The Instigator
Bakayarouish
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
Servant2008
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is Sound

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Bakayarouish
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/9/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 678 times Debate No: 36518
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

Bakayarouish

Con

Rules:

- The burden of proof is on Pro to demonstrate that the Kalam Cosmological Argument is sound.
- An argument is sound if and if (i) the argument is valid and (ii) all of the premises are true.
- Pro will make his/her opening argument in round one and will simply put 'Vote Pro' in round 4.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) is formulated as follows:

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
C. Therefore the universe had a cause.
Servant2008

Pro

Okay. As I understand, the argument pretty much goes like this: everything that has a beginning must have a cause, so since the universe had a beginning, it had to have a cause.

I'll start by presenting the first premise: everything that had a beginning had a cause. The proof of this statement is quite simple, really. How are you here? You began to exist in your mother's womb. Your cause was the relationship between your mother, and father. You did not cause yourself to exist, and you have not existed before you were, so logically speaking, you had a beginning, and therefore a cause. Plus, have you ever seen a finite thing with no cause? I have yet to see it.

The second premise states that the universe had a beginning. This is proven through Einstein's theory of relativity, the fact of the expanding universe, the laws of thermodynamics, etc. Even the Big Bang theory itself proves the finite nature of the universe.

So since the universe DID have a beginning, and no finite thing can exist without a cause, then it stands to reason that the universe did indeed have a cause. In other words, because the first premise is true, then the other two assumptions naturally fall into place.
Debate Round No. 1
Bakayarouish

Con

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.


The Problem with Intuition


P1 of the KCA is often justified with an appeal to intuition and common experience and admittedly these intuitions often hold up in our day to day lives. Aristotle (384 BCE – 322 BCE) was an ancient Greek philosopher and a champion of what he called 'rational intuition'.


Unfortunately for Aristotle, reality has a nasty habit of undermining how we intuitively understand the universe. I think that I need only point out that for thousands of years it seemed intuitively obvious to everyone that the Sun revolves around the Earth, but allow me to go into further detail.

Consider Aristotle's physics of motion, for instance. According to Aristotle, the speed at which an object falls is directly related to its mass. [1]

We now know that this is false. Objects of different mass false at the same rate in a vacuum. The factor that determines that rate at which an object falls is air resistance. Don't trust me though, go find two objects of similar shape and test Aristotle's hypothesis for yourself.


Uncaused Quantum Events


As I have shown, intuition is a poor method of discerning the truth. Of course, none of this falsifies P1, but it does undermine its justification. However, I can go further still and provide counter-examples to P1. The causality principle does seem to hold at the classical level (and within space-time), but break apart at the quantum level.

Quantum fluctuations bring virtual particles into and out of existence. These fluctuations are spontaneous and uncaused. Furthermore, radioactive decay is the “spontaneous disintegration of a radionuclide accompanied by the emission of ionizing radiation in the form of alpha or beta particles or gamma rays.” [2]


2. The Universe Began to Exist.


The KCA is predicated on the A-theory of time (presentism) being true. Presentism is the philosophical position that only the present moment is real. Events and entities of the past and the future do not exist. If this is true, then the universe did begin to exist.

If however, the B-theory of time (eternalism) is true, then the universe exists tenselessly in a four dimensional block ; it never began to exist because according to eternalism all points in time are equally real.

Even William Lane Craig, the populariser and most ardent defender of the KCA, concedes this point. In The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, Craig writes that:

From start to finish, the kalam cosmological argument is predicated upon the A-Theory of time. On a B-Theory of time, the universe does not in fact come into being or become actual at the Big Bang... If time is tenseless, then the universe never really comes into being, and, therefore, the quest for a cause of its coming into being is misconceived.” [3]

While presentism is more intuitive than eternalism, that does not make it true. In fact, according to Einstein's special relativityobservers in different frames of reference (such as observers moving at different speeds) can have different perceptions of whether a pair of events happen at the same time or at different times... The theory also says we have no reason to prefer one observer's perception to another – both are correct. We therefore cannot say that there are a set of events simultaneously happening in the present. People's “present” is different depending on their frame of reference.” [4]

Einstein himself came to the conclusion that the universe exists as a four dimensional block. He said that “since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections whichrepresent "now" objectively. . .” [5]


Applying Causality to the Universe?


Even if I were to grant both premises as to Pro (I'm not), the conclusion that the universe had a cause would not follow from the premises. Everything we know about causality is the result of observation made inside universe. It would be absurd to apply it to universe. This would entail atemporal causality, for which there is no empirical data.

[1] http://www.bps-ok.org...

[2] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[3] The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, pp. 183-184.
[4] http://www.samwoolfe.com...
[5] http://everythingforever.com...


Servant2008

Pro

Well then...I certainly have my work cut out for me. How to prove that B-theory of time (eternalism) cannot be true. Well, first there's the Big Bang (which is basically saying that time itself had a beginning since the universe had a beginning). For eternalism to be true, we would need evidence that clearly shows the universe to have always existed. We have none. We do, however, have evidence that indicates that the universe had a beginning such as Einstein's theory of relativity, the fact of the expanding universe, and the laws of thermodynamics. Also, my argument of birth still stands. If you had a beginning, you had a cause. You did not just "poof" your way into existence.

Also, your example of quantum fluctuations is actually CAUSED by the capture of an electron. It's basic physics, really. An atom captures an electron, causing its net charge to become unstable resulting in a radioisotope. At this point, the nucleus breaks apart into lighter nuclei. This releases radiation resulting in gamma rays, etc. (1) Therefore, these quantum fluctuations are not really uncaused.

I would like to post more, have no time. I will, however, provide the exact same link to quantum fluctuations, pointing out that an explanation for these is given on the page. Suffice it to say that, given the universe DID have a beginning, it most certainly had to have a cause. No finite thing in existence has absolutely no cause. The universe is no exception.

(1) http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Bakayarouish

Con

Pro responded in reverse order, starting with P2.

2. The universe began to exist.

Well then...I certainly have my work cut out for me. How to prove that B-theory of time (eternalism) cannot be true.”

Special relativity is one of the most robust scientific theories of all-time. If you can falsify it–which you would need to do before you can argue for the A-theory–you will definitely receive a Nobel Prize in physics. I wish you well in that endeavor.

If the B-theory is true– and it probably is– then time is tenseless and temporal becoming is merely an illusion. All moments are equally real in tenseless space-time block.

Whether or not something has happened is all relative to your frame of reference and one is not 'better' than the other.

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

“Also, your example of quantum fluctuations is actually CAUSED by the capture of an electron. It's basic physics, really. An atom captures an electron, causing its net charge to become unstable resulting in a radioisotope. At this point, the nucleus breaks apart into lighter nuclei. This releases radiation resulting in gamma rays, etc. (1) Therefore, these quantum fluctuations are not really uncaused.”

According to the definition of radioactive decay that Pro cited, the phenomenon can occur “...spontaneously
or as a result of electron capture.” The emphasis is mine. How dishonest, Pro.

Futhermore, radioactive decay is not the same thing as quantum fluctuation. Those were two seperate examples.

Applying Causality to the Universe?

Pro didn't even address this argument.

Pro has not met his burden of proof.

Servant2008

Pro

Okay then. Let's see. Since you won't accept anything I have to say at face value (including what I call evidence), I guess there's no room to remind you to look up why the Big Bang theory is even in existence. Oh wait. There is. Georges Lemaitre. Look him up. He was Catholic priest, and the progenitor of the Big Bang theory(1). The whole point was to prove that the universe, as big as it may be, had a beginning. It was not a way of saying that the universe is tenseless or atemporal. So there you go. Big Bang stands in opposition to an eternal, uncaused universe. Also, logic stands in opposition to a self-created uncaused universe. Think about this. Were you around to create yourself? Of course not. That would be a logical error, as something cannot be prior to itself. So which do you want? A universe that is directly opposed to everything we know about cosmological origins, or one that stands against logic itself? Take your pick, Con.

(1) http://www.amnh.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Bakayarouish

Con

"[The Big Bang] was not a way of saying that the universe is tenseless or atemporal."

I never made that claim either. You're beating on a strawman.

"Logic stands in opposition to a self-created uncaused universe."

I have not argued for a self-created universe. You are beating on a strawman. "

Pro has not refuted my objection P1 or P2 and has not told me how he knows that causality, which we know about from observations made within the universe, applies to the universe.

The resolution has been negated.



Servant2008

Pro

Okay. Now that I have more time to actually post, I'll get right to your accusations. Sorry about the apparent lack of meat in my previous posts. I've been strapped for both time, and internet connection. So your accusations are as follows: Objections to Premise(s) 1 and 2 of KCA, and knowledge of causality gathered within the universe applied to it.

Accusation 1: Objection to Premise 1-The intuition card

My opponent will admit that intuition is not the brightest bulb in the realm of causality. After all, it is very subjective, and often misleading when it comes to objective truth. He points to the fact that we, for several thousands of years, thought that the sun revolved around us as proof that intuition is untrustworthy. This, however, isn't the whole story. True, we depended on what we saw for this, but it is not true that this results in an untrustworthy intuition. After all, we intuitively know we are in the wrong when we lie about our dog eating our homework in school. Intuitively, we cry out for justice when we see a criminal being tried for murder. So I point this out. How do you know that you have not always been? Did science tell you that you were born? No. You just know because you see your parents. They are the evidence that you were born-and that you had a cause. Yes, I'm restating my argument from birth. When you can confidently tell me how we don't intuitively know that we (human beings) had a cause, I will gladly change my position.

Accusation 2: Objection to Premise 2-Causality
Logic follows from the previous premise that (if it had a beginning) the universe had a cause. So I need not prove anything here as it rests on my statements above. Still, however, the point is made to ask what proof I have of the beginning of the universe. I simply point a finger to the expansion of the universe, and the laws of thermodynamics as well as remind you of the Big Bang theory itself. They all say that the universe has not been here forever, and that it WILL NOT be here forever. Therefore, it stands to reason that the universe (in that it had a beginning) had to have a cause.

Accusation 3: Applying Causality to the Universe
Since the universe is just like any other finite object (it has a beginning, and ergo a cause) it is quite simple to apply causality to it. The only question really facing us is, "What would this cause be like?" That, however, is another question for another time. All you have to do to apply causality to the universe is ask yourself: is this closed system winding down, or winding up? Is it getting more chaotic, or more orderly? Given the evidence (the fact that galaxies other than our own are moving AWAY from us, and the process of oxidation (rusting on a bicycle) it suffices to say that we are in a downward spiral. Things just get worse, not better, over time. So what does that mean? It means that this universe had to start somewhere. There had to be a time when expansion was equivalent to zero, and all energy was usable for work. That would be the point of the beginning. It is also worthy to note that it is mathematically impossible to have eternal universe given our knowledge of the Big Bang (1). So where does that put us in relation to the KCA? Well, if the first two premises is true (which we've proven it to be, then the other must logically follow.

Now for my closing statements. Thank you for allowing me the time to debate this with you. I largely appreciate it, and will always remember it. My opponent deserves some credit. He has given this a lot of thought. Sorry I didn't have more time to truly broach your points in my previous rebuttals. I was simply strapped for time, and internet connection. In closing, I would like to remind you that the universe (as big as it may be) had to have a cause. It's the only possibility that makes any sense of the data we've gathered about the universe itself. True, there are spontaneous events that occur within the universe, but that doesn't prove that the universe itself is of spontaneous origins. It simply proves that the universe is spontaneous in nature. It's unpredictable. That's all I'm saying. Thanks for your time. I had a lot of fun.

http://www.technologyreview.com...
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Bakayarouish 3 years ago
Bakayarouish
What the heck? Pro took 4 rounds! He was supposed to put 'Vote Pro' in the fourth round so that each of us would have 3.
Posted by Bakayarouish 3 years ago
Bakayarouish
@GOP
Ironically, I don't watch any anime. 'Bakayarou' is actually a Japanese insult. I thought it was funny.

@MysticEgg
An argument can be called sound if and only if the argument is valid and the premises are true. So the KCA can be valid, but unsound.
Posted by GOP 3 years ago
GOP
Bakayarouish? LOL
Nice name. I guess you watch anime, correct?
Posted by MysticEgg 3 years ago
MysticEgg
That argument actually works.
The problem lies with whether the premises are true. For example:
All elephants are pink.
Nelly is an elephant.
Therefore, Nelly is pink.
That logic works if all elephants are pink and that Nelly is an elephant, only. But still, it will be interesting to watch.
Posted by truther1111 3 years ago
truther1111
I agree
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
BakayarouishServant2008Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro didn't understand that B-Theory and The Big Bang are completely compatible, and wasted time trying to debunk B-Theory by appealing to The Big Bang. This is what Con meant by "attacking a straw man". Self-evidently, only if time is tensed would be it a contradiction for an eternal universe to have a beginning (B-Theory posits tenseless time). Con appealed to Special Relativity to demonstrate B-Theory, and Pro did not really undermine this specific argument. Since B-Theory entails that the second premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is false, and Con showed scientifically that B-Theory was true without sufficient rebuttal from Pro; I had to give the debate to Con. PS. I came back and gave conduct to Con, as Pro cheated the rules and posted an argument in the fourth round instead of just saying "vote Pro" like the rules of this debate specify.