The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
Magicr
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is sound

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/29/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,236 times Debate No: 24899
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Con

My opponent will assume the burden of proof by demonstrating that the Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God is using valid logic, and that its premises are true. I will be rebutting my opponent's claims, and attacking the Kalam Cosmological Argument in anyway possible to undermine it.

This first round will be used for my opponent's opening argument. In the last round, my opponent must not reply with any rebuttals or arguments, but with:

"No argument will be posted here, as agreed"

Failure to follow the rules, will result in an automatic forfiet.
Magicr

Pro

I accept this debate.

Definitions:

The Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) can be stated as follows:


P1: Everything that comes into existence has a cause.
P2: The Universe came into existence.
C: Therefore, the universe had a cause.

Sound- Of or relating to an argument in which all the premises are true and the conclusion follows from the premises [1].

BoP

As my opponent stated, to fulfill my BoP, I must prove that the KCA is a sound argument. In other words I must do two things:

1. Show that the conclusion follows from the premise (the argument is valid), and
2. Show that the premises are true.

Once I have done this, my opponent must fulfill his own BoP by showing how the KCA is not a sound argument.

Rules:

Some additional rules I would like to add:

1. Drops are concessions
2. No new arguments in the last round

Now, let's get down to the KCA.

Validity of the KCA

In order to analyze the validity of the KCA, let's look at an example of an argument that is valid.

All A are B.
C is an A.
Therefore, C is a B.

The KCA follows this form if we let T= things with a beginning, C= caused, and U= the Universe.

All T are/were C.
U is a T.
Therefore, U was C.

It is very easy to see that the KCA follows this logical form. Thus, the KCA is proven to be valid.

Truth of the premises of the KCA

Premise 1: Everything that comes into existence has a cause.

In other words, something cannot come from nothing. The only way that my opponent would be able to prove that this premise is false, is by providing a counterexample.


I can say that cars are always green. Of course we know this is not true. How do we know that this is not always true? Because cars of other colors exist. In the same way, if my opponent can show that there are times when there is no cause for something to come into existence, then the premise falls. Until then, it stands.

Premise 2: The Universe came into existence.

The current scientific evidence points to the Big Bang Theory as the start of the universe [2]. This means that the evidence shows that the Universe did, in fact, come into existence. Before our current scientific knowledge, it would be easy to say that the Universe was eternal, that it had no beginning. If the universe is eternal, then the KCA fails in the second premise. But since we know what we do about the scientific evidence that exists, it is virtually impossible to say that the Universe did not come into existence.

Thus, the second premise is true.

Conclusion: The Universe had a cause.

Because I have shown that the conclusion logically follows the premises, and have shown the premises to be true, the KCA is sound.

I look forward to my opponent's response and wish him luck in this debate.

Sources:

[1]- http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

[2]- http://en.wikipedia.org...




Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

I thank my opponent for this opening argument, as I know this will be an interesting exchange.

The Validity Of The Kalam Cosmological Argument

For the sake of this debate, I will grant that the Kalam Cosmological Argument's logic is valid.


Premise 1: Everything that comes into existence has a cause.

My opponent simply committed the Bare Assertion fallacy by stating "something cannot come from nothing" without justification. It is also a very strange claim to say that "something cannot come from nothing", because if there is "nothing", then there would be nothing to stop "something" from occurring. I'm not implying that something can come from nothing at this point, just that my opponent hasn't met his burden of proof with regards to this ex nihilo nihil fit concept.

Also, something can begin to exist even if it is not from nothing (like a chair), if this ever occurred without a cause, then the first principle would still be falsified. Thus, one does not have to show the concept of ex nihil nihil fit false in the first place to refute the first premise.

Now, there are huge problems with the first premise. A vacuum fluctuation is commonly acknowledged as an uncaused emergence of energy that is governed by the uncertainty relation delta-E • delta-t >= h/(4*pi). Alexander Vilenkin's model of comic origins [1] describes the universe emerging from a quantum tunneling event (without a cause) with a finite size (a = H-1) and with a zero rate of expansion or contraction (da/dt = 0). This event would happen without a cause, from an empty geometry void of anything, including space-time. All of this would flow from the current laws of physics.

Basically, there are equations which rely on acausal principles which could plausibly describe the beginning of the universe. The very fact that these comply with the laws of physics, disproves the claim that the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument regarding scientific causality involves a principle that we should take very seriously.


My last objection, would be to claim that causation presupposes time (if my opponent brings up simultaneous causation, I have a rebuttal for that as well). If I cause a bottle to begin to exist for example, this is because their was a point in time when the bottle didn't exist, there was also an interval of time where the causation takes place. However, there is no "before" the Plank Epoch (Zero - 10-43 seconds) [2] in which the universe didn't exist, and no time interval for this cause to originate and, well, cause its effect. This doesn't mean a cause of the universe is impossible, just unlikely based on what we know and it is a violation of Parsimony in light of the fact that it is not required to explain the universe's existence (it's an unneeded assumption).

Premise 2: The Universe came into existence.

The Big Bang Theory does not support the idea that the singularity popped into existence from absolutely nothing. The Big Bang theory simply describes the inflation of the singularity from this initial state, into a larger and expanded universe.

"The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. 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." - Wikipedia [3]


"It postulates that 12 to 14 billion years ago, the portion of the universe we can see today was only a few millimeters across. It has since expanded from this hot dense state into the vast and much cooler cosmos we currently inhabit. We can see remnants of this hot dense matter as the now very cold cosmic microwave background radiation which still pervades the universe and is visible to microwave detectors as a uniform glow across the entire sky." - NASA [4]

Basically, there is nothing about The Big Bang Model which states the universe popped into existence out of absolutely nothing. This is just a human error with regards to how us finite beings think, in reality though, if you go back in time (assuming the A-Theory for the sake of this argument), you cannot reach a point past the singularity where you could say "nothing exists at this point". This is because, there is no "before" The Big Bang. Many will claim it's the same thing, just different wording, however there is a huge difference between:

(i) Before The Big Bang, there was nothing.
(ii) There was no before The Big Bang.

(i) implies that there was nothing, and then The Big Bang occurred. (ii) implies that The Big Bang occurred. (ii) is clearly more in line with The Big Bang theory, and appeals to Parsimony more as well.

Conclusion: The Universe had a cause.

My opponent has failed to show that the first premise is true, and I mentioned a model of cosmic origins which works without the universe requiring a cause at all. Pro also failed to show that the second premise is even true, it may be true that we cannot even say the universe as a whole has an origin because there is no "before" the universe, in which the universe could have "came from". Therefore, the Kalam Cosmological Argument seems to be an utter disappointment.

Sources

[1] Alexander Vilenkin: “tunneling from literally nothing”, 1982,1988 paper
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov...
Magicr

Pro

I'm glad to see that the validity of the KCA has been accepted. Now all that remains is for me to establish the truth of the premises.

P1: Everything that comes into existence has a cause

"My opponent simply committed the Bare Assertion fallacy by stating 'something cannot come from nothing' without justification"

The Bare Assertion fallacy comes from the Latin Ipse dixit, which means "He himself said it" [1]. But this assertion that things that begin to exist have a cause is not just something that is justified because numerous people have said it. This premise is supported by observation and knowledge.

Something that is very important to note is that we cannot know that something is 100% true. For instance, we cannot know with 100% certainty that gravity exists. We can justify the existence of gravity by saying that all objects with mass are attracted to each other, therefore there must be a force responsible for this attraction. We accept this because there are no counterexamples of something just floating off the earth without cause. Thus, we can say that gravity exists.

So all "truths" really come from observation. We can observe that something does not come into existence without cause.

"Also, something can begin to exist even if it is not from nothing (like a chair), if this ever occurred without a cause, then the first principle would still be falsified."

While a chair can begin to exist, it always has a cause. The cause is that someone put the chair together or something along those lines. There is always a cause, so the first principle stands.

Next, we deal with the Vacuum Fluctuation Model. KCA defender W. L. Craig deals with this model in his book Naturalism: A Critical Analysis:

Though still bandied about in the popular press, Vacuum Fluctuation models did not outlive the decade of the 1980s [The decade of my opponent's sources]. Not only were there theoretical problems with the production mechanisms of matter, but these models faced a deep internal incoherence. According to such models, it is impossible to specify precisely when and where a fluctuation will occur in the primordial vacuum which will then grow into a universe. With infinite past time there is a positive probability of such a fluctuation occurring at any point in space. Thus, given infinite past time, universes will eventually be spawned at every point in the primordial vacuum, and, as they expand, they will begin to collide and coalesce with one another. Thus, given infinite past time, we should be observing an infinitely old universe, not a relatively young one [2].

We can easily see that this model is both outdated and contradictory.

"All of this would flow from the current laws of physics."

Except this idea clearly violates the Laws of Conservation of Matter and Energy which state that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred.

"Basically, there are equations which rely on acausal principles which could plausibly describe the beginning of the universe. The very fact that these comply with the laws of physics, disproves the claim that the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument regarding scientific causality involves a principle that we should take very seriously."

My opponent still must give examples of these equations, as the one he gave was refuted. Also, these do not go with the laws of physics because they violate the laws of conservation. It can be argued that vacuum fluctuations do violate these laws for a very brief moment because of the Heisenberg principle, but our universe has been around for much longer than that.

"My last objection, would be to claim that causation presupposes time"

My opponent has not sufficiently explained why cause must come before effect. And I am interested to hear his rebuttal for simultaneous causation: Why is it that cause and effect cannot occur simultaneously?

Premise 1 stands.

P2: The Universe came into existence

Perhaps the Big Bang theory itself does not completely support P2, but other scientific knowledge does.

Alexander Vilenkin, the scientist whose theory my opponent used to attempt to undermine P1, is quoted as saying: "All the evidence we have says that the Universe had a beginning" [3].

This premise is pretty much accepted as fact in the scientific community.

Even if there was no "before the Big Bang," there still would have been a point at which the Universe began to exist.

Premise 2 stands.

Conclusion: The Universe had a cause

I have demonstrated that through observation and scientific knowledge, we can see how these premises are true. The model of cosmic origins mentioned by my opponent that would not require a cause was refuted. I have shown that the second premise is true, based upon the present scientific knowledge. I have also shown that there was a moment in time when the universe began to exist: The universe is not eternal.

Therefore, the KCA stands.

Sources:

[1]- http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]- http://books.google.com...
[3]- http://www.newgeology.us...

Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

P1: Everything That Begins To Exist Has A Cause

A bare assertion fallacy is when a part of an argument is assumed to be true just because it is said to be true [1]. Pro, in his first argument, said that something cannot come from nothing. This went completely unsupported.


Now, Pro states:

"Something that is very important to note is that we cannot know that something is 100% true."

This is false. We know that spherical rectangles and married bachelors in kindergarten cannot exist 100% a priori [2]. This is because, said things involve contradictory properties. Anyway, As far as my argument goes involving something coming into being from "something" without a cause, still falsifying the first premise, my opponent misses the point entirely. We know how chairs come into existence, and they are caused (my analogy that wasn't supposed to be taken literally). The problem is, even if the quantum vacuum is "something", modern physics tells us that fluctuations coming from this vacuum are probably uncaused.

Here are some supporting quotes from experts in the field:


"Quantum events have a way of just happening, without any cause, as when a radioactive atom decays at a random time. Even the quantum vacuum is not an inert void, but is boiling with quantum fluctuations. In our macroscopic world, we are used to energy conservation, but in the quantum realm this holds only on average." - Taner Edis. Department of Physics Truman State University Kirksville [3]

"Uncaused, random quantum fluctuations in a flat, empty, featureless spacetime can produce local regions with positive or negative curvature" - Victor Stenger. American Particle Physicist [4]

Now, my opponent states that Vacuum Fluctuation models didn't survive the 80's, and there are some serious problems with Tryon type models. Here is a quote from Dr. William Lane Craig supporting Pro's position:

"Within any finite interval of time there is a positive probability of such a fluctuation occurring at any point in space. Thus, given infinite past time, universes will eventually be spawned at every point in the primordial vacuum, and, as they expand, they will begin to collide and coalesce with one another. Thus, given infinite past time, we should by now be observing an infinitely old universe, not a relatively young one." - Dr. William Lane Craig [5]

Dr. Craig's objections here are completely valid, and it is correct that almost all Tryon type models are dead and gone (as my opponent alluded to as well). What's the punch line? None of the objections raised by my opponent or Dr. Craig here apply to Alexander Vilenkin's model (the one I'm actually arguing for), because there is no background space-time in his model. You see, in most Tryon type models, there is some sort of space-time which the fluctuation would have to pop out off. This, one more, leads to huge problems. Here is Dr. Craig quoting physicist Christopher Isham:

"According to Isham this problem proved to be “fairly lethal” to Vacuum Fluctuation Models; hence, these models were “jettisoned twenty years ago” and “nothing much” has been done with them since." - Dr. William Lane Craig [5]

However, Isham writes that, “a scheme like Vilenkin’s might have some approximate validity.” Basically, Dr. Craig's and my opponent's objections only apply to models where there is a background space-time and the quantum event was a fluctuation. This is not the case with Vilenkin's model, the quantum event here would be quantum tunnelling from no background space-time. Therefore, absolutely none of my opponent's arguments have any relevance. Alexander Vilenkin's model still firmly stands unscathed.


My opponent also talks about how a universe coming into being as a quantum nucleation event, would completely contradict the First Law of Thermodynamics. This is not true.

"...in quantum theory, particles can be created out of energy in the form of particle/antiparticle pairs. But that just raises the question of where the energy came from. The answer is that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero." - Stephen Hawking [6]

"There is a still more remarkable possibility, which is the creation of matter from a state of zero energy. This possibility arises because energy can be both positive and negative." - Physicist Paul Davies [7]

It has been proven with extreme accuracy that we live in a flat universe. In a flat universe, the total energy likely equals zero. Thus, the conservation of energy does absolutely nothing to damage the idea that the universe coming into being as a quantum nucleation event is theoretically possible.

Now, when it comes to causation and time, I'm not saying that there could not be a cause of the universe because of this. Just that, there is no reason to think this is the case. It's an unneeded assumption because all examples we have of causes, have time as a necessary condition. If this necessary condition (time) isn't existent, there is no good reason to think a cause would be.

As far as simultaneous causation is concerned, William Lane Craig claims:

"For example, a heavy chandelier hanging on a chain from the ceiling. The ceiling and chain hold up the
chandelier; the chandelier and chain don't support the ceiling... They[Atheists] might say that even
simultaneous causation presupposes time. Yes, the cause and effect occur at the same time. But then
why couldn't such a causal dependency exist timelessly?" - Dr. William Lane Craig [8]

The problem is that for simultaneous causation to have occurred, the causal dependencies must have

involved the beginning of the existence of the chandelier, chain, and ceiling which occurred temporally
prior to the effect. Also, other conditions which existed earlier to this simultaneous causation
must have existed before the effect as well. Thus, even simultaneous causation doesn't get rid of the
validity of the presupposition of time as a necessary condition for causation. This is because, all
examples of simultaneous causation adhere to it.

P2: The Universe Began To Exist

My opponent quotes Alexander Vilenkin to support his claim that the universe began. However, Alexander Vilenkin also stated:

"There must have been a beginning. The question, is what kind of beginning that was." - Alexander Vilenkin [9]

“...the words “absolute beginning” do raise some red flags…” - Alexander Vilenkin to Victor Stenger [10]

Now, Pro says:

"This premise is pretty much accepted as fact in the scientific community."

This depends on how you define "the universe" and a "beginning". Thus, Pro hasn't even come close to meeting his burden. He must show the universe had an absolute beginning in order to support this premise in context.

Conclusion

My opponent had two important objections to Tryon models. However, the background space-time problem doesn't apply to Vilenkin's model. Plus, in a flat universe the total energy is zero, so a universe coming into being as a quantum nucleation event doesn't contradict the conservation of energy. Also, all examples of simultaneous causation presuppose temporally prior "causal dependencies".


Pro hasn't met his burden with premise 2 by demonstrating that the singularity began. All we know is that the universe as we know it had a beginning from a singularity.

Pro has the BoP here, and his arguments remain without proper defense. My objections remain without a scratch.

Sources

[1] http://fallacies.sciencedaily.com...
[2] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[3] http://atheism.about.com...
[4] http://www.infidels.org...
[5] Reasonable Faith (3rd edition): Christian Truth and Apologetics (P.182)
[6] Hawking, Steven. 1988. A Brief History of Time. Toronto: Bantam. (P.129)
[7] Davies, Paul. 1983. God and the New Physics. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. (P.31)
[8] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[9] Video Source (10:30)
[10] Victor J. Stenger: The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning, 2011

Magicr

Pro

I feel that I should concede this debate. I could try and find some evidence to disprove part of what my opponent is saying on the first premise, but most of it is correct and I don't think I can refute it.

Because of this, I don't think there is a need to draw this debate out and challenge his arguments on the second premise.

So, vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate.
Magicr

Pro

No argument will be posted here as agreed.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Magicr 4 years ago
Magicr
Yep. I'll be playing devil's advocate.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
I am arguing against the KCA, and my opponent is an Atheist, so unless he is playing devils advocate there may be some confusion. If he is playing devils advocate, then lets have a good debate!
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
Rational_Thinker9119MagicrTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Good night, stellar craft.
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
Rational_Thinker9119MagicrTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Honorable concession.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Rational_Thinker9119MagicrTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.