If you are a qualifying Theist who wishes to be part of this serious Atheism vs. Theism debate, please except. I wish for this to be a serious debate. If you cannot comply with my rules or commit to this debate, do not accept. Here are some rules:
1. Proper spelling and grammar must be used at all time.
2. All sources, if any, must be cited.
3. Take this debate seriously.Rounds:
Round 1: Acceptance only.
Round 2: Arguments only.
Round 3: First rebuttals
Round 4: Second rebuttals and conclusion.
I would now like to give some definitions as to what I will be refering to when I say 'Atheism' and 'Theism'.
Atheism: Disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings
Theism: belief in the existence of a god or gods (opposed to Atheism)
I look forward to this debate and hope to only debate someone who is serious about debating this topic.http://dictionary.reference.com...
I accept the challenge and its accompanying parameters.
The debate is Atheism vs Theism. We are equally burdened to convince the reader that one is more rational than the other. Neither of us is burdened to prove our position with 100% certainty. If, in the final analysis, the reader finds one side more rationally defensible, then that is the side the reader should vote for.
I respectfully request that voters vote responsibly in the areas of Conduct, Spelling & Grammar, and Sources. If you find we have failed any of these areas, please let us know why so we can improve our debating technique.
I will be defending Christian Theism, since I find it to be more defensible than other forms of theism. I will therefore offer my usual definition of God as described in the Westminster Confession of Faith :
There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.
God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.
In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.
I would like to begin by thanking my opponent for accepting this debate. As he seems like a highly experienced debater, it seems that this debate is becoming what I wanted it to be. I would also like to thank my opponent for giving a definition for 'God', the topic we will be debating.
In this debate, I will be arguing the side of Atheism, saying that there is no God and cannot be a God. My opponent will be arguing that there is in fact a God that created the universe and everything in it.
Reasons Against God's Existence
Here is a list of points I will cover in the duration of this debate:
1. Evolution disproves Creation
2. The Earth is more than 10,000 years old
3. Theism has lied
4. Theism is corrupt
5. Facts and data always disprove faith and philosophy
6. God is impossible
First of all, evolution simply disproves creation. Many Theists do not believe in evolution because "it is just a theory". This is not true. There is more than one definition for 'theory'. I will tell them to you now:
1. a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena
2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact
As you can see, Theists twist the facts into what they want it to be. They ignore the fact that there is more than one definition to the word 'theory'.
Next, I want to show that there is solid evidence to prove evolution. Evolution is a fact. We know more about evolution than we know about the human brain. We know without a doubt that evolution is a fact and I can prove it:
1. The fossil record shows extinct animals that are very close to its successor.
2. By looking at DNA, we can see that many animals are very close to others. These similarities are backed up by looking at the fossil record.
3. Certain structures in living animals that do not have any function but had function in previous creatures show that that particular animal evolved from another animal that used that structure.
4. We have proved natural selection in a lab. We have conducted experiments with bacteria and cells, and we have shown that natural selection does indeed occur.
I believe I have now proved that evolution is a fact that that the idea of Adam and Eve is simply a false accusation.
Next, I will move on to another aspect of Creation: Most Theists believe the world is less than 10,000 years old. Again, this is wrong and science tells us without a doubt that this is wrong. First of all, the Earth is 4.54 billion years old. We have proof of this because we have fossils that date back millions of years, and we have rocks that date back billions. Looking at the data, the world is approximately 4,540 million years of age. We have proved this countless times and one cannot simply deny this.
Furthermore, we are made up of mostly carbon atoms. Like evolution, we have proved this without a doubt. We also know that carbon atoms are only formed within stars. Looking at this, we can tell that generations of stars had to go by before Earth could form. This means the universe has been around longer than 10,000 years, as well as Earth. Thus, it disproves this quote:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light."
Because this debate is 'Atheism vs. Theism' and not simply 'Does God Exist?', I also have the burden of proof to talk about Theism.
Theism has lied. This is the truth that governs all religions. In the beginning, people could not explain what lightning was, so they said "A God must be responsible." Now, we know what actually causes lightning, and we no longer say "God did it." The need for a god has shrunk over time. Now, it is not needed, yet people still believe it. Here is what I believe to be the fundamental foundations of Atheism and Theism:
Theism: I don't know… A god did it.
Atheism: I don't know… Let's find out.
These rules govern those beliefs. It is a fact that religion relies on faith and a 2,000 year-old books. It is a fact that Atheism relies on data and factual evidence. It is also a fact that religion only accepts science when they can say, "We knew that all along." Religion has always taken newly proven facts and made it seem like they knew it all along, when in reality, they did not. Theism has always lied and continues to lie today.
Next in my debate against Theism, I would like to talk about why Theism is corrupt. Throughout the Old Testament, the Bible talked about rape, slavery, incest, and gender inequality in a positive way. In the Ten Commandments, God never says "All humans are equal", "You shall not rape", or anything that we, today, would think should be law. The Bible also states that not following the Ten Commandments results in death. Imagine the death penalty for a disobedient child. Imagine death for working on Sunday or being raised to believe in another god. To me, it sounds like there is something wrong with Theism.
Now, I will go back to disproving God. Facts and data always beat the religious point of view because religion simply does not use evidence. They use assertions, guesses, and delusions to find out how things work. They have never been right. The number of times a Theist's argument has beat an Atheist's argument is zero, however the percentage of time an Atheist's argument has beat a Theist's argument is 100%. Theism never wins, while Atheism always wins.
Finally, many great scientists have been able to show that God was not needed for the creation of the universe. Furthermore, God could not have existed before the Big Bang because time did not exist before the universe for him to create it. There was no space nor was there time. The universe's creation can indeed be explained, however, by M-Theory, the idea that states that the universe was able to come into existence without the need for a Creator. Because there was no time before the universe, God could not have existed, making the idea of a God impossible.
I have stated all the arguments I wish to state for now. I will wait for my opponent to write his arguments next. After that, it will be time for rebuttals. However, I want to talk about what is expected of my opponent in his arguments:
My opponent must prove that God exists. In his acceptance message, he stated that we do not have to prove for certain that a god does or does not exist, for that is a matter of opinion. Indeed it is a matter of opinion, but it is also a matter of facts. In my argument, I have made arguments against Creation and the existence of God that are irrefutable.
In adherence to the format structure defined in the first round, I will be putting forth only my argument for theism. Rebuttals will be in the next round.
Transcendental Argument for God's Existence (TAG)
TAG argues that God exists due to the impossibility of the contrary. Without God, it is impossible to know anything.
The Presuppositional Conflict of Worldviews
The existence of God is not proven in the same way you might prove the existence of other things. All evidential approaches start from a position of neutrality and then "follow the evidence" to its proper conclusion. The problem is that there is no neutrality. We all have assumptions about reality.
Infinite regression makes this apparent.  To convince someone of a truth claim, we use other truth claims, which themselves have to be justified, and so on. As finite beings we cannot justify every proposition forever. The point at which we stop the regression is the point we commit ourselves to some kind of truth we consider to be self-evident: a presupposition. The sum total of our presuppositions is called our worldview, which becomes the basis by which we interpret the whole of reality.
Worldviews are the lens through which all evidence is interpreted, and it does so with our without our permission. It determines what can or cannot be known. It establishes our basis for ethics and values. It even informs our scientific endeavors. We all have worldviews; we all operate on assumptions about reality. It is inevitable.
For the sake of discussion, I will be focusing on two antithetical worldviews which I will heretofore refer to as the atheistic worldview and the Christian worldview. In the event I use the term atheism, know that I am referring to the worldview that carries generally naturalistic presuppositions: e.g. the cosmos is all there is. I realize my opponent defined atheism as a disbelief in a supreme being, but such belief is grounded (as evidenced thus far) in a worldview that is predisposed to that belief. It is simply more convenient to refer to each worldview in a shorthand that is easily discernable.
That being said, I recognize that my opponent has not yet had an opportunity or forethought to state his particular worldview. I will defer to general naturalism for the interim, granting him latitude to offer any other competing worldview he deems appropriate.
TAG argues that atheism is an invalid worldview by failing to satisfy the three criteria that determine if a worldview is logically coherent:
- The worldview accounts for the necessary preconditions of human experience.
- The accounts do not contradict the worldview's presuppositions.
- The accounts are not abandoned when the worldview is lived out.
My opponent has already assumed the following in this debate: the law-like nature of logic, the uniformity of nature, moral duties, and freedom of thought. Thus far he has taken it for granted that these tools are reliable for rational discourse, but he can no longer take them for granted because I am now challenging him to provide an account for these things from within the atheistic worldview without breaking any three of the aforementioned criteria. If he cannot account for these things within an atheistic worldview, then he cannot reasonably claim that atheism is true.
It would be the very height of absurdity to defend a worldview that cannot account for the very things needed to prove it.
Laws of Logic
So what gives logic its law-like nature? First, a logical law does not need to be experienced in order to be true. We don't have to test the laws of logic in every conceivable time and place in the universe in order to accept their universality. Second, logical laws are abstract, not to be found as objects in nature. Third, logical laws aren't subject to change or revision.
Atheism cannot provide the necessary preconditions for the laws of logic, namely their universality, invariance, and immaterial nature without violating one of the criteria. To say the laws of logic are conventional, sociological, or material is to render them philosophically contingent, which is to say that the Law of Non-Contradiction, for example, could conceivably be untrue in some time, place, or world. But if logic can be untrue in some world, then my opponent can never truly validate anything logically, including his current thesis. In truth, my opponent expects me to adhere to logic, and in so doing he treats logical laws as abstract absolutes. This violates Criterion 3, for he will be abandoning atheistic presuppositions in the process. Atheists who account for logic as conventional will behave to the contrary.
If atheists do accept logic as abstract and absolute, then they contradict the fundamental presupposition of atheism: the cosmos is all there is, ever was, or ever will be. The cosmos is neither abstract nor absolute, so it alone cannot account for logic. Thus, we have an internal conflict within the worldview, and atheism does not meet Criterion 2.
God is immutable, immaterial, and universal, so he accounts for the preconditions of logic without contradicting Christian presuppositions. As a result, Christians can behave like logic is abstract and absolute without abandoning our presuppositions.
Uniformity of Nature
The necessary precondition for science is the uniformity in nature. On what basis does the atheist expect the future to behave like the past? 18th century philosopher David Hume argued that using past probabilities to answer the question involves circular reasoning since it would involve using the principle of induction to prove the principle of induction.  When it comes to the uniformity of nature, atheism fails on Criterion 1; they simply have no account, though that won't stop them from assuming it is uniform.
My opponent references scientific knowledge in his opening arguments, which I will address during the rebuttal rounds. Indeed, he goes so far as to generalize all Christians as unscientific and therefore untrustworthy in their claims. He clearly revers scientific knowledge, but he may not realize that every effort he makes to prove atheism undermines the very thing he uses to make his case. Evolution can only be said to be fact if indeed nature is uniform, but there is no rational case to be made within atheism that nature is in fact uniform. Any attempt will be circular reasoning, which amounts to asking the readers to accept his scientific evidence without basis.
The Christian worldview, on the other hand, has no problem accounting for the uniformity of nature. Christianity presupposes that a perfectly unchanging God created and now governs the cosmos, so we can be confident that the future will behave like the past.
The most common objections to Christianity involve an appeal to morality: the problem of evil and suffering, the problem of eternal punishment, the problem of unbelief, and so on. All of these arguments criticize Christianity on the basis that it is an immoral philosophy. Indeed, my opponent says quite directly that theism is corrupt.
Such arguments rely on morality being objective, but once again, atheism cannot account for abstract absolutes. Atheists will say morality is a social convention or a product of evolution, but either response is to render morality arbitrary. Atheists behave as though there are real moral absolutes when they engage in these kinds of arguments, but they cannot account for them, so again, atheism fails to meet Criterion 3.
In the Christian worldview, God is good and is the standard of goodness. He is unchanging and immaterial, so we have the necessary preconditions for abstract and absolute morality. Furthermore, when we behave as though morality is objective, we are operating wholly within our presuppositions.
Freedom in Thinking and Thought
In the atheistic worldview, there is no higher order; everything is governed by the laws of physics. If my opponent is right about his position in this debate, then he has no reason to believe he is right. All thinking is nothing more than electrochemical processes in the brain which are governed by the laws of chemistry and physics. Our thinking is therefore determined by the factors of the physical world around us. There is no real freedom to evaluate the evidence and "change our mind." Any such change of mind was already predetermined by the laws of nature. We are both predisposed to saying what we believe and the act of entering into debate is irrational and futile.
The very act of debating violates criterion 3. To presume that the mind is free to choose is to presume that our minds somehow transcend the laws of nature. The Christian worldview purports that we are more than physical in nature. The mind, being independent from the body, is free to choose. Christianity makes intelligible the very act of academic discourse.
Atheism is not merely problematic, it is utterly incoherent. It is a non-starter when it comes to accounting for the very things it uses in its own defense. Since atheism is impossible, the only alternative is theism. I have chosen Christian theism as my worldview, but what matters is this: if atheism is false, then theism in general is true and the God's existence is affirmed.
Bear in mind, TAG argues that only the Christian worldview can account for logic laws, the uniformity of nature, moral absolutes, and free rational thinking. If my opponent does not provide an account of these things within an atheistic worldview, then TAG stands unrefuted. If he claims that all these things are self-evident, then he is question begging and TAG stands unrefuted.
I look for to the next round of rebuttals. Thank you.
Again, I would like to begin by thanking my opponent for giving me his arguments towards Theism and the existence of God. He has given me plenty of arguments to refute, so I will start from the beginning.
My opponent begins by talking about how God cannot be proven the same way one might prove that carbon and iron are formed within start. This is true, for no evidence exists within the universe to prove or disprove it. However, when one looks at the probability and the amount of evidence towards God’s existence, they will see that it is slim and that there is no evidence. Who has seen this Creator? Why has He not shown himself?
This is a problem that Theists simply do not see. My opponent says that everyone perceives the world in a different way. This is true; however everyone should perceive the world by using facts, data, and evidence. Faith and guessing does not get very far. A thousand years ago, people guessed that Zeus created lightning. Now, however, we are aware of the fact that lightning simply comes from ionized particles in the air. We forgot the guess and used science to find the true answer. Data wins, faith loses.
Then, my opponent went on to create a list of things that prove that such a Creator created the universe, mankind, and everything else. Here is his list:
“the law-like nature of logic, the uniformity of nature, moral duties, and freedom of thought.”
This is interesting and I hoped my opponent would create a list such as this, for these points are points I wanted to discuss. I will start with the first point:
Nature of Logic:
Theists assume that because this universe runs using basic laws, there must be an intelligent Creator. They do, however, fail to realize that if there were no basic laws, there would be no universe. If there were no gravity, physics, etc., the universe would have been rendered nonexistent a long time ago. The multiverse theory says that more than one universe exists. If that is true, then there were plenty of big bangs and at least one universe had these basic laws.
The Uniformity of Nature
Uniformity is perceived. My opponent somewhat made this point when talking about worldviews, hence meaning that what I find nice may not be what my opponent finds nice. We think the world around us is beautiful, but an African Lion may not find the Rocky Mountains to be uniform. The fact of the matter is this: Uniformity is perceived differently by everyone and everything.
As I mentioned in my first argument, Theism does not teach morals. What truly drives morality is what is called the Amygdala. The amygdala is the portion of the brain responsible for emotions. What is written in the 2,000 year-old book known as the Bible has nothing to do with it. Furthermore, objective morality is relative. We find what Hitler and the Nazis did during the Holocaust to be immoral, but people fail to realize that the Nazis had “Gott Mit Uns”, which is translated as “God With Us”, inscribed on their belt buckles. The Nazis thought they were doing God’s work and thought they were being moral. Objective morality is relative and is different across everyone.
My opponent also says that “God is good”. Again, I proved this wrong in round 1 when I talked about the Ten Commandments and what the Bible looks upon in a positive way.
“Throughout the Old Testament, the Bible talked about rape, slavery, incest, and gender inequality in a positive way. In the Ten Commandments, God never says "All humans are equal", "You shall not rape", or anything that we, today, would think should be law. The Bible also states that not following the Ten Commandments results in death. Imagine the death penalty for a disobedient child. Imagine death for working on Sunday or being raised to believe in another god. To me, it sounds like there is something wrong with Theism”
As you can see, the Bible, Theism, and God do not teach morals.
Freedom of Thought
Finally, my opponent speaks of freedom of thought as proof for the existence of God. He says that if thought is governed by the laws of physics, it must not be real freedom. This, however, is not entirely correct. Studies are showing that neural processes within the brain function at a quantum level, not the physical level. Because of this, our brain processes are not predetermined, making Con’s argument about freedom of thought invalid.
In conclusion, I believe I have refuted all of my opponent’s arguments towards Theism and God, just like every other Atheist in history. As I have already stated, a Theist’s reasoning has never disproven an Atheist’s reasoning, simply because it cannot happen. Facts, evidence, data, and research always beat faith, guessing, and unfounded opinions.
I look forward to my opponent’s rebuttals and I hope to see how he can refute them. Thank you.
I thank jimccartney for his prompt response. While he is confident in his refutation, I am afraid he has refuted something other than TAG.
My opponent's rebuttals expose a critical misunderstanding of TAG. It is a transcendental argument, a type of inductive reasoning. It examines human experience and then determines the proper worldview that accounts for that experience. My opponent has misread my arguments to be deductive, as though I was proving God by merely pointing to human experience. I will do my level best to expose his errors.
The Presuppositional Conflict of Worldviews
My opponent does not seem understand what a worldview is. He explicitly interprets worldviews as "meaning that what I find nice may not be what my opponent finds nice." This is a gross misunderstanding.
I carefully defined a worldview as a set of one's presuppositions. I cited the epistemological problem of infinite regression to argue that everyone has presuppositions: unjustified beliefs about reality. Assumptions. My opponent never addressed this argument, which preceded all other arguments. It is foundational to understanding TAG. I'll say it again, we both have worldviews with conflicting presuppositions.
TAG focuses on determining which presuppositions are erroneous. Let's see if I can make this clearer as I respond to each of my opponent's rebuttals.
Laws of Logic
My opponent's rebuttal on this point is entirely off topic. I argued about the laws of logic and he responds by saying that there could be no universe if there were no laws of gravity, physics, etc. It's a good observation, I guess, but it doesn't even begin to address the challenge I set forth.
I argued that logic, which he is using in this debate, can only be accounted for using Christian presuppositions. Perhaps my opponent doesn't understand what I mean by account. What I mean to say is this: if atheism is true, how are the laws of logic universal and unchanging? How are they reliable for acquiring knowledge?
He hasn't accounted for the laws of logic in an atheistic worldview. Therefore, this premise remains wholly unrefuted.
Uniformity of Nature
My opponent again misreads my arguments. Worldviews are not simply what we think is nice and pretty. Worldviews are inevitable philosophical constructs that govern every human's thinking. Again, my opponent has not given an account for the uniformity of nature from an atheistic worldview framework.
"Objective morality is relative and is different across everyone."
If what my opponent says is true, then on what basis does he morally criticize the Nazis, the Old Testament, or anything for that matter? My opponent is a walking contradiction. This is a debate about the truth of atheism. It is quite bold to argue that atheism is objectively true based on the claims that "theism has lied" and "theism is corrupt," only to turn around in the very next round and claim that morality is just a personal opinion. This is intellectually indefensible. My opponent cannot have it both ways. If morality is relative, then he must abandon every moral argument he has made in his defense.
This exemplifies precisely what I meant when I said, "Atheists behave as though there are real moral absolutes when they engage in these kinds of arguments, but they cannot account for them." He acts as though morality carries objective weight in his own arguments but then treats morality as utterly arbitrary when rebutting mine. Atheism is unintelligible in this regard and ought to be rejected as a worldview.
Freedom in Thinking and Thought
This is the only time my opponent tries to give an atheistic account of something. He points to a hypothesis that brain function begins on the quantum level. That is interesting, isn't it? I wonder why quantum level thinking would cause this. Oh, my opponent doesn't say; he just says it works. You know, for all his willingness to criticize theists for putting God in the gaps, is sure is quick to put any old theory in the gaps. I guess a wizard makes it happen?
I suppose he wants me to do his job for him and point out that quantum fluctuations are themselves unpredictable. Unfortunately, this is just equivocation. The fact that quantum fluctuation has no apparent pattern does not mean there aren't fixed laws behind them. Even the author of my opponent's source points out that we can one day simulate the brain once we understand how to make quantum computers. Why would someone say such a thing if quantum physics is truly random?
It was a good try, but it doesn't account for free thinking. If quantum physics has no laws, then nature is not uniform and the appeal to quantum physics is meaningless. If quantum physics is governed by laws, then freedom in thinking is yet unaccounted for in atheism.
Rebuttals to Pro's Opening Arguments
My opponent's opening arguments are very much lacking in impact when it comes to proving atheism. Actually, they come across more as complaints against theists.
Evolution disproves Creation
While there are some theists in support of molecules-to-man evolution, I am not one of them. I agree with my opponent that evolution is incompatible with Christian theism. However, his "proof" of evolution suffers from some very heavy handed confirmation bias.
1. The fossil record does reveal similarities between ancient animals and their modern counterparts. The only fact here is that we see similarities. Similarity does not prove anything, and to claim it as proof for evolution alone is non sequitur.
2. DNA between animals also share similarity, but once again, similarity is not proof of anything. It is just as reasonable to claim that the similarity between organisms' DNA is evidence of an intelligent designer. Either way, this is non sequitur. We need more than similarity.
3. Animals with allegedly useless organs is, again, just that. There are so many reasons an organ might not have a function. One explanation is that our environment changes such that they are no longer useful. Or perhaps we don't yet understand its purpose. It is far too hasty to point to this as indisputable proof of evolution.
4. Natural selection does occur, but this does not prove that evolution is the origin of life. It only proves that certain variations within species will propagate over others given various environment factors. It is equally plausible that God designed such adaptability into his creation.
Remember, this is my rebuttal, not my proof for theism. I am not saying all these things prove God. In fact, I aim to show that neither of us can prove either position on these four facts. My opponent has made a mighty leap towards what he sees as a foregone conclusion. He will need much more than a Discovery TV article to make his case here.
The Earth is more than 10,000 years old
I have no problem with the fact that the earth is old. There are many theists that believe likewise. The Bible does not say the earth is 6,000 years old. It is only some people's interpretation of the Bible that say so. My opponent's argument here is just a complaint about young earth creationists.
Theism has lied
My opponent engages in pure conjecture about ancient knowledge. He offers no evidence to back up this claim. It is just another ad hominem prejudice he feels compelled to share.
Theism is corrupt
My opponent criticizes the Old Testament for condoning evil. Unfortunately, my opponent already stated that there is no objective morality, so his arguments here are just the ranting of one's moral opinion.
Of course, if we wants his moral argument to carry more weight, he can withdraw his claim that morality is relative, but then he would be in quite a pickle since there is no rational way to account for objective morality in an atheistic worldview.
Facts and data always disprove faith and philosophy
This is just a bizarre statement altogether. Facts and data are just that: facts and data. They don't prove or disprove anything other than the event they observed. Facts and data must always be interpreted. That's why one fact, such as the similarity in DNA between species, can be interpreted as evidence either of non-teleological evolution or intelligent design. My opponent severely begs the questions on this point.
God is impossible
He claims God is not possible because nothing could exist before the big bang. This is a straw man argument because I never once defined God as physical or bound by time. I am defending a theology that teaches God is a timeless spirit. Furthermore, my opponent has no warrant to claim he knows what is beyond the Big Bang singularity. Everything he listed is one of many competing theoretical models. No one knows for sure, and my opponent's claiming it as fact is another example of his conformational bias.
My opponent has no case for atheism beyond personal attacks and bare assertions. I'm glad he's so convinced, but his job is to convince others, not just say it is so. I do hope he is able to provide something more substantial in his final round.
He did not rebut TAG although he did rebut some other argument I never made. He is free, of course, to knock down straw men all day, but thus far he has fail to address some very serious allegations against atheism. I have challenged him to defend the atheistic worldview's right to employ logic, science, morality, and reason in debate. We have had no such defense on the first three and I feel his account for free thinking has been reasonably refuted.
With both merriment and aversion, I thank my opponent for giving me his rebuttals to both my arguments and my rebuttals. As this will be my final post for this debate, I will be sure to make my rebuttals long and complex.
I would, however, like to talk about what has occurred this debate that could result in a Pro vote by the voters. First of all, in his rebuttals, my opponent has directly denied evolution, when he said, "While there are some theists in support of molecules-to-man evolution, I am not one of them." Readers, I want to point out that evolution is a proven scientific fact. It had been studied and proven time and time again. It's repeatable. My opponent has denied these facts, even after I gave a genuinely viable list of proof. Unfortunately, I feel I must do this again, for my opponent has done what all theists do: Deny the proof so that it works with their beliefs, which is a point that I covered in my first argument.
How does my opponent disprove the 4 million year old remains of evolutionary ancestors to humans? Using DNA testing, we can prove with 99.9% certainty that these fossils are indeed ancestors to modern humans. Here is an improved list of why evolution is a proven fact:
1. Behavior is a genetic trait that is passed on from generation to generation. Our ape ancestors share many of the traits we have today, owing to the fact that modern hominids, such as chimpanzees, have the same traits.
2. Human fossils, which allow for DNA testing, give us solid proof.
3. Again, genetics is the foundation of proof, for it proves, with 99.9% certainty, that Homo sapiens have evolved over an extensive period of time.
4. Vestigial and homologous structures, are again, backed up by DNA
5. Protein sequencing is very similar across certain animals alive today
6. Natural selection is, again, proven. It works because certain genetic mutations occur. "Observed mutations have occurred by mobile introns, gene duplications, recombination, transpositions, retroviral insertions (horizontal gene transfer), base substitutions, base deletions, base insertions, and chromosomal rearrangements."
If my opponent - or any readers - would like to read a long, reputable essay regarding the proof of evolution, use this site: http://www.talkorigins.org...
The next point I wish to go over is what my opponent said in this quote: "I carefully defined a worldview as a set of one's presuppositions. I cited the epistemological problem of infinite regression to argue that everyone has presuppositions: unjustified beliefs about reality. Assumptions."
First of all, yes, everyone assumes things. However, assumptions are narrowly fact. They are not evidence, they are guesses - Educated guesses, maybe, but still guesses. What Atheists use when arguing is simply fact. That's it. Facts over guessing.
The next point I want to discuss is my opponent's argument by using TAG (Transcendental Argument for God's Existence). My opponent claims that God can exist outside of time because He's dimensionally transcendental, which means he can exist outside the realm of physical reality. This argument is all fine and dandy until you say "Wait. God coming into existence without a creator is just as logical as the universe coming into existence without a creator." Why would there be an extra step? There wouldn't. God simply does not exist. Even if a god did exist, he or she would not bother creating a universe. Why would they?
The answer I commonly get to this is this: "He was bored." I laugh at this, for an all-powerful being would not simply become bored. If my opponent has another reason for a god creating the universe, I would like to hear it. If not, then a god did not create the universe, proving my opponent incorrect.
Another point I would like to talk about is my opponent's question about logic: "if atheism is true, how are the laws of logic universal and unchanging? How are they reliable for acquiring knowledge?"
My opponent is asking why logic is universal and exists throughout the universe. I want to begin by saying that I did indeed misinterpret what my opponent said. I apologize for that, and will not do so in this round. By logic, I will assume my opponent is talking about the definitions that go as such:
1. the science that investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inference.
2. a particular method of reasoning or argumentation:
3. the system or principles of reasoning applicable to any branch of knowledge or study.
4. reason or sound judgment, as in utterances or actions
5. convincing forcefulness; inexorable truth or persuasiveness
This is what logic is and it is what I will be discussing. First of all, logic is what is used to describe fact. "Evolution is logical." Yes, it is logical. It is also a fact. "The tide goes in. The tide goes out." Yes, science tells us that the moon's gravity does this. Therefore, the tide is very logical. So to reword my opponent's question, he is asking the following: "If Atheism is true, how do facts remain the same? How are they reliable for acquiring logical facts?" The answer is simple: Logic and facts go together, and the basic fundamental laws of reality in the universe say that logic does not change, for facts to do not change.
"I have no problem with the fact that the earth is old. There are many theists that believe likewise."
Indeed. I thank my opponent for agreeing with the fact that the Earth is 4.54 billion years old and that the Universe is 13.798±0.037 billion years old.
"My opponent criticizes the Old Testament for condoning evil. Unfortunately, my opponent already stated that there is no objective morality, so his arguments here are just the ranting of one's moral opinion."
First of all, this is a debate. I am clearly stating my opinion on the objective morality of Theism, which is what one does in a debate: They argue their point. I am aware that morality is relative, for I was the one that said so. My opponent is also arguing his opinion.
"Facts and data are just that: facts and data. They don't prove or disprove anything other than the event they observed."
Actually, that is incorrect. Evolution is a proven scientific fact. It consists of facts and data which disprove Creationism. Evolution disproves Adam and Eve, which disproves original sin, which disproves most of the Bible. Facts can disprove things.
"My opponent engages in pure conjecture about ancient knowledge. He offers no evidence to back up this claim."
Ah, good. My opponent admits that most of Theism is "pure conjecture about ancient knowledge".
My opponent refuted my statement that "God is impossible," by saying that I cannot explain why the big bang occurred, so the logical explanation must be 'a god did it.' "Furthermore, my opponent has no warrant to claim he knows what is beyond the Big Bang singularity." No, I did not claim that. The truth is that I don't know. 'I don't know' is a perfectly reasonable answer, because it's the truth. I don't know what happened before the big bang… My opponent doesn't either. Nobody does. When my opponent says I am making unfounded opinions about God being impossible, he is doing the same. The truth is that neither of us can prove what happened before the big bang. The only thing I do differently is that I use science; I use research; I use data. My opponent is perfectly fine with sticking with "I don't know, God did it."
"I don't know, God did it" is not proof at all. It is a struggled attempt to rationalize what is not understood. My opponent mentioned the 'God of the Gaps', which I was happy about, for I wanted to explain this. First of all, God was invented by humanity to explain the unknown. At that time, the God of the Gaps was very large, because we could not explain things. Now, the God of the Gaps is very small and only exists outside the universe. We know how the universe works, so a god is simply not needed.
Though my opponent claims that I have not, I have indeed provided a strong, viable case for Atheism. Throughout this debate, I have shown twice that Evolution is a proven fact. I have refuted each argument he made. Again, I apologize for misinterpreting some of my opponent's arguments. It is a common mistake. My opponent seems knowledgeable about this topic and this debate may be a close win, however I want to say why the voters should lean to a Pro vote. I have provided the facts. My opponent has not. The Atheist's argument is never proven wrong my the Theist's argument and that is what I have proven in this debate. I have enjoyed this debate and wish to say one more thing: Vote Pro.
I want to thank my opponent for taking the time to enter into this discourse.
My opponent barely touched this argument, choosing only a couple objections.
The Presuppositional Conflict of Worldviews
My opponent contradicts himself. In a single paragraph he says:
"First of all, yes, everyone assumes things. . . . What Atheists use when arguing is simply fact. That's it. Facts over guessing."
It cannot be true that everyone assumes things yet atheist never assume things when arguing. My opponent keeps making the same error time and again. He thinks facts always speak toward one single inescapable proposition. That is simply false. Facts are facts, but they must be interpreted. It's the interpretation that is subject to our assumptions. Athiests do use facts. So do theists, as I have demonstrated. Yet, those facts are interpreted two different ways between us. That is because our presuppositions inevitably inform how we interpret those facts.
It boils down, once again, to my opponent being unable to accept that he is just as bias in his epistemology as I am. He has failed to refute this crucial premise of TAG.
Laws of Logic
My opponent engages in some serious equivocation on this point. He provides five different dictionary definitions for logic, none of which say "logic is what is used to describe a fact." He then employs this arbitrary redefinition to make his case. He makes logic and facts one and the same without warrant. There are facts about logic, to be sure, and we use logic to study facts. But the existence of facts do not account for logic.
I had clearly focused my premise on the laws of logic. Abstract, universal laws. The best my opponent can do is claim that "the basic fundamental laws of reality in the universe say that logic does not change, for facts to do not change." This is question begging. TAG issues a direct challenge to atheists: account for the things necessary for knowledge. One of those things is logic. If one cannot account for logic within atheism, then how can that person reasonably know atheism is true?
Uniformity of Nature
No rebuttal from Pro. I rest my case.
No rebuttal from Pro. I rest my case.
Freedom in Thinking and Thought
No rebuttal from Pro. I rest my case.
Rebuttals to Pro's Opening Arguments
My opponent's defense is unfortunately riddles with misrepresentations of my arguments and bare assertions.
Evolution disproves Creation
Once again my opponent claims that evolution is proven scientific fact. I'm happy for him; it is good to have conviction. However, this is a debate, and simply repeating the phrase ad nauseam is not proof. He says we can prove human ancestry. That is false. The fact is that ancient animals share similarities with human DNA. This is not proof of anything other than similarity. My opponent never addressed the glaring error on his part.
1. Now behavior is passed down? How? What does it mean?
2. Human DNA is solid proof how? What does it prove beyond an overlap of common gene sequences?
3. He repeats that genetics is proof of evolution. How?
4. More DNA supporting the fact that there are similarities found in organisms. So?
5. He even uses the word similar here. How do we leap from similar to undeniable proof?
6. Natural selection is proven. I never argued otherwise, but I also pointed out that natural selection is only proof of natural selection. How does one jump from natural selection to full blown evolution?
I formed the above objections as questions to make a point. My opponent is not really making a case for evolution here. He just says it's all proof and it's been proven time and time again. The problem is that there is no unanimity in even secular biology as to the veracity of evolution. His whole argument is bare assertion. To add insult to injury, he asks us to read another website for proof. For shame. I am supposed to be debating him, not talkorigins.
Theism has lied
I am flabbergasted at my opponent's response here. Please compare my sentence…
"My opponent engages in pure conjecture about ancient knowledge. He offers no evidence to back up this claim. It is just another ad hominem prejudice he feels compelled to share."
"Ah, good. My opponent admits that most of Theism is 'pure conjecture about ancient knowledge'."
I clearly accused him of pure conjecture about ancient knowledge. There is really nothing for me to refute here. All he did was severely twist my words.
Theism is corrupt
My opponent just further affirms my critique. He flat out says he's just stating his opinion. His opinion is not adequate for proof.
Facts and data always disprove faith and philosophy
I can hardly make sense of my opponent's rebuttal here. He says I am wrong about facts having multiple possible interpretations by simply asserting (for the umpteenth time) that Evolution is proven fact. He doesn't actually make an argument here. More ipse dixit.
God is impossible
TAG does not argue that God is outside of time, and I am amazed at such a wildly off base interpretation. In fact, I never offered proof of God being timeless: he is timeless by definition. A definition my opponent seemed to accept. Since he is defined as timeless, I simply pointed out that it was fallacious to say God couldn't exist before the beginning of the universe.
As for the quip about who created God, all I can say is that it doesn't matter. The debate is atheism vs. theism. Whether or not God was created has no bearing on this discussion. All that matters is his existence. I understand the point my opponent is making. If God has no creator, why can't the universe have no creator? One answer is that the universe is temporal and God is not. The more important reason is demonstrated in TAG: without God, we can't even account for the logic, science, and freedom of thought we use to even make such an assessment.
My opponent also agrees with me that neither of us can prove what is beyond the big bang, although he insists on smearing me with this idea that I am putting God in the gaps. I fail to see where I said at any point, "I don't know, God did it." I merely pointed out that God was timeless by definition so there is no problem with him creating time and space. Never did I say that God must have created universe because I'm just too ignorant to figure out otherwise.
My opponent has made a very weak case for atheism, one that has very little argumentative support behind it. Almost everything he stated was asserted without reasoning. In one case he pointed to a link for reading. Perhaps he is too new to this site to know that it is considered bad form to ask me to debate links, for it both allows him to circumvent the character limit and removes himself from the actual hard work of making his case. Whatever the reason, atheism has very little going for it based on his debating.
TAG stands unrefuted. Even if the readers do not personally find it a compelling argument, I do hope they recognize that my success in defending theism fare exceeds my opponent's success in defending atheism. On balance, I find it all too reasonable to vote Con.
Please vote responsibly. :)