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# The finitude of the past of the universe does not necessitate that the universe came into being

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Rational_Thinker9119
 Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point Started: 10/6/2013 Category: Philosophy Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period Viewed: 1,265 times Debate No: 38543
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 Pro Many people believe that if the universe has a finite past, that that means it must have came into being. However, I believe this is a mistake. The burden of proof will be shared... I will argue that even if the universe has a finite past, that doesn't mean it came into being. My opponent will argue that the finitude of the past does necessitate that it came into being. The first round is just for acceptance...Report this Argument Con I accept, and look forward to Pro's opening arguments.Report this Argument Pro Introduction I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. This is an interesting topic because most people believe it is just a given that if something has a finite past; it came into being. However, I am hoping to put an end to this common misconception (especially with regards to the universe). It could very well be true that the universe did come into being, but the finitude of the past of the universe is not enough to establish this conclusion. Assuming The A-Theory Of Time If something comes into being, then this entails that prior to the first state of that thing existing, that thing was out of being. This seems like a self-evident truth. For example, we know I came into being because prior to the first state I existed, I was out of being. I existed in 1987, but not in 1986; there is a transition. Basically, what I am saying is that there must be a transition from "out of being", to "in being" for the term "came into being" to have any meaning in context. I will concede that most things that have a finite past do come into being, as there was a point prior to it's first state at which it was out of being. With the universe however, it is self-evidently possible that there is no "prior" to it's first state at all. According to our best science, the universe is around 13. 7 billion years old[1]. This entails that 13.7 billion years ago was the universe's first state (whether it be a singularity at t=0, or something else). What if there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe all that time ago? Then there could be no "prior" to the first state of the universe at which the universe did not exist, meaning that we cannot say it came into being if that was the case; that would be a harsh misnomer. It seems at least possible that there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago, at which there was no universe (whether a temporally prior, or an atemporally prior). It is possible that "the buck stops" as they say, at the first state of the universe. It would then not make sense to ask whether there was nothing or something prior to the universe, as that question would assume there was a "prior" to the universe in the first place. In the diagram below, I will use "e" to describe the universe. (i) shows a universe with a finite past that comes into being (as there is a "prior" to it at which the universe is out of being), and (ii) shows a universe with a finite past that doesn't come into being (as there is no "prior" to it at which the universe is out of being). Since both are metaphysically conceivable scenarios, then it cannot be true that (i) is necessary assuming a finite past of the universe. However. (i) has to be necessary assuming a finite past in order for Con to win this debate; thus I have established the resolution assuming the A-Theory of time. Assuming The B-Theory of Time If the B-Theory Of Time is true, then nothing at all comes into being (and this holds even if the universe as a finite past). This is because The Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago would just represent the edge of a 4d or n+1d space-time block that exists tenselessly eternally. If it exists eternally, then it self-evidently cannot come into being. As Christian Philosopher William Lane Craig states: "From start to finish, the Kalam Cosmological Argument is predicated upon the A-Theory of time. On a B-Theory of time, the universe does not in fact come into being or become actual at the Big Bang; it just exists tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block that is finitely extended in the earlier than direction. If time is tenseless, then the universe never really comes into being, and, therefore, the quest for a cause of its coming into being is misconceived." - William Lane Craig[2] This is not even controversial. If the B-Theory of time is true, then the universe did not come into being even if it has a finite past. To make this easier to conceptualize, William Lane Craig uses the analogy of a yard stick to show that a finite past of the universe (which extends back 13.7 billion years ago) doesn't necessitate that it came into being 13.7 billion years ago assuming B-Theory. "On the B-Theory of time, nothing really comes into existence. The universe 'begins to exist' on the B-Theory only in the sense that a yard stick begins to exist at the first inch; it just has an edge... The yard stick doesn't come into existence at the first inch." - William Lane Craig Conclusion I have proven that a finite past of the universe doesn't automatically mean that the universe came into being. Why? Well, it is possible that there is no "prior" to the first state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago. If there was no "prior" to the universe 13.7 billion years ago, then the universe did not come into being, even with a finite past, as there was no "prior" to the first state of the universe at which it did not exist. Another reason that a finite past of the universe doesn't necessarily entail that the universe came into being is that the B-Theory of time could be true. If this theory is true, then time is tenseless; and nothing comes into being. This holds whether or not the universe has a finite past or not.Due to my two arguments, the resolution has clearly been established. Sources [1] [2] The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, pp. 183-184 Report this Argument Con Rather than waste my opponent's time further, I concede the debate. I confess to having not sufficiently studied the theories of time before; I was aware of the two main theories in summary form, but not in the detail that I went into this evening. It has been interesting, but left me with little room to debate. A - theory can be argued to require an indefinite period of time before any "first event." B - theory cannot, as all events are atemporally present. It does not even necessarily require the universe to have "begun," as the sort of closed manifold involved can be said to have no "outside," and therefore no superior framwork of events to give the term "begun" any sort of meaning. In short, I find I cannot meet my BOP in this debate; I apologize for wasting my opponent's time and that of anyone who reads this. I urge a Pro vote. -ChrysippusReport this Argument Pro Thank you for the honorable concession... Moving along.Report this Argument Con - extended -Report this Argument Pro Moving Along...Report this Argument Con I thank my opponent.Report this Argument
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mhykiel 3 years ago
This reasoning is used by many Atheist. Sometimes as put here it is semantic. If there is no time before T0 then there was no time to perform the creative process. Which is a shallow understanding. Expecting 1 time dimension has to be present to produce 3 spatial dimensions. There is no evidence stating that is necessary for a deity to create the universe. It is one of those anthropomorphic arguments used by Atheist. Saying everything I do takes time, so an ALL mighty, non spatial, non temporal, omniscient GOD must also take time to do things. It's cheap and fallacious.
Posted by Debaterpillar 3 years ago
... Or maybe something like "the universe most likely had a state preceding the Big Bang" where I'd go Pro. If I knew you'd be open to accepting, I would be glad to send you a challenge.
Posted by Debaterpillar 3 years ago
How comes challenges like these can never be found in the 'challenge period' section? I would've loved to be Con in this debate.
Hey Rational_Thinker9119, (if you read this) would you consider debating me on the same topic?
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
"I judge my debates by how much I learn from them. By any normal measure, this debate was pathetic. But now I am going to have to re-examine everything I thought I knew about time; and so I thank you."

Not a problem my friend.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
"I don't know. It seems self-evident to me that any line drawn between two points must extend indefinitely beyond either."

I'm not sure how that is self-evident, let alone relevant to the discussion.

"I do not know of any reason that time MUST exist before and after any given event; but I cannot conceive of any other possibility."

How about the possibility I just mentioned; there being no "before" the first state of the universe. How is that not conceivable?

"An event with no time before it is absurd."

How so? Why must time precede every event? Time only has to exist as the event exists, there doesn't have to be any "prior" to the event.
Posted by Chrysippus 3 years ago
I judge my debates by how much I learn from them. By any normal measure, this debate was pathetic. But now I am going to have to re-examine everything I thought I knew about time; and so I thank you.
Posted by Chrysippus 3 years ago
I don't know. It seems self-evident to me that any line drawn between two points must extend indefinitely beyond either. I do not know of any reason that time MUST exist before and after any given event; but I cannot conceive of any other possibility. An event with no time before it is absurd.

I admit I cannot prove it to be impossible, though.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
There has to be a reason why every moment has to have one preceding it, and one following it. All you are doing is asserting it is true without any warrant.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
"Only if you assume time is simply a series of events, rather than the framework in which those events occurred."

Either way, why assume this framework extends to a "before" the first state of the universe? There is no real reason to assume a "before" the first state of the universe at all.

" If time is a absolute quality, a framework by which we measure the simultaneity or sequence of events, then an indefinite, possibly infinite amount of it must have occurred before the first event, and an identical amount will elapse after the last event."

Once more, you say that, but haven't supported the assertion with anything. There is no reason to assume that there must have been any "before" the first state of the universe. All you are doing is restating your position, instead of defending it unfortunately. Why must there be a "before" the first state of the universe?
Posted by Chrysippus 3 years ago
"If we assume the first moment of time was also the first moment of the universe, then there can be no "before" that, as that would negate the original assumption that we are talking about the first moment of time."

Only if you assume time is simply a series of events, rather than the framework in which those events occurred. If time is a absolute quality, a framework by which we measure the simultaneity or sequence of events, then an indefinite, possibly infinite amount of it must have occurred before the first event, and an identical amount will elapse after the last event.
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