The Instigator
Nzrsaa
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
MikeNH
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is unsound

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/1/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 565 times Debate No: 41486
Debate Rounds (4)
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Nzrsaa

Con

The Kalam Cosmological argument is set out as follows:

1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2) The universe began to exist
3) Therefore the universe has a cause
4) The cause has to be God

1st round is for Pro's first argument to show why the Kalam is unsound. To make sure we get the same number of rounds, in the final round Pro should just write:
'no argument posted here as agreed'.

Good luck!
MikeNH

Pro

Thanks for the debate - I will be breaking down my major contentions into 2 main pieces that mostly address the first premise of this argument and the many fallacies therein.

Contention #1 - Circular Reasoning/Unstated Premise/Special Pleading

The first premise contains an unstated major premise that there are two categories, things that begin to exist (BE), and things that don't begin to exist (NBE). In order for the second category, things that didn't begin to exist, to be meaningful in any way, you would need to demonstrate that there exists something that didn't "begin". I'm not aware of anything that didn't begin to exist, and I'm not aware that such a category is meaningful in any way. To say that god is the only thing in this category that didn't begin to exist is special pleading. I don't and can't accept this unstated premise until it's demonstrated that this second category contains anything, and in order to do this you need to demonstrate it contains something other than god otherwise you are assuming god in your first premise and begging the question.

"To say that NBE must accommodate more than one item is not to say that it must contain more than one item. The set might actually contain only one of the eligible candidates. The cosmological argument could be made successful if it could be shown that NBE contains exactly one item from a plural set of possibilities, and if the winning candidate turns out to be a personal creator. The question of accommodation is not whether the set does not contain more or less than one item; it's whether it can not contain other than one. If it can not, then the argument is circular. It would be like a dictator staging an election that permits no other candidates but himself: it's rigged from the start." (1)


Contention #2 - Fallacy of Composition/Equivocation

Related to contention #1, the first premise refers to "everything" that exists. This is referring to all of the "things" in the universe - but what this also does is place the universe itself into that group in the third premise. This is the fallacy of composition to say that the traits of the set are also the traits of the whole, and the fallacy of equivocation to talk about the universe "beginning to exist" in the same way all the "things" in the universe "begin to exist".

"Example: "Each part of an airplane has the property of being unable to fly. Therefore the airplane has the property of being unable to fly." The conclusion doesn't follow because the only way to determine whether the airplane has the property of being able to fly or not would be to get outside the plane (set) and then make observations. Unfortunately we are stuck inside the universe, so any conclusions we can draw about individual components of the universe (within the set) do not necessarily apply to the set as a whole.

Kalam proponents believe God made the universe exist ex nihilo. But everything around us only "begins to exist" in a trivial sense, as rearrangements of preexisting, uncreated stuff. Since the universe is literally the only example of something truly "beginning to exist" from a previous state of nothingness, this means there is a sample set of one in this category, leaving no inductive support for the premise that "whatever begins to exist (ex nihilo) has a cause".

Once the argument is reformulated to take into account the hidden premises, it looks like this:

1. Every rearrangement of pre-existing matter has a cause. (supported by every observation, ever.)
2. The universe began to exist from absolute nonexistence, NOT from a rearrangement of pre-existing matter.
3. Therefore the universe has a cause.


In other words:

1. Every X has a cause.
2. The universe Y.
3. Therefore the universe has a cause." (2)

It also seems to make no sense to talk about causality without the concept of time, as the big bang was a creation of both time and space, so to say that god "caused" the universe to begin before there was even time, seems to me to be a nonsensical statement you would have to elaborate on. Causality is a notion that requires time, so how could god 'cause something' in the way you describe, without it?

Sources

(1) http://www.infidels.org...
(2) http://wiki.ironchariots.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Nzrsaa

Con

Hi Pro!

I'll divide my argument into 2 sections, one answering the objections, the other establishing why the Kalam is sound.

CIRCULAR REASONING
What Pro is actually describing is any deductive argument there is. To give an example of a deductive argument::
1) All men are mortal.
2) Plato is a man.
3) Therefore Plato is mortal.
I am not required to provide another member of the group of 'mortal' to prove the conclusion - the conclusion still follows that all men are mortal regardless of whether or not I give another member. The same is with the Kalam - I don't need to show something else that doesn't begin to exist to show that everything that begins to exist has a cause - everything either begins to exist, or it does not. This necessary truth cannot be question begging, or reasoning in a circle like my opponent is suggesting.
Nevertheless, Pro asks for another member of NBE, and I would say that numbers do not begin to exist. Mathmeticians and philosophers alike assert that numbers don't begin to exist, but rather are universal, necessary truths. The same could be said about shapes. Even if nothing existed at all, numbers and shapes will still be necessary truths - the concept of a square would still exist even if space and time did not.
So at no point does that mean that the argument is reasoning in a circle, or begging the question.

FALLACY OF COMPOSITION
Here, I would completely agree that if the Kalam was arguing that because everything within the universe that began to exist has a cause, therefore the universe has a cause, that would certainly be the fallacy of composition. However, I don't know of anyone who argues this. The reasons why we believe that the universe, beginning to exist then has a cause is because of three reasons:
1) Something cannot come from nothing; out of nothing, nothing comes. This is both a logical and metaphysical truth
2) If something can come from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why anything comes into being from nothing; why only universes and not anything else?
3) Common experience and scientific evidence confirm the premise. The statement 'everything that begins to exist has a cause' is constantly verified, and there is no evidence to the contrary. (Note: this is appealing to Inductive reasoning - not the fallacy of composition)

So at no point does the Kalam argue that because everything within the universe has a cause, therefore the universe itself has a cause. Rather, we offer 3 independent reasons to suggest that the first premise is true.

FALLACY OF EQUIVOCATION
Pro says that the everything only trivially begins to exist, and that the universe is the only thing to come into being from nothingness, so there is no inductive support for the premise.
However, 'begins to exist' only really means 'comes into being', i.e, everything that comes into being has a cause for it coming into being. The universe came into being, therefore the universe has a cause. If you re-word it like that, you find that the premise becomes much clearer. I would define something to 'begin to exist' if:
The thing exists at Time 'T', and there is no point prior to Time 'T', in which the thing exists.
So, you don't need to differentiate between those that begin to exist from nothing and those that begin to exist from something. because they have no relevance - all we really mean is that whatever comes into being has a cause.
Moreover, supporters of the Kalam, although they think do that the universe came into being 'ex nihilo', they also think that it came from an external cause - that is the whole point of the argument!
So, we do not need to include any sort of differentiation between nothingness and somethingness - they are all grouped under the set 'comes into being'.

TIME AND CREATION
Well, the answer is simultaneous causation; time came into being at the exact same moment as the universe was created. That is the view of many Christian Philosophers.
But regardless, why is it impossible for a timeless entity to cause something without time? I don't see any contradiction - you are committing the same fallacy you are accusing me of in the fallacy of composition! That because everything in the universe has causal relations in time, therefore actions without the universe have to have temporal causal relations. This is the same thing that Pro accuses me of, and so if he is to say that Premise 1 is to be false because of the fallacy of composition, he can't then commit the very same thing, when he says that all causes are in relation to time. If we are to go by my opponent's logic, for all we know there are no causal restrains without the universe.

SOUNDNESS OF THE KALAM
PREMISE 1
As I have already explained, there are 3 reasons why we believe premise 1 to be true:
1) Something cannot come from nothing.
2) If something can come from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why anything comes into being from nothing.
3) Common experience and scientific evidence confirm the premise. (appealing to inductive reasoning)

PREMISE 2
We have 2 main reasons to believe that the universe began to exist:
- Scientific evidence: By far the most accepted model about how the universe began is the Big Bang theorem - the universe expanded from a singularity a finite time ago.
The biggest progress concerning the beginning of the universe was established in 2003, when three leading cosmologists: Arvin Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin, were able to prove that any universe which has on average been expanding throughout its history, cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary. In other words, the universe began to exist.

- An actual infinite cannot be traversed. If someone was to go on a journey to an infinitely distant point in space, it wouldn't merely take them a long time to get there. The reality is, they would never get there. However long they had been travelling for, a part of the journey would still remain. They would never arrive at the destination, because infinite space cannot be traversed.
It is the same of someone were to count to infinity; it wouldn't just take a long time to count to infinity, but they would never get there. For however long they were counting, they would still only count to a finite number. It is not possible to traverse a set of numbers from 0 to infinity.
We can then apply this to the past, because if the past were infinite, it wouldn't merely take a long time to get there, but the present would never arrive. It doesn't matter how much time has passed, time would still be stuck in the infinite past.No matter how much time had passed, we would still be working through the infinite past.
However, we know that the present has arrived. The past can't be infinite - and therefore the universe came into being a finite time ago.

PREMISE 3
Premise 3 follows from the first 2 premises

PREMISE 4
What reasons do we have to think that the cause was God?
Well, the cause, bringing time and space into existence, has to be: timeless, immaterial, changeless, personal and hugely powerful. There are only 2 options that fit under these criteria - Abstract Objects (For example, numbers), or an unembodied mind or conscience (i.e 'God').
Abstract Objects cannot cause anything, so by deductive reasoning the cause of the universe is an unembodied mind, i.e God.

Sources:
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
http://www.philosophyofreligion.info...
http://www.philosophyofreligion.info...
MikeNH

Pro

Contention #1

"I am not required to provide another member of the group of 'mortal' to prove the conclusion - the conclusion still follows that all men are mortal regardless of whether or not I give another member. "

You're missing the point, and your argument you used to compare isn't a fair comparison. I didn't say you needed to produce another member of the group mortal - if you want to carry this metaphor what I was referring to was what is implied, immortal, and how the set is essentially meaningless.

"The curious clause “everything that begins to exist” implies that reality can be divided into two sets: items that begin to exist (BE), and those that do not (NBE). In order for this cosmological argument to work, NBE (if such a set is meaningful) cannot be empty[2], but more important, it must accommodate more than one item to avoid being simply a synonym for God. If God is the only object allowed in NBE, then BE is merely a mask for the Creator, and the premise “everything that begins to exist has a cause” is equivalent to “everything except God has a cause.” As with the earlier failures, this puts God into the definition of the premise of the argument that is supposed to prove God’s existence, and we are back to begging the question." (1)

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Contention #2

"Pro asks for another member of NBE, and I would say that numbers do not begin to exist. Mathmeticians and philosophers alike assert that numbers don't begin to exist, but rather are universal, necessary truths. The same could be said about shapes. Even if nothing existed at all, numbers and shapes will still be necessary truths - the concept of a square would still exist even if space and time did not."

This is another equivocation fallacy. Numbers and shapes don't "exist" in even remotely the same way as anything you're referring to in premise 1.

------------------------------------------------------------

Contention #3

"Here, I would completely agree that if the Kalam was arguing that because everything within the universe that began to exist has a cause, therefore the universe has a cause, that would certainly be the fallacy of composition. However, I don't know of anyone who argues this."

This is EXACTLY what your third premise, derived from 1 and 2, states. Almost word for word....

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

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Contention #4

"The reasons why we believe that the universe, beginning to exist then has a cause is because of three reasons:
1) Something cannot come from nothing; out of nothing, nothing comes. This is both a logical and metaphysical truth
2) If something can come from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why anything comes into being from nothing; why only universes and not anything else?"

I'm not sure you can demonstrate that these two claims are true. Can you? Also, while I am by no means an expert, and it's been said that if you claim you understand quantum mechanics it means you don't understand quantum mechanics, it seems that much of what we're learning from it demonstrates these two claims could in fact be demonstrably false. There's countless sources out there that talk about quantum fluctuations and the like, but all I can really honestly do is read it and pass it along - I'm no physicist. All I can say is that I'm not convinced that the absolute statement "something cannot come from nothing" is a meaningful or correct statement.

"There's nothing in the laws of physics which demands that the law of cause and effect be more than generalizations for interacting with the world above the quantum level. Within quantum mechanics there seems to be real counter examples to the first premise of the argument. "Everything that begins to exist has a cause." For example, when Carbon-14 decays to Carbon-12 the radioactive decay is a perfectly random causeless event and thus though the Carbon-12 began to exist it wasn't caused to exist. Likewise, when matter and antimatter (particle-antiparticle formations) such as electron-positron creation, they can be said to have started to exist but not to have been caused to exist. While radioactive decay of particle-antiparticle formation can be predicted and serves a function, such as stabilizing the atom and equaling out the energies from two-photon interactions, there is no reason why such a thing should happen at those specific space and time coordinates. The underlying probabilities can be calculated and are extremely accurate, but alien from the classical sense of cause and effect." (2)

---------------------------------------------------------------

Contention #5

"I would define something to 'begin to exist' if: The thing exists at Time 'T', and there is no point prior to Time 'T', in which the thing exists...... Moreover, supporters of the Kalam, although they think do that the universe came into being 'ex nihilo', they also think that it came from an external cause - that is the whole point of the argument!"

Once again, I'm not sure such a statement actually means anything. To talk about the literal moment in time T where the universe could be said to "exist", and then to say there's no point "prior to time T" is nonsensical because TIME ITSELF didn't exist. Nothing stated in a temporal sense, such as causality, is meaningful without time.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Contention #6

"But regardless, why is it impossible for a timeless entity to cause something without time? I don't see any contradiction..."

I didn't say it was impossible, but it's nonsensical. Causality, by definition, requires time.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Contention #7

"That because everything in the universe has causal relations in time, therefore actions without the universe have to have temporal causal relations."


This is absolutely NO WAY follows. How can you talk about things in the universe and based on that conclude something about actions without the universe? Once again, this is essentially a meaningless assertion.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Contention #8

"If we are to go by my opponent's logic, for all we know there are no causal restrains without the universe."

So what? We have no reason to think the concept of causality makes any sense if the universe, and therefore time, don't exist. Why do you think that statement makes any sense?

----------------------------------------------------------------

Sources


(1) http://www.infidels.org...
(2) http://wiki.ironchariots.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Nzrsaa

Con

Hi Pro!

I will respond to each contention as you laid them out.

CONTENTION 1

Ah right, I think i know what you are getting at. It's wrong, but i get it. It is wrong because the objection confuses meaning and reference. If God is the sole member of NBE, then the two have the same referent - they pick out the same thing. But, it does not mean that the two statements have the same meaning; because if you knew one statement to be true, then you would know the other to be as well - in which case, the argument would be circular like Pro is suggesting. However, this is not the case. So the argument is neither circular, nor begging the question.

CONTENTION 2
Pro asked for another member of NBE, and I gave him one. But, he does not think that they can be used. I would like to stress that they can, but I will give another example anyway. As Quentin Smith states, a Timeless Space also does not begin to exist. [1]

CONTENTION 3
No! At no point did I argue, that because everything WITHIN the universe has a cause, therefore the universe has a cause. I never argued that! Instead, I gave 3 independent reasons why we should believe that everything that exists has a cause. If I was committing the fallacy of composition, the argument would go like this:

1) Everything within the universe that began to exist has a cause
2) the universe began to exist
3) Therefore the universe has a cause

This would blatantly be a fallacy of composition. But, I gave reasons to believe that EVERYTHING that begins to exist, has a cause. Not just the things inside of the universe. I said: Something cannot come from nothing. Then, if something can come from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why anything comes into being from nothing. And, I appealed to inductive reasoning to suggest the truth of the 1st premise. At no point did I say that because everything inside of the universe has a cause, therefore the universe has a cause. Because that would obviously be a flagerent use of the fallacy of composition. But no-one has argued that in this debate.

CONTENTION 4
Pro asks if I can prove the 2 claims to be true. Well, we can appeal to inductive reasoning, yes. Just like most scientific theories - for example, in the special theory of relativity, the whole thing hinges on the assumption that the append of light is constant in a straight line between 2 points. [2] But, essentially all scientists accept this. Why? Because of inductive reasoning. This is entirely acceptable to believe, because of the same rules of logic we use in the Kalam. Additionally, we have absolutely no reason to believe that the laws of causality is abolished without the universe. What qualities does nothingness have that means that the causality principle is abolished? Nothingness is just that - no matter, no energy - nothing. It is entirely up to you to prove that the same rules of causality do not exist. Because we are appealing to inductive reasoning. You are just guessing, and so you must provide proof.
I concur with you with quantum physics - my knowledge is not good enough and so I too will give you quotes

" the modern picture of the quantum vacuum differs radically from the classical and everyday meaning of a vacuum-- nothing. . . . The quantum vacuum (or vacuua, as there can exist many) states . . . are defined simply as local, or global, energy minima " [3]

" The microstructure of the quantum vacuum is a sea of continually forming and dissolving particles which borrow energy from the vacuum for their brief existence. A quantum vacuum is thus far from nothing, and vacuum fluctuations do not constitute an exception to the principle that whatever begins to exist has a cause " [4]

So, Quantum Events don't provide an exception to the causal principle - there is still a cause there, even if it is on a quantum scale.

CONTENTION 5
The statement is meaningful Because it removes the need for time BEFORE the event itself. The causal agent can be simultaneous to the event.
But in this way, we can argue that actually ALL effects are simultaneous with their causes. Imagine A is the cause, and B is the effect. If A were to vanish before the time at which B is produced, would B nevertheless come into being? Of course not. But if time is continuous, then no matter how close to B's appearance A's disappearance takes place, there will always be an interval of time between A's disappearance and B's appearance. But then why or how B came into being when it does seems utterly mysterious, for there is no cause at that moment to produce it.
So, considering all causation is in fact simultaneous, causality IS meaningful, even when there is no time before the event.

CONTENTION 6
I have explained in Contention 5 to answer to Contention 6.

CONTENTION 7
Yes, I know it does not follow. But it was not meant to, it was not an argument. I was suggesting that in the previous contention that you gave, you were committing the very same thing that you accused the Kalam of doing. You argued that the same causal relations may not exist outside of the universe and so the 1st premise cannot be applied. But, you then said that causal relations DON'T apply differently to timeless entities and that causal relations ONLY exist inside of time. You were self-refuting yourself; that was the point I was trying to give.

CONTENTION 8
This is the same point I made in Contention 7.

Sources:
[1] http://www.leaderu.com...
[2] http://www.physics.org...
[3] Barrow, J. and Tipler, F.J. (1986), The Cosmological Anthropic Principle - Page 440
[4] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
MikeNH

Pro

Contention #1

"If God is the sole member of NBE, then the two have the same referent - they pick out the same thing. But, it does not mean that the two statements have the same meaning; because if you knew one statement to be true, then you would know the other to be as well - in which case, the argument would be circular like Pro is suggesting. However, this is not the case. So the argument is neither circular, nor begging the question."

What exactly do you mean? As far as I can tell, you've simply asserted it's not circular, without explaining why/how. I'm apologize for my being dense, but your response doesn't really make clear your contention.

------------------------------------------------

Contention #2

"Pro asked for another member of NBE, and I gave him one. But, he does not think that they can be used. I would like to stress that they can, but I will give another example anyway. As Quentin Smith states, a Timeless Space also does not begin to exist."

You didn't give me one. You gave me concepts that 'exist', but this is a MASSIVELY different usage of the term exists. Numbers and shapes simply don't exist in the same way that "things" (matter) exists - which precisely demonstrates the equivocation fallacy you're making.

You also mention "timeless space" as being in the category of NBE. The distinction that you fail to make here is that you're arguing that god exists and is in the category of things that didn't 'begin to exist' (NBE). I don't know where you get the idea that a timeless space exists. If you don't think a timeless space exists AND didn't begin to exist, then your point is simply invalid. Once again, you are left with NBE == God, which is a circular argument in the an unstated major premise in P1.

------------------------------------------------

Contention #3

"If I was committing the fallacy of composition, the argument would go like this:

1) Everything within the universe that began to exist has a cause
2) the universe began to exist
3) Therefore the universe has a cause

This would blatantly be a fallacy of composition. But, I gave reasons to believe that EVERYTHING that begins to exist, has a cause. Not just the things inside of the universe."

The Kalam is broken into 4 pieces, which you outline in your opening remarks. The ONLY difference between what you just admitted was fallacious above and the first three premises to the kalam is as follows:

Original P1:
"Everything that begins to exist has a cause"

Admittedly Fallacious P1:
"Everything within the universe that began to exist has a cause"

The only things that we claim "begin to exist" and that "have a cause" are things in the universe. That is ALL WE KNOW anything about. If you conclude in the 3rd premise that "therefore the universe has a cause" that directly implies that you didn't include the universe itself in the first premise, and if you talk about "everything" and remove the universe itself from that list, you are left only with everything within the universe. Which means you are basically using "everything" and "everything within the universe" interchangeably, which means these two premises above are essentially identical.

You MUST explain why this is false, or you have simply admitted that your argument is fallacious. In order to do demonstrate that the two premises above are not the same, you would have to show me something that "begins to exist" that isn't 'within the universe' and isn't the universe itself.

------------------------------------------------

Contention #4

"I said: Something cannot come from nothing. Then, if something can come from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why anything comes into being from nothing."

Your assertion that 'something cannot come from nothing' is an unsubstantiated claim. I don't know how you could even demonstrate this claim - can you? I did link to some information regarding quantum mechanics, in which it seems quite plausible that particles do in fact essentially "come from nothing" and most quantum physicists I've read have shown that this is extremely common in our universe and doesn't violate any known laws of physics. I'm simply not willing to accept the assertion that something cannot come from nothing.

Also, you claim that something "becomes inexplicable". This is another fallacy, an argument from ignorance. Just because you can explain it, doesn't mean we won't explain it, we can't explain it, or god must have done it - all we can conclude is that we don't know.

------------------------------------------------

Contention #5

"What qualities does nothingness have that means that the causality principle is abolished? Nothingness is just that - no matter, no energy - nothing. It is entirely up to you to prove that the same rules of causality do not exist. Because we are appealing to inductive reasoning. You are just guessing, and so you must provide proof."

I'm not guessing, and no "proof" is required, because it's true BY DEFINITION. Causality describes some event/action/outcome that is 'caused' by some preceding event/action/outcome. The key word there is 'preceding'. This is why you can't change the past, because causality works in one direction in time. If we say that some event E1 caused some event E2, E1 must necessarily be BEFORE E2. This requires TIME. As far as we know, time began when the universe began, so to talk about time outside of the universe involves exactly what you said, "guessing".

------------------------------------------------

Contention #6

"I concur with you with quantum physics - my knowledge is not good enough and so I too will give you quotes"

As both agreed, quantum mechanics is over both of our heads. All we can do is appeal to authorities. With this in mind, I'm simply not willing to accept the claim that "something cannot come from nothing" when much of what I read from top physicists seems to point to that not necessarily being true.

------------------------------------------------

Contention #7

"So, considering all causation is in fact simultaneous, causality IS meaningful, even when there is no time before the event."

As far as I can tell, once again, this may as well be word salad. Causation is NOT simultaneous, BY DEFINITION.

"Physically speaking, the perception of cause and effect in the dropped cup example is a phenomenon of the thermodynamics arrow of time, a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics. (1) Controlling the future, or causing something to happen, creates correlations between the doer and the effect, (2) and these can only be created as we move forwards in time, not backwards."

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Contention #8

"You argued that the same causal relations may not exist outside of the universe and so the 1st premise cannot be applied. But, you then said that causal relations DON'T apply differently to timeless entities and that causal relations ONLY exist inside of time. You were self-refuting yourself; that was the point I was trying to give."

This simply isn't the case. I've repeatedly pointed out that the arrow of time is implicit to the concept of causality, that in order to say an event caused another event, the causal event must have occurred PRIOR to the caused event - which means to talk about causality without time is nonsense.

------------------------------------------------

Sources:

(1) Physical Origins of Time Asymmetry, pp. 109-111.
(2) Physical Origins of Time Asymmetry, chapter 6
Debate Round No. 3
Nzrsaa

Con

Hi Pro

CONTENTION 1
What I mean is that if God is the only member of NBE, then the 2 expressions: 'everything that doesn't begin to exist' and 'God' have the same referent. That is, they refer to the same thing. If the two had the same meaning, then it would be more like 'a Maximally Great Being' and 'God', and if you knew 'there exists a Maximally Great Being' to be true, then 'God exists' would also be true. However, if you were given the statement 'everything that doesn't begin to exist', you could not then conclude that 'God exists'. Rather, 'God' is a sub-set of 'everything that doesn't begin to exist', so they pick out the same thing.
So if an argument picks out the same meaning, then it would most certainly be question begging. However if they pick out the same referent - like the Kalam does - then it is merely a good deductive argument.
What the objection essentially is, is the law of excluded middle [1] - everything either begins to exist or it does not. This is not question begging, nor circular, but is a necessary truth.
I hope this helps.

CONTENTION 2
It is not relevant what usage of terms I am using, or whether numbers and shapes physically exist or not. Another member of NBE is numbers. Or shapes. They come under the set 'not beginning to exist'. Their properties are a different matter all together.
As with a timeless space, I would think that a space that travels at the speed of light for an eternity in an infinite universe world would be timeless. So I think that it is entirely possible, yes.
Regardless, I have already explained in Contention 1 why I don't need to provide another member of NBE. I have, bu I don't need to.

CONTENTION 3
Let's get this clear. I give 2 reasons to believe that whatever begins to exist has a cause. These reasons are independent to the universe. They are indented to apply to everything. I am not citing our experience in the universe to claim that everything that begins to exist has a cause; instead I am referring to the logical absurdity of the claim that something can come from nothing.

CONTENTION 4
Pro asks whether we can prove the claim. Well, we can use inductive reasoning, yes. We can say, 'this is more plausibly true than not', and so it is the job of the objector to prove that it actually is not more plausibly true than not.
Again, Physics isn't my strong point. But as far as I know, the quantum vacuum is not 'nothing' - rather, it is a sea of fluctuating energy.
Pro then accuses me of using an argument from ignorance but, the point is that there is 'nothing' everywhere in the universe - not everywhere is inhabited by either matter or energy. If something can come from nothing, and there is nothing everywhere in the universe, then we should be observing many things coming into being - other stars, planets, other universes. That is the general point I was trying to make.

CONTENTION 5
Pro decides to ignore my argument about all causality being ultimately simultaneous. I'll repeat it, showing that actually by definition, causality is simultaneous.
The definition of 'coming into being':
The thing exists at Time 'T', and there is no point prior to Time 'T', in which the thing exists.
Upon this definition, time comes into being at time T. There was no time prior to when time existed. So, that is fine and no disagreements here.
In terms of simultaneous causation: if A is the cause, and B is the effect. If A were to disappear before the time at which B is produced, would B nevertheless come into being? Of course not. But if time is continuous, then no matter how close to B's appearance A's disappearance takes place, there will always be an interval of time between A's disappearance and B's appearance. But then why or how B comes into being is unknown. Because there is no cause at the moment to produce it.
So I have explained why actually all causation is simultaneous. Causation can occur even without a prior moment of time.

CONTENTION 6
We both agree that we don't know enough about quantum physics and so we both appeal to authority. But, from all of the top physicists I have encountered, the vacuum is not 'nothing' - rather, there is energy that fluctuates, which brings a very small amount of matter into being, which then almost immediately goes back into non-existence.

CONTENTION 7
I explained why Pro is wrong in Contention 5.

CONTENTION 8
I explained in Contention 7 why Pro is not right here. Again, using what Pro asserte, for all we know, causation is different outside of the universe compared to inside of the universe. I guess you could say that Pro is committing the fallacy of composition!

Thanks for the great debate, Pro!
God Bless

Sources:
[1] http://www.princeton.edu...
MikeNH

Pro

Contention #1

"What the objection essentially is, is the law of excluded middle [1] - everything either begins to exist or it does not. This is not question begging, nor circular, but is a necessary truth.
I hope this helps."

I'm sorry but I still don't see how this is a valid objection. If you think that the claim "everything either begins to exist or it does not" is true, you have to accept one of the following:

1) God began to exist
2) God didn't begin to exist

I highly doubt you accept the first, so if you accept the second you are essentially claiming that god exists but didn't begin to exist. What you have failed to do is establish that the concept of existing without beginning to exist (NBE) is something more than just imaginary. To demonstrate (as best as I can) the fallacy you are committing, I will provide a similar claim.

(original) "Everything that begins to exist has a cause"
(my claim) "Every bicycle with two wheels was assembled."

Just like "everything that begins to exist", the idea that "every bicycle with two wheels" seems to be a category redundancy. Bicycles by defintion have two wheels, and "everything" that we know of that we can speak about that exists in any non-conceptual way, unlike shapes and numbers which I'll get to in contention #2, "began to exist".

The first claim is the same as the second in another way, namely the category of bicycles that arent assembled is nonsense. A bicycle is made up of parts that need to be put together - that is to say the category of 'bicycles that are not assembled' as a concept exists, but to say that anything exists or could exist in such a category is silly.

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Contention #2

"It is not relevant what usage of terms I am using, or whether numbers and shapes physically exist or not. Another member of NBE is numbers. Or shapes. They come under the set 'not beginning to exist'. Their properties are a different matter all together."

It is EXTREMELY relevant. Once again, this is STILL the equivocation fallacy. I don't know how many times I'd have to point it out, but you are simply not using the term exist in the same way when you talk about "things", which is basically matter/energy, and concepts like numbers and shapes. They don't exist in the same way, so you can't put them in the same category group as P1. It's like saying the sky is blue in the same way I'm blue when I'm sad.

As far as I can tell, as you have yet to demonstrate otherwise, the category 'doesn't begin to exist' (NBE) is indistinguishable from 'doesn't exist at all'.

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Contention #3

"Let's get this clear. I give 2 reasons to believe that whatever begins to exist has a cause. These reasons are independent to the universe. They are indented to apply to everything. I am not citing our experience in the universe to claim that everything that begins to exist has a cause; instead I am referring to the logical absurdity of the claim that something can come from nothing."

First of all, you gave three reasons in round 2 - one of which was "Common experience and scientific evidence confirm the premise." - so you completely lost me when you say you are not citing experience in the universe.

Secondly, another of those reasons, "If something can come from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why anything comes into being from nothing." is a blatant argument from ignorance. Because you can't explain it, doesn't mean it's not necessarily true.

I'll refer the readers back to contention 3 in my previous round and leave it up to them to decide if you've answered my very clear objection.

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Contention #4

"We can say, 'this is more plausibly true than not', and so it is the job of the objector to prove that it actually is not more plausibly true than not."

How could I even begin to discuss plausbility of a claim like "something cannot come from nothing"? Do we actually have an example of "nothing" to reference to determine something cannot come from it? The following video explaines PERFECTLY this exact discussion we're having:



Also, it seems you've now downgraded your first premise from something necessarily true, to something most-likely true. You're essentially now arguing based on probability. Logic based on probability, as discussed in the video, isn't the same as normal syllogistic logic. EVEN IF your argument didn't have the fallacies in it I've continuously pointed out, the best you could ever hope to acheive with this type of reasoning is to show that God probably created the universe, but considering all the other holes in the argument I'd say even that is not the case.

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Contention #5

"In terms of simultaneous causation: if A is the cause, and B is the effect. If A were to disappear before the time at which B is produced, would B nevertheless come into being? Of course not..[snip]...So I have explained why actually all causation is simultaneous. Causation can occur even without a prior moment of time."

The notion that "all causation is simultaneous" is nonsensical - for the readers/voters out there - imagine any cause/effect and if you were to plot them on a line in time would the cause be at the same point as the effect? Anything that immediately comes to mind involves the cause preceding the effect in some distance in time. If I scream right now I will startle my fiance sitting next to me, but my screaming involves vibrations in the air passing from my lungs through the room into her ears, etc... The effect of her being startled happens some time in the future from the effect. If I throw a ball it takes a second to hit the wall. If I turn on the light it takes time for those photons to travel bounce of all the surfaces in the room and fill it up with light. The effect is always some point in the future from the cause. This is causation 101.

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Contention #6

"I explained in Contention 7 why Pro is not right here. Again, using what Pro asserte, for all we know, causation is different outside of the universe compared to inside of the universe. I guess you could say that Pro is committing the fallacy of composition!"

Once again, I'm sorry to keep having to say this, but this is nonsense. The notion of "outside of the universe" is as vague and nonsensical as "before time" - they are both concepts we cannot talk about because we can't even begin to understand if the concepts make any sense, and as far as we know they do not. I again put myself in the good keeping of the readers/voters here in deciding if those statements are meaningful in any way.

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Conclusion

I'll leave the readers with this as a final thought:

"Although some other variation of the Kalām argument or Cosmological argument may be internally consistent even if all the terms given are agreed upon by all parties concerned, the argument actually makes no effort to demonstrate anything tangible in nature regarding the manifestation of a God. An example analogous to the Kalām argument would be a geometry proof on some type of polygon. Even though the entire table of proofs is totally internally consistent, it does not demonstrate that the actual polygon exists in nature. An exhaustive effort to prove all the angles of a triangle will always add up to 180 degrees says nothing about whether or not triangles exist.

Even if you accept Kalām, it does not distinguish between a timeless multiverse, a timeless deity, or any other timeless process that might give rise to a universe." (1)

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Sources

(1) http://wiki.ironchariots.org...;

Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Babayetu 3 years ago
Babayetu
The Kalam Cosmological Argument is unsound because the 4th premise assumes God for no other reason than because it was stated by a monotheist . You can replace the word God with "magical universe building pixies" and the argument still "works". It doesn't prove God, it proves absolutely anything you like, whatsoever, so long as you accept that the thing you posit doesn't have a cause thus rendering the argument invalid anyway.

1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2) The universe began to exist
3) Therefore the universe has a cause
4) The cause has to be a pink polka dot teapot that has always existed

It just doesn't work.
Posted by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
Can you put in your R1 argument that the conclusion from that argument was that an intelligent designer created the universe? Also, can you make the time to argue 72 hours.
Posted by Nzrsaa 3 years ago
Nzrsaa
Just edited it, added 4th premise for an argument for God.
Posted by Nzrsaa 3 years ago
Nzrsaa
Hi 2-D

"Couldn't this be used as an argument for the big bang or alternate theories that may acknowledge a beginning of time? I'm asking, of course, because this is typically used for a form of God."
Yes, I guess so. Of course, there is more to explain in the argument than just those 3 premises to argue for a creator, but sure it can be used to argue for a beginning of time. But the Kalam is an argument for the existence of God, and that is what it's meant for. So in this debate it is arguing for the existence of God,

"Are you still accepting the BoP? Kalam is making a positive claim of a cause and you're asking Pro to negate the existence of this claim which seems like a reversal. This could be construed as asking Pro to prove there was not a cause."
I think that for this debate, the BoP is shared. I should explain why the Kalam is sound, and Con should show why it's unsound. (for a creator of the universe. Maybe I should have put that in.)
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
Couldn't this be used as an argument for the big bang or alternate theories that may acknowledge a beginning of time? I'm asking, of course, because this is typically used for a form of God.

Are you still accepting the BoP? Kalam is making a positive claim of a cause and you're asking Pro to negate the existence of this claim which seems like a reversal. This could be construed as asking Pro to prove there was not a cause.
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