The Kalam Cosmological Argument
**Closed Debate - comment to accept
Full Premise: The Kalam Cosmological Argument is sound.
"Sound" is defined as "a logically valid argument that withstands all scrutiny."
Simply put - if Con can present evidence or argument that successfully dismantles the Kalam, Con wins.
Round 1 -
Pro: Intro/present argument
Con: 1st Rebuttal
Round 2 -
Round 3 -
Pro: Final response
Con: Only write "remarks complete."
Con may begin their rebuttal immediately of the following argument by showing that either the argument's form is invalid, the premises are incorrect, the conclusion is incorrect, or the conclusion does not follow from the premises.
== Kalam Cosmological Argument ==
P1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
P2: The universe began to exist.
C: Therefore, the universe has a cause which is necessarily transcendent of space/time. 
1.) The argument violates the rules of cosmology.
The Kalam hypothesis violates itself by presuming the title of a cosmological argument. Cosmology is study, based on observation of the universe, which presents a hypothesis of origin that must be testable to become a theory. Cosmology is based in the philosophy of science while the Kalam hypothesis merely borrows from science after violating one of the foundations required by science: that of inference from deduction rather than induction.
I point to the history of philosophy and the birth of the philosophies of science and mathematics as well as their rise to preeminence as cultural authority from which valid argumentum ad verecundiam can be made. As Locke pointed out in his essay, societies and cultures establish authority based on the morphology and general dissemination of social interactions. [ Esssay Concerning Human Understanding – John Locke, 1689]
The history of the epistemological rise to preeminence of the philosophy of science follows several famous philosophical debates, essays and treatises on the testability of hypothesis for provability. There is far too much to quote or even list here, but I will summarize from my sources. Plato put for inductive reasoning for what can be seen and intelligible (429-347 B.C.E) argued against by Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E) to establish dominance of observation (deduction) over pure induction in his work: Organon. This was enhanced and used with success in debates that favored the scientific method by Francis Bacon (Novum Organon) and William Whewell (Novum Organon Restorum). This is also the history of the logical fallacy (both formal and informal) as a way to limit sophistry in argument [Aristotle]. [ Scientific Method, November 13, 2015 – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Main Body, section 2 ‘Historical Review: Aristotle to Mill’]
By calling itself a cosmological argument, the Kalam hypothesis attempts a logical fallacy known as the Appeal to False Authority. We can examine the argument itself to see if, in fact, it meets its own claim to scientific veracity.
Premise 1 of the KCA:
Every beginning has a cause.
Rebuttal: False Premise
This is contradicted the observed evidence given by CP-symmetry violation. [CP Symmetry Violation – the search for its origin – Nobel Lecture – December 8, 1980 – James W. Cronin (winner), University of Chicago, Illinois]. Further derived evidence and experimentation shows we can measure excess energy from the pure vacuum that has no measurable cause. This is called zero point energy and it is a measurable fact of quantum reality. [Steven K. Lamoreaux- Physical Review Letters, Vol. 78, No.1, pages. 5-8; January 6, 1997]
Arguments 2 and 3 of the KCA:
The universe has a beginning.
Rebuttal: Argument by Assertion (logical fallacy of unsupported assertion)
The universe either has a cause or it does not. It either has a beginning or it does not. These are merely unsupported assertions. The Big Bang Theory starts with the same assertion. Observational evidence showed that the distances between astronomical objects are accelerating which violates the assertion of a single point of origin. Dark matter and energy have been asserted as overcoming the predictions of the theory. Even a theory supported by mathematical models, standard candles combined with the cosmic distance ladder, and many years of research had to basically make stuff up when it came to cosmological origin hypothesis. [ The cosmic distance ladder http://www.iop.org... ] [ NASA on dark matter and energy http://science.nasa.gov... ] [ ESA interviews Prof. Joseph Silk on finite vs. infinite universe cosmological theories http://www.esa.int... ]
Here we clearly see that the entire KCA (or KHA as I call it) is just another attempt to pick the correct answer from an infinite set of speculative guesses.
It is fundamentally illogical to expect to explain the origin of the universe without making careful observation, measurement, and extrapolation from physical scientific methods. Anything else is, simply put, so astronomically improbable as to be a ludicrous foray into insanity.
So why put forward the theory? Well, here we look at the human mind to figure out why someone puts forward illogical arguments like this one. When we examine the motive for the argument, we find clear cognitive bias.
For what purpose would we argue that the universe was created? The only answer I find is to worship the creator. The only people who benefit from the worship of the creator that can be observed and measured are the people controlling the religion. These people also put forward arguments like this one. This is a clear indication of a conflict of interest. If you seek truth, you seek it without already having decided what it is before you search. Otherwise, you’re just trying to justify fantasy, not find truth. This is known as cognitive bias and has been the cause of many of the greatest scientific and religious blunders in history. [ Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills - Steven Novella, M.D. - Yale School of Medicine - Publisher: The Teaching Company, 2012 ISBN 10: 1598038265 ISBN 13: 9781598038262 ]
While I applaud my opponent’s efforts of research and presentation, I urge readers not to be fooled by verbosity. Con’s seemingly eloquent rebuttal gives the appearance of content and depth where none actually exists.
== Response ==
Con begins their rebuttal by objecting to the use of the term “cosmological” in the title of the argument. Con claims this is an Appeal to False Authority fallacy by usurping a scientific term to describe something that is “inductive." (With an accompanying history lesson that is wholly irrelevant).
By attacking the argument’s name, Con has done nothing to attack the argument itself. The name bears no weight on the argument’s content; it’s just a title used to promote common understanding. It could be called “The Kalam Cupcake Argument” and it wouldn’t matter. The premises and conclusion are still the same.
This accusation of the argument being “inductive” is misplaced. To the contrary, the Kalam argument is completely deductive. A deductive argument is simply an argument whose conclusion necessarily follows given the premises. If the premises are true, the conclusion must also be true. For example: All cars have wheels. This is a car. Therefore, it has wheels. That’s a deductive argument, and the Kalam follows the exact same form.
Con then moves to attack Premise 1 by saying CP-symmetry violation and zero point energy demonstrate that not every beginning has a cause.
CP Symmetry Violation (CPSV): I’m unsure how this supports Con’s argument. CPSV is merely the discovery that subatomic particles decay by the Weak Force differently than previously predicted by the Standard Model. Such a discovery offers clues to explain the matter-antimatter imbalance observed throughout the universe. While this is highly interesting, it has nothing to do with causeless beginnings. In fact, quite the opposite – it seeks to explain the causes of what astronomers are observing. Consider the following quotes:
“cosmological observations that show how the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe has to be explained in terms of a dynamical generation mechanism [aka, cause], what is called a model of baryogenesis, incorporating CP violation…” [http://arxiv.org... (emphasis mine)]
And from Cronin’s own paper, cited by Con: “A mechanism [cause] has been proposed with CP violation as one ingredient which leads from matter-antimatter symmetry in the early universe.”
In any case, there is tremendous uncertainty about what CPSV even means. Again, from Con’s own source: “does the CP violation we observe today provide supporting evidence for these speculations? We simply do not know . . ."
Zero Point Energy (ZPE): I am unable to access Con’s source because it requires a subscription. However, Lamoreaux’s experiment was merely a confirmation of the “Casimir Effect” first predicted in 1948. [http://www.britannica.com...]. Once again, while interesting, this does not prove something can come from nothing. A “vacuum” does not indicate nothingness. It simply means a space without matter, and space is still something. Indeed, Con’s own source on dark energy confirms: “empty space is not nothing. Indeed, space has amazing properties . . . ” ZPE itself is merely the manifestation of particles producing minimal vibrational energy even at absolute zero in accordance with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. At base, when cosmologists claim the universe came from nothing, they don’t really mean “nothing.” As cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin admits: “although a universe… can come from nothing in the sense of there being no space, time, or matter, something is in place beforehand – namely the laws of physics. . . that raises some uncomfortable questions: Where did the laws of physics reside before there was a universe?” [http://discovermagazine.com...].
So to say that ZPE proves something can come from nothing is a misnomer because we don’t really mean “nothing.” We mean something abstract, like the laws of physics or a fluctuating multiverse. At best, ZPE does not supply enough evidence to depart from the constantly observed status quo “out of nothing, nothing comes.”
In a broader sense, we have other theoretical reasons to doubt that “nothing” can be a creative force. If something can be created from nothing, why do we not see this all the time? Why aren’t race cars and pencils popping into existence out of nothing? What properties restrain nothingness to only creating universes or ZPE? This of course is absurd, because nothingness has no properties, otherwise it would be something.
Premise 1 stands.
Con attacks the second premise and conclusion by saying it is an “unsupported assertion” and that “observational evidence . . . violates the assertion of a single point of origin.” Yet, none of Con’s sources actually say this. Con’s Cosmic Distance Ladder source merely describes the difference between using parallax and standard candles to measure the distances of stars. Nothing is said about overcoming the Big Bang – in fact, this source references the Big Bang when describing Red Shift!
Con’s source on dark matter/energy also has nothing to say about the Big Bang. It simply describes what dark matter/energy is. In fact, the term “Big Bang” is found nowhere in the article. If “Dark matter and energy have been asserted as overcoming the predictions of the theory [Big Bang]” as Con claims, they have yet to demonstrate how.
Finally, Con’s cited interview with Prof. Silk does nothing to attack the Big Bang either. When Silk is asked the question “Is the universe finite or infinite?” his answer is “We don’t know.” When pressed about what came before the Big Bang, Silk responds: “Maybe long before inflation there was a Universe that was collapsing . . . so there was already a history before the Big Bang.” So again, Silk is not saying “nothing” caused the Big Bang, but merely “something” we are currently unaware of did. This is completely in line with the Kalam argument, which simply concludes the universe had a cause that transcends space/time.
The truth is that the scientific community is nearly unanimous in its belief that the universe has a beginning. Not the least among these is Stephen Hawking, who concluded in his lecture The Beginning of Time – “the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago.” [http://www.hawking.org.uk...].
Con complains that saying “It either has a beginning or it does not” is an unsupported assertion. How? What could be a possible third alternative? Rather, I propose this is a logical necessity. Something either begins or it does not. What alternate option is there that makes this a mere “assertion”?
The majority of available evidence confirms that the universe began to exist, and that this beginning had a cause. Premise 2 and conclusion stand.
Finally, Con unleashes an off-topic critique of religion and creator worship. This has nothing to do with our debate. I never mentioned anything about God or religion in my argument. I merely forwarded that if the universe began to exist, then the universe had a cause. I see no need to respond further on this point.
== Conclusion ==
Con’s attacks have so far failed. Attacking the argument’s name does nothing toward debunking its content. I have also shown that exactly zero of Con’s sources say anything about causeless beginning or things coming from nothings. This leaves Con’s assertions unsupported and therefore invalid. Finally, Con’s parting shot against religion is irrelevant to this debate.
We have no evidence of something coming from truely nothing.
We have ample observable evidence of something coming from other things.
Out of nothing, nothing comes.
The universe came into existence, therefore the universe came from something.
The Kalam Cosmological Argument remains sound.
A short note before the argument: My opponent's lack of understanding of quantum physics leaves me in a difficult position. I am limited in space in this debate, and I am limited in the scope of sources I can possibly site to explain excessively complex science. I will do the best I can to use words only to explain, but without mathematics it quickly becomes word-salad to people ignorant of the methodologies involved.
The first attempt in countering my argument by my opponent uses equivocation. He claims that the name doesn’t have any bearing, and thus dismisses my argument against inductive premises out-of-hand. The resolutions upheld in debate after debate point out that the PREMISE must be deduced from shared observation in addition to the argument, not that only the argument be deductive.
Thus the two halves of my opening argument were:
1.) The use of the term cosmology implies that arguments are derived from a premise based upon observation of the universe, or the causative origin thereof. It is not. It is based on the inductive philosophical claim that “whatever begins to exist has a cause”.
2.) Presentation of evidence that the universe does not, in fact, necessitate a causative action to exist. Further, the evidence presented was developed from experiments meant to confirm or deny a causal origin to the formation of baryonic matter. The experiment does not prove an origin, it prooves that order can arise from chaos without independent cause.
Unfortunately my opponent does not seem to grasp the scientific evidence. He calls the history ‘irrelevant’ which I must assume is because he doesn’t understand how the history of physics and premise-by-deduction ties together with my cited research to show that the premise is based on unsupported assumption that is in violation of observational evidence.
My opponent goes further, labeling his own argument from ignorance. ‘I am unsure how this supports Con’s argument.’ – Pro. He then proceeds to over-simplify the implications of CP-Symmetry by explaining it as ‘the discovery that subatomic particles decay by the Weak Force differently than previously predicted by the Standard Model’.
That’s misleading at best, and dead wrong at worst. CP-symmetry violation is an observed experiment using Kaon particles to show that a barycentric self-informed entangled standing wave can form from energetic decay. Attempting to explain this without using mathematics myself is far beyond the scope of this debate, however it is enough to say that the particle is ‘real’ in the classical physics sense. It doesn’t violate conservation of energy because the universe is not a closed system, it is demonstrably bounded by a non-linear chaos of energetic interaction known as the quantum boundary. This is not a separate universe, but it is not bounded by the space-time conflation. In the quantum world, everything is energy. What that means is classical physics atoms are derived from a stable package of energetic interaction. That’s why we have the equation E=mc^2. The mass is the order of magnitude of quantum interactions along with the kinetic energy stored as a vector-space relational expression of the trapped energetic differential between the particles. Add in energy and you change the state relative other particles or the state of the closed system. This is relativity as expressed in the quantum world. Putting the pieces together into a unified whole is difficult because the interactions at the quantum level are t-symmetric only to themselves, not to the rest of the observable universe. That is not the same as saying we know nothing about how the quantum world works.
The following video shows the low-order probability outcome of the 2pi variant anomaly. In this case, that’s a standing wave. A stable particle (although short-lived for Kaon decay). Baryonic matter is, after all, the stable barycentric interaction between nuclear particles that are themselves standing waves of particle interactions. Each one of these standing waves operates along a CPT-symmetric vector of causality independent of our view of causality.
To say ‘before the universe’ is to talk about non-causative energetic potential within the purely mathematical bounds of a Hilbert space (vector space). Within the universe we have space-time conflated along a single vector. If you go down to the quantum world, space-time is no longer a single vector, it is essentially infinite as a whole, and 4-dimensional between entangled observers. This means that each causality chain follows a vector of time that is totally symmetric only within the closed system, it is totally asymmetric with any other system using bosons (if you take the particle physics approach) or using HUP and wave deformations if you take the QFT approach.
So basically what we are describing with CP-symmetry violation is a standing wave (real barycentric matter) arising from an otherwise CP-symmetric system by doing a state-decay from high-energy half-state to shared-energy CP-symmetric state leaving ½ of the previous pair to continue on, and one entirely new CP-symmetric pair to continue on. One of the charged particle pairs decays into it’s own antiparticle and creates a stable system in real time (along our view of causality).
Big Bang proponents say this happened a whole lot all at once to create our universe. Infinite Universe proponents say that the probability of occurrence and the complexity of occurrence rise as the density of local space drops between galaxies (Essentially less energy to interfere in the state decay yield more self-informed decay).
Asking where the energy came from is an impossible question to answer. Even chaos has potential (energy) and thus the disagreement between cosmologists (scientific cosmology of course) about a big bang vs. infinite universe models. In the quantum world, energy is expressed as relative difference in interaction. A particle at high velocity only has relative energy and relative momentum within relative space-time. Otherwise, its only energy is completely symmetric to it’s own quantum state.
Allow me to begin with a bit of humility. I acknowledge that I am not a physicist (although, by their own admission, neither is my opponent). I also acknowledge that Con probably has a more advanced understanding of mathematics than I do. However, this does not limit my ability to argue on this subject. If only physicists and mathematicians are capable of understanding cosmology, then education would be impossible, because no one starts off as a physicist or mathematician! Indeed, why would prominent scientists such as Stephen Hawking, Lawrence Krauss, and Neil deGrasse Tyson waste so much time publishing their findings in mainstream books if it is impossible for an educated public to grasp such topics? As such, perhaps the limitations Con feels are due to an inability to form cogent and concise arguments rather than my “lack of understanding.” It’s not a valid argument to, in essence, say “I don’t have time to discuss it, but trust me, I’m right…”
As impressive as my opponent’s seeming command of QP math is, I believe Con is missing the forest for the trees (or, at least, for the math…). This evidence fails to prove that something can come from nothing, and multiple authorities in the cosmology field agree with that assessment, as I shall detail below.
== Response ==
Con’s final rebuttal focuses exclusively on the term “cosmological” in the argument’s title and explaining CP symmetry violation. In doing so, Con has dropped all attacks against premise 2 and the conclusion, as well as my argument that nothingness cannot have creative properties (because properties = something). Con has also failed to respond to my claim, supported by Stephen Hawking, that the universe did indeed have a beginning (Premise 2). Therefore, I will tailor my response solely to the two former topics.
"Cosmological"/deductive argument: Con presses their belief that both a debate resolution’s argument and individual premises must be deductive. Con writes: “The resolutions upheld in debate after debate point out that the PREMISE must be deduced from shared observation in addition to the argument” (emphasis theirs). This is multiply confused. There is no rule anywhere that says each premise within a deductive argument must itself be deduced. Once again, a deductive argument is simply a conclusion that follows necessarily from a set of premises (http://www.iep.utm.edu...). Although ridiculous, the following argument is still deductive: “all celestial bodies are made of cheese. The moon is a celestial body. Therefore, the moon is made of cheese.” To dismantle this argument, Con would simply need to show that one or both premises are false. But declaring the argument is not deductive is wrongheaded. If Con still objects to the use of the term “cosmological,” then I will agree to remove it – let us now refer to it as the “Kalam Argument.” But since the premises and conclusion are exactly the same, removing this term does nothing to help Con’s argument. The argument’s content remains untouched by this objection.
Con spends the rest of their time attacking Premise 1, claiming to have presented evidence that proves non-causative action, so let’s proceed to that.
CP Symmetry Violation (CPSV): Con accuses me of an oversimplified and misleading explanation of CPSV. Obviously, my very short summary was intended to be simplified, but if it was misleading or “dead wrong” then Con should take it up with Oxford University Particle Physicist Christine Sutton, who defined CP Violation for the Encyclopedia Britannica as “violation of the combined conservation laws associated with charge conjugation (C) and parity (P) by the weak force, which is responsible for reactions such as the radioactive decay of atomic nuclei . . . Experiments conducted the following year demonstrated conclusively that parity was not conserved in particle decays, including nuclear beta decay, that occur via the weak force. . .” And continues “it can be demonstrated that the observed imbalance or asymmetry in the matter-antimatter ratio may have been produced by the occurrence of CP violation in the first seconds after the big bang.” (http://www.britannica.com...). Given this passage, I believe my summary of CPSV in the previous round is a fair representation.
After this, Con launches into a long explanation of how CPSV indicates that energy can produce matter viz. quantum fluctuation models. At the end, Con rightly concludes, “this proves matter can spontaneously form from energy.”
I agree completely with those findings. They only serve to confirm the Kalam Argument.
Remember that Con is trying to show that something can come from nothing (refuting P1: everything that begins has a cause). To prove this, Con has concluded that matter can be produced from….. energy? But energy is not “nothing.” Quantum vacuum fluctuations are not “nothing.” I have already noted this – when cosmologists say “nothing caused the universe” they don’t really mean “nothing” as in literally no thing. They mean vacuum energy, or the laws of physics, or a multiverse, or other such concepts. In fact, even the notable cosmologist Dr. Lawrence Krauss, in his famous lecture “A Universe from Nothing,” admits: “Nothing isn’t nothing anymore . . . nothing is really a boiling, bubbling, brew of virtual particles that are popping in and out of existence in a time scale so short you can’t see them.” (https://www.youtube.com...). As another example, I will re-emphasize my previous quote from cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin who clarifies that by “nothing” he means the laws of physics, which begs the “uncomfortable” question of where the laws of physics came from (a very uncomfortable question indeed).
Con even confirms this in their own argument. The best my opponent can do is conclude that energy from a fluctuating vacuum can create matter [the universe]. Con then dismisses any further inquiry with a hand wave by declaring it’s impossible to know where energy came from. But that’s the key issue right there! Con has failed to show how nothing – truly nothing – can create something. They simply show how energy can create something, and admit their inability to proceed further.
In light of all this evidence, therefore, we are forced to conclude that we have exactly zero observable, deductive evidence to show that nothing can create something.
== Conclusion ==
By focusing exclusively on the issue of “deduction” and Premise 1, Con dropped all attacks on Premise 2 and Conclusion. Therefore, Con has assumed the universe began to exist, and that the universe had a cause. The only remaining way for Con to render the Kalam unsound is to show Premise 1 as untrue.
So, as an exercise, let me concede to Con’s evidence: Energy from a quantum vacuum fluctuation created the universe. Fine. Does this dismantle Premise 1? Not even close. Quite the opposite – it confirms it. Con’s own evidence suggests that energy caused the universe’s beginning. If true, a causal energy also fits the description as a cause transcendent of space/time. Both premises and conclusion remain intact.
The challenge from Round 1 was for Con to expose the Kalam Argument as unsound in either form, premise, or conclusion. As such, the Burden of Proof rested on Con to make such a demonstration, and they failed to meet it. Therefore:
The Kalam Argument stands.
Thanks to Con for a fun debate. I really enjoyed the challenge and welcome further debates with you any time. Win, lose, or draw - well done!
My statements stand on their own merits, and I will not belabor my arguments further. I defer the rules to the OP and stand by them.
Regardless of votes or opinions, I urge those interested in the debate to read further about Hilbert (vector) spaces and to get at least a basic knowledge of set theory. It is the study of logic, and the principle on which even our own brains operate. Through learning this, one will find many subjects concerning philosophy are merely dancing around the same concepts using alegory and metaphore in language rather than the precision of clear definition.
It can also help with understanding the universe. The study of basic building blocks, termed 'quanta', of the universe is a fascinating exploration of the potential energy of boundaries between differences. These can take the form of before and after, left and right, inside and outside, but in the end differences are the one thing that all arguments have in common.