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Is the kalam cosmological argument sound

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/27/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 796 times Debate No: 39508
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Hello, it's good to be back! I apologize for fore fitting some of my debates. Here is the kalam cosmological argument:

-Whatever begins to exist has a cause

-The universe began to exist

-Therefore, the universe had a cause

Defense of P1: It's silly to think things can just pop into being without causes behind them. Implying something comes into being without a cause, is saying it came from nothing. This just isn't possible, why don't we see this happening all the time? Why don't root-beer and desks, and chairs, and radios come into existence from nothing. Logic + everyday experience confirm the first premise.

Defence of P2: If the universe never began to exist, than the number of past events in our universe are infinite. But mathematicians recognize that you can't have an infinite number of things. For example, imagine a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, and an infinite number of guests. Someone comes into the hotel and says, "I'd like to rent a room, please." And they say, "Sorry, we're full. But no problem, we'll just move every guest up this room." So they move an infinite number of guests to an infinite number of rooms, you could do this over, and over again all day. This shows that an infinite number of things is impossible. Therefore, the universe began to exist.

Another defense of P2: The universe is expanding, which means if you trace the origins of the universe back in time, it gets smaller and smaller. Eventually, you'll reach a very hot, dense point in time which is called by cosmologists the singularity. Nothing existed before this singularity, this represents the origins of the universe from an ex-nhilo creation. In other words, the creation of the universe from nothing. Alternative models of the universe to explain the expansion of the universe, and still show it had a beginning have been made. For example, some cosmologists have said that there are many universes in a multiverse. However, Alexander Velankian's theory shows that even a multiverse would need a beginning.

Another Defense of P2: Thermodynamics tells us that eventually, all the matter and energy that makes up the universe will eventually spread evenly throughout the universe. If the universe had been here forever, this would have happened by now.

Conclusion: Since whatever begins to exist has a cause, and the universe began to exist, it logically follows that the universe had a cause. What must this cause be? Since it transcends space and time, the cause must be timeless, spaceless, immaterial, changeless. It must also be powerful, since it created all of space and time. It must also be personal. It must be personal for two reasons: first, the only two things which can exist beyond space and time are a unembodied mind, or an abstract object. But, abstract objects can't cause anything. Another reason as to why the cause of the universe must be personal is how else could a timeless entity cause a temporal universe?


Thank you, Tala, for initiating this debate. As to any past forfeits on your part, hopefully time will allow you to complete this debate, but I'll understand if more pressing matters prevent your continued participation.

As to the KCA, I concede that the second premise, that the universe began to exist, is true. To the best of my knowledge, cosmologists have shown this to be the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, I do disagree that the first premise can be proven in the context of nothingness. Furthermore, short of such proof, the first premise cannot be applied to the second premise.

P1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

I agree, as Pro says, that for something to come into being without cause would mean it came from nothing. However, logically speaking, our experiences and observations (or in this case, lack thereof) cannot even address the question of whether or not something can come from nothing. This is because there is no actual nothingness for us to observe. Even the vacuum that is Space, which is mostly "empty", is still occupied in all places by the Universe. Because our observations are limited to within the Universe, it is impossible for us to observe nothingness. The closest we can come is observing "nothing but the Universe". I'll even go as far as saying that observing nothingness is a logical contradiction, as there would be nothing to observe.

Of course, not knowing that something can't come from nothing doesn't mean something can come from nothing. However, logic would suggest that such is possible. Actual nothingness would have no physical laws governing it, otherwise it would be "nothing but law" rather than "nothing". So if there were actually nothing before our Universe, there would have been no physical laws preventing the Universe from coming into being without cause.

Applying P1 to P2:

As I said, the first premise cannot be applied to the second premise. It's true that things don't come into being without cause within the Universe. But it is fallacious to assume the physical laws that apply within the Universe also applied without the Universe. And because we have no way of knowing what, if any, physical laws there were without the Universe, the first premise cannot be applied to the second premise, and so the KCA fails.

Pros conclusions about the cause:

As these conclusions are irrelevant to this debate, I won't address them extensively here. However, I'd be happy to have a seperate debate with Pro (or anyone else) about the possibility or validity of these conclusions.

I will say that these conclusions assume there was, in fact, nothing before the Universe, in which case, there would be nothing stopping the Universe from coming into being without cause. If there is existence outside of the Universe, we are left with an essentially infinite number of possibilities as to what that existence is, at which point even attempting to argue in favor of anything would be folly.

I'll leave it at that for this round, and pass the reins back to Pro.
Debate Round No. 1


P1: My opponent here claims that we can't know whether something can come from nothing or not. However, this isn't the case. When I say something coming from nothing, I mean something randomly popping into being for no reason. If this were possible, we would see this happening all the time.

Applying P1 to P2: My opponent here says that everything within the universe that begins to exist must have a cause, but not the universe itself. That's the taxicab fallacy; why should the universe be immune to the first premise?



"When I say something coming from nothing, I mean something randomly popping into being for no reason. If this were possible, we would see this happening all the time."

It seems my point has been missed here, so I'll try and explain it in a different manner.

Everywhere we can see is a part of the Universe, and so the Universe is there. As such, there is no "nothing" within the Universe. That we have no "nothing" to see is why we do not see this, something coming from nothing, happening all the time.

Applying P1 to P2:

For those unfamiliar with the taxi-cab fallacy, here is a link to an explanation of it ( ).

My argument does not commit such a fallacy, but again, I'll attempt to explain my point in a different manner.

I am not arguing while ignoring an otherwise accepted system. I'm arguing that the accepted system itself would not have existed when nothing existed.

The physical laws that we know of exist within the Universe. For all we know, all of existence is within our Universe, and that if our Universe did not exist, there would be nothing. If nothing existed, then physical laws would not exist, and so there would be no boundaries on what could happen. If anything is possible, then your guess is as good as mine, but both of us are still just guessing.

The biggest problem with the KCA (which to my knowledge is the same problem with ANY argument addressing the origin of the universe) is that we don't know what, or even if anything, is beyond our Universe, or what, if any, rules apply. Because of this, the KCA is operating on assumption, as opposed to knowledge, and therefore cannot be considered true. As an argument must be both valid and true to be considered sound, the KCA cannot be considered sound.
Debate Round No. 2


tala00131 forfeited this round.


Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 3


tala00131 forfeited this round.


Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the forfeits, obviously. S&G was close enough, and nobody sourced. As to arguments, Pro's forfeits rather hurt his case. Con pointed out a lack of support in the KCA, and Pro never addressed it in a way that established the KCA as sound, thus giving points to Con.