics and move on. Yet, that is what pro has done, and that is why his argument here fails.

As to timelessness, Pro still has not engaged arguments about how agency is not a counter to timeless, instead relying on argument by assertion in an attempt to bypass objections.

In a timeless universe no change can happen. No one can stand up, no thoughts can take place, no wills can change. However, pro argues that the man could will something and that would start time.

No reason was given why the man would be an exception to everything else in the universe. No explanation was given as to HOW he could will something if the universal constraints are such that willing is impossible.

Pro simply asserts that beings possess the ability to will, even in situations where willing is impossible by definition. Pro claims that he never meant for his agent to be free from logical constraints, yet that is what must be the case for this argument to be accepted. As stated, it is illogical and should be rejected.

I also note that pro's final line suggests an omnipotent, existent God, which is not supported by the KCA but which is part of Christian theology, relating back to my main point.

Vote con because pro has not met the requirement to defend capital-G God. Otherwise, vote con because pro has not expressed and defended the KCA in a logical and coherent way.
Debate Round No. 4
Apologician

Pro

Con's argument seems to been reduced down to semantics (Which God?), I take this to due to the strength and plausibility of the KCA and hence I strongly encourage a vote for Pro. Throughout the duration of this argument, Con has, for the most part, almost completely ignored all three premises of the argument, instead focusing on the identity of the cause as outlined in P3. But by doing this he has conceded the argument to be sound!

Recall that I said "There are, however, good reasons to believe that the cause of the universe was a personal cause with attributes that closely resemble a monotheistic conception of God" and I immediately followed that with several reasons as to why it is a personal cause. This of course obviously implies that the deity that I intended to demonstrate was a minimal conception of God as a personal being (The very context in which I used the term "God" implied it). In the strict sense, it was not a definition, but it was a definition in the informal sense in that I stated the type of deity that I would be using the argument to demonstrate. To reiterate: I stated that the KCA provided very good evidence for a general monotheistic conception of God and then proceeded to give several reasons for this. The mere fact that I used a capital G does not contain me to a specific conception of God (as we will see).

"This is semantically coherent and logically equivalent to the use of the proper noun, capital-G God. We can see that this in no way suggests a generic god, and pro should not be allowed to use that as a defense. I note that the Christian God was chosen as pro was offered the choice of a different singular conception and declined."

I use God as a proper noun only because I happen to believe that the identity of the being demonstrated by the KCA happens to be the Christian God. This, however, is irrelevant to my thoughts about the argument itself, since I never claimed the argument could accomplish such a feat. I affirmed a more modest task for the KCA. Simply because I believe in the Christian God and I reference him in the proper sense does not mean that the KCA _must_ demonstrate the existence of the Christian God. Indeed, it is standard among philosophers to capitalize the term "God" in books and essays pertaining to him. But by doing this they by no means relegate themselves to a specific conception of God. Con's argument here is purely semantics.

"The capitalized form of 'God' means a specific conception, but one that is not specified. Given that there are multiple monotheistic conceptions of God, when pro points out that he hasn't defined which he was talking about, he is making a concession, not a defense"

The context in which "God" was used throughout the argument by no means suggested that I was referring to a specific conception of him. Otherwise, use of the clause "the cause of the universe was a personal cause with attributes that closely resemble a monotheistic conception of God" would make no sense if I were defended a specific as opposed to general conception of God. Indeed, to base such an extrapolation off the use of a capital G (which is considered standard among philosophers) is rather far-fetched.

"Before going further, I note that the 'minor contention' that the universe might be infinite was part a conditional argument activated if pro argued that there was no singularity outside of a mathematical abstraction. As he explicitly said "I will not respond ... as I do not believe that the initial singularity was a mathematical object," I have no need to engage his infinite universe or thermodynamic arguments as they do not relate to a point actually under discussion."

This is a bizarre point. A look back that Con's OP reveals none of this. Con simply mentions that the interpretation of the singularity as a mathematical artifact was a minority position. It was in regards to this that I would not respond (Since I do not affirm the minority position). But this is completely irrelevant to my other two arguments, which still needed to be dealt with regardless of whether or not I reject that position. These arguments (especially the first, since it is purely philosophical and not scientific) are completely unrelated to how one views the singularity. Hence, Con has failed to respond to those two arguments.

"Pro also agrees that initial conditions were unknown, but then states that we CAN know that "there was nothing 'before' these initial conditions""

This seems unproblematic, since there is nothing inherently contradictory with affirming that while we cannot know what the initial conditions were, we can know that there was nothing "before" these initial conditions in the sense that the big bang singularity constituted the boundary to the space-time manifold. Basically, we know that the universe had a beginning, but we do not know what exactly went on at the moment it began. Affirming the latter by no means commits us to denial of the former. (Technically, to avoid Con's dancing around this point, we CAN KNOW the initial conditions by simply introducing quantum physics into the standard big bang model).

"The problem with this argument rests in the word 'before.' As discussed previously, the use of the word 'before' in relation to the beginning of time is meaningless. It is a nonsense word in this context. "

Indeed! Which is precisely why I used quotation marks around it to indicate that it was a harmless figure of speech. Con has not apparently read my last post very closely. I do in fact affirm that there were no temporal moments which proceeded the big bang (the very notion is absurd). Ironically, by conceding this, Con also lends more support to P2 of the KCA.

"Apart from a descent into semantic meaninglessness, pro also fails to recognize the problems of causality involved, or more specifically, the problem the lack of causality involve. His is arguing that certain things had to happen to cause the universe to be created in the way that it was. However, when causal physics are removed you can't make causal arguments.... You can't DO that. It doesn't work. This entire argument is about causal argumentation. When it's pointed out that causal physics aren't in play, you can't just say you're ignoring physics and move on"

Firstly, Con makes the mistake here of treating causality as if it were a physical concept as opposed to being a metaphysical concept (Which is how P1 of the KCA is construed). The argument is indeed about causal argumentation, but the type of causation employed by the argument is not physical causation, P1 is construed in terms of a metaphysical truth (ex nihil, nihil fit). Additionally, Con still does not grasp the argument -- which is that if the universe were not a product of a free choice, then it must have existed eternally due to the fact that the necessary and sufficient conditions for it must have existed eternally. By removing physics, Con hurts his own argument. If the necessary and sufficient conditions for creating the universe were eternally existent, then causal physics must have been eternally existent as well. By removing physics, my opponent unknowingly shoots himself in the foot.

"As to timelessness, Pro still has not engaged arguments about how agency is not a counter to timeless, instead relying on argument by assertion in an attempt to bypass objections. In a timeless universe no change can happen. No one can stand up, no thoughts can take place, no wills can change. However, pro argues that the man could will something and that would start time."

I have twice repeated my response to this and Con has seemed to ignore them each time. Con simply begs the question by presupposing timelessness to be an _essential_ property as opposed to a property that can be had _accidentally or contingently_ (Which is how it is with free agents). There is no good reason to accept this assumption, and Con has not provided us with one.
XimenBao

Con

I would like to thank Pro for an interesting debate.

I would first like to note that pro seems to be involved in wishful thinking when he suggests that I have conceded the KCA to be sound. Roughly half the space in my arguments have been devoted to showing the flaws in the argument itself while roughly half has been devoted to showing that pro's OP argument refers to a specific God which he has not attempted to defend. The fact that I spend time pointing out that pro's argument has massive vulnerabilities due to his use of language is not a reason to vote for pro.

Now, onto the God/god debate, which forms the primary voting issue.

It has gone uncontested that if by "God" pro refers to the Christian God, or any other conception, pro has not met his burden of proof and should lose the debate. Pro's arguments have only focused on why he doesn't mean what he said.

Coming into round five there are several reasons to vote con on this issue: the dictionary definition of God vs god, pro's stated reverence not making sense toward a generic god, and pro's admission that he uses the term "God" because he believes in the Christian god.

Pro's arguments against these are too weak and reliant on assertion to succeed.

Pro claims that "because I believe in the Christian God and I reference him in the proper sense does not mean that the KCA _must_ demonstrate the existence of the Christian God.". His belief in the Christian God is, indeed, irrelevant here. It is his choice of language, his referencing Him in the proper sense, that requires him to demonstrate the existence of the Christian God.

As pro has chosen to use "God" to reference the Christian God in the proper sense, then the resolution pro must support is "The Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of the Christian God is Sound." That is what it MEANS to say you are using "God" to reference "the Christian God" in the proper sense.

Pro claims that the sentences he attempts to claim as a definition "obviously" imply that he wanted to demonstrate a minimal conception of a god, but we have already seen that the definition of the word he used (God instead of god) makes the sentences semantically and logically equivalent to "Some object that the first cause need not be the Christian God, but was rather an impersonal in nature. There are, however, good reasons to believe that the cause of the universe was a personal cause with attributes that closely resemble a monotheistic conception of the Christian God."

Pro's response to this is to assert that the replacement is wrong due to (unspecified) context and that it makes no sense. This is not enough to reject the rephrase, especially in the face of actual argumentation that claims it is not wrong and does make sense.

Pro also suggests that "God" is standard parlance among philosophers when they really mean "god." However he does not point to any examples or evidence that this is the case. Since pro has opened the door to this new line of argumentation, I feel no obligation not to step through it.

Peter Williams uses bible verses to support his argument for "God" as Abrahamic God in an argument from aesthetics [1]. Dr. Michael J. Vlach refers to a Christian God that holds humanity accountable by the use of the word "God" in his formulation of the Cosmological argument [2]. William Rowe uses the term "God" to mean a specific theistic conception including properties of omni-benevolence, eternal existence, etc in his formulation of the cosmological argument.[3]

I could go on, but I feel that I've shown that philosophers using the term "God" are referring to specific conceptions of God, whether Western Theistic, Christian, or Abrahamic. This supports my contention that if you choose to use the word "God" you have to accept the meaning that goes with it.

To repeat the points that still stand at the end of round five on the main voting issue:
1."God" means a specific conception of a god. The term 'god' means a generic god.
2.If pro uses the term "God" rather than "god," he should be compelled to defend that the KCA implies "God" rather than "god."
3.Pro has intentionally and admittedly used "God" because he believes in the Christian conception of God.
4.Therefore he should be compelled to prove that the KCA supports that specific conception of God.
5.Pro has not done so, therefore he loses the debate.

This is a strong, clear reason to vote con before considering the following arguments.

Pro continues to argue that I have not responded to his infinite universe or thermodynamic arguments, but has not given any arguments as to how they impact the debate, what effect they should have on voting issues, which arguments they support or disprove, or any reason we should care about them at all. Without that, there is no way to weigh them as part of the debate.

On the initial conditions debate:

Pro's OP argument requires that there be no prior determining conditions to the universe: "Hence, because there are no prior determining conditions, the cause of the universe must be personal and uncaused." If he cannot show there are no prior determining conditions, he cannot show the universe must be personal (according to his own argumentation) and uncaused.

Indeed, he cannot show this. Pro agrees that using "before" in relation to the creation of the universe is nonsense. He affirms there were no temporal moments which preceded the Big Bang. He then tries to use semantic ambiguity to conflate the resulting impossibility of knowing if the Bing Bang resulted from determining conditions as knowledge that there were no determining conditions. We don't know what the singularity was like. We don't know the properties or the laws that the space-time boundary operates by. We don't know what, if any, non-temporal effects it could have on the initial conditions of the Big Bang. Pro tries to take the fact that we know nothing and transform it into the fact that we know there was nothing.

This doesn't work, and shows that the knowledge of determining conditions required by the OP does not exist, and thus the OP fails.

On the timelessness-free agent argument:

Extend my arguments from Round 4. Pro still has not justified the assertion that beings can will themselves out of timelessness when doing so is impossible by definition. He argues that he has already answered this by saying that timelessness is only a contingent property in regard to beings. This is only a restatement of the assertion. It takes more to defeat a counter to an argument than rewording the argument in a more obtuse manner. Pro has not shown why timelessness does not effect beings (or why it is contingent, if you prefer) even in a world where it is defined as an universal condition. To succeed here, he needed to show what was so special about beings that timelessness does not apply (or is contingent) to them. He did not do so.

Extend the reasoning from R3 and R4 regarding why the lack of support for agency > timelessness is a reason to dismiss the OP.

Vote con as pro has not proven capital-G God. Otherwise, vote con because accepting either the lack of support for the determining conditions OR the lack of support for agency arguments mean his interpretation of the KCA is not supported.

[1] http://www.quodlibet.net...
[2] http://www.theologicalstudies.org...
[3] Rowe, W. The Cosmological Argument. p. 222-223
Debate Round No. 5
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by XimenBao 7 years ago
XimenBao
Meh. If you take away his votes for himself, then I wouldn't have voted all myself, and it would have probably evened out.
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
If Apologician hadn't vote-bombed in favor of himself, this debate would've had a more accurate outcome.
Posted by tBoonePickens 7 years ago
tBoonePickens
Great debate!
RFD:
Conduct: Tie
S&G: Tie
Sources: Tie
Arguments: Con

The only argument of cons that I think he should have dropped was the God vs god. I think he should have concentrated on all the other points: use of "before"; knowing nothing vs actual nothingness; timelessness applying to certain things & not others.

Excellent debate none the less.
Posted by XimenBao 7 years ago
XimenBao
And done!

Now let's see how the voting shakes out.

:)
Posted by tBoonePickens 7 years ago
tBoonePickens
Someone is on the ropes!
Posted by XimenBao 7 years ago
XimenBao
Wait no longer, Mr. Pickens. :)
Posted by tBoonePickens 7 years ago
tBoonePickens
This is getting heated! I love it! Can't wait for next round. Although I have personal preferences to one of the sides, I am actually torn at this point as to which way to vote. Hopefully one of the debaters will pull ahead of the other somehow. Good luck!
Posted by XimenBao 7 years ago
XimenBao
Sorry about your name in the most recent reply, spellcheck hates it.
Posted by XimenBao 7 years ago
XimenBao
Maybe, maybe not. In either case it's going to be a bit while I get my to-do list pruned to the point I can give this my attention.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
This is going to be brutal.
13 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by humanistheart 7 years ago
humanistheart
ApologicianXimenBaoTied
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Vote Placed by EHS_Debate 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Alex 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Procrastarian 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Dmorgen 7 years ago
Dmorgen
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Vote Placed by hopper 7 years ago
hopper
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Vote Placed by Thade 7 years ago
Thade
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Vote Placed by Kaylus 7 years ago
Kaylus
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Vote Placed by Apologician 7 years ago
Apologician
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Vote Placed by tBoonePickens 7 years ago
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