The Instigator
RationalThinkerTwoPointO
Con (against)
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The Contender
primeministerJoshua812
Pro (for)
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The Kalam Cosmological Argument Is Sound

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/5/2018 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,158 times Debate No: 118470
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (37)
Votes (0)

 

RationalThinkerTwoPointO

Con

The KCA is:

P1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause
P2: The universe began to exist
C: Therefore, The universe has a cause

The argument is clearly invalid, Because even if whatever begins to exist has a cause that would not mean that whatever began to exist had a cause. P1 only speaks about the present, So the conclusion does not follow from the premises. However I will not attack the argument in this way, We will assume that P1 means "whatever began to exist, Begins to exist, Or will begin to exist had, Has, Or will have a cause".

My opponent will make his/ her argument right away in the next round. Because I am not making any arguments this round, My opponent will simply put ". . . " in his last round so we have the same amount of rounds to argue. Failure to do so will result in forfeit! Accepting the debate means accepting the rules.

I wish my opponent luck.
primeministerJoshua812

Pro

I am glad for the posting of this debate the KCA was one of the first arguments I seriously examined when going through my period of doubt (I'm a Christian). Some time ago I made a similar argument but it was never accepted and thus no debate occurred. From reading your argument I postulate that your main problem with the KCA is the first premise and thus I will focus my defence of P1 of the KCA. Dr. William Lane Craig (the main popularizer 0f the argument) among others such as Dr. Frank Turek offers a great serious on this argument I invite you to look into it (you can find it on youtube).

I have three reasons why P1 is more probably correct than false.

1. Something cannot come from nothing
2. If something can come into being from nothing, Then it becomes inexplicable why anything and everything doesn't come into being from nothing.
3. Common experience and scientific evidence confirm the truth of Premise 1.

Hope you respond and thanks for the topic.
Debate Round No. 1
RationalThinkerTwoPointO

Con

I wanted to thank my opponent for this debate. He is correct, The premise I wish to undermine is the first.

__Something cannot come from nothing, If it could, Then it is inexplicable why anything and everything does not come into being from nothing__

First off, What does it mean for something to come from nothing? The scenario is usually worded as if we should treat "nothing" as some sort of starting point. As if at first, Nothing exists, And "then" the universe just pops into being for no reason. As philosopher William Lane Craig, The most popular advocate of the KCA notes:

"If prior to the existence of the universe, There was absolutely nothing - no God, No space, No time - how could the universe possibly come to exist? " - William Lane Craig [1]

I share the intuition that if there exists absolutely nothing, Then a universe just popping into existence is absurd. The question I want to ask is, Why assume there was ever nothing?

The absurd Atheistic scenario Dr. Craig outlines assumes:

(a) At first, Nothing exists, And the universe pops into existence

The problem is there is no reason why someone denying a cause of the beginning of the universe is committed to (a). One can just assume:

(b) At first, The initial universal state existed 13. 8 billion years ago and expanded

Notice how "nothing" is excluded from (b)? This avoids the absurdity that Dr. Craig outlines. He says "if prior to the universe, There was absolutely nothing. . . ". But it could be that there is no "prior" to the universe at all (we know at least that there cannot be a "temporally prior" to the first moment of time).

In conclusion I grant that if there was absolutely nothing, Then nothing would "remain" (something will not just pop into existence). Basically, I agree that if at first, Nothing exists, Something cannot just pop into existence. However, I disagree with the notion that the Atheist is committed to (a). Instead of "at first, Nothing exists", I can just posit that "at first, The universe exists (13. 8 billion years ago) and expanded.

As Cosmologist Sean Carroll notes:

"The phrase "popping into existence" is not the right one to use when you are talking about the universe. . . The correct thing to say is that there was a first moment of time. When you say it that way it does not sound so implausible. " - Sean Carroll [2]

So, One can deny 1, But also agree that something cannot come from nothing in the way Dr. Craig describes. So this principle of ex nihilo nihil fit (out of nothing, Nothing comes) is irrelevant when it comes to showing P1 of the KCA to be true.

__Common experience and scientific evidence confirm P1__

The problem with this argument is that there are a lot of principles one could come up with which would support an argument that God does not exist. Philosopher Wes Morriston points out these [3]

1) Material things come from material things
2) Nothing is created out of nothing
3) Nothing is ever caused by anything that is not itself in time
4) The mental lives of all persons have temporal duration
5) All persons are embodied

All 5 principles are "confirmed" by common experience and science backs them up but of course, They all contradict Theism and creatio ex nihilo. The advocate of the KCA should not use empirical generalizations as good guides in the manner they want to, Because there are a lot more generalizations one can make which contradict Theism. Just because somethings have no known examples against them doesn"t mean they are true. We have no example of timeless disembodied minds, That does not mean one does not exist, Right? This logic could actually be used as an argument for Atheism. Therefore, The KCA advocate ought to abandon this logic.

__In Conclusion __

Denying the first premise does not commit one to the notion that something can just pop into being from some prior nothingness. Therefore, Mentioning that "something cannot come from nothing" is irrelevant, As I could agree but still have no new reason to accept P1 based off that.

Also, We can come up with principles that are confirmed by common experience/ scientific observation that entail Theism and creatio ex nihilo is false. Clearly this is not a route a KCA advocate wants to take.

We are left with no good reasons from my opponent for anyone to accept P1 of the KCA.

__Sources__

[1] Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, 93
[2] https://www. Reasonablefaith. Org/media/debates/god-and-cosmology-the-existence-of-god-in-light-of-contemporary-cosmol/
[3] http://spot. Colorado. Edu/~morristo/NewKalamCritique. Pdf
primeministerJoshua812

Pro

Hello and thank you for a response.

Some of what you write here seems to address P2. But because the ontology of this debate is on P1 I will continue my defence. Point (b) doesn't get rid of P1. In his deeper defence of the KCA, Dr. Craig points the evidence from cosmology that makes it more likely than not that the Universe is not past eternal therefore pointing to an initial state that would mark either the "coming into existence phase or the first phase following the coming into existence. (I think this debate would be better if we discussed P2 instead of P1. )

Your syllogism may contradict some forms of theism just not Christian Theism and if you would like I can explain why. What Dr. Craig argues is that P1 one is confirmed by common experience and scientific evidence not that in of itself it justifies belief in Theism.

Therefore your conclusion is unjustified. P1 one is still sound and the argument adoptable
Debate Round No. 2
RationalThinkerTwoPointO

Con

I thank my opponent for his response.

Unfortunately, He did not grasp the point I was trying to make. I agree that the past is finite, And that the universe had a beginning. There is no reason to discuss P2 of the KCA because I agree with it. My point that my opponent did not understand was that rejecting P1 doesn"t commit me to the position that the universe came from nothing. That would assume that at first, Nothing existed. I"m claiming that one can just posit that at first, The initial state of the universe existed a finite time ago.

Basically, I agree that if if there existed absolutely nothing, Something will not just begin. I only deny the idea that there ever was absolutely nothing. If we rewind reality we get to a point at the past in which the universe began, But we cannot go further to a point where we can be like "and here, Nothing exists! ".

So we have two scenarios:

1. Originally, Nothing exists, Then the initial state of the universe pops into existence
2. Originally, The initial state of the universe existed

Scenario 2 agrees with a finite past, But disagrees that the universe came from nothing. It simply didn"t "come from" at all! It merely existed a finite time ago and expanded according to The Big Bang

Because one could accept that the universe couldn"t have just popped into existence from nothing, But still reject P1 of the KCA, Then my opponents first two points in favour of the KCA fail. Even if something cannot come from nothing, That does not mean there is any good reason to accept P1 of the KCA.

My opponent has simply left us with no good reasons to believe that whatever begins to exist had a cause.

Also, I did not construct a syllogism, I posted 5 principles that are always verified by experience and science. They all disconfirm Theism. Theism says that God created material things, But we only observe material things coming from other material things. Theism says God crested the universe out of nothing, But science and experience tell us that things cannot just come from nothing. If God caused the universe and time then he is a timeless cause, But the principle that all causes are in time disconfirms Theism (also that all minds have temporal duration). The principle that all minds are embodied contradicts Theism because God is supposedly a disembodied mind.

The point is not that these principles are correct, Just that they are always verified by common experience and science. However they contradict the idea that God exists caused the universe! So clearly the Theist would reject all 5. However, If they reject principles that are always verified by common experience and science, Then that means generalizations of such a kind (like generalizations about beginnings always having a cause) are not very powerful. Just because all examples agree with a principle doesn"t make the principle correct (or even most likely correct). Therefore, Common experience and science not contradicting P1 doesn"t support it being true, Because common experience and science support lots lots of principles the KCA advocate would find false.

In conclusion, One can agree that out of nothing, Nothing comes. . . That still does not give us a good reason to believe the universe beginning without a cause is problematic. Also, Just because science and experience do not contradict a principle, Does not make the principle true. If this were the case, The Theist would have a handful of problems.

We are simply left with no good reason to believe that whatever begins to exist has a cause.
primeministerJoshua812

Pro

Okay. So what if the Universe is finite than that means the initial state was also finite. The very nature of a universe that has a beginning means that in the materialistic context there at one point was nothing as Dr. Craig defines it. Therefore both of your scenarios support P1 and an individual is not rational in the rejection of P1. If something has come into existence it must have been caused by another "something" as defined in P1 0f the KCA.

Yes, Your principles can be treated like axioms or postulates and thus can be treated like a syllogism. Here's the thing God could fit that "something" because God is "something". Some of your principles may contradict theism but of course, The context would have to fall within the view of materialist while God would fall into the view of an Idealist. God (At least the Christian one) would be disembodied in regards to the matter of this universe.

When Dr. Craig says that science and experience confirm P1 his is saying that nothing pops into existence from nothing and that confirms P1.

P1 is confirmed. My opponent agrees with P2 and thus P3 follows logically and thus the argument is sound.
Debate Round No. 3
RationalThinkerTwoPointO

Con

"The very nature if a universe that has a beginning means that the materialistic context there at one point was nothing as Dr. Craig defines it. "

The problem with this is that it is absolutely false. There is nothing about the universe being finite into the past which suggests that "at one point there was nothing". This is simply a non-sequitur fallacy. At one one point there was a initial universal state some time in the past, The problem is there is no evidence to reason to believe that there"s a point prior to the initial universal state at which nothing exists. There is nothing irrational once so ever in denying that the beginning of the universe requires a cause.

Lets unpack the idea of "at one point there was nothing". First off, The sentence itself is not even logically coherent. A "point" is still "something", So at one "point" there was "nothing" does not make any sense. Also "was" is a past tense term which implies time. So the idea there "was" nothing makes no sense, As "was" implies the existence of time (which is not nothing). Also, "nothing" has no potential. Therefore, If there ever "was" nothing (which doesn"t even make any sense by itself) then the universe would not exist (out of nothing, Nothing comes). Yet, Here we are. Therefore we can rule out the idea that there ever was a point at which nothing existed.

In other words, Claiming that the Atheist is committed to the notion that there was a point at which nothing existed is a straw-man fallacy. There was a point at which the universe was packed together and extremely dense (the initial universal state). This state existed some time ago. The picture here is that there are no "points" beyond this initial point.

It"s not as if

(A) There existed a point at which nothing exists, Then the universe pops into existence

But rather

(B) There existed a point at which the universe was compact and dense

So it"s not as if the universe came from nothing, Or that it came from something, There is simply no reason to think it "came from" at all! The universe simply existed at that point in the finite past and expanded. That is it. No cause needed; there never was nothing. The first "point" is the initial universal state. There is no reason why the Atheist must accept that there existed nothing prior the the universe, When that makes no logical sense.

So, Denying P1 is only irrational if denying P1 commits them to the position that at first nothing existed, And then the universe just popped into being out of some prior nothingness. As I have showed, Such a situation is impossible. Out of nothing, Nothing comes. Since denying P1 does not commit one to the notion that there ever was nothing, Then one is completely rational and reasonable to reject P1; there could be no "prior" to the universe at all.

My opponent has not shown that the denier of P1 is committed to the notion that there was ever nothing. One can reject P1 rationally, As rejecting P1 does not commit one to the notion that the universe sprang into being from some prior nothing. There might not even be a "prior" to the first universal state.

"When Dr. Craig says that science and experience confirm P1 he is saying that nothing pops into existence from nothing that that confirms P1. "

This logic is extremely flawed. First off, I agree that things cannot just pop into existence out of nothing. That doesn"t mean I have to accept P1 as true. One can reject P1 and still agree that out of nothing, Nothing comes (this is the point I do not think my opponent is grasping here). The picture of an Atheistic universe where all physical reality had a beginning, But that this initial point existed some finite time ago without a cause DOES NOT commit the Atheist to the position that the universe popped into existence out of nothing. I don"t know how many times I have to stress this point. There was no point at which there was nothing, There was only a point at which the universe was extremely compact some finite time ago, Which expanded. There is simply no good reason given by my opponent as to why this requires a cause.

Another reason this logic is flawed is it goes by this formula:

F: If we have no examples of X, That confirms the premise that X is never the case

The problem with this logic is that it doesn"t work. There was one time we had no examples of other planets, We know other planets exist. There was one time we had no examples of quantum fluctuations, We know quantum fluctuations occur. So just because we have no examples now of something coming into being without a cause, That fact alone would not entail it could not happen.

Also if we follow this formula, As I have argued, We can conclude Atheism is true. We have no examples of minds without brains, Which confirms Atheism. We have no examples of anything supernatural causing matter to exist, Which confirms the premise that no supernatural being created matter.

Clearly this line of reasoning is flawed and must be rejected.

In conclusion, There is no reason to accept the first premise is true. Even if I agreed that something cannot pop into existence out of a prior nothing, There is no reason to think that is what happened with regards to the universe under Atheism. Rather, We would have a point that existed some finite time ago (the initial universal state) that had no cause; that does not mean it came from nothing, There is no reason to think it "came from" at all. It simply existed in the past without an outside cause and expanded. There is nothing irrational about that once so ever, And we are left with absolutely no compelling reason to accept P1. Also, The formula that no examples of X confirm X is never the case is demonstrably false. This logic does nothing to make P1 anymore reasonable.

Since there are no good reasons to think the initial state of the universe some finite time ago needed a cause, Then P1 of the argument is an utter failure. There is no rational reasons for accepting this premise. Thus, The KCA fails.
primeministerJoshua812

Pro

In accordance with the rules of this debate, I shall say. . . My true response is in the comments.
Debate Round No. 4
37 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by primeministerJoshua812 3 years ago
primeministerJoshua812
You are correct that time as we know it began at the big bang but that shows us that the universe being finite could not have always existed and that is what I am saying.
Posted by RationalThinkerTwoPointO 3 years ago
RationalThinkerTwoPointO
So I will say it again so you finally understand. . .

Time began at The Big Bang. . . Therefore, There is no "before" the universe at which it did not exist.

I really hope you grasp why your argument is so silly now.
Posted by RationalThinkerTwoPointO 3 years ago
RationalThinkerTwoPointO
Smh. . . The same logic does not work because time began at The Big Bang, What part of that do you not understand? There is no time at which the universe did not exist! There is no "before". So the analogy you presented is false. Time did not begin with your birth, So of course there was a time at which you didn"t exist. The universe is a whole different story, Time began with it! There is no time at which the universe was non-existent and this holds true regardless of a finite past.

Again, Time began with The Big Bang. . . . Therefore, There"s no time the universe did not exist.

It"s really not that hard to grasp dude. . . .
Posted by primeministerJoshua812 3 years ago
primeministerJoshua812
I at one point did not exist I came into existence upon the pregnancy of my mother. Apply the same logic to the Universe.
Posted by RationalThinkerTwoPointO 3 years ago
RationalThinkerTwoPointO
Just saying it over and over again will not make it true, You have to give a reason why a beginning entails at one point there was nothing. . . Because that"s a wild claim with no evidence or reasoning behind it.
Posted by RationalThinkerTwoPointO 3 years ago
RationalThinkerTwoPointO
It really is not hard to grasp, You are committing a non-sequitur fallacy.
Posted by RationalThinkerTwoPointO 3 years ago
RationalThinkerTwoPointO
No it doesn"t. You are simply making things up instead of defending your position. There is no reason to think that a beginning means at one point there was nothing, Not one reason. So please, Stop pulling conclusions out of thin air with nothing to back it!
Posted by primeministerJoshua812 3 years ago
primeministerJoshua812
NO! A beginning indicates at one point there was nothing! My colleague this isn't hard to understand.
Posted by RationalThinkerTwoPointO 3 years ago
RationalThinkerTwoPointO
was very small*
Posted by RationalThinkerTwoPointO 3 years ago
RationalThinkerTwoPointO
No it is not, You just made that up. Again, I will ask, How do you get from "The universe had a beginning" to "there was nothing". The idea that a beginning proves there was nothing literally makes no sense. The beginning of the universe means there was an initial point where the universe we very small; not there was nothing.

So please prove your claim, Because you are committing a non-sequitur fallacy. "There was nothing" does not follow from "there was a first universal state". If you cannot give any good reason to believe your bizarre claim then there is no use debating.
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