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The Kalam Cosmological Argument is Sound

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/18/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,152 times Debate No: 18291
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (90)
Votes (2)




I would like to issue an open challenge on a debate regarding the Kalam Cosmological Argument as supported by William Lane Craig which in my experience the opponent does support.

The KCA:
A.Whatever begins to exist has cause
B. The universe began to exit
C. .'. the universe has a cause.

For clarification: universe does not simply mean whar arises from an expansion- ie spacetime, but essentially existence itself. A creation of existence means the creation of energy which is the basis of physical existence.




a)Pro must affirm that the KCA is sound, while Con must deny that the KCA is sound. The Burden of Proof is therefore shared, with each side having a position to demonstrate.
b)Neither side is bound to demonstrate their position with 100% certainty. The judge is voting based on which stance is most probable in light of in round arguments.


a)Fairness – This interpretation provides both sides with equal ground. Neither side is capable of winning the debate without presenting an argument.
b)Real World- This interpretation matches with real world evaluation of argument claims. When deciding if a claim is true or false an individual weighs the arguments in favor of truth or falsity and picks the most likely option.


The formal structure of the KCA is valid; the principle question is the truth of the first and second premise. To win this debate, Pro must demonstrate that the first and second premises are both more likely true than false. If Pro more adequately demonstrates the veracity of Premise 1 and 2 than Con demonstrates the falsity, Pro has won the debate.


a)This claim is supported overwhelmingly by thousands of years of human experience. The necessity of causation seems so intuitively obvious that to claim otherwise can hardly be met with other than hearty skepticism. In the face of common sense and experience, Con must offer an exceptionally strong critique of this premise. At debates end, if the judge is unsure of which side has won Premise 1, the judge should err on the side of established wisdom and vote Pro.
b)"From nothing comes nothing." It is impossible for non-existent thing to be the cause of an existent cause. This is a metaphysical truth grounded in intuition that is bourn out in our experience of the necessary world. Experience shows that events do not occur uncaused; we do not see cars popping into existence for example. It then follows that a something with a beginning must have been caused be something rather than nothing.


a) Proof 1
a.i) If there is no beginning of the universe, then there is no beginning of time.
a.ii) If there is no beginning of time, then each moment in time is preceded by an infinite amount of temporal moments.
a.iii) An infinite series cannot be completed by successive addition.

a.iv) It can then be seen that a universe without a beginning is not possible, as in order for the present moment to occur, an infinite series of temporal moments must have occurred. However, such a series could never be completed, and so the present moment could not occur. Clearly the present does occur and so the universe has a beginning.

b) Proof 2
b.i) An actual infinite cannot exist.

To exist in this sense is to exist metaphysically as a real object, not as a conceptual object. The existence of actual infinites results in physical absurdities. For example, consider a hotel containing an infinite number of rooms, each room is occupied by a person. Suppose that guests in only odd numbered room check out; an infinite number of patrons leave but the hotel is then still occupied by an infinite number of patrons (as there are an infinite number of occupied even number rooms.) However, consider if all patrons with a room number larger that #1 leave. Now an infinite number of patrons have left but only one room remains occupied. The absurdity here is that the same number of real patrons can leave this hotel and leave the hotel in different states of occupancy. This is an absurdity that makes no sense in terms of REAL hotel rooms and REAL people.

b.ii) An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite.

If the universe had no beginning, this would require the existence of an infinite number of events of finite duration. A universe without beginning then entails the existence of an actual infinite, namely, that an infinite number of finite duration events exists.

b.iii) An infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist. This follows from b.i and b.ii, and requires that time and the universe have a beginning.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for taking up this debate. That being said, I don't see exactly what argument I would need to propose. Rather, all I need to show is that the premises are unsupported and therefore unwarranted, at minimum. However I will also attempt a rebuttal and point out the overall flaw in the argument.

1. Whateve begins to exist has a cause
My opponent has stated that the claim is supported by human experience and intuition. However, this is, upon closer look, NOT to be the case. Firstly, what are "beginnings" that we observe? They are more accurately conversions of pre-existent matter and energy into different arrangements. They are simply parts of the whole which are in a constant state of flux. How can we point out exactly where it "begins"? On what point does a grain of sand collect enough to form a dune? Where does the beach end and the ocean begin? They're arbitrary points made for more quotidian uses. Even accepting they are"beginnings" is still problematic, since they are qualitatively different from the kinds that the KCA argues for. A chair "begins to exist", but does it begin to exist from nothing? No. In fact, my opponent has argued against that very thing being even possible. Because of this, we cannot therefore call these "beginning-from-something" as beginning in the sense that the argument requires- ie a creatio ex nihilo, and thus we do not have examples of anything beginning to exist.

Further to point out the flaw of this argument is the fact that quantum fluctuation occur out of low-point field of energy (or vacuum- they're "nothing" in the physicist sense though not "nothing" in the philosophical definition of absolute non-being) without cause. Its "cause" if it could even be called that is entirely part of the nature of the quantum particles via Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty. In short, we have things beginning to exist uncaused (though not out of nothing).

Then there's the informal fallacy of composition. Though my opponent would point out it's an INFORMAL fallacy and for example a wall made of redbricks would be red, the fact of the matter is that the reasoning achieved to lead TO the conclusion is fallacious. It may be the case in certain examples, but other examples such as
  1. Human cells are invisible to the naked eye.
  2. Humans are made up of human cells.
  3. Therefore, humans are invisible to the naked eye.
point out that the reasoning behind the conclusion is fallacious and therefore the argument still stands. Things within the universe may have "cause" of existence but we cannot therefore extrapolate it to the universe at large. That brings us to the 2nd premise:

2. The universe began to exist
To support this argument my opponent refers to the argument against actual infinities, citing for example Hilbert Hotel as "proof" of the impossibility of actual infinities. The problem of course is that my opponent is effectively denying the very nature of infinity in the real world, and thus the nature of mathematics itself in the real world. As an aside, it's also worth noting that effectively his proof 1 and 2 are simply the same arguments, with the first proof being an assertion with the 2nd proof being its defense. With that:

Hilbert's Hotel:
Hilbert's Hotel paradox is, to put simply, not a paradox but simply highlighting the peculiar nature of actual infinity as well as making some flawed assumptions of infinity. In saying that "infinite number of patrons would fill infinite number of rooms" my opponent as effectively attempted to cap ends in a capless concept. Infinity is by definition without beginning or end. It entails conceptually certain strange facts, such as the fact that there are as many numbers in a set of all integers as there ae all ODD integers. How could this be, if one is effectively "half-an-infinity" and according to intuition should be a smaller number? My opponent would of course assert that this highlights the very paradoxical nature of infinity. But that wasn't what he was arguing, was he? He was not saying infinity was conceptually invalid which is what that argument would entail. What he's saying is that though this is perfectly fine in the realm of mathematics, it does not work in the actual world, which only highlights my pevious point in that effectively my opponent is making the claimof a dichotomy between the realm of mathematics and the real world. He is denying the very connection of mathematics with the real world- an absurd statement, clearly.

My opponent is therefore stuck between two equally absurd conclusions: either actual infinity is conceptually invalid, in which case he denies works regarding it by the likes of Cantor for example as well as many other mathematical works which involves infinity (which funny enough provide no problem in either mathematics or physics calculation, I might add), or that he denies the link of the mathematical realm with the real world- another absurd conclusion.

Current cosmology also points to the irrelevant nature of this. When physicists and cosmologists state the universe "began to exist" like in say the Hartle-Hawking model or the Borde, Guth, Vilenkin model (a favorite among Christian apologists such as William Lane Craig), they have a radically different definition of universe and time. I've defined universe in my initial post which my opponent accepted that the universe "universe does not simply mean whar arises from an expansion- ie spacetime, but essentially existence itself. A creation of existence means the creation of energy which is the basis of physical existence." With that being said, the distinction comes to an important point here, in that universe in their definition is the particular arrangement of the energy into "spacetime" and not the all-encompassing classical definition of "all that exists" or "the whole body of things and phenomena observed or postulated : cosmos: (Merriam Webster). The physicists posit time to be part of the spacetime- ie part of the energy/matter arrangement. The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin model for example posits effectively that the universe and time "began"- but not from nothing. As we further go down the "history" of the conception of the universe, space and time are all converted to an Intial Energy Density from which a false vacuum arises which leads to quantum nucleation (as referred to Vilenkin's 1982 paper) that kicks off the expansion. In short, they posit a "time" (term used loosely here) in which energy existed without time, that gave rise TO time and space (which is their definition of universe). They do not, however, posit creation of energy and hence they do not posit a violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics.

In short, in cosmology my opponent's entire argument for the 2nd premise is rendered irrelevant.

What does this leave us?

1. We do not have support for the claim that whatever begins to exist has a cause, or of anything beginning to exist in any "creative" sense.
2. We do not have evidence, nor reason to suppose that the universe ever began to exist (except as timespace which does NOT fit the definition I've provided in my initial post)
3. The universe does not and need not have a cause.



Burden of Proof:

My opponent has provided no argument to contest my definition of Burden of Proof, so as of now it stands in round.


a) Carry over my point from Round 1 that Con must provided an exceptionally convincing critique of causation to overcome the firmness with which intuition and experience confirm this premise.

b.i) Quantum Mech. Does not provide a counterexample to the metaphysical truth that "From nothing comes nothing." Quantum events are caused by existing energy states and the physical laws of the universe, e.g. the quantum wave function. These are all clearly part of existence per Con's R1 definition and thus not "nothing." Without the existence of these things, the quantum events described by Con could not occur. Con claims this means the events are therefore "uncaused" but his own description of these events seems to support QM events having causes.

b.ii) The metaphysical principle that something cannot come from nothing is more fundamental than theories of QM. Exactly how to interpret and describe QM phenomena his been a matter of debate since its advent in the 1920's. Any interpretation proposed by Con will have counterarguments and alternative theories. I contend that accepting that something can come from nothing undermines any cogent metaphysical system and that the intuitiveness of the principle comes prior to the development of a any physical theory. Thuse, we should be evaluating the plausibility of an interpretation of QM by the "from nothing" principle, not the other way around.

c.i) On "beginnings." Con is simply playing a linguistic shell game, claiming that an object's "beginning" is arbitrarily defined. Let's not pretend that anyone in unclear by what is meant by beginning; an object that did not exist now exists, so at some point it came into existence or "began." My inability to define the precise limits of an ocean's boundary does not change the fact that if at one point the space occupied by the ocean contained no water, there was some number of things that caused an ocean to appear.

c.ii) To suggest that "beginning" in a meaningful sense does not exist because our observable "beginnings" are conversions of pre-existing matter and energy is absurd. Apply c.i) on how the relevant meaning of "beginning" is "to come into existence." Even with Con's claims, saying that Rome came into existence is still meaningful and requires a cause.

c.iii) Con's point that all we have experience of "beginning" is matter does nothing to undermine my argument. My Premise 1 b) argument rests explicitly on a fundamental metaphysical principle – that it is impossible for any real object to exist as caused by nothing. That in experience this is verified only for material objects does not damage my case – it only reinforces that material objects require a First Cause.

d) Informal Fallacy. Again, my argument rests on the nature of all metaphysical objects, and so is applicable to any metaphysical object – including the Universe. Even if it were applicable, this fallacy does no work for Con unless he is able to provide a positive argument for why the Universe as a whole is fundamentally different from the objects in it.


a) Con has offered no explanation why this argument is equivalent to my argument b). I maintain that this argument is distinct and in the absence of any in-round argument against it by Con at this point, stands as unrefuted.

b.i) Mathematics are not real objects. The distinction between objects "existing" mathematically and "existing" in the metaphysical sense is not new and is in no way an absurd claim; many schools of thought maintain such a position, for example structuralism. Math can describe the real world without itself being a real object; much in the same way we don't say that "grammar" is an actual existing object. If Con wants to claim mathematic objects are real he must demonstrate so and explain how objects such as -1, the root of -1, and zero exist in the real world.

b.ii) My criticism of the Hotel illustrates a contradiction in infinity as a real object. In this example, subtracting to equal numbers results in two distinct and contradictory results. Such an occurrence in the real world is impossible, and demonstrates the impossibility of actual infinites.

b.iii) Infinity as a mathematical object is made consistent by axiomatic rules. In mathematics, you are simply not allowed to subtract from infinity, precisely because it leads to the inconsistency laid out in b.ii). In the real world, such axiomatic rules are meaningless – you cant just make up a rule to make infinity consistent, e.g. there is no rule of reality preventing infinite guests from leaving the hotel.

b.iv) My opponent's view of infinity as "by definition without beginning or end" is quite simply wrong. The set of all positive integers clearly has a beginning but is clearly infinite. Nothing in my hotel example runs contrary to the definition of infinity.


c.i) THEORY: Per B.O.P standard, Con must demonstrate that any cosmology he relies on is in fact more probable than a competing cosmology offered by Pro. Simply providing examples of possible alternative cosmologies does not meet Con's B.O.P and shows serious potential for abuse. Con could simply list as many conflicting improbable cosmologies as possible and Pro would have no space to refute.

c.ii) All theories of the universe at the moment of or before the Big Bang are speculative, many differing radically. There is no scientific consensus surrounding any one theory, much less the theory advocated by Con. It should even be noted that Con cites two different contradicting theories (H.H. and Vilenkin)- illustrating the lack of conensus. There is however, overwhelming consensus that the Big Bang occurred some finite amount of time in the past. Taken together this means that scientific cosmology supports a universe with a temporal beginning but has no single most probable account of how the universe began.

c.iii) Vilenkin's Initial Energy Density does not suggest a "timeless" pre-universe (Gott, Li, Physical Review '98)
"The problem with [Vilenkin and Hawking-Hartle] is that it ignores the ‘zero point energy'… The energy levels should be E=n+1/2... even for n=0 there is ‘zero point energy.' The potential makes the system behave like a harmonic oscillator… A harmonic oscillator cannot sit at the bottom of the potential well-the uncertainty principle would not allow it…The initial state is not a point but a tiny oscillating big bang universe…This is the initial classical state from which tunneling occurs. It is metastable, so this…universe could not have existed forever: after a finite half-life, it is likely to decay."

c.iv) Counter-cosmology: Closed Friedmann (Gott,Li)

"In the Friedmann models the universe began in a singularly dense state at a finite time in the past. The equations could not be pushed beyond that finite beginning singularity…The closed Friedmann model, popular because it is compact and therefore needs no boundary conditions, re-collapses in a finite time in the future to form a big crunch singularity at the end. … Classical general relativity tells us that a closed universe begins with a singularity and ends with a singularity, with nothing before and nothing after"

This counter-cosmology is preferable for several reasons: a) The model has a popular scientific following, as indicated above b) the model avoids speculation about boundary conditions, making no improbable claims about the singularity or pre-Big Bang conditions.

As outlined in the B.O.P., Con must demonstrate why any cosmology he advocates is more probable than the cosmology advocated by Pro.

c.v) The cosmology presented in a) and b) still establish a universe with a temporally finite past. These are, again, metaphysical arguments that come prior to speculative cosmogonies. They are therefore more certain than the speculative cosmogony offered by Con.
Debate Round No. 2


Premise 1:
My opponent has failed to address most of my argument regarding causation and beginning of existence. Instead he has argued points I've already made in my round such as the claim regarding quantum mechanics while being largely unable to deal with the impetus of my points.

Quantum mechanics:
My opponent argues an irrelevant point, claiming that it doesn't refute the claim that "from nothing comes nothing". What he failed to do is note that I've made this exact point, and in fact explicitly noted that quantum fluctuation takes place in a low-point energy which is NOT a "philosophical nothing" or an "absence of being". what he had failed to note is that the QM has NOT in fact been demonstrated to have a cause of exstence. The virtual particles pop in and out of existence, appearing and disappearing in "quantum foam" without cause. If there is a cause, I'd like for my opponent to point to it. He makes a vague claim that seems to say that "it came out of pre-existing materia, therefore it has a cause" which he has not substantiated.

The beginnings:
He seems to rest much of his argument with the notion that I argued things pop into existence out of nothing without cause, which I have not done so once. Once he does so, however, he attempts to obfuscate the issue by conflating and thus equating the two qualitatively different cases of "beginnings". He defines beginning as " an object that did not exist now exists, so at some point it came into existence or "began."" And yet that clearly highlights the issue of the definition of "beginning". We do not have any examples of a creatio ex nihilo, caused or otherwise. Of the "beginning" that we are aware of, the above definition clearly is not adequate. The fact the he is unable to point out exactly when a beard begins, or when the beach becomes the ocean points to the fact that therefore we cannot say we have examples of "beginnings".

In short, the "beginnings" that we are aware of in fact do NOT meet the requirement of the definition of beginning. Furthermore, it's worth pointing out the qualitatively different nature of the said "beginning". One is well established, if not exactly a "beginning" as much as a "transition" from one state to another or a rearrangement. The other is thus far an assertion that has not been demonstrated. The methods of causation are of course different. One simply involves a mode of transition- a sculptor takes a pre-existing block of marble to convert it into a statue for example. The other isn't even well understood, not to mention as it stands that it is simply a bare assertion. It also has an interesting implication of causation since causation is understood as "causing an effect". With this creation ex nihilo, there is no "effect" TO cause... so does this even make for a cogent case?

To put it short, we have no examples of anything beginning to exist in the sense that the argument requires as was my statement in the previous round. Given the strict definition that the KCA requires (a creation ex nihilo) this is a claim without evidence and hence commits the fallacy of begging the question.

Informal Fallacy:
My opponent fails to note the portend and the entire point of the fallacy of composition. Simply because certain things within the universe had "beginning" (from pre-existing materia) does not therefore mean the universe itself had a beginning. It might indeed be the case that the universe in fact had a cause (not a concession here, by the way) but the reasoning does not follow from the point that "things within the universe has cause of existence". He claims I must explain the fundamental difference between the objects within it and the universe itself. I should ask him, then, what are the fundamental differences between a human cell and the human body?

Premise 2:
It seems that he does not understand his example against infinity is in fact the Hilbert's Hotel paradox, which points to his further misunderstanding of the argument he himselfhas proposed. The fact that it does not actually point to a philosophical contradiction but to the peculiar nature of infinity with any "contradictions" arising from a misunderstanding of how infinities work.

He further misunderstands my objection to his argument, and fails to address that at all. in his counterargument b.i, he fails to meet the point that I was not saying mathematics were real objects, but that he in fact denied the relationship of mathematics with the real world by denying the possibility of infinity- a mathematical concept and hence mathematics itself - from actualizing in the real world. When he does deal with infinity, all he effectively does is further highlight the very objection I've made in this paragraph as well as in my last response.

This extends to his b.ii objection in which he once again claims it to be "contradictory" is in fact simply counter-intuitive nature of infinity. If something were contradictory it would mean infinity was conceptually invalid... But that is once again not what my opponent is arguing. In the following objection he misunderstands calculating with infinity and claims that one is not allowed to "subtract from infinity". This is false. Subtracting from infinity is possible. It is also simply does not change the answer, per the nature of infinity.

With that said, I will simply re-state the argument that my opponent has failed to deal with.
"My opponent is therefore stuck between two equally absurd conclusions: either actual infinity is conceptually invalid, in which case he denies works regarding it by the likes of Cantor for example as well as many other mathematical works which involves infinity (which funny enough provide no problem in either mathematics or physics calculation, I might add), or that he denies the link of the mathematical realm with the real world- another absurd conclusion."


With regards to cosmology he further misses the point of my objections and in fact unwittingly highlights the problem as well. To begin with, I do not need to rely on any cosmology due to the fact that as of yet no pre-planck cosmology have been established. What does remain, however, is the fact that none of the posit a violation of the First Law of Themodynamics, that energy was ever created- that it is even possible. This extends to all existing theorem.

That being said, it seems he thinks I've made a claim against the Big Bang, when this is clearly not the case. I do object to the notion that the Big Bang points was a beginning of time. In fact, Alan Guth has been noted as saying:

“So far, it’s been made to sound, I think for the purposes of simplifying things, that until the cyclic model, all scientists had believed that the big bang was the origin of time itself. That idea is certainly part of the classic theory of the big bang, but it’s an idea which I think most cosmologists have not taken seriously in quite a while” [1]

With regards to the Vilenkin theorem, I'm not sure exactly what he's proposing here except that instead of actually proving that Vilenkin's theorem does not posit a "time-less" pre-universe, he instead quotes a criticism of it which ultimately renders his objection irrelevant. Furthermore it's worth noting that his quote does little to actually validate his position, pointing out effectively the very point I've been making all along- that there was a pre-existing energy and that a physicist defines the term "universe" within a specific context of "spacetime" and not simply "all that exists" as I've differentiated previously. Friendman's model further of course provides problems for my opponent in fact, positing, much like the Hartle-Hawking model, essentially a universe that does not have a "cause" but is acting entirely within its own nature and confines, among other things.




My case rests on successfully demonstrating that the premises "everything that begins to exist has a cause" and "the universe began to exist" are more likely truly than false. The general approach I have taken is to outline a priori metaphysical arguments in favor of each claim. I began my defense of Premise 1 by noting that Con really has the burden of demonstrating the falsity of this claim, given the overwhelming support experience provides us. I then provided an independent argument beginning with the metaphysical truth that "from nothing comes nothing" and concluding that "everything that begins has a cause." My defense of Premise 2 rests on two independent a priori arguments; the first shows the impossibility of the present if the universe were eternal and the second demonstrates the impossibility of actual infinites.

It is important to note that my principle arguments depend only on principles of metaphysics, while my opponent quite often relies on empirically derived claims for his argument. My approach thus has two advantages: 1) Metaphysics concerns the underlying reality of things as things while empirical claims are derived to explain particulars. Metaphysics is therefore a priori and comes before the evaluation of empirical claims. 2) Metaphysical arguments, in not relying on particular observations, are much more certain than empirical arguments. This is especially true in this debate, where my opponent frequently relies on speculative and contentious empirical theories such as quantum mechanics and pre-big bang physics.

The take away from this is that when in conflict, my approach better meets the Burden of Proof by offering a method that is more reliable and certain.


b.i) I am unclear as to exactly what my opponent's argument involving QM is. He admits that QM does not disprove "from nothing comes nothing" but still claims it disproves that all existing things have causes. Refer to my R1 argument to see that the claim "from nothing comes nothing" entails that all existing things have causes; if I am granted this claim, the conclusion of necessary causality follows.

However, to remove all doubt, let me quote Fritz Rohrlich, Syracuse Univ. Physics Prof. (Book: From Paradox to Reality)
"Lest there be a complete misunderstanding…one must emphasize the existence of causality in quantum mechanics…The fact that the exact time of an event cannot be predicted in no way detracts from this cause-effect relationship."

b.ii) Note my R2 argument that my metaphysical arguments should be evaluated before arguments involving QM goes unanswered.

c.i&ii) My opponent argues that the only "beginnings" we observe are actually "transitions" from one state of matter to another. I will restate my point that you can call the construction of Rome a "transition" but it still represents a thing coming into existence and requires causality.

c.iii) My opponent seems to think that because we have never witnessed the creation of matter, and that I have not demonstrated that matter could be created "ex nihilo" I have failed to prove my case. Again, my case for premise 1 rests on the very fact that a creation "ex nihilo" is impossible; to say it is impossible demonstrates the need for something to cause the creation of matter. If "only nothing comes from nothing" is true, then it follows that "something can not come from nothing" and therefore that "something must come from something." If this something at one point did not exist, then the existence of that something must have another something as a cause.

As I stated in R2, it isn't necessary to observe matter being created in order to know that it is impossible for such a thing to happen without a cause. My arguments rest on a priori arguments- note, in the case of "from nothing comes nothing," these arguments have even been affirmed by Con- and a priori arguments do not depend on observation.

d) My opponent never addressed my point that my arguments apply to all things insofar as they are real metaphysical objects, thus the informal fallacy does not apply. His human cell/body example fails because the conclusion he makes (invisibility) depends on the size of the object in relation to optical capability of the human eye- a trait not shared between part and whole. My argument depends on the metaphysical reality of a thing- a trait shared by the parts of the universe and the whole.


a)This argument has gone unrefuted, as I noted in R2. On this argument alone I win that the universe has a finite past and therefore had a beginning. If the judge is feeling lazy, I would not find a fault in deciding "Pro" on premise 2 without reading the remainder of my arguments; the failure of con to address my argument a) is justification to do so.

b.i) Con concedes mathematics are not real objects but claims they have a "relationship" to the real world. Note in R2 I do not deny a "relationship" to the real world- I state that math can describe the real world without being a real object. I can claim that "-1" is useful in describing reality without insisting that there is such a thing as "-1 apples," just as I can claim "grammar" describes reality while denying that "grammar" exists as a real entity. In the same way I contend "infinity" may have the ability to describe reality without the possibility of there being "infinity apples."

b.ii&iii) A simple proof: 1+inf=inf, 1+inf-inf=inf-inf, 1=0. This is a contradiction, not a misplaced intuition. Con is simply wrong that you are allowed to subtract from infinity; this is taught in any high school or college calculus class. However, in the real world you cannot "disallow" subtracting from infinity; a real infinite would mean that in the real world 1=0.

b.iv) Con did not dispute this point. I maintain that real infinites cannot exist, and so a Universe with an infinite past is not possible.

c)Con's cosmology is at this point incoherent. He says the Big Bang does not represent "the beginning of time" but also advocates Vilenkin in R2 with the following words:"In short, they posit a "time" (term used loosely here) in which energy existed without time." So according to Con the Big Bang does not represent the beginning of time, and he also advocates that there was a "time without time" before it? This is not a coherent position, and I would appreciate a lucid account of exactly what cosmology Con is advocating for during his next round.

c.iii) Gott and Li explain that both Vilenking and Hartle-Hawking imply that the pre-universe behaved as an oscillator and "this universe could not have existed forever: after a finite half life it is likely to decay." Con can claim this is a "time before time" but the mathematics behind Vilenkin suggest a pre-universe that undergoes oscillations, has duration, and is not eternal. Whether you choose to call it "time" or not, such a universe is not eternal and could not have existed forever, and so must have had a beginning.

c.iv) I maintain the Friedmann model in which, per my R2 evidence from physicists Gott and Li, "the universe…began at a finite time in the past." My model maintains that the universe began. Con has given no reason why this model is less likely than any competing model, and so has failed to meet the B.O.P to demonstrate the universe did not begin.

Con offers no explanation or warrant as to how Friedmann suggests the universe did not have a cause. All I am committed to in advocating for Friedmann is: there is a universe with no boundary conditions, that begins with a singularity at a finite point in time in the past, and that this means the universe had a beginning.

c.v) I again remind the judges that my Metaphysical arguments in a) and b) come first in the evaluation of this debate. Speculation on the origins of the universe is a murky subject with no consensus around any single theory. In contrast, my a) and b) arguments proceed from sound and clear metaphysical truths.
Debate Round No. 3


Premise 1:

My opponent attempts to skirt the issue of substantiating the claim that “everything that begins to exist has a cause” by asserting it is a metaphysical truth and hence an apriori statement, thereby exempt from evidential support. What he fails to note is that before one can make a claim and expect it to be accepted he must first justify the statement. He has not done so. I’ve pointed out the error in appealing to experience to show that “things beginning to exist have cause” does not reflect the “beginning” that the KCA requires, which is a de novo creation. To equate the mundane conversion with such a beginning is to commit the fallacy of equivocation. That simply asserts the causal relation of “beginning” is a metaphysical truth does not help his case when he has failed to substantiate this position.

He then asserts essentially that only “creation ex nihilo” is acausal, with any other creation ex material being by definition caused. He does not substantiate this. What cause, then, can he point to with regards to say quantum fluctuation? The closest thing to “cause” that such an event has is at best its nature- that described in the Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty. This of course does not actually point to a cause except in a very loose, metaphorical sense. His quote only supports my case since after his quote, Frohlich says: “For example, in the photoelectric effect, the emission of the electron is caused by the absorption of a photon”. This does not meet the criteria of causation that say the “coming into being” shows, like say the artist and his painting which is of closer relations that the cause of the universe and KCA brings.

With regards to the transitions, he concedes the point and yet fails to understand its implications, citing Rome as nevertheless as having come about. This may work in a more conversational sense where the rigorous definition of “beginning” is not needed, but given this is one of the premises of the KCA, that does not fly here. When can we point to Rome actually existing as a nation? How many people does it need? What government does it need to be legitimized to be recognized as thus? In other examples, when does a clump of cells become a human? This shows a conversion in the overall view- parts which simple are different arrangements that are in constant state of flux.

This further highlight the question begging and the compositional fallacy that my opponent makes to make his point. The universe as I’ve outlined in the original post is quite simply “all that exists”, and is not an “arrangement” in and of itself. Whatever physically exists would mean the universe exists- which all ties to its compositional makeup of energy being its root. That being said, to equate arrangements that arise from within the “existence” to existence itself and to draw a conclusion is thus committing a compositional fallacy.

It’s also interesting to note that my opponent claims that a creation ex nihilo is impossible, and yet that is precisely what he is proposing had occurred. A cause is not a thing in and of itself- it is a description of the method that brings about the effect. A causal agent is the thing that causes, which I assume my opponent would determine is God. As I’ve pointed out in the previous round, a cause also must have something TO cause for the effect to take place- that is how cause is understood and hence the incoherence of his position. What did god create the universe out of? He then further misses the point, continuing to argue as if I’ve ever made the argument that things do come out of existence uncaused and out of nothing. I’ve pointed out that we have no evidence of anything ever beginning to exist (ie creation of energy) and thus we have no reason to say It ever did. If there were any “cause”, it would be entirely intrinsic to itself (which is a very loose definition of cause that does not quite apply to the KCA anyway).

His appeal to metaphysic falls more or less in the same vein that he objects to my example with regards to the compositional fallacy. He deems an object as “real metaphysical objects” which he has not defined. I challenge this, and in fact say that what’s real is energy. What we define as objects however are no more than the arrangements of the said energy being formed into atoms and compounds in the macro scale. All properties simply arise from this. Just as my “human cell/body relation” fails, his example of “discrete objects” fail precisely because they are particular arrangements, while the universe is simply the whole of what the “things” are composed of.

Premise 2:

He continues to assert that his argument has gone unrefuted, while refusing to even address the fact that he has effectively made the claim that the mathematical world and the real world are not linked in denying one very real mathematical concept. His attempt at finally addressing the argument leads to him essentially making erroneous claims regarding the mathematical concepts. His example of negative integers not being manifest in reality fails since it DOES manifest itself in reality. For example, we have negative energy. He attempts to confuse the issue by saying “it’s impossible to have infinity apples”. Given the fact that matter/energy is finite, of course. But we’re talking about time and the passage it undergoes in which there’s no limit as constrained in say apples and its existence in the universe. My opponent further attempts to argue against infinity by attacking its conceptual validity by pointing to perceived contradiction. He in fact contradicts himself by conceding that infinity is conceptually valid, and hence fails as I’ve noted above in my previous rounds.

Furthermore, even granting the possibility of time being finite does in no way provide problems, seeing as time has a very specific definition within physics, in that It is a field that arises as part of the spacetime. This means the universe does not exist IN time, but that time exists IN the universe, and hence the finitude of time does not depend on the existence of the universe. Of course, unless my opponent is willing to concede that timeless existence is impossible (in which case the cause is also impossible), he will have to at least recognize this. This “timeless universe” which many theorems posit as unexpanded Initial Energy Density faces no “infinite duration” problem, if it even were a problem to begin with.

Even more problematic for my opponent- say time must be infinite for the universe and such for it to exist. What then? Causality is also temporal. How can there be a cause for the universe to begin existing if there were no temporal antecedent within which there could be a cause?

With regards to cosmology, my opponent accuses me of incoherence, despite the fact that I’ve pointed out I was using the term “time” with regards to the “pre-expansion universe” in the Vilenkin paper as “loosely defined”. This was simply to point out that many theorems show that time and space arising to form the universe had a prerequisite antecedent, that of the Initial Energy Density. This also highlights another flaw that my opponent has committed- that of equivocation. The universe as physicists use is strictly within the domains of “spacetime”- simply an existing IED is not “universe” in their theorems. I’ve defined it as more than that- as physical existence, or energy itself in the opening round. This means that the physicists say the universe beginning does not fit the “creation ex nihilo” view that my opponent espouses. In order to show that the universe began he would be required to show that energy was created. He has not done so, nor have any physicists ever propose such a view. What IS proposed by physicists, however, is a vastly different view of time than what my opponent adheres to, which all but renders his argument against infinity wholly irrelevant.



In this round I will break with my previous line by line format and present an analysis of this debate as a whole.

In R1 I established that the crux of this debate rests on the truth of Premise 1 and Premise 2 of the Kalam Cosmological argument. I additionally interpreted the BOP such that all I must do is prove that it is more likely that these premises are true than that they are false. It is therefore not necessary that I remove all doubt from the reader's mind that my position is correct, but only that my position is stronger than my opponents. These positions have gone uncontested and so remain as a fact in this debate.

Additionally, I have repeatedly pointed out that my arguments rest on metaphysical claims while my opponent's on empirical claims and that this means a) The truth of Pro's arguments comes before Con's and b) Pro's arguments provide more certainty than Con's. This means that the very nature of my arguments puts me in better position to meet the BOP. Con has offered no substantive refutation of this analysis.


I have maintained that this premise seems so apparently obvious from experience that Con is the one with more work to do in convincing the judge. What this means is that if the judge is "on the fence" about whether Pro or Con has won Premise 1, the judge should err on the side of Pro.

There is no reason to be "on the fence," as Pro has won Premise 1. My opponent agrees with me in his R3 that "from nothing comes nothing." To be clear that my opponent agrees with this statement: I made the claim that he agreed during my own R3, and my opponent did not object. Now, if you refer to my original R1 argument b) you will see that the entire argument hinges on the truth of this statement. As I have repeatedly explained: If "from nothing comes nothing," then "something cannot come from nothing" and then "something can only come from something." Thus, if something began to exist, it must have come from something, or, equivalently, it must have had a cause. The moment my opponent concedes that "from nothing comes nothing" I have won Premise 1.

The rest of my opponents P1 argument is just an obfuscation of the true issue. My opponent tries to claim that QM disproves causality, ignoring my explanation of how this is untrue and dismissing a statement from a Professor of Physics explicitly denying that QM disproves causality. He further confuses the issue by claiming that I argue for creation ex nihilo and that we have no evidence of matter being created. Of course my entire contention in Premise 1 is that all things must be caused, i.e. that matter must come from somewhere, and my entire contention in Premise 2 is that matter (or "the universe") did in fact come into being at some point in time. To say that I advocate for creation ex nihilo and that matter cannot be created is to misunderstand the entire purpose of the debate. Finally, the issue of the Informal fallacy has been thoroughly addressed in my previous rounds. The structure of my argument clearly leaves this fallacy inapplicable.


My opponent has not once addressed my argument a) for the impossibility of a universe with an eternal past! I invite the reader to note how this oversight by Con was mentioned in both my R2 and R3 arguments and yet my opponent ignores it. This argument is distinct from my b) argument: argument a) argues that an eternal universe would mean the present is impossible, while argument b) argues from the impossibility of actual infinites. A fair judge will at this point affirm premise 2 on my argument a) alone.

I have defended argument b) against my opponent's mischaracterizations. My opponent did not respond to my argument that mathematics may describe reality without manifesting itself as real objects nor did he counter my demonstration in R3 that subtracting from infinity leads to mathematical paradoxes and so is not allowed. My initial Hotel example then demonstrates that actual infinites cannot exist and so an universe of infinite time is not possible. Of course this entire argument is superfluous, as I have won premise 2 solely on my uncontested argument a).

Finally, only Pro offers a coherent cosmology. Pro advocates the Friedmann model in which the universe began with the singularity of the big bang- in short, a universe that began. Con claims at one moment that the big bang did not create time and at another that time did not exist before the big bang. He claims time exists pre big bang in a "loosely defined" sense. Exactly how this should be understood is never made clear, despite an explicit request in my R3 that Con clearly lay out his advocacy. Furthermore, Pro has provided evidence from research physicists that the "loosely defined" time Con claims existed before the big bang is not meaningfully different from the time we are all used to. In this "loosely defined" time the universe changes and decays toward the singularity, demonstrating that the universe is not in fact eternal.

Even if Con's cosmology did show that Premise 2 was false, Con provides no evidence that his cosmology is more probable than the cosmology advocated by Pro. Per the BOP, it is not enough for Con to throw out a possible cosmology that contradicts Premise 2, he must demonstrate it is more probable than a cosmology that affirms Premise 2. Con thus fails to meet the BOP and a comparison of cosmologies becomes moot, seeing as both cosmologies are equally likely (as far as this debate is concerned). In this case the only arguments concerned with Premise 2 are a) and b), both of which I have won.


Pro has demonstrated with Premise 1 that all things that begin have a cause. Pro has further demonstrated with Premise 2 that the universe cannot have eternally existed and must have began. It then follows that the universe has a cause. The Kalam Cosmological argument is thus affirmed and the judge has no choice other than to…

Debate Round No. 4
90 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by warpedfx 7 years ago
I also need to add this hilarity:

"Furthmore, Pro established the fact Con had failed to respond to the eternal past objection. Good job by Con, but not a good enough job to win."

One of my argument was that this objection was completely irrelevant considering our understanding of time within the universe.
Posted by warpedfx 7 years ago
you do realize the debate is over.

But then considering it's you, the textbook case of Dunning-Kruger and narcissism...
Posted by Dimmitri.C 7 years ago
Oh, and for your conduct in the comments section of this debate.
Posted by Dimmitri.C 7 years ago
I am going to vote further against you now for your atrocious grammar and syntax. Far out, that really is disgusting.
Posted by warpedfx 7 years ago
Really? So I guess you read the bit where it clearly said

"For clarification: universe does not simply mean whar arises from an expansion- ie spacetime, but essentially existence itself. A creation of existence means the creation of energy which is the basis of physical existence."

which has not been answered? Nice job with "reading" sh ithead.
Posted by warpedfx 7 years ago
I wonder if anybody read my very first post in the debate...
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 7 years ago
Like I said, KCA is flawed. Both sides would just end up chasing each other's tails.

From "nothing comes nothing"- yeah, I took that into consideration along with everything else.
Posted by Raisor 7 years ago

Premise 1 makes a claim that is applicable to all metaphysical things. It says that, a priori, NOTHING is uncaused. This is a pretty common philosophical position, but you are correct that simply denying that you feel the force of it as an intuitive fact defeats it.

If you want to disprove Premise 1 by claiming that the universe was uncaused, you first have to prove that the universe was uncaused. But if you have proved that the universe is uncaused, then why are you even considering the Kalam argument? If it is proven that the universe is uncaused, then the debate is a foregone conclusion. Basically, using this tactic, Con would have to first would have to win the debate before disproving premise 1.

You also didnt respond to the fact that Con conceded "from nothing comes nothing." Do you think that that is not relevant to the judge's verdict on Premise 1?
Posted by Contradiction 7 years ago
No, the KCA states that "Whatever begins to exist has a cause."
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 7 years ago
@Raisor, I believe that the argument is flawed and you had to prove it. If you proved it like you did premise 2, I would certainly have given you the points for premise 1 as well but saying that it is grounded in intuition wouldn't convince someone for whom it is not grounded in intuition.

You say, it is a backward approach to the argument. But KCA itself is a backward approach to the problem. It assumes that everything that began to exist (including the Universe) has a cause. Since the universe began to exist, it too had a cause. It is just begging the question.

Correct me if I am wrong but does KCA say that
1) Everything except for the Universe that began to exist have a cause?

If KCA implies that, then it is a fair argument, but if the Universe is included, what is even the purpose of the KCA?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Dimmitri.C 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded that something can come from nothing when admitting that from nothing, nothing comes. With that being said, Con affirmed the resolution of the debate. Pro clearly stated that Q.M. does not disprove causality, as well. Such as the particle energy present in quantum vacuums coordinate to physical laws. Pro was quite precise on this matter. Furthmore, Pro established the fact Con had failed to respond to the eternal past objection. Good job by Con, but not a good enough job to win.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro convincingly proved that real infinites cannot exist therefore proving (purely theoretically) that the Universe began to exist so the second premise easily goes to Pro. The first was a lot closer. I give it to Con for casting enough doubt on what beginning is and Pro should have proved the premise as opposed to saying that it was obvious. But the problem is that I felt both Pro's and Con's positions equally likely. Overall, Pro wins as the debate has an equal BOP.