Instigator
Virtuoso avatar
Points: 28

The Kalaam Cosmological Argument

Finished

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After 4 votes the winner is ...
Virtuoso
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Characters per argument
10,000
Contender
zedvictor4 avatar
Points: 12
Description
--Intro--
This debate allows each debater a maximum of 10,000 characters per round. Each debater has three days, at most, to post their argument for each round. The voting period lasts one month and uses an open voting system. I am "Pro" on the resolution, meaning that whoever accepts is "Con." If special circumstances arise, one may ask their opponent to wait some time before posting their next round.
--Topic--
The Kalaam Cosmological Argument is Sound
-- Definitions --
The Kalaam Cosmological Argument (KCA hereafter) states:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore the universe has a cause
--Rules--
1. No forfeits
2. Citations must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final speeches
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. Debaters accept all resolutional terms defined in this description
8. For all undefined resolutional terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
9 The BOP is evenly shared
10. Rebuttals of new points raised in an adversary's immediately preceding speech may be permissible at the judges' discretion even in the final round (debaters may debate their appropriateness)
11. Violation of any of these rules, or of any of the R1 set-up, merits a loss
--Structure--
Rounds:
1. Opening arguments
2. Rebuttals
3. Rebuttals
4. Closing arguments
Round 1
Published:
Thank you for accepting this debate!

----

P1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause

This is axiomatic. From nothing comes nothing. This is a metaphysical truth and it would be absurd to deny it. William Lane Craig notes (1):

Something cannot come from nothing. To claim that something can come into being from nothing is worse than magic. When a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat, at least you’ve got the magician, not to mention the hat! But if you deny premise (1'), you’ve got to think that the whole universe just appeared at some point in the past for no reason whatsoever. But nobody sincerely believes that things, say, a horse or an Eskimo village, can just pop into being without a cause.

 something can come into being from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything or everything doesn’t come into being from nothing. Think about it: why don’t bicycles and Beethoven and root beer just pop into being from nothing? Why is it only universes that can come into being from nothing? What makes nothingness so discriminatory? There can’t be anything about nothingness that favors universes, for nothingness doesn’t have any properties. Nor can anything constrain nothingness, for there isn’t anything to be constrained!

Common experience and scientific evidence confirm the truth of premise 1'. The science of cosmogeny is based on the assumption that there are causal conditions for the origin of the unuiverse. So it’s hard to understand how anyone committed to modern science could deny that (1') is more plausibly true than false.

P2: The universe began to exist

Prior to the 1950s most scientists and philosophers believed that matter and the universe existed eternally. We now know that the universe, including time, began to exist round 14 billion years ago. Thus there was a time when nothing existed including time itself! Professor Stephen Hawkins notes (2):

All the evidence seems to indicate, that the universe has not existed forever, but that it had a beginning, about 15 billion years ago. This is probably the most remarkable discovery of modern cosmology. 

In the case of the universe, the fact that the microwave background has such an exactly thermal spectrum indicates that it must have been scattered many times. The universe must therefore contain enough matter, to make it opaque in every direction we look, because the microwave background is the same, in every direction we look. Moreover, this opacity must occur a long way away from us, because we can see galaxies and quasars, at great distances. Thus there must be a lot of matter at a great distance from us. The greatest opacity over a broad wave band, for a given density, comes from ionised hydrogen. It then follows that if there is enough matter to make the universe opaque, there is also enough matter to focus our past light cone. One can then apply the theorem of Penrose and myself, to show that time must have a beginning.

The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago. The beginning of real time, would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down. Nevertheless, the way the universe began would have been determined by the laws of physics, if the universe satisfied the no boundary condition. This says that in the imaginary time direction, space-time is finite in extent, but doesn't have any boundary or edge. The predictions of the no boundary proposal seem to agree with observation. The no boundary hypothesis also predicts that the universe will eventually collapse again. However, the contracting phase, will not have the opposite arrow of time, to the expanding phase. So we will keep on getting older, and we won't return to our youth.
We can also prove this from the laws of thermodynamics. If the universe was infinite in age and duration, we would have ran out of usable energy. Because we are not in this state, we know that the universe is not infinitely old (4). 

C: Therefore, the Universe has a cause

The conclusion is proven and is solid from 1 and 2. 

Why is God the cause?

Because the universe began to exist, this cause must be transcendent, it must be powerful enough to create a universe that eventually gives rise to life, it must be non-physical, and it must exist necessarily. This is exactly what we call God. 

Summary

To deny the KCA the naturalist must explain how a universe pops out of existence and gives rise to order and eventually life.

I now turn it over to con

Sources

Published:
The proposition is very woolly and therefore open to all manner of interpretation and connotations.

Nonetheless:
Because "sound" is not at all representative of certainty.
Where A is he Kalaam argument and B is the opposite or alternative. it is sufficiently reasonable to suggest That either A or B might be "sound".


Any cosmological argument is essentially word play, conjured up by the devious in order to confuse the gullible.
And of course the game is free for anyone to play.
Therefore:
Because the existence of a god cannot be proven it is sufficiently reasonable to assume that it is more likely that a god doesn't exist.


So to summarise round 1:
To give credibility to the KCA. The instigator must explain how a god pops into existence and gives rise to order and eventually life.

As ever:
All theories come to an abrupt halt at the point of something from nothing.




Round 2
Published:
Thank you for your response

---

Con's objection: "The instigator must explain how a god pops into existence and gives rise to order and eventually life."

I already explained this in round 1. If something begins to exist, then the conclusion is there must be a cause of it's existence. Because God exists outside space and time, He is therefore a necessary being whose existence does not need a further explanation (1). Debate.org user Contradiction explains this the best (2): 

Dan Barker (Who my opponent is sure to cite), argues that P1 is question-begging because the only member of the class of objects which do not begin to exist is God. Hence P1 becomes "Everything except God needs a cause." However, this criticism is grossly off-point. First, the modified-P1 is simply not logically equivalent to P1. If we recast the KCA using M-P1, then the argument becomes structurally invalid. Second, M-P1 confuses meaning with reference. The two premises may refer to the same object, but their meaning is obviously different. Third, whereas M-P1 is framed in terms of being an existential statement (One which asserts the existence of something), P1 is a universally quantified statement. Consider the formalized version of the argument:

1. (x) (Bx -> Cx)
2. Bu
3. Cu

Where B = begins to exist; c = cause, u = universe.

Universally quantified statements do not commit one to the existence of classes of objects, whereas existential statements (Such as Barker's M-P1) do. Hence P1 and M-P1 are not logically equivalent.
Source
Published:
Sorry.
But I spent over an hour constructing a response. Only for it to be lost when attempting to create an edit.

I haven't the time or inclination to do it all again.

Regards 

Zed.
Round 3
Published:
Extend
Published:
Thank you.



My round1 argument was very concise but nonetheless presented three points for consideration, two of which instigator ignored completely.
In comparison the bulk of instigators first round was simply an accepted theoretical narrative used as a means to arrive at point C.
Instigator then presented point C as "solid".

But of course, "solid" is as woolly an adjective as "sound", when taking into account the wholly theoretical nature of the evidence.

In round 2 instigator then extends their argument with the completely unfounded statement "because god exists outside space and time".
How does instigator intend to qualify this statement? 
Is this not clearly a statement founded on nothing other than blind faith?

The use of equative symbolism to reinforce, is nothing more than another attempt to introduce a scientific air to the argument.
Hopefully the rational and objective spectator will easily identify the subterfuge through this thinly veiled pseudo-scientific disguise.
A = B Therefore a god exists, because I've been told that god exists and I want to believe that a god exists, come what may.

What a cosmological argument attempts to infer is simply this:
Because something caused the existence of matter, it must have been a god.
Such a concise statement is categorical, illogical and not worthy of being considered theoretical.
Therefore no matter how much you pad out such an argument with clever and lengthy literature, the sentiment will always be non-theoretical and consequently neither "sound" nor "solid".

Based on our current lack of understanding, it is still fair to suggest that a god might or might not exist and that a god might or might not have created everything.
Very unsound theory indeed, but we lack the evidence to dismiss this theory, just as we lack the evidence to prove this theory. 
Ultimately all theories come to an abrupt halt when we have to admit that at a certain point, something must have appeared from nothing.
And this ultimatum is as equally applicable to a god as it is to any other theory.


I will once again leave the instigator with my own one line cosmological argument to ponder:

"Because the existence of a god cannot be proven it is sufficiently reasonable to assume that it is more likely that a god doesn't exist".

Round 4
Published:
Con's basic criticism of my argument is "Because the existence of a god cannot be proven it is sufficiently reasonable to assume that it is more likely that a god doesn't exist".

The KCA asks us to follow occam's razor. Because the universe has a cause that is outside of it (as con hasn't really challenged), it is most reasonable to say that God was the one in charge based on my arguments in round 1. 

Question for con: Since you believe God cannot be proven, is there any evidence that you would accept that would show that God probably does exist? What evidence exactly are you looking for?  
Published:
Good old Occam.

Thing is:
If people didn't go around creating problems in the first place then there would be no need to worry about solving them.
Now that's Occam's principle in a nutshell.

And the problem was: 
In order to make sense of everything and before we knew any better, people came up with the notion of a god.

Now:
if Pro really wants to solve the problem and apply the Occam principle the simplest solution is to admit that nowadays we do actually know better and that the God theory is probably nonsense.

The difference between Pro and I is:
Pro was probably conditioned to accept religious nonsense as truth without question.
I was not conditioned in a religious environment and therefore I was freely able to ask questions. For me there is no problem so there is obviously no need for a solution.

The reality is that:
Futile cosmological and occamistic diatribe is non-evidence based, pseudo-scientific nonsense and therefore cannot be regarded as a sensible basis for a creation theory.

The only time that I will accept the existence of a god is when they decide to come out of their hiding place, shake my hand and say hello.
Now, that would be a polite and sensible thing for a god to do wouldn't it?  Maybe the simplest solution to the problem as well.

After all god is supposed to be omni-everything so the least we can expect is for them to be omni-sensible.


N.B.
Please excuse "occamistic". It was the simplest solution to the problem at the time!
bsh1 avatar
Added:
--> @Raltar
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: Raltar // Mod action: Removed
>Points Awarded: 6 points to Pro for arguments, sources, and conduct.
>Reason for Decision: Pro used a strong and well-written opening statement which was backed up with citations. Con used no citations, had only rethorical arguments and seemed to be debating another topic entirely.
>Reason for Mod Action: The voter failed to survey and weigh the main arguments in debate. The voter failed to justify conduct in any respect. The voter failed to explain how Pro's sources were relevant to the debate. The points awarded were insufficiently justified. To cast a sufficient vote, the vote should survey and weigh the main arguments in the debate, explain why conduct was awarded, and explain how Pro's sources were relevant to the debate.
************************************************************************
#1
drafterman avatar
#4
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Con never really addresses Pro's arguments. Pro presented the KCA in order to discuss its soundness. Soundness is a well accepted term in logical and philosophy that means a specific thing. Con instead dimissed the use of the term as ambiguous which is not approaching the debate according to the terms and context of the debate.
Cons objections never addressed the specific elements of the KCA. For example: "explain how a god pops into existence and gives rise to order and eventually life" The KCA (as stated) doesn't address god or life, but merely concludes that the universe had a cause. While pro invokes God as a label to the "cause" of KCA, it is actually a red herring with respect to the resolution.
Raltar avatar
#3
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Arguments: Pro.
Round 1;
Pro lays out his opening argument using ample citations, quotations and logical arguments. Con's rebuttal was to accuse Pro's argument of being "woolly" and engage in a rhetorical argument of if Pro's use of the word "sound" was appropriate. Con provided no sources and attempted to place the burden of proof on Pro by demanding that Pro explain how God came into existence.
Round 2;
Pro responded to Con's demand and cited several sources to support his argument. Con failed to respond, blaming a computer error.
Round 3;
Pro posted no new content. Con resumed his earlier strategy of quibbling over the definition of words by accusing the word "solid" of being just as "woolly" as the word "sound" supposedly was. Con then began to argue about if God exists or not, which wasn't the actual subject of the debate. Con closed his argument by claiming that "because the existence of a god cannot be proven it is sufficiently reasonable to assume that it is more likely that a god doesn't exist."
Final Round 4;
Pro seemed as confused as I was that Con was suddenly arguing the existence of God rather than the actual topic of the debate, and attempted to redirect by pointing out that the actual topic of the debate itself actually is one of the arguments for the existence of God. Pro also pointed out that Con never really challenged the main assumptions of Pro's original argument. Con closed his arguments by ranting about his personal dislike of Occam's Razor while continuing to argue that God doesn't exist without ever addressing the actual subject of the debate.
Summary;
Pro tried to stay on topic and provided legitimate citations to support his argument. Con provided no citations and quickly went off-topic, never really addressing the actual subject of the debate other than to accuse the word "sound" of being too "woolly" for his taste. Con made no real argument to speak of and seemed to be debating an entirely different topic than the actual topic of the debate. It isn't even clear if Con actually understood the topic being debated. This is an obvious win for Pro.
RationalMadman avatar
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
The direct way to attack the resolution's argument is only to attack Axiom 2. You need to enter a very 'everyone has heavy BoP' scenario where you need to post a ton of reasons to doubt the universe has a cause at all and then you need to further back Pro into a wall as you need to attack conclusion 3 by alternatively posing the 'cycle of determinism' theory in that reality is determine start-to-end and the end was the cause of the start (and if the voters are as highly intelligent and deep thinking as me they'd realise Con is correct, not Pro). The issue is this is risky because I know most voters on this site are... I will just say that they are not me and leave it at that.
Con, buddy, Pro never said God was anything you said. Just because Pro is labelled as a Jew here or because the resolution is usually used with regards to the Abrahamic God variants doesn't entitle you to bring up a new point in the last round about God being omni-everything. This is about a creator, not the all-encompassing moral authority that you are expecting 'God' to be.
Con's entire argument revolves around a need for God to be proven physically and that God isn't omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent at the same time adding to doubt that there is the mentioned God at all. What if we concede that God is only omniscient and is just hyper-powered and extremely multi-faceted with barely any limits bit not completely omnipotent? Why bring this up only in the last Round? Get out of here with that. Conduct to Pro for the laziness and dirty play of Con, arguments too because Pro successfully shoved all BoP onto Con from Round 1 onwards.
Ramshutu avatar
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Arguments to pro: pro met his initial burden of proof with his opening round. Unfortunately the debate was whether the KCA is sound, not whether God exists. Con must attack the KCA in his arguments directly to show that the argument is unwarranted but did not do that. Instead, he simply attacked the KCA for lack of evidentiary support for God, which I felt was completely itrrelevany. In this regard, in my view none of cons arguments counted towards the debates contention and thus pro wins arguments.
Sources also go to pro. Much as I hate WLC, and the KCA, the basic principles were well cited by pro which improved the credibility of his argument. Con used no sources at all.
Conduct to pro: I went back and forth several times on this. While I don’t know whether it was done on purpose, I felt that cons argument was both a Kritik in spirit - in that while it isn’t an explicit kritik, it’s effectively challenging the epistemology of the debate premise, which in my view is more than close enough - this was explicitly prohibited in debate rules. The back and forth was due to the behaviour not being a full and explicit kritik: but after some thought, while I wouldn’t go far enough to award a full win (as per rule 11), it’s close enough to waamrrant a violation for conduct.