The Instigator
David99741
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Apophis66
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Is the Kalam Cosmological Argument Valid?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/3/2018 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 606 times Debate No: 110064
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (0)

 

David99741

Pro

As most of us are familiar with this argument, I will not describe it in great detail. I will, however, briefly outline the argument and will be prepared to refute any objections to its contentions in later rounds. The Kalam Cosmological Argument goes as follows:

-Whatever begins to exist has a cause
-The universe began to exist
-Therefore, the universe has a cause

I think the first contention is self explanatory. Whatever begins to exist must have had a cause of its existence. Some atheists, however, have stated that the universe came into being out of nothing. Surely, this is unfeasible; out of nothing, nothing comes. We do not see objects coming into being without some sort of cause. The second premise is agreed upon by the vast majority of scientists and philosophers alike. We know the universe had an absolute beginning for a multitude of reasons, inclusive of the expansion of the universe and the fact that an infinity of past events leads to self-contradiction. With these 2 premises being true, the conclusion logically follows that the universe has a cause. Since before the big bang, there was literally nothing; no space, time, energy, matter, etc., this cause must be beyond space and time. In addition, this cause must be exceedingly powerful and must also be personal, as it would have had to willed the universe into existence. The only thing that matches this description is a personal creator: God. Thus, with all these things considered, I think the Kalam Cosmological Argument stands. I look forward to this discussion.
Apophis66

Con

Below I will briefly lay out my basic arguments like my opponent has and will go into more detail in future rounds.

I contend that quantum mechanics can make particles out of a vacuum so it is possible that the universe appeared through quantum mechanical forces although I do not believe that it is possible for all of existence like a multiverse to appear out of absolute nothing and there is no evidence it is even possible for something to be created or willed into existence from absolute nothing. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed so we would have to get around that.

The big bang proposes that the universe expanded from a very small point but once you go past a certain time we really don't how what happened. Some think this point was created by God, or that some force in a multiverse created the universe, it could have been transferred from another possibly timeless state, and it could have always existed in some way. If the infinite events paradox is a problem for naturalism then it is also a problem for God who always existed and I am assuming was doing stuff. If the cause of the universe was a timeless natural force or even God then I don't see how the infinite events paradox applies to something outside time.

I also want to challenge your assumption that our specific universe had to be created by something outside space-time because it is possible another space-time bubble is the cause. There is also no evidence that the cause of the universe had to be personal or that the universe had to be willed into existence and the cause could be something in a multiverse using quantum mechanics and string theory. There is also no evidence it is even possible for an intelligence to exist without matter, energy, or time and get anything done without a sequence of time or that it is possible for an intelligence to create a universe and no evidence it is able to create one from nothing.
Debate Round No. 1
David99741

Pro

It seems to me that my opponent's major objection to this argument lies within the second contention. He states that quantum mechanics allows particles to come into existence in a vacuum and believes it is thus possible that the universe came into existence through quantum mechanical processes. I think it is important to point out that the quantum vacuum is not nothing, by definition. Rather, it is a sea of energy and matter with subatomic particles coming in and out of existence. However, my opponent does state that he does not think it is possible for a universe or any sort of multiverse to come into being from absolutely nothing. He states that the laws of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. This is a slight misrepresentation of what the first law of thermodynamics conveys. The first law of thermodynamics states that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed in a closed system. http://www.physicscentral.com... Since there was no "closed system" prior to the big bang, it is logical that matter and energy came into existence at the big bang.

My opponent then goes on to say that the big bang states the universe expanded from a small point in the distant past and that we do not know what happened before that point. This is 100% accurate. However, I am arguing that the best possible explanation for what happened prior to the singularity is a personal creator. Due to the fact that prior to the big bang there was no time, space, energy, or matter, whatever brought the the universe into being must exist without these properties. There are only two things that match this description: abstract objects or an unembodied mind. My opponent then goes on to say that the infinite paradox problem is just as much of an issue for the theist as it is for a naturalist. This is false. The infinite paradox problem states that if the universe is eternal, then the number of past events in the universe is eternal; there could never be a first event. This is not an issue for the theist, as God is beyond space and time. My opponent states that he assumes God, if he exists, was doing stuff before the universe. However, I think it is exactly what he said: an assumption. We have no way of knowing what God did, if anything, before the existence of the early universe. God could have chose to do nothing.

My opponent then states that another space-time bubble could have caused the existence of our universe. Circumventing the fact that there is no evidence that a multiverse exists, even if there was such a thing, the multiverse itself would have to have a beginning. I would also like to point out that it seems to me that my opponent has insinuated several times throughout his argument that it is possible for the universe to be eternal. If this is his view, it would be highly disregarded my modern physicists and philosophers.
Apophis66

Con

However, my opponent does state that he does not think it is possible for a universe or any sort of multiverse to come into being from absolutely nothing.

It is possible that this specific universe was created in some pre-existing realm like particles are created from a vacuum in quantum mechanics. I agree that something cannot come from absolute nothing without cause. And I take this even further and argue that its not possible for a person or things to create or will something out of absolute nothing. How can someone create something out of nothing when there is nothing to create it out of?

The first law of thermodynamics states that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed in a closed system. http://www.physicscentral.com...... Since there was no "closed system" prior to the big bang, it is logical that matter and energy came into existence at the big bang.

No, the first law is stating that the amount of energy in a system cannot change in a closed system. In an open system the amount of energy can change because in this case energy can enter or leave. When we factor out energy entering or leaving, e.g. closed systems where this isn't happening, then the amount of energy doesn't change. The only reason that this can be true is because energy cannot be created or destroyed. If I establish all of existence as the system then it is a closed system since there is nowhere else for it to enter or leave. Therefore in all of existence energy cannot be created or destroyed and the amount of energy cannot change.

Circumventing the fact that there is no evidence that a multiverse exists,

There is also no evidence for God and unembodied minds without first proving the cosmological argument and we are only in a premise of the argument here. Also when has it ever been proven that there is only one of something? We have found that there is more than one continent, more than one planet, more than one solar system, and more than one galaxy? How likely is it that in all of existence that whatever caused our universe to be only happened just once?

the multiverse itself would have to have a beginning.

My opponent then goes on to say that the infinite paradox problem is just as much of an issue for the theist as it is for a naturalist. This is false. The infinite paradox problem states that if the universe is eternal, then the number of past events in the universe is eternal; there could never be a first event. This is not an issue for the theist, as God is beyond space and time.


It is possible that the universe was in a timeless state before the big bang or that some force in a timeless multiverse or other dimensions created it. It is not proven a timeless multiverse exists but neither is God proven either. If you propose a timeless design explanation for the universe I can just propose a timeless natural explanation for the universe.

My opponent states that he assumes God, if he exists, was doing stuff before the universe. However, I think it is exactly what he said: an assumption. We have no way of knowing what God did, if anything, before the existence of the early universe. God could have chose to do nothing.

An intelligent being by just being intelligent is in the process of thinking and taking in information from its environment. By just thinking God is doing stuff and in an eternal amount of time he is doing an eternal amount of things which is an infinite sequence of events which falls prey to the infinite events paradox. If God was not moving, not thinking, not aware and evaluating his environment until a certain point then he is basically a vegetable and unable to be all-aware of everything. Also I could just claim that my timeless naturalistic cause of the universe was also not doing anything either.

My opponent then goes on to say that the big bang states the universe expanded from a small point in the distant past and that we do not know what happened before that point. This is 100% accurate. However, I am arguing that the best possible explanation for what happened prior to the singularity is a personal creator.

My point is that the big bang doesn't prove an origin of the universe and that there is a lot of debate over whether the universe had an origin because we don't have any data before a certain point in the big bang. You don't want to get the philosophical definition of universe (physical reality) confused with the big bang one (this space-time bubble) and just because this universe has a cause doesn't mean physical existence did.

Due to the fact that prior to the big bang there was no time, space, energy, or matter, whatever brought the the universe into being must exist without these properties.

No evidence for this claim is given and you assume that this is the only universe and there aren't universes with time, space, energy, and matter.

There are only two things that match this description: abstract objects or an unembodied mind.

We know close to nothing about what is outside space-time so you can't know every possible spaceless and timeless thing out there. Maybe there is some force outside space-time in another dimension that created the universe. Also, you haven't even shown that unembodied minds even exist and is a possibility. We have bodies and physical brains and there is no evidence that unembodied minds even exist and can stay alive.

my opponent has insinuated several times throughout his argument that it is possible for the universe to be eternal. If this is his view, it would be highly disregarded my modern physicists and philosophers.

A lot of smart people are also saying that God doesn't exist yet I don't hear you making an appeal to authority to them. The reality is that the origin of the universe is a mystery and our smartest people admit it. We have never made discoveries about things in the physical world with just philosophy, and discoveries required a lot of evidence and math, but my opponent attempts to prove that God created the universe from philosophy from the middle ages. Many Greeks like Plato tried to make claims about the composition of everything and the solar system with just philosophy and they were wrong because reasoning alone doesn't help when there is no physical evidence. There is no physical evidence of what happened before the earliest moments of the universe and so no way to be sure that the universe was created out of nothing by sheer will by a timeless unembodied mind.
Debate Round No. 2
David99741

Pro

My opponent argues that it is possible that the universe came into existence from a pre-existing realm. He gives the analogy of particles being created in a quantum vacuum. I think it is important to realize that the big bang theory states that this was the beginning of all space and time. Therefore, how could there be any sort of quantum vacuum? Prior to the big bang, there was literally nothing. He then goes on to state that it is impossible for someone to will something into existence out of nothing and asked how it is possible for someone to create something out of nothing. God is, by definition, an eternal, transcendent, all powerful creator who exists outside of space, time, physical reality, and the laws of physics. Therefore, it is perfectly rational that He could have created the universe out of literally nothing; He does not have to obey the laws of physics. He also states that there is no evidence for God's existence or for the existence of an unembodied mind. Well, unless my opponent is able to subsequently demonstrate the Kalam Cosmological Argument to be false, we have good reasons to think God exists. He also states that it is logical to assume there is only one universe, as we have discovered more than one of many things, such as solar systems. Just because we have found more than one of many other things does not mean we will necessarily find other universes. Until we do find evidence that such a multiverse exists, the theory holds no weight. My opponent also states that it is possible that there was a timeless multiverse that brought the universe into being. Many things are possible; however, until he is able to provide some evidence for this hypothesis or is able to provide a philosophically sound argument, then this theory holds no weight.

My opponent then goes on to say that an intelligent being is in the process of thinking and taking in information from its environment. God exists outside of time, so the infinite events paradox does not apply to him. My opponent then states that there is a great deal of debate of whether or not the universe had a beginning; this is inaccurate. The majority of theoretical physicists believe the universe had an absolute beginning. This is due to many things, such as the fact that the universe is expanding and is getting colder. Because the universe is expanding, it will keep cooling down and eventually come to an end. Whatever has an end must have a beginning. My partner then goes on to say that there is no evidence for my claim that the cause of the universe must be beyond space and time. This is just basic logic. If the origin of the universe was the beginning of all physical reality, whatever brought the universe into being must be eternal. Otherwise, you would be faced with nonsensical questions, such as, "Who created the creator?", which would lead to an endless regress of the same question. He also states that I am simply assuming that there aren't other universes. This is false. I am simply saying there is no good reason to believe that there is a multiverse.

My opponent also states that it is not possible for a mind to exist without a brain and provides no evidence for this statement. It is possible that there can be come form of thought without a brain. My opponent also responds to my claim that the majority of physicists and philosophers believe the universe began to exist by pointing out that there are "a lot of smart people" who believe God does not exist. Though this is true, almost all of those "smart people" (atheists and theists, by the way) believe the evidence suggests the universe has had a beginning.

This discussion has been fun. Thank you.
Apophis66

Con

I think it is important to realize that the big bang theory states that this was the beginning of all space and time. Therefore, how could there be any sort of quantum vacuum? Prior to the big bang, there was literally nothing

My partner then goes on to say that there is no evidence for my claim that the cause of the universe must be beyond space and time. This is just basic logic. If the origin of the universe was the beginning of all physical reality, whatever brought the universe into being must be eternal.

It is a common misconception that big bang was not the beginning of the universe. The big bang only describes the expansion of the universe from a much small size. Even if it was the origin of this universe it is an unproven assumption that this universe has all the space-time in existence and the big bang was the origin of all space-time.
http://www.talkorigins.org...

He also states that I am simply assuming that there aren't other universes.

You assume the big bang was the origin of space-time which means you are assuming there is no other universe with space-time.

My opponent then states that there is a great deal of debate of whether or not the universe had a beginning; this is inaccurate. The majority of theoretical physicists believe the universe had an absolute beginning.

I'd like to point out that those scientists who claim the universe has an origin believe so because they believe it came from naturalistic processes. You can't accept the conclusion and not accept the reasons. And most physicists supposedly believe in string theory, the multiverse and abiogenesis which are all unproven too. Also, you have presented no actual evidence most experts agree with your position. The origin of the universe is still a mystery and experts don't have any solid evidence yet and are providing educated guesses.

This is due to many things, such as the fact that the universe is expanding and is getting colder. Because the universe is expanding, it will keep cooling down and eventually come to an end.

The universe expanding only proves that at one point it was smaller and something caused it to expand. This does not prove that something popped the universe into existence from nothing.

He then goes on to state that it is impossible for someone to will something into existence out of nothing and asked how it is possible for someone to create something out of nothing. God is, by definition, an eternal, transcendent, all powerful creator who exists outside of space, time, physical reality, and the laws of physics. Therefore, it is perfectly rational that He could have created the universe out of literally nothing; He does not have to obey the laws of physics.

I seen no evidence, mechanisms, or example of how something can be made from absolutely nothing because nothing always renders nothing. If you want claim without evidence that nothing can get popped into something then I can claim that there can be a naturalistic force that can create itself and the universe, and works outside causality and avoids the infinite causality regression problem.

You then try to fix this by defining God as being able to turn something into nothing and break all the laws of physics. Simply defining a being that can do something doesn't prove it possible and you can't just merely define your way out of the problem. Otherwise, I could just define my naturalistic force that made the universe and is by definition immune to all problems you give it.

He also states that there is no evidence for God's existence or for the existence of an unembodied mind. Well, unless my opponent is able to subsequently demonstrate the Kalam Cosmological Argument to be false, we have good reasons to think God exists.

Until we do find evidence that such a multiverse exists, the theory holds no weight. My opponent also states that it is possible that there was a timeless multiverse that brought the universe into being. Many things are possible; however, until he is able to provide some evidence for this hypothesis or is able to provide a philosophically sound argument, then this theory holds no weight.


Aside from the cosmological argument you have given no other evidence God exists. In this debate over the premises of the cosmological argument we cannot assume God exists from the conclusion of the cosmological argument because that is circular reasoning. So far, God is as unproven as the multiverse and if God is a possibility for the origin of the universe then a Godless timeless multiverse is equally a possibility too and must be refuted before we can conclude God is the only possibility.

He also states that it is logical to assume there is [more than] only one universe, as we have discovered more than one of many things, such as solar systems. Just because we have found more than one of many other things does not mean we will necessarily find other universes. Until we do find evidence that such a multiverse exists, the theory holds no weight.

No, what I said is that it is very believable that there could be more than one universe because not a single case has been proven where there is only one of something. In this massive existence it is very unlikely for something to be created only once. It is far more believable that there is also more than one universe just like there is more than one planet or star. But I am not assuming it.

My opponent also states that it is not possible for a mind to exist without a brain and provides no evidence for this statement. It is possible that there can be come form of thought without a brain.

My point is there there is no evidence that it is even possible for intelligence to work without a brain, space, and time, not that its impossible. No evidence has been provided that form of thought can happen without a brain.

God exists outside of time, so the infinite events paradox does not apply to him.

If God exists outside time then the infinite events paradox doesn't apply to him. I agree. But that also means a naturalistic force outside time can also avoid this paradox too. You can't assume that whatever outside space-time made the universe is God and not something else.

You have not shown that the universe has a beginning and couldn't have existed timelessly like God before the big bang. Also, if the universe had a beginning it could have been caused by a timeless naturalistic force (e.g. in a multiverse) and you can't assume that force is God. Hypothetical philosophy from the middle ages that is chalk full of assumptions is not the proper way to determine what caused the universe and we need to do hard science and collect evidence instead.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by canis 3 years ago
canis
Yes I have ... Its not valid... it creates a god out of nothing = imagination.
Posted by David99741 3 years ago
David99741
That was a well articulated thought, Canis. I wonder if you have studied up on this argument.
Posted by David99741 3 years ago
David99741
That was a well articulated thought, Canis. 😂
Posted by canis 3 years ago
canis
Its not valid... it creates a god out of nothing = imagination.
Posted by Envisage 3 years ago
Envisage
I would be happy to accept this is the debate title was changed to "Is the Kalam Cosmological Argument Sound". Since the argument is logically valid as it is a BARBARA syllogism, however I would challenge the truth of the premises.
Posted by MagicAintReal 3 years ago
MagicAintReal
Do you accept, before the debate begins, that the phrase "whatever begins to exist has a cause" actually means "there are things that begin to exist and there is one thing that didn't begin to exist?"

If you accept this before the debate begins, I will accept.
No votes have been placed for this debate.

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