The Instigator
Connor.McElroy
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Paradox420
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The Kalam Cosmological argument is sound evidence of a creator

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Post Voting Period
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after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/10/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 571 times Debate No: 68093
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (0)

 

Connor.McElroy

Pro

I will be arguing that the universes was created by an uncaused, personal creator.
My argument goes as follows:
The universe is not eternal, so it is finite and caused to exist.
The cause had to be an uncaused being.
The cause also had to be personal, meaning it could chose to create or not create.
Therefore this cause is a powerful, uncaused, personal being.
Paradox420

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Connor.McElroy

Pro

P1: Everything that begins to ext has a cause;
P2: The universe began to exist:
therefore:
C1: The universe has a cause.
After C1 is established:

P3: If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists.
P4: The universe has a cause.
C2:An uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists.

I believe that my premises to conclusions are sound, so I hand it over to you to refute the premises.
Paradox420

Con

I am somewhat bemused as to the reasons why my opponent has asked me to refute the premises of the Kalam Cosmological argument, given that he has not attempted to justify them in the first place. Without any attempt to justify all the premises of the argument, Pro cannot possibly show that the Kalam Cosmological Argument is sound evidence of a creator, and thus cannot fulfill his burden of proof. As Con, in order to win this debate, I only have to prevent Pro from reaching the conclusion that the Kalam Cosmological Argument is sound evidence of a creator, meaning that I do not necessarily have to refute one or more of the premises; instead, I could merely attempt to prevent Pro's justifications for the various premises. I opt for the latter approach, given that I believe that various justifications for the first premise are fatally flawed.

Debate Round No. 2
Connor.McElroy

Pro

Most people when debating this, have already been exposed to the Cosmological argument. Thus I was allowing Con to propose what he thinks are problems with the Cosmological argument. He clearly already has objections, "I believe that various justifications for the first premise are fatally flawed." But yes, Con makes a good point, he does not have to propose his objections yet. Thus, the burden of proof lies on me to provide proof and reason for my premises. I think most would agree that my premises and conclusions are air tight, all I mean by this is that if the premises are true, then it would logically follow that the conclusions are true. That being said, I will now
address each of the premises.

P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
To object to P1, is to say that it is not true that everything that begins to exist has a cause. But we have many good reasons to doubt that this could be true. First of all, if we can accept that things can begin to exist without cause, then why do we not see things beginning to exist out of nothing? Anything and everything should be popping into existence, but we do not see things beginning to exist without cause. For this reason we have one good reason to question the idea that things can pop into existence without cause. Secondly, it has already been established that this cannot be true through the first law of thermodynamics. To suggest that something can begin to exist without cause, would completely contradict this. Is Con suggesting that with no cause at all, energy could have began to exist without cause? I think that it is safe to say that everything that begins to exist, has a cause for it's existence.

P2: The universe began to exist.
To object to P2, is to say that the universe did not begin to exist, but has always existed.
I will present two philosophical arguments and two scientific arguments in defense of this premise.

1) An actually infinite number of things cannot exist.
If the universe never began to exist, then that must mean that there have been an infinite number of past events prior to today. However, an infinite number of things cannot exist. I will defend this claim. A potentially infinite number of things can exist, but an actually infinite number of things could never actually exist. If something is potentially infinite, then the idea of infinity just serves as merely an ideal limit that is never reached. For example, you could divide any finite number in half, and then into fourths, and then into eighths, and so on to infinity. The number of divisions is potentially infinite. You could continue to divide endlessly. However, you could never arrive at an "infinitieth" division. You would never actually have an infinite number of parts or divisions. I have no objection to potential infinities, because they are just ideal limits, an idea.
When we talk about actual infinity, we are talking about a collection that is not growing toward infinity as a limit, but is already complete. This means that the number of members already in a collection is actually greater than any finite number. But this is absurd, for there is always a greater finite number than can be. You cannot accept that an actual infinite number of things could exist, without also accepting the various absurdities that would result. To deny these absurdities, we must also deny that an actually infinite number of things can exist. Thus, the universe cannot be beginningles, it must have began to exist.

2) You cannot pass through an infinite number of elements one at a time.
This is a second, independent argument for the beginning of the universe. So for Con to deny that the universe began to exist, he must not only refute the first argument, but also this one, since it is independent of the first.
I will show that counting to, or in our case from, infinity is impossible. All of the past events have been formed by adding one event after another. The past events are like a series of dominoes, falling one after another until the last domino, today, has been reached. However, no series of events that has formed by adding one member after another can be actually infinite. You cannot pass through an infinite number of elements one at a time. This can be plainly shown in the case of trying to count to infinity. No matter how high one counts, there is always an infinity of numbers left to count to. If you can't count to infinity, how then could you count down from infinity? Imagine trying to count down all of the negative numbers, ending at zero: ......, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0. But this would seem impossible. Before you could count 0, you would have to count -1, and before you could count -1, you'd have to count -2, and before you could count -2, you'd have to count -3, and so on and so on, back to infinity. Before any number could be reached, you would have to count an infinity of numbers first. You would just be driven farther and farther back, into infinity, and no number could ever be counted. This shows that the final domino could never fall if an infinite number of dominoes had to fall first. Therefore today could never reached. But here we are today! This tells us that the series of past events had to be finite and have a beginning.

3) The expansion of the universe.
Modern astronomy has provided astonishing evidence for the beginning of the universe. Science has provided a lot of strong evidence in support of the second premise. The first confirmation for a beginning to the universe from science, would be the expansion of the universe: the "Big Bang."
As you move backward in time, everything in the universe gets closer and closer together. If you keep going back farther, eventually the distance between any two points would shrink to an infinitely small space. At that point, you have reached the boundary of space and time. Time and space can't be extended any further back than that. This is literally the beginning of time and space. To convey this, we can portray our three-dimensional space as a two-dimensional surface that shrinks the farther you go back in time. At some point, the distance between any two points in space becomes zero. A cone can be used to represent this. What's interesting about this cone is that although it can be extended indefinitely in one direction, it has a boundary point in the other direction. Because that direction represents a time and the boundary point is in the past, this model implies that past time has to be finite and have a beginning. Space-time is what all matter and energy exist in, the beginning of space time is also the beginning of all matter and energy. Before the initial boundary of space-time, there is nothing. When I say nothing, I don't mean there is a state of affairs prior to it, and that that is a state of nothingness. For that would be treating nothing, as though it were something. Instead I am saying that at that boundary point, it is false to say that "There is something prior to this point."
If this model is correct, then the Big Bang would be strong evidence of the cosmological argument.
4) The thermodynamics of the universe.
This second scientific confirmation of the beginning of the universe, comes from the second law of thermodynamics. Unless more energy is being introduced into a system, eventually that system will become more and more disorderly. An example of this would be as follows: you have a container that has a closed vacuum inside and then you inject into it some molecules of gas. Eventually, the gas would evenly spread itself out throughout the container. The chances that the molecules would all get together in one corner of the bottle are practically zero; this is because there are so many more ways in which the molecules could exist in a disorderly state than in an orderly state.
This means that the second law of thermodynamics implies a dark prediction for the future of the universe. Scientists had already realized this by the nineteenth century. With enough time, everything that is, all energy, will spread itself out evenly throughout the universe, just like the gas spreads itself out evenly throughout the container. The universe will be a cold dark place in which no life will be possible. Once this point is reached, no significant further change will be possible. It is a state of equilibrium. Scientists call this the "heat death" of the universe. The temperature and pressure are the same everywhere. But this is a problem: if given enough time, the universe will inevitably come to a state of heat death, then why if it has existed forever, not now in such a state of heat death? If in a finite amount of time the universe will reach equilibrium, then given infinite past time, it should by now already be in a state of equilibrium. But it's not! This is a state of disequilibrium, where energy is still available to be used and the universe has an orderly structure. Thus, it is safe to say that the universe is not infinite, and that it has a beginning.
Paradox420

Con

Paradox420 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Connor.McElroy

Pro

I will now make my argument for P3: If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists.
What this premise is saying, is that if the universe is caused, then there must be a personal Creator of the universe that exists to have caused it. Nothing else could have caused the existence of the universe. Granted the previous premise, it has been established that the universe has a beginning.
Think of what the universe is, all of space-time reality, including all matter and energy. Thus, it would follow that if this universe has a cause of its existence, that cause has to be a non physical, immaterial being beyond this space and time. It would be absurd to say that the cause of the beginning of this universe is this universe itself. The universe cannot cause itself to exist. There are only two kinds of things which can fit this description, either an abstract object like a number, or else an unembodied mind. However, an abstract object can not cause anything. This is part of what it means to be abstract. For example, no number can cause any effects. Thus, the cause of the existence of the universe has to be a transcendent Mind, which is what many have come to understand as God.
Paradox420

Con

I unexpectedly found myself at another city than the one I reside in, for a week, and as a result of this, I was not able to post my previous round, and thus apologise to my opponent. However, I shall still make a quick post, outlining my criticisms to Pro's justifications of the soundness of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. I will be focussing on Pro's justifications of Premise 1 showing that because they do not establish the soundness of the Premise, the overall argument has not been shown to be sound, which, as per the burden-of-proof imposed upon me, justifies a vote on Con's side.

--Pro's Argument--

In his attempt to justify (P1), Pro provides two arguments:

(a) The fact that we don't see things "popping into existence", ie. beginning to exist without a cause, provides a good reason why things cannot begin to exist without a cause.

(b) The first law of thermodynamics is in contradiction to the concept that something can begin to exist without a cause.

Regarding (a), Pro makes the unjustified assumption that because we accept the statement that it is metaphysically possible that something can begin to exist without a cause, we ought to see things beginning to begin to exist. For this reason alone, Pro's argument is unsound. However, let's go further. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that it ought not to be a suprise that we don't see things beginning to exist without a cause, even if we accept the notion that it is possible for something to begin to exist without a cause. This is because everything the we see beginning to exist, begins to exist under the context of a world governed by physical law, and is subject to space-time; ie. things beginning to exist are not beginning to exist from nothing. However, in the Kalam, we are talking about the universe coming into existence without a cause - where physical law and space-time is absent - ; from nothing. Once this distinction is made, it ought not be a suprise that we don't see anything come into existence without a cause.

Regarding (b), Pro never elaborates on how the 1st Law of Thermodynamics:

energy can be neither created nor destroyed (conservation of energy)... power generation processes and energy sources actually involve conversion of energy from one form to another, rather than creation of energy from nothing, (https://chemistry.osu.edu...)

is in contradiction with the concept with the concept that things can begin to exist without a cause. As a matter of fact, Pro only resorts to rhetorical swooshes, asking me whether I believed that energy can begin to exist without a cause. I'm not sure why Pro is specifically talking about energy beginning to exist without a cause, rather the general question of things beginning to exist without a cause. In addition, Pro overlooks the fact that prior to the universe beginning to exist, there does not, in any case, exist physical law, such as the 1st Law of Thermodynamics. Thus, the question of whether the universe began to exist without a cause, cannot be mishmashed with the 1st Law.

--Conclusion--

Because Pro's justifications for (P1) do not succeed, the resolution has been negated.
Debate Round No. 4
Connor.McElroy

Pro

Connor.McElroy forfeited this round.
Paradox420

Con

Extend; vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Connor.McElroy 2 years ago
Connor.McElroy
@darthebearnc
That last comment was meant for you, my bad.
Posted by Connor.McElroy 2 years ago
Connor.McElroy
@el_ginger
Yea I might be up for that, depending on how exhausted I am at the end of this debate haha. I might want to move on to another debate for some time.
Posted by Connor.McElroy 2 years ago
Connor.McElroy
I ran out of space. But in my next post I will defend the last premise: "P3: If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists."
Posted by el_ginger 2 years ago
el_ginger
Easy way to prove this wrong:
P1: the first law of thermodynamics. (energy cannot be created or destroyed)
P2: there is energy within the universe
C1: the universe cannot be created
Posted by darthebearnc 2 years ago
darthebearnc
I'd love to debate this topic another time as Con if Pro is interested.
Posted by Connor.McElroy 2 years ago
Connor.McElroy
P2 states that the universe has a beginning. I believe the contrary to be illogical. If Con disagrees, he can address that premise. If he agrees, then C1 would follow.
Posted by gruntel 2 years ago
gruntel
pro fails to address the obvious point that perhaps the universe always existed in some form or another
Posted by Connor.McElroy 2 years ago
Connor.McElroy
@TheSolon. If you would like to accept the debate, I would gladly debate you on this outside of the comments page. Although yes, it could be said that the thing for which I am arguing would be called God by many.
Posted by TheSolon 2 years ago
TheSolon
I once read these few statements...
"P1: Nothing which exists can cause something which does not exist to begin existing.
P2: Given (1), Anything which begins to exist was not caused to do so by something which exists.
P3: The universe began to exist.
P4: Given (2) and (3), the universe was not caused to exist by anything which exists.
P5: God caused the universe to begin to exist.
C1: Given (4) and (5), God does not exist."
I know that you do not exactly speak of a religious being, but I think that this logic applies to your argument.
No votes have been placed for this debate.