The Instigator
Magic8000
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
Miles_Donahue
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is Sound

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Magic8000
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/31/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,862 times Debate No: 36186
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (1)

 

Magic8000

Con

DDO is being very buggy, so I had to just start a new debate. Miles has agreed to debate this topic with me.

Kalam
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
Therefore
3. The universe has a cause
4. The cause is an immaterial, omnipotent, timeless, personal (sentient), mind.
5. An immaterial, omnipotent, timeless, personal, mind exists (God).

Structure
R1: Opening information and Pro's opening arguments
R2: My rebuttal and Pro's response
R3: My response and Pro's closing response
R4: My closing response.

Since Pro is arguing in round 1, in round 4 Pro will put

"For an equal number of rounds, nothing will be posted here, as agreed."

Rules
No forfeits
No insults
No semantics
72 Hours to Post Argument
8000 Characters Max
2 Week Voting Period
Start your arguments in Round 1
Miles_Donahue

Pro

The formulation of the KCA I will defending goes like this: [1]

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

4. If the universe has a cause, there exists an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe who sans the universe is beginningless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, changeless, and enormously powerful.

5. Therefore, there exists an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe who sans the universe is beginningless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, changeless, and enormously powerful.

Preliminary Definitions

By "cause", I mean either an efficient cause or a material cause, or both. An efficient cause is something which brings its effect into being. A material cause is the stuff out of which something is made. For example, when a sculptor makes a mug, the sculptor is the efficient cause of the mug, and the hunk of clay from which the mug is made is the material cause. Premise (1) merely asserts that everything that begins to exist has some sort of causal conditions, either an efficient cause, a material cause, or both. Though William Lane Craig generally understands premise (1) to be talking about efficient causes, he allows my interpretation at the suggestion of Graham Oppy.


(1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause


There are three lines of evidence for premise (1).

(1.1) Something cannot come from nothing
- This seems obvious, when you think about it. The potential for something’s existence is always logged in something else. The potential for a boat is logged in previously existing wood. For something to come into being from nothing, the potentiality for its existence couldn’t be logged in anything, and therefore there is no potentiality for its existence. But if something came into being without any causal conditions, it would come from nothing. Therefore, whatever comes into being must have some sort of causal conditions.

(1.2) If something could come into being out of nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why anything and everything don’t come into being out of nothing - If universes can come into being out of nothing, why can’t horses and potatoes likewise do so? If they can, then why don’t they? Why aren’t lions and tigers and bears coming into being right now, if it’s possible that they can? If you affirm that something came into being without a cause, not only can you not explain why that being exists, you cannot explain why an infinity of infinity of begins do not exist. That, at least to me, is to high a price to pay for a denial of premise (1).

(1.3) Common experience confirms and never falsifies premise (1) - We constantly observe that things which come into being have causes, and never observe things beginning to exist without causes. Therefore, we can make an inductive generalization that whatever begins to exist has a cause. Now, I’m inclined to view (1.3) as mere support for premise (1), not the basis of its truth. (1.1) and (1.2) serve as the foundation for (1), and (1.3) could be thought of as a supporting beam.


(2) The universe began to exist


Here I will sketch two arguments for premise (2).

(2.1) The Impossibility of an Actually Infinite Number of Things
- An actual infinite is a collection of things who’s total number of members is infinite. It is not growing towards infinity, it is complete and actual. An example of this would be the set of all positive numbers. I will argue that an actual infinite, so defined, cannot exist because its real existence leads to absurdities.

Imagine an infinite collection of marbles, numbered 1, 2, 3, and so on out to infinite. You want to give your friend some marbles because he doesn’t have any. You take away all the even numbered marbles and give them to your friend. How many marbles do you have left? An infinite amount, for you still have all the odd numbered marbles. Here infinity minus infinity equals infinity. But now rewind the scenario, so that you have all the marbles again. This time you decide to give your friend all the marbles numbered three and above. How many marbles would you have left? Well, two. Here infinity minus infinity equals two. But this contradicts the answer we got in our first thought experiment. Because the real existence of an actual infinite leads to contradictions, it cannot exist in reality.

But if the universe is eternal in the past, then there have been an actually infinite number of events in the history of the universe prior to today. Because an actually infinite number of past events cannot exist, the universe cannot be eternal. Rather, it had a beginning.


(2.2) Modern Big Bang Cosmology
- In 1915, Albert Einstein formulated his General Theory of Relativity (GR). One of the disturbing implications of GR was that the universe could not be in a static, unchanging state. A few years later physicists Alexander Friedmann and Georges Lemaître found solutions to the equations of GR which predicted an expanding universe. In 1929, Edwin Hubble observed the light from distant galaxies was shifting towards the red end of the spectrum, which implied that the galaxies were moving away at fantastic speeds. This in turn implied the universe was expanding. This was the first of many empirical confirmations of what later became known as the Big Bang theory (BBT).

Because BBT is based on the equations of GR, it doesn’t predict that galaxies are being pushed apart from a central point, but rather that space itself is expanding. As you trace the expansion backwards in time, space gets smaller and galaxies get closer together. The universe gets denser and denser, until you reach a time when everything is crushed down to a point. The density of the universe at this point is infinite. Before this, the universe did not exist.

Some object that because GR breaks down at the first split-second of the universe, we cannot say what happened during this time. Perhaps the universe arose from the quantum vacuum. While this is true, it’s irrelevant. In 2003, three cosmologists crafted the BGV theorem, which shows that any universe which is on average in a state of cosmic expansion throughout its history cannot be eternal in the past. [2] The original published paper can be found here. [3]

(4) If the universe has a cause, there exists an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe who sans the universe is beginningless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, changeless, and enormously powerful.


Having established the universe has a cause, we may now inquire what such a cause must be like. As a cause of space and time, this cause must be spaceless and timeless. It must therefore be immaterial and changeless. This cause must be uncaused, for as we’ve seen there cannot be an infinite regress of causes; you must get back to an Uncaused First Cause. This cause must therefore be beginningless, for anything with a beginning has a cause.
But I think we can go beyond that and establish that this cause is also personal.

(4.1) Abstract Objects vs. Unembodied Minds
- There are only two things which could be spaceless and timeless: abstract objects, such as a number, or unembodied minds. But abstract objects can’t cause anything, let alone the universe. That’s part of what it means to be an abstract object. Therefore, the cause of the universe must be an unembodied Mind.



Notes

[1] William Lane Craig, and James Sinclair, “The Kalam Cosmological Argument,” in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Blackwell Publishing, 2009. Print. Chapter 3.

[2] Craig, W. L. “Does God Exist?”, Reasonable Faith. Web. http://www.reasonablefaith.org... (30 July 2013)

[3] Arvind Borde, Alan H. Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin, “Inflation is not Past Eternal” Web. http://arxiv.org...... (18 July 2013).

Debate Round No. 1
Magic8000

Con

Thanks Pro.

Everything that begins to exist has a cause

This premise is undermined by quantum mechanics. Quantum vacuum fluctuations under the mainstream interpretation of QM begin to exist with no cause

"In the everyday world, energy is always unalterably fixed; the law of energy conservation is a cornerstone of classical physics. But in the quantum microworld, energy can appear and disappear out of nowhere in a spontaneous and unpredictable fashion."- Paul Davies [God and the New Physics]

Uncaused, random quantum fluctuations in a flat, empty, featureless space-time can produce local regions with positive or negative curvature. - Victor Stenger [ http://www.colorado.edu...]

This refutes Pro's sub argument (1). Sub argument (2) and (3) are refuted by Paul Davies. The reason why (2) and (3) seem true is because the macro world is governed by the conservation of energy.

I want everyone to understand, my argument would still stand with other interpretations. I'm not arguing that virtual particles are a definite take down. In arguing that it damages premise one. However even under deterministic interpretations I still have a case a against the KCA idea of causality. When dealing with the interpretations of QM, we can take 3 broad approach. The indeterministic, the deterministic non local hidden variable, and deterministic local hidden variable approach. Quantum fluctuations may very well be caused under the last 2. However, local hidden variable theories are discredited because of Bell's theorem [Essential Quantum Mechanics By Gary Bowman, page 31]. Non local hidden variables say the hidden variables travel faster than the speed of light [Ibid]. This still undermines our intuitions about causality [http://www.theculture.org...].

Under quantum mechanics premise one is undermined.

I'm not disputing premise 2 or 3.

Epistemological error

Your arguments attempt to inquire about the unknown. Time, space, and matter as we know it may have began at the Big Bang. What was before the Big Bang, we"re completely in the dark about. We can only know what was at the starting point of the Big Bang. We don"t know if time, space, and matter were existing before the Big Bang, only that they were brought about in our Universe by the Big Bang. We have no idea what was before, to inquire what was, is simply meaningless.

Our understanding is because of the Universe around us. We can reason because we observe the Universe around us and come up with things like causality. However, to apply our understanding outside the Universe, by using the understanding that we obtained by the Universe itself cannot be tested and therefore not trusted.

Let's say, in my room there"s a door, behind this door is a portal into another dimension. In this dimension there can be anything, things which we have no understanding, things which are not possible in this world, things we could never conceive. There could be another set of laws, or they could be the same as ours. Is it really reasonable to make a positive claim of what"s in that dimension? I don"t think so. One can make arguments for what exists in it, but the conclusion can never be rationally accepted and such tasks would be useless since we"re ignorant of what"s in there. We can have inquire what"s in it, but we can never claim for sure what"s in there, without going in. Any claim is just as possible as another, since inside the dimension is meaningless to us.

Now, this dimension is before the universe. This debating over the cause is the same as debating what"s in the dimension. Claiming that a personal being caused it can"t be accepted, since there could be something that fits these attributes and not be personal. It's simply not a coherent concept.

Why God?

Pro tries to prove God is the cause. However, at best he only showed an abstract object can't be the cause. He just asserts that an unembodied mind is the cause. This is the argument from ignorance and a bare assertion fallacy. Just because we know abstract objects can't cause the universe doesn't instantly mean an unembodied mind did, because there could be some unknown cause. Pro has yet to prove his case.

Why can't the cause an immaterial, causeless, eternal, powerful, spaceless, timeless, uncaused, non-sentient force that randomly creates things? Since this force was eternally creating things, one day the inevitable happened, energy, space, and time was created in a powerful reaction destroying everything including this force to create the two. The rest is history.

Why should we think God caused the Universe instead of this force?

Why should we accept God created the universe over retro-causality? Retro causality is a valid and real concept in quantum mechanics [http://prola.aps.org...] [ http://arxiv.org...]. Even if it wasn't, my argument would still stand because I'm arguing from the possibility.

Why accept God over simultaneous causation? It is similar to retro-causality, but cause and effect happen simultaneously. DDO user Sargon says

"Imagine atoms A, B, and C. A comes into existence and instantaneously causes B, which instantaneously causes C, which instantaneously causes A. All of the atoms have causal explanation, and they all begin to exist at the exact same time." [ http://www.debate.org...]

Such a thing is supported by EPR correlations [http://www.worldscientific.com...]. Again, even if it wasn't, the argument still stands.

The cause can't be God

God is defined as a timeless mind. However, such a thing is impossible and thus the cause cannot be God. I will justify this.

A mind needs mental processing to be called a mind. This is evident in the very definition of a mind.

The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought. [http://oxforddictionaries.com... ]

Mental processing requires changes to occur. This doesn't mean such a mind changes things about itself, just change from one thought to the next. In order for change to occur, time must be present. If we go from thought A to thought B, there needs to be a state of before thought B. However, we don't have that.

Let's assume we have change

A, goes to > B, goes to, > C, goes to > D

The problem is, this means we have time. We have a present (state D) a past (A,B,C) and possibly a future with state D or another state.

If change can't exist without time and mental processing needs change, then a timeless mind can't exist. Thus, the KCA is unsound

Thanks to DDO user Rational_thinker9119 for originally coming up with this argument.

Thanks, now back to Pro.
Miles_Donahue

Pro

I thank my opponent for his criticisms. Let’s review each premise in light of his objections.

(1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause

Let’s look at my opponent’s objection:

Quantum vacuum fluctuations under the mainstream interpretation of QM begin to exist with no cause – I have no desire to disagree. But what exactly is a fluctuation? Well, a fluctuation is a change in the quantum vacuum, and a change is an event, not a thing. Premise (1) is not “every event requires a cause“, but “everything that begins to exist has a cause.” Things are substances; events are changes in those substances, and it is no part of my case that every event requires a cause. But actually there are ten different interpretations of quantum mechanics, and they’re all empirically equivalent. Many of these interpretations are fully deterministic. My opponent muses that Bell’s Theorem invalidates certain deterministic interpretations of quantum mechanics, but this is false. Consider the following:

“Recently, however, physicists more commonly cite...Bell's inequality in support of the contention that a deterministic completion of quantum theory is impossible…Wigner to the contrary notwithstanding, Bell did not establish the impossibility of a deterministic reformulation of quantum theory, nor did he ever claim to have done so. On the contrary, until his untimely death in 1990, Bell was the prime proponent, and for much of this period almost the sole proponent, of the very theory, Bohmian mechanics, that he supposedly demolished.” [1]

So with no reason to reject (1), and three reasons to accept it, I conclude that premise (1) is more plausibly true than false.

(2) The universe began to exist

Let’s turn now to my opponent’s objections:

We don’t know if time, space, and matter existed before the Big Bang – I simply beg to differ. On the standard Big Bang model, as you trace the expansion of the universe back in time, the universe gets denser and denser until it’s squeezed down to a singular point. This point, or singularity, constitutes an edge to space and time themselves. P. C. W. Davies comments:

“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…On this view the big bang represents the creation event; the creation not only of all matter and energy in the universe, but also of spacetime itself.” [2]

Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin writes:

“It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men, and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place [the BGV theorem], cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” [3]

Even though the standard model will need correction, this needn't avert its prediction of an absolute beginning of the universe, for reasons outlined in my opening speech.


4. If the universe has a cause, there exists an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe who sans the universe is beginningless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, changeless, and enormously powerful.

Let's turn finally to my opponent's objections to premise (4):

We cannot know what exists beyond the universe – Really? Why? Why can’t we make reasonable judgments about the cause of the universe? Indeed, the person who says that we cannot make claims about what exists beyond the universe is himself making a claim about things beyond the universe, namely their unknowability. My opponent does try to justify this claim by saying that all of our knowledge comes from within the universe, and so could never tell us about things beyond the universe. The only way I can understand this claim is as an endorsement of epistemological naturalism, the view that human knowledge can only be derived from science. [4] I have two responses to this. First, we know many things that cannot be proved through science. We know mathematical truths (which are simply assumed by science), we know metaphysical truths (an external world exists, other minds exist, etc.), and we know moral truths (torturing a child for fun is really wrong). None of these things can be proved by science, and yet we know they're true. Second, epistemological naturalism cannot be proven by science, and so by its own standards we cannot know whether it’s true.

Why must God be the cause of the universe? – The reasoning for this conclusion goes as follows:

(4.1) The cause of the universe is either an abstract object or an unembodied Mind.

(4.2) It is not an abstract object.

(4.3) Therefore, the cause of the universe is an unembodied Mind.

If the two premises are true, then the conclusion follows logically and necessarily by disjunctive syllogism. Does my opponent seriously think, “This is the argument from ignorance and a bare assertion fallacy”? Does he think disjunctive syllogism is an invalid form of logical inference?

Why can't the cause an immaterial, causeless, eternal, powerful, spaceless, timeless, uncaused, non-sentient force? – Well, what entity would you ascribe these properties to? What entity is immaterial, causeless, eternal, powerful, spaceless, timeless, uncaused, and a non-sentient force? The fact is, we just can’t conceive of something which possesses all these attributes. I can think of two entities which are timeless and spaceless, namely abstract objects and unembodied Minds. If he can think of a third substance which fits this description, I’ll add it to the list. Until then, premise (4.1) must be considered exhaustive. In the absense of any reason to think our modal intuitions are false (our intuitions about what is possible), we should accept them.

Why should we accept God created the universe over retro-causality? – Retro-causality presupposes a B-Theory of time, and the entire KCA is predicated on an A-Theory of time. On the A-Theory, past events do not exist and so cannot be caused by present events. Our experience of tense and temporal becoming should be considered veridical in the absence of powerful arguments for the B-Theory, and therefore retro-causality just won’t cut it.

Why accept God over simultaneous causation? – What my opponent needs is not simultaneous causation, but circular simultaneous causation. The problems with circular causation are the same as those with self-causation. In order for atoms A, B, and C to cause eachother, A, B, and C would have to exist logically or explanatorily prior to their existence, which is a self-contradiction. Therefore, circular simultaneous causation won’t cut it either. The EPR correlations show simultaneous causation, not circular causation.

A timeless Mind is incoherent – I don’t have the space to address this objection here, so I’ll pon it off to William Lane Craig. [5] Suffice is to say that a timeless Mind can have an unchanging state of conciousness and awareness. There need be no succesive states of conciousness. Perhaps in a later round I’ll be able to expand on my response.


Notes

[1] Goldstein, Sheldon, "Bohmian Mechanics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), <http://plato.stanford.edu...;

[2] P. C. W. Davis, “Spacetime Singularities in Cosmology,” in The Study of Time III. Print. 78-79.

[3] Vilenkin, Alexander. Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006. Print. 176.

[4] See, for example, “We can reason because we observe the Universe around us and come up with things like causality.” Actually, the main basis for causality is not observation, but our metaphysical intuition that something cannot come from nothing.

[5] See “Divine Timelessness and Personhood,” Reasonable Faith < http://www.reasonablefaith.org...;

Debate Round No. 2
Magic8000

Con

Thanks Pro.

Everything that begins to exist has a cause

I feel pro still has a problem on his hands. His case here seems like simple semantic hair splitting. What's changing in these vacuums are particles, these have no cause.

Even in a perfect vacuum—a region of space containing neither matter nor energy—particle-antiparticle pairs (such as an electron and its antiparticle opposite, the positron) constantly appear and disappear in a time span too short to observe. Although it would seem impossible that a particle could materialize from nothing—not even from energy— it so happens that no laws of physics are violated because the particle is annihilated by its corresponding antiparticle before either one can be detected. - Harvard [ https://www.cfa.harvard.edu...]

Pro says a change is an event, not a thing. However, this is a straw man. When talking about these fluctuations, we're talking about what has changed. Not the nature of change itself. A tire change describes the event of changing a tire. If we were to state the tire change had a cause, would we be wrong? Clearly, we're discussing what has changed, not the very nature of a change itself.

His next part on Bell's, I agree with. My original argument doesn't dispute it either. Pro's argument is based on a straw man fallacy. I never argued that a deterministic theory was impossible, because Bell certainly never proved such a thing. I don't know why Pro argued this way because nothing I said suggested such a thing. I said Bell disproved local hidden variables. Popular deterministic interpretations like the Bohmian use non local hidden variables. Bell's inequalities are compatible with these.

Bell showed that any hidden-variables formulation of quantum mechanics must be nonlocal, as, indeed, Bohmian mechanics is [ http://plato.stanford.edu...]

Non local variables still damage premise one [http://www.theculture.org...].

Remember, I said I wasn't saying quantum fluctuations are a definite hit on premise 1. I'm arguing that quantum mechanics in general (regardless of current interpretations) undermines premise one.

Pro's response here fails, my argument still stands.

Epistemological error

I'm uncertain why Pro thinks this is an argument against premise 2. This is again, a straw man fallacy. I even said I wouldn't dispute premise 2, so I have no clue why Pro is defending it. I said we don't know if time, space, or matter existed before. Pro gives evidence that it didn't exist at the big bang. I conceded that that's probably true, but this doesn't mean these things didn't exist before. All Pro can prove is that it didn't exist at the start, but before, it can't be known.

Pro never showed that before was an intelligible idea that we can determine what exists. He claims my argument is self defeating, because I say you can't know what was before, but this means I know what was before.

The first problem is, knowing something and not knowing something are two different things. If I say a "hfhdhd" exists, one could say we don't know anything about this thing. Is it wrong to say we don't know what it is? Does Pro think we have all knowledge of the universe? Because if there's something we don't know about the universe, then that's saying you know something about what's unknown. All I have to show is that we don't know. It's self evident that we don't know.

I wouldn't say our knowledge is only by science alone. I would say it comes from what we understand and experience from existence. Not just by inductive scientific research. Even assuming a divine source of things like reason, reality still needs to conform to it. How could we possibly assume the universe can tell us what was before the universe?

Math, moral, and metaphysical truths must conform to reality too. So, even if you assume a divine source, it still must conform, and thus be knowable.

My argument still stands.

Why God?

Pro ignores why I think is proof of mind argument is flawed. There's nothing wrong with the syllogism and I never claimed there was. This is an irrelevant red herring. I'm not sure why Pro thought I was attacking the syllogism. I extend arguments here.

Pro says the cause can't be non sentient because we can't put ascribe an entity to it. I did say it was a force, however even if I didn't this doesn't mean such a thing didn't create the universe. Just because we can't conceive of it, doesn't mean it didn't exist. Since when is the existence of something based on our ability to ascribe?

Pro says

The fact is, we just can’t conceive of something which possesses all these attributes. I can think of two entities which are timeless and spaceless, namely abstract objects and unembodied Minds.

This is a textbook example of the argument from personal incredulity. [http://www.toolkitforthinking.com...]

Pro is unable to conceive, so it must be wrong. Clear fallacy.

My argument here, still stands.

Retro-causality

Pro's response here boils down to, your theory doesn't work under my theory, therefore your theory is wrong. If retro-causality is based on the B-theory and since retro-causality is proven, then the B theory is proven. Thus the KCA fails. Arguing from temporal becoming, I feel fails. Say person A and person B are watching a magician. Person A concludes the magician is using legitimate supernatural forces to do his tricks, while person B says that's an illusion. One can't argue person A is right because it seems like the magician is really using supernatural forces, because person B contends that it's an illusion. Similar to the B theory, that holds temporal becoming to be an illusion.

If Pro wants to deny retro-causality, then he must deny the reality of quantum mechanics. It has been verified experimentally [http://arxiv.org...] [http://www.popsci.com...]. Pro could appeal to realist interpretations of quantum mechanics to deny retro-causality, but these have been falsified by Bell's inequalities [http://phys.org...] and Leggett's inequalities [http://www.quantumphil.org...].

My argument still stands.

Simultaneous causation

Pro straw mans this argument. What exactly is the difference between circular and simultaneous causation? The causes and effects are happening simultaneously. There's no need for any of the atoms to exist prior to their existence, because it happens simultaneously. This isn't self-causation at all.

Even if Sargon’s example isn’t simultaneous causation, this still doesn’t answer, why should we prefer God over the real concept of simultaneous causation. It seems Pro only went after Sargon’s analogy claiming it’s not the real concept, not after the concept itself.

My argument still stands.

The cause is probably not God

Pro says God's mind is an unchanging state of consciousness and awareness. This means God isn't a functioning mind, how would consciousness and awareness exist without functioning thoughts? It's like saying you can listen to music without audio. A mind without processing information, has static information. How can we call such a thing a mind? Static information are things like books.

If God's mind is static, then every choice would've already been in the mind of God. However, this means God doesn't have a chance to choose to create a universe, if there was already a choice. It would've already been chosen, with no chance to chose! Therefore, God must have at least two states of successive consciousness.

Pro still has a problem on his hands.

Thanks, now back to Pro.

Miles_Donahue

Pro

(1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause


Let’s turn straight to Con’s objections:

I’m not concerned with change as such, but about what has changed – This is the best I can do to understand my opponent’s response to my charge that on indeterministic interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, you have uncaused events, but not uncaused things. A thing is a substance; an event is a change within a substance. For example, in particle-pair production, the event at which particle-antiparticle production occurs is uncaused, even though the particle and antiparticle themselves are not uncaused. William Lane Craig says the following:

“Now in fact particle pair production furnishes no analogy for this radical ex nihilo becoming, as Davies seems to imply. This quantum phenomenon, even if an exception to the principle that every event has a cause, provides no analogy to something's coming into being out of nothing. Though physicists speak of this as particle pair creation and annihilation, such terms are philosophically misleading, for all that actually occurs is conversion of energy into matter or vice versa.” [1]

Paul Davis himself says, “The processes described here do not represent the creation of matter out of nothing, but the conversion of pre-existing energy into material form.” [2]

Nevertheless, not even indeterminacy in QM has been shown, for there are still many other deterministic interpretations which are empirically equivalent to indeterministic interpretations. Thus, QM gives no exception to the causal premise. On all interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, things do not come into being without causes. On indeterministic interpretations, you do have uncaused events, but not uncaused things. Even uncaused events have not been shown, for deterministic interpretations on QM exist which are empirically equivalent to indeterministic interpretations. As for non-local variables damaging premise (1), I’m not even going to respond to this objection, because it was given in a single line of text with no explanation whatsoever. The link he provides takes you to an article which argues that things cannot travel faster than the speed of light. What’s the argument supposed to be? I’m not going to do the guess work here.

(2) The universe began to exist

Again, let’s turn directly to my opponent’s objections:

“I'm uncertain why Pro thinks this is an argument against premise 2. This is again, a straw man fallacy. I even said I wouldn't dispute premise 2, so I have no clue why Pro is defending it. I said we don't know if time, space, or matter existed before. Pro gives evidence that it didn't exist at the big bang. I conceded that that's probably true, but this doesn't mean these things didn't exist before. All Pro can prove is that it didn't exist at the start, but before, it can't be known.”

I’m finding it difficult to understand the above quote. I don’t mean that as an insult in any way, but as brutal honesty. If my opponent thinks that space, time, matter, and energy might’ve existed before the Big Bang, then he disputes premise (2), because the definition of the word “universe” I’m using is “any connected space-time.” If our connected spacetime began to exist, then nothing existed prior to the Big Bang (for there can’t be anything prior to the beginning of time), let alone preexisting matter or energy. If there was matter and energy prior to the Big Bang, then in what sense did the universe begin to exist? I hope the reader can see my point.

So it seems my opponent is really saying that we can’t know whether the universe began to exist, when we understand the definition of the word “universe.” But then I ask him to reread the quote I gave by cosmological Alexander Vilenkin.


(4) If the universe has a cause, there exists an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe who sans the universe is beginningless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, changeless, and enormously powerful.


In his opening statement, Con says the following:

“Pro tries to prove God is the cause. However, at best he only showed an abstract object can't be the cause. He just asserts that an unembodied mind is the cause. This is the argument from ignorance and a bare assertion fallacy...”

In order to answer this charge, I showed that inference to an unembodied Mind as the cause of the universe was based on a disjunctive syllogism, where showing that an abstract object cannot be the cause of the universe logically implies that an unembodied Mind is the cause. Far from successfully extending his arguments, my opponent completely ignored my response to those arguments.

I ascribe the properties of being immaterial, causeless, eternal, powerful, spaceless, timeless, uncaused, and non-sentient to a force – It’s clear that force is normally understood to be a physical thing. If we remove this attribute, then “force” becomes literally an empty term which doesn’t mean anything. It’s like saying the cause of the universe is a non-physical rock. If we respond that a rock is by definition physical, you could remove “being physical” from the definition of “rock.” Well then what in the world is a rock, other than an empty term? What my opponet is reduced to saying is that the cause of the universe is an entity with the above preperties. When asked what this entity is, he cannot tell us, because there just is no conceivable entity to which this description could refer. I’m not arguing that because I can’t understand the above entity, therefore it doesn’t exist. Rather, I’m saying that our modal intuitions tell us that only an abstract object or an unembodied Mind can be timeless and spaceless. In the absence of any reason to deny our modal intuitions, we are rational in holding that they are veridical. I’m not guilty of argument from personal incredulity.

Retro-causality could explain the origin of the universe – I pointed out that this view presupposes a B-Theory of time, and that our experience of tense and temporal becoming favor an A-Theory of time. My opponent rightly points out that on the B-Theory, these experiences are illusions. The problem though is that in the absence of powerful arguments for the B-Theory, we should hold that our experiences are veridical, that is, objective. Therefore, in the absence of powerful arguments for the B-Theory, we should prefer the A-Theory. Quantum Mechanics does not show retro-causality, for on epistemic interpretations of QM (such as Bohemian Mechanics) this feature is not real. I’ve already responded to the claim that Bell’s inequalities show Bohemian mechanics to be false, and by abopting an instrumentalist interpretation of aspects of QM, Legget's inequalities are not violated.

Simultaneous causation can explain the origin of the universe – As I said before, my opponent needs more than mere simultaneous causation. He needs circular simultaneous causation in order for the argument to go through. So it’s not enough to give examples of simultaneous causation in general; he needs to give examples of circular simultaneous causation, and this he just can’t do. In my argument I was talking about explanatory priority, not chronological priority. I leave it up to the reader to judge whether my opponent has responded to my argument.

A timeless mind is incoherent – Sadly, I do not have the space to respond to this objection. Please read the article I cited by William Lane Craig for an adequate response. God has a timeless intention to create a universe with a beginning. By actualizing this intention, God creates the universe and is drawn in to time. “Deciding” needn’t mean changing one’s mind.



Notes

[1] William Lane Craig, “The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe,” Reasonable Faith. (4 August 2013). < http://www.reasonablefaith.org... >

[2] ibid, “Objections to the Causal Principle,” ibid. Ibid. < http://www.reasonablefaith.org...; >

Debate Round No. 3
Magic8000

Con


Premise 1


Pro says particles themselves are not uncaused. However, Harvard disagrees with him.




Although it would seem impossible that a particle could materialize from nothing—not even from energy— it so happens that no laws of physics are violated because the particle is annihilated by its corresponding antiparticle before either one can be detected. [https://www.cfa.harvard.edu...]


The particles do come into existence uncaused. Pro has not shown otherwise.




Pro quotes William Lane Craig as an authority on Quantum Mechanics. This is an invalid appeal to authority and thus a fallacy [http://www.nizkor.org...]. Craig is a philosopher, not a physicist. The only quote that should be addressed is Davies’. It seems odd that Pro would quote Craig saying Davies is wrong, then quote Davies to support Craig’s position. Something is clearly wrong here. Pro has committed the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy in quoting Davies. If you read the section after what Pro quoted, Davies says this phenomena can happen in a state of zero energy [http://goo.gl...]. These particle annihilations can happen in perfect vacuums and false vacuums, as my quote from Harvard said. Davies goes on to say


“There is a still more remarkable possibility, which is the creation of matter from a state of zero energy..... The energy locked up in a spacewarp can be converted into particles of matter and antimatter..... Thus, matter appears spontaneously out of empty space....If that is so the cosmos can follow the path of least resistance, coming into existence without requiring any input of matter or energy at all.” [Ibid]


Pro finally comments on what he has been ignoring throughout this entire debate. That non-local variables are inconsistent with premise one. Unfortunately, it’s only a comment, not a response.


The reason why it’s only a single line of text is because the explanation is too long, that is why I linked to the evidence. Pro, unfortunately, straw mans it. He claims the article only claimed faster than light travel isn’t possible. I’m unsure if Pro really read it, because it clearly says that if faster than light travel is possible, then causality is violated.


And that’s why faster than light travel or communication, special relativity and causality cannot coexist. [http://www.theculture.org...]


Non local hidden variables require faster than light travel [Essential Quantum Mechanics, page 31], so even under deterministic interpretations, the Kalam’s first premise fails.


My argument still stands. Quantum mechanics, deterministic or indeterministic, refutes premise one. Pro’s attempts have failed.


Epistemological error


The common definition of universe is


all existing matter and space considered as a whole; the cosmos. The universe is believed to be at least 10 billion light years in diameter and contains a vast number of galaxies; it has been expanding since its creation in the Big Bang about 13 billion years ago. [http://oxforddictionaries.com...]




I couldn’t find any dictionary that defines it as “any connected space-time”. Even if it was, we would only know this space-time and none other outside it. Any connected space-time doesn’t mean we can know what existed before. If matter did exist before the Big Bang, then our universe can begin in the sense that our existing matter that we know began.


This isn’t an attack on premise 2 at all. Pro also dropped his other objections against this argument. So, this argument is still valid and unrefuted.


Why God?


I didn’t ignore your arguments for an unembodied mind. I’m saying, all you have done at best is prove an abstract object isn’t the cause. There is no reason to think that this immediately means an unembodied mind is the cause. Pro failed to show this.


A force is only physical in the scientific sense of the word. The definitions of force, don’t have to assume a physical thing.




strength or energy as an attribute of physical action or movement [http://goo.gl...]


The capacity to do work or cause physical change; energy, strength, or active power. [http://www.thefreedictionary.com...]


One could use force to apply to God. Didn’t God demonstrate immense strength/energy/power in creating the universe? Why not skip it and think the raw non-sentient power exists?


Next, Pro attempts to defend against my claim of personal incredulity. He says, he’s using his intuition to determine the cause isn’t this non-sentient force, not that he can’t understand it. The problem here is, the very definition of intuition is


the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning:[http://goo.gl...]


Thus, Pro is still committing an argument from personal incredulity. He’s basically saying, since he can’t understand it immediately, it’s probably an unembodied mind. Sorry, but that’s still fallacious.




Retro-causality


Pro says, “...in the absence of powerful arguments for the B-Theory, we should hold that our experiences are veridical”. However, I did provide a powerful argument for the B-Theory, which relies on quantum mechanics. So I’ll wait till that section comes.


Pro says we should rely on our intuition, however our intuition isn’t always right. The flat Earth hypothesis is one example. Another example is this picture

Argument against intuition. These lines are straight.


These lines appear to be curved. However, they are straight. Move your mouse in a straight line across to see. This proves, our intuition should be tested, not accepted on face value. We should test our intuition like other theories.


I reject the claim that the A-Theory goes with our intuitions. John Loftus -former student of William Lane Craig- said


“Person A exists at a certain point in time T. At time T person A remembers the moment T* that lies in the past and anticipates the moment T**.that lies in the future. The only intuition that person A can have is the memory of having experienced T* , experiencing T right now and anticipating T** in the future. At any point of time this is the only knowledge about time that person A can have.


But this tells A nothing about the nature of time. At time T person A will have a memory of the moment T* and an anticipation of T** whether presentism or eternalism is true. Even if eternalism is true, this doesn't change the fact that at moment T, the moment T* is merely a memory and T** has not yet been experienced. The only intuitions A can have is his memory, his present awareness and his anticipation, none of which are excluded on an eternalist point of view. Therefor dynamic theories of time do not have an explanatory advantage and nor are tenseless theories of time falsified or rendered implausible by intuition.” [http://goo.gl...]


I wasn't just going after Bohemian mechanics, I was going after all realist interpretations. So I had to cite both. Bohem assumed non local realism, this has been disproved! [http://goo.gl...]. Pro has given no source to support his assertion that Bohem’s interpretation is compatible with this experiment. This means he has committed a bare assertion fallacy. Instrumentalism assumes non-realism.


Opposed to scientific realism...are a variety of antirealisms, including phenomenalism and empiricism. Recently two others, instrumentalism and constructivism, have posed special challenges to realism.[http://fitelson.org...]


Simultaneous causation


Pro ignores my objections. He never defines how circular causation is different nor has he refuted the idea simultaneous causation regardless of how I presented it.


This argument stands.


Timeless Mind


If God had the intention eternally, then God choose to create the universe with no chance to chose. This went unrefuted


Remember Pro, since you went at round 1, you will post this in the next round.


"For an equal number of rounds, nothing will be posted here, as agreed."



I’m out of space.


Thanks Miles.

Miles_Donahue

Pro

For an equal number of rounds, nothing will be posted here, as agreed.
Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
Wow, how did that happen?
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
I had a 55% win rate the first time I came on here. It's nothing to get concerned about, really.
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
I had a 55% win rate the first time I came on here. It's nothing to get concerned about, really.
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
I had a 55% win rate the first time I came on here. It's nothing to get concerned about, really.
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
I had a 55% win rate the first time I came on here. It's nothing to get concerned about, really.
Posted by Miles_Donahue 3 years ago
Miles_Donahue
Thanks for your comments Sargon. Con rightfully wins this debate. I will continue working on my strategy.
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
I can understand metaphysical intuition. I also know what modal logic is, but like Magic said, no one uses modal logic in their intuition.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
He means intuition on what is metaphysically acceptable or not, and what can exist in some possible world.
Posted by Magic8000 3 years ago
Magic8000
Sargon has a point. What in the world is modal intuition. It seems contradictory, modal logic isn't something that is immediately understood.
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
Magic8000 (Con) vs Miles_Donahue (Pro)
A Debate Review
Started: 7/31/2013
Concluded: 8/5/13
Category: Philosophy
Debate No: 36186

(I had a summary for Pro's R1, but Google Docs messed up.)
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
Magic8000Miles_DonahueTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.