Instigator
Virtuoso avatar
Points: 19

The Kalaam Cosmological Argument

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After 4 votes the winner is ...
Ramshutu
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
30,000
Contender
Ramshutu avatar
Points: 28
Description
Before I begin I would like to thank Ramshutu for agreeing to debate this important topic with me. It is a delight to finally be able to get a chance to debate you.
-- TOPIC --
The Kalaam Cosmological Argument is a sound argument for the existence of God
-- 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
Sound: An argument that is sound is one that is both valid, and has all true premises. Therefore, by definition, a sound argument has a true conclusion. http://www.philosophy-index.com/logic/terms/soundness.php
God: The greatest conceivable being and therefore the highest Good, i.e. a person without a body (i.e., a spirit) who necessarily is eternal, perfectly free, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good, and the creator of all things. This description expresses the traditional concept of God in Western philosophy and theology - https://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer/P30/defining-god
--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--
1. Opening arguments
2. Rebuttals
3. Rebuttals
4. Closing arguments
All individuals are more than welcome to vote on this debate, and are simply reminded to abide by the voting standards. Constructive criticism is welcomed if provided separately from the RFD (so as to prevent confusion).“
Round 1
Published:
I'd like to thank Ramshutu for agreeing to debate this topic with me. This resolution of this topic is that the KCA is a sound argument for the existence of God. With that I will begin.

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

This argument is valid as seen in the formalized version:

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

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

Premise 1 is fairly obvious. Anything that begins to exist must have an explanation for why it exists. Something cannot come from nothing. If something could come from nothing, then why don’t we observe this in the physical universe today?

Premise 2 is also philosophically and scientifically sound. Before the 20th century it was commonly believed that the universe was “static,” ie, both specially and temporally infinite. It is now universally accepted that the universe is finite in age and size. There are several reasons to believe this. For one thing, if the universe was infinite in age, we would have reached a state of maximum entropy which occurs when all available energy has moved to places of less energy. [1] Secondly, the late Stephen Hawkins puts it the best [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.

Indeed it is! It overturned centuries of scientific thinking and proved that the universe must have a cause.

Why think the cause is God? (1) The cause must exist outside of time and space; (2) this cause must have been eternal; (3) this cause must be enormously powerful in order to create such a complex universe thus supporting omnipotence; (3) it must be personal; (4) it must be free to create the universe. This is what we call a Maximally Great Being, ie. God.

Having shown the validity and soundness of the argument, I will now provide answers to two objections that are often raised towards the KCA.

Objection 1: Quantum fluctuations

There are several answers to this: first, even if we do not observe them to have a cause it doesn’t follow that it is completely uncaused; second, are dependent upon a pre-existing quantum vacuum; finally, the objection is ultimately wrong because the “cause” of these fluctuations are ultimately caused by the quantum energy. They are thus at least casually caused because if you remove the quantum vacuum you remove the fluctuation!

Objection 2: Special Pleading

Con may try to argue that God must have a cause and thus this is special pleading. Philosophically speaking, there are three types of entities: (1) impossible entities that cannot exist because their properties are incoherent, such as an invisible pink unicorn; (2) a contingent entity that exists in some possible worlds but not all possible worlds, such as a unicorn or fire breathing dragon; and (3) necessary beings that exists by its own nature. Numbers and the laws of logic are such entities. God is thus amongst those necessary beings that exists necessarily. The universe itself is a contingent being and does not exist in all possible worlds. Therefore something necessary must have Created it.

Conclusion

The KCA is a logically valid argument. Its conclusion is supported by both of its premises and we are warranted to believe that God is the cause of the universe.

Over to you!

Sources

Published:
Thank you Virtuoso for inviting me to this debate, I’m very much looking forward to see where this discussion goes!

The KCA is an excellent rhetorical device - one that sounds valid on its face - it’s not apparent or easy to determine the inherent flaw in its logic. There are, however, two major issues with it that make it unsound. The first is insurmountable, the second devastating. 


1.) The conclusion of God is unwarranted.

The premise of the KCA is a bread and butter Modus Ponens - if A then B, A therefore B.

However the KCA as used by opponent is “If A then B, A therefore B, C, D and E”.

The inference we can draw from the KCA is - at most - that the universe has a cause. If youinfer that the universe has a cause, at most that cause must be inherently sufficient to be a cause - and no more.

Even if we grant that the universe has an external cause, there is no logic or argument my opponent provides that explains and justifies why that cause is also a being with thought, freedom, is infinitely good, is omniscient and is omnipresent. Indeed, the KCA goes to great lengths to argue the universe has a cause then pulls these new inferences out of thin air.

The KCA in this respect is attempting to infer unicorns from hoofprints.[1]

As stated, at the very best the KCA allows us to infer a cause exists - a cause with so few definable properties that it applies to a near infinite range of possible solutions - The Multiverse[2], universe simulation[11], the Flying Spaghetti Monster[12] or even a multi-dimensional Chuck Norris[13] - all would fulfill the criteria of a sufficient cause as inferred and defined by the KCA.

Given this, when so many possibilities fulfill the KCA that are not God, it is not logical to say it is evidence to support God  any more than it is reasonable to look at hoof prints and conclude - despite the many possible animals that could cause them - they are evidence of unicorns.

2.) P1 is not supported

P1 is the foundation of the KCA - and is a very reasonable and very logical appeal to common sense. 

In 1886 - a year prior to the Michelson Morely experiment[4] - it would have been common sense to argue the maximum speed you could travel was infinite[3], that measured lights speed would be dependent on the speed of the object that emitted or receives it[4], that time is unchangeable[5], that objects can’t be in two places at once[6],  that particles were either waves or particles[7], that objects can’t pass through insurmountable barriers[8], that the universe was deterministic[9], and one object cannot affect another instantly over infinite distances.[10]

All of these logical appeals to common sense have turned out to be wrong, and have been replaced with even more odd and bizarre - yet verifiable - alternates.

Indeed the universe, in its astounding complexity, has been solely consistent in its unending and repeated rebuttal and disproof of the notion that our own common sense is applicable to it.

I would happily conclude that appeals to common sense in realms of human interest are often valid - but not in terms of making fa-reaching claims of universal causation.

Because of this, I would submit that the claim of P1, far from being reasonable is no more reliable than any one of the above claims that have turned out to be completely invalid.

As a result, my opponents argument to support P1 is wholly invalid and insufficient, and thus the KCA cannot be considered sound. 


And with that, I will hand over to Pro.



Round 2
Published:
Thanks so much for your timely reply!

--

Re C1: The conclusion of God is unwarranted

In round 1 I gave some reasons as to why we should believe that the cause is God. Recall what I said:

Why think the cause is God? (1) The cause must exist outside of time and space; (2) this cause must have been eternal; (3) this cause must be enormously powerful in order to create such a complex universe thus supporting omnipotence; (3) it must be personal; (4) it must be free to create the universe. This is what we call a Maximally Great Being, ie. God.

Con assumes that it's like seeing a hoof print and assuming a unicorn, but that's certainly far more probable than Con's framework which would assume that such a footprint has always been there.

Re C2: The first premise is not supported

I gave some support for the first premise in my opening statements, I should have done a better job developing this point. Since Con brought up P1, I will expound as to why we should believe P1.

First, the burden of proof is on con as to why we should reject 'common sense' in this case. We are warranted to believe that whatever begins to exist has a cause. Unless Con can provide strong evidence for this, we should reject his argument.

Finally we know that an infinite regress or an infinite is impossible. Recall that I gave evidence that the Universe had a beginning with the Big Bang. An infinite/endless cycle of bang-crunch, as some hold, is impossible. To illustrate this point I'm gonna bring up two examples:

A. Hilbert's Hotel

DDO debater Contradiction explains this paradox quite well in this debate:

Suppose that we have a hotel with an actually infinite number of rooms and that an actually infinite number of guests arrives. The manager easily accomodates the guests, and that's that. But now suppose that another guest arrives. "No problem!" says the manger, and he moves the guest in room #1 into room #2, the guest in room #2, into room #3, and so on. In a flash, the fully occupied hotel suddenly has one more room. But how can this be? The hotel was already full!

Now suppose that an actually infinite number of new guests arrives looking for rooms. Without breaking a sweat, the manager moves each guest into a room that is twice his own. As a result, all of the odd numbered rooms become vacant, and the guests are accomodated without issue. But again, how can this be? The hotel was already full prior to their arrival! But now suppose that all of the guests in the even numbered rooms check out. It would still be the case that the hotel had just as many guests as before. In fact, with some re-arranging, the manager could turn his half empty hotel into one that's jam-packed. But how can this be?

Hilbert's hotel is rightly absurd, and it illustrates the absurdities that could result if actually infinite sets did exist in reality. Because mathematical operations involving actually infinite sets lead to contradictions, they cannot exist in reality.

Conclusion

We have strong reason to believe that the cause is an infinite cause that we call God. The FSM and a multi-dimensional Chuck Norris is impossible because it would immediately assume a corporeality to them. God, by very definition and logically induced from the KCA is entirely nonphysical.

Con wants to deny P1 of the KCA but runs into significant trouble with the simple fact that something cannot pop out from nothing? Indeed if they could why don't we see this happening today? Furthermore an infinite regress of causes is impossible, thus we are warranted to conclude that an infinite, timeless, necessary, perfect being was the first cause.

Back to you!






Published:
Many thanks to Pro for his reply! I apologize in advance for my first rebuttal being longer, but in order to sufficient cover your points, I need a few more words!

As the nature of this debate means my advocacy is also my rebuttal - I am outlining them together in this round.


C1: God is unwarranted.
“Why think the cause is God? (1) The cause must exist outside of time and space; (2) this cause must have been eternal; (3) this cause must be enormously powerful in order to create such a complex universe  thus supporting omnipotence; (3) it must be personal; (4) it must be free to create the universe. This is what we call a Maximally Great Being, ie. God.”

Pros opening argument expands and repeats the logical error I point out in my first contention:

The very most we can infer from the KCA is that a cause is sufficient and external. After all if it is neither external nor sufficient, it’s likely not possible for it to be a cause. This makes pros points (1) and  maybe half of (2) fairly reasonable.

Point (3), is where his issues begin.

How does Pro justify why the KCA requires the cause to be personal?

Pro offers no argument or justification at all as to exactly why this cause must be personal, and offers no reasoning as to how personality can be inferred from the KCA. 

Worse, pro offered no justification as to why the Cause must be Omnipotent either - omnipotent means maximally powerful: nothing in the formulation of the KCA requires the cause to be more than merely sufficient. 

The same goes for Omniscience: Where in the KCA is it inferred that then cause is in all places at the same time?

And omni-benevolent too: where does anything moralistic figure into this first cause: For what reason does pro believe the KCA warrants an omni-benevolent entity?

Even casting aside semantic arguments about strict definitions of God and the meaning of these terms- pros formulation has failed to support the idea that the cause has any defined property of God listed in this debates definition with the exception of being timeless.

Pro merely re-iterates his claims in his rebuttal - and largely ignores all these failures in justification that I specifically outlined in round 1.

I would submit that if pro is unable to provide justification for how we can infer that the cause of the universe is personal, omnipotent, omniscient, omni-benevolent and omnipresent from his formulation of the KCA in his final rebuttal round- then the he has failed to meet his burden that the KCA is sound - and a vote for Con is necessary 

C1a: God is More probable

In his rebuttal, pro adds that even if my contention were true - and all these properties of God were unwarranted, God would still be more probable than my framework. There are a few issues with this claim:

Firstly: pro offers no justification for why he feels God is more probable - nor can he. We don’t even have the information about the true nature of reality required to determine whether God is even possible, leave alone estimate the chances of God to a sufficient degree to claim it is more probable than any other of the infinite set of potential solutions. Pro cannot simply claim one solution is more probable than any others without explanation.

Secondly: Pro misses the point of the analogy. The hoofprints are analogous to the universe, if one presumes hoofprints have a cause, without more information, one can only infer that the object that made it was something that had hooves. The analogy is there to highlight that the KCA infers more properties from the hoof print than is warranted.

C2: P1 is unsound due to appeal to common sense.

Pro largely ignores my entire second contention about how undeniably faulty our common sense intuition is, and requests that I provide evidence as to why our common sense should be ignored in this case.

I refer pro back to this same second contention. There I outline in great detail all the ways in which our intuition and common sense have comprehensively failed. In short - common sense should not be relied upon [2]

If the universe has violated our common sense repeatedly - upon what grounds does pro think it should be relied upon now?

We have no direct information or evidence upon which to base fundamental claims about how the nature of reality and causality can work outside of our universe and its laws[1]. As such pro cannot otherwise support his claims about the validity of P1 - and arguing that I must provide evidence to refute the claims he cannot support is merely shifting the burden of proof.

If Pro offers no other reason to consider P1 true other than a faulty appeal to common sense in his final rebuttal round - then my contention 2 clearly undermines P1, and thus the KCA is unsound.

C2a : Something from nothing

Pro rounds this rebuttal off with an argument from incredulity - asking how can something come from nothing? And argues that infinite regress is impossible.

Firstly, as I point out in my first contention, even if it is not possible for something to come from nothing, this doesn’t mean the KCA warrants God - the universe existing within some timeless super-dimension with physics that are sufficient to allow it to exist - would solve the KCA without itself being personal, the four Os, and a maximally great being - and this is merely one of many possible alternatives.

Secondly and most importantly, with this reply, pro misses the key point:

I can offer no reason why something could come from nothing, nor can I offer reasons why infinite regress is possible. But I can also offer no logical reason as to exactly how something could exist timelessly and eternally without cause. I strongly suspect that pro is unable to do so either.

This is the crux of my second contention. 

The idea of something being able to exist eternally without is as equally nonsensical and unprovable as something coming from nothing - pro is implicitly arguing that we should presume that the former is more reasonable on the grounds of our common sense and logical intuition. Which as I have shown, cannot be used in this sphere to determine truth in the absence of other evidence.

As a result, pro must provide some compelling rationale for why his claims of P1 are supported other than through this common sense intuition, otherwise he can not support the soundness of P1.

C2b: something from nothing - vacuous truth.

Pro also argues in his opening round, and twice in his rebuttal that something cannot come from nothing, and bases this mostly off us never having observed this occurring.

This is true - but its a vacuous truth[3] because we have never observed “nothing” - even a complete lack of anything contains something![4] - note another violation of common sense. It isn’t the case we have failed measurements - simply no measurements at all. 

Turning the argument on its head - Pro has no examples of a supreme deity creating anything either. Nor do we have any examples of Chuck Norris round-house kicking the universe into existence. 

The idea that one set of solutions can be rejected on the grounds of no evidence, yet we must accept another solution which has no evidence either is not logically coherent.

As I have argued above, this is fundamentally the problem with pros support for P1, and why P1 should be rejected as unsupported.

3: Minor points

Pro states in his previous round:

“Finally we know that an infinite regress or an infinite is impossible”

“We have strong reason to believe that the cause is an infinite cause”

Pros appears to be arguing that an infinite cannot exist whilst also arguing that we have strong reason to believe it can. Pro cannot have it both ways. If he is conceding that infinite’s can exist, than he undermines P1 which implicitly relies upon infinite regress and infinities being impossible.

“God, by very definition and logically induced from the KCA is entirely nonphysical.”

Pro should provide a justification for why  the KCA infers a “non-physical cause”, this is similar to the issue I raise with my first contention.

As pro is using this to reject other possible solutions, the introduction of the “non-physical” property means pro is effectively begging the question.

Pro also argues that Chuck Norris cannot be the cause of the universe, as it assumes corporeality. Pro does not explain why this is the case. Why can the Christian God satisfy the KCA - yet a timeless, eternal, all powerful Chuck Norris who’s protrusion into our corporeal realm is merely a projection of himself, cannot?

Conclusion.

My argument against the KCA clearly refutes that the KCA is evidence of God from both ends.

Firstly - as I pointed out and continued here, the KCA provides no argument or inference that any cause of the universe is much more than simply external and sufficient - leave along a maximally great being.

Pros rebuttal lacked in any clarification or substance to this effect, and largely drops the issue I point out: thus contention 1 still stands.

Secondly - I clearly explain why P1 is reliant on common sense, and go on to justify why there is no way of supporting that claim without common sense. 

As pro offers no other justification - common sense can be thoroughly dismissed for the reasons raised in round 1 - and which pro has not addressed. As a result we must conclude that P1 is unsound.

It is for these reasons a vote for con is wholly warranted.

I hand you back to pro for his final rebuttal round!



Round 3
Published:
I’m going to have to waive this round. If my opponent allows it can we modify the structure to make the next round final rebuttals? I lost my power and lost my entire work. 

Published:
As discussed with Virtuoso - we’ve agreed to combine our final rebuttals and final speech into the final round.

I extend all my arguments over this intermission round!


Round 4
Forfeited
Published:
Given my opponents forfeit, there is little else I can do but simply summarize my case:

1.) The framing of the KCA fails to warrant its support for God, as the KCA doesn’t itself confirm any key properties that defines God. Pro offers no counter to this, so this point must stand and therefore the KCA is not evidence for God.

2.) P1 of the KCA is an appeal to common sense. As I showed in R1 and R2, this appeal to common sense fails, as common sense can be shown to fail repeatedly when applied to the universe. As a result this point must stand, and therefore the KCA is shown to be unsound.

Conclusion.

As I have showed the KCA fails to be a sound argument for God in two ways, and no rebuttal was offered, and as such a vote for con is warranted.

MagicAintReal avatar
Added:
--> @Ramshutu
Hey you're coming off the bench...good luck.
#1
Letaveant 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:
Pro failed to account for his positions or justify multiple claims, in addition Pro forfeit.
RationalMadman 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:
Slam dunk.
oromagi 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:
Double-forfeiture results in an absence of rebuttal.
Alec 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:
Pro forfeit.