The Instigator
vorxxox
Pro (for)
Losing
43 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
53 Points

The cosmological argument is evidence for a God

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/30/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,340 times Debate No: 6371
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (16)

 

vorxxox

Pro

I am here to affirm that the Cosmological Argument is evidence for a God.

By accepting this challenge, God must be defined as simply the creator of the universe.

Cosmological Arguments go something like this:

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

Thus, the cause of the Universe is God

I eagerly wait to hear my opponent's contentions.
RoyLatham

Con

Pro fails to define "the universe." We know that all the things that are observed exist, so those things are part of "the universe." Pro posits the God exists (or existed), yet God is claimed not to be part of the universe. There is no logical reason to exclude God from being a part of the universe. The exclusion serves only as part of an attempt to make the cosmological argument sensible.

1. Pro claims "Whatever begins to exist has a cause." In the current state of human understanding, it is not known whether or not everything has a cause. The idea that everything has a cause derives from notions in everyday life, but other such commonsense notions have been proven false. For example, everyday experience provides a notion that there is no limit to how fast something can travel, yet we now know that contrary to that notion the speed of light is a limiting speed. In everyday experience, we seem to be able to know the position and momentum of any object with theoretical certainty, but it has turned out there is an inherent theoretical limit to the concurrent accuracy with which both can be known (the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, http://en.wikipedia.org...).

Events such as the radioactive decay of individual atoms are well-described statistically, but there appears to be no cause for a particualr atom to decay at any one point in time rather than any other point in time. Perhaps some proximate cause will be discovered, but there is no necessity of a cause being discovered. Similarly, there is a theory that the universe was created by a "quantum fluctuation." We cannot relate such an event to ordinary experience. But because we cannot imagine an uncaused event does not mean that such a thing is impossible; it only means we lack the intellectual constructs to comprehend it. It is even possible that we will never be able to build such constructs.

2. Pro claims "The Universe began to exist." There are at least two possibilities: (1) the universe began to exist and (2) the universe always existed. Is it possible that there is anything that always existed? Pro assumes that there was a God that always existed prior to the universe, therefore he admits that it is possible for something to always exist. If God is admitted as possibly always existing, then the universe must also be admitted as possibly always existing.

Even if Pro had not postulated that God always existed, there is no reason to exclude the possibility that the universe always existed. Current theory is that time and space began with the Big Bang, but that part of the theory could be wrong or simply incomplete.

Note that as defined by Pro, "God" has no properties other than being an uncaused cause for the creation of universe. No will, intent, or design is implied. Thus as defined, "God" is no more than a particular property of nature. As an explanation for the universe, there is no explanatory power beyond naming an uncaused cause.
Debate Round No. 1
vorxxox

Pro

Interesting. This will be fun^_^

Happy new year to debate.org!

Hello, and thank you for accepting my debate.

I will start by rebutting your arguments.

You seemed to have put words in my mouth stating that I made certain assumptions, altering definition of God.

"God is claimed not to be part of the universe" - I never said that.

"Pro assumes that there was a God that always existed prior to the universe, therefore he admits that it is possible for something to always exist." - I didn't say he always existed.

"Note that as defined by Pro, "God" has no properties other than being an 'uncaused cause' for the creation of universe." - Instead you should have taken out the 'uncaused cause' part.

:|

"1. Pro claims "Whatever begins to exist has a cause." In the current state of human understanding, it is not known whether or not everything has a cause."

No, its simple logic. 1+1=2. 1+1 does not equal 3. Basically what your saying is that 1+1 may = 3, we just lack the intellectual constructs to comprehend how. In the case of this debate, its causality. What would exempt the universe from simple causality?

"There are at least two possibilities: (1) the universe began to exist and (2) the universe always existed"

(1) Then your agreeing with me and therefore proving my point. Its part 1 of the cosmological argument

(2) An infinite chain of events with no beginning or end eh? I guess we lack the constructs to comprehend that as well.

"No will, intent, or design is implied. Thus as defined, "God" is no more than a particular property of nature."

BINGO

God doesn't have to be a deity, a being, but simply the cause of the universe. My opponent has yet to prove how the cosmological argument is not how evidence for a God. By a God, I simply mean the cause of the universe, and my opponent cannot explain how an uncaused cause can occur, so my contentions still stand.
RoyLatham

Con

Pro rebuts by saying ""God is claimed not to be part of the universe" - I never said that." If god is part of the universe, then the cosmological argument fails by internal inconsistency. A "cause" is "The producer of an effect, result, or consequence." http://www.answers.com... If god is part of the universe, then according to the cosmological argument, god must have begun and must have a cause. Therefore the cause that created god along with the universe is not god. In other words, the definition of "cause" does not allow a thing to cause itself.

Pro: "Pro assumes that there was a God that always existed prior to the universe, therefore he admits that it is possible for something to always exist." - I didn't say he always existed.

If god did not always exist then he began to exist. Thus by the other cosmological argument premises there was something other than god, call it X, that created god. But if X could create god, then clearly X could have created the universe. therefore there is no necessity for god as an intermediary.

Pro claims that causality is a rule of logic and not merely a law of nature. No one other than Pro believes this. I gave the example, of timing the exact moment of decay of a radioisotope. No cause for the exact moment has been found. there is no rule of logic that demands that such a cause exists. The universe would proceed exactly as it does if the proximate cause does not exist, with no contradictions arising. A logical proposition like 1 + 1 = 2 cannot have any other answer without a maize of inherent contradictions flowing as a consequence.

One theory is that universe came into existence as a result of a "quantum fluctuation", an uncaused event inherent in the nature of nothingness. One rebuttal to that theory is that in infinite time, an infinite number of universes should have come into existence. However, the counter-argument to that the first one that appears "occupies the space" and suppresses further quantum fluctuations. There is a basis for this type of theory in the current theory of the way that dark energy expands the universe.

>>>I challenge Pro to demonstrate a logical contradiction that results from the universe coming into existence completely without cause. For example, if that happened would it contradict 1 + 1 = 2? If not that, then what logical contradiction results?

Pro says, "(2) An infinite chain of events with no beginning or end eh? I guess we lack the constructs to comprehend that as well." I have no trouble at all comprehending the possibility that something always existed, nor, to my knowledge, does any scientist. Until relatively recently (1960s) the most widely accepted theory of the universe was the Steady State Theory, which presumes that the universe always existed. Even scientists with different theories had no trouble understanding the concept. Many religions suppose that the universe always existed, so clearly many non-scientists have no trouble with the concept.

However, if the concept poses a conceptual concept, that makes no difference with respect to the validity of the theory. The mathematical description supporting the theory does not require that it be capable of being conceptualized. that's true of many theories that have been proved true, like special and general relativity.

"God doesn't have to be a deity, a being, but simply the cause of the universe." If so, then there has to be something that created God, and whatever that was could have created the universe as well. somewhere back in the chain of creation, there had to be a uncaused cause, a deity, or a thing that existed forever. An uncaused cause violates (1) and a permanent existence (2). Either way, the cosmological argument fails.

>>>I challenge Pro to say whether he claims that God (1) always existed or (2) was created by something else, X. Which is it? Or is there some possibility, call it Y, other than having been created or always existing? I am asking about the God as defined by Pro in this debate.

My comment about the definition given to God for the debate is just an observation, not an argument. I was just pointing out that the God as defined has no theological significance. For example, let's define God as the Big Bang. Then if the Big Bang theory is correct, then God by that definition is proved. True, but it doesn't imply anything at all about religion.

Of course, the burden of proof for the debate falls upon Pro to prove the resolution. Pro is arguing no more than that he cannot imagine anything other than God creating the universe. However, I had given Pro a list of things that no one can imagine relative to our ordinary world, yet are nonetheless proved true. Pro has attempted to avoid this issue entirely, content to repeat that it cannot be other than he claims because, in essence, he cannot imagine it. the cosmological argument fails because we now know that nature is full of things we cannot imagine.
Debate Round No. 2
vorxxox

Pro

Quite an impressive job by CON. I shall first start by making a few things clear.

">>>I challenge Pro to demonstrate a logical contradiction that results from the universe coming into existence completely without cause" - Ok then.

"the definition of "cause" does not allow a thing to cause itself."
-RoyLatham

""cause" is "The producer of an effect, result, or consequence." "

An uncaused cause in fact is a beginning. Take the decaying atoms for example. Even though it seems to happen for no reason, it began to happen at some point in time. If that is the case, inevitability is the cause. In the case of the universe, God would be the inevitable event of its creation. :)

">>>I challenge Pro to say whether he claims that God (1) always existed or (2) was created by something else, X." - (1) No (2) No
Why does it matter?

If the big bang theory or quantum fluctuation is true, the PRO is still correct, because we can define either of those as God (creator/cause of the universe).

For the CON to be correct, he would have to declare both of those theories in their current state incorrect.

Therefore, the cosmological argument still stands firm and so do my arguments.
RoyLatham

Con

"An uncaused cause in fact is a beginning. Take the decaying atoms for example. Even though it seems to happen for no reason, it began to happen at some point in time. If that is the case, inevitability is the cause. In the case of the universe, God would be the inevitable event of its creation. :)"

The cosmological includes the premise that everything has a cause, and then postulates that god is the cause. Pro than clarifies that if something happens without a cause, then that too qualifies as being a cause. Therefore, to Pro's way of thinking the word "clause" has no meaning. therefore the proposition is meaningless and fails.

">>>I challenge Pro to say whether he claims that God (1) always existed or (2) was created by something else, X." - (1) No (2) No
Why does it matter?

It matters because I showed that a yes answer to either question defeats the cosmological argument. Saying "no" to both questions means that the proposition has a logical contradiction within it, and therefore fails. The claim that god was neither always existent nor created, if somehow found to be logically consistent, means that the universe too could be both not always in existence nor created. If so, the cosmological argument is false, because then a creator is not required.

"If the big bang theory or quantum fluctuation is true, the PRO is still correct, because we can define either of those as God (creator/cause of the universe)."

Of course, and if you define chocolate fudge to be god, that too would prove the existence of god. However, the cosmological argument is based on causation, and causation by a creator has to be abandoned to allow the redefinition that Pro proposes. Therefore, the cosmological argument fails.

Pro consistently refuses to respond to challenges. For example, I challenged him to defend his assertion that causation is logical necessity and not a law of nature by showing a logical contradiction that followed from supposing it could occur naturally. Pro ignored the challenge. I invite Pro to go through the debate and respond specifically to all the things he has ignored. The only thing that Pro follows through on is claiming that he is right, despite his arguments failing.
Debate Round No. 3
vorxxox

Pro

:|

Well, to rap this thing up.

Look:

"Current theory is that time and space began with the Big Bang, but that part of the theory could be wrong or simply incomplete"

If you believe in the big bang theory or quantum fluctuation, your vote belongs to the PRO.

CON denies both of those theories, deeming them incorrect.

I'm out of time to explain myself, but based on what I just said, my contentions are protected with the most widely accepted scientific theory, the big bang. Thank you. Vote pro.
RoyLatham

Con

If the Big Bang theory is correct, then time began at the moment of the Big Bang, so there is no need for a pre-existing God. If fact there was no time in which anything pre-existed.

If quantum fluctuation theory is correct, then the universe was created solely by random event in nature. That violates the assumption that "the Universe has a cause."

I did not say or imply that both theories were wrong. I debated the contingency that "if they were wrong, then ..." It is good debate practice to debate several avenues, as this anticipates objections and covers the case that a certain argument fails for any reason in the mind of the audience.

Pro essentially conceded the debate at the point at which he stated that God neither always existed or began to exist. Affirming either alternative denies a premise assumption of the cosmological argument, that all things begin to exist and are caused. However, denying both assumes that there is some unspecified mechanism by which something neither always exists nor begins to exist. whatever that is, if it is possible such could be the case for the universe, so the cosmological argument fails.

Pro failed to answer numerous challenges to support his many assertions. For example, he chose not to attempt explain how causality was a logical necessity and not just an observation of nature.

Having failed to make a successful logical argument, Pro makes an appeal that is completely independent of the Cosmological Argument. He is saying what amounts to, "Something is happening, and I just cannot see how it could be anything else but God." That is the Argument from Incredulity. It is false, because when it comes to the laws of nature, we already have a list of things that we humans cannot conceptualize, but which are well proven. However, whether true or not, that is not the Cosmological Argument, which is false and Pro could not defend.

This debate was not about the existence of God. Disproving the Cosmological Argument does not disprove the existence of God, it only disproves that one argument. I grant that a God conceived solely upon faith cannot be disproved. If anything, Pro diminished the case for a God by so narrowly restricting the definition as to make a God virtually irrelevant.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
Great job Con, one of the best refutations of the cosmological argument I've ever seen.
Posted by Maya9 8 years ago
Maya9
Debate clearly goes to Con due to the fact that Pro fails to address many of Con's points.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
Conduct - Con - Pro didn't really address much of Con's thought out arguments. Instead, he addressed specific points with an I'm-right-you're-wrong attitude.

Spelling and grammar - Con - Con's arguments were well written and organized.

Convincing Argument - Con - Pro's argument was semantical and circular. He defined God according to the cosmological argument's conclusion. He might as well said, God is that which explains the universe, the universe requires an explanation, therefore, God exists. As Con well put it, "you define chocolate fudge to be god, that too would prove the existence of god."

Reliable Sources - Tie - No sources necessary in this debate.
16 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Smithereens 4 years ago
Smithereens
vorxxoxRoyLathamTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro collapsed at the end, Roys arguments were overall, more convincing.
Vote Placed by DDO.votebombcounter1 4 years ago
DDO.votebombcounter1
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Erick
Vote Placed by Erick 5 years ago
Erick
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Reasons for voting decision: :)
Vote Placed by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
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Vote Placed by Clockwork 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by snelld7 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by TheCategorical 8 years ago
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