The Instigator
Pro (for)
17 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is failed, and should NEVER BE USED EVER AGAIN.

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/7/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,110 times Debate No: 27914
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (76)
Votes (4)




"The Kalam Cosmological Argument is failed, and should NEVER BE USED EVER AGAIN." I will argue PRO, namely that the KCA is failed, unrecoverably, and should not be used to support the claim that God exists. CON agrees that they will defend the KCA from all known forms of fallacy, including special pleading and circular reasoning, and faulty premise.

I have seen the KCA used repeatedly by those who wish to argue for the existence of God. However, the KCA has fatal flaws, and arguing against it repeatedly and in venues which external evaluation of claims made and public observance of the validity of one side or the other is utterly tiresome. This is a conversation which if done right should only need to be done once on any given venue.

1) First round is acceptance*, second round is argument, third round is rebuttal and additional supporting arguments, fourth round is pure rebuttal and closing.
2) CON may go first; if con uses his first round for argument, CON agrees his last round shall be a blank post.
3) Responses shall be directed towards the previous rounds(s) only.
4) No direct "vote pandering". An argument ought stand on its own, without appeals to emotion or ad hominem.
5) No "sneaky ****erism". This is defined as making declarations to win an argument rather than making an attempt to investigate whether a claim is actually valid or supported by reason. The winning argument here is to be determined as that argument which stands up to reason, not which argument/person people subjectively like more. In accepting, CON agrees that any votes which do not reflect an objective evaluation of the arguments (subjective votes) are invalid and to be ignored or retracted.
6) No extended arguments, except if mutually agreed upon.
7) BoP on CON for all premises to any KCA which CON attempts to defend, and for defence against any charges of special pleading.
8) Shared participation is encouraged; while there can only be one formal "PRO" and one formal "CON", any independently supported argument may be advanced.


Bring on your objections to the KCA so that I may respond.
Debate Round No. 1



KCA [1]:

P1 Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence;
P2 The universe has a beginning of its existence;
C The universe has a cause of its existence.
(C2) (therefore, god(s))

The Universe

The sum total of things, and the rules which govern their interactions, and the place in which those interactions happen.

  1. It has not been established that things with beginnings to their existence have causes

    1. The beginning of the majority of things which exist has not been observed as having a cause OR not having a cause

      • Conservation of energy in general relativity demands that energy is neither created or destroyed. This implies that the stuff or phenomena which comprise the energy which comprise the massive objects is itself neither created nor destroyed. In fact, the first law of thermodynamics demands that while things may change their form and the way they are organized over time, the stuff itself has ALWAYS been there. In average, this is even true under the laws of quantum mechanics. Indeed, every understanding of stellar nucleosynthesis, fusion, fission, and even the operation of nuclear energy production all rely on this principle. Even the “big bang” has not been proposed as a beginning of the stuff; stuff that was already there merely began to expand. [2][3]

    2. Many observed absolute beginnings have no cause

      • Virtual particles are a well established concept in quantum physics. While historically the idea has been viewed with skepticism, almost all modern understandings of quantum physics not only support but demand that they exist; the things we observe could simply not happen without them, for example such things as release of photons, radioactive decay, or even grease sticking to a metal frying pan. But prescient here is the more important factor that small fluctuations of energy, called particles by physicists, constantly appear and disappear at random everywhere. Most importantly, however, is that they have no observable cause. [4]

      • While there are other events in physics, with uncaused characteristics (such as probability wave collapse, the particular way a given event “shakes out”) I will not bring them up at this time.

    3. Induction does not provide an absolute answer for future events (Hume)

      1. The KCA makes certain assumptions that things which are observed in the future will be consistent with things that have been observed in the past. Any such assumption has a quantifiable level of uncertainty, and while various observations can be identified as having a very low uncertainty, the uncertainty remains, not only in the possibility of an event but also in our possibility of having made errors in observation. While I generally tend to agree with the proposition that a given level of certainty constitutes “knowledge”, this does mean that regardless of what percentage of observed particles we have seen “begin” with or without cause, we cannot ascertain that all particles must either all have or all not have a cause, nor that all observations are themselves accurate. P1 is itself an example of such an inductive claim, as it relies on a (wrong) claim that we have not observed causeless particles or events.

      2. At best this means that we can only conclude, due to the absolute existence of uncertainty in our first premise, that it CANNOT be the case for either absolute resolution, that it can only be said that one or the other is PROBABLE, and even so, hence KCA is weakened, even in the best of cases; it happens to be the case from above evidence against P1 that the PROBABLE version of the KCA actually argues AGAINST universal cause.

  2. It has not been established that the universe has an absolute beginning to its existence

    1. The ‘big bang’ is not itself THE beginning of the universe, as proposed by most physics; it is merely the beginning of “real time”.

      • In many (most?) cosmologies proposed by modern physics, the “big bang” is not the beginning of the universe, just the beginning of our ability to figure out what was going on. Because most physics implies that we can’t find out what was going on “before” the big bang, however, it is usually not discussed much, and is usually entirely discounted from the equations. [5]

    2. Any finite or deterministic Universe is an identity.

      1. Identities have neither beginning nor end; any thing can be represented by a sufficient number of other things to reproduce the pattern that is the identity. The universe, if deterministic, would constitute such an identity. Indeed, even a “big bang” with non-determinate physics would satisfy the qualities of an identity if measured over a finite time frame, including the from big bang to big rip/big crunch/big chill. It is a tautological truth that such a universe can be caused by anything that can cause it, because its identity is independent of cause. This means that the case in which there is a universe in which universes of the type and character of our own can cause themselves, or in which universes such as ours happen without cause must be accepted as possible antecedents to the universe. An instance of this universe in this way has every possible cause including no cause.

      2. From this perspective even universes which might appear to us as created have the above trait, absent some externally observed origin. Without the ability to directly observe origin of the universe, even IF it were to appear created, every possible alternative to “creation” is just as equally valid as an interpretation, including “without cause”.

  3. Special pleading must be invoked to prevent contradictions

    1. If it is assumed that the universe MUST have a beginning, without invoking special pleading, why does the cause not also have such a need for beginning?

      • A burden of proof rests on the claimant that the super-nature in which the cause can exist in itself exists.

      • A burden of proof rests on the claimant for the existence of the thing in that nature which supposedly did the causing.

      • A burden of proof rests on the claimant that the universe itself cannot have such an uncaused existence in said super-nature.

  4. Further fallacies exist within the KCA argument that god(s) exist

    1. A non-sequitur argument is required to reach C2
      • Additional unavailable information is necessary to answer “WHICH cause”.

    2. A circular argument, AKA "Begging the Question" is required in C1 for the revised KCA
      • As “Cause?” is not answered by the revised KCA, “WHICH cause?” is begging the question.

  5. Conclusions

    1. Revision is necessary because of points I and II above:

      Things that begin to exist MAY OR MAY NOT have causes, but many do not.
      The universe MAY OR MAY NOT have a beginning
      The universe MAY OR MAY NOT have a cause.

    2. The revised KCA does not in fact answer the desired questions convincingly.
      • KCA does not argue convincingly for cause
      • KCA does not argue convincingly against cause

    3. Final conclusion:
      The KCA is a failed argument in the premises, and in its use of special pleading, and does not support any conclusion, and in particular it does not support the existence of god(s). Statements that do not argue for anything are at best unintentional misdirection, and in many cases direct attempts to knowingly mislead people, therefore, the KCA should not ever be used by anyone ever again.







Copyright (C) 2012 Andrew Kathan

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation A copy of the license is available at



Against the fact that anything which begins to exist must have a cause, my opponent uses the example of energy conservation in an attempt to find something which began to exist without any prior cause. He has surely failed in this attempt for the following reasons:

1) While it is true that energy cannot be created or destroyed, this doesn"t invalidate the KCA because energy does not have a beginning, and the KCA does not hold that things such as energy which have no beginning have causes. Rather, it attributes causes only to things which have beginning.

2) Pro mistakenly asserts that because the energy of which the phycial universe was made always existed, that therefore the physical universe always existed and had no cause. This is the same kind of reasoning which holds that because the materials (the sand, stone, and steel) of which a building is made already existed in the earth thousands of years before construction began, that the building already existed for thousands of years before its foundation was laid and therefore the engineers, architects, and mason were not the cause of the building. The raw materials for a cake already existing before a cake is made doesn"t prove the cake didn"t have a cause. Similarly, the existence of energy before the Big Bang doesn"t prove the universe didn"t have a cause. In fact, the current astronomical evidence we have points to a beginning of the physical universe. If Pro wants to claim that the only thing which began is (not the universe, but) the form the universe now possesses, this current form must still have a cause. It is well known that every time energy changes from one form to another, these changes have causes. A match does not become fire and smoke without friction as the cause, and so too, some cause was necessary for the original energy that made the universe to change its form.

3) If the energy of which the universe is made always existed and never changed to become the physical universe before the Big Bang, then there must have been some change in circumstances that caused this change to take place. Common sense dictates if that before the Big Bang the energy was always in one form, it would have remained so as long as it was undisturbed.

We are accustomed to all the things we know of that have beginnings such as living organisms, natural disasters, and man-made objects, as having causes, so its actually well established that things with beginnings have causes. Every tree was caused by a seed being in fertile conditions, every child was caused by the sperm meeting an egg, every thought was caused by outside stimulation of the neurological processes of our brain, and the list goes on and on. KCA is backed by our very day-to-day experience of life.

Then Pro brings up the spontaneous generation of particles in Quantum Physics an example of something beginning to exist without a cause, but this example also fails for the following reasons:

1) The quantum mechanical vacuum on which these particles depend for their existence is emphatically not nothing. The dynamical properties of vacuous space arise out of its interaction with matter and radiation fields, in the absence of which "this dynamism of empty space is but a formal abstraction lacking physical reality."[1] The quantum vacuum is a sea of fluctuating energy which gives rise to virtual particles. Thus, virtual particles can hardly be said to arise without a cause.

2) Most things we know of in life have beginnings, and those beginnings have causes, so in light of this consistently repeated theme, if it were that we had no observable cause of such particles, the prudent thing to conclude would be that we do not yet know the cause, as opposed to saying there is no cause. Before we knew it was gravity keeping us earth bound didn"t imply there was no cause, it only meant we didn"t yet know the cause.

3) His argument that induction doesn"t provide an answer for future events is negated by the predictive power of past patterns. All particles we see come into being are caused by the quantum field, which predicts that future particles will have the same cause unless or until someone demonstrates that other sources for them exists. We to have evidence that its possible for something to exist without a cause before we can even postulate as a possibility future uncaused particles; so far my opponent hasn"t provided such evidence.

4) If something can come into being uncaused out of nothing, then it is inexplicable why anything and everything does not do so. Why don"t people, televisions, and Eskimo villages pop into being uncaused out of nothing, if this is possible?

Pro goes on to argue that the Big Bang isn"t the beginning of the universe, only the beginning of real time, but this rebuttal fails because:

1) The discovery that the universe is in a state of isotropic expansion has led, via a time-reversed extrapolation of the expansion, to the conclusion that at a point in the finite past the entire universe was contracted down to a state of infinite density, prior to which it did not exist. [2]

2) Even if the Big Bang were not the beginning of the universe, it would still be the beginning of the universe in this form in which we know it, having moons, stars, and planets, as well as time. Something began at the Big Bang which necessitates a cause, for if there was no cause, it wouldn"t happen at all.

3) Quentin Smith, a philosopher of science at the University of Western Michigan, says in Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology (1993): "It belongs analytically to the concept of the cosmological singularity that it is not the effect of prior physical events. The definition of a singularity entails that it is impossible to extend the spacetime manifold beyond the singularity. This effectively rules out the idea that the singularity is the effect of some prior natural process."[3]

Pro argues that identities have neither beginning or end, which is nonsense; the identity "Abraham Lincoln" isn"t still around just because his dust particles are still somewhere on the earth. Pro confuses the identity of a thing to the composite parts that make the thing.

Pro then argues that if the universe had a beginning, then so did its cause, but this argument is false because we know the universe began because we have astronomical evidence to prove it; we do not have evidence showing the cause of the universe had a beginning. Finally, how do we know what the cause is? As the cause of space and time, this entity must transcend space and time and therefore exist atemporally and non-spatially. This transcendent cause must therefore be changeless and immaterial, since timelessness entails changelessness, and changelessness implies immateriality. Such a cause must be uncaused because in a timeless environment it could have no prior causes. Ockham's Razor will shave away further causes, since we should not multiply causes beyond necessity. This entity must be unimaginably powerful, since it created the universe. It must also be personal, for if the cause of the origin of the universe were an impersonal set of necessary and sufficient conditions, it would be impossible for the cause to exist without its effect. For if the necessary and sufficient conditions of the effect are timelessly given, then their effect must be given as well. The only way for the cause to be timeless and changeless but for its effect to originate a finite time ago is for the cause to be a personal agent who freely chooses to bring about an effect without antecedent determining conditions.

1 Alexander W. Stern, "Space, Field, and Ether in Contemporary Physics," Science 116 (1952): 493
2 Fred Hoyle, Astronomy and Cosmology (San Francisco: W.H. Freeman, 1975), p. 658
3 Quentin Smith, "The Uncaused Beginning of the Universe," in Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology, by William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), p. 120.
Debate Round No. 2


Con has failed in his opening round to present a clear, seperate, and independent argument, as expecte per rule 1 of the debate. Further, he has violated rule 3 of the debate by partcipating in rebuttal of round 1 during round 1. As such, I expect him NOT to speak to this section, unless requesting additional citation, or to question items marked with a superscript 1 (¹), and I expect him to do so only AFTER satisfying his burden of proof.
  1. Abbreviated Counter-Rebuttal
    Please be aware that the below numbered groups have a 1:1 correspondance with sections of numbered points in CON's initial argument, except for Group D, where specific quotes have been supplied.

    1. Group 1
      "[PRO] uses the example of energy conservation in an attempt to find something which began to exist without any prior cause..." (Strawman¹).

      1. Straw man argument
        1. The original sub-argument was a conjunctive: (A OR B) AND C.
        2. Point C is merely the existence of the problem of induction such that...
        3. The KCA assumes all things have beginnings through what is an induction. Inductions require observations. No observations of absolute beginnings of have been made, virtual particles notwithstanding. Therefore there is no way to induct Standard KCA P1 (hence SP1). Therefore SP1 is at best pure assumption, and at worst provably wrong.

      2. Shifting BOP (Equivocation, Straw Man, Begging the Question¹).
        • CON has shifted the BOP on SP1, in claiming “If Pro wants to claim that ... thing which began is ... the form [of] the universe ... this current form must still have a cause.” This is assuming SP1, which he has yet to provide support for.

      3. See Section II part A.

    2. Group 2
      "Pro brings up the spontaneous generation of particles in Quantum Physics an example of something beginning to exist without a cause..."

      1. Conflation, Unreliable Source
        1. Here CON has conflated form and cause. While there may be a vast sea of energy, he still must establish that there is a cause to the perturbations of it to establish SP1.
        2. His reference here is 62 years old and is therefore unreliable¹.

      2. Equivocation, Hasty Generalization
        1. CON makes an equivocation between apparent beginnings and absolute beginnings.
        2. Gravity is a different class of phenomena from quantum fluctuation. Gravity has consistent action. IF there are two things, THEN those two things distort space and fall towards each other. However there is no IF which can possibly explain the random activity of quantum fluctuation. There's just a whole lot of THEN.

      3. Conflation, Shifting BOP
        1. Here again CON conflates form and cause. That the quantum fluctuations happen in the quantum field does not mean they are caused by that field; the field is merely a place.
        2. CON has already conceded that he must satisfy the BOP for SP1.

      4. See section II part B.

    3. Group 3
      "Pro goes on to argue that the Big Bang isn"t the beginning of the universe, only the beginning of real time..."

      1. Unreliable Source
        • CON's source is 38 years old¹, in direct conflict with [5] (see round 2) and is further discredited/disproved in [6].

      2. Shifting BOP
        • CON has already conceded that he must satisfy the BOP for the positive claim that all things which begin to exist must have causes.

      3. Unreliable source
        • Quentin smith is a philosopher, NOT a physicist, and is further contradicted by [5], particularly in Hawking's explanation of the difference between “real time” and “imaginary time” in physics¹.

    4. CON's concluding claims

      1. CON's objections to identity
        • CON has failed, here, to understand what an identity is. An identity is not a thing, an identity is a pattern. Things do not create identities, they merely conform to them. In fact, the current organization of the particles that were once Abraham Lincoln is a characteristic part of the identity of Abraham Lincoln. Further, the stuff IN the universe is a part of the identity OF the universe; it is an aspect of the pattern which defines it¹.

      2. “the universe began because we have astronomical evidence to prove it”
        • Without data, this is nothing but a bald assertion, to which CON has accepted BOP.

      3. “[T]he cause... must... exist atemporally and non-spatially...”
        1. This isn't metaphysically true; it just means that any possible cause must at least have a time dimension perpendicular to our own, or different rules governing its space and time. Without this, the rest of CON's statements on the subject have no validity.
        2. While there are additional untrue assertions further down, they need not be addressed as to even get there, CON must assume as above¹.

  2. Refutation of CON's initial arguments
    In his initial arguments, he brought up two initial points which merit further discussion, as they are valid, and imply a rightful BOP for myself.

    1. “Common sense dictates if that before the Big Bang the energy was always in one form, it would have remained so as long as it was undisturbed.”
      1. This might be true, if not for virtual particles or probability wave collapse or "Imaginary Time". Essentially, we have observed uncaused events which disturb the universe, regardless of form. On the scale of a singularity, quantum fluctuation constitutes disturbance, especially if those disturbances happen along a different time dimension.
      2. In other emerging theories of cosmology, it is proposed that the “universe” we are in exists in a much higher-dimensional space-time, and that “the singularity” is itself something different, and that the process is initiated by the collision of membranes in this higher dimensional space-time [6]. In this model of cosmology, no such disturbance is needed.

    2. “Why don"t people, televisions, and Eskimo villages pop into being uncaused out of nothing...?”
      1. The reason that we do not see such things happening (spontaneous large objects appearing) is due to the nature of randomness and the nature of the things which are popping into and out of existence. Virtual particles are very small, and the space occupied by the things described in the quote are very large (even if we're just talking about a piece of sand). It takes a LOT of particles to make any sizable “thing”, and due to the random nature of their appearance, the appearance of enough particles at the right place and the right time for them to spontaneously produce even a single piece of sand is so unlikely to occur in concert that such an event probably won't happen over the entire lifetime of the universe within the observable region of the universe, let alone on earth in just the right place and time for it to be observed.
      2. Of course the above statistical claim is further bolstered by the proposed possibility that virtual particles MAY (we do not yet know one way or the other) pop into existence along with their antiparticles, which would then be the reason they cease to exist. If this is the case, then even IF the grain of sand popped into existence, it would pop right back out again, as if it had never been there, and the chain reaction necessary for a grain of sand to result from such activity may not even be possible.

  3. Additional Arguments
    As CON has failed to provide any of his BOP, nor has he eroded any leg of my argument, I will not be offering any additional arguments at this time; his entire first round has been entirely refuted.
¹ If con wishes to challenge these charges, he will have to waste his own character space on bringing them up again in round 3, preferably AFTER he has met his BOP, and I will answer them again in full in round 4.

[6] Steinhardt, P. J., & Turok, N. (2007). Endless universe: Beyond the Big Bang. New York: Doubleday.

Copyright (C) 2012 Andrew Kathan
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation A copy of the license is available at



My opponent has asked me to make an opening statement in round 1 without responding to his preemptive rebuttals, which means that by round two I would have the impossible task of responding to both his opening arguments, plus his rebuttals to my opening statement. In this way, he could always point out some number of points to which I failed to respond as a reason why you should vote Pro. Nevertheless, I will now give him the opening he asked for.

"The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that describes the early development of the Universe.[1] According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the Universe to cool and resulted in its present continuously expanding state. According to the most recent measurements and observations, the Big Bang occurred approximately 13.75 billion years ago,[2][3] which is thus considered the age of the Universe.[4][5] After its initial expansion from a singularity, the Universe cooled sufficiently to allow energy to be converted into various subatomic particles, including protons, neutrons, and electrons. While protons and neutrons combined to form the first atomic nuclei only a few minutes after the Big Bang, it would take thousands of years for electrons to combine with them and create electrically neutral atoms. The first element produced was hydrogen, along with traces of helium and lithium. Giant clouds of these primordial elements would coalesce through gravity to form stars and galaxies, and the heavier elements would be synthesized either within stars or during supernovae." (Wikipedia: Big Bang)

From this definition is clear that before the Big Bang occurred, there were no moons, stars, or planets that make up the universe as we know it today. All that existed was an extremely dense point called a singularity.

P1a: Everything that has a beginning, has a cause
Today, when we speak about the universe, we refer to all the things in it, but these things (living organisms, planets, moons, stars, elements such as helium and hydrogen, particles such as protons, quarks, etc) did not exist before or at the Big Bang, and are not synonymous with the singularity. Therefore, all the major elements on the periodic table that make up all the matter in the universe, and all the matter itself, had a beginning, and the cause of all these things was (1) the expansion of the singularity, and (2) the laws o physics operating on the "stuff" that expanded as it cooled and slowed down. It should be evidence from this that either everything, or almost everything we see around us had a beginning and was caused in this way, which leads naturally into premise 1b.

P1b: Even if we do not know the cause of something, we can infer that it has a cause based on the record of causation.

Since everything else that we know of has a cause, it would be more logical and prudent to say "I do not yet know the cause of X," then to infer that "X has no cause." This is backed by the fact that there have been many things in the past for which we did not at first know the cause, but as our knowledge and understanding increased we were able to find out the reason (the cause) behind those things. For example humans didn"t always know what keeps us down on the earth and prevents us from drifting off into space. But eventually we learnt about gravity as the cause. We didn"t always know what caused sickness, but then we learnt about viruses, disease, bacteria. We didn"t always know where mountains came from, and some religious people even speculated that God put mountains there as tent pegs to hold down the earth, but now we know better, we know about the movement of tectonic plates. The list is too large for this 8000 character limit, but the point is clear that as time goes on we continue to find causes for many things which mystified us in the past. Based on this consistent record, it is prudent to believe that even things whose cause is elusive now may not be hidden in the future. Which leads us to premise 1c.

P1c: But even if we never find the reason for some things, this would not be enough to undermine the principle that whatever begins to exist has a cause.

To illustrate, if we did not know the reason why Martin Luther King was assassinated, does it mean there was no reason? If we do not know what motivated a man to kill his wife, does it mean it was completely spontaneous, without cause? It may have been jealousy, money, mental illness, we may never know, but just because we don"t know doesn"t imply for a minute that there was no reason. Sometimes the coroner is unable to establish a cause of death, but does it mean her death was completely spontaneous? No, it simply reveals that we need to be more humble, because with our limited knowledge it is impossible for us to know everything. Similarly, it is not likely that a species that hasn"t been around for a million years yet, will be able to know all the secrets of a 13 billion-year-old universe! It is reasonable to acknowledge that there are some things we will never know, including the causes for some things whose origins are greatly removed from us historically by billions of years, which might not still be there anyway, and in either case are not available for direct investigation. We cannot travel to the centre of the universe with instruments to study ground zero; all scientist can do is make educated guesses based on what evidence remaining from the past is even detectable by our current technology.

P2a: The Universe had a beginning
I have already made a case that the suns, moons, stars, planets, and all the things in them did not exist before or at the instant of the Big Bang. The singularity cannot be the physical universe because matter didn"t exist before or at the Big Bang, therefore, matter had a beginning, and Pro admits that time began as well.

But there is another reason why we should believe the beginning of the universe has a cause, namely, the fine-tuning of the cosmos. In his debate with Edwin Curley, Dr. William Lane Craig made the following comment: "Stephen Hawking has estimated that if the rate of the universe's expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have re-collapsed into a hot fireball.5 P.C.W. Davies has calculated that the odds against the initial conditions being suitable for star formation (without which planets could not exist) is one followed by a thousand billion billion zeroes, at least.6 [He also] estimates that a change in the strength of gravity or of the weak force by only one part in 10 raised to the 100th power would have prevented a life-permitting universe.7 There are around 50 such constants and quantities present in the Big Bang which must be fine-tuned in this way if the universe is to permit life. And it's not just each quantity which must be finely tuned; their ratios to each other must also be exquisitely finely tuned. So improbability is multiplied by improbability by improbability until our minds are reeling in incomprehensible numbers."

Now if the Big Bang was spontaneous (uncaused), it would also be random because there could be no "organizer" (either natural or supernatural), but the delicate balance of the forces necessary for life in the universe can hardly be said to be random. Such order leans heavily in favor of causation as opposed to spontaneous generation.
Debate Round No. 3


First, I would like to thank my opponent for at last responsibly accepting his burden of proof. I would fully expect the voters to penalize me for bad conduct, had I not defended my assertions about his sources and uses of fallacies in my round 3 post; however he has not made the requested challenges, so it can only be the case that he did not read my response in full. As such I expect him to accept such otherwise undefended (but not indefensible) conclusions regarding his claims.

Additionally, though I expect him to leave the round 3 post as-is, I see no reason to object to a rebuttal of this round 4 post in his round 4; in fact, I expect him to do so, as my round 3 post is a counter-rebuttal, and rightly the domain of round 4, AND my round 4 post here is simple rebuttal, rightfully the subject of round 3. By all means, he deserves every opportunity to speak against this post, in all but closing.

  1. Causation

    1. Equivocation: The difference between “stuff” and stuff.

      1. My opponent has made an equivocation in P1a between the basic “particles”, the stuff in the universe, and the “stuff” built from them. The “stuff” in the universe, according to the current understanding of physics (ever since relativity, really) is made from “energy”, and the energy itself is stuff. Even before the singularity expanded, all this stuff was still there as a part of the singularity, according to the standard model [5].

    2. Equivocation: The difference between “beginnings” and absolute beginnings.

      1. My opponent has made an equivocation in P1b, and P1c between the “causes” of the interactions between things, which are small-b beginnings, and the beginnings of the things themselves, which I have referred to as absolute beginnings. First, it is important to note that the appearances of virtual particles on the quantum-mechanical field are absolute beginnings and they happen with uniform randomness and as such they have no cause.

      2. My opponent has failed to recognize that on the smallest scale of stuff, things do not happen as they do on the observable scale of “stuff”. Absolute beginnings of virtual particles, can and do act as “causes” of events happening between already existing things (as they're existing at the time they cause it!), but have no cause themselves; they just happen with such uniform randomness that such activity appears as a uniform force on the scale of “stuff”, or allow breaking tentative equilibrium in unstable “stuff”. The Casimir force is such an example of the first, and radioactive decay suffices to illustrate a phenomena caused by the random appearance/disappearance of virtual particles. [7][8]

      3. Watching all of the things currently existing does nothing to establish either that they ever began to exist, or that their existence, their absolute beginning (if there ever was one), had a cause; as previously stated, the absolute beginnings that we have been able to observe did not.

  2. The universe does not need a cause

    1. P2a contains an equivocation, strawman, and even an outright lie.

      1. CON equivocates stuff, as in the stuff that is conserved as per conservation, with arrangements of that stuff.

      2. The singularity itself is not being proposed as the physical universe, as in this discussion “the universe” we are discussing is not just the stuff, but also the place. The singularity is merely a part of the identity of the universe.

      3. The stuff very much did exist at and during the singularity. Whether you could call the stuff “matter” in that period of history is arguable, but it was still stuff [5].

      4. I do not say that “time” began, I said that “real time” began, which is more of a discussion of A beginning than THE beginning [5].

    2. P2b, is a red herring: an argument of cause by fine tuning it is outside the scope of this debate.

      1. As per the rules of this debate, it is about the KCA. Other defenses of cause are not the subject of this debate. P2b does not in any way defend the premise that the universe had an absolute beginning, rather than just having A beginning. Such an argument does not speak to the validity of the KCA.

  3. Conclusions

    1. CON has failed to sufficiently fulfill his BOP.

    2. CON has failed to defend that all things that begin to exist have causes, but merely has defended that all interactions between already existing things have causes. This is different from the premise of the KCA, and thus fails to fulfill his BOP on SP1.

    3. CON has failed to sufficiently fulfill his burden of proof that the universe began to exist.

    4. CON has failed to fulfill his burden of proof that the cause would not itself need a cause.

    5. CON has failed to defend the usefulness of the KCA, and thus it stands resolved as per my original argument that the The Kalam Cosmological Argument is failed, and should NEVER BE USED EVER AGAIN.

  4. Closing

    1. In the course of this debate, CON has made a number of straw-man arguments, and has not contested this fact. (goes to convincing arguments)

    2. In the course of this debate, CON has only used invalid, outdated, refuted, or otherwise bad sources to support any of his claims, and has not contested this fact. (goes to sources)

    3. In the course of this debate, CON has made bald assertions of untrue things, and has not contested this fact. (goes to conduct)

    4. In the course of this debate, CON has made various equivocations between easily distinguished concepts, and has not contested this fact. (goes to spelling and grammar).

    5. And finally the resolution has been adequately defended by myself.

Thank you, all of you who have read and followed this debate, and may the best argument win.




Copyright (C) 2012 Andrew Kathan

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation A copy of the license is available at



Pro argues that "No observations of absolute beginnings have been made," but this begs the question " is observation the only way to know if something began? We were not there to observe the beginning of human life on this planet, but we know from various dating techniques that the earth is older than the oldest human fossils. So we can by induction arrive at the conclusion that human life had a beginning, otherwise we"d find human fossils dating to pre-Cambrian times, even predating the oldest rocks. The mere fact that we can date things is evidence that they had a beginning, and we have been able to put a date on every kind of physical object we can access, not just the earth and the things in it, but even fragments from the moon and stars. Since every part of the universe we ever accessed shows evidence of age, it is rational to induce that so does the whole universe.

Pro"s objection ignores the beginnings of things we do observe which show that everything around us came from something else. The medicine came from a combination of chemicals, which finds their origin in a combination of particles, which come from a combination of atoms, and we can go on and on into the subatomic world. It stands to reason that the universe also has its origin in some other source based on this pattern which is consistent with everything we know. This is borne out by the scientific model: (1) make an observation: physical things have beginnings (i.e. cars, houses, people, animals, viruses); (2) make a hypothesis: all physical things have beginnings; (3) carry out further observations and experiments to confirm hypothesis: synthesis the pathway to creating randomly selected chemicals, observe as many things on earth and in space, and date them, to see if they have beginnings; (4) confirm the theory based on the gathered data: observational and experimental evidence suggests that all physical things were created out of previous elements existing in the right conditions.

I think the problem is that Pro is defining the "stuff"" the universe came from as the universe itself, but surely that would be just as illogical as identifying water as ice before it is even frozen. Before the Big Bang occurred, energy was not yet converted into the form of a universe anymore than water was ice before it was placed in a freezer.

The scientific community unanimously agrees that the universe is approximately 13.75 billion years old. How could an entity which always existed have an age?

Pro claims that the existence of a sea of energy as a background to "virtual" particles does not show this "sea" to be their cause, however, what it does vindicate is the philosophical intuition that "out of nothing, nothing comes." This is why I said that the quantum vacuum is not "nothing." Energy cannot be created, only converted in form, so what we observe is the conversion of energy from that sea into visible particles, which means there must be a potentiality of that energy to convert into particles for the particles to come into being. But the particles themselves could not actualize their own existence for the very reason that they did not yet exist. "Nothing" (literal nonexistence) has no potentiality to do anything, only existing things do. So we are justified in concluding that the very nature of that sea of energy, its ability to convert itself into particles, is the cause of the particles, just as the nature of a spider is the cause of its building a web. Things have to follow their nature.

Pro says that my reference is unreliable because it is 62 years old, so will Pro"s arguments be unreliable 62 years from now? If so, why not just reject them now and save ourselves the disappointment later? Pro is confusing age with reliability. Einstein"s writings are more than 62 years old yet many of his theories are still considered reliable today. Pythagoras theorem is centuries older than the man I quoted, but it"s still reliable today. Similar comments could be made of Isaac Newton and many others.

Pro accused me of equivocating gravity and quantum fluctuations, but I did no such thing, rather, I suggested that just because we at one time didn"t know what was keeping us from falling off this round earth and dropping into the sky, didn"t mean there was no cause. Gravity was found out to be the cause. Yet Pro makes the wild assertion that if we don"t yet know the cause of particles appearing in a quantum vacuum that therefore there is no cause. This is a claim to knowledge of the future, that no cause will ever be discovered. Is Pro psychic? Is he God? Is the entire technological future of mankind before his eyes that he can make such judgments? The prudent scientist is humble enough to admit he doesn"t know, the foolish one claims we will never know. Pro"s must be using the nothing-of-the-gaps argument: Because we don"t know the cause for something, therefore, nothing did it - it was completely spontaneous. Recent breakthroughs in our understanding of things that previously mystified scientists for centuries should warrant more caution and less dogmatic assertions. Otherwise, Pro should have made arguments for the reliability of his "crystal ball."

Unreliable source
Pro calls Quentin Smith unreliable because he is a philosopher and not a physicist, but this man is a philosopher of Science. First, one must have a great understanding of science to gain a PhD in this field; second, Pro never showed any superiority of Physics over the philosophy of Science; and third, Pro never refuted what I quoted from Smith about the inability of the time-space continuum to extend beyond the singularity. Pro admitted that the Big Bang was the beginning of real time, which proves Smith"s point because the space-time continuum cannot exist before the Big Bang for the simple reason that time did not yet exist! How could space-time exist without time? Pro says Hawking contradicted Smith, but never proved Hawking was right with arguments.

Timeless Cause
Pro admitted the Big Bang was the beginning of time, so the cause of the universe must have existed outside linear time " atemporally. Common sense holds that if energy was unchanged before the Big Bang, it would remain so once undisturbed, and Pro"s ASSUMPTIONS that perpendicular time dimensions, probability wave collapse, imaginary time, and higher-dimensional space-time actually exist are just that " ASSUMPTIONS for which he gave no supporting arguments.

Spontaneous Generation
Pro"s inconsistent logic says that because of the nature of spontaneous particles, a grain of sand can"t pop into existence uncaused, yet he believes the entire universe could! If the conversion of energy into particles in a quantum field is an absolute beginning as Pro claims, then the conversion of energy into particles at the Big Bang which later became matter is equally an absolute beginning. Big Bang cosmology holds that the fundamental elements had to form first before matter could exist.

The fine-tuning of the universe does imply the universe had a cause because of the high probability that an uncaused universe would be random and could not be this fine-tuned; as such it is within the scope of this debate and Pro should not be excused for avoiding it.
Debate Round No. 4
76 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
JonK wrote:
: it seems apparent that the voting was capped with a 'vote bomb'.

Plagiarism is a full forfeit, seven points. Otherwise, people won't even show up for the debates themselves but rather just quote people who know more and write better than them. That's not debating.
Posted by JonK 5 years ago
its likely that every voter who game all of the points to pro were atheists. further, i believe muted meant to give more points to daley, not the other way around. atop this, it seems apparent that the voting was capped with a 'vote bomb'. anyway, i digress. good debate to both of you...
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
You can't have ten round debates.
Posted by GorefordMaximillion 5 years ago
I almost like the comment debate better then the actual...

OK here's my proposal. Arguing the KCA, or maybe the existence of God, or just anything lol..

Jarhyn VS philochristos


I also propose maybe instead of 4, 8000 character rounds maybe 10, 2000/3000 character rounds... basically MORE rounds, MORE back and forth and LESS character/shear word length.

Maybe pick one point and go back and forth?

I dunno, but you two make a GOOD debate!!!
Posted by Jarhyn 5 years ago
Yes, I can fault him quite easily, since the burden of proof, as per rule 7, which Daley agreed to: "7) BoP on CON for all premises to any KCA which CON attempts to defend, and for defence against any charges of special pleading."

He has a burden of proof on the assertion that everything that begins to exist has a cause, which he did not defend at all. At best he defended "All interactions between already existing things have causes."

Further, the KCA is about a proposed ABSOLUTE beginning of the universe, not A beginning of the universe. KCA doesn't work if the universe is oscillating. Second, SST hasn't been "destroyed", as per my reference [6]; in fact entropy isn't a problem to that cosmology at all. That's a large part of my original argument, in round 2, section II(A): if the universe is merely an infinite series of events, with or without cause behind them, there is no cause in the sense of FIRST cause.
Posted by Muted 5 years ago
the KCA is a valid argument because the total usable energy in the Universe is rapidly diminishing and thus must have had a beginning. This is the unspoken premise behind the premise that everything that has a beginning has a cause.

This was the observable argument used to destroy SST, so you can't fault Daley for saying the Universe had a beginning. How that beginning came to be is what you should be debating. There are so many theories on this besides the explanation of 'God.' I mean, seriously, have you heard of the Oscillating Universe Theory?
Posted by Jarhyn 5 years ago
I'd move for a 7p win. Daley violated the rules to make an early rebuttal, and thus access an early counter-rebuttal. Despite the fact that I offered him the opportunity to request support in round 3, which I would have gladly provided in round 4, he failed to do so. Instead, he DROPPED the contention over those points by remaining silent, and then made an attempt to bring them up only when I could no longer offer the support for those points. Further, he engaged in obvious last-word-ism in the closing round by bringing up contentions already dropped. He made no attempt to dispute the conditions offered in lieu of his rule breaking through the use of comments, and made no objection to them in his post.
Posted by Jarhyn 5 years ago
Well, a lot of the old papers, 20+ years ago didn't really account much for virtual particles, since the means didn't exist to verify it; a lot of stuff has been conclusively disproved. The accusation that nothing new has presented in quantum physics is patently false.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
"There has been no substantial scientific break through in almost 25 years and they are just making stuff up at this point and you sheep are eating it up. The whole theory of Q mechanics is completely unfounded ..."

Quantum mechanics was firmly established by the late 1920s. Einstein was initially skeptical, with the famous "God does not play dice with the universe." No so well known is Bohr's reply. "Albert, if God wants to play dice, let Him." Quantum mechanics is now proved redundantly.

The new science of the past 25 years is string field theory. The theory is not proved, but it does establish a theory about the origin of the universe that is conceptually possible and consistent with the rest of science. The Large Hadron Collider has experiments to test string field theory.
Posted by Jarhyn 5 years ago
To restate, the KCA is not a MEANS by which the conclusion may be reached, therefore it is dishonest to claim that it supports the conclusion, even if the conclusion has other support.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Plagiarism. If you're going to quote people, you need to put the quoted material inside quotation marks, or block quote, or otherwise set off so it is clear that you didn't make up that phrasing yourself.
Vote Placed by GorefordMaximillion 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con began rebuttal a round early despite round 1 rules (conduct). Pro rebutted all of cons points, showed his fallacies, and established his BOP.
Vote Placed by Muted 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: stewpit debate. How in any way can such dumb arguments either way be presented? Anyway, i will just go on to the RFD. This debate has little to give in terms of intellectual value. Pro's arguments were better organized, although i wish to tie this. S/G goes to Con because Pro made more mistakes. Conduct to Con because pro dumped an unstipulated BoP on hin. Sources are tied.
Vote Placed by iamnotwhoiam 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I don't personally consider the KCA "failed" because the truth of the premises is not known, but clearly under the rules of the debate the BOP is on Con to establish the truth of the premises. He did not do so. Besides, Con did not rebut Pro's III and IV in round 2.