The Instigator
InVinoVeritas
Con (against)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
KeytarHero
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is a sound argument for God's existence

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
KeytarHero
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/2/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,765 times Debate No: 23343
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (6)

 

InVinoVeritas

Con

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

Round one will be for acceptance, round two for opening arguments, round three for rebuttals, round four for rebuttals and closing statements.
KeytarHero

Pro

I accept the debate. I also accept this argument as the one I will defend. I look forward to Con's opening argument.
Debate Round No. 1
InVinoVeritas

Con

I will be focusing on the first line in my arguments:

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

Objection I: If everything that begins to exist, what caused God?

If God is exempt from the first premise, then it is equivalent to "(1) Everything has a cause, except God." This is begging the question. [1] What would logically follow is "(2) The universe is not God." And finally, "(3) Therefore, the universe has a cause." If the opponent agrees that God is exempt, then this is the embedded argument. And this begs the question, because theists do not justify the fact that God is the only member of the "does not exist" group and assert it in the premise, nonetheless.

Objection II: When we say that the universe is included in "everything," we are determining traits of the whole (i.e., the universe) based on observations of its parts. Just as the members of a set do not necessarily mirror the traits of the entire set, such an assumption cannot be made. Indeed, this is a fallacy of composition:
e.g., "The human body is made up of cells,
human cells are invisible to the naked eye,
Therefore, the human body is invisible to the naked eye." [2]

Objection III: In the field of quantum mechanics, events happen that have no caused (e.g., radioactive decay) or photon loss of an excited atom. [3] This, too, proves that the initial premise does not hold.

---

Thank you, and I look forward to the opponent's refutations.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.fallacyfiles.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
KeytarHero

Pro

I would like to thank InVinoVeritas for taking the time to discuss this matter.

Con has come up with an...interesting response to the KCA. However, his argument has a fatal flaw: InVinoVeritas does not understand the Kalam Cosmological Argument. I am not intending this as an attack. Most in the New Atheist movement either don't understand the argument or deliberately misrepresent it. I would hope this could be a learning opportunity for Con. He may still not be convinced by the argument after the debate is finished, but I would hope he at least would be able to come up with a better rebuttal of the argument.

The reality is that none of Con's objections are legitimate objections to the KCA.

Objection I -- What Caused God?

This is actually an attempt to strawman the argument. No proponent of any version of the Cosmological Argument has ever made the argument that God had a cause. It is irrelevant to the KCA. It's a red herring. The KCA does not state that everything had a cause, just that everything that begins to exist had a cause.

Theologian Edward Feser has this to say on the subject: "
The cosmological argument in its historically most influential versions is not concerned to show that there is a cause of things which just happens not to have a cause. It is not interested in 'brute facts' – if it were, then yes, positing the world as the ultimate brute fact might arguably be as defensible as taking God to be. On the contrary, the cosmological argument – again, at least as its most prominent defenders (Aristotle, Aquinas, Leibniz, et al.) present it – is concerned with trying to show that not everything can be a 'brute fact.' What it seeks to show is that if there is to be an ultimate explanation of things, then there must be a cause of everything else which not only happens to exist, but which could not even in principle have failed to exist. And that is why it is said to be uncaused – not because it is an arbitrary exception to a general rule, not because it merely happens to be uncaused, but rather
because it is not the sort of thing that can even in principle be said to have had a cause, precisely because it could not even in principle have failed to exist in the first place. And the argument doesn’t merely assume or stipulate that the first cause is like this; on the contrary, the whole point of the argument is to try to show that there must be something like this." [1]


Con's assertion that "...theists do not justify the fact that God is the only member of the 'does not exist' group" is simply false. Every proponent of the Cosmological Argument makes a case for why God is eternal.

The universe obviously is not eternal. The Second Law of Thermodynamics affirms that the universe is running out of usable energy and, hence, cannot be eternal. We also see that the universe is expanding, and at an accelerated rate. [2] As we see the universe is expanding more and more rapidly, and the universe is running out of usable energy, the universe will inevitably run out of usable energy and result in a "heat death." As the universe is expanding and not static, we can see that the universe, indeed, had a beginning as it is not eternal.

The universe had a beginning and it will have an end. In order for the universe to have come about, especially from nothing, requires a cause of its existence. This cause must be outside itself. Something from within the universe could never have created the universe. It would have come from nothing just like the universe did. This cause must also have been eternal. God exists outside the universe, for only something outside the universe could have created it. God is also not bound by time for the same reason.

Thomas Aquinas made the following argument for God's timelessness:

1) God is simple (or immutable)
2) If God is simple or immutable, then He is timeless
3) Therefore, God is not temporal
4) Therefore, God is timeless [3]

God never changes and as such, we know that He is timeless. We can see the universe is not eternal because it is not static. It is expanding.

This is only one of many arguments made for God being an Uncaused Being. Obviously it is intellecutally dishonest to assert that no theologian has ever argued for God not having been created.

Objection II -- Fallacy of composition?

Next, Con asserts that the KCA commits the fallacy of composition. It does not.

For one thing, no fallacy is always a fallacy (or at least, with most fallacies there are examples that seem to commit the fallacy, but in reality don't if it can actually be justified that the argument is sound). Consider this argument:

1) This wall is make of bricks.
2) Every brick in the wall is red.
3) Therefore, the brick wall is red.

This does not commit the fallacy of composition. Nor does the KCA commit the fallacy of composition.

It is simply a fact of nature that everything that begins to exist has a cause. Why is it, then, that universes can come into existence from nothing without a cause, but people, cars, and trees all need causes of their existence? This claim commits the fallacy of special pleading.

Objection III -- Quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanics cannot be used to disprove the KCA. There are many different interpretations of quantum mechanics. The Copenhagen interpretation is only one of many interpretations, many of which are indeterministic, and there is no reason to assume this one is correct over any other interpretation.

Con's assertion that radioactive decay is bizarre. Radioactive decay results from a loss of energy by an unstable atom by emitting ionizing particles. [4] An unstable atom emits ionizing particles, which results in radioactive decay. This is cause and effect.

Regarding photon loss of an excited atom, it may be true that scientists don't currently understand why excited atoms spontaneously lose photons, but this doesn't mean there isn't a cause. To assume there is no cause is an argument from ignorance. In fact, the reason we have scientific fields is to learn why the universe is the way it is, and why it acts the way it does. Something that is unanswered now may be answered in fifty years.

Con hasn't actually offered one legitimate objection to the KCA, so it stands as a sound argument. I look forward to our next round.

[1] http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...
[2] http://news.nationalgeographic.com...;
[3] Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologica, 1a. 10. 3.
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...;
Debate Round No. 2
InVinoVeritas

Con

The opponent states that "InVinoVeritas does not understand the Cosmological Argument." On the contrary, not only do I understand the argument, but I also understand the fallacies on which the argument is founded, and this "understanding" is what I am trying to get across in this debate. I would also like to point out that attacking me based on my opponent's perception of my understanding of the concept is not germane to the actual matter at hand, whatsoever.

Contrary to my opponent's belief, my objections are extremely legitimate, and his refutations are blatantly unsound, from a logical standpoint. I will show this to the readers in my refutations:

Objection I:

Actually, this is completely relevant to the matter at hand. If "Everything that begins to exist has a cause" and God is the only thing that is exempt from this rule, then:

(1) "Everything has a cause, expect God."
(2) "The universe is not God."
(3) "The universe, therefore, has a cause."

Not having a cause is equated to God, since he is the only member of the set, so this logic can be derived. This clearly shows the circular reasoning that theists use to support KCA. Indeed, this is simply begging the question, a flawed premise imbedded in an overall flawed argument. The argument assumes that God is the exception to its rule of causality, and that is a central flaw.

The Thomas Aquinas argument attempts to prove God's timelessness based on the premise that God is "simple (or immutable.)" This, too, is begging the question by applying God's traits in the premise to determine further traits. Other than through scripture (which has yet to be proven as a valid source by the opponent), there is no way of supporting the idea that God is, indeed, simple/immutable. How do we know that God never changes? In what way does he/it not change? Through ambiguous phrasing and presupposing traits, this argument pretends (and fails) to be legitimate.

Objection II:

In his brick wall example, the opponent simply proves that sometimes the components of a whole have traits that mirror that of the whole. The reason that we know why the brick wall example is logically sound, though, is that, through practice, it is proven.

But when we do not know the nature of the whole, can we use traits of the components to determine the whole's traits? How can we assume that the components of the universe have traits that reflect those of the universe in its entirety? No. We can not assume that, when trying to determine the traits of X, that its components A, B, and C's will have the same traits.

It is maintained that the KCA is founded on a fallacy of composition.

Objection III:

Scientists discovered that particles of energy may come into existence in empty space, completely uncaused. [1] Another exception to the law of cause and effect can be found in the decay of Carbon-14 atoms; after every interval of 5730 years, half of the Carbon-14 present in a given measurement will have decayed into Nitrogen-14. All of these carbon atoms are completely identical, yet they decay at different times. Why? If all the atoms are exactly the same, shouldn’t they decay at precisely the same time? Since they do not, a vast majority of scientists stand by the idea that atomic decay is spontaneous (and therefore uncaused.) [2]

This contradicts the cause-and-effect basis of the KCA.

---

The KCA is proven, so far, to be fallacy-ridden, unsound argument that does not prove the existence of God.

Thank you.

---

[1] http://universe-review.ca...
[2] Pages 123-125, Victor Stenger, God: The Failed Hypothesis, Prometheus Books 2007.



KeytarHero

Pro

InVinoVeritas still has not leveled a legitimate objection to the KCA.

The KCA does not "beg the question." It is part of a series of arguments that form a cumulative case for the existence of God. For example, the KCA does not prove which God exists, only that the existence of God is probable. Other arguments are used to show which God exists, and there is good evidence to suggest it is the God of the Bible. But this is outside the scope of the KCA.

Objection I:

This, again, is irrelevant to the matter at hand.

First, I don't have to defend Aquinas' argument here because we are debating the KCA, not whether God has eternally existed or if He has a cause. This is not within the scope of the KCA to determine. If InVinoVeritas wishes to debate that, he should challenge me (or another theist) to a debate on the matter.

The KCA which states:

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

It is a valid argument, as the conclusion follows from its premises. It is also a sound argument.

Other arguments are used to establish that God is eternally existent. The KCA does not because that is not its purpose. Everything that begins to exist has a cause. This is uncontroversial. I had a cause of my existence, as did Con, as do cars, trees, and buildings. We also know the universe began to exist. The premises both are true, making the conclusion true, and making the argument sound. Con has not disputed these. He merely looks for logical fallacies where none are present.

Objection II:

As I have shown, most fallacies are not always fallacies. This is even true of the fallacy of composition, as I have shown in my example of the brick wall.

To add to my rebuttal, I'll quote Edward Feser again:

"If A and B are of the same length, putting them side by side is going to give us a whole with a length different from those of A and B themselves. That just follows from the nature of length. If A and B are of the same color, putting them side by side is not going to give us a whole with a color different from those of A and B themselves. That just follows from the nature of color. If A and B are both contingent, does putting them together give us something that is necessary? It is hard to see how; indeed, anyone willing to concede that Lego blocks, tables, chairs, rocks, trees, and the like are individually contingent is surely going to concede that any arbitrary group of these things is no less contingent. And why should the inference to the contingency of such collections stop when we get to the universe as a whole? It seems a natural extension of the reasoning, and the burden of proof is surely on the critic of such an argument to show that the universe as a whole is somehow non-contingent, given that the parts, and collections of parts smaller than the universe as a whole, are contingent." [1]

Considering that the universe is made up of many individual parts (e.g. planets, stars, humans, animals, etc.), and each part within the whole had a beginning of its existence, then it logically follows that the universe, which is made up of all these individual parts, also had a beginning.

This objection is also not a legitimate objection to the KCA.

Objection III:

The irony here is that Con's third objection rests on the logical fallacy of appeal to authority. His claim is that "a vast majority of scientists stand by the idea that atomic decay is spontaneous (and therefore uncaused)." The majority could be wrong. Con has not answered my response, that scientists can be wrong about this. What we believe now may be changed or adjusted in 50 years. That is the nature of science, to find answers. Something that may appear uncaused today may be known as to the cause in 50 years.

This objection does not undermine the KCA.

Conclusion:

The KCA stands as a valid and sound argument. Con has not leveled one legitimate objection to the KCA and as such, its standing as a powerful argument for the existence of God remains unchallenged.

[1] http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...;
Debate Round No. 3
InVinoVeritas

Con

CLOSING STATEMENTS:

Objection I:

The opponent does not any valid reason that God is timeless and is the exception to the cause-effect rule that the KCA establishes for itself. He states that God's timelessness can be proven by other arguments, but he would rather not argue them because he believes it is "not within the scope of the KCA."

However, the first premise begs the question by presupposing that God is the only exception to causality, and because the opponent refused to defend it, he is expecting me and the readers to accept his "ipse-dixitism." Now, since this is the final (closing) round, any defense that the opponent brings up for God being an exception to causality would be unjust, since it would have to go unrefuted.

Hence, the first objection stands on the ground that there is no logical reason why God can be accepted as the sole exception of the rule of causality. And the embedded argument still exposes the question-begging flaw of the KCA's premise:

(1) "Everything has a cause, expect God."
(2) "The universe is not God."
(3) "The universe, therefore, has a cause."

Objection II:

Here is a quote from Bertrand Russell on this matter [1]: "I should say that the universe is just there, and that's all... I can illustrate what seems to me your fallacy. Every man who exists has a mother, and it seems to me your argument is that therefore the human race must have a mother, but obviously the human race hasn't a mother--that's a different logical sphere."

The traits of the universe, holistically, are unknown to us, and we cannot discover its properties through the properties of certain things within it.

Firstly, things within the universe do not necessarily have traits that match those of their parts:

e.g., (1) Atoms are clear and colorless
(2) Cats are made of atoms.
(3) *Cats are clear and colorless.

Secondly, we are not discussing about the composition of things within the universe; we are talking about the composition of the universe as a whole. The universe is not a subcategory of "everything" from the first premise, since it encompasses "everything." This, too, cannot be overlooked.

Objection III:

Indeed, this objection is founded on a modern scientific theory that is accepted by most of the scientific community. My opponent finds irony in my objection, but I find true irony in the fact that the opponent would criticize an accept of my argument that forms the basis of his. The KCA depends on the idea that the scientific community's theory of the Big Bang (a beginning of a universe, rather than an infinite universe) is sound. In the same way that acceptance of evidence by the scientific community leads to the approval of the Big Bang theory, the basis of quantum mechanics (and its proof that cause-effect is not necessary) is approved through extensive evidence and, therefore, the approval of the scientific community.

The opponent states that science can easily disprove quantum mechanics in the future. But in the same way, science can disprove the finiteness of the universe (and the Big Bang)--or even the existence of God.

---

My opponent's refutations do not stand, and my objections have been affirmed.

In conclusion, the KCA argument is fallacious and is, therefore, not logically sound. It cannot be used to prove the existence of God.

Vote Con. Thank you.

[1] Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists, by Dan Barker, Richard Dawkins
KeytarHero

Pro

Closing Arguments

I have clearly shown in this debate how Con's assertions regarding the KCA are baseless and in fact, irrelevant and not legitimate objections to the argument. I will simply reinforce them and not add any new arguments this round, as Con would not have a chance to respond to them.

Objection I:

Again, I did not have to give a reason that God is timeless. That was not within the scope of this debate. I have reinforced this several times and Con continues to ignore it. Other arguments have been given to show that God is timeless. It is not my job here to defend them or even to give them (even though I gave an example in an earlier round) as the KCA is not concerned with the nature of God. The KCA is concerned with the origin of the universe, that it had a beginning and that all things that have a beginning (the universe included) has a cause of its existence. Con's entire objection is based on a red herring.

The first premise does not beg the question because the first question says nothing of God. It only says everything that begins to exist has a cause. That's it. Con is simply incorrect that this premise begs the question.

Con's objection is simply not legitimate. The KCA only speaks to the origin of the universe, not to the nature of God.

Objection II:

Con's objection here, likewise, is not legitimate.

If I build a wall out of Lego bricks, you would think me crazy if I said the wall had a perfectly natural explanation of its existence, or that even though the individual Legos were all made by people, the wall has always existed.

No, if we can see that all the individual parts of the universe had a beginning, then it is simply illogical to claim that the entire universe, made up of the individual parts, didn't. If all the parts of an object are contingent, the object itself is also contingent.

Con's objection, again, is not legitimate.

Objection III:

There is a difference between Con's appeal to authority and the argument I gave. First, Con merely asserts that particles pop in and out of existence without cause, and all he can do is appeal to authority to show that it is so. But this authority is only one of many interpretations of quantum mechanics, Copenhagen, when there are many others that are deterministic or indeterministic. Con has not shown why we should accept the Copenhagen interpretation over any others, and he has not answered my objection that we may not be aware of how the partciles have appeared, but that doesn't mean we will always be ignorant of their cause.

Second, I gave evidence in Round 2 (my opening argument) as to how we know the universe is not eternal. I didn't give an appeal to authority, I gave scientific evidence to show that the universe is not eternal. Con also has not responded to this.

As you see, Con's objection here is likewise not legitimate.

Conclusion:

I have clearly shown why none of Con's objections are legitimate. The KCA is a very strong argument for the existence of God and it has certainly withstood this challenge to its soundness.

Thank you for reading this debate and thanks again to InVinoVeritas for taking the time to debate this with me. Please vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by GenesisCreation 2 years ago
GenesisCreation
Sure. Maybe we can set something up in the near future.
Posted by InVinoVeritas 2 years ago
InVinoVeritas
I would love to debate you some time, GenesisCreation. Feel free to challenge me on any apologetics-related topic.
Posted by GenesisCreation 2 years ago
GenesisCreation
InVinoVeritas,

We see you're drawing the conclusion that account users who call themselves "Genesis Creation" are bound by bias to vote Pro God? You realize the user name relates to www.Genesis-Creation.Net? We're an organizational account. That's why we have that user name.

So, your user name means "Truth in Wine". What message is that supposed to relate?

If you have any questions about our vote, we'll answer them in the comment section for you.
Posted by InVinoVeritas 2 years ago
InVinoVeritas
A guy with the username "GenesisCreation" votes on the debate. Too funny.
Posted by GenesisCreation 2 years ago
GenesisCreation
Pro established the argument for his position and offered plausible rebuttal to the objections. Con largely resorted uncertainty and protest. His rebuttals often lack the evidence to maintain solid ground or his rebuttal left room for his opponent to still be correct. In short, Con never refuted anything.
In addition, Con misrepresented his sources. See example:
Con said" Scientists discovered that particles of energy may come into existence in empty space, completely uncaused. [1]"

This is a lie. Scientists have NOT discovered that particles come into existence. Scientists hope, wish, propose and postulate that particle may come into existence for a short time. This source does not support the argument, nor does it claim to. It summarizes a hypothesis, not a fact.

It would be similar for me to claim that scientists have found life on another planet and then provide a source which summarizes that scientists have found a planet which might have liquid water (which is required for life).
Posted by SuburbiaSurvivor 2 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
Trying to find a way to not get emails.
Posted by JusticeBringer125 2 years ago
JusticeBringer125
Maybe this is better with cause and Effect.Lets start at the True Beginning.
1Nothing Exist.2.The Big Bang Happened..How could the big bang happened if nothing exist, an explosion is a reaction to something.3.Then god created it,how can god create or make an explosion from nothing?Therefore God would have to exist beforehand of existence,Error In Logic...4.Then God exist and not exist at the same time?But time wouldn't exist then?Time and space are Infinite and So is god.What about the Big Bang?
5.The Big Bang would be impossible and "space" would be extremely hot and not cool like it is now.the Universe wouldn't be expanding if there is nothing outside the universe because it would need "room" to expand in,Also the particles and light emitted from such an explosion would be still be seen if light actually traveled at the speed it does so light is much faster than 299 792 458 m / s and would mean all of astronomy is an time waste because you'll be looking at Galaxies and Stars that probably aren't there any more and all astronomical data would be false and outdated. 6.The universe has always been here along with God.God wouldn't be and isn't effected by Physics,Time,Space,since "it" creates it,God Creates it own physics.( I rather debate this than tell you but whatever) 7.God is Omnipresent and Knows Answers to All things.8.God has no form nor isn't a living or nonliving thing it's Eternal.8.God wouldn't have the following-Emotions,Opinions,"thoughts",Preferences,Morality,Wouldn't require Intelligence and that means God isn't good nor Bad.But why would bad people exist and live good lives if god Doesn't have Morality why..God has a Equal Counter-part "The Devil" ,The Devil isn't "bad", Morals are Illusions, Do you do good because it's Good or Do it Because thats what you were told by others. I can't explain all of this not with just 2000 characters
Posted by SuburbiaSurvivor 2 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
"A) The fact that the premise consists of "God never began to exist" begs the question. I think I made that extremely clear in my arguments."

The argument necessitates the existence of an uncaused cause...

"B) Not all arguments from composition are fallacies, because we can prove them through other means. The only reason we know that a bunch of red bricks create a brick wall is because, through practice, we see a brick wall that is red. If we depend on the argument of composition in itself ("BECAUSE parts x,y,z have a trait, THEN the whole, q, has the same trait") then we are using fallacious reasoning."

Technically the argument is employing inductive reasoning rather then composition reasoning. You failed to offer a reason why some things can come into existence uncaused other then Quantum Mechanics (with Pro refuted). Basically, if Universes can come into being from nothing uncaused, why doesn't anything and everything come into existence from nothing uncaused? After all, there's no property about nothing that would cause nothing to discriminate about against any object other then universes.

Pro showed how not all arguments from composition's are fallacies. Albeit, not my preferred method of handling that objection, but it's valid.

"C) So you are saying that quantum events are still "caused" just in a non-predetermined manner - what some call "probabilistic causality." You are thereby admitting that the "cause" in the first premise could be an accidental one, something spontaneous and not predetermined. And you therefore destroy your own case for a predetermined creation. Even if the KCA was sound, why would the cause itself not be natural? This argument is always brought up by William Lane Craig and is shot down every time."

Lol no. There's nothing about the nature of probabilistic causality that undermines that KCA. Besides, probabilistic causality is only undeterministic according to specific interpretation of quantum mechanics.
Posted by KeytarHero 2 years ago
KeytarHero
Yeah, TAA was definitely a vote bomb.
Posted by InVinoVeritas 2 years ago
InVinoVeritas
TAA, troll vote or what? Hahahahaha. Wow.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by GenesisCreation 2 years ago
GenesisCreation
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by Ricky_Zahnd 2 years ago
Ricky_Zahnd
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Reasons for voting decision: Con explains clearly how the KCA logic shows that god must have been created as readily as the universe, requiring a non-eternal god. This creates a domino effect of creating events, and not the act of creation by an eternal god that pro imagines he is arguing for. As con has proven, the KCA undoes itself.
Vote Placed by imabench 2 years ago
imabench
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Reasons for voting decision: obv counter-votebomb
Vote Placed by TAA 2 years ago
TAA
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Reasons for voting decision: the fool said in his heart there is no god. haven't you seen William Lane Craig?
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 2 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by SarcasticIndeed 2 years ago
SarcasticIndeed
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Reasons for voting decision: Con misunderstood the argument and tried to strawman. Pro pointed out the flaws in his thinking.