The Instigator
Miles_Donahue
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
SirCrona
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is Sound

Do you like this debate?NoYes+4
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/29/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 669 times Debate No: 67618
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (0)

 

Miles_Donahue

Pro

The kalam cosmological argument is a powerful and cogent argument for the existence of God, and I'm willing to defend that claim against anyone who disagrees.
SirCrona

Con

I've always found the Kalm argument quite silly, but I've never been given the luck of being required to rebuke such an easy claim. Good luck to both of us, pro.
Debate Round No. 1
Miles_Donahue

Pro

In my estimation, no argument for the existence of God is more powerful than the kalam cosmological argument. “It has”, in the words of atheist Quentin Smith, “an attractive core of plausibility that keeps philosophers turning back to it and examining it once again.” [1] What is the kalam cosmological argument? Essentially, it boils down to the following five-points:

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

Having reached the conclusion that the universe has a cause, we then inquire into the nature of said cause and defend an additional premise:

  1. 4. If the universe has a cause, there exists a transcendent, personal Creator.

And from (3) and (4) is follows necessarily that,

  1. 5. Therefore, there exists a transcendent, personal Creator.

Notice the argument says nothing about the Creator’s moral attributes, or the extent of His power or knowledge. God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and all-good character will have to be left to other arguments. With that in mind, let’s begin!


1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

What might be said in defense of premise (1)? Two lines of evidence undergird it. First, we know through mere reflection that something cannot come into being out of nothing. Why? The argument can be stated intuitively like this: when a wooden boat, say, comes into being, the potentiality for that boat first had to exist in a heap of wood. Only then could that potentiality be turned into actuality by a carpenter (if carpenters even make boats!). But for a boat to come into being without any cause whatsoever (including the previously existent pile of wood) would be for it to come into being without even the potentiality of its existence, a feat nearing contradiction. As such, a boat cannot come into being out of nothing (i.e., without any sort of cause). And what is true of the boat is true of everything else.

Second, in our varied and manifold experience of the world, everything we observe that begins to exist has a cause. As such, we can make a simple inductive generalization to the principle that whatever begins to exist has a cause. Notice, this isn’t reasoning by composition (arguing that because every
part of the universe has a cause, therefore the whole universe has a cause). Rather, we take the set of all things that begin to exist, whether observed or not. Then we take the subset of all things observed to begin to exist. We see that all members of this subset have causes. We therefore generalize to the conclusion that every member of the whole set has causes. This is inductive reasoning, not reasoning by composition.

In short, we have a strong
metaphysical argument for premise (1) and a strong physical argument as well.

2. The universe began to exist

Turn then to premise (2). Is it really the case that all of space and time began to exist at some point in the past? Even if were true, how could you prove it.? Again, at least two lines of evidence support premise (2).

First, it seems that an infinite number of past events could not exist. But if the universe never began to exist, there have been an infinite number of past events prior to today. As such, the universe must have begun to exist. Formally, argument looks like this:

i. If the universe never began to exist, then there have been an actually infinite number of things (i.e., events prior to today).
ii. An actually infiniten number of things cannot exist.
iii. Therefore, it is false that the universe never began to exist.
iv. Therefore, the universe began to exist.

Premise (i) is uncontroversial, and (iii) and (iv) follow logically from (i) and (ii). So it all comes down to premise (ii). Why believe the extreme claim that all things must be finite? Essentially, an infinite number of things would involve contradictions. For example, let’s say I have an infinite number of pizza slices (and I really do love pizza, so this scenario isn’t farfetched). But Bobby, my friend, is hungry. So I give him all of the odd numbered slices. How many slices do I have left? Still infinite number (i.e., all of the even numbered slices). Here infinity minus infinity equals infinity. Now rewind the scenerio. But suppose this time that Sally comes along demanding that she be given an infinite amount of pizza as well. So I give her all of the slices numbered four and above. Now I only have one slice left (remember, all the odd slices were given away, so now all I have left is pizza slice #2). Here infinity minus infinity equals one. But that contradicts the answer we found with Bobby! In both cases, we subtracted an identical quantity from an identical quantity, and got non-identical results. Given that an infinite amount of pizza leads to contradictions, such a collection cannot exist in reality. We can, through similar means, generalize this conclusion to all collections of things. As such, all collections must be finite, including the collection of past events. We must reach a first even in the history of the universe, and that just is the beginning of the universe.

Second, modern Big Bang cosmology supports the conclusion that the universe came into being at some point in the past. The argument has two steps: (1) demonstrating that the standard Big Bang model predicts a beginning to the universe, and (2) demonstrating this prediction is correct (i.e., proving that the standard model is indeed correct). Firstly, the Standard Model uncontroversially predicts a beginning to space and time. Visually, the Big Bang Model looks like this:




As cosmologist P. C. W. Davis has written,

“An initial cosmological singularity . . . 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 the matter and energy in the universe, but also of spacetime itself.” [2]

The initial cosmological singularity is part and parcel of the Standard Model, so I’ll simply leave it as given that the big bang theory does indeed present us with a beginning to the universe.

Secondly, the big bang theory is correct in its prediction of a beginning to space and time. First, other general predictions of the Standard Model have been verified (e.g., the background “temperature” of the universe, the balance of helium and hydrogen in the early universe, the accuracy of general relativity on which the Standard Model is based, etc.). Second, alternative models proposed to avert the standard Big Bang model have all failed. For example, the Steady-State Theory crumbled when the cosmic background radiation was discovered. Or again, the Oscillating Universe Model has largely been abandoned due to observations of mass-density much lower than that predicted by the model. As each successive attempt to avert the beginning of the universe fails, the Standard Model receives corroboration. Third, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem proves that any model of the universe, whether the Standard Model or otherwise, that represents the universe as expanding throughout its history must entail a beginning to the universe. [3] This is the only assumption of their theorem. Indeed, they don’t even assume general relativity holds at the beginning of the universe. As such, their theorem is applicable to quantum gravity models. And the point is, all models that deny the one assumption of average expansion fail. And I’m willing to defend that claim if my opponent suggests any such model. In short, the beginning of the universe receives strong scientific support from the Big Bang Model.

So then, we again have a strong metaphysical argument for premise (2) and a strong physical argument for it as well.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

If everything that begins to exist has a cause, and the universe began to exist, then the universe must have a cause. But the argument doesn’t stop here.

4. If the universe has a cause, there exists a transcendent, personal Creator.

Finally, turn to premise (4). Such a cause must be transcendent, that is to say, beyond space and time, because it created space and time. As such, it must be timeless (and therefore changeless) and spaceless (and therefore immaterial). But now a problem arises: the only two entities conceived of by philosophers that could be timeless and spaceless are (1) abstract objects (like numbers, sets, and properties) and (2) unembodied minds. But it belongs to the very definition of abstract objects that they lack any causal powers. They cannot be the cause of anything, much less the universe. Therefore, the cause of the universe must be an unembodied mind. And so we reach the conclusion that the cause of the universe must be a transcendent, personal Creator.

To summarize, our case reads as follows:

  1. 1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

    1. a. Something cannot come from nothing.
    2. b. Valid inductive generalization.

  2. 2. The universe began to exist.

    1. a. An infinite number of past events cannot exist.
    2. b. The standard Big Bang model predicts a beginning to the universe.

  3. 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

  4. 4. If the universe has a cause, there exists a transcendent, personal Creator.

    1. a. Must be timeless and spaceless, and therefore transcendent.
    2. b. Must be an unembodied Mind, and therefore personal.

  5. 5. Therefore, there exists a transcendent, personal Creator.



Notes

[1] Smith, Quentin. “Kalam Cosmological Arguments for Atheism”, in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, M. Martin (ed.), 183

[2] P. C. W. Davies, "Spacetime Singularities in Cosmology," in The Study of Time III, ed. J. T. Fraser (Berlin: Springer Verlag )

[3] A. Borde, A. Guth, A. Vilenkin, “Inflationary Spacetimes Are Incomplete in Past Directions,” Physical Review Letters 90 (2003): 151301, http://arxiv.org... (accessed December 29, 2014).

SirCrona

Con

Forgive the typo, Pro. I don't tend to put much effort into spell checking a non-verbose intro.

I can't deny that the argument would be logically sound if it is proven. Unfortunately for pro, however, although the antecident is quite sound, the conclusions are a mess.

1. Everything That Begins to Exist Has a Cause

This opening is riddled with shady, ambiguous language. What do you mean by something, and what do you mean by nothing? This poor use of language is epitomized when pro refers to "coming into being," as he uses several examples of this that have nothing to do wuth one another. The wooden boat analogy makes no sense. The title of boat is just given to the structure of the wooden materials. The "Potentiality" of the wood to become the boat was certainly there. Nothing is being created: it's simply being re-arranged. Next, you're saying that nothing means "without a cause? That's not at all like your conclusion The carpenter is a terrible analogy for pro's idea of God. The carpenter isn't "creating" anything (By "creating" I mean "Causing something to come into existence.") He's re-arranging and attaching the pieces of wood. He's building something, but nothing material is really gained from the endeavor since everything within the resultant boat already existed.

Pro, what have we ever observed beginning to exist? We've observed things being changed (e.g. a matter/antimatter annihilation event, where the particles are converted to energy) but nothing has ever seemed to "begin to exist" in the way you use the phrase. Even if we did observe things beginning to exist with causes, the conclusion that everything that begins to exist has a cause would still be unproven because we haven't observed everything that began to exist, nor have we observed anything that logically implies that conclusion with certainty. This argument fails before its even finished.

2. The universe began to exist.

The universe as we know it certainly began to exist. The things in it, (e.g. all the energy and matter) however, "predate" the universe. "Before" the big bang (And I use these time sensitive words lightly, as time didn't exist as we know it without the big bang) all physical particles existed in a hyper-dense state, or singularity. What's more is that the phonomena that we observe as space and time exists as a product of these particles interacting. As such, the big bang was merely the event that allowed the universe as we know it to form. It is a gross over-simplification to say that everything was created at the big bang. NOTHING was created; that would violate the laws of thermodynamics. Things have been converted en masse since the big bang, but creation as pro describes is impossible.

3. The Universe Has a Cause

The universe being the way it is has a cause. The beginning of the universe's current state has a cause. The vanilla universe has no cause because the only thing that can be caused are events. I'm willing to mark this hiccup down as another example of pro using poorly worded thoughts rather than a flaw in his logic. So yes, pro, the universe was made into its current state, and that fact has a cause.

4. If The Universe has a Cause, then there exists a transcendent, personal creator.

What? How is this conclusion self-evident from the things previously shown to be true?
First of all, you assert whatever created the universe, supposedly by causing the big bang, that it must exist beyond space and time? As I said before, time and space are phenomena that result from the interaction of energy and/or matter. It's not a coincidence that the particles that make up energy and matter (hereby colloquially and whimsically referred to as "stuff") were in a densely packed state before time and space started to expand. The stuff of the universe is what caused the phenomena we call spacetime. They were not, as pro suggests, the conscious efforts of some eldritch metaphysical entity. I'm not an expert on big bang cosmology, so please forgive these simplistic explanations of the most complicated field of study ever. Pro then tries to make it look like his imaginary formless, timeless entity is the only logical explanation by equivocation and blatant half-truths. For starters, numbers sets and properties are things that humans use to describe what they observe around them, not some kind of transcendent universal constant. His idea of an unembodied mind being the solution is absurd on two fronts: for one, the only casual abilities of a naked intelligence would exist within itself, and although we can't disprove that we live in the imagination land of the anti-hero of a 4,000 year old desert fairy story, such an assertion is non-falsifiable, and therefore logic has nothing for the theory outside of a polite "Maybe," an irritated sigh,, and a futile effort to avoid the theory at parties for fear that logic will be accosted because it didn't return the theory's calls. Lastly, the unembodied mind isn't the only remaining alternative; time and space could be an illusory nomenon not bound to the laws of logic; time and space could have been created as the result of a larger universe collapsing; time and space could be the body of an invisible pink space panda that exists within an infinite amount of larger space pandas. All of these explanations have as much merit as pro's, which is to say zero.

To conclude: If pro wishes to demonstrate that a transcendent and personal creator must exist with this argument, he must reconcile Kalam's conclusion, "I dunno, therefore gawd," by showing that there is a clear implication of a transcendent and personal creator before the argumemt's conclusion may be proven. Otherwise, the eldritch sky daddy will always be seen by logic as that weird guy who looked and smelled like he hadn't left his house in months that tried to give her his phone number that one time.
Debate Round No. 2
Miles_Donahue

Pro

Thank you, Con, for your multilevel response! Let’s go through each premise, look at my arguments on behalf of them, Con’s objections, and my counter-responses.

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

Metaphysical Support for Premise (1)

Here I argued that if something were to come into being without a cause, it could come from nothing. But such a feat is impossible, for it entails something coming to exist without there being the potentiality for it. I distilled basically two responses from Pro. In the first place, Pro charges me with using “shady, ambiguous language”. For example, something and nothing went undefined. By “something” I mean “a thing”, and by “nothing” I mean “no thing”. Further, coming into being was never clarified. By “coming into being”, I mean “beginning to exist” or “coming into existence.” We can go even further and offer an analysis of the notion: [1]

  1. x comes into being at t if and only if: (1) x exists at t, and the actual world includes no state of affairs in which x exists timelessly, (2) t is the first time at which x exists, and (3) x’s existing at t is a tensed fact.

Notice, coming into being has nothing to do with the manner in which something comes into being. Whether something begins to exist ex materia (from preexistent material) or ex nihilo (out of nothing), it still begins to exist.

Finally, let me go the extra mile and explicate what I mean by cause. Aristotle distinguished between two types of causes: a material cause, and an efficient cause. A material cause is the stuff out of which something is brought into being. An efficient cause is what we usually think of as a cause: the producer of something. In premise one, we’re talking about both. In the boat example, the original pile of wood is the boat’s material cause and the carpenter is the efficient cause. And were the boat to come into being without either an efficient cause or a material cause, it would come from nothing. And as we saw, this is impossible. Thus, everything that begins to exist must have either an efficient cause or a material cause.

Having defined my terms, Pro's first object falls flat.

In the second place, Pro objects, “[t]he wooden boat analogy makes no sense.” Pro gives two reasons for this conclusion. Firstly, the “title of boat is just given to the structure of the wooden materials.” This is an endorsement of merriological nihilism, the view that all that exists are different arrangements of elementary particles. On this view, there is no such thing as a boat, only a configuration of particles arranged boat-wise. Sadly, merriological nihilism is absurd. On this view, neither books, pizzas, planes, chairs, tables, nor even people exist. Indeed, you don’t even exist! But surely you do, as do the rest. At the very least, the burden of proof is on the one who denies that they do. Secondly, Pro asserts that “[t]he carpenter isn't ‘creating’ anything”. Now, in the boat example, the carpenter does not create the boat in the sense of bringing it into being out of nothing, but he does create it in Pro’s sense of causing it to come into existence. So then, my analogy makes good sense.

In short, we’ve still got strong metaphysical warrant for premise (1).

Inductive Argument

Two responses were given by Pro. First, he asks, “what have we ever observed beginning to exist?” Well, I myself! The alternatives are: (1) I am eternal, or (2) I do not exist, both of which are absurd. I may not have begun to exist from nothing, but I still began to exist! Indeed, boats, pizza, planes, pianos, and anything else all begin to exist in the way I analyzed the notion above. Second, Pro writes that “we haven't observed everything that began to exist,” which he takes to invalidate my argument. In response, it needs to be pointed out that this argument just is an attempt to show that even though we haven’t observed everything that begins to exist, we can still infer that all of those things have causes. How? Via inductive reasoning! And Pro gives no response to that argument.

As such, we have good physical warrant for the causal principle.

2. The universe began to exist.

Impossibility of an Actual Infinity

Here I argued that the series of past events in the history of the universe must be finite. Amazingly, Pro gave no response, and so it goes through unrefuted. If this argument is sound, you must reach a first change or event, before which is only changelessness. Now, material things are necessarily in constant flux (on the atomic level). As such, material things could not exist in such a changeless state. In other words, they must’ve begun to exist. Further, as Pro himself says, space and time are the biproducts of the interactions of matter. So if you don’t have matter, you don’t have space or time. Thus, this first argument shows that space, time, matter, and energy began to exist, the essence of “the universe.”

So I think we have good philosophical grounds for premise (2).

Modern Big Bang Cosmology

Here I contended that modern Big Bang cosmology supports the conclusion that the universe is not eternal. Pro alleges that even though the universe as we know it began to exist, “[t]he things in it...‘predate’ the universe.” As I understand him, Pro is suggesting the singularity timelessly exists in a state causally prior to the universe. In this timeless singularity, matter is infinitely compressed. This assertion is nonsense. The singularity, by definition, just is the point at which the universe began to exist. It exists for an instant before expanding into the universe we observe today. It is not a timeless existent, nor is it what existed prior to the universe. It is the universe in its very first state. It began to exist, and so needs a cause.

Additionally, Pro contends that the universe coming into being “would violate the laws of thermodynamics.” Now if this is correct, modern Big Bang cosmology would contradict thermodynamics. Fortunately, it's not. The laws of thermodynamics only apply to closed systems (e.g., no external influences). Only in closed systems is energy/matter neither created nor destroyed. God (the ultimate external influence) bringing the universe into being is not a closed system. Therefore, thermodynamics don't apply, and so can't be violated.

So I think the scientific argument for (2) stands.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Here Pro raises the interesting objection that the “universe has no cause because the only thing that can be caused are events.” Three responses. First, he gave no argument for this claim. Second, it's false that only events have causes. I am a thing and not an event. I know this through mere introspection of myself. Nevertheless, I have causes that brought me into being. Third, even if it were the case that only events have causes, the universe coming into being is still an event, and so requires a cause.

4. If the universe has a cause, there exists a transcendent, personal Creator.

Here I argued, first of all, the cause must be beyond space and time because it created space and time. Pro counters, “the stuff of the universe” created spacetime. This won’t cut it. Remember the quote from P. C. W. Davis. On the Standard Model, all matter and energy began to exist at the Big Bang. As such, the “stuff of the universe" requires a cause.

Second of all, I argued the cause must be personal. Only two candidates present themselves as possibly timeless and spaceless: abstract objects and unembodied minds. But abstract objects lack causal power. Therefore, the cause must be on the order of mind. In response, Pro writes, “numbers, sets, and properties are things that humans use to describe what they observe,” implying that they do not exist. Fine! Now we have two reasons to think abstract objects cannot create the universe: (1) if they exist, they are causally impotent, and (2) they don’t exist! But Pro thinks the “unembodied mind hypothesis” faces problems as well. In the first place, “the only casual abilities of a naked intelligence would exist within itself.” I have no idea what this means. I await clarification. In the second place, “[an] unembodied mind isn't the only remaining alternative.” We have at least three others:

  1. 1. Space and time could be illusory – Well, they could be. But do you have an argument for this? We experience space and time, and therefore are warranted in believing in them in the absence of any reasons not to.
  2. 2. Time and space could have been created as the result of a larger universe collapsing – If you’re going to argue this, you’ve got to suggest some model by which this happens. The Standard Model precludes such a scenario, so what model are you thinking of? It can’t be inflationary models, for the BGV theorem shows such models require a beginning. It can’t be cyclical models, for they violate thermodynamics. So, Pro, what model?
  3. 3. Time and space could be the body of an invisible pink space panda that exists within an infinite amount of larger space pandas – This scenario is logically incoherent, on two fronts: (1) space itself cannot be contained in a wider space; that’s a contradiction, and (2) invisible pandas can’t be pink, otherwise they wouldn’t be invisible! Further, my philosophical argument requires that even this wider, “invisible pink panda” world must’ve begun to exist, and so requires a cause.

The point is, the hypothesis of an unembodied Mind faces none of the problems that afflict these alternative hypotheses, and so it is to be preferred. I’m confident it’s clear to anyone following the debate that I have done the exact opposite of saying, “I dunno, therefore [God].” My approach has been to offer careful, rigorous argumentation on behalf of the theistic hypothesis, something Pro has not likewise done in response. Hopefully in the remainder of the debate, he can shore up his end of the deal, take this debate seriously, and have a mature conversation on this most important of questions.

[1] See http://www.reasonablefaith.org...;

SirCrona

Con

1. Everything That Begins to Exist has a Cause
Metaphysical Support for Premise
I must have missed this logical line of reasoning in Pros original argument. Something existing without a cause is not the same as it coming from nothing. For example, if a pile of ice cubes spontaneously turns into an ice sculpture. It didn't come from nothing, but it didn't have any casual factors to its sculpting (and therefore can't exist.) It was abundantly clear, however, that the irritating inconsistencies of his first argument won't be present in his future arguments. I have my work cut out for me now, good sir. The rest of his logical justifications are quite sound, so I'll move on.

I'm familiar with the school of merriological nihilism, but I myself don't subscribe to it. What I was saying is that the boat was made from pre-existing elements (The wood, nails, etc.) and therefore although they now have new properties there is no material gain since the boat's (I'll continue using my euphemism for fundamental materials, "stuff") boat stuff already existed. To misrepresent that and say that I'm implying that nothing exists is quite incorrect. I could go on to mention the Cartesian philosophy that nothing can be "proven" to exist, but it doesn't have any bearing on the matter at hand, as well as boring beyond belief.

Pro's premise is starting to look better than before. Moving on to...

Inductive Argument
You did indeed begin to exist in your current state of a living human being, but the beginning of your existence didn't cause more stuff to exist than before. The beginning of your life was a reaction, not a creation event. In any case, such an inductive line of reasoning leads you to believe that all things beginning to exist have causes. It isn't any logical certain, so your argument requires a better deductive proof.

2. The Universe began to Exist
The Impossibility of an Actual Infinity
I didn't need to, nor could I refute the claim that time is not infinite. Onto pro's assertion. Time and space began to exist at the big bang, but the stuff that creates it didn't. As the laws of thermodynamics stipulate, stuff can't be created or destroyed, only converted. As such, one might be lead to conclude that stuff is eternal because it can't be created. However, there is yet no further logical grounds to support this conclusion. For the purposes of my argument, it will suffice to say that stuff is unknown to have begun to exist.

Modern Big Bang Cosmology
Pro asserts that the singularity was the universe in its first state. There's nothing logically wrong with this. However, he goes on to say that it began to exist and thus needs a cause. How can the singularity be said to have begun to exist? I am genuinely confused by this assertion. I can't prove that it didn't begin to exist, but I would like evidence to support this. Pro seems to think that he refutes my argument by calling it nonsense. How is it nonsense to consider the singularity timeless when its existence was effectively before time existed? Still, categorizing the singularity is a philosophical matter that would do nothing for either party's case.
I didn't say the universe coming into being would violate the laws of thermodynamics. The laws of thermodynamics only applies to stuff, and since the universe is not necessarily made of stuff it doesn't have to follow the laws of thermodynamics. However, if the stuff that exists within the universe and makes several of its properties were to be created, then the laws would be violated. As such, the Big Bang theory and the laws of thermodynamics are in accordance. Pro's God hypothetical would not violate the laws, but is non-falsifiable and can't be proven. In addition, pro uses his eventual conclusion (God) to support a line of reasoning to prove that conclusion. I know that pro knows he can't do that.

3. The Universe Has a Cause

My objection was just to correct your logical grammar. I have no objections with the conclusion itself.

4. If the Universe Has a Cause, then GAWDDIDIT!

To clarify: The only thing an unembodied mind can do is think, and therefore if the cause of the universal genesis is one, then the universe is some kind of dream or thought.
The remaining objections are humorist attempts to explain my frustration with pro's logic. Pro presents the conclusion as the false dichotomy of numbers or God. I explained that this is clearly dishonest oration, since he chose an alternative that was so easy to defeat and didn't entertain other possibilities. Each of the satirical alternatives I proposed all share a property of Pro's conclusion; they are non falsifiable and can be defended similarly to Pro. Allow me to demonstrate.

1. Time and space are illusory because this is the only remaining logical alternative. Since the cause of the universe must be beyond space and time, it must be formless and timeless. The only thing that fits that description is an abstract object such as a number, or a set. However, these things lack casual abilities. That would imply that nothing caused the universe, and if that's true then the universe must not exist. However, since we observe the universe, it must be an illusion by definition.

2. Time and space must have been created in the collapse of a larger, grander universe. Think about it- Whatever caused the universe must have been beyond that universe. Well, what's the only thing beyond space and time? Abstract objects, such as properties or sets, fit this description, but they lack casual power. Therefore, the only thing conceivable to be able to cause our universe must be something similar to it, albeit larger. The only thing that can fit that description is a larger universe. You can infer from the fact that something can't come from nothing that our universe must have at one point been a part of that super-verse. A viable model can't be established because the superverse is beyond ours and is therefore beyond understanding.

3. Time and Space must be the stomach of an invisible pink space panda. Think about it- if the universe has a cause, them it must be beyond the universe itself. Such a thing may be some kind of abstract object, like a property or a number, but these things lack casual powers and may be safely ruled out. Therefore, the only remaining conclusion is an invisible pink panda. Since this panda has to itself have a cause, there must be an infinite nesting chain of pandas that can allow each other to exist. It must be invisible because we can't see it, and since it's beyond the universe it can also be pink, because our universal laws do not apply to it.

I remain that while these conclusions do indeed make little sense, I'm only using the same logic that Pro is using. I was very wrong in saying that pro thinks "I dunno, therefore Gawd." He is quite too intelligent for that. A man of pro's level of mental fortitude knows to play on where others fail. Pro's logic is more accurately put: "YOU dunno, therefore Gawd."

Now, allow me to use my better judgement to refute pro's ridiculous claim. What caused God? He must have a cause himself, and those causes must have causes, leading to infinite Gods. You said yourself that this is impossible. Even if one was to ignore this hole in your theory, you must also present a logically irrefutable line of reasoning as to why God is the only logical answer and propose a model that describes his existence and how he directly influenced the creation of the universe.

You were very wrong when you implied that I did not take this debate seriously. I don't waste good words like these on the ramblings of fools, and you are certainly no fool. I have only the utmost respect for you, and as such have only my best wordcraft for you. I expect you to treat me in kind. Do not disappoint me, pro.
Debate Round No. 3
Miles_Donahue

Pro

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

Metaphysical Support for Premise (1)

I think clarification is in order. The argument looks like this:

1.1. Something cannot come from nothing.

1.2. If something came into being without a cause, it would come from nothing.

1.3. Therefore, something cannot come into being without a cause.

On behalf of (1.1), I gave the boat thought-experiment. When a carpenter makes a boat, he must act on the potentiality already existing within a pile of wood. But for a boat to come into being from nothing (without a carpenter and without an original pile of wood), that boat would come into being without even the potentiality for its existence. Given the impossibility of this feat, it follows that a boat cannot come from nothing. I’m pleased that Con isn’t a merriological nihilist. He admits that boats, as such, exist. Nevertheless, he points out that “the boat was made from pre-existing elements.” Well, boats in general are. But the boat in our thought experiment is not. It pops into being out of nothing. I’m not sure what the objection is. Given that boats exist, the boat thought-experiment cannot be called nonsensical, which was Con’s original objection.

Aside from this, I can’t see any further objections to (1.1). Nevertheless, Con doubts the truth of (1.2), and he gives the example of a block of ice spontaneously turning into an ice sculpture. The sculpture is uncaused, and yet it doesn’t come into being out of nothing. In the previous round, I tried to anticipate this objection by explaining what I mean by cause. Remember, by “cause” I mean either an efficient cause (the producer) or a material cause (the original material). So premise (2’) may be more formally stated as:

1.2’. If something came into being without either an efficient cause or a material cause, it would come from nothing.

As such, Con’s example of an uncaused sculpture isn’t a counterexample to (1.2’) because the sculpture does in fact have a material cause: the original block of ice. This is true even if it lacks an efficient cause. Premise (1), then, is really saying:

1’. Everything that begins to exist has either a material cause or an efficient cause.

I hope this clarifies why something’s coming into being without a cause entails that it comes from nothing. Having established this, the force of the metaphysical support for premise (1) may be seen.

Inductive Argument

Here, I argued that from our observations of things beginning to exist with causes, we can infer inductively that everything (whether observed or not) that begins to exist has a cause. Con’s current objection, as I understand him, is that everything we observe to begin to exist has a material cause (i.e., is made from preexisting materials), but the universe can’t have a material cause. Therefore, the argument goes, we can’t infer anything about its beginning. In short, the beginning of the universe was a creation event. But we’ve never observed a creation event. Therefore, we can’t know whether such a creation event was caused.

When inferring through induction, we take an observed subset of the whole set, and infer properties about the unobserved subset. You can’t defeat this inference by merely pointing out a difference between the observed subset and the unobserved subset. You’ve got to give some reason as to why that difference is relevant. In the case at hand, even if the universe doesn’t have a material cause (while everything observed does), Con must show why this observation is relevant to something’s being uncaused. In its absence, the inductive inference goes though. Now, this inference doesn’t give us certainty, but it does give us probability. And that’s all were after.

So at the end of the day, we still have a strong inductive argument for (1).

2. The universe began to exist.

Philosophical Support - Actual Infinity

Con admits he can’t refute the argument from the actual infinite. He admits it shows time and space began to exist, but he still thinks it doesn’t prove that matter and energy began to exist. He gives the laws of thermodynamics as support for this claim. I’ll respond to that argument below. Nevertheless, he didn’t respond to my argument as to why matter and energy must’ve begun to exist (i.e., “matter is necessarily in constant flux…”). So I simply extend arguments. Accordingly, the philosophical argument stands.

Scientific Support - Big Bang Cosmology

Here I drew upon modern Big Bang cosmology to support the proposition that the universe began to exist. Con objected that the singularity caused space and time, and the singularity itself is timeless. Therefore, the universe never really began to exist. But I contended this was based on a misunderstanding: the singularity is part of the temporal history of the universe. It didn’t exist before time began; it just is the very first instant of time. It begins to exist because it doesn’t exist timelessly and doesn’t extend infinitely into the past. There is no other option. This no more mysterious than understanding how the first instant of my life began to exist.

Barrow and Tipler, two famous cosmologists, point out that “[a]t this singularity, space and time came into existence; literally nothing existed before the singularity, so, if the Universe originated at such a singularity, we would truly have a creation ex nihilo.” [1] Further, Davis writes, “the big bang represents the creation event; the creation of..all the matter and energy” [2], directly contradicting Con’s scenario. On Con's misinterpreted scenario, you don’t have creation ex nihilio (out of nothing), as you do in the Standard Model. As such, his understanding is incorrect.

Concerning thermodynamics, let me simply rephrase my response to avoid talking past one another. The laws of thermodynamics are physical laws; they are not metaphysical laws (like the law that 2+2=4). They only apply within the universe. But the origin of the universe is a metaphysical phenomena (it doesn't happen within the universe, afterall); you can’t use laws that only apply within the universe to describe what must be the case outside the universe (I use “outside” metaphorically). Alternatively, think of it like this: the laws of nature come into being when the universe comes into being, and so they don't yet apply when the universe comes into existence. I take this to circumvent Con’s current objections.

Big Bang cosmology, then, supports premise (2).

3. The universe has a cause.

4. If the universe has a cause, then there exists a transcendent, personal Creator.

I argued the cause must be transcendent, that is to say, beyond space and time. I then argued that such a cause must be personal. The logic of the argument here is inference to the best explanation. One examines the pool of live options for explaining the beginning of the universe, and then shows why an unembodied Mind is the best explanation. And that’s what we’re arguing; not that a Mind is the only explanation, but that it is the best explanation. Originally, I only presented abstract objects as an alternative explanation. Why? Because it’s the only viable alternative. All three scenarios proposed by Con were, as I demonstrated, logically incoherent or clearly defective. The problem with his three parodies of my argument is this: they all leave out clear alternatives.

Fully stated, this subargument looks like this:

4.1. The cause of the universe is either A, B, C, D, or E.

4.2. It can’t be A, B, C, or D.

4.3 Therefore, the cause of the universe is E.

A, B, and C are Con’s three scenarios. I gave specific reasons why they couldn’t be the cause of the universe. Con never gave a response to those arguments. D is the hypothesis of abstract objects. We saw why abstract objects won’t work. Therefore, the only thing we’re left with is the hypothesis of an unembodied Mind, or E. Unless you can show that (1) the “unembodied Mind” hypothesis is worse than the alternatives, or (2) suggest another alternative, the inference of (4.3) is unavoidable. This subargument presents all the known alternatives; Con’s parodies do not, and that's why they're defective.

Con does, in fact, suggest some objections to the hypothesis of Mind. First, Con writes, “The only thing an unembodied mind can do is think.” But this is simply an assertion that rests on air. I see no reason to think it’s true, and Con presents no such reason. As such, it’s not an objection. Second, Con charges that I “must...present a logically irrefutable line of reasoning as to why God is the only logical answer.” This misunderstands the argument. I’m giving an inductive argument, not a deductive argument. Accordingly, the demand for logically irrefutable lines of reasoning is inappropriate. As I said above, we’re looking for probability, not certainty. Third, Con demands that I give a model to describe “the unembodied Mind” hypothesis. Two responses. (1) I don’t have to propose a model that describes God’s existence because I’m not proposing God as a scientific hypothesis; He is, rather, a metaphysical hypothesis. (2) There is no interveaning mechanism between God and the universe through which God creates the universe. It is, rather, a simple or basic action on God's part. As such, asking how is innappropriate.

Fourth, what caused God? This is based on a misunderstanding. The proponent of the kalam cosmological argument isn’t saying that whatever exists has a cause, but that whatever begins to exist has a cause. The being arrived at in the argument’s conclusion must be timeless, and therefore without a beginning. As such, it doesn’t need a cause. This isn’t special pleading with regard to God. The atheist has traditionally said that the universe is eternal, and therefore uncaused. But the universe has been shown to have a beginning. It therefore requires a cause. Asking this question is like scratching your head wondering, “What caused the eternal universe?” Well, nothing!

[1] The Anthropic Cosmological Principle 442.

[2] See previous round.

SirCrona

Con

1.
Metaphysical Support

After having the boat analogy explained to me a third time, I still disagree with it, but now I understand and feel more than a little silly for not understanding. Thank you, Pro, for clarifying. As such, I have only one more objection for (1.1.) By material cause you mean the "stuff" that existed before to form the "stuff" being created. If that's true, then my ice sculpture analogy still makes sense because it logically couldn't exist even though it had a "material cause." I suppose all this does to (1) is force it to conclude that there must be both, and not either, types of causes as pro describes them. I believe this will be important later in the debate.

Inductive Argument

Pro's reply clears up all the problems I had with (1.2.) (1) is still logically uncertain, but it's good enough.

2.

Actual Infinity

In this, pro fails to prove that energy and sub-atomic particles have not always existed. Matter has not always existed the way we observe it because matter is made up of many particles, which are themselves believed by modern physicists to be made of many particles. In this respect, matter is described to be condensed energy. The logical proof that energy is eternal follows like this:
1. Energy may not be created nor destroyed
2. Creation is the beginning of existence (by definition)
3. If energy may not be created, then it never began to exist
4. If energy never began to exist, then it is eternal.*

The fourth point remains slightly controversial among logicians and philosophers, mostly about the definition of eternal among other things. However, nearly every physicist agrees with some form of the above proof. The question I pose to pro is: Can you prove that energy, and not just matter, could or must have been created?

Scientific Support

I don't think I'm the one in misunderstanding here. Time didn't begin to exist until the big bang, at which point the singularity no longer existed. In addition, I find myself unable to respong to either of the quotes, as the first source seems to only be available in print and the link to the second is broken. However, I provide a counter-example to pro's interpretation of the model. Modern physics has no idea what came "before" the singularity, as it cannot be directly or indirectly observed, tested, or even hypothesized about with any certainty.

Pro categorizes the beginning of the universe as metaphysical, which would effectivley put his argument above the laws of physics. However, he fails to explain why such an event is metaphysical. If the laws of physics apply to energy and matter in our current universe, why would they not apply to them before?

4.

Pro, do you think me, as well as every person reading this, stupid? All of my parodic counter-examples as well as pro's (sadly unironic) assertion could not be proven false. They also left an infinite number of possible alternative explanations, each of which also could not be disproven. Moreover, not only do you describe a deductive argument that you didn't give, you claim that you don't need to give further argument because you already gave an inductive argument as to why "GAWDDIDIT!" is an acceptable answer. I don't even need to expend much effort dismantling pro's case, because all the critiscisms he puts to my hypotheticals I can put to his. He claims that abstract objects were the only viable alternative, but then goes on to demonstrate why they weren't viable. He does nothing to counter the countless non-falsifiable alternatives. The previous steps in the argument are incoherent with the cause, almost to the point of non sequitur. The argument may be solid in its first steps, but it is completely irreconcilable in its conclusion. As such, I am forced to conclude the Kalam cosmological argument hasn't a leg to stand on.
Debate Round No. 4
Miles_Donahue

Pro

As we draw this debate to a close, I’d like to thank Con for taking the time to engage in this discussion with me, and the readers for keeping pace with us. It’s not always fascinating stuff, but it is necessary stuff. So then, let’s take an overview perspective and see what progress has been made.


1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

Metaphysical Support for Premise (1)

Throughout the debate, I’ve defended the following metaphysical/philosophical argument for premise (1):

1.1. Something cannot come from nothing.

1.2. If something came into being without a cause, it would come from nothing.

1.3. Therefore, something cannot come into being without a cause.

Con originally presented two general objections: (1) the key terms in the argument are undefined, and (2) the “boat thought-experiment” is unintelligible, for various reasons. Over the course of the debate, Con's dropped both objections. Now of course, not having a reason to think an argument unsound is not a reason to think it is sound. In support of (1.1), I gave the carpenter thought-experiment. I’ll not rehash it here, and so far as I can tell, Pro came around to accepting its validity. So we both agree that something cannot come from nothing. Premise (1.2) is true in virtue of the definition of “cause.” We mean both the preexisting materials from which the thing is made (the material cause) and the actual producer of the thing (the efficient cause). Previously, Con responded by arguing that (1.2) was false, giving the example of an ice sculpture spontaneously originating from a block of ice. But as I pointed out, this isn’t an example of something coming into being without a cause, as I defined it. For the ice sculpture still has a material cause: the original block of ice. Thus, it’s not a counter-example to (1.2). Con seems to agree, so I’ll bypass any further objections.

Inductive Argument

Premise (1) is uniformly verified and never falsified in our experience of the world. We can reason inductively from our experience of things coming into being with causes to the conclusion that all things that begin to exist have causes. Con presented three objection throughout the debate, and has since dropped all of them. In short, not only do we have good philosophical grounds for the causal principle, we have good empirical grounds for it as well. So I think we can both agree that everything that begins to exist has a cause.


2. The universe began to exist.

Philosophical Support - Actual Infinity

I’ve defended the following philosophical argument for the beginning of the universe:

2.1 If the universe never began to exist, then there have been an actually infinite number of things (i.e., events prior to today).

2.2. An actually infinite number of things cannot exist.

2.3. Therefore, it is false that the universe never began to exist.

2.4. Therefore, the universe began to exist.

I’ll refer readers back to the first round for the reasoning undergirding each premise. Surprisingly, Con agrees with the argument’s conclusion, in a sense. He thinks it shows that space and time began to exist, but not that matter and energy began to exist. But remember, I gave an argument for against this thesis. If he’s to remain rational in holding his view, he must respond to my argument. As I said, matter and energy are necessarily in constant flux; they cannot exist changelessly. Two reasons here. (1) Forces of attraction and repulsion exist between different material particles, guaranteeing that such particles cannot exist in a perfect state of rest. (2) Heat is the motion of molecules, so if a motionless state is to be achieved, everything must exist at absolute zero. But a state of absolute zero is physically impossible, because gravity causes matter to collapse in on itself (which generates heat). For these two reasons, a state of changelessness is physically impossible. And the point is, the above philosophical argument drives us back to a changeless state. Therefore, matter and energy, as well as space and time, must’ve begun to exist.

Scientific Support - Big Bang Cosmology

The argument from Big Bang cosmology is two-tired. First, one shows that the Standard Model predicts a beginning to the universe. In support, I provided arguments from authority (and of course it’s no refutation of said-arguments to say that you can't access the book one of the quotes is found in). Specifically, I quoted cosmologist P. C. W. Davis. Let me give the full quote here:

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 not only of all the matter and energy in the universe, but also of spacetime itself. [1]

Further, I cited cosmologists Barrow and Tipler, who write that “[a]t this singularity, space and time came into existence; literally nothing existed before the singularity, so, if the Universe originated at such a singularity, we would truly have a creation ex nihilo.” [2] To drive the point home, let me provide a third quote from four of the world’s leading cosmologists:

The universe began from a state of infinite density. . . . Space and time were created in that event and so was all the matter in the universe. It is not meaningful to ask what happened before the Big Bang; it is like asking what is north of the North Pole. Similarly, it is not sensible to ask where the Big Bang took place. The point-universe was not an object isolated in space; it was the entire universe, and so the answer can only be that the Big Bang happened everywhere. [3]

What can we conclude about the Big Bang model? In short, at some point in the past, all space, time, matter, and energy began to exist. We have an origin of the universe out of nothing, ex nihilo. This, then, is the proper understanding of the Standard Model. But, Con objects, “[t]ime didn't begin to exist until the big bang, at which point the singularity no longer existed.” This is not correct. Look at the first and second lines of the third quote above. It says that space and time were created in the event of infinite density (i.e., the singularity). So space and time begin at the singularity itself, not somehow “after” it.

Second, one argues that the Standard Model is correct in its prediction of a beginning. In my opening statement, I provided three lines of evidence to support this. Con never responded to those arguments. They stand on one side of the scale. On the other, Con erects the first law of thermodynamics, which he thinks implies that matter and energy must be eternal. But this is surely false. I defy him to quote a single reputable scientist who thinks the law of conservation and energy requires the universe to be eternal. On the contrary, the law of conservation is regarded to hold within the universe. But it’s not violated if the whole arena of space and time come into being, for this is beyond the scope of its application. [4] If Con thinks the law can successfully be extrapolated beyond this scope, he needs to give some argument. But he has not done this.

With all of the evidence pointing to a cosmic beginning, we may regard premise (2) as more plausibly true than false.

3. The universe has a cause.

4. If the universe has a cause, then there exists a transcendent, personal Creator.

The cause of the universe must be beyond space and time, because it created space and time. Therefore, it must be spaceless and timeless. From its spacelessness and timelessness, we can infer its immateriality and changelessness, respectively. Philosophers have proposed only two entities that can fit this description: (1) abstract object, and (2) unembodied minds. We’ve seen why it can’t be an abstract object. But Con suggests a plethora of alternatives. And here it seems I’ve been too kind. Why did I not consider those alternatives in my original presentation? Because they don’t possess the properties deduced above. They don’t even make the cut, much less are they plausible.

I deny that Con's suggested alternatives “could not be disproven”, or that they're “non-falsifiable.” I gave specific objections to each alternative hypothesis, objections Con never responded to. So they have indeed been disproven. But he does think those objections can be applied to the hypothesis of mind as well. This is silly. For example, you can't argue that an unembodied mind is incoherent because invsible pandas can't be pink (one of the objections I raised). Or again, its not an objection to the hyopthesis of mind to say that we have good grounds for believing in space and time (another objection I raised). Con cannot get away with making heavy on assertions and light on argument.

Con asserts that there are an “infinite number of possible alternative explanations, each of which also could not be disproven.” But that’s all this is: another empty assertion. Con couldn’t even come up with three non-disprovable alternatives, much less an infinite number. Further, I responded to all four objections to the hypothesis of Mind, and Con never gave a counter response. In short, we have one plausible explanation for the beginning of the universe: an unembodied mind. There is no plausible alternative.

Therefore, I conclude that there exists a transcendent, personal Creator of the universe

[1] Refer to second round
[2] Refer to second fourth round
[3] Richard Gott III, James E. Gunn, David N. Schramm, and Beatrice M. Tinsley, "Will the Universe Expand Forever?" Scientific American (March 1976), p. 65.
[4] Inspiration for this response from: William Lane Craig, http://www.reasonablefaith.org...

SirCrona

Con

For the first three statements, Pro's defendant argument (i.e. the Kalam argument) uses tortured language and pseudo-intellectual justifications. The largest hole, however, comes in with his last non sequitur. I'll dedicate the entirety of my final argument dismantling the earbleeding inconsistency of this futile defense.

4.0 Non-falsifiability and inconsistency of the claim

Regarding pro's objections to my satirical counter-claims: While I had no proof they existed, con could not disprove their existence either. As I admitted in my preface to them, I did this on purpose to demonstrate how absurd pro's logic in the matter was. I raised several more parodic defenses based on that of Pro's argument (e.g. "The panda could be both invisible and pink because it existed beyond the laws of the universe.") These claims where intentionally outrageous, counter-intuitive, and messy. To explain how something can possibly be non-falsifiable but not necessarily true, take the classic joke: "I'm extremely attractive when no one's looking." You can't with certainty prove that wrong, and such the speaker leads his subject to conclude that they are in fact extremely attractive, even though they did not prove that they WERE attractive; Only that they couldn't be proven to not be. Such a logically deceptive trait is present in what I will call the "GAWDDIDIT!" hypothesis. You see, as pro interprets, it is seemingly indescribable in its existence and exact function. Because of this, you can't possibly have any way of confirming or denying its existence. To return to my highly cynical farces, they all in one way or another have a contrived clause in their theory that makes them impossible to logically expose them as the BS they are. The panda is beyond the universe; you can't understand how there's an infinite amount of them! The universe that collapsed to form ours has more than 4 dimensions; It's impossible to understand such a complex thing! Even if you examine the universe, it's still an illusion so it will appear to be real. This phenomenon of an assertion being so surreal and/or poorly worded that it can't possibly be proven wrong is looked down upon by every philosopher and logician worth their salt. Even so, Pro seems to think that, despite their logically unfair wording and general ambiguity, he disproved them. He didn't. For the first two, he argued from ignorance (Along the lines of "But you don't know that!") and the last one was done in by my intentionally incoherent and surrealist description of the panda; It just doesn't make sense, so it can't be disproven. Pro, I find it difficult to believe you are really unaware of the infinite alternatives to your God. Every culture's creation myth, every fairy tale told by parents to lull their children to sleep, every tortured thought of a man going through and existential crisis serve as a counterpoint. You can prove your God exists with evidence of his existence, but I'm sorry to say that this structure (i.e., the Kalam argument) of "'GAWDDIDIT,' therefore God exists," is simply absurd.

4.1 The Non Sequitur Jump from "The universe's creation was caused" to "GAWDDIDIT!"

The Kalam argument does not do much to explain how the universe being caused to exist implies "GAW..." I feel I'm beating a dead horse with that caricature. The Kalam argument does not do much to explain how the universe being caused to exist implies that God exists. As I explained above, although the alternative explanations are quite outlandish, they serve to demonstrate that the universe having a cause does not make the nature of the cause itself self evident. Earlier in the debate I explained why the universe having a cause at all is philosophically dubious, but that is beside the current point.

Given this information, I find it only right to conclude that the Kalam argument simply does not work. It makes logical leaps and starts off at the wrong point trying to prove that the Christian interpretation of God exists. Vote con.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by prodigalchild 1 year ago
prodigalchild
No, I don't really think another identical debate is necessary. I've read a bunch of them already and they are all the same.

I just wish someone on the "Pro" KCA side could answer the one simple question, related to step four. And there has to be a stipulation that simply saying "because you have faith" is not a reasonable answer. It's not really an answer at all.

Even if the universe has a cause, why does everyone assume it was created by a "being" with "purposeful thought" And what created that being? and so on and so forth? It's simply an unanswerable question. The only answer I have ever heard was from people who say "they just believe." That's all well and good, but there's no facts there, nor is there an argument. I'm not trying to crush your beliefs, I'm just trying to prove that there is literally no evidence supporting your beliefs in a factual sense.
Posted by SirCrona 1 year ago
SirCrona
@Envisage U wot, m8?
Posted by Miles_Donahue 1 year ago
Miles_Donahue
Prodigalchild, would you like to debate the KCA sometime? :)
Posted by prodigalchild 1 year ago
prodigalchild
The most difficult leap in the Kalam Cosmological argument is Step 4. The first three points are fairly simple to rationalize, but you can't just presume that because the universe exists, the "thing" or "being" which caused its existence did so with a purpose and is actually a being in a traditional sense at all. You are basing your thought on such a being on what you can perceive through the limitations of human emotion and experience.

What if the "all knowing being" that you just so simply presume shares human thought, emotion and purpose, just does not embody any of those realities you have conveniently bestowed upon him? And more importantly, if he exists, than he has a cause and what caused his existence? It's really an endless cycle and far more of a philosophical debate than an actual factual and principled debate. There is no answer as nothing can be proven either scientifically or spiritually.

This theory is similar to the fingernail theory, whereby our entire universe exists within one cell on the fingernail of a much larger being. There is just as much evidence supporting that theory than there is supported the KCA
Posted by Miles_Donahue 1 year ago
Miles_Donahue
I'd be more than willing to debate you, but I've begun this debate, and so must finish it. Afterward, if I have the time, I'll challenge you to a debate. :)
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
Delete this debate and re-issue it to me. I will offer a much more cogent case. No offence to SirCrona.
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
I would have liked to take this debate... *sigh*
Posted by Atmas 1 year ago
Atmas
Nearly every time this "argument" gets brought up, it gets stomped into the ground. Not only are it's premises impossible to prove, but the argument itself doesn't say anything about a creator. That part is always just shoehorned in. The only reason some people take it seriously is that they see time as an infinitely extending thing backwards and forwards within which "stuff happens". Time only exists after the Big Bang because you must have space (quite literally space, not just the general term for "outside of Earth") in order for time to exist. Space and Time are the same thing hence why it's called Space/Time. If there is no space, there is no time, and if there is no time, nothing can happen, so there is no "before" the Big Bang. Describing a "cause" indicates a passage of time, so the only causes that can exist must have happened after the Big Bang.

Plus, infinite regress is so often talked about by those defending the KCA, but they forget that having the universe beginning with a cause isn't an answer, it begs the question; what caused that cause? Thereby leading to the infinite regress the argument supposedly fixes. It's the same deal with trying to figure out if life started on Earth or Mars, even if planet seeding happened and Earth life originated on Mars, it just leads to asking how the life on Mars came about, it's not an answer, it's a dodge.
No votes have been placed for this debate.