The Instigator
Con (against)
3 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
9 Points

The Kalam Cosmological Argument proves the existence of a Personal Creator

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/23/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,608 times Debate No: 21410
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (2)




I would like to issue a challenge to KRFournier on a debate regarding the Kalam Cosmological Argument as supported by William Lane Craig and whether it in fact proves the existence of a personal creator- ie, god. I will take the opposing position, ie that it lacks evidential support and thus cannot prove its conclusion.

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

The creation of the universe does not simply denote what arises from a cosmic expansion, but an actual creation of its materia- energy.



I accept Con's challenge and look forward to a rigorous dialog.

As Con indicating, I will be defending the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) as supported by William Lane Craig. Dr. Craig's version of the argument is a bit more involved than what Con quoted as it also argues for a personal creator, which is the burden I am tasked to meet.

The KCA is an evidential argument and as such it argues that belief in a personal creator is more rational than not. It does not, and cannot, eliminate all doubt from the individual. Thus, I recommend to the voters that they vote according to the debater than best justified their position rather than assuming that either of us are tasked to remove all doubt.


This is William Lane Craig's formulation of the KCA as I have come to understand it:

P1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
P2. The universe began to exist.
C1. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

P3. The first cause must be eternal.
P4. All eternal causes of temporal effects must be personal.
C2. The universe was caused by a personal creator.

I will now expand on each premise.

P1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.

This premise needs little defense given the absurdity of something being caused by nothing. Not only is there is no evidence of something being caused ex nihilo, science itself is predicated on this principle. If one were to embrace causation ex nihilo, then science is an irrational endeavor, for what is science if not the study of why things occur?

I am aware of the various rebuttals to this point, but I'd rather deal with the ones my opponent intends to specifically employ. Therefore, I will leave my argument brief on this point and await his response.

P2. The universe began to exist.

It is impossible to have an actual infinite of something. While something like the universe is indefinite—that is, it may grow indefinitely—it does not follow that it is infinite or can even be infinite. The notion of an actual infinite is logically absurd. In an actual infinite, you could add and remove things to the set and the set would not change. It would be the same as saying, "I've added more, and it's the same. Then I removed a lot more than I originally added, and it was still the same." If a set grows when things are added, then it is not infinite even if it is quite large. Likewise, if a set is infinite, then it already encompasses everything and cannot be modified.

Science also strongly supports this premise. The universe is expanding, as first discovered by the red shifts in the stars. [1] Thermodynamics and the discovery of dark energy remove further doubt; the universe will continue to expand until heat death is reached. [2] The expansion of the universe implies that the universe is not eternal, since an eternal universe would necessarily be at a state of equilibrium.

C1. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

If whatever begins to exist has a cause (P1) and the universe began to exist (P2), then the universe has a cause.

P3. The first cause must be eternal.

As argued in P1, there cannot be an actual infinite, so there cannot be an infinite number of effects in time. Therefore, even if my opponent were to argue that the universe was begat by another temporal object, he would simply be appealing to another event. The only way to rationally stop the regression is to assert that this universe, directly or indirectly, was caused by an uncaused entity. Since causes and effect are by definition temporal, any uncaused entity would necessarily be eternal.

P4. All eternal causes of temporal effects must be personal.

An eternal cause would be one of two things: teleological (personal/intelligent) or non-teleological (mechanical). The non-teleological option can be eliminated as the cause of the universe because a non-teleological entity is by definition dead and inoperative. An eternal object MUST be in equilibrium; it is logically contradictory to assert an eternal object that is changing. Remember, change is only logically valid within the context of time. Thus, a dead eternal entity is incapable of causing anything, much less the temporal effects of space-time as we know it.

A teleological eternal agent on the other hand can fit the definition of equilibrium and still create temporal effects. A personal agent implies an agent with a will. It is logically possible for an eternal personal agent to freely choose to create temporal effects without necessitating change in its own properties. Since the same cannot be said for non-teleological eternal entities, we are left to conclude that any eternal cause of a temporal effect must be intelligent.

C2. The universe was caused by a personal creator.

If the universe has a cause (C1), and the cause must be eternal (P3), then the universe has an eternal cause. If the universe has an eternal cause and all eternal causes of temporal effects must be personal (P4), then the universe must have been caused by a personal agent.


Thus, we have evidence that the universe was caused by a personal creator. This evidence is parsimonious with human experience, science, and philosophy. It requires the least amount of assumptions to reach its conclusion. I intend to show throughout this debate that it is more reasonable to believe in a personal creator than to believe the universe either exists eternally or was caused by nothing.


Debate Round No. 1


I thank KRFournier for accepting the debate!

To begin with, I must first ask my opponent: Is time necessary for existence?
This will come into play later on.

P1: whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.

My opponent rightly points out that we have no evidence of something being caused by nothing and he further states that it is absurd. After all, how can "nothing", which has no potentialities cause something to exist?

But that's not the only problem there is with the use of "causation" by the argument. Not only do we have no evidence to posit a causation BY nothing, neither do we have evidence of one FROM nothing. In short, we have no evidence of any beginning whatsoever as defined by the argument itself- that is, a creation ex nihilo. Therefore, to proceed to the second premise from this where such an important distinction that needs to be made has not would therefore be committing the fallacy of equivocation. What we do have evidence for as far as beginnings and causations go, however, is a transformative cause. For example, you and I "began to exist" when we were born. But were we created? From nothing? No, and because of this we do not match the requisite nuances of the definition of the first premise and hence cannot be used to support the argument.

That's not to say the 2nd premise is problem-free either.
P2: The universe began to exist.
My opponent firstly argues the impossibility of an actual infinite. He does not show how this is, however. It is true that infinity is unquantifiable, but this is not the same as being impossible. Mathematics and physics uses such "impossible" infinity often in their lines of works.

Given the current understanding of nature of spacetime, this isn't even particularly relevant, either. Many foremost well known current pre-planck cosmological theories rest upon the notion that essentially, the spacetime is an arrangement of the universe (read: its constituents, ie energy) itself. In short, in any theories that posit the beginning thereof the universe as the arrangement of spacetime by Vilenkin's paper on Quantum Nucleation of the Universe in fact posit that time arose from the Initial Energy Density- aka, the universe.

But what of the second law of thermodynamics? Doesn't this posit that if the universe was exanding eternally in the past, we'd have reached heat death right now? Well who says we were expanding from then? It's what Big Bang, the cosmic expansion of the universe, itself solves, since it posits the universe to have only been expanding a finite time ago. To drive the nail to the coffin, one must not forget the FIRST law of thermodynamics- that energy cannot be created or destroyed.

So what does that leave us?

Since we have no evidence nor reason to posit anything was created, and we definitely do not have evidence of the universe having or needing a beginning, how would it therefore follow that there was a creator?

The Nature of the Creator:
My opponent commits the fallacy of special pleading in claiming the nature of the creator to be intelligent and personal- a mind. Does my opponent have evidence of timeless mind? Can a mind even exist outside of a brain?


Is time necessary for existence?


P1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.

My opponent wants to take the abstract notion of causality and existence and reduce them to purely material phenomena. This premise has nothing to do with physical reality. Sure, it is a premise based on observations made within our cosmos, but the premise itself is the product of thought.

It is indeed true that what we witness as "a beginning" is physically a transformation of matter and energy. No one is going to dispute that today. Yet, it is also true that abstractly, it is still in fact a beginning. My laptop exists. It's right in front of me. It didn't exist ten years ago. At some point, it began to exist, even though the matter that composes it already existed.

No one would try to argue that my laptop has always existed, even before its molecules were arranged into a laptop, for such logic commits the fallacy of composition. But can we likewise say that the laptop never existed, i.e., that what I perceive as a laptop is not a laptop but an arrangement of atoms? I think that's ultimately where Con's logic leads. You see, if cause and existence must be reduced to material explanations, then nothing exists but matter and energy. So, my opponent is in a quandary. If he admits that my laptop exists, then he does so on a purely abstract level, which refutes his assertion that cause and effect is limited to physical transformation.

But if he admits that my laptop does not actually exist, then he has abandoned his ability to even reason in this debate, for logic itself is abstract. Moreover, the KCA intends to prove a supernatural cause of the universe, so insisting that only matter and motion exists is to beg the question, which is what happens when he reduces cause and existence to just that. It's an attempt to disprove this premise using what is ultimately decided in the argument's conclusion.

It requires far less mental gymnastics to accept P1 as an abstract axiom of truth than to pigeonhole it into something that must be reduced to nature.

P2. The universe began to exist.

Con feels as though I did not show how an actual infinite is impossible, despite my having explained the paradox in a whole paragraph. He then points out that mathematics and physics often employ infinity. I find it interesting how Con wants to appeal to abstract uses of infinity to refute this premise while rejecting abstract uses of cause and existence to refute the previous one.

Infinity is a necessarily abstract entity. I would not dare assert that it has no place in mathematics or physics. Its use in abstract formulas is not in dispute. Looking back, I can see that I assumed the readers would understand that I was arguing that an actual infinite cannot exist in reality.

To clarify, there are two types of infinity: potential and actual (or completed). "Potential infinity refers to a procedure that gets closer and closer to, but never quite reaches, an infinite end." This is different from an actual infinity, which is "an infinity that one actually reaches; the process is already done." [1]

Imagine the assertion that there are an actual infinite number of atoms in the universe. This is just absurd, for it would mean that the number of atoms could double and yet there would still be the same number of atoms. Moreover, the law of conservation of mass necessarily excludes the notion of an infinite mass of the universe.

The same logic, therefore, is applied to time. There simply cannot be an actual infinite number of events, for it would mean that all events have occurred, yet no events have occurred, yet all events have yet to occur, yet no events have yet to occur. The idea is so irrational that if taken to be true it renders science impotent.

Thus, any theory presented by physicists that would attempt to show the universe as infinite in time is logically impossible in reality due to the above proof. Indeed, many such attempts invariably involve the use of abstract concepts such as imaginary numbers to make their case, which one again, are not things that describe reality. I cannot send my child to school with 2i apples in her lunchbox.

What about those pre-plank cosmologists who argue that spacetime is just an arrangement of the universe? This simply does not escape the problem. Con says these theories posit that time arose from the Initial Energy Density. Arose? Is that not the same as began? I think my opponent just supported the idea that time began.

You see, Con cannot help but appeal to the abstract notion of existence when dealing with time itself. In his own words, time itself began. What was the cause? It surely was not the hot dense state itself. For if the hot dense state was timeless, then how could it have given rise to time without changing its state. And if it did give rise to time by changing it state, then time must have existed alongside the hot dense state. And if time existed alongside the hot dense state, then the hot dense state itself must have had a beginning.

Either way, Con cannot escape the fact that the universe had a beginning.

C1. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

So long as I've reasonably assured the readers that P1 and P2 hold up under logical scrutiny, then C1 logically follows.

P3. The first cause must be eternal.
P4. All eternal causes of temporal effects must be personal.
C2. The universe was caused by a personal creator.

I'm actually surprised my opponent dismisses the second half of my argument with a wave of his hand. He asks if I have evidence of a timeless mind. The answer is, I do, and it's the second half of my argument. The timeless mind is the conclusion based on P3 and P4, both of which he ignores. The second half of the argument is a logical one—not a scientific one—so if my opponent is asking for scientific evidence, I'm sorry to disappoint him. I didn't offer any, but that doesn't make it any less true so long as the premises hold up. I gave a logical syllogism showing how the creator must be an eternal personal agent.

I will grant my opponent this: if C1 fails, then C2 fails also. So, if he wants to focus on P1 and P2, so be it. But if I reasonably show that C1 is valid, then his decision to dismiss this part of the argument will only work against him.


The KCA is tried and true thus far. Con had tried to refute P1 and P2 by resorting to inconsistent philosophies of abstract and real entities. He rejects P1 on the basis of purely physical observations and P2 for on the basis that metaphysical infinities are possible. Such flip-flopping reveals a pre-commitment to naturalism as a worldview, so he has to rationalize away the most parsimonious and rational conclusion: this universe has a cause.

Furthermore, Con has not given due attention to the second half of the argument. He's asked for evidence, which is hardly a convincing rebuttal for the evidence was already before him. It will be up to him whether he chooses to address C2 or to bank on his ability to dismantle the arguments for C1.


Debate Round No. 2


My opponent answers a "no" for my question, which in turn leads to my argument overall.

P1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.

My opponent accuses me of taking an abstract notion of causality and existence and reducing them. However, it isn't what I've done. It's what the argument requires. Unless my opponent would essentially like to concede that the universe's beginning was simply another rearrangement, he cannot conflate the two qualitatively different forms of causes and beginnings.

However, he has in fact committed the very fallacy of equivocation in attempting just that. He agrees the laptop being assembled and manufactured is a beginning of its existence. Strictly speaking, this isn't quite correct. Like many things including our own existence it's not as clear as my opponent would like to make; exactly at what point do the parts become a car? To make such a case is to brashly assume its ontological status as some thing in and of itself when it's more accurately pointed out that a laptop is in fact a label given to the arrangement, with its functions arising FROM the configuration. In short, technically YES the laptop "always" existed, just not as a laptop. This provides no quandary since I can both posit that the laptop exists, and that its existence did not "begin" in a true sense that the KCA requires.

It's worth re-stating and emphasising that the Kalam Cosmological Argument by definition is limited to a very specific type of causation or "beginning"- that of a creation ex nihilo. As I said, unless my opponent would like to argue that the universe beginning to exist is, like a laptop being manufactured, simply pre-existing materia rearranging to form a new configuration (which would effectively be concession of defeat since that's not what the Opening Statement has outlined as being "universe"), my opponent must provide evidence of a creation ex nihilo- something he had previously said was not evidenced!

It's also worth noting that in fact in quantum physics the first premise is also attacked, via quantum fluctuation. It demonstrates the quantum nucleation from a quantum vacuum without cause. The closest thing to a cause one could possibly point to is in fact its own nature- the Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty.

P2. The universe began to exist
My opponent claims that he has shown that an actual infinite is impossible in the real world because he showed that adding to it does not change it, since it's already infinite. But that only highlights the nature of infinity mathematically, not refuting it or its application to the real world. In short, his argument boils down to "because it does not behave like a finite number, it is impossible" and thereby making the very claim he needs to prove. He attempts to point out the absurdity of time being infinite by claiming that "all events have occurred, yet no events have occurred, yet all events have yet to occur, yt no events have yet ot occur". What he hasn't pointed out is that this supposedly contradictory nature of infinity is the backbone of mathematics. Take integers. We have an actual infinite set of all integers, and another set of only even integers. If my opponent were to be correct, this would be impossible since one is clearly half of the other. If we half that, and have every other even integer, we would still have an actual infinite set. It shows the peculiar nature of infinity and that it is unquantifiable. But does that make it therefore impossible? Would this be a problem for my objection to the argument?

No, in both ways.

Firstly, my main argument was that effectively yes, time did begin. But that does not mean that the universe had a beginning of existence. Rather, spacetime is a product of the universe- its arrangement is the spacetime. This is the basis for Vilenkin's 1982 paper "CREATION OF UNIVERSES FROM NOTHING" (note, this "nothing" is like the "nothing" of the aforementioned quantum fluctation- quantum vacuum rather than a literal nothing) as well as for the Hartle-Hawking paper and hosts of other current cosmology papers dealing with the very subject. It makes sense given the knowledge that the arrow of time is directed by entropy (if time were some metaphysical principle then how could this be?) and by the general theory of relativity and how objects affect its flow. My opponent has agreed that time is not necessary for the existence of something, and in this way he has effectively agreed this is at the very least plausible given the physicist understanding of time, and it being a product of the universe than being the other way around. The universe itself need not experience a passage of it a any point prior to the development of spacetime.

So what caused time, then? The aforementioned paper by Vilenkin states that:
"A plausible answer has emerged quite recently [3,4,6]. At some temperature TO the false vacuum becomes unstable due to thermal [2-4] or gravitational [6,7] effects. The Higgs field ~b starts rolling down the effective potential towards the absolute minimum, q~ = a. The Coleman-Weinberg potential is very flat for small values of ~(~ ~ o), and the typical rollover time, r, can be much greater than the expansion time, H -1. Until q~ becomes of the order a, exponential expansion continues, and the scale of the Ulfiverse grows by a factor ~exp (Hr) >>> 1. To solve the homogeneity and flatness problems we need exp(Hr) 2 1028 [1]. Most of this growth takes place after the destabilization of the false vacuum. When becomes ~o, the vacuum energy thermalizes, and the universe enters a radiation-dominated period. The baryon number can be generated during the thermalization or shortly afterwards. Density fluctuations can be generated by vacuum strings produced at a later phase transition" [1]

In other words, at the point of pre-planck, quantum mechanics take over due to its unstable, compressed state. This leads to the formation of a "false vacuum" that in turn enables the quantum nucleation to occur, providing the "spark" that sets off the expansion to form spacetime.

That was one way- what's the other?

3. The universe has a cause of existence
Let's say we take my opponent's understanding of time as being necessary for change. He states that, "if the hot dense state was timeless, then how could it have given rise to time without changing state, then time must have existed alongside the hot dense state."

The problem is that it is easily as much an Achilles heel for him as for me given such a definition of time: how could the creator have created the universe, since the being must've necessarily been timeless since it gave rise to time- an action which in fact is change? The mind is a thinking mind, and it forms wills. My opponent explicitly stated in his first reply that "a personal agent implies an agent with a will. It is logically possible for an eternal personal agent to freely choose to create temporal effects without necessitating change in its own properties". But isn't the formaton of a will a change in itself? Otherwise, the timeless mind must at best always have the will that the universe is to be created. In short, by "willing", the universe has no beginning. It is both created and not created since to be created it must have a beginning. However, it cannot have a beginning since that implies that the creator changed its properties from "not having will to create universe" to "will to create universe"- and thus god must necessarily be temporal. In short, the KCA ends with a conclusion that effectively refutes itself at every turn.


Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.


P1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.

My opponent's contention boils down to an insistence that there is equivocation at play between types of causes and beginnings: ex nihilo and ex materia. Of course, we have ever only observed beginnings ex materia, so it seems to him too great a leap in logic to allow this premise to point to a beginning ex nihilo. However, I am quite confident I am not engaging in equivocation here.

This premise is concerned with neitherex nihilonorex materia. This premise is abstract in that it is a purely philosophical statement. The first term in the statement is "whatever." It's a universal statement. Thus, it is asserting that any beginning has a cause. This premise is utterly independent of the types of beginnings, entities, and causes. As a philosophy (as opposed to a scientific theory), it is meant to apply to all beginnings, even those we cannot observe.

This might seem unfair until you consider that we do the very same thing with the laws of logic. The laws of logic are abstract. Even though he have not experience every single instance of the laws of logic (such as those occurring at the edge of the universe), we agree that they are universal. Why? Because, so far, everything in our current experience confirms those laws.

Likewise, even though we have not observed every cause, everything we have observed confirms this principle. Con, however, wants to limit this principle only to creation ex materia because we've never observed creation ex nihilo, which changes KCA's first premise to this:

  • Whatever begins to exist ex materia has a cause of its existence that is also ex materia

Con's new premise has added an unproven assumption:

  • Because all observations of beginnings are ex materia, all beginnings must be caused ex materia.

This may seem rational according to the principle of induction, but it also makes Con's position run contrary to Occam's razor as he's taken a simple hypothesis and added additional criteria for no other reason than a pre-commitment to naturalism.

Con is injecting naturalistic criteria into a metaphysical premise. This constitutes a bias against abstract entities and philosophy in favor of materialistic explanations. Indeed, the KCA fails when Con's premise is used, because Con's premise begs the question. It carries naturalistic assumptions that can only lead to naturalistic conclusions.

Quantum Fluctuation

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle asserts, "the more precisely one property is measured, the less precisely the other can be controlled, determined, or known." [1] Nothing about this principle attacks the premise. This is a red herring. Uncertainty does not equivocate to uncaused.

P2. The universe began to exist.

Actual Infinite

I just don't understand how Con can accept his logical defense here. He insists that because infinity is valid in mathematics, we can accept the idea of an infinite number of things. He even accuses me of not giving due attention to the usefulness of infinity in mathematics.

I never once rejected infinity as a concept in general. If anything, I'm the one in this debate rightly applying infinity in its proper domain. Infinity is an abstract concept and mathematics deals in the abstract. There is certainly no problem. But just because it is useful in abstract mathematics does not make it useful in concrete reality. Just because we can accept the paradoxical nature of mathematics doesn't mean we should automatically accept that a realized actual infinite is possible. Con's premise seems to be this:

  • If an abstract concept is possible in mathematics, then it is possible in reality.

If this is true, then I would like Con to explain how imaginary numbers translate to reality as well. How can someone have 10i dollars? If imaginary numbers do not translate to reality, then his premise is not sound and his insistence that a realized actual infinite is possible is dubious at best.


The citing of Vilenkin's 1982 article might hold some sway were it not for Vilenkin's 2006 book, Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes. Vilenkin himself, along with his contemporaries Arvind Borde and Alan Guth developed a unifying theory in 2003, independent of our universe, showing that all expanding universes must have a singularity and therefore a beginning. In Vilenkin's own words:

  • "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning." [2]

If my opponent trusts Vilenkin's scholarship, then I hope he doesn't selectively ignore Vilenkin's work post 1982.

P4. All eternal causes of temporal effects must be personal.

My opponent finally addresses this portion of the argument when he says the notion of "change" is a problem for me as much as it is for him. He asks, "But isn't the formaton [sic] of a will a change in itself?" My opponent insists that willing to create a universe constitutes a change in properties.

I suppose I confused my opponent when using the term "will" to describe the personal agent. There are multiple meanings to the word, and my opponent is using the term will as the equivalent to intent. He insists that the intent to create the universe constitutes a change of wills. But this inadvertently becomes a strawman argument because that is not a proper description of the personal creator for which I was arguing.

Con's criticism implies that the personal agent has a finite set of wills, or intents, and that when the agent "decides" to create the universe, it changes the set of wills.

But I never said that. I said the agent has a will. Given the context of my argument, it should have been clear that I meant the agent was intelligent, i.e., it has a mind. And I don't mean a human mind existing in a brain, but an abstract mind: "the faculty of thinking, reasoning, and applying knowledge." [3] The faculty of thinking is the unchanging property, and the faculty does not change when thinking is exercised.

So, my opponent has failed to show incongruity between the notion of decision making and the will of a personal creator.


Debate Round No. 3


P1: whatever begins to exist has cause of its existence.
My opponent argues that the beginning and causation and the specific modes are ultimately irrelevant since he claims that he is making the claim that it is universal than necessarily limiting. But that's not the point here- if I were to hold that nothing was created (and the preponderance of evidence suggests things are not created ex nihilo caused or otherwise), then the latter option would be meaningless. It's a question of knowledge of whether things that begin to exist have causes or not, and to support the premise one mustn't simply appeal to the notion of "well if it's not true then why don't we see things popping into existence?" since if nothing does begin to exist in such an absolute manner, caused or not, then how could anything pop into existence? My opponent charges me with a naturalistic bias, but it seems he's simply appealing to the abstract to escape from the problem of actually supporting his premise. Just as we have no evidence of anything popping into existence un-caused, we have no evidence nor do we have reason to suppose anything was ever created. In fact, the First Law of Thermodynamics explicitly deny this is even possible. Furthermore, my opponent attempts to downplay the point of the heisenberg uncertainty principle and of the quantum fluctuation to make it seem as if this does not point against an acausal (but ex materia) beginning.

P2: The universe began to exist.
On actual infinite:

My opponent argues that though infinity, an abstract mathematical concept cannot due to its nature be applicable to the real world. However, he hasn't demonstrated this. If he accepts that the quizzical nature of infinity is logically viable then how would showing examples using it somehow disqualify it? If it is indeed impossible, he'd have to actually show the contradiction not simply highlighting the quirky nature of infinity. This is what Hilbert's Hotel paradox showed. It didn't show the impossibility of actual infinity, but its strange nature.

My opponent cites a group effort by Borde, Guth and Vilenkim himself to refute the quantum nucleation that Vilenkin had published in 1982, in which it states essentially that the past-eternal universe is impossible. But that's not exactly a problem here, since the two papers aren't in conflict at all. To begin with, the BVG theorem doesn't state the beginning of the universe as my opening satement presents, but the universe as spacetime. As I've pointed out, and as is currently understood in physics, time is a dimension that is composed of the universe. In short, what the BVG is pointing out is that the inflation of the universe is past-incomplete. In fact, one could further state that the BVG describes the point right up to where the 1982 paper begins. They are two sides- the 1982 paper shows what happened at the "ultimate origins". This is supported by the paper itself which states:

"What can lie beyond the boundary? Several possibilities have been discussed, one being that the boundary of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of the Universe in a quantum nucleation event."[1]

P4: All eternal causes of temporal effects must be temporal
My opponent claims I'm but confused with regards to "will" of a personal agent. But his description shows I am not and that in fact he has highlighted the problem of a timeless mind. Thinking is a temporal process, and so is the formation of will. As I've highlighted in the previous round, he is left with a condundrum: either the mind timelessly always possessed the will to create a universe in which case it effectively does not have a beginning since it must have existed alongside the creator since there's no time to separate them. Otherwise, the mind must necessarily be temporal and it formed the universe some time ago. Though the ability is itself outside of time since the ability is not in action, the thinking process itself and of forming wills is. To form thoughts is to effectively go from an antecedent of "before the existence of a thought" to "the thought now existing".

Ultimately however, in my alternate position which is supported by many current pre-planck cosmology, is that time is a dimension- a product of the universe. Because of this, even if spacetime were to begin, it does not constitute that the universe as outlined in my opening statement must've begun. Its "process" is effectively "timeless" since it does not take place in the temporal dimension. My opponent already agreed that time is not a necessary component to existence, and thus my point stands. The KCA faces a problem with the said beginnings, and of the universe and hence it has not been able to demonstrate its point.



I appreciate my opponent's intensity and commitment in this debate. I do hope it has been worthy of everyone's time and energies.

P1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.

The most interesting thing about his premise is how it's so widely accepted in all fields of academia as well as everyday living until it comes to the KCA. Only when the principle is used in support of the idea of God's existence is it so vehemently denied. The beauty of this premise is that it makes perfect sense just as it is. It's intuitive, it's not extravagant, and it's been observed to be true in every case of human experience.

  • KCA: Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
  • CON: Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence, except matter and energy.

These are the competing premises. My opponent wants you to abandon something so innately reasonable for something else heretofore unnecessary. Both premises are equally confirmed through our observations. Both premises completely lack evidence to the contrary. These two premises are the precisely same in all other ways except one: that Con's premise prohibits the possibility of the creation of matter itself. That's it. That's the one difference: a needless complication to an already reasonable premise. This is precisely the scenario Occam's Razor was designed to address.

Only if Con's evidence could support the need for the exception should we embrace it. The First Law of Thermodynamics is a law of the cosmos and is therefore contingent upon it. No cosmos, no First Law of Thermodynamics. Con is using the universe's existing properties to formulate a premise that asserts that only the universe's properties are to be permitted as evidence. Con cannot refute KCA's first premise without begging the question.

Regarding quantum fluctuation: I didn't downplay anything. I simply corrected my opponent's less than scholarly appeal. Note how he doesn't actually explain how I've downplayed its importance. He just says as much and moves on. If my opponent really believes this evidence to be so vital, I would have expected a reasoned defense. Since we are not given the privilege of one, then my objections should carry greater sway.

P2. The universe began to exist.

Con's tactic in this segment of the debate is to just repeat himself. He has said in every rebuttal that I haven't demonstrated that a realized actual infinite is impossible. He says I need to "show the contradiction not simply [highlight] the quirky nature of infinity." I did show the contraction. In Round 1 I clearly stated that an actual infinity leads the following statement:

  • "I've added more, and it's the same. Then I removed a lot more than I originally added, and it was still the same."

Which is equivalent to saying:

  • A is simultaneously A and ~A.

That is a direct violation of the Logical Law of Identity. It is a contradiction, not a quirk, and my opponent has done nothing to show why we shouldn't see it any other way. He keeps saying that it's possible, but he doesn't offer any counter evidence other than to say that it's possible in math, despite my objections. "Because it's mathematical" is not a reason, it's ipse dixit.

Of course, all of the arguments regarding an infinite past are rather moot since my opponent says that space-time does indeed have a beginning though he denies that matter and energy do. This is a textbook case of special pleading. He doesn't give us any reason to accept that matter and energy must have always existed. As I stated before, using the Laws of Thermodynamics is not a valid reason due to their contingent nature.

His appeal to Vilenken offers no relief either. Contrary to Con's proposal, Vilenken's 2003 theory does not comport with the 1982 theory because it was independent of any known universe. That is, independent of matter, energy, and time as we know it. It proved that any expanding universe inescapably has a beginning.

P4. All eternal causes of temporal effects must be personal.

I rebutted my opponent's attempt to redefine a will to be a set of intentions. He insists, however, that thinking itself is a temporal activity and cannot therefore occur in an eternal mind. To be honest, I'm intrigued by the contention and was interested in the support for this reasoning. To my surprise, he bases this principle on our human experience. "If we think temporally," he reasons, "the all thinking must be temporal."

Wait a second. Isn't that the exact same reasoning I gave for P1? Can this be so? He is using human experience to support an abstract premise! It's amazing how unconvincing I was to him in P1 only to be given a return volley of the very same logic here. I will let the readers decide if Con should be allowed to have it both ways.


My opponent was in the habit of re-asserting many of his positions as though they were self-evident. He frequently engaged in question begging to refute P1 only to turn around and use my P1 approach to refute P4. He wanted to reconcile Vilenkin's later work with his earlier work by ignoring the nature of Vilenkin's later work. He repeatedly denied that a realized actual infinity was impossible by appealing to its usefulness in mathematics.

On the other hand, I showed how the KCA is parsimoniously consistent with both our human experience and logic. Con was tasked to show that the KCA fails, and I hope the readers agree with me that, on balance, he failed to meet his burden.

I thank both my opponent and the readers for their valuable time.

Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Alarbi 6 years ago
@Warpedfx I prefer the translation of the man from Arizona because it is more precise and modern. For instance the word separate is ‘fassala' in Arabic but the Verse uses the word ‘fataqa' which is a violent separation, ‘fataqa' is to CRACK it apart with violent force (Yusuf Ali: clove them asunder). Anyway, in this field I don't rely solely on translators, I master (VERY WELL) the language myself, so you can take my word for granted!
Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
@Alarbi looks like the quran line in 21:30 is actually "Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?"

and "Have you not considered your Lord - how He extends the shadow, and if He willed, He could have made it stationary? Then We made the sun for it an indication."

Posted by Alarbi 6 years ago
This is by far the best debate on this topic, KRfournier had no difficulty to sort out this seemingly difficult exotic mix and expose the broken links in Warpedfx reasoning. The debate reminded me of two Verses from the Last Testament:

Do the unbelievers not realize that the heaven and the earth used to be one solid mass that we exploded into existence? And from water we made all living things. Would they believe? (Quran 21:30)

Have you not seen how your Lord designed the shadow? If He willed, He could have made it fixed, then we would have designed the sun accordingly. (Quran 25:45)

Posted by warpedfx 6 years ago
just for fun, KRFournier do you want to continue an informal debate (read: discussion) in the comments? for the voters, our comments (if he chooses to continue) are extraneous to the debate itself.

I'm sort of interesting in your case on "timeless mind forming thought". The only mind that we know of are our own, and to say it is personal means it needs to bear some sort of similarity with our own since we are personal ourselves, no? so in order for you to claim a timeless mind timelessly forming thought (isn't forming anything imply a before in which thoughts didn't exist to the subsequent in which thoughts do) you'll need to actually demonstrate it. otherwise you are simply asserting a mind that is so different anything else that we know of.
Posted by Buddamoose 6 years ago
There we go, thanks for the tip!
Posted by KRFournier 6 years ago
Buddamoose, you can change your vote at anytime.
Posted by Buddamoose 6 years ago
Wow, great debate to both of you, this was the first time I've voted else I wouldve tried to give a 3-2 split not 5-0, had no idea what point values were awarded for each category.
Posted by unitedandy 6 years ago
Great debate guys. KRF is one of the better debaters on this topic, but was matched all the way by Warpedfx. Definitely one of the best debates on the Kalam argument I've seen on here. Well done to both of you.
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Figures. Front-lining possible responses. Very nice. Then again, I do the same thing with LD debates, so I can't really say much.
Posted by KRFournier 6 years ago
Lol, Zaradi. Actually, in some respect I do. I've been debating on DDO for over 2 years now, and I'll often go back to old debates to grab some quotes or sources. Now this debate is a NEW file because I really had to think hard about how to respond to warpedfx's objections, some of which I hadn't had to consider before.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Yep 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro good job on refuting cons arguments against your case and sources to pro as well.
Vote Placed by Buddamoose 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:34 
Reasons for voting decision: Really like how Pro took a debate that was 95 set up for failure(with the definition of universe given) and still made a convincing argument. Con was good but Pro was much better imho. I have a sneaking suspicion Con would have won if it wasnt KrF who was his opponent...