Requesting a Debate on the Kalam Cosmological Argument

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Requesting a Debate on the Kalam Cosmological Argument

Intro

I would like to debate the soundness of the KCA. I will debate the first reasonably well-informed person - as determined by myself - to respond to this OP. The form of the argument that I intend to defend can be found at this link http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/craig-smith1.html.

 

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

2.The universe began to exist.
  2.1 Argument based on the impossibility of
   an actual infinite:
    2.11 An actual infinite cannot exist.
    2.12 An infinite temporal regress of events
      is an actual infinite.
    2.13 Therefore, an infinite temporal regress
      of events cannot exist.
  2.2 Argument based on the impossibility of the
      formation of an actual infinite by
      successive addition:
    2.21 A collection formed by successive
      addition cannot be actually infinite.
    2.22 The temporal series of past events is
      a collection formed by successive addition.
    2.23 Therefore, the temporal series of past
      events cannot be actually infinite.
  2.3 Confirmation based on the expansion of
      the universe.
  2.4 Confirmation based on the thermodynamic
      properties of the universe.

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

4. If the universe has a cause of its existence, then
   an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists,
   who sans creation is beginningless, changeless,
   immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously
   powerful and intelligent.
  4.1 Argument that the cause of the universe is a
   personal Creator:
    4.11 The universe was brought into being either
      by a mechanically operating set of necessary and
      sufficient conditions or by a personal, free agent.
    4.12 The universe could not have been brought into
      being by a mechanically operating set of necessary
      and sufficient conditions.
    4.13 Therefore, the universe was brought into being
      by a personal, free agent.
  4.2 Argument that the Creator sans creation
      is uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial,
      timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and
      intelligent:
    4.21 The Creator is uncaused.
      4.211 An infinite temporal regress of causes cannot
        exist. (2.13, 2.23)
    4.22 The Creator is beginningless.
      4.221 Whatever is uncaused does not begin to
        exist. (1)
    4.23 The Creator is changeless.
      4.231 An infinite temporal regress of changes
        cannot exist. (2.13, 2.23)
    4.24 The Creator is immaterial.
      4.241 Whatever is material involves change on
        the atomic and molecular levels, but the Creator
        is changeless. (4.23)
    4.25 The Creator is timeless.
      4.251 In the complete absence of change, time does
        not exist, and the Creator is changeless. (4.23)
    4.26 The Creator is spaceless.
      4.261 Whatever is immaterial and timeless cannot
        be spatial, and the Creator is immaterial and
        timeless (4.24, 4.25)
    4.27 The Creator is enormously powerful.
      4.271 He brought the universe into being out of
        nothing. (3)
    4.28 The Creator is enormously intelligent.
      4.281 The initial conditions of the universe
        involve incomprehensible fine-tuning that points
        to intelligent design.

5. Therefore, an uncaused, personal Creator of the
   universe exists, who sans creation is "beginningless,"
   changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and
   enormously powerful and intelligent.

 

 

Format

The resolution shall be "The Kalam Cosmological Argument proves that an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans creation is "beginningless," changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent."

Since the argument is already out there, my opponent will begin with his objections. In total, the debate shall proceed over the course of six posts with a one thousand word maximum length for each.

NEG 1

AFF 1

NEG 2

AFF 2

NEG 3

AFF 3

 

Takers?

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


nigelTheBold
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Not that I'm going to debate

Not that I'm going to debate the KCA, as it's been ravished since its inception by St. Thomas Aquinas, but this is where the whole things falls apart:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

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

Okay. Not that this is perfectly established, but Okay.

Quote:

4. If the universe has a cause of its existence, then
   an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists,
   who sans creation is beginningless, changeless,
   immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously
   powerful and intelligent.

None of 4.x.x really has any relevence. Essentially, you've established with 1. that anything that exists has a cause of existence. Then the argument skews toward incoherency by the assertion (via 4.211) that an infinite regress can't exist. This invalidates 1. So the whole argument falls apart by incoherency.

4.211 is based on 2.11, which is an usupported assertion. A speculation, if you will. There is no evidence that an actual infinite cannot exist. And if that were true, then the assertion of 4.25 (the creator is timeless) is nonsensical, as "timelessness" is either an infinite in the temporal dimension, or lacks the temporal dimension.

Basically, the argument rests on reserving certain special traits to the creator: timelessness, non-causal creation, and infinity. Meanwhile, there is no reason to assume that any of these traits are necessary or sufficient for the existence of the universe.

This is nothing more than a more-complex synthetic paradox such as: This statement is true. The previous statement is false.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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I'm not going to debate the

I'm not going to debate the argument in this thread. I'm just looking for takers. If you choose to debate me, of course, I will happily address your points.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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I'll do it... Here's my

I'll do it... Here's my opening argument:

nigelTheBold wrote:

 

Presuppositionalist wrote:

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

Okay. Not that this is perfectly established, but Okay.

Quote:

4. If the universe has a cause of its existence, then
   an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists,
   who sans creation is beginningless, changeless,
   immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously
   powerful and intelligent.

None of 4.x.x really has any relevence. Essentially, you've established with 1. that anything that exists has a cause of existence. Then the argument skews toward incoherency by the assertion (via 4.211) that an infinite regress can't exist. This invalidates 1. So the whole argument falls apart by incoherency.

4.211 is based on 2.11, which is an usupported assertion. A speculation, if you will. There is no evidence that an actual infinite cannot exist. And if that were true, then the assertion of 4.25 (the creator is timeless) is nonsensical, as "timelessness" is either an infinite in the temporal dimension, or lacks the temporal dimension.

Basically, the argument rests on reserving certain special traits to the creator: timelessness, non-causal creation, and infinity. Meanwhile, there is no reason to assume that any of these traits are necessary or sufficient for the existence of the universe.

This is nothing more than a more-complex synthetic paradox such as: This statement is true. The previous statement is false.

 

Yeah, I know its plagiarism but its still more intellectually honest then any creationist.


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 Quote:I'm not going to

 

Quote:
I'm not going to debate the argument in this thread. I'm just looking for takers. If you choose to debate me, of course, I will happily address your points.

Silly rabbit.  He just won the debate.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Presuppositionalist
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Stosis wrote:I'll do it...

Stosis wrote:

I'll do it...

As you wish. 

 

This is now a debate. From this point on, I would appreciate it if all forum members other than Stosis refrained from posting responses.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


Hambydammit
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 To be fair, we can't

 To be fair, we can't really make anyone refrain from posting, but I do think it would be nice if everyone would let you two go at it.  I'd suggest that if someone really has something they want to say, it would be courteous to start a new thread for it.

Have fun, kids.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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EXC
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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

I'm not going to debate the argument in this thread. I'm just looking for takers. If you choose to debate me, of course, I will happily address your points.

What is there to debate? He's a summary of any debate:

You: Everything must have a creator. Therefore God created the universe.

Me: Then who created God?

You: God is timeless and does not require a creator.

Me: The universe is timeless and does not require a creator.

Everything else is you coming up with lame explainations as to why God can be creator-less but the universe can't. If you want a debate with anyone, you should first give a reasonable explaination of this position.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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AFF 1

Stosis has levelled seven charges against the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA):

(1) None of KCA-4.1 through KCA-4.281 is relevant.

(2) KCA-1 contradicts KCA-4.211, so KCA is incoherent.

(3) KCA-2.11 is an unsupported assertion, and there is no evidence that it is true.

(4) If KCA-2.11 is true, then KCA-4.25 is nonsensical, because timelessness is either an actual temporal infinite, or lacks the temporal dimension.

(5) KCA rests on reserving timelessness, non-causal creation, and infinity to the creator.

(6) There is no reason to believe that timelessness, non-causal creation, and infinity are necessary or sufficient for the existence of the universe.

(7) KCA is a paradox like: This statement is true. The previous statement is false.

 

On the contrary, it is written: "I AM WHO AM."

Not one of these holds. I will address each of (1)-(7) in order.

(1) Stosis is not clear what the premises in question are allegedly irrelevant to. If we read him charitably, it seems that he is saying that they are irrelevant to establishing the conclusion of KCA. But they are relevant to the conclusion of the argument, as the conclusion states in part that the creator is "changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent," none of which could be established without KCA-4.1 through KCA-4.281. So it is reasonable to dismiss this assertion as either ambiguous or obviously false.

(2) The argument for this point is that KCA-1 says that "whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence," which cannot be true if an infinite regress cannot exist, per KCA-4.211. But KCA-1 does not imply that an infinite regress cannot exist, only that each thing that begins to exist has some cause. This formulation allows the possibility (and in conjunction with the rest of KCA's premises, demands the actuality) of a regress that is terminated by something that didn't begin to exist, and doesn't have a cause of its existence. The appeal of (2) presumably follows from an implicit assumption on Stosis' part that everything that exists began to exist. That premise is perhaps plausible to Stosis, but I see no reason to accept it without additional argumentation. So (2) is either false or insufficiently supported.

(3) I will grant that there is not "evidence" that KCA-2.11 is true. It is a philosophical - or perhaps mathematical - premise, however, so it is proper to argue for it on a priori, not a posteriori, grounds. I do not agree that the premise is unsupported, as Stosis claims. If we reflect on the idea that an actual infinite cannot exist, we see that it has some prima facie plausibility, and I think that this plausibility gives it enough support that we can reasonably believe in it until reason not to believe in it materializes. I do not mean that the premise is immune from doubt, but I do think that there is something about the premise itself that inclines us to belief in the absence of opposition. So Stosis has a burden of refutation here, so far as I am concerned. We can also argue for the premise with the well-known "Hilbert's Hotel" argument:

Consider a hypothetical hotel with infinitely many rooms, all of which are occupied – that is to say every room contains a guest. Suppose a new guest arrives and wishes to be accommodated in the hotel. If the hotel had only finitely many rooms, then it can be clearly seen that the request could not be fulfilled, but because the hotel has infinitely many rooms then if you move the guest occupying room 1 to room 2, the guest occupying room 2 to room 3 and so on, you can fit the newcomer into room 1. By extension it is possible to make room for a countably infinite number of new clients: just move the person occupying room 1 to room 2, the guest occupying room 2 to room 4, and in general room N to room 2*N, and all the odd-numbered rooms will be free for the new guests. [From Wikipedia]

So (3) fails unless Stosis can both refute the Hilbert's Hotel argument and argue for the possibility of an actual infinite.

(4) Stosis poses the disjunction ""timelessness" is either an infinite in the temporal dimension, or lacks the temporal dimension." But if he had paid closer attention to KCA-4.251, which says "In the complete absence of change, time does not exist, and the Creator is changeless," he would have seen that only the latter is a plausible interpretation of the argument. He seems to believe that it is a problem for KCA that timelessness denotes an absence of a temporal dimension, but it isn't obvious why. It is possible that he believes it is impossible for anything to lack a temporal dimension, but that is a silly objection, since KCA-4.251 says that the creator's lacking a temporal dimension just is the creator's not changing, and it is obviously possible for something not to change. In any event, we can say that even if KCA-4.25 is nonsensical for some as-yet-unspecified reason, it is not nonsensical because of KCA-2.11, as Stosis claims. So (4) is strictly false in any event, and it is also broadly false barring better argument against KCA-4.25.

(5) and (6) commit essentially the same error. They state that KCA is defective because it only grants certain traits to the creator and holds that it is necessary for the creator of the universe to have those traits, but neither (5) or (6) addresses the reasons why KCA concludes that those claims are true. So we can dismiss both of these because they simply do not engage the argument.

(7) This seems to be a sort of wrapping-up of what was said previously. I include it here to point out that if it was meant as an argument, it needs to be clarified. A lot.

I look forward to Stosis' response.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Stosis has levelled seven charges against the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA):

(1) None of KCA-4.1 through KCA-4.281 is relevant.

(2) KCA-1 contradicts KCA-4.211, so KCA is incoherent.

(3) KCA-2.11 is an unsupported assertion, and there is no evidence that it is true.

(4) If KCA-2.11 is true, then KCA-4.25 is nonsensical, because timelessness is either an actual temporal infinite, or lacks the temporal dimension.

(5) KCA rests on reserving timelessness, non-causal creation, and infinity to the creator.

(6) There is no reason to believe that timelessness, non-causal creation, and infinity are necessary or sufficient for the existence of the universe.

(7) KCA is a paradox like: This statement is true. The previous statement is false.

 

On the contrary, it is written: "I AM WHO AM."

Not one of these holds. I will address each of (1)-(7) in order.

(1) Stosis is not clear what the premises in question are allegedly irrelevant to. If we read him charitably, it seems that he is saying that they are irrelevant to establishing the conclusion of KCA. But they are relevant to the conclusion of the argument, as the conclusion states in part that the creator is "changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful and intelligent," none of which could be established without KCA-4.1 through KCA-4.281. So it is reasonable to dismiss this assertion as either ambiguous or obviously false.

(2) The argument for this point is that KCA-1 says that "whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence," which cannot be true if an infinite regress cannot exist, per KCA-4.211. But KCA-1 does not imply that an infinite regress cannot exist, only that each thing that begins to exist has some cause. This formulation allows the possibility (and in conjunction with the rest of KCA's premises, demands the actuality) of a regress that is terminated by something that didn't begin to exist, and doesn't have a cause of its existence. The appeal of (2) presumably follows from an implicit assumption on Stosis' part that everything that exists began to exist. That premise is perhaps plausible to Stosis, but I see no reason to accept it without additional argumentation. So (2) is either false or insufficiently supported.

(3) I will grant that there is not "evidence" that KCA-2.11 is true. It is a philosophical - or perhaps mathematical - premise, however, so it is proper to argue for it on a priori, not a posteriori, grounds. I do not agree that the premise is unsupported, as Stosis claims. If we reflect on the idea that an actual infinite cannot exist, we see that it has some prima facie plausibility, and I think that this plausibility gives it enough support that we can reasonably believe in it until reason not to believe in it materializes. I do not mean that the premise is immune from doubt, but I do think that there is something about the premise itself that inclines us to belief in the absence of opposition. So Stosis has a burden of refutation here, so far as I am concerned. We can also argue for the premise with the well-known "Hilbert's Hotel" argument:

Consider a hypothetical hotel with infinitely many rooms, all of which are occupied – that is to say every room contains a guest. Suppose a new guest arrives and wishes to be accommodated in the hotel. If the hotel had only finitely many rooms, then it can be clearly seen that the request could not be fulfilled, but because the hotel has infinitely many rooms then if you move the guest occupying room 1 to room 2, the guest occupying room 2 to room 3 and so on, you can fit the newcomer into room 1. By extension it is possible to make room for a countably infinite number of new clients: just move the person occupying room 1 to room 2, the guest occupying room 2 to room 4, and in general room N to room 2*N, and all the odd-numbered rooms will be free for the new guests. [From Wikipedia]

So (3) fails unless Stosis can both refute the Hilbert's Hotel argument and argue for the possibility of an actual infinite.

(4) Stosis poses the disjunction ""timelessness" is either an infinite in the temporal dimension, or lacks the temporal dimension." But if he had paid closer attention to KCA-4.251, which says "In the complete absence of change, time does not exist, and the Creator is changeless," he would have seen that only the latter is a plausible interpretation of the argument. He seems to believe that it is a problem for KCA that timelessness denotes an absence of a temporal dimension, but it isn't obvious why. It is possible that he believes it is impossible for anything to lack a temporal dimension, but that is a silly objection, since KCA-4.251 says that the creator's lacking a temporal dimension just is the creator's not changing, and it is obviously possible for something not to change. In any event, we can say that even if KCA-4.25 is nonsensical for some as-yet-unspecified reason, it is not nonsensical because of KCA-2.11, as Stosis claims. So (4) is strictly false in any event, and it is also broadly false barring better argument against KCA-4.25.

(5) and (6) commit essentially the same error. They state that KCA is defective because it only grants certain traits to the creator and holds that it is necessary for the creator of the universe to have those traits, but neither (5) or (6) addresses the reasons why KCA concludes that those claims are true. So we can dismiss both of these because they simply do not engage the argument.

(7) This seems to be a sort of wrapping-up of what was said previously. I include it here to point out that if it was meant as an argument, it needs to be clarified. A lot.

I look forward to Stosis' response.

 

You know I just copy and pasted nigelTheBold's response, right? I did this a joke and to show you that there is no point to this debate because its been refuted so many times I could just google my responses, also I had just stumbled home drunk and felt like  trolling.

 

I'm really sorry that you took all that time to write that repsonse but I really have no intention of debating you.


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Stosis wrote:You know I just

Stosis wrote:

You know I just copy and pasted nigelTheBold's response, right? I did this a joke and to show you that there is no point to this debate because its been refuted so many times I could just google my responses, also I had just stumbled home drunk and felt like  trolling.

I'm really sorry that you took all that time to write that repsonse but I really have no intention of debating you.

While Google would give you responses to KCA, it would not tell you how to defend the specific objections nigel made to KCA against the specific objections that I made to nigel. Anyway, the arguments that nigel made have a large following, as evidenced by the many posts in the thread "Comments on 'Requesting a Debate on the Kalam Cosmological Argument'". So I am sure someone else will step forward to defend nigel's post.

That said, try not to agree to any more 1000-word formal debates that you do not plan to participate in.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Stosis wrote:

You know I just copy and pasted nigelTheBold's response, right? I did this a joke and to show you that there is no point to this debate because its been refuted so many times I could just google my responses, also I had just stumbled home drunk and felt like  trolling.

I'm really sorry that you took all that time to write that repsonse but I really have no intention of debating you.

While Google would give you responses to KCA, it would not tell you how to defend the specific objections nigel made to KCA against the specific objections that I made to nigel. Anyway, the arguments that nigel made have a large following, as evidenced by the many posts in the thread "Comments on 'Requesting a Debate on the Kalam Cosmological Argument'". So I am sure someone else will step forward to defend nigel's post.

That said, try not to agree to any more 1000-word formal debates that you do not plan to participate in.

 

Sorry, I made the number one mistake of the internet and assumed that it was obvious that I was being sarcastic. I'm not to sure you'll find someone to debate. Most people like debates where the out come isn't already known.


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An infinity of worlds exist.

 

"1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence."

What do you mean by "begins to exist"?  That at one moment it doesn't exist, but later it does?  If that's the case, it doesn't apply to our universe as a whole.  Time is a part of our universe - it doesn't exist without of the universe that contains it.   But that implies: there is not a time when our universe didn't exist.

Realize that this does not imply anything about whether the universe is infinitely old.  In some physicists views time behaves like latitudes on the earth.  As we travel north, we get closer to the north pole, but if we continue past the north pole but keep traveling in the same direction, we are travelling south again.  In a way, "north" ends - but in a clean manner with no abrupt edge of the earth or anything.  Einstein showed how time and space can curve with each other.  It's possible that if a time machine existed that could take us back to the earlier moments in the universe - by continuing in the same direction, initially backwards in time, we'd pass the "beginning of time" pole and without noticing any abrupt edge to time or space, we'd find our time machine going towards the future again.  I doubt such a time machine could ever be built or survive the harsh conditions at the early moments of our universe, but that doesn't change the fact that this sort of description of time is mathematically consistent and physically plausible.

That is to say, there can be earliest point in time without time having "to begin".

 

"2.1 Argument based on the impossibility of an actual infinite:..."

Infinities exist in mathematics, and mathematics is the abstract study of what is logically possible and noncontradictory.  Mathematics has also been shown to describe the real world exceptionally well.  Saying that actual infinities can't exist in the real world is mere special pleading.  There is no logical reason why they cannot - having actual infinities in the real world entails no contradiction.  Now one might argue that due to our own human limitations we can never prove the existence of an actual infinity in our world, if we found something potentially infinite we could never be sure it wasn't really finite - but that's a limitation on our condition, not a restriction on what our universe could be like.

 

"3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence."

Even if we disallow actual infinities in the world, and even if something has a definite beginning in time, there is still not any logical necessity for it to be caused.  Causation is merely an observed property of our world, and is related to conservation of mass and energy.  But it is still possible to imagine other worlds where causality is violated.  Even in our own world, it depends how deep we look...  pairs of virtual particles may simply pop into existence seemingly randomly and uncaused.

 

I want to ask you what the difference is between an existing thing and a nonexisting thing.    Does something about a nonexisting thing have to change before that thing can exist?

 

Now I want to introduce an alternative viewpoint that makes better sense of why there is something rather than nothing.

The idea is that infinitely many varied worlds exist in the realm of possibility, some are really similar to ours with just minor variations, and some are radically different from ours.  Philosophers, such as David Lewis, have found possible-world talk extremely useful in resolving other issues in philosophy - such as how counterfactual statements can have any real truth or falsity.  (The counterfactual question of "Would America still have slavery if the South had won the civil war" has an answer.  It is false if among the alternative ways the world could be that are as similar to ours as possible except that the war was won by their counterpart to our South, slavery has been abolished by now.)

The point I want to emphasize is that by merely having a possible way for an inhabited world to be - that is all that is necessary for intelligent inhabitants of that world to think that they exist.  In this view, "actuality" is understood as indexical term, meaning it's referent varies depending on the circumstances wherein it is used.  "Here" and "now" are also indexical terms, where I call here is not necessarily the same place you mean the next time you use the word "here".   We call things "actual" if they are part of the same world as us.  Things that exist in other worlds are not actual, but merely possible.  People in alternate worlds call their worldmates actual and consider many of the things in our world to be unactualized possibilities.

I also want to point out that these worlds are only transcendable by abstract ideals.   The realm of mathematical truths is shared among all worlds.  But anything that could be different than it is; which includes all living beings, places, and things; exists in only one world, although they have identical counterparts in other worlds.   It is debatable whether it is even possible for a god to exist.  (Impossible things are not part of any world.)   But if, just for the sake of argument, we grant that a god could exist, there are thus possible worlds were he does and other possible worlds where he doesn't; possible worlds where God is good and worlds where he is evil or insane; and worlds where he sends his only daughter rather than his only son.  Since the plurality of worlds exist solely out the logical necessity that there be many variations on ways things can be - beings can't transcend these worlds.  In a way, the plurality of worlds turns out to be more fundamental than any god could be.

For an in-depth philosophical defense of possible worlds theory, read "On the Plurality of Worlds" by David Lewis.

 


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Otishpote wrote:For an

Otishpote wrote:
For an in-depth philosophical defense of possible worlds theory, read "On the Plurality of Worlds" by David Lewis.

 

Could you please provide some indication that this 'theory' is, indeed, falsifiable? Thanks.


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Stosis wrote:Sorry, I made

Stosis wrote:
Sorry, I made the number one mistake of the internet and assumed that it was obvious that I was being sarcastic. I'm not to sure you'll find someone to debate. Most people like debates where the out come isn't already known.

 

That was an intellectually bankrupt response, Stosis. I'm not a big fan of Kalam, but simply dismissing it is adolescent.


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EXC

EXC wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

I'm not going to debate the argument in this thread. I'm just looking for takers. If you choose to debate me, of course, I will happily address your points.

What is there to debate? He's a summary of any debate:

You: Everything must have a creator. Therefore God created the universe.

Me: Then who created God?

You: God is timeless and does not require a creator.

Me: The universe is timeless and does not require a creator.

Everything else is you coming up with lame explainations as to why God can be creator-less but the universe can't. If you want a debate with anyone, you should first give a reasonable explaination of this position.

You're summary is predictably shallow.


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Jayhawker Soule wrote:EXC

Jayhawker Soule wrote:

EXC wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

I'm not going to debate the argument in this thread. I'm just looking for takers. If you choose to debate me, of course, I will happily address your points.

What is there to debate? He's a summary of any debate:

You: Everything must have a creator. Therefore God created the universe.

Me: Then who created God?

You: God is timeless and does not require a creator.

Me: The universe is timeless and does not require a creator.

Everything else is you coming up with lame explainations as to why God can be creator-less but the universe can't. If you want a debate with anyone, you should first give a reasonable explaination of this position.

You're summary is predictably shallow.

but pretty damned accurate.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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 Quote:You're summary is

 

Quote:
You're summary is predictably shallow.

And this in-depth refutation is thoroughly explained, well cited, perfectly sourced, and leaves no room for criticism.

Thanks for your comment.

 

EDIT:  Oh, and since we're being snarky with each other:  Try to remember your first English Composition class.  Remember how the teacher would make big red marks on your paper when you confused "you're" and "your"?  You've done it again.  "You're" is a contraction of "you are."  Your misuse of "you're" has demonstrated to us that you're not particularly good at details.  That being the case, your reputation here as a giant among critical thinkers has been somewhat tarnished.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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My 1000 words or less

"An actual infinite is a collection of things having a proper subset which has the same number of members as the original collection itself." ~from your source article.

This isn't entirely correct because "number of things" doesn't work with infinities.  What the article should say is that an actual infinite is a set having a proper subset which has the same cardinality (number-ish, but works with infinities) as the original set itself.

Accordingly I present the set Z, that is the set of all integers.  It fits this article's definition of actual infinite, thus demonstrating that such infinities are possible.  I also submit the position of a particle P as an actual infinite.  By virtue of the uncertainty principle, the position of P is by its nature "spread out" across some region, or length in the simplified 1D scenario.  Since any length contains an infinite number of points, we find that P is in a superposition of an actual infinite number of states.

Furthermore, the source's assertion that a set formed by successive addition cannot be infinite fails to consider the possibility of infinitely many successive additions.  This is the basis for proofs by induction.  By proving the base case and then proving that from any case we can add one more case, we demonstrate that via infinitely many successive additions of a single case the theorem holds for all cases, even though the number of cases is an actual infinity and we are essentially adding one case at a time.

The source also resolves the Tristram Shandy paradox poorly.  Rather than assert that Tristram's future is a potential infinity, the source asserts that future itself is a potential infinity, which is more than needs to be claimed to resolve the paradox.  In "turning the story around," the resolution would be that Tristram's past is a potential infinity, rather than that the past itself is a potential infinity.  The paradox lies in giving Tristram an infinite past, not in having past itself be infinite.

The source also makes a subtle error between minimum and infimum.  In support of premise 2, the argument basically goes from "there is a time zero" to "there is a beginning," which is just like saying "this set never drops below zero" thus "zero is the minimum."  The problem is that even if there is a time zero, a time than which nothing earlier exists, this does not mean that there is a first cause.  Time zero forms an infimum, which is not necessarily a minimum.  It is entirely possible (especially considering that distance is also tending towards zero as we wind back the clock) that as we approach time zero the length of time between an event and its cause decreases, allowing an infinite regress of causes to approach time zero asymptotically.  Thus, for any event, you can find an earlier cause, and there is no first cause or minimum despite the fact that no cause occurs before time zero, the infimum.

The source fails to explain why the oscillating model cannot work.

The source then asserts 4.11, which is a dichotomy that is not well-established.  The source assets that either the universe began from sufficient and necessary mechanical conditions, or it began from an intelligent free agent.  While I myself am unable to offer a third option, the argument does nothing to demonstrate that such a third option cannot exist.

The source's support of 4.11 demonstrates the difficulty in thinking about "before time."  The source assumes that if the universe were a result of sufficient and necessary mechanical conditions, then those conditions must have existed for all eternity.  However, the source has previously asserted that time itself begins with the universe, and thus there is no "all eternity" for these conditions.  These conditions could, conceivably, have existed timelessly, and the effect (the universe) started time off.  This avoids the apparent paradox of having the conditions wait around for eternity, because there is no eternity.  There is no time, so the conditions weren't "waiting" at all.

The source claims that its refutation of the mechanical first cause results in the necessity of a free agent first cause, without explaining how such a free agent could overcome the same difficulties presented to the mechanical cause.  It's conclusion is based on an un-demonstrated dichotomy.

"And then on the rest of the page it's fairly obvious how I deduce the remainder of these attributes..." is insufficient.  Since this occurs at the end of the document, it seems that "the rest of the page" is referring to the outline, the only other time such attributes are mentioned. 

While "timeless, spaceless, and imatteareal" do make some sense in the outline, the source merely assumes that creating the universe requires "power" (power is not defined.  The physics definition is energy per time, which being timeless and energyless (imatteareal) cannot apply to this supposed being.  What does the source mean by "power"?), while not supporting the claim.  The source seems to use the word power as a measure of capability, but the only apparent capability needed to create the universe is the capability to create the universe.  This says nothing of what the supposed cause might be capable of later.

The source also assumes "fine tuning" and attributes this to the supposed cause's intelligence.  However, this could be equally explained by saying that a stupid creator made many trillions of different universes, and got at least one right through mere chance.

Finally, the source concerns itself with demonstrating the existence of a first cause with supposed attributes, yet does nothing to demonstrate that such a cause continues to effect the universe.  This source essentially argues the deist position, rather than the theist position.  Contrary to its final claim, such a cause is NOT what most people mean by God.

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.


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EXC wrote:Everything else is

EXC wrote:

Everything else is you coming up with lame explainations as to why God can be creator-less but the universe can't. If you want a debate with anyone, you should first give a reasonable explaination of this position.

No, the materialist makes the logical flaw allowing natural to create natural, which violates your beloved science as it is currently known. A theist allows a supernatural factor which is more logical since it avoids your flaw.

 


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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
You're summary is predictably shallow.

And this in-depth refutation is thoroughly explained, well cited, perfectly sourced, and leaves no room for criticism.

He's still correct. The response from EXC was shallow and not thought out.


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OrdinaryClay

OrdinaryClay wrote:

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
You're summary is predictably shallow.

And this in-depth refutation is thoroughly explained, well cited, perfectly sourced, and leaves no room for criticism.

He's still correct. The response from EXC was shallow and not thought out.

If EXC didn't spend a lot of time thinking about the summary and it's still accurate (I notice that doesn't seem to be in dispute), what does that say about the original argument?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Zaq wrote: Accordingly I

Zaq wrote:

 

Accordingly I present the set Z, that is the set of all integers.  It fits this article's definition of actual infinite, thus demonstrating that such infinities are possible.  I also submit the position of a particle P as an actual infinite.  

An integer is not an actual item. It is a concept.

 

Quote:

By virtue of the uncertainty principle, the position of P is by its nature "spread out" across some region, or length in the simplified 1D scenario.  Since any length contains an infinite number of points, we find that P is in a superposition of an actual infinite number of states.

This is not an actual infinite since it is not an infinite number of particles else it would be infinitely energetic or massive. This is another example of a bounded potential infinity of states.

 

Quote:

The source fails to explain why the oscillating model cannot work.

Neither has any physicist. So you seem to be refuting via science fiction at this point.

 

Quote:

The source then asserts 4.11, which is a dichotomy that is not well-established.  The source assets that either the universe began from sufficient and necessary mechanical conditions, or it began from an intelligent free agent.  While I myself am unable to offer a third option, the argument does nothing to demonstrate that such a third option cannot exist.

You are refuting via the same argument YE creationists use. Despite the evidence something else could have happened. Very weak and illogical.

 

Quote:

The source claims that its refutation of the mechanical first cause results in the necessity of a free agent first cause, without explaining how such a free agent could overcome the same difficulties presented to the mechanical cause.  It's conclusion is based on an un-demonstrated dichotomy.

The dichotomy is definitionally  natural vs supernatural. The only burden is to overcome the known scientific problem of creation ex nihilo. 

 

 


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I got this

I got this far:

Presuppositionalist wrote:


2.The universe began to exist.
 

This hasn't been proven, so the argument fails already.


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Jayhawker Soule

Jayhawker Soule wrote:

Otishpote wrote:
For an in-depth philosophical defense of possible worlds theory, read "On the Plurality of Worlds" by David Lewis.

 

Could you please provide some indication that this 'theory' is, indeed, falsifiable? Thanks.

I don't see why you put theory in quotes.  In science, the term theory generally means the whole collection of ideas, investigative methods, past results, and further questions that are involved in forming one school of thought on one subject.   The Theory of Relativity, for example, isn't one statement that is either true is false - it is an extensive body of knowledge with multiple assumptions and multiple conclusions.  Two of its assumptions are the constancy of the speed of light in vacuum, and the equivalence of gravitational mass and inertial mass.  And the various mathematical methods people have later found for finding new solutions to Einstein's field equations are just as much part of the Theory of Relativity as the premises he started with.  One doesn't falsify scientific theories - one falsifies individual assumptions that may be shared by various theories, and much of the time, those theories can live on with minor revisions.

But, anyway, we were originally talking in the context of philosophical theory, not scientific theory.  Falsifiablity is generaly not a useful criteria for comparing philosophical theories against each other.  Karl Popper, who was a major proponent of falsifiability in science, often pointed out that his own philosophical theory (which he refered to as Realism) was not falsifiable - but he didn't consider that to be a problem for it.  Philosophical theories are compared, rather, by their scope of application, their ease of being taught and explained, their usefulness in resolving philosophical conundrums, their own internal consistency, and more often than not, just the general feeling of satisfaction that proponents get from them.

In the context of this thread, I introduced David Lewis' theory of modal realism just to show the original poster that there is at least one major alternative to the line of thought he was taking.  That is, I didn't want the original poster to be stuck on one line of thought from the mistaken belief that his was the only game going.   He has other choices to explore.

 


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OrdinaryClay wrote:An

OrdinaryClay wrote:

An integer is not an actual item. It is a concept.

Which is why I also provided a physical example

OrdinaryClay wrote:

This is not an actual infinite since it is not an infinite number of particles else it would be infinitely energetic or massive. This is another example of a bounded potential infinity of states.

Why must it be an infinite number of particles to be an actual infinity?  The source asserts that actual infinities do not exist in reality.  Nowhere in this assertion must the infinities be in relation to number of particles, mass, or energy.  The number of states is the actual infinite, and this has nothing to do with the number of particles.  Saying that it's not an actual infinite since it's not an infinite number of particles is completely missing the point.

You seem to mix up some words too.  You claim that it is an example of a bounded potential infinity of states, when it is closer to a bounded infinity of potential states, which is an actual infinity of potential, rather than a potential infinity of actual.  Yet this is ultimately moot because my argument is from superposition rather than Copenhagen.  That is, the states aren't just potential states.  The particle actually exists in all infinity of the states simultaneously.  So this is really a bounded infinity of actual states found in at least one consistent interpretation of QM, thus demonstrating that actual infinities are possible in reality (they are consistent with known physics).

OrdinaryClay wrote:

Neither has any physicist. So you seem to be refuting via science fiction at this point.

.

I assume you mean that physicists haven't yet demonstrated that the oscillating model could work?  Even so, this is beside the point, and would only mean that I am arguing from possible science not necessarily science fiction.  Unless one can demonstrate that the oscillating model can't work, it remains a possible objection to the source's claims.  The source asserts that the oscillating model doesn't work, yet it fails to explain or cite why.  Just saying "physicist haven't shown it can" does not demonstrate that it can't.

OrdinaryClay wrote:

You are refuting via the same argument YE creationists use. Despite the evidence something else could have happened. Very weak and illogical.

YE creationists?  No, the source is using their dichotomy argument.  I'm refuting via the same argument used in the Kitzmilner v Dover case.  Also, like in the Kitzmilner v Dover case I've offered no suggestion for a third possibility.  Rather, I point out that the source offers neither evidence nor reason to suppose that these are the only two options.

OrdinaryClay wrote:

The dichotomy is definitionally  natural vs supernatural. The only burden is to overcome the known scientific problem of creation ex nihilo. 

 

But the dichotomy used in the source isn't natural vs supernatural.  It's mechanical vs free agent.  We ourselves are natural free agents, and there's nothing in the definition of supernatural that requires supernatural objects to be free agents.  Also, I've just thought of a third option.  In addition to mechanical and free agent we could have random.

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.


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...Wait, wait. All that you

...Wait, wait.

All that you want, Presup, is somebody to poke holes in a centuries-old theistic argument? And then you'll try and plug them up?

 

Fuck, dude, sign me up. I'll 'debate' you. Uh, who's going to judge the debate, though? Or is this just a shits'n'giggles affair?

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"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Zaq wrote:OrdinaryClay

Zaq wrote:

OrdinaryClay wrote:

This is not an actual infinite since it is not an infinite number of particles else it would be infinitely energetic or massive. This is another example of a bounded potential infinity of states.

Why must it be an infinite number of particles to be an actual infinity?  The source asserts that actual infinities do not exist in reality.  Nowhere in this assertion must the infinities be in relation to number of particles, mass, or energy.  The number of states is the actual infinite, and this has nothing to do with the number of particles.  Saying that it's not an actual infinite since it's not an infinite number of particles is completely missing the point.

You seem to mix up some words too.  You claim that it is an example of a bounded potential infinity of states, when it is closer to a bounded infinity of potential states, which is an actual infinity of potential, rather than a potential infinity of actual.  Yet this is ultimately moot because my argument is from superposition rather than Copenhagen.  That is, the states aren't just potential states.  The particle actually exists in all infinity of the states simultaneously.  So this is really a bounded infinity of actual states found in at least one consistent interpretation of QM, thus demonstrating that actual infinities are possible in reality (they are consistent with known physics).

 

Because that is the definition of an actual infinity. Despite quantum uncertainty no physicist supposes we have an infinite amount of momentum in the universe. The reality is expressed when a measurement is taken. Your reliance on interpretation belies the weakness of your argument for an actual infinite. You should at least be able to come up with a thought experiment that produced a consistent and non-paradoxical case of actual infinity.

"We have already seen that the infinite is nowhere to be found in reality, no matter what experiences, observations, and knowledge are appealed to. Can though[t] about things be so much different from things? Can thinking processes be so unlike the actual process of things? In short, can thought be so far removed from reality? Rather is it not clear that, when we think that we have encountered the infinite in some real sense, we have merely been seduced into thinking so by the fact that we often encounter extremely large and extremely small dimensions in reality?"

-- David Hilbert, quoted in Understanding the Infinite by Shaughan Lavine.

 
Quote:

 

I assume you mean that physicists haven't yet demonstrated that the oscillating model could work?  Even so, this is beside the point, and would only mean that I am arguing from possible science not necessarily science fiction.  Unless one can demonstrate that the oscillating model can't work, it remains a possible objection to the source's claims.  The source asserts that the oscillating model doesn't work, yet it fails to explain or cite why.  Just saying "physicist haven't shown it can" does not demonstrate that it can't.

 

When arguing scientifically it is difficult to take serious this distinction. The scientific consensus is that the oscillating universe does not work. Just because there are some investigating it does not make it a basis for a scientific refutation. When denying a supernatural cause science can only bring to the argument existing science not potential science. 

 

 

Quote:

YE creationists?  No, the source is using their dichotomy argument.  I'm refuting via the same argument used in the Kitzmilner v Dover case.  Also, like in the Kitzmilner v Dover case I've offered no suggestion for a third possibility.  Rather, I point out that the source offers neither evidence nor reason to suppose that these are the only two options.

...

But the dichotomy used in the source isn't natural vs supernatural.  It's mechanical vs free agent.  We ourselves are natural free agents, and there's nothing in the definition of supernatural that requires supernatural objects to be free agents.  Also, I've just thought of a third option.  In addition to mechanical and free agent we could have random.

 

You mean Kitzmiller v. Dover.

You continue to restrict yourself with natural processes. 4.1 is embedded in the context of 4 which assumes the inherent dichotomy between a natural process and a super natural event. The argument is not that a physical free agent had any effect. Your random choice is not an additonal distinct possibility since any source of randomness in the uinverse is still governed by physics which is ultimately the mechanical conditions described in 4.11.

The argument that this causal supernatural state is a free agent follows from 4.28 and the teleological arguments for God. 

Once a supernatural creator is assumed randomness as a cause of fine tuning has no explanatory power since there is no falsifiable evidence for such a mechanism. We are ultimately seeking to explain a physical world. The evidence we have is that there is a strong suggestion that fine tuning has occurred. Even if you were to accept a random component in the occurrence of the constants of nature this still does not explain the intelligence indicated by a physics that is understandable, workable and describable via mathematics.

 

 


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So the argument only works

So the argument only works if you assume the existence of the being that the argument is trying to prove?


 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin