The Kalam Cosmological Argument is Logically Sound
Debate Rounds (4)
Hello to all!
Kalam Cosmological Argument
P1) That which begins to exist must have a first cause
P2) The Universe began to exist
C1) The Universe has a first cause
P3) If the Universe has a first cause, that first cause must be God
C2) God exists
Logically Valid- describing an argument in which the conclusions logically follow the premises
Logically Sound- describing a logically valid argument in which all the premises are factually accurate
First Cause- cause of existence
God- the conscious creator of the universe
KCA- abbreviation for the "Kalam Cosmological Argument"
1) Pro will provide a defense of each of the KCA's premises in Round 1. Round 1 is NOT for acceptance!
2) Pro will abstain from posting anything relevant to the debate in Round 4 so that both sides will have an equal number of rounds to debate.
3) Pro must object to any of the above, if he/she wishes to do so, in the comments section BEFORE accepting the debate.
Good luck to my future opponent!
Now, the argument can be broken into two parts, different than what my opponent has said. (I am not adding anything to the argument; I am only defending the KCA itself by doing this.
P1: Whatever begins to exists has a cause.
P2: The universe began to exist.
C: The universe has a cause.
This part is logically valid as far as I can tell, since this is an obvious fact of logic; anything that began to exist has a cause. This part has never been proven logically invalid to my knowledge and the conclusion follows from the premises. If this can be proven otherwise, the entire argument will fall apart. So far in the argument's history, that has not been done; so good luck with that.
And the second part:
P1: The cause was either personal and intelligent or an abstract object.
P2: The cause was personal and intelligent and not an abstract object.
C: Therefore, there was a personal and intelligent cause behind the universe; namely, God.
This is another obviously logically valid syllogism. The cause can only be either abstract or personal. It's up to me to prove that the cause is not abstract. If I can, the rule of Modus Tollens, which states "If there are only a and b, and not b, then it must be a." The second part is more up for dispute, so I will spend much of my time defending this.
Now, I will get into the defense of both parts. They're both logically valid syllogisms, now I just need to defend the truth behind them.
Defense of part 1
I'm sure one thing that my opponent and I can both agree on is that the universe had a beginning. That physical beginning of the universe is what is known as the Big Bang. There is solid evidence supporting it.(1)(2) So the logical conclusion to come to is that the beginning must have been caused by something.
Defense of Part 2
Now that it's established that there was a beginning and a cause of the universe, we can only come to two conclusions:
C1: The cause was intelligent and personal.
C2: The cause was an abstract object
I will maintain that the cause cannot be an abstract object, as they cannot cause anything by themselves. In order to cause something, the object must have causal ability. If I find a car running outside my house, and I wonder what made it run, I can't answer "the laws of gravity" or "the letter A". This point is logically clear as objects themselves do not have causal ability, especially when it comes to first causes. By the rule of Modus Tollens, since it isn't an abstract object, it must be a personal cause; or in other words, a mind that conciously created the universe.
I have defended the KCA and shown all the premises to be logically valid and sound. The universe had a beginning, that beginning had a cause, that cause was either abstract or personal, that cause was not abstract and therefore personal, the cause is a mind, and that mind is the concious creator of the universe; namely God. Therefore, God exists, and that provides the strongest foundation for the KCA ever. I look forward to my opponent's refutations.
Thanks to my opponent for his defenses.
Pro has used a slightly different version of the KCA for his argument, and, for the most part, that is fine, except for one thing... I object to the absence of the KCA's final and most essential conclusion: "God exists". The inclusion of that conclusion is the basis of one of my rebuttals to the KCA, so I will operate under the assumption that Pro merely forgot to mention it.
With that out of the way, I will proceed with my rebuttals...
The version of the KCA presented by Pro is, indeed logically valid. However, if we include the conclusion "God exists", it immediately makes the KCA logically invalid, as the conclusion that God exists is a non-sequitir; it does not follow the premises leading up to it. Allow me to explain:
Even if we assume that God was the first cause of the universe, there is no reason to assume that he still does exist. The God argued for in the KCA is simply the creator of the universe; he has no greater significance than that, so it is not implausible that he ended his existence after creating the universe. The conclusion that God exists in the present does not follow from the proposition that God created the universe.
The KCA is logically invalid.
Here, my main goal is to cast as much doubt as possible upon as many of the premises as possible in order to show that the KCA is unsound.
R1) Refutation of Premise 1
"That which begins to exist must have a first cause"
Pro has wrongly assumed that this premise would not be contested, even though this is actually one of the most controversial premises of the KCA...
The primary problem with this premise is that we do not have empirical evidence of its factual accuracy. As a result of the Laws of Conservation of Energy and Conservation of Mass, we simply have never seen anything begin to exist, so we cannot assume that beginning to exist requires an external cause. Even things which seem to be "beginnings" on the surface are really just changes, either physical, chemical, or on a more fundamental level (sub-atomic).
One might argue that if it were true that things can come into existence without cause, then we would frequently see it happen all around us. However, to argue as such is to ignore the fact that two things cannot exist in the same space; that something can't simply come into existence where there is something already there. Things can only come into existence where there is nothing there, and the latest developments in particle physics suggest that there is no such thing as "nothing" in our universe because even in what appears to be a complete vacuum, there is still a positive energy density, known as the Cosmological Constant . Thus, it is impossible for us to observe things pop into existence within our universe, simply because the entirety of the space within our universe is already occupied.
In conclusion, I have thoroughly shown that there is no reason to accept the preliminary premise of the KCA. This alone refutes the entire argument's logical soundness, but nonetheless, I will continue with my rebuttals.
R2) Refutation of Premise 2
"The Universe began to exist"
As expected, Pro supported the KCA's second premise via the Big Bang, and he would be right in saying that it has been pretty well-established scientifically that a big bang happened, especially given recent developments in cosmology. However, he is wrong in assuming that the occurrence of a Big Bang proves that the Universe had a beginning. There are some very viable cyclical models of cosmology that involve big bangs, yet allow for the universe to be eternal and without beginning. One example of this which has ample following in the scientific community is the Bouncing Branes model .
Thus, the second premise of the KCA is not necessarily true.
R3) Refutation of Premise 3
"If the Universe has a first cause, that first cause must be God"
For the purposes of refuting this, I will be assuming that the the first conclusion is true (i.e. the universe has a first cause).
This seems to be the premise that Pro devoted the majority of his argument defending. He presents the case that the first cause of the universe must either be abstract or personal, and since abstract objects are intangible and cannot interact with reality, the first cause must have been personal.
However, this case is clearly based on a false dichotomy; the first cause of the universe can also be some sort of unconscious process which is capable of interacting with reality, such as simultaneous causation or the instability of nothingness (i.e. the idea that the state of nothingness is inherently unstable and demands the existence of "something" to fill it). To limit the options to either being abstract or being personal is to exclude quite a few possible first causes of the Universe.
The third premise of the KCA has its basis in a logical fallacy.
I have demonstrated why the KCA is logically invalid as well as cast substantial doubt upon each of the KCA's three premises. Thus, the KCA simply cannot be a logically sound argument.
I hand the debate back over to my opponent.
Good luck, Pro!
 http://www.physics.princeton.edu... (page 5)
Rebuttal to Logical Validity
I didn't forget anything in the argument. It appears my opponent has misunderstood the structure of the KCA. If you look at the actual structure, the conclusion only states that the cause was a mind, or God. The conclusion doesn't explicitly state God exists. My version of the KCA is based directly on the original one, just with another syllogism added to defend it. If you click on these links, you'll see what I'm talking about.(1)(2) So the logical validity of the structure of the argument itself stands.
Rebuttals to Logical Soundness
Now, I'll defend my premises and attempt to refute my opponent's rebuttals.
Defense of P1
When I say everything that begins to exist has a cause, I mean everything on a metaphysical as well as a physical level. My premise here is just a basic principle of metaphysics, which is "ex nihilo nihil fit", or in English, "Out of nothing, nothing comes." (3) is mainly supported by the argument that an actual infinite cannot exist. I will get to that in a little bit.
Defense of P2
Now here, I'll demonstrate how the universe cannot be infinite and eternal, as an actual infinite is logically impossible.
Let's imagine a hotel with a finite number of rooms, and all the rooms are full. When a new guy wants to check in, the owner says, "Sorry, we're full." Now, inagine a hotel with an infinite number of rooms that are once again full. There isn't a single vacant room in it. Then a guest shows up and wants to check in. The owner goes, "Of course! Of course!" and shifts the guy in room 1 to room 2, and the guy in room 2 to room 3, and the guy in room 3 to room 4, and so on out to infinity. He does this until room 1 is finally vacant. But how can this be? If the hotel has an infinite number of rooms and an infinite number of guests, and the rooms are all full, how can there be a vacancy? This idea of an infinite gives rise to a logical paradox. Thus, an actual infinite is impossible. Once again, we have two options: the universe had a beginning or it didn't and was eternal and infinite. I have demonstrated how an infinite is impossible. So, by Modus Tollens, there must have been a beginning to the universe. There is always still the problem of facing a cosmoc beginning. Therefore, the second premise has been defended.
Defense of Premise 3
My opponent claims that there are other possibilities rather than an abstract and a personal cause. However, these aren't explained by my opponent; he's simply stated them and hasn't given any reason to believe that they should be true or that we should accept them as possibilities, while I have given reason to believe my options. I invite him to please do so.
Perhaps if I were to forfeit, my opponent would have demonstrated the argument's logical invalidity and unsoundness. However, I have no intention of doing any such thing, as I have shown that the KCA is valid and sound. I look forward to Con's arguments.
Thanks to Pro for his arguments.
Pro attempts to deny that the KCA includes the conclusion "God exists". But to do so is absurd because the entire purpose of the KCA's conceptualization was to prove the existence of God, and it is also unfair because I already outlined the version of the KCA being argued in this debate in Round 1; by accepting this debate, Pro was agreeing to use that version, which included the "God exists" conclusion.
Pro must explain why God having created universe logically leads to the conclusion that he still exists.
R1) Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit
Pro does not rebut my objections, here. He simply cites the metaphysical principle "ex nihilo nihil fit" and states that since the actual infinite cannot exist, that principle is true...
He's going to need to show why this is so. Even if it is true that an actual infinite cannot exist, he does not make any effort to show why that would logically prove that something cannot come from nothing.
The main problem with the principle "ex nihilo nihil fit" is that there is no evidence for it, as we have never witnessed pure nothingness, due to the existence of a positive vacuum energy density. In order to proclaim that something cannot come from nothing, we must first witness actual nothing to observe that something cannot come from it.
R2) Actual Infinite
Pro goes goes into an extensive explanation of why it is impossible for an actual infinite to exist.
Normally, I would actually go in and try to rebut the explanation he gave, but I'd rather approach it from a different way:
An actual infinite being impossible would refute the existence of God.
God would have to be infinite and eternal in order to be the universe's first cause and not have any first cause himself, yet Pro himself is saying that being infinite and eternal is logically impossible.
R3) False Dichotomy
Pro asked me to elaborate on the two example alternatives I gave for the universe to have a first cause, so here goes:
1. Simultaneous Causation- the idea that process A can cause process B at the same time that process B causes process A, which could theoretically be possible in the spaceless and timeless plane of existence from before the Big Bang
2. Instability of Nothingness- the idea that the state of nothingness is inherently unstable and *requires* the existence of "something" in order to fill it
And also, I'm not saying that either of these processes must be the first cause of the universe; they are just examples. In my actual argument, I simply stated that "the first cause of the universe can also be some sort of unconscious process which is capable of interacting with reality". This process could be something which we have not discovered/thought of yet; it would be an ad ignorantum logical fallacy to discredit its existence simply because scientific research has not progressed far enough to know of it.
[insert conclusion from last round :P ]
Friendly reminder to Pro: this is your last round to argue, so make it good!
Now, I recall my opponent saying that he was okay with me using a slightly different version of the KCA; one that argues for God being the cause, but not for his existence. Not at least in the structure of the argument itself, but depending on what kind of god you're arguing for (the traditional all powerful monotheistic god or a deistic god.), one can assume that he exists by inferrence from the argument's conclusion of God being the first cause.
"Out of nothing, nothing comes."
So anyway, my opponent's basically stating that there may be no such thing as absolutely "nothing"; or that it's just a quantum vacuum or in other words, a quantum energy field. Now, what my opponent says about this is true, but at the same time, he's also inferring that there is no such thing as absolute nothingness. Is this to say the quantum field is timeless and eternal and has always existed? I know of no such compelling evidence to suggest this even in the link he's provides. There's still the problem of a cosmic beginning and why and how the quantum field existed. What caused all that to happen? Even in simultaneous causation, it's still implied there was a cause.
Logically following from the beginning of this argument, this hasn't refuted God's existence, since even my opponent himself states that according to the argument, God would have no greater significance than a cause. The argument itself only argues for the cause; we aren't debating on what can be inferred by the argument, we're debating over whether or not the argument itself is logically sound.
I was hoping my opponent would elaborate more than he did, nevertheless, I will rebut them.
This would lead us to ask "Why?". My opponent hasn't provided a reason to believe it's plausible; he has only stated what it means.
Instability of nothingness
My opponent himself said that we have no evidence of absolute nothingness. How can we accept this as possible as well? He also has not given a reason to believe why it should be.
I have demonstrated the KCA's logical validity and soundness, and defended it.
This is why I pull this argument out so much.=P
This has been a great discussion. Thanks for your time, man! :) Hopefully we can do this again later.
"Now, I recall my opponent saying that he was okay with me using a slightly different version of the KCA"
I never said I was okay with Pro removing an essential conclusion from the argument.
"...one can assume that he exists by inferrence from the argument's conclusion of God being the first cause."
God could have ended his existence after creating the universe, since the only significance the KCA gives him is that of a first cause.
Pro has not refuted my argument regarding the logical validity of the KCA.
R1) Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit
Pro seems to have misunderstood my rebuttal, here.
I am not arguing that nothing does not exist... I am arguing that it doesn't exist WITHIN our universe, because of the presence of a quantum energy field.
And because we have never witnessed an actual vacuum (pure nothing), we cannot claim that it is impossible for something to come from it without cause.
R2) Actual Infinite
Pro argues that we are debating the logical soundness of the KCA, not what can be inferred from its premises.
However, my rebuttal does, indeed, refute the soundness of the KCA.
Allow me to demonstrate:
I. An argument cannot be sound if one of its premises refutes its conclusions
II. Pro has made the second premise of the KCA contingent on the sub-premise that an actual infinite cannot exist
III. That sub-premise refutes the KCA's conclusions
IV. The second premise of the KCA refutes the KCA's conclusions
V. The KCA is not logically sound.
Reference for II: Pro's Defense of P2 in Round 2
Reference for III : My R2 in Round 3
R3) False Dichotomy
Again, I must assert that I only mentioned Simultaneous Causation and the Instability of Nothingness as theoretical first causes of the Universe that could serve as alternatives to God. I clarified this last round:
"I'm not saying that either of these processes must be the first cause of the universe; they are just examples. In my actual argument, I simply stated that "the first cause of the universe can also be some sort of unconscious process which is capable of interacting with reality". This process could be something which we have not discovered/thought of yet; it would be an ad ignorantum logical fallacy to discredit its existence simply because scientific research has not progressed far enough to know of it."
Pro did not even mention this, yet this was the main part of my rebuttal...
It has been shown that not only is the KCA logically invalid, but it is also logically unsound, with all three of its premises being baseless and one of them even refuting the KCA's conclusions.
Thanks for a fun debate, Pro!
Please remember that you are not allowed to write anything relevant to the debate next round!
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
|Who won the debate:||-|
Reasons for voting decision: Con's refutation of the KCA was stronger than Pro's Argument, which contained Assumption of Personal which is not validated by the argument, the assumption of Intelligence is also asserted without validity, thus invalid additions to the argument, rendering it unsound.
Vote Placed by PeacefulChaos 2 years ago
|Who won the debate:||-|
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had several opportunities to provide some decent rebuttals; however, due to some misunderstanding over both the resolution and Con's arguments, he couldn't rebound effectively enough to discredit Con's argument against the KCA. Con did an excellent job showing how we have never truly experienced nothing, though this argument could work against him!
Vote Placed by SeventhProfessor 2 years ago
|Who won the debate:||-|
Reasons for voting decision: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GGJ5Ylgw_HXYhDD7h4fnje1MW8sRFnOQCOHuLw4JVHU/edit?usp=sharing
Vote Placed by SNP1 2 years ago
|Who won the debate:||-|
Reasons for voting decision: I feel that Con was able to both show the logical flaws of the KCA and refute the points of Pro very successfully. The main point that I agree with is that since we have not observed true nothingness we do not know if something can come from nothing or not.
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