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The Kalam Cosmological Argument (+Conceptual Analysis) is sound

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Religion
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Round 1
Published:
Thank you PressF4Respect for this opportunity. This is my first ever debate so I'm very excited. I'm looking forward to an intellectually stimulating discussion.
 
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PART 0: Introduction and Definition of Terms
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One of the perennial questions of existence is its origin. The Kalam Cosmological Argument is one of the attempts at an answer which I find very convincing.
 
Before we begin, let's define our terms.
 
  • Universe: In this argument, the universe is defined as the entirety of all physical reality, that is to say all of space, time, and matter.
  • Begins to exist: It is defined as "coming into being". It entails having a finite history of existence. That also means that eternal and timeless beings did not begin to exist, rather they have always existed. More formally, its criteria can be formulated as: X began to exist if X exists at time T and there are no prior time where X existed. (There can't also be any state of affairs where X existed timelessly.)
  • Cause: Merriam-Webster defines cause as "something that brings about an effect or a result." Aristotle classified causes into different types. For the sake of this argument, we can focus on what he called a Material Cause (physical origin of an effect) and an Efficient Cause (the agent responsible for an effect).
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PART 1: The Argument
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The Kalam is as follows:
 
I. Main Syllogism:
1. Whatever that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
But if a cause of the universe exists/existed, what properties would it have? Let's dig deeper.
 
II. Conceptual Analysis
4. Whatever caused all of matter to exist cannot be made of matter (immaterial).
5. Whatever caused all of the spatial dimensions to exist must exist independent of spatial dimensions (spaceless).
6. Whatever caused all of time to exist must exist independent of time (timeless).
7. Whatever caused the universe to exist must be powerful.
8. The cause of the universe is immaterial, spaceless, timeless, and powerful.
9. If the cause of the universe is immaterial, spaceless, and timeless, then it must be a personal agent.
10. Therefore, the universe has an immaterial, timeless, spaceless, powerful, and personal cause.
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PART 2: Justification of Crucial Premises
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1. Whatever that begins to exist has a cause.
This seems to be a principle that is always verified and never rejected. Whatever example we conceive of always is attached to either a material cause, an efficient cause, or both.
 
Examples:
  • When a carpenter finishes the chair he's making, the chair began to exist (it wasn't a defined as a chair before it was finished). Attached with the completion of the the chair is a material cause (the wood and other materials that make up the chair) and an efficient cause (the carpenter).
  • When you were conceived, you began to exist (you weren't defined as you before you were conceived). Attached with your conception is a material cause (sperm and egg) and an efficient cause (your parents).
  • When virtual particles fluctuate into existence, it began to exist (they weren't virtual particles before they fluctuated). Attached with this fluctuation is a material cause (quantum vacuum).
2. The universe began to exist.
There are 3 ways to justify this.
 
1. Philosophy:
An infinite past leads to unsolvable paradoxes like the new formalism of the Grim Reaper (Messenger) paradox.
 
Imagine an infinite amount of grim reapers. The first grim reaper is at the year 1BC, the second is at 2BC, third at 3BC, nth at nth BC, and so on. The task of each grim reaper is simple: if they get a blank paper from the previous grim reaper, they write their own nth number on it and pass it to the next reaper the next year. If the paper already has a number on it, they just pass it on.
 
If you ask, "if this has been going on since 5BC, what is the number written on the paper at 1BC?" It's obviously 5.
 
But what if we ask "if this has been going on since the infinite past, what is the number written on the paper at 1BC?" There should at least be a number, right? After all, if the reaper at 1BC received a blank paper, he would have written his. The problem is, whatever number written on the paper must be false because the reaper before that should have written his instead. None of the them should have written their number except the farthest. But there's also no farthest reaper. So here we get logically contradictory answers. A paradox arises exactly because we went from a finite to an infinite past.
 
2. Thermodynamics and Entropy:
The laws of thermodynamics lead to us think that the universe would eventually come into a state of thermodynamic heat death. While entropy increases over time, it depletes usable energy.
 
On this regard, P. J. Zwart tells us: "...according to the second law the whole universe must eventually reach a state of maximum entropy. It will then be in thermodynamical equilibrium; everywhere the situation will be exactly the same, with the same composition, the same temperature, the same pressure etc., etc. There will be no objects any more, but the universe will consist of one vast gas of uniform composition. Because it is in complete equilibrium, absolutely nothing will happen any more."
 
But if this has been going on since the infinite past, why is it not now in that state? The only answer that I think works is that the universe is not eternal in the past.
 
3. Cosmology:
After the discovery of the expansion of the universe, many scientists have explored the idea of a finite past. This has lead to more discoveries that support the Big Bang theory such as the general theory of relativity, and the microwave background radiation. In 2003, three scientists, Arvind Borde, Alan Guth and Alex Vilenkin mathematically proved that any universe which is on-average expanding cannot be eternal in the past. These, along with other data, is why there is scientific consensus for the Big Bang cosmology.
 
Here are what some well-known scientists have to say about this:
 
Alexander Vilenkin: "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."
 
P. C. W. Davies: "On this view the big bang represents the creation event; the creation not only of all the matter and energy in the universe, but also of spacetime itself."
 
Barrow and Tipler: "At this singularity, space and time came into existence; literally nothing existed before the singularity, so, if the Universe originated at such a singularity, we would truly have a creation ex nihilo."
 
Stephen Hawking:
a. "Nothing was around before the big big bang."
b. "There is nothing south of the South Pole, so there was nothing around before the Big Bang."
c. "Instead almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the big bang."
 

4. Whatever caused all of matter to exist cannot be made of matter (immaterial).
5. Whatever caused all of the spatial dimensions to exist must exist independent of spatial dimensions (spaceless).
6. Whatever caused all of time to exist must exist independent of time (timeless).
These three premises can be derived by replacing X with matter, space, and time respectively:
if X doesn't exist, then X cannot cause itself to exist. Therefore, if X doesn't exist, the cause of X cannot be (made of/dependent on) X.
 
9. If the cause of the universe is immaterial, spaceless, and timeless, then it must be a personal agent.
This can be justified in two ways.
 
First way:
9a. An immaterial, spaceless, timeless cause can be either an abstract object or a personal agent.
10a. It is not an abstract object.
11a. Therefore, it is a personal agent.
 
Second way:
9b. If the cause of the universe were a timelessly existing impersonal condition, the universe must timelessly or eternally exist.
10b. The universe does not exist timelessly or eternally.
11b. Therefore, the cause of the universe is a personal cause.
 
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PART 3: References and further reading
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Published:
I thank MadMallow (Pro) for this debate today. Due to the character limitations of each argument, I will present my argument over two rounds: the first (this one) will deal with the KCA (Kalam Cosmological Argument) itself, and the second will deal with the conceptual analysis. 

Observations:
O1: Energy (matter is energy through Einstein’s equation: e=mc^2 [1]) cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed from one form to another. [2]

Arguments:
If x, then y. If not y, then not x. [3]
In order for an argument to be true, it must be logically sound. If it isn’t logically sound, then it is not true.

I.       KCA is contradictory
Premise: The cause of X cannot be dependant on X itself. X also cannot cause X to exist.

Causes of a particular effect are not singular (there are multiple causes). [4]

The causes and effects are causally continuous (the cause of one thing is the effect of another) [5]. This chain of causes and effects extend all the way back to the big bang (since no matter or energy can come out of nothing). 

The chain of causes and effects cannot be sliced up arbitrarily. [6]

Since all events in the universe happens due to the existence of the big bang they are all effects. Therefore, the only certain, definite cause is the big bang itself.

The big bang itself is simply the beginning of the existence of the universe.
Therefore, cause = the existence of the universe as its causal condition.

Therefore, the KCA can be rewritten as:
      1. Anything that begins to exist has the existence of the universe as its causal condition.
      2. The universe began to exist.
      3. Therefore, the universe has the existence of the universe as its causal condition. In other words, the universe caused the universe to exist.

KCA, causally speaking, states that the universe caused itself. This contradicts the first premise. Since the KCA is contradictory, it is not logically sound, and thereby not true. 

II.        KCA commits Equivocation Fallacy
Energy (matter is energy through Einstein’s equation: e=mc^2) cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed from one form to another. This is known as a transformational creation. Something else existed before it was created. This stance is additionally supported by the conservation of matter (energy (and thus matter) can never be created nor destroyed, only transformed from one form to another) P1 posits its claim using transformational creation. (This is extensively demonstrated in previous argument)

When talking about the creation of the universe, P2 is talking about creation ex nihilo, or creation out of nothing (since the universe didn’t come out of anything). 

Thus, the KCA commits an equivocation fallacy.

III.         KCA commits Circular Reasoning
Premise: The labelling/naming of objects are entirely subjective.
  1. All objects exist as an arrangement of atoms/molecules under a certain name/label. 
  2. The label made to a particular object only exists in the mind of the conceiver (subjective). 
    1. If the names of objects were objective, then it would mean the entire range of all possible entities (even abstract ones) would have to be considered as objectively existing. This includes made-up, nonsensical entities such as the “abfieidjcieoc”, an invisible being with exactly 124245203473485072 appendages, which (objectively speaking) exists because it is technically within the range of all possible entities. This would mean that there are many more objects than there are atoms which make up objects, which is impossible given a finite universe with a beginning. 
    2. Different conceivers have different interpretations of different objects. If the names of objects were objective, then each of these interpretations would objectively exist. That is, the function of the object would itself be an objective concept. I could call any object anything, and it would then begin to exist objectively. Since there are infinitely many attributes I could give an object, following the assumption that labels are objective, it would once again follow that an infinite amount of things would come from a finite amount of particles. 

Given that something doesn’t become that particular thing until it is named so (since names are subjective), and that something begins to exist when we assign the existence (name) to it, it is apparent that object didn’t always exist as that particular object. It was something else before it started to exist. Since a particular object did not exist as that object before, and it does now, it must have had a particular point in time that it “began to exist”. In short, an “object” that is “created” does not exist before time x, but exists afterwards.

With the same logic that an object does not exist before time x and can be made to exist, it can exist before time y and be made to “unexist”. For example, if I made a chair out of wood, then the chair would come into existence after time x, and not before. If I then burn the wooden chair, it would no longer be a chair, existing before time y and ceasing to exist afterwards. The question with this is, at what point does the chair (or any other object) start or cease to “exist”. If we built up a chair, one molecule at a time, at what point would it become a chair? Similarly, if I removed one molecule at a time from the chair, at what point does it not become a chair? This is an example of the Sorites paradox [7], which concludes that any pinpointing of the “beginning” or “end” state of an “object” is completely arbitrary. That is, the emergence of the existence of an “object” is continuous. That is, an object is never ALWAYS that same object throughout time.

Without the name/label (subjectives), the object is simply a collection of atoms/molecules. It is the labels that gives a thing its particular “existence”. Since all of the molecules for a particular object already existed beforehand, so the beginning of the “existence” of a particular object must have been a conceptual one, with no clearly defined parameters. This makes all objects subjective (except for the mass energy that makes them up).

As posited by the laws of conservation, mass and energy must be conserved, that is, all energy that exists has existed since the big bang, and will always continue to exist. 
Since all of the energy that makes everything that exists ultimately came from the big bang (creation of the universe), and that everything else that is derived from said energy is subjective (abstracts do not objectively exist), we can say that the universe is synonymous with everything that exists/began to exist (all of the energy in the universe). 

Since the universe and everything are synonymous, we can replace the word “everything” in the KCA with the word “universe”. With that, we get this:
  1. The universe has the existence of the universe as its causal condition.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe has the existence of the universe as its causal condition. In other words, the universe caused the universe to exist.
Not only is this argument contradictory (same problem as the last one), but now, one of the premises and the conclusion are the same. This is circular reasoning.

Conclusion:
As I have demonstrated that the KCA is logically unsound (it contradicts itself, and commits logical fallacies), it now rests on my opponent to counter the argument presented. Due to character limitations, I will present my rebuttal of the conceptual analysis next round. 

Sources:
  1. http://www.emc2-explained.info/Emc2/Derive.htm#.Xa29LJNKg1g
  2. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-chemistry/chapter/the-laws-of-thermodynamics/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_tollens
  4. https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/phil/english/sections/linguist/independent/kursmaterialien/TechComm/acchtml/caus.html
  5. https://ripplecentral.com/newtons-law-of-rippling/
  6. https://www.iep.utm.edu/hume-cau/
  7. https://www3.nd.edu/~jspeaks/courses/2007-8/93914/_HANDOUTS/sorites.pdf


Round 2
Published:
Thank you Press4Respect for your well-thought response. In my rebuttal, I'll be very blunt to emphasize to the readers and judges what I consider flaws in the argument. I don't mean to attack or offend anyone. With that, let's begin with the objections.
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Main Objections
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OBJECTION 1: KCA is contradictory. Since all events in the universe happen due to the existence of the big bang they are all effects. Therefore, the only certain, definite cause is the big bang itself.
This objection's hidden premise is that the big bang singularity is the first cause and is therefore uncaused. [1] If it were caused, then there must be something prior to it to cause it. This pushes the chain of cause and effect further back.

RESPONSE 1A: This objection begs the question. [2] Why assume that the chain of all cause and effect only extend back to the singularity and that there is no cause of the singularity itself? CON has yet to justify this.

While it’s true that the chain of cause and effect “after the singularity” can be traced back to the singularity, that doesn't show that the singularity itself doesn’t have a cause.

This is like saying that because a specific domino is the cause of the tipping-over of all other dominoes after it, therefore that specific domino doesn’t need a cause of it tipping over. In fact, in order for the chain of events to even begin, the first domino must first be tipped over by something else.

RESPONSE 1B: Asserting that the singularity happened without any cause or explanation commits special pleading. [3] It is empirically confirmed over and over again that everything that begins to exist has a cause.

CON also admits that "no matter or energy can come out of nothing." If so, the universe too must have come from something else. Because there was no physical entities where it could have come from, it therefore must have come from something metaphysical. [4]

RESPONSE 1C: You can't equivocate "cause" and "the existence of the universe as its causal condition." [5]

CON says:"The big bang itself is simply the beginning of the existence of the universe. Therefore, cause = the existence of the universe as its causal condition."

This is demonstrably false! Just because the big bang singularity is the first moment of the universe' existence, it doesn't follow that we can equivocate the words "cause" and the "the existence of the universe as its causal condition." Let me illustrate:

On the question, "What caused the water to freeze?", which answer would be correct?
  • Statement A: The cause of water freezing is the temperature being below 0°C.
  • Statement B: The existence of the universe as its causal condition of water freezing is the temperature below 0°C.
  • Statement C: The cause of water freezing is the existence of the universe as its causal condition.
Unless and until CON can prove that Statements A, B, and C are logically equivalent and are all the correct answers, then "cause" can't be equivocated with "the existence of the universe as its causal condition."

More certainly, "+2" causes "1" to become "3" in the equation "1+2=3". You can't say the cause of "1" becoming "3" is the existence of the universe as its causal condition. Whether or not the universe exists, "+2" still causes "1" to become "3" in "1+2=3". 

OBJECTION 2: Equivocation Fallacy. P1 posits its claim using transformational creation and P2 is talking about creation ex nihilo.
RESPONSE 2A: Even with the help of the internet, I couldn't find any search results for "transformational creation" relevant to this debate. I would assume that what CON meant is creatio ex materia which is basically material causation (physical origin from energy or matter). [6]

CON wrongly asserts that P1 is limited to material causation. P1 merely says there is a cause, whatever type that may be (be that material causation, or efficient/agent causation). For example, if and when Beethoven’s 5th Symphony was composed and began to exist, it had a cause (Beethoven). Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is not made from any material particles. The composition exists whether or not any physical instruments can play it. Rather, it’s an abstract object that began to exist. P1 holds true even for examples which are not creatio ex materia. [7]

The point is, P1 is compatible with different types of causation.

OBJECTION 3: The universe is synonymous with everything that exists/began to exist (all of the energy in the universe)
RESPONSE 3A: CON laid this out from the Sorites paradox. [8] This is completely irrelevant (red-herring). [9] It doesn't matter whether or not we can hyper-accurately pinpoint when something begins to exist. All that matters is that it began to exist and that it has a cause. However we acceptably define the object, P1 still holds true. For example, if we define a chair as having 5 legs rather than 4, as being made of wood rather than steel, as having X amount of atoms rather than X-1; it still began to exist and it still has a cause.

Also, I have clearly defined "the universe" as "all of physical reality." Any vagueness from Sorites-like reasoning is accounted for by this definition. If a single physical entity exist, whatever that may be, that is part of the universe. If only one physical entity (say, a single particle) exists, then that is the universe.

CON followed up by saying: "Since all of the energy that makes everything that exists ultimately came from the big bang (creation of the universe), and that everything else that is derived from said energy is subjective (abstracts do not objectively exist), we can say that the universe is synonymous with everything that exists/began to exist (all of the energy in the universe)."

This is a leap in logic (non-sequitor). [10] Even if I grant that all of the physical energy came from the big bang, it does not follow that the word "universe" is synonymous with "everything that exists." Everything that exist would, by definition, include metaphysical entities if they exists. These metaphysical entities are not bounded by physical energy and so they can't be part of the physical universe.

This basically boils down to CON's presumption of naturalism. CON is asserting that everything that exists is accounted for by the universe. In other words, CON asserts that there is nothing beyond physical reality. This is begging the question. If he is to defend that, he has to first argue for scientific naturalism. [11] Until he can show that scientific naturalism is true, he has no basis for his assertion. For now, it's appropriate for me to consider the possibility of metaphysical existence.
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Additional Response
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CON's language is confusing. He loosely use words such as "big bang" and "all events."
  • CON must properly define his terms. What does he mean by "the big bang"? Is he referring to the initial singularity? Is he referring to inflationary spacetime?
  • CON: "Since all events in the universe happens due to the existence of the big bang they are all effects." This is circular. "All events" must include the big bang. This then becomes implicitly circular: "the big bang happened due to the existence of the big bang". It also admits that the big bang itself is an effect (from the clause "they are all effects").
  • CON: "Therefore, the only certain, definite cause is the big bang itself." This could be interpreted to mean that there are no causes other than the big bang which is obviously false.
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Summary
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CON tried to falsify the Kalam main syllogism using fallacious arguments. His first objection hinges on the big bang singularity as being uncaused. This is special pleading and begging the question. His second objection assumes that P1 of the Kalam is limited to creatio ex materia. I showed why P1 still works even on examples that aren't creatio ex materia. Lastly, his third objection rests on equivocating the words "universe" and "everything that exists." I showed that the foundation from which he laid this out is a red-herring. CON's third argument also has leaps in logic (non-sequitor) and ultimately begs the question towards naturalism.

Hopefully, I have shown that these criticisms fail to falsify the Kalam main syllogism. I look forward to CON's objections of the conceptual analysis.

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References and Further Reading
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  1. Cosmological argument - What caused the First Cause?. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_argument#What_caused_the_First_Cause?
  2. Begging the question. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question
  3. Special Pleading. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_pleading
  4. Metaphysics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaphysics/
  5. Equivocation. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation
  6. Ex nihilo. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_nihilo
  7. Causal Premiss of the Kalam Argument. William Lane Craig. https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/causal-premiss-of-the-kalam-argument/
  8. Sorites Paradox. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorites_paradox
  9. Red herring. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring
  10. Formal fallacy. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formal_fallacy
  11. Naturalism. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism_(philosophy)

Published:
Thank you Madmallow (Pro) for your thoughtful response. There are several issues with Pro’s rebuttal that I will point out in the next round, but for this one, I will focus on the conceptual analysis which Pro has provided. Anyways, I will now proceed to make my argument against the Conceptual Analysis.

Arguments
  1. Unsubstantiated Premise/B+W Fallacy
“A” Syllogism
9a. An immaterial, spaceless, timeless cause can be either an abstract object or a personal agent.
10a. It is not an abstract object.
11a. Therefore, it is a personal agent.
9a puts forth only two options for causes that are immaterial, spaceless, and timeless, without explaining why only these two options are the case. This is a black and white fallacy [1]. 

10a makes an unsubstantiated claim, that the universe cannot be caused by an abstract object. Therefore, by the principles of Hitchens’ Razor [2], this syllogism will be dismissed.  Additional evidence will need to be presented in order for this syllogism to become valid. Because of this, I will be arguing against the “B” syllogism.
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“B” Syllogism
9b. If the cause of the universe were a timelessly existing impersonal condition, the universe must timelessly or eternally exist. 
10b. The universe does not exist timelessly or eternally.
11b. Therefore, the cause of the universe is a personal cause 
This syllogism claims that a timelessly existing impersonal condition cannot be the cause of the universe, since if it were, the universe would exist timelessly/eternally. In other words, a timelessly existing impersonal condition cannot be the cause of the universe both because it is timelessly existing, and because it is impersonal. I will show how both of these conditions are wrong.
 
  1. Begging the Question
If we say that the cause of the universe cannot be an impersonal condition, then this syllogism would essentially be begging the question [3], since it would imply the cause of the universe to be personal in its premise. This means that if Pro is claiming that the cause of the universe can only be personal, then they have yet to substantiate it. Therefore, using Hitchens’ Razor [2], I can, for now, remove “impersonal” as a reason why an abstract object cannot be the cause of the universe. This leaves “timelessly existing” as the only other factor that abstract objects cannot be the cause of the universe.
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If we are to say that abstract objects cannot be the cause of the universe because they are timelessly existing, then we are implying that the cause of the universe is not timelessly existing, and that would contradict a statement made in the definitions.

  1. Contradicts definitions
In Pro’s definition of “begins to exist”, they make the statement that “eternal and timeless beings did not begin to exist, rather they have always existed”. The notion that the cause of the universe is not timelessly existing directly contradicts this statement, meaning that timeless, eternal existence cannot be a factor as to why abstract objects cannot be the cause of the universe.
Additional Points
  1. Ambiguous Definitions
In Pro’s definition of “begins to exist”, Pro states that “There can't also be any state of affairs where X existed timelessly.” State of affairs is undefined here, and I wish to ask Pro what it means in this context.

Conclusion
In conclusion, I have shown how the conceptual analysis (proving that the cause of the universe, assuming there is one, is a personal one) is logically flawed. I will provide a rebuttal to all of Pro’s arguments next round. In the meantime, I look forward to Pro's next argument. 

Sources:
  1. https://www.fallacyfiles.org/eitheror.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitchens%27s_razor
  3. https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/53/Begging-the-Question

Round 3
Published:
In the previous rounds, I haven’t provided a thorough defense for the conceptual analysis because of character limitations. I did not expect there to be much contention. In this round, I will attempt to do just that.

I wish to emphasize that I don’t have to defend both “A” and “B” syllogisms in order for the whole argument to work. As long as one of them is sufficiently defended, the conceptual analysis remains valid.

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Main Objections
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OBJECTION 4: Black and White Fallacy (Premise 9a)
A “Black and White” fallacy, also known as a false dichotomy, is when someone falsely claims that there are only a specific number of solutions (usually 2) to a proposition when in fact there are more. [1] In order to prove something as a false dichotomy, it must be shown that there are more solutions to the proposition. [2]

Premise 9a states that there are only two possible things that can fit the description of an immaterial, spaceless, and timeless being – either an abstract object, or a personal agent (unembodied mind).

To show that this is a false dichotomy, CON must provide at least one more being that is immaterial, spaceless, and timeless. Has he done this? No. He merely asserted that this is a false dichotomy without providing a third solution. Therefore, CON is unjustified in claiming that 9a is a false dichotomy.

There simply are no other examples. The more we look, the more we fail, and the more inductively sound the premise becomes.

OBJECTION 5: Unsubstantiated Premise (Premise 10a)
CON asserts that the proposition “the universe cannot be caused by an abstract object” is an unsubstantiated claim.

I haven’t defended this point but I was of the impression that it was self-evident. After-all, abstract objects, by definition, cannot cause anything.

Here’s what Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has to say about this: “According to the most widely accepted versions of the Way of Negation: An object is abstract (if and) only if it is causally inefficacious. Concrete objects, whether mental or physical, have causal powers; numbers and functions and the rest make nothing happen.” [3]

While some philosophers may argue if causality is a sufficient condition for the abstract/concrete distinction, it is widely accepted that abstract objects do not have any causal powers. They simply do not interact with the physical world the way concrete objects do.

Because abstract objects do not have any causal powers, therefore the universe cannot be caused by an abstract object.

OBJECTION 6: Begging the Question (B Syllogism)
CON said: "If we say that the cause of the universe cannot be an impersonal condition, then this syllogism would essentially be begging the question, since it would imply the cause of the universe to be personal in its premise."

This is demonstrably false! The B syllogism is a logically sound deductive argument in the form "Modus Tollens" [4] such that:
1. P implies Q
2. Not Q
3. Therefore, not P
where P="The cause is impersonal and timeless" and Q="the universe is timeless or eternal"

The proposition "the cause of the universe is personal" is not in Premise 9a or Premise 10a. Rather, it is the conclusion at 11a. Therefore, it doesn't beg the question.

CON then said: “…if Pro is claiming that the cause of the universe can only be personal, then they have yet to substantiate it”

To clear this up, let me expound on this syllogism.

The syllogism can be less formally stated as follows: If the cause were impersonal, we should expect to see a timelessly or eternally existing universe. Because the universe isn’t like that, therefore, the cause is not an impersonal condition.

Whenever an impersonal cause is sufficient for an effect, the effect necessarily follows. [5] So if the cause is sufficient from eternity past, the effect necessarily follows from eternity past.

As an analogy, if the cause of water freezing is the temperature being below 0 degree Celsius and it was 0 degree Celsius from eternity past, then the water should be frozen from eternity past. It simply can’t happen that the temperature is below 0 degree Celsius from eternity past, but the water freezes only some 13.8 Billion years ago. Similarly, if the cause of the universe is an impersonal condition X, and X exists timelessly, then the universe must exist timelessly or eternally too.

If the cause were impersonal, it becomes inexplicable why the universe is only 13.8 Billion years old.

However, if X is a personal agent endowed with freedom of the will, then X can choose when to create its effect by its own volition. In this case, it’s possible to have a timelessly existing cause (“X”), and an effect (“The universe”) only some 13.8 Billion years ago.

OBJECTION 7: Contradicts Definitions (B Syllogism)
CON said: “If we are to say that abstract objects cannot be the cause of the universe because they are timelessly existing, then we are implying that the cause of the universe is not timelessly existing”

I have two responses to this.

First, this is a classic straw man fallacy. [6] I didn’t say that abstract objects cannot cause the universe BECAUSE they are timeless. Rather, abstract objects are causally effete by definition.

Second, I don’t see how the conclusion “the cause is not timeless” follows from the premise “abstract objects cannot be the cause of the universe because they are timeless.” Why not just say the cause isn’t an abstract object?

I agree that a temporal abstract cause contradicts the definitions. Because CON affirms this, he also has to explore the alternative that the cause is not an abstract object. Otherwise, he's jumping into conclusion.

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Clarifications
_____________________________________

“States of affairs” simply means state of being. This is out of the debate, but I will share some personal beliefs in order to clarify what I mean.

My personal view is that God exists temporally from the moment of creation but timelessly prior to that. The problem with this statement is that some people misinterpret the word “prior” to imply time before the first moment of time. There is no time before the first moment of time, and to some people, that means it makes no sense to talk of anything “prior” to the first of moment of time.

To avoid this confusion, I use the term “states of affairs” instead. There is a state of affairs where God exists timelessly where time doesn’t exist.

You can read more on this idea here. [7]

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Summary
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CON objected to premise 9a claiming it as a black and white fallacy. I showed that as long as CON hasn't provided an alternative third option for 9a, he cannot claim that it's a false dichotomy.

CON's second objection is that 10a is unsubstantiated. I replied, abstract objects, by definition are causally effete and cannot cause the universe to begin to exist.

CON then objected to the "B" Syllogism by saying that it's begging the question. I showed that the "B" syllogism is a logically valid "Modus Tollens" argument and does not beg the question. I also expounded on the syllogism to further clear things up.

Lastly, CON said the "B" Syllogism has contradictory definitions. CON does this by straw-manning what I said. I never claimed that abstract objects cannot cause the universe because they are timeless. It's also non-sequitor logic to say that because an abstract timeless cause is not possible, that therefore the cause is not timeless. The cause can also be a non-abstract (concrete) object! CON has to explore this idea too before he can say that the cause isn't timeless.

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References and Further Reading
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  1. False Dilemma. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma
  2. False Dilemmas and False Dichotomies (How to Respond to False Dilemmas). https://effectiviology.com/false-dilemma/#How_to_respond_to_a_false_dilemma
  3. Abstract Objects. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/abstract-objects/#CausInefCrit
  4. Modus Tollens. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_tollens
  5. Causality. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality#Necessary_and_sufficient_causes
  6. Straw man. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
  7. God's Timelessness sans Creation. ReasonableFaith.Org. https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/gods-timelessness-sans-creation/

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Added:
--> @MadMallow, @PressF4Respect
Absinthe talkin
#6
Added:
--> @PaulVerliane
Must be some cosmic stuff god was eating then.
Instigator
#5
Added:
--> @PaulVerliane
You sir, are a genius
Contender
#4
Added:
sometimes shit just happens man like that time i got massive diareah from to much absinthe and buffalo wings man stuff was coming out both ends
i bet thats how a universe begins god gets the trotts
well that was easy to solve
#3
Added:
--> @MadMallow
Addendum to round 1 argument:
My third point is actually arguing that KCA begs the question. Begging the question is a form of circular reasoning, but I just wanted to state that to avoid any confusion
Contender
#2
Added:
--> @MadMallow
Thank you so much
Contender
#1
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