The Instigator
warpedfx
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
Mr.Infidel
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument proves the existence of a Personal Creator

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
warpedfx
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/5/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,657 times Debate No: 19684
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (4)

 

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 what arises from a cosmic expansion, but an actual creation of its materia- energy.
Mr.Infidel

Pro

I would like to thank my friend and my partner for instigating this debate. In this debate, I will argue that the KCA proves that there exists a personal creator (i.e., God).

I. Formulation

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

This is a deductive argument; meaning that if the premises are true and valid, then the conclusion is true as well. [1] We see this fact when we change words to symbols:

1) All A's have a C.
2) The U is an A.
3) Therefore, the U has a C.

II. Whatever begins to exist has a cause

This premise is an obvious truth--at least more so than its negation. Firstly, it is rooted in the necessary truth that something cannot come into being uncaused from nothing. To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused is unwarrented. Moreover, if something can come into being uncaused, then it's inexplicable why just anything and everything do not come into existence uncaused from nothing. Finally, this is confirmed in our experiences as we see things that begin to exist being brought about by prior causes. [2]

Indeed, we see premise 1 as a necessary truth. David Oderberg argues:

We are asked to countenance the possibility of the following situation: the nonexistence of anything followed by the existence of something. The words “followed by” are crucial — how are they to be interpreted? What they cannot mean is that there is at one time nothing and at a subsequent time something, because the nonexistence of anything is supposed toinclude time: to say that at one time there is nothing whatsoever is self-defeating because it is to say that there is a time at which nothing exists — hence something did exist. But it is hard to see how else we are supposed to understand “followed by”; or when the denier of the causal principle says that it is possible for something to come from nothing what are we to understand by “from”? Again it cannot have a causal sense because something is supposed to have come into existence uncaused. All that appears to be left is a timeless contradiction — the existence of nothing and the existence of something. [3]


Finally, we should note that this premise does not violate our current knowlege of quantum mechanics for they are dependant upon the pre-existence of the vaccum.

III. The universe began to exist

This premise is supported by both philisophical and scientific evidence.

A. Philisophical

i) There cannot have been an infinite regress of past events. In other words, the series of past events MUST be finite and have had a beginning. We know that it is impossible for an actually infinite number of things to exist; therefore, an infinite number of past events simply cannot exist. Let us not loook at a philiosophical paradox that result if an infinite number can exist. [4]

ii) Hilbert's hotel

Contradiction argues [5]:

Suppose that we have a hotel with an actually infinite number of rooms and that an actually infinite number of guests arrives. The manager easily accomodates the guests, and that's that. But now suppose that another guest arrives. "No problem!" says the manger, and he moves the guest in room #1 into room #2, the guest in room #2, into room #3, and so on. In a flash, the fully occupied hotel suddenly has one more room. But how can this be? The hotel was already full!

Now suppose that an actually infinite number of new guests arrives looking for rooms. Without breaking a sweat, the manager moves each guest into a room that is twice his own. As a result, all of the odd numbered rooms become vacant, and the guests are accomodated without issue. But again, how can this be? The hotel was already full prior to their arrival! But now suppose that all of the guests in the even numbered rooms check out. It would still be the case that the hotel had just as many guests as before. In fact, with some re-arranging, the manager could turn his half empty hotel into one that's jam-packed. But how can this be?

Hilbert's hotel is rightly absurd, and it illustrates the absurdities that could result if actually infinite sets did exist in reality. Because mathematical operations involving actually infinite sets lead to contradictions, they cannot exist in reality.

B. Scientific

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics predicts that a FINITE amount of time, the universe will grind down to a cold, dark, dilute, and lifeless state. But if it has already existed for an infinite amount of time; then the universe should now be in that desolate state. Therefore, scientist have concluded that the universe existed a finite time ago and is now in the process of winding down. [6]

IV. Therefore, the universe has a cause

We have already concluded the universe has a cause. But why think that this cause is God? Well, contradiction argues:

It must be noted that since there is nothing prior to the cause of the universe, it cannot be explained scientifically, as this would imply the existence of antecedent determining conditions. Hence, because there are no prior determining conditions, the cause of the universe must be personal and uncaused. Moreover, the cause must transcend space both matter and time to create both matter and time. It must also be changeless, since there was no time prior to the creation of the universe. Interestingly enough, this also lends credibility to the notion that the cause was personal, for how else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect? It seems that the only way this could be possible is if the cause was a free agent who has the ability to effect a change; for if the cause of the universe was impersonal, then it would not have created. We are therefore warranted in concluding that God exists. [7]


V. Conclusion

I believe I have defended all premises according to the rules of the debate. I have shown that the universe MUST have a cause; and to say that G-d did it is warrented.


Bibliography

1. "The Cosmological Argument: The Kalam Version." http://www.damaris.org...

2. Craig, William. "Five Arguments for God." http://www.henrycenter.org...;

3. David S. Oderberg, "Traversal of the Infinite, the “Big Bang” and the Kalam Cosmological Argument", Philosophia Christi 4 (2002): 305-36 quoted in Kohai-vs.-Contradiction debate http://www.debate.org...;

4. Craig, William. "Five Arguments for God." http://www.henrycenter.org...;

5. Kohai-vs.-Contradiction debate "The Kalam Cosmological Argument." http://www.debate.org...;

6. See sources 2 and 3

7. Kohai-vs.-Contradiction: "There is no God." http://www.debate.org...;[round 2]
Debate Round No. 1
warpedfx

Con


I thank my opponent for tacking this interesting topic.



Premise 1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.



My opponent argues that this is an uncontroversial premise- that of course, something cannot come into being uncaused from nothing- that all things come from something caused by another. Indeed, I would be hard pressed to come up with a counterexample of an a creation ex nihilo that is also without cause. Even common examples of such “a-causal beginnings” such as quantum fluctuation involve not “nothing” but a quantum vacuum, and the “cause” is, though very loosely termed thus, the nature of quantum fields- the Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty.



Does this mean I therefore concede to this premise?



Not exactly. Just as we haven’t observed anything coming into existence out of nothing without cause, we similarly have not observed anything coming into existence, at least in the sense that the KCA must adhere to. Allforms of “beginnings” thus far involve creation ex material.Something from something. Strictly speaking they are emergent forms of arrangement from pre-existing matter/energy. It’s also worth noting that just as we have no observed something coming existing uncaused out of nothing, we have also not observed something coming into existence outside of time- that is, causality itself is rooted in going from a prior instance to a subsequent.



So the first premise is controversial in that regard.



Premise 2: The universe began to exist.



My opponent notes there are 2 main cases to be made to support the notion that the universe began to exist- philosophical and scientific. Both of which suffer problems.



Philosophical:


My opponent cites the argument against actual infinity to make the claim that because actual infinity cannot exist in reality, therefore an infinite time cannot have passed and thus there necessarily must’ve been a beginning. The problem of course is in the argument itself- the Hilbert’s Hotel Paradox example that is itself problematic. It attempts to treat infinity (which is a valid mathematical concept that is used in physics all the time) as if it were finite. A hotel with infinitely many rooms would not become “filled” to begin with- it would simply continue to be filled. To say an “infinitely many number of rooms” would be filled by “infinite number of guests” is like trying to put a stopper to infinity itself- an absurd concept. It only highlights the peculiar nature of infinity itself- after all, there infinite number of “all integers” as “all negative integers” even though it would mean there are “half-an-infinity” if we were to treat it as a finite number.



Conceding this argument ultimately poses a deeper problem, however, with the crucial part of the argument- the third premise, which I will discuss in the appropriate part.



Scientific:


Unfortunately my opponent drops the ball with regards to scientific evidence to point to a beginning of the universe to argue that the second law of thermodynamics means that the universe must have begun since if an infinite time were to have gone by, we would’ve entered a “heat death” a long ago. In fact, this seeming problem to a “beginningless universe” is in fact not a problem at all. Simply put, all there needs to be is a moment in which there was a change in equilibrium. Something like the event that had occurred approximately 14 billion years ago, called the Big Bang. As for the universe being “created” from the Big Bang, it’s worth noting the fact that this “creation” that the cosmologists allude to is in fact qualitatively different than a creation ex nihilo. In fact, NO current pre-planck cosmology, whether it be the Borde Guth Vilenkin theorem or Aguirre-Gratton’s infinite universe (which in fact would refute the notion of infinity being an impossibility since this theorem currently stands scrutiny) violate the First Law of Thermodynamics- that energy cannot be created or destroyed.



Furthermore, current cosmology posits a very different understanding of time itself. It is linked to space and hence forms a spacetime. What does this mean? It means that time isn’t understood in the classical, philosophical sense of simply the transition from a “prior instance” to “subsequent”- something that the universe itself would go through since the universe is composed OF time. This in turn indicates that even if time were to begin, the “universe” (defined in the more general “energy” or “all that exists”) needs not to have been created- rather, time would arise from the very nature of this energy. This was a possibility that Vilenkin has noted in his 1982 paper with regards to quantum tunnelling, which his work with Borde and Guth further explore. This leads to:



Premise 3: the universe has a cause.



As I noted in Premise 1, causality is rooted in time. If time (as understood in the classical philosophical sense of transition alluded previously) were to have begun, then that means the creator of the universe would, since it were the creator OF time, be timeless. But how can this be? In fact, how can a timeless personal being exist? For mind to function- to think, to form a will- requires time to pre-exist. Without it, the very notion of “beginning” is meaningless, or worse, incoherent. The defender of the KCA is therefore left to make a very nonsensical statement of “there was nothing- no time- before the creation of the universe, then the universe and time were created.” To deny the pre-existence of time for causality and thought is to deny the very idea of creation. However, if time were therefore to not have been created, then the argument against actual infinity would be moot.



What about the physicist’s understanding of time, which presumably would help the defender escape this trap? The problem is that by doing so the argument is instead left with another solution than the one that the KCA ultimately argues for, and thus via Ockam’s Razor, it falls apart.


Mr.Infidel

Pro

Thank you for a superb (and speedy) reply. As I only have 7 hours left, I may not be able to respond to everything.

I. Whatever begins to exist has a cause

To this, my partner agrees that we have not seen anything come from nothing. Moreover, he argues that it is an argument from ignorance. However, I believe I have demonstrated that to be false.

II. The universe began to exist

A. Phiisophical

My partner argument shows a lack of understanding of the argument by arguing that infinite numbers do not behave as finite numbers. This paradox does not begin with a finite number and then proceed to reason that there is something problematic. Indeed, they stipulate that actual infinites are possible in reality and then proceed to show that inverse operation of mathematics cannot apply, as they would lead to contradictions. As such, actual infinites cannot exist in reality. This is argumentum ad absurdum. [1]

B. Scientific

My partner argues in favor of the Big Bang. However, the BBT has came under serious damage lately with the revelation of the particle that travels faster than light. [2] Moreover, there are also many other problems with the BBT. It is not as sound as one may think (even if we resolve that precedent problem).

Thank you. I am sorry if I failed to respond to everything (been very busy)!

References

1. http://www.debate.org...

2. http://www.nytimes.com...;

Debate Round No. 2
warpedfx

Con

It's unfortunate that the time constraints provided by the site has left my opponent unable to provide his response to his satisfaction, and I hope this will not be a trend in this debate since I do think he has interesting points to raise regarding the topic at hand.

Now:

Premise 1:Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

My opponent seems to have misunderstood the crux of the argument with regards to my objections to the first premise, in that my point was that it makes assertions which are not supported by either logic or evidence. Just as we do not see anything coming from nothing uncaused, we have not seen anything truly begin to exist in a creation sense that the argument requires it be defined. Furthermore, it's worth pointing out that we have not seen anything being caused to exist outside of time. In fact, it's worth pointing out that causality itself is rooted IN time, and that in physics atemporal causality holds no meaning.

Premise 2: The universe began to exist

A: Philosophical Argument against Actual Infinity:
My opponent attempts to address my objection to the Hilbert Hotel Paradox in pointing out rightly that I argued that infinite numbers do not behave like finite numbers. I however have a question for him. It is well known that actual infinity is often used in mathematics and in physics to describe a certain mathematical feature or a feature of reality. What's also known and accepted is that this is done despite the fact that because it doesn't function like a finite number it leads to what are seeingly contradictions. Take all integers- there would be an actual infinity of "all integers" stretching both to the negatives and to the positives. If we were to take half of that- say only the negative integers, it would still be infinity. This is the kind of contradiction that my opponent refers to with regards to infinity. If we were to take infinity, and half of that infinity, shouldn't the latter be of lesser quantity? But then again, this only draws further emphasis on my argument that infinity does not function like a finite number. Despite this seeming contradiction mathematics works perfectly fine with infinity and it simply points to the uniqueness of actual infinity. The scientific case I believe, however, shows this is further rendered irrelevant.

B. Scientific Argument for the beginning of the universe
It seems my opponent is against the Big Bang theory, which puzzles me since it had been touted for many years as an evidence of the universe beginning. He further cites the new example of faster-than-light neutrinos which, though the results weren't confirmed to the point of it being established, is certainly interesting. However, this new finding is at best controversial. While I make no claim to its accuracy it is worth noting that because it is not yet established it cannot yet be used as a support for the critique of the big bang or of the general theory of relativity. My opponent is right to point out though, that there are problems with the standard theory of big bang. The problem is that it is incomplete due to the general theory of relativity breaking down at quantum levels. Given the controversial status of neutrinos, for the argument I will continue to refer to the Big Bang. Furthermore, this "beginning of the universe" does not meet the criteria of creation as my opening statements have pointed out that "the creation of the universe does not simply denote what arises from a cosmic expansion, but an actual creation of its materia- energy." Thus far, no science has shown this had ever taken place.

Mr.Infidel

Pro

As this is the final round, I do not wish to argue because I argued in the first round.

Voters, I now give this to you.

Good luck :-)
Debate Round No. 3
warpedfx

Con

I would like to summarize my points:

Premise 1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
Although I have not explicitly denied this premise, I have nonetheless pointed out several flaws and assumptions that the argument and defendants of the aid argument make regading "causality" and "beginning". The argument states that the universe- ie all that exists as outlined in the opening post has a beginning of existence and thus must've been caused. However, we do not have any evidence of things beginning to exist in the creation ex nihilo sense that the argument requires nor have we observed a timeless causation and hence the premise cannot function in conjunction with the next premise.

Premise 2: The universe began to exist.
My opponent has laid two arguments for the beginning of universe's existence- scientifc argument and the philosophical argument against actual infinity. His scientific argument was flawed in that his citing of the second law of thermodynamics was based on incorrect assumptions rearding thermodynamics in general (as well as ignoring the first law) which is refuted by the simple fact that the said expansion began a finite while ago but does not posit a creation at that time. His philosophical argument is much better handled but I believe it has issues in how it deals with infinity as well as the fact that if his contentions were true, calculating with infinity itself would be impossible. Nonetheless even granting his philosophical argument one simply needs to posit an alternative pre-planck viable cosmology such as Vilenkin's paper to at least provide an alternate possibility that avoids the issue altogether.

Premise 3: Therefore, the universe has a cause of existence.
This premise is where I argue the argument falls apart, since a "timeless personal being" is an incoherent concept which denies the passage of time (which is essential for mental activity) all the while affirming a mind creating thought to form a new substance- namely the universe.

vote for CON
Mr.Infidel

Pro

I'd like to apologize to my partner for not arguing in the previous round. I thought that the previous round was the final round. As I said, I don't like arguing in the final round when I argue in the 1st round.

vote con.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by warpedfx 5 years ago
warpedfx
care to elucidate?
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
pro didn't concede, also he had better sources. Pro should have won.
Posted by Mr.Infidel 5 years ago
Mr.Infidel
Thank you, social.
Posted by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
Intersting so far. The organization makes it so much easier to read through the debate. Kudos to both sides.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
warpedfxMr.InfidelTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pros round 3 error granted Con an obvious victory. But before that... Pro made a strong argument in round 1, however I would have been reluctant to accept it due to excessive paraphrasing. Still, Con still brought up some great counter arguments which Pro seemed to busy to respond too. Then came round 3... I would have enjoyed seeing this debate go the full 4.
Vote Placed by darris321 5 years ago
darris321
warpedfxMr.InfidelTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: "My partner argues in favor of the Big Bang. However, the BBT has came under serious damage lately with the revelation of the particle that travels faster than light. [2] Moreover, there are also many other problems with the BBT. It is not as sound as one may think (even if we resolve that precedent problem)." That little gem has caused me to give extra points to the con. Are you suggesting the Kalaam argument hasn't fallen under criticism? Is the existence of criticisman argument?
Vote Placed by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
warpedfxMr.InfidelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession by Pro.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 5 years ago
InVinoVeritas
warpedfxMr.InfidelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: the pro concedes that con won.