The Instigator
warpedfx
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Hemanth_Nambiar
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is sound

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Post Voting Period
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It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/13/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,432 times Debate No: 25585
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (25)
Votes (0)

 

warpedfx

Con

I would like to issue an open challenge on a debate regarding the Kalam Cosmological Argument as supported by William Lane Craig and whether it in fact proves the existence of a personal creator- ie, god. I will take the opposing position, ie that it lacks evidential support and thus cannot prove its conclusion.

The KCA:
A.Whatever begins to exist has cause
B. The universe began to exit
C. .'. the universe has a cause.

NOTE: The creation of the universe does not simply denote the expansion of spacetime, but an actual creation of the material universe

As per the structure of the debate, my opponent should make his defense in place of acceptance, and in turn refrain from making an argument in the last round.
Hemanth_Nambiar

Pro

Let me begin by congratulating my worthy and extremely skilled opponent for presenting a topic which is thoroughly one sided and will most probably end in me getting pounded. However, I am going to try and argue for the motion, however tedious and foolhardy that may seem. Let me begin by quoting the Kalam cosmological argument, which states:

Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence;
The universe has a beginning of its existence;
Therefore:
The universe has a cause of its existence.

I am of the opinion that the above argument holds water, including Dr. William Craig's theory that it is God who brought this gargantuan universe into existence. If it were not for him, none us would be alive today and if it were not for him, you and I wouldn't be debating this issue like a couple of wise old men. Anyway, let me get to the point.

I firmly believe that the first statement that is,"Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence" is a universal truth. It is an undisputed fact which no amount of argument can disprove.

Now let us take the second statement of the KCA.
" The universe has a beginning of its existence"

Scientists have significant evidence to prove that it was the big bang theory about 13.7 million years ago or so which caused the universe to be brought into existence. I think that is an undisputed fact as well. Let us also take into account the second law of thermodynamics which quite correctly claims that the amount of energy available for work is decreasing in the universe " a universe that is decaying cannot be infinitely old because it would have run out of usable energy by now.

Both the above scientifically proven statements seem to point to a single fact, that the universe did indeed have a beginning. One thing which is certain is that both these above reactions could not have been the work of a human and that they could not have been brought about on their own. Something caused it to happen. Something overwhelmingly powerful and perhaps omnipresent brought this about. We human beings have named that something God and I would hereby like to put forward the theory that it was this being who brought about the existence of the universe.

Now, I'd like to wind up my first round argument by saying that the onus of proving that God is the cause of the existence of this universe, as claimed by Dr. William Craig rests on me, agreed. However, I'd like to point out that the onus to disprove that very theory lies on you. You cannot simply get away by calling my theory tremulous and preposterous. If you wish to prove your point, I demand that you put forward a more convincing, alternate argument/ theory which rubbishes my theory as well as makes me accept yours. I look forward to your response and hope that it be appropriate, one fitting of a worthy debator.

Regards
Debate Round No. 1
warpedfx

Con

I thank my opponent intensely for the superlative compliments he's given to me. I would do my best to have my contribution to the debate be worthy of such praises- something I sometimes doubt given the vast amounts of information that I do not know even within the scope of the arguments present here. All the while, I find the debates to be interesting if not a good way of honing one's reasoning and logic as well as learning new things and as such serves a great purpose in and of itself.

To the argument:
1. Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence
In defense of the first premise my opponent has had little to offer thus far with the exception of the statement that it is "an undisputed fact which no amount of argument can disprove".

There is of course the case of quantum fluctuation which for all intents and purpose point out a beginning which is acausal- the closest thing to a cause we can point to is the casimir effect. Of course one could point out that the quantum fluctuation hasn't been established to be acausal, but that no cause could be pointed out as of yet. This is true; however, this still functions to point out a very salient point that "everything that has a beginning of existence has a cause of its existence" is at the very least not as strong a position as it may seem at first glance.

Then we have the question of the term "beginning" in the first premise. A common point made by the objection is that strictly speaking nothing ever "begins" to exist- the pre-existing matter are simply re-organized to form new arrangements of which the properties of the arrangement emerge. Furthermore, could we truly say many of such beginnings are in fact beginnings at all when many are in fact emergent? When does a person exactly begin existing? The points are often arbitrary, much like attempting to point out exactly when the sand turns to the ocean at the beach.

We also have the issue of causation itself. The KCA operates under a strict definition of "beginning of existence" that doesn't simply mean originating from some pre-existing elements, but an entirely new creation process, and that god was the cause of this creation from nothing. The question this begs, of course, is that such a causation is even coherent. Cause involves at least 2 entities interacting to bring about an effect- that of material cause, and in the case involving causal agents, an efficient cause. An artist, an efficient cause, creates art with his medium, the material cause. What the KCA states is solely an efficient cause as the cause of the universe. In short, the efficient cause interacts with nothing to bring about an effect. This is akin to saying an artist created a painting without paint, brush, or a canvas.

The problem doesn't stop there:

2: The universe has a beginning of its existence
This premise has enjoyed more detailed response from my opponent, citing the big bang theory as well as the 2nd law of themodynamics to point out that the universe began. The problem here however, is numerous. Firstly, what is established within big bang cosmology is simply that the universe expanded at a finite time ago of around 13.7 billion (not million) years. Beyond that, nothing is yet established. Furthermore, that many physicists call this a beginning is in a way an equivocation of the term. In physics such expansion does technically constitute a beginning in a more colloquial sense of "beginning from pre-existing materia"- again one that is commonly experienced in everyday life. However, I have pointed out in the previous premise that the KCA requires a very specific definition of "beginning"- one that physicists do not employ here. Furthermore, the 2nd Law of thermodynamics only comes into play to point out that expansion is finite if we were to posit the expansion had been occuring infinitely. Of course with the big bang no such postulation is required. On the other hand, the First Law of Thermodynamics also states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Though we don't know what came before the planck epoch, this doesn't necessitate god as the cause, nor does the incoherence of the definition of cause make him a plausible option to begin with.

3. The universe has a cause of its existence.
In making the argument one in support of god's existence, the argument in effect commits a bait-and-switch here, changing from "cause" to "causal agent". The desired conclusion cannot be reached by the premises if we were to take the supported versions that exist, and the argument fails to be sound.

Thank you,
Hemanth_Nambiar

Pro

I'm flabbergasted by the argument provided by my worthy opponent. My head still spins as I think of the amount of evidence presented by him. I certainly have a mountain of insurmountable evidence to scale as I prepare to counter his argument. Before I begin, I'd like to thank him for pointing out the shortcomings of my first argument.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause

I previously claimed this argument to be undisputed. That opinion of mine still stands, however, I am going to take the trouble of elaborating the point.
It is mentioned in the metaphysical principle that out of nothing, nothing comes. The denial of the first premise, although strictly logically possible, is metaphysically unactualizable. By definition, nothing has no potentialities. Thus, it is impossible for something to arise out of nothing, for how can its existence be actualized if the potential is not there?

Another form of this argument is based on the concept of a prime-mover (This is the Aristotelian form of the argument also propounded by Averroes). The premise is that: every motion must be caused by another motion, and the earlier motion must in turn be a result of another motion and so on. The conclusion thus follows that there must be an initial prime-mover, a mover that could cause motion without any other mover.

Practically speaking, both the above principles are perfectly plausible as well as logical. After all, we don't see things being created out of nothing everyday, do we? You mentioned precisely the same objecting, however I'd like to stress on the fact that neither Dr. Craig nor the theory makes any mention of anything of that sort, in fact, Dr. Craig says:

"Why is it only universes that can come into being from nothing? What makes nothingness so discriminatory? There cannot be anything about nothingness that favors universes, for nothingness does not have any properties. Nothingness is the absence of anything whatsoever. As such, nothingness can have no properties, since there literally is not anything to have any properties. Nor can anything constrain nothingness, for there is not anything to be constrained."

Now let me move to your second point:

Agreed, my argument doesen't necessiate God as a cause for the creation of this universe but your argument does'ent disprove it either. As you said, we don't know what happened before the planck epoch and thus neither am I in a position to argue in favor, nor are you in a position to contradict my point of view, especially because you have no alternate theory to offer.
Now. let me give this argument a philosophical twist. A great man once said
"Spectacular claims require spectacular evidence"

Let me remind you that for all these years we have been taking it for granted that God was the cause for the existence of the universe and even though the evidence offered by you was strong, it does nothing to disprove the theory put forward by me. So I request you to show me a shred of evidence which rubbishes my claims.

Thank you

P.S.: What exactly do you mean when you say that your opponent is supposed to refrain from making an argument in the fourth round??
Debate Round No. 2
warpedfx

Con

warpedfx forfeited this round.
Hemanth_Nambiar

Pro

Hemanth_Nambiar forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
warpedfx

Con

warpedfx forfeited this round.
Hemanth_Nambiar

Pro

Hemanth_Nambiar forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Sorry I didn't notice this until the voting period was over.

The answer to the final question is that if one of you argues first, then the other one should argue last. So if the responder (secondguy) argues first in the first round, then he shouldn't argue in the last round. That way, each side gets three arguments (in this four round debate). You went first, so he gets to go last. Secondguy's final round then (since he can't argue in the final round, and doesn't want to just let the time run out) should consist of something trivial, like, "Per the agreed rules, I don't get to argue in this round," or, "Vote for me."

Burden of proof: If you don't agree with the burden of proof, you shouldn't accept the debate. If you accept the debate, you shouldn't try to change the burden of proof.

Secondguy's first round:

"I am of the opinion that this argument holds water..."
"I firmly believe that" X "is a universal truth."
"I think that is an undisputed fact."

These aren't arguments. They are expressions of your own attitude.

The weight of scientific opinion is that many things are uncaused. So Secondguy is flagrantly wrong when he claims that the opposite opinion is undisputed. Nothing he says after that point can be accepted at face value, with the trust we'd give a stranger who had never made misrepresentations.

If Secondguy wants to call whatever came first "god," he shouldn't be capitalizing it. To call it "God" (captialized) is to speak of the Abrahamic god Jehovah (AKA Allah). If you want to prove that a god is the cause, you have to prove that the cause is a god. If you just want to name the cause "god," then you haven't proven anything.

Firstguy did good refutation in his first argument (second round post). Secondguy raised some good (refutable, but at least they were arguments) points in his second post, which were not refuted because the rest of the debate was forfeited out.
Posted by Hemanth_Nambiar 4 years ago
Hemanth_Nambiar
Oh, dammit, I logged on too late. Thought I had more time left...............to post my argument.
Posted by Hemanth_Nambiar 4 years ago
Hemanth_Nambiar
Its alright, however I got the impression that it was a strategic move or something like that. Just goes on to show how wild my imagination can be.
Posted by warpedfx 4 years ago
warpedfx
Sorry about that mate
Posted by warpedfx 4 years ago
warpedfx
damn it! So sorry, man. I had about half of my responses typed out and was going to finish it last night but I suddenly got real busy.... :(
Posted by warpedfx 4 years ago
warpedfx
it COULD be, but until they are proven as true they can't be called or treated as such.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
warpedfx wrote:
: No, I understand the difference between the validity of an argument and the soundness of one. I was
: forcefully told however that an argument with unproven premises in a valid argument is still sound.

Well, I suppose it could be sound. The test of soundness is that the form is valid and the premises true. If the premises are unproven, they might still be true. We just don't know whether they're true.

Nonetheless, if Pro undertakes to prove an argument to be sound, he has to prove not only the validity but the truth of the premises. If he fails on either count, then he fails to meet his burden. He must, therefore, lose the debate.
Posted by warpedfx 4 years ago
warpedfx
haha hopefully I can follow through
Posted by EricPrice 4 years ago
EricPrice
I wouldn't ask you to tip your hand.

But I would like to see this argument (you are a skilled debator, and you have an excellent case) be made more challenging and novel somehow. I am only making a request from your audience, that you provide us with a memorable show.
Posted by warpedfx 4 years ago
warpedfx
lmao oops, yeah I just copypasted.
No votes have been placed for this debate.