The Instigator
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0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

The Kalam cosmological argument is sound

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/13/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,183 times Debate No: 19847
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)




I will be arguing that the cosmological argument proves God's existence.

The first round will be for acceptance, in the second round I will present the argument and the rest of the rounds will be for rebuttals.


I accept, as long as we presuppose that sound doesn't mean noise. Or else we will be having a fun debate.

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you to my opponent for accepting this debate. Below I'll present the argument and then expand on any points my opponent disputes.

Premise 1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause. Things don't just pop into existence for no reason.

Premise 2: The universe had a cause. The majority of cosmologists agree on this.

Therefore, the universe had a cause.


My opponent did not have enough time to post a coherent argument, so I shall wait for him to have enough time to do so. If you do not understand why, look at premise two and three. I have a feeling about what he meant, but I shall not speculate, and allow him to have the time to post his argument in full.

If you still don't understand, Premise 2 is "the universe had a cause". The conclusion is "The Universe had a cause". This is redundant. On top of this, the conclusion required (as the first round stated it must "prove[s] God's existence."

Debate Round No. 2


I apologize if I sounded incoherent, what I presented was the basic version of the argument. In this round I'll go into it in more detail.

Premise 1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause. By cause I mean something that brought it into existence. Every event must have a proceeding event that caused it to happen, and every object must have a creator, whether that creator is a person or some natural force. Something cannot simply begin to exist for no reason, this would be illogical and absurd.

Premise 2: The universe had a beginning. There are two main proofs for this. The first is the Second law of Thermodynamics, which shows that if the universe had always existed, then we would have reached a state of entropy an infinitely long time ago, which we haven't. The second proof is the overwhelming cosmological evidence for the big bang, such as the expansion of the universe and background radiation.

If these premises are correct, then it follows logically that the universe has a cause. So what attributes would this cause have?

Firstly, it must be eternal. As the creator of time, the cause itself cannot be in time. Furthermore, if it was in time then it would either have had a beginning itself, or have existed for an infinitely long time. If it had a beginning itself, then it would need a cause, and that cause would need a cause, and so on, so that we're left with an infinite regress. The same would be true if it had existed for an infinitely long time. However it is highly unlikely that actual infinities can exist in the real world, as they are paradoxical. For example, if there had been an infinite number of events each causing one another, then each new event that happened would increase the number of events that had happened by 1. That would mean that even though an infinite number of events had already happened, the number of events that had happened was getting bigger with each new event.

Secondly the cause must be personal. If it was something impersonal in an eternal, changeless state then it couldn't have temporal effects, as it would need something outside of itself to cause it to take any action. However, if it was something personal then it could freely choose to take actions, such as creating the universe.

This being would also have to be enormously powerful and knowledgeable, if not omnipotent and omniscient, to be able to create universes at will.

Therefore I believe that the Cosmological argument proves God's existence.



"I presented was the basic version" is an understatement.

P1 - Everything that beings to exist has a cause"

P2 - The Universe began

C - The Universe was caused

P3 - If it was caused by a necessarily omnipotent, omniscient, eternal and changeless, then it was caused by God.
C - That cause was God

Now, to attack each premise and conclusion:

Everything that beings to exist has a cause.

Objection 1 - The statement in itself is technically wrong

Sub-objection 1a - Things do come into existence from nothing
My opponent's defence of this case is that everything which began to exist was caused, and "Something cannot simply begin to exist for no reason, this would be illogical and absurd."

I disagree. " To most people, the claim that something cannot come from nothing is a truism. However, most physicists disagree. Against the claim, they often cite what are variously known as quantum vacuum fluctuations or virtual particles. These are particle-antiparticle pairs that come into existence in otherwise empty space for very brief periods of time, in agreement with the Heisenberg uncertainty relations.[1]

They produce measurable effects, such as the Lamb shift and the Casimir-Polder force.[2]

These particles are not anomalies; they are so common that some physicists argue that if we think of empty space as nothing, then there is no such thing as nothing, because space never is empty—it is always filled with virtual particles. In short, if we follow most people in thinking of empty space as nothing, then we have at least one pervasive example of something that can come from nothing. " -- Mark Vuletic

Obection 1b - Apart from things such as virtual particles, nothing comes into existence.

This seems strange, as we all say that John made a painting, or Oil is made into plastic. But the thing is, none of this comes into existence. Let me use Aristotlean forms to justify this: Look at the material cause. The material cause is what the object is made from. If this is what it is made from, something can only be formed by moulding something else. A comical example of this is in South Park, "The Circle of poo". Now, although it is a comedy in its first glance, look at the lyrics.

"Its the poo of the antelope, the poo of the giraffe
Which crawls up to the earth, and becomes the blades of grass
The grass is eaten by the cattle, which comes out the other end
To make poo for the humans, and start all over again."[video1]

Now, if we look at this, with some scholarly insight, we can see that the circle of poo is a cycle which does not end. No matter what, the matter that is part of poo does not stop existing. That is because some matters infinitely exist.

Objection 2 - The statement in itself is fundamentally flawed in its composition

I will try and be a little less scientific and a little more logically-based in this argument. The argument is flawed because of this reason: The formation itself is unreasonable. What is being done is creating an all-encompassing rule encompassing the universe itself by only taking a single example. It seems generally presumptuous to make a generalised rule on something that has only happened, to our knowledge (which is in itself open to challenge), once, in such a way that is seems foolish to create a generalised rule. What is being done is that a rule is being made from observations within a system, used to govern a system itself -- a fallacy of composition.

For analagous purposes, if I get oxygen and hydrogen at room temperature seperate, they are both gases. Saying that when they chemically bond they must, therefore, form a gas is, obviously, false. It forms water, which is liquid at room temperature. Or another example: I am made of atoms. Atoms are invisible, but this does not, of course, mean I am invisible, no matter how much I wish it were so. To make this even clearer, I shall make them into obvious syllogisms:

P1 - Atoms are Invisible
P2 - I am made of atoms
C - Therefore, I am invisible.

P1 - X has characteristics Y
P2 - X is part of Z
C - Therefore, Z has characteristic Y.

P1 - Things inside the Universe has characteristic "things that have began are caused"
P2 - Things inside of the Universe are part of the Universe
C - Therefore, the Universe, if it has began, is caused.

My opponent dismisses it as "illogical" to disagree with him. I contend that it is illogical in itself to agree with him.

Premise 2 - The Universe as we know it had a beginning

Accepted, although the expansion of the Universe and background radiation is proof of the Big Bang, i do believe. Pre-Big Bang, there as a containment of matter in a super-condensed space.

Conclusions & Characteristics of God.

If we start pretending P1 is true, then we can look at the Conclusion. Firstly, we shall look at three lists: A lists of God's characteristics, a list of Characteristics my opponent claims in the argument, and a list of characteristics I think the KCA could claim.

God: Independent, Infinite, Eternal, Incomprehensible, Supreme, Sovereign, Transcendent, One and Only God, Majestic, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Holy, Just, Kind, Merciful, Patient, Righteous, etc.

KCA: Eternal, Powerful, Intelligent, detatched from the Universe, personal.

KCA from my view: Transcendent, Personal.

We can see instantly how there is a VERY long way to go before proving the existence of God (and God is defined as "(in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) The creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the Supreme..." -- Oxford Dictionary, which is different to a deity), in fact, such a long way to go, it can at most suppose a creator of the Universe. Nothing more, and arguably much less.
On top of this, any requirement we have made is of a necessary substance and not anything of any value. And even here, at this hurdle, Kant and Hume both start shouting about the non-existence of a necessary substance - that it only exists in linguistic convention.
"It appears that, in single instances of the operation of bodies, we never can, by our utmost scrutiny, discover any thing but one event following another, without being able to comprehend any force or power by which the cause operates, or any connexion between it and its supposed effect. The same difficulty occurs in contemplating the operations of mind on body- where we observe the motion of the latter to follow upon the volition of the former, but are not able to observe or conceive the tie which binds together the motion and volition, or the energy by which the mind produces this effect. The authority of the will over its own faculties and ideas is not a whit more comprehensible: So that, upon the whole, there appears not, throughout all nature, any one instance of connexion which is conceivable by us. All events seem entirely loose and separate. One event follows another; but we never can observe any tie between them. They seemed conjoined, but never connected. And as we can have no idea of any thing which never appeared to our outward sense or inward sentiment, the necessary conclusion seems to be that we have no idea of connexion or force at all, and that these words are absolutely without meaning, when employed either in philosophical reasonings or common life." I think can explain for itself.

I await my opponent's reply, and look forward to a defence of these points. Also, I would like to remind him that this is the final round next, and it would be good conduct to not bring up any new arguments, and then I won't do the same.

1 -
2 -; (this is one of the simplest explanations, but still difficult. Try and focus on the words rather than the diagram, as they explain it clearly).
3 -
Debate Round No. 3


Objections to premise 1

Your first objection was that there are "particle-antiparticle pairs that come into existence in otherwise empty space for very brief periods of time, in agreement with the Heisenberg uncertainty relations".

I have two objections to this.

Firstly, this is only one of many interpretations of quantum physics, a field we know very little about. For example, in Bohm's theory of quantum mechanics everything is deterministic.

Secondly, even if we accept this interpretation then it doesn't mean that something comes from nothing, this is a misunderstanding. According to the Copenhagen interpretation which you presented, "nothing" is really a sea of fluctuating energy. Every so often particles come into existence from that energy for a brief time, before dissolving back into it. So clearly this is not something coming from nothing.

Your second objection was that "apart from things such as virtual particles, nothing comes into existence". However this just proves my point. In nature nothing new can come into existence, and so for something to come into existence at the big bang is a violation of nature's laws.

Objections to premise 2

You said "Accepted, although the expansion of the Universe and background radiation is proof of the Big Bang, i do believe. Pre-Big Bang, there as a containment of matter in a super-condensed space.".

However there is no "pre-big bang" as time came into existence at the big bang. Therefore matter can't have existed before the big bang, and so must have come into existence at the big bang.

Objections to the conclusion

My opponent's objection is that the argument doesn't prove that god has all the attributes associated with the christian god, which I agree with. However it does in my opinion prove that there is a personal creator of the universe, and one who at least fits the basic characteristics of the christian god.



Objections to premise 1

Your first objection is one which on the surface holds ground. However, if one realises that it only shifts what is uncaused to the process.

As a quick overview of Quantum mechanics, one of the three things must be true in a theory (meaning, we've narrowed it down to the answer being one of the following):

1 - Your consciousness affects the behaviour of subatomic particles [regards specifically "collapse" doesn't occur]
2 - Particles move backwards as well as forwards in time and appear in all possible places at once
3 -
The universe is interconnected with faster-than-light transfers of information

The third one is true in Bohm's theory, which means, quite simply, that there is a law in place in the universe - a mathematical law. If Bohm's theory is true, or the larger (and more popular ideas) of Pilot Wave, Hidden Variable or Intricate law theories, it mandatorily requires (as proven by Bell) nonlocalities - particles that can move faster than the speed of light, which are becoming increasinlgy likely due to CERN's research - and either Bell's local realism to be correct (which would create a rather large amount of problems, specifically the contradictions with the results of experiments validating parts of Quantum Theory) or spontaeneous creation of faster-than-light particles.

Also, my opponent then supposed I put forth the CI (Copenhagen Interpretation) of Quantum Physics. This is not the case: It could be MWI (many worlds interpretation), Consistent Histories, Pilot Waves, Time Reversibility, Transactional Interpretation, or even magical wizards using three objects of power to keep the world under control. It is a strange - but popular - argument nowadays to talk about Quantum Physics in an attempt to talk 'over' your opponent, and forgive me if I have done this, but simply Copenhagen Interpretation does not inherently stipulate this hypothesis (of course, some people who promote it may believe there is a sea of fluctuating energy, but that is not a major idea. It's ironically an idea of do the maths, then don't look, or my favourite quote - "Calculate, then shut up". It's extremely conservative and modest with its postulation.

However, as the motion was to prove that God exists, as there is a possibility (if not a certainty) that particles come from nothing, then the certainty of God's existence is at the very least uncertain.

Also, my opponent has misread my subpoint b (I apologise if this was due to lack of clarity). I mean nothing as an antonym to something. I mean it not as in nothing happened, but as in black allows nothing through it. Nothings and nothingness is my meaning.

A typical quantum process is the decay of a radioactive nucleus. If you ask why a given nucleus decayed at one particular moment rather than some other, there is no answer. The event "just happened" at that moment, that's all. You cannot predict these occurrences. All you can do is give the probability-there is a fifty-fifty chance that a given nucleus will decay in, say, one hour. This uncertainty is not simply a result of our ignorance of all the little forces and influences that try to make the nucleus decay; it is inherent in nature itself, a basic part of quantum reality.

The lesson of quantum physics is this: Something that "just happens" need not actually violate the laws of physics. The abrupt and uncaused appearance of something can occur within the scope of scientific law, once quantum laws have been taken into account. Nature apparently has the capacity for genuine spontaneity.

Objections to premise 2:

...There was time before the Big Bang. Some will argue that we do not know, or that we are not certain[1], others that we have a rough idea which is good enough[2], some even argue that the Big Bang was simply the transformation from a previous state[3], but I would argue to some degree that time before the Big Bang is the most probable. Matter before the Big Bang is a certainty (it is inherently required in the Big Bang theory).

Objections to Conclusion:

This alone should show how the KCA does not prove God's existence. It does not fulfil the basic requirements of God. It can be made by an evil bastard intent on screwing everyone over[4]. It could be made by a God who is, to paraphrase Neitsche, dead. A personal creator means it could be Gepetto, Hitler, or even a thirteen year old kid with a paintball rifle. His conclusion simply strengthens my point: It proves nothing like God. It closer proves that the Queen is a reptile.

1 -;
2 -
3 -;
4 -
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
: : Nobody is going to deny the KCA is valid.

: I think the validity is at least suspect.

Because of a suspected equivocation in the meaning of the word, "universe."
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
Pro says the universe began, which he says most scientists believe.

Con says the universe, as we know it, it began, but he personally believes there was something before the big bang. That is, he did not contest premise two. To say that the big bang was not the beginning is not to say that there was no beginning. And if Con was trying to pit unsupported personal opinion against the opinion of most scientists, that doesn't win. Not that I really think that's what Con was trying to do, but anyway, Pro wins premise two.


Pro says nothing begins without a cause, but Con points out that lots of things do.

Pro says, no, those observed beginnings happen in the presence of something else (energy). As if the presence of something else is the same as a cause. As if an uncaused hamburger would be caused if it happened on a plate. Pro points out that there are some interpretations of quantum mechanics according to which virtual particles are caused.

So I'm looking for Con to point out that those interpretations are not generally endorsed by cosmologists, physicists, people with enough knowledge to have a right to an opinion: experts. Pro does not even go so far as to claim that even one expert believes in these interpretations. Pro undertook to prove that nothing begins uncaused, but his evidence is the mere claim that there are interpretations (that perhaps nobody believes in) that would allow for the belief in cause.

Con's approach is wordy and nearly opaque, but it seems to me that he came close enough. He says there are various interpretations of quantum mechanics, only some of which allow for cause. Clearly, his point is that Pro hasn't proven that virtual particles have causes.

Con wins premise one.

Pro's case is structured so that he has to prevail on both premises in order to win the debate. If he doesn't prove that everything begun is caused, he fails to prove that the universe has a cause.

Victory: Con.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
: Nobody is going to deny the KCA is valid.

I think the validity is at least suspect.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
I know you were rushed (I saw you not having posted an argument when you had less than an hour remaining) but please just say so, don't post as if what has been said is meaningful... I always follow the policy that if someone asks for time, then don't take conduct from them. Posting a serious debate round just unnecessary.
Posted by JohnT 4 years ago
@BlackVoid Thanks for the suggestion
Posted by BlackVoid 4 years ago
I suggest you switch the word valid with sound. Valid - conclusion follows from its premises. Sound - premises are true. Nobody is going to deny the KCA is valid.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by wiploc 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Clear, logical refutation of Pro's argument.