The Instigator
Pitbull15
Pro (for)
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0 Points
The Contender
A341
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Atheists, what makes theism invalid to you?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/27/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 783 times Debate No: 44699
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

Pitbull15

Pro

So, I am a Christian and I'm new to this website, but not necessarily debating. I do not mean disrespect to anyone, but I am just curious as to what reasons different people do not believe theism is valid. I will be defending my position of a belief in God while you give your reasons why you don't believe. There will be 5 rounds, 72 hours for a rebuttal, and 2 week voting period.

Open to any atheist who wants to accept
A341

Con

Before I start my case I will need to make some clarifications.

Atheism is simply a rejection of god claims (a-theism, without god), it is not the assertion of anything.

Agnosticism means "without knowledge", as we don't possess 100% of the information we must be agnostic, really the only thing we know for certain is that we as individuals exist (I think therefore I am) we must be agnostic about everything else.

I (along with almost all atheists) am agnostic and also atheist (agnostic atheist). I reject god claims but do not assert that there is no god, personally, looking at the balance of probability I recon that a god (this could be replaced with bigfoot, loch ness monster, chupacabra, dragon, ect) doesn't exist and that is really the most I can say.

The core argument for atheism is absence of evidence is evidence of absence. This argument tends to get hammered and so I will have to explain with a less controversial example, there is no evidence for the existence of the loch ness monster and in the absence of evidence a negative is assumed. As a negative cannot be proven, in the absence of positive evidence a negative is assumed, this is the same with atheism, there is no evidence for god (that I have seen, I am interested with what you have to offer) and so a negative is assumed.

With theism there is the problem of looking for the evidence after making the conclusion, only recently have theists (with a few exceptions) actually tried to look for evidence of their religion being correct, but often these people only look for evidence which supports existing dogma.

There are obvious problems with organised religion, first why hasn't a single miracle been recorded by a reputable source (no offence but I really don't care about personal testimony, I get it from theists all the time) while almost all holy books are scattered with miracles. Another problem is that prayer has been consistently proven to have no effect despite claims to the contrary in all holy books I have read (bible, quoran, guru granth sahib, book of mormon and the pearl of great price).

Another problem is the shear amount of religions, even if a god was proven the followers of any religion wouldn't be any more justified in their belief as there are over 10,000 religions, whatever the truth the vast majority of the world is wrong.
Debate Round No. 1
Pitbull15

Pro

"There are obvious problems with organised religion, first why hasn't a single miracle been recorded by a reputable source (no offence but I really don't care about personal testimony, I get it from theists all the time) while almost all holy books are scattered with miracles. Another problem is that prayer has been consistently proven to have no effect despite claims to the contrary in all holy books I have read (bible, quoran, guru granth sahib, book of mormon and the pearl of great price).

Another problem is the shear amount of religions, even if a god was proven the followers of any religion wouldn't be any more justified in their belief as there are over 10,000 religions, whatever the truth the vast majority of the world is wrong."

Let me correct you there. The terms of the debate stated we were supposed to debate the existence of God, or a Higher Being that created us. The books you mention all point to a God, but they give Him different names and they have different prophecies. We are not here to debate which religion"s interpretation of God is correct, we are here to debate whether a God or a supernatural supreme force exists or not. To make my point clearer, let me give you the definition of God:
www.thefreedictionary.com/God
1. God
a. A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.
You may ask why I am using monotheistic religion as an example. I am referring to them because every polytheistic religion I know of tells of fantastic stories and creatures, which never existed nor happened. (e.g cyclops, Pegasus, etc) As you said, absence of evidence is evidence of absence. And in religion, when you encounter such flaws as this, the religion then loses all credibility. I know the Bible mentions unicorns 5 times, but let"s go slightly off-topic and look at the biblical definition of a unicorn, shall we?
A unicorn, back then, could have had a different meaning than what we have today. Let"s not forget that there undoubtedly have been animals found that possess only one horn. The Bible describes unicorns skipping like calves (Psalm 29:6), traveling like bullocks, and bleeding when they die (Isaiah 34:7). The presence of a very strong horn on this creature is intended to make readers think of strength. The closest example I can think of that would fit this description is the elasmotherium, an extinct rhinoceros with a massive horn on its 33-inch long skull. Looking at reconstructions (although they should be taken with a grain of salt, considering that a complete skeleton has not been found) this best matches the biblical definition of the unicorns mentioned. One must ask, where did we get the popular image for unicorns today? But even so, the reconstructions I've seen closely resemble these popular images of unicorns. You may think, "Well then maybe the creatures in Greek mythology existed, too. Thus, your argument in invalid." But at least the elasmotherium is a viable explanation for the mentioning of unicorns in the Bible. Tell me, has a fossil or any remote evidence of a winged horse been found? Or a snake-like creature with vipers for locks of hair? Or a giant with one eye? Or a snake with 6 heads? Absence of evidence is evidence of absence.
Okay, back on topic. In the books you mentioned, even from a secular perspective, many of the things, (coinage, cities, people etc.) mentioned have been indeed found. I will use the Bible as my example here. (I am aware of what I said earlier about not debating specific religions, mind you. I am simply giving evidence that religious text can hold water. Plus, many monotheistic religions today revolve around the Bible.) The Bible is considered by many, even the atheists I know, as a book of history. There is no doubt in any rational person's mind that Jesus Christ lived. Just like Mohammed and Joseph Smith lived. Every secular history book I've read throughout my life says these people lived. (Ironically, this is how I found religion.) It's just not everyone attaches any divinity to either of them.

"As a negative cannot be proven, in the absence of positive evidence a negative is assumed, this is the same with atheism, there is no evidence for god (that I have seen, I am interested with what you have to offer.)"

You provide a much better, more reasonable case here. But I will use evolution and creation as examples. Neither can be empirically proven, because no human has ever observed the Big Bang, macroevolution, and creation directly in action. We only have science and what we can find out in the past with it to go on. An explanation for the existence of God is to go back to the beginning of the universe and look at the first cells and DNA. Amazingly complex structures, aren't they? It's well known that the first cells were just blank media, and had yet no information or codes for which to generate. Since no intelligent life forms existed back then, how could information be generated? In evolution, it is well-documented that new information is generated regularly as the species change over the course of time. God could be a possible explanation. After all, the only other explanation is abiogenesis. And that has not yet been proven. (From what I know) Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Codes and information can only arise from intelligence, as documented in evolution. If there were no sentient beings alive during the beginning, how else could information have arisen? I have not found any direct, solid refutations of this possibility. For example, peruse the Religion and Spirituality section of Yahoo Answers. You will find this question asked multiple times and for answers, you will find nothing but flames, name-calling, etc. (Which is why it is not a good place to look for evidence, I was just using a public forum for an example.) without ever actually refuting the claim that information needs an intelligence to be initially generated.
Louis Pasteur demonstrated a long time ago that life cannot come from non-life. Abiogenesis is not even a theory yet. It is just a group of hypotheses that have yet to be proven. Many people seeking to refute what I just presented cite the Miller-Urey abiogenesis experiments as a direct contradiction.
http://www.chem.duke.edu...
Recently, however, a much better and more convincing version of the experiment was recently conducted.
http://dailyfreepress.com...
But both experiments beg the question: How do we know for sure what the conditions were like billions of years ago? How do we know for sure that the conditions of the earth were like the way they were described in these articles? We don"t. And that"s a huge reason abiogenesis is still regarded as unproven. It's one thing to simulate conditions for it, but it's another thing entirely to know whether or not that's the way it was back then. IMHO the best abiogenesis can do is say that a Creator is unnecessary for life. Thus leaving the only explanation: An intelligent being, most likely supernatural in nature, creating life. This is not another example of "Goddidit, lalalalalalalalala!" This is simply what I see as a viable explanation for life's origins. As far as the origins of the universe itself and the Big Bang, Stephen Hawking asserted, "Because there is such a law as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing." Maybe, But it's also likely that God created gravity, time, and space to make it all happen. True, God cannot be directly and empirically observed, but then again, neither can macroevolution. Instead, what we do is observe the marks and imprints evolution has left on earth by using science and logic and looking back in time; and many people believe in it because that alone provides a decent amount of evidence. I am using a similar logic with God.

With theism there is the problem of looking for the evidence after making the conclusion, only recently have theists (with a few exceptions) actually tried to look for evidence of their religion being correct, but often these people only look for evidence which supports existing dogma.

Another reasonable case, however, this doesn"t necessarily affect theism directly. It affects people desperate to prove God, and the public image of religion, but not theism. Religion and religious followers are totally different sometimes.
As always, rebuttals are welcome.
A341

Con

"1. God
a. A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions."

Allow me to demonstrate the logical contradictions here:

It is logically impossible for a being to be both omnipotent and omniscient. To be omnipotent a being must be able to do anything, but if a being is omniscient then it already knows what it will do and therefore omnipotence and omniscience are mutually exclusive.

Omnipotence is impossible, this can be shown by the question: can god create an object god cannot lift? If god cannot create that object then god isn"t omnipotent. If god can create that object god is also not omnipotent as there is something god cannot do.

Omniscient is also impossible, as I mentioned in the last round the only thing we can know is that we exist, therefore knowing anything apart from that you in some form exist is impossible (and this includes god).

I don"t really want to get into the unicorn debate but this is a depiction of a unicorn from around the area http://i239.photobucket.com... (It doesn"t look particularly like an elasmotherium).

"God could be a possible explanation."

This basically sums up your section on abiogenesis, also whatever the mechanism more or less everyone believes in abiogenesis (I don"t know what else you would call genesis chapter 2 verse 7). Ultimately this really is just an argument from ignorance, a gap in science is filled by god (despite your protestations to the contrary), 200 years ago it would been the diversity of life, a hundred years before that it would have been gravity, as science advances god retreats. Ultimately this does seem to be a case of making your mind up before looking at the evidence, there is no evidence that a god is at all involved in the origins of life. Notice I didn"t speculate on the true origins of life I just said that there was no reason to place a god in the origins of life.

You seem to have not produced any actual evidence for god and so I feel my point that absence of evidence is evidence of absence still stands.
Debate Round No. 2
Pitbull15

Pro

"1. God
a. A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions."

Allow me to demonstrate the logical contradictions here:

It is logically impossible for a being to be both omnipotent and omniscient. To be omnipotent a being must be able to do anything, but if a being is omniscient then it already knows what it will do and therefore omnipotence and omniscience are mutually exclusive."

Yes, God would know what He would do in advance before He did it or before it happened" Just like you would plan something before you set it in motion. We have just a tiny fraction of this omnipotence and omniscience if that"s what you would call it in terms of humanity. We can do almost anything we set our minds to, and then we make a plan to put it into action. Just because God knows everything that is going to happen, doesn"t necessarily mean that he causes it, though. Knowing what is to come does not have to equate to predestination. Otherwise our free will would be gone. Try to imagine for a minute you had your free will taken away and you were just programmed to do God"s will. Can you imagine such a life on Earth? Because I certainly can"t. So omnipotence and omniscience are not mutually exclusive. Let"s say you are parenting your children. In many instances you know what they are going to do, but you let them make their own mistakes and choose their own path. The only difference between you and God in this sense would be God knows everything that is going to happen. Neither of you would control someone else's destiny. Although God knows a person's ultimate fate, it was his decisions and his own free will that took him there.

"Omnipotence is impossible, this can be shown by the question: can god create an object god cannot lift? If god cannot create that object then god isn't omnipotent. If god can create that object god is also not omnipotent as there is something god cannot do."

Your argument fails in three ways:
1.)The question is logically contradictory in itself.
Omnipotence is to be able to do all things that are possible. An immovable object (An infinite sized rock.) and an irresistible force (God) cannot exist in the same universe without bringing about a logical contradiction. Such contradictions cannot even remotely fall under possibility. This is like asking if God or man could create a spherical triangle. Whatever involves such a contradiction cannot be within the scope of omnipotence, because it would not even remotely qualify for a possibility. But if you are asking if God could or would want to make something so absurd, the answer is no. You might as well be asking if God can create a married bachelor, too, or make two plus two equal six. What also does not make common sense is the creation of the weight and the lifting of the weight, which I will touch on later. Apparently, it is your reasoning and logic that makes theism invalid to you, so can you imagine these kinds of things existing? Omnipotence, as understood in theology, does not mean One can do anything. He can do anything possible. Creating contradictions like the ones mentioned above are impossible. The absurdity of these kinds of arguments is not difficult to see at all once they're put into perspective.
2.)You have made naturalistic assumptions about God.
How large exactly is this rock you speak of? It would have to be an infinite size in order to stop an infinite force from lifting it. Material objects, however, cannot be infinite, so an infinite rock is a contradiction in itself. If it were an infinite size, it wouldn"t even be heavy, since gravity would"ve been the only thing making it heavy. Do you really think that God would be bound to the physics of this earth if He wanted to do this? Theists believe God created everything, so would the laws of physics really out of His power to create? God can do anything that is humanly possible and beyond that. But if you are asking if God could or would want to make such an absurd contradiction or the logically impossible, the answer is no. You might as well be asking if God can create a married bachelor, too, or make two plus two equal six. Apparently, it is your reasoning and logic that makes theism invalid to you, so can you imagine these kinds of things existing? Omnipotence, as understood in theology, does not mean One can do anything. He can do anything possible . God is described as being able to do anything that is possible in both spiritual and physical terms, such as healing the sick and the blind, as the Bible tells Jesus did, but we have also found ways to cure disease and in some cases, blindness. So in case you wanted to point this out, miracles would not qualify for logical contradictions such as the ones mentioned earlier. You could attribute miracles to God, but certainly not this kind of nonsense.
3.)You have put constraints on God to fit your argument.
I don"t think God would have a physical body to use to "lift" an object in the way we humans do. God would not have hands as we define them, nor would he lift objects as we do. Questioning if God can create a weight he cannot lift is to put physical attributes and constraints on Him when he has no physical body whatsoever.
You have not demonstrated anything by your argument, unfortunately. All you have done is create an intellectually dishonest straw man and then knock it down.

"Omniscient is also impossible, as I mentioned in the last round the only thing we can know is that we exist, therefore knowing anything apart from that you in some form exist is impossible (and this includes god)."

To be honest, I have no idea how this line of reasoning is relevant with anything. Everyone knows already that omniscience is impossible for us. The philosophy you are referring to is known as solipsism, and there is no way it can be true. For one, what would happen if two solipsists met and discussed their beliefs? And this philosophy implies that we are in control of everything around us since everything is a figment of our imagination. If this is true, why don"t you just will for this website to make you the winner of this debate, and see how far you get doing that? Just the fact that we must work for everything and live with whatever we do totally contradicts the core idea behind solipsism. If a bull was charging towards you, would you stand there and will it away; or worse, let it come at you, secure in your knowledge it doesn"t exist? Or would you do the smart thing and run for your life? This may be an extreme example, but I am using it to highlight the pure nonsense of philosophies like this. Just the knowledge that people would even entertain such a thought depresses me. I am very much aware that atheism doesn"t necessarily lead to existential nihilism; however, philosophies like this do.

"I don't really want to get into the unicorn debate but this is a depiction of a unicorn from around the area http://i239.photobucket.com...... (It doesn't look particularly like an elasmotherium)."

I think what you mean is "era". And of course it doesn't look like one. If half the animals back then looked anything like how they were depicted in these kinds of drawings, we would have a very unusual animal kingdom indeed. And the existence of unicorns was not the point of my argument; I was saying that all polytheistic religions I know of contained creatures that never existed in real life, so I was eliminating these religions from the debate before they could be brought up.

" 'God could be a possible explanation.'

This basically sums up your section on abiogenesis, also whatever the mechanism more or less everyone believes in abiogenesis (I don"t know what else you would call genesis chapter 2 verse 7). Ultimately this really is just an argument from ignorance, a gap in science is filled by god (despite your protestations to the contrary)

You seem to have not produced any actual evidence for god and so I feel my point that absence of evidence is evidence of absence."

"A gap in science?" Did you not just say earlier that absence of evidence is evidence of absence and spend the first half of your argument making this point clear? Or does this only apply to religion all of a sudden? Even after comparing God to the Loch Ness Monster?
We've always known the diversity of life has been here, and we've always known that objects fall to the ground, but what's still being questioned and speculated on is the origins of life, since no man was there to watch it happen. There is no concrete evidence of abiogenesis that I know of, and abiogenesis is defined as singular cells arising from no previous form of life. I think God would count as life, by the way. And even if abiogenesis could be proven, there is still no way of knowing what the conditions were like back then. (Unless we discover time travel, which Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein demonstrated as impossible.)
Most importantly, you just contradicted your own logic by arguing that absence of evidence for God is evidence of His absence, but also saying that abiogenesis and/or the origins of life will be eventually proven for sure thus automatically ruling out God by default. Daring to say that life may have a divine origin is not an argument from ignorance. Rather, automatically assuming that God has no place in origins while staring at the gaping holes in various theories of it is a demonstration of your own ignorance to other possibilities and your own logic. You seem to be the one making up your mind before looking at the evidence. (Which is absent, by the way.) Like I said before and I will use this analogy once more, macroevolution cannot be empirically proven, but we know many parts of the theory are true because we looked back in time using science and saw the marks it left on the earth, and many people believe it is true. Can you offer any other explanation for origins?
A341

Con

Yes, God would know what He would do in advance before He did it or before it happened...it was his decisions and his own free will that took him there."

The thing is that if everything is already known then god lacks the power to change events and so does not have omnipotence.

"Your argument fails in three ways... All you have done is create an intellectually dishonest straw man and then knock it down."

I would like to start with an agreement, I did use the wrong word ("lift"), I should have used "effect".

"Omnipotence, as understood in theology, does not mean One can do anything. He can do anything possible. Creating contradictions like the ones mentioned above are impossible. The absurdity of these kinds of arguments is not difficult to see at all once they're put into perspective."

The very definition of omnipotence is "One having unlimited power or authority" [1], of course you can define something into existence but I do not care about these new definitions.

"Everyone knows already that omniscience is impossible for us. The philosophy you are referring to is known as solipsism, and there is no way it can be true."

Omniscience is impossible for any being a being cannot know that it knows everything. You go into a spiel about solipsism but that wasn't the point of my argument, my argument was that we can't know 100% for certain anything with one exception and this makes omniscience impossible even for a divine being.

""A gap in science?" Did you not just say earlier that absence of evidence is evidence of absence and spend the first half of your argument making this point clear? Or does this only apply to religion all of a sudden? Even after comparing God to the Loch Ness Monster?"

I don't really know what point you are trying to make. No of course this doesn't just apply to religion everything accepted as true must be supported by evidence to be supported, this is true both of god and the loch ness monster, that is the parallel between the two.

"There is no concrete evidence of abiogenesis that I know of, and abiogenesis is defined as singular cells arising from no previous form of life. I think God would count as life, by the way. And even if abiogenesis could be proven, there is still no way of knowing what the conditions were like back then."

In the same way there is no concrete evidence for abiogenesis there is no evidence for god, I do not make any assertions as to the beginning of life, I lack the scientific training to understand such high level discussion, you however are making assertions about the beginning of life, specifically placing a god in them.

"Daring to say that life may have a divine origin is not an argument from ignorance. Rather, automatically assuming that God has no place in origins while staring at the gaping holes in various theories of it is a demonstration of your own ignorance to other possibilities and your own logic. You seem to be the one making up your mind before looking at the evidence. (Which is absent, by the way.) Like I said before and I will use this analogy once more, macroevolution cannot be empirically proven, but we know many parts of the theory are true because we looked back in time using science and saw the marks it left on the earth, and many people believe it is true. Can you offer any other explanation for origins?"

You must understand that this is the exact same argument used by theists before the discovery of evolution by natural selection. As I have already said I make no assertions as to the origins of life I simply see no reason to place a god in them. Can I offer another explanation? First I'm not sure "god did it" counts as an explanation. I can run through various hypotheses as to how self replicating molecules if that is what you think counts as an explanation but of course I can give no definitive answer.

God can be placed in any gap in science, this is nothing more than a shameless attempt to cram god into what remains of our ignorance.

[1] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Pitbull15

Pro

"The thing is that if everything is already known then god lacks the power to change events and so does not have omnipotence."

God would have used His free will to see into the future and to perhaps plan everything, so an omnipotent being would not have to lack free will nor would He have to change events. I don't see how simply knowing all of the possible choices would hinder free will. But I know what else you may be thinking; that since God knows everything that"s going to happen we would not have free will. To make my point clearer, if someone jumps out of an airplane we"d know for sure that they are going to hit the ground. This does not hinder their ability to choose to deploy the parachute, flap their arms frantically or just do a swan dive.

"The very definition of omnipotence is "One having unlimited power or authority" [1], of course you can define something into existence but I do not care about these new definitions."

See, there"s the key word in the definition you"ve picked. Power.
Power, as you would define it in the same dictionary you got "omnipotence" out of, relates to the same kind of power you would find in dynamite, or in the rate of which work is done in physics, or the ability to perform effectively. There is nothing effective about creating a spherical triangle. Power and authority wouldn"t really have anything to do with creating the same logical contradictions as mentioned in the last round; Power to create the Big Bang, and to guide the process of evolution, yes. (Not that I fully accept evolution yet beyond a reasonable doubt. I am still researching everything I can about it.) But the power to create contradictions or impossible paradoxes, no.
"Omniscience is impossible for any being a being cannot know that it knows everything. You go into a spiel about solipsism but that wasn't the point of my argument, my argument was that we can't know 100% for certain anything with one exception and this makes omniscience impossible even for a divine being."

You said it yourself: "I think, therefore I am." While saying we cannot be sure everything around us is real. That is the very definition of solipsism: Not being sure anything can exist but your own psyche and consciousness. But, once again, you place naturalistic assumptions and constraints on God. I already explained in detail how solipsism cannot be possible, so if it is impossible for you, God would probably not be solipsistic either. So omniscience would not be impossible for a divine being who would most likely possess more knowledge than we do.

"I don't really know what point you are trying to make. No of course this doesn't just apply to religion everything accepted as true must be supported by evidence to be supported, this is true both of god and the loch ness monster, that is the parallel between the two."

The point I am trying to make is that you contradicted yourself by saying that absence of evidence for God is evidence of His absence, but saying the origins of life will be proven for sure by secular means thus automatically ruling out God. And there really isn"t a huge parallel between the two IMO. There"s always a chance the Loch Ness Monster could be captured and studied. With God, you wouldn"t be able to put Him in a box and study him. This may sound like ad ignorantiam, but honestly, with God"s supposed attributes, I don"t believe he would be able to be studied in the sense you may be thinking of. And as far as ignorance of science of origins goes, there is nothing to ignore, really. Abiogenesis will never be proven, nor will the origins of life as you know it. Because after all the work is done in the laboratory and cells arise from abiogenesis in simulated environments, there is no denying that there is and always will be an uncertainty of the universe"s conditions back then; Which brings me to my next point.

"In the same way there is no concrete evidence for abiogenesis there is no evidence for god, I do not make any assertions as to the beginning of life, I lack the scientific training to understand such high level discussion, you however are making assertions about the beginning of life, specifically placing a god in them."
If you are going to get into a serious theological discussion, you are going to need to educate yourself as much as you can in these kinds of sciences. Perhaps that"s why I can make these sort of assertions about the beginning of life; because I have educated myself in this area. You can"t empirically prove God"s existence, but the more I looked into this science and learned, the more I realized that a Creator could fit perfectly into the beginning and I daresay, be necessary. You could use Google to educate yourself, though, as long as you go to websites that explain these theories frankly. I"m sure you can at least gain a basic understanding. If you are going to get in a religious debate, you need to take a stand somewhere on every topic that it involves, and that includes origins.

"You must understand that this is the exact same argument used by theists before the discovery of evolution by natural selection. As I have already said I make no assertions as to the origins of life I simply see no reason to place a god in them. Can I offer another explanation? First I'm not sure "god did it" counts as an explanation. I can run through various hypotheses as to how self replicating molecules if that is what you think counts as an explanation but of course I can give no definitive answer."

No one even questioned the literal account of genesis before Darwin came along. And contrary to popular belief, this is not the exact same argument used by theists back then. Have you read his book? From what I gathered, despite the title, evolution by natural selection has nothing to do with origins; It only offers an explanation for the diversity of life. And Darwin"s knowledge of this science, although he invented it, was fairly limited by today"s standards and he admitted it.
And yes, I actually am very interested in the hypotheses you have to offer. I"m sure you have something worth listening to.

"God can be placed in any gap in science, this is nothing more than a shameless attempt to cram god into what remains of our ignorance."
God can"t just be placed in any gap in science, because we"ve always striven as humans to find any explanation for the phenomena on this earth and beyond. What cannot and probably never will be proven empirically, though, is the origin of the cosmos and everything that inhabits it. I really don"t need to "shamelessly" cram God into anything if God already offers a viable explanation for origins. I know it may sound like another "God of the Gaps" fallacy, but take a closer look at it; I"m not even offering scientific evidence for God, since He cannot be directly observed and proven. I see it this way:
The universe began to exist.
Whatever began to exist has a cause.
Therefore, the universe has a cause and a beginning.

Just those three lines reflect that there had to be some sort of a beginning. Many people agree that the universe had a cause. To say that there is no God, however, or no initial intelligence to create and generate information to would have to imply that the universe didn"t have a beginning; Or that the cosmos was the uncaused first cause and is infinite. However, this doesn"t really work. In order to have an uncaused first cause, the cosmos, which contains space and time as we know it, would"ve had to exist outside of and before, time and space itself to cause the Big Bang. This constitutes an paradox in which the cosmos, with no intelligence of its own and containing what we know as time, had to have existed outside of time and space itself in order to create itself out of an extremely dense cosmological singularity while containing all time. (My argument, I suppose, is a form of modus tollens.) This would lead to the conclusion for me that the first cause of the universe as William Lane Craig put it is a "personal, uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, enormously powerful, and enormously intelligent being." And an infinite cannot have a beginning. Something had to create that cosmological singularity, as it was not infinite. Some have argued, "Well, this argument fails to account for a mechanism God could use for creation." My answer: Perhaps the Big Bang? Or maybe God"s power as I explained it earlier? The Big Bang is a possibility. It is my belief that a reasonable case for a Creator could be made this way. We can't see or "prove" gravity in the empirical sense since it is a law, but we know it's true because everything points to it happening.
A341

Con

"God would have used His free will to see into the future and to perhaps plan everything, so an omnipotent being would not have to lack free will nor would He have to change events. I don't see how simply knowing all of the possible choices would hinder free will. But I know what else you may be thinking; that since God knows everything that"s going to happen we would not have free will. To make my point clearer, if someone jumps out of an airplane we"d know for sure that they are going to hit the ground. This does not hinder their ability to choose to deploy the parachute, flap their arms frantically or just do a swan dive."

For the last time If god lacks the power to change the "plan" the god doesn't have omnipotence and if god has the power to change the "plan" the god has no omniscience.

"You said it yourself: "I think, therefore I am." While saying we cannot be sure everything around us is real. That is the very definition of solipsism: Not being sure anything can exist but your own psyche and consciousness. But, once again, you place naturalistic assumptions and constraints on God. I already explained in detail how solipsism cannot be possible, so if it is impossible for you, God would probably not be solipsistic either. So omniscience would not be impossible for a divine being who would most likely possess more knowledge than we do."

There is something called the three basal assumptions:

1. Absolute knowledge exists.
2. Models with predictive capability are more effective than models with descriptive capability.
3. We are perceiving the real universe through our senses.

We all make these assumptions but the only thing we can know is that we exist. There is no way to get around this and therefore omniscience is impossible.

"The point I am trying to make is that you contradicted yourself by saying that absence of evidence for God is evidence of His absence, but saying the origins of life will be proven for sure by secular means thus automatically ruling out God. And there really isn"t a huge parallel between the two IMO. There"s always a chance the Loch Ness Monster could be captured and studied. With God, you wouldn"t be able to put Him in a box and study him. This may sound like ad ignorantiam, but honestly, with God"s supposed attributes, I don"t believe he would be able to be studied in the sense you may be thinking of. And as far as ignorance of science of origins goes, there is nothing to ignore, really. Abiogenesis will never be proven, nor will the origins of life as you know it. Because after all the work is done in the laboratory and cells arise from abiogenesis in simulated environments, there is no denying that there is and always will be an uncertainty of the universe"s conditions back then; Which brings me to my next point."

I don't really know what you are trying to say here. Are you saying that we should automatically assume a god exists because the existence of one hasn't been proven? I could say that unicorns created life and therefore we should assume unicorns exist, without actual evidence we must assume a negative, this works both in the case of god and abiogenesis (and also my example of life creating unicorns).

"No one even questioned the literal account of genesis before Darwin came along. And contrary to popular belief, this is not the exact same argument used by theists back then. Have you read his book? From what I gathered, despite the title, evolution by natural selection has nothing to do with origins; It only offers an explanation for the diversity of life. And Darwin"s knowledge of this science, although he invented it, was fairly limited by today"s standards and he admitted it."

I was trying to make the point (for instance Isaac Newton[1]) that people used the diversity of life as evidence for god in a similar way that you are attempting to place a god in the origins of life. And yes you are correct evolution has nothing to do with the origins of life that wasn't the point I was making.

"And yes, I actually am very interested in the hypotheses you have to offer. I"m sure you have something worth listening to."

Thank you, I will try to run through a few basic hypotheses (I should stress that I do not accept any of these).

The abiogenic hypotheses normally simply referred to as abiogenesis is the idea that there is a chemical reaction or set of chemical reactions that lead to the creation of RNA or DNA (normally RNA).

Another hypothesis (I'm not actually sure this is a hypothesis as I can't work out how this could be tested) is that that the first self replicating molecules arose just by chance in a fantastically impossible event. Such an event occurring on a single planet would be thought impossible but the chances it could occur somewhere in the universe of countless planets are reasonable.

Another hypothesis is that aliens created life on this planet (don't ask me where the aliens came from, I'm just the messenger here). This hypothesis is very unpopular for obvious reasons but I mention it anyway to make a point about the reliability of the god hypothesis, we don't assume god exists because of the existence of life just as we don't simply assume aliens exist because of the existence of life.

"The universe began to exist.
Whatever began to exist has a cause.
Therefore, the universe has a cause and a beginning.

Just those three lines reflect that there had to be some sort of a beginning. Many people agree that the universe had a cause. To say that there is no God, however, or no initial intelligence to create and generate information to would have to imply that the universe didn"t have a beginning; Or that the cosmos was the uncaused first cause and is infinite. However, this doesn"t really work. In order to have an uncaused first cause, the cosmos, which contains space and time as we know it, would"ve had to exist outside of and before, time and space itself to cause the Big Bang. This constitutes an paradox in which the cosmos, with no intelligence of its own and containing what we know as time, had to have existed outside of time and space itself in order to create itself out of an extremely dense cosmological singularity while containing all time. (My argument, I suppose, is a form of modus tollens.) This would lead to the conclusion for me that the first cause of the universe as William Lane Craig put it is a "personal, uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, enormously powerful, and enormously intelligent being." And an infinite cannot have a beginning. Something had to create that cosmological singularity, as it was not infinite. Some have argued, "Well, this argument fails to account for a mechanism God could use for creation." My answer: Perhaps the Big Bang? Or maybe God"s power as I explained it earlier? The Big Bang is a possibility. It is my belief that a reasonable case for a Creator could be made this way. We can't see or "prove" gravity in the empirical sense since it is a law, but we know it's true because everything points to it happening."

This essentially a kalam cosmological argument.

First I would like to say that the idea of a "personal, uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, enormously powerful, and enormously intelligent being." violates the second law of thermodynamics "the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems spontaneously evolve toward thermodynamic equilibrium"the state of maximum entropy." [2] to put it simply a closed system devolves into chaos.

This assumes that there was a beginning to the universe, from our current understanding of the universe time does not seem to apply before the "big bang" [3]. This kind of destroys the first premise of the kalam.

We don't know the first cause of the universe but we shouldn't place a god in them in a similar way that we shouldn't place a god in the origins of life. This idea that information needs an intelligent agent is patently absurd, first this is an attempt to brand basically anything as information I think here you will probably latch onto the physical constants. These are descriptions of the universe's character not actual laws similar to how DNA is not a language, the language is just a way of simplifying complex chemical reactions. I would also say that the information that is "created" when a mutation occurs doesn't come from an intelligence.

[1] http://www.goodreads.com...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.hawking.org.uk...
Debate Round No. 4
Pitbull15

Pro

"For the last time If god lacks the power to change the "plan" the god doesn't have omnipotence and if god has the power to change the "plan" the god has no omniscience."

And for the last time I will explain to you how this wouldn"t be a good line of reasoning to logically disprove God. He would not have to change his plan if he were omniscient, and there is more to free will than just being able to change "plans."

" There is something called the three basal assumptions:

1. Absolute knowledge exists.
2. Models with predictive capability are more effective than models with descriptive capability.
3. We are perceiving the real universe through our senses.

We all make these assumptions but the only thing we can know is that we exist. There is no way to get around this and therefore omniscience is impossible."

I would like to begin with an apology: in the first round, it sounded like you were saying that since we cannot know everything around us exists, that would include that we can"t know if God exists. However, in round two you clarified it further and I understood what you really meant. However, correct me if I am wrong, but are you saying that if omniscience is impossible for us, it would be impossible for a divine creator? And are you using these just as a basis to disprove omniscience? If you are, I actually can find a way around this. Again, you are referring to solipsism by saying we as individuals cannot know anything for sure except that we exist. I already explained how solipsism is impossible for us, so it wouldn"t be impossible for a divine being that would surely possess more knowledge than we do. But again, you seem to be placing human constraints on God.

"I don't really know what you are trying to say here. Are you saying that we should automatically assume a god exists because the existence of one hasn't been proven? I could say that unicorns created life and therefore we should assume unicorns exist, without actual evidence we must assume a negative, this works both in the case of god and abiogenesis (and also my example of life creating unicorns)."

Except unicorns aren"t said to have the same attributes that God would have, and I am also talking about the creation of the whole universe, not just life itself. God is said to have used His power to create the known universe; I"ve never heard any stories of unicorns possessing this kind of power, or any religious texts,(which would be what we as humans have had to go on for thousands of years until we discovered science, and applied it to test the viability of these stories of origins.) and the unicorns would have to exist outside of time in order to create time and space. This would not really be a fallacy, since there really aren't any stories of life creating unicorns.

"I was trying to make the point (for instance Isaac Newton[1]) that people used the diversity of life as evidence for god in a similar way that you are attempting to place a god in the origins of life. And yes you are correct evolution has nothing to do with the origins of life that wasn't the point I was making."

And I did get your point, but we know that life in its present form is capable of evolving to its surroundings and God doesn"t need to guide the process of macroevolution. What we don"t know empirically is the origins of the universe, which is ultimately what I"m talking about.

"Thank you, I will try to run through a few basic hypotheses (I should stress that I do not accept any of these).
The abiogenic hypotheses normally simply referred to as abiogenesis is the idea that there is a chemical reaction or set of chemical reactions that lead to the creation of RNA or DNA (normally RNA).
Another hypothesis (I'm not actually sure this is a hypothesis as I can't work out how this could be tested) is that that the first self replicating molecules arose just by chance in a fantastically impossible event. Such an event occurring on a single planet would be thought impossible but the chances it could occur somewhere in the universe of countless planets are reasonable."

Actually, the way you put it sounds like this hypothesis and the first one are the same thing or at least go hand in hand. (Unless I"m mistaken.) But from what I"ve seen, this is actually the most widely accepted theory by the secular community.

"Another hypothesis is that aliens created life on this planet (don't ask me where the aliens came from, I'm just the messenger here). This hypothesis is very unpopular for obvious reasons but I mention it anyway to make a point about the reliability of the god hypothesis, we don't assume god exists because of the existence of life just as we don't simply assume aliens exist because of the existence of life."

Again, I am not only speaking of the origins of life, but of the universe itself. And the aliens, since they would probably be forms of biological life considering they lived in the universe, would not exist outside of time and therefore have not created the universe as God could have. I know you do not accept this theory, but whoever proposes this seriously would slip into their own trap and would then have to answer the question, "Who created the aliens?" (Again, I am not asking you where they came from.) And I am not assuming God exist because of the existence of just life itself, by the way; I am saying that by the universe"s existence and that it had a beginning and a first cause, one could suppose that an outside agency could be responsible.

"This essentially a kalam cosmological argument. First I would like to say that the idea of a "personal, uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, enormously powerful, and enormously intelligent being." violates the second law of thermodynamics "the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems spontaneously evolve toward thermodynamic equilibrium"the state of maximum entropy." [2] to put it simply a closed system devolves into chaos."

You"re correct; it is a kalam cosmological argument. The second law of thermodynamics mentions an isolated system evolving toward thermodynamic equilibrium or staying the same. I believe, with my current understanding, that such a system would have to exist within the known universe and space and time itself. Correct me if I am wrong, but are you saying that God would violate the second law of thermodynamics even if He did not exist in space itself?

"This assumes that there was a beginning to the universe, from our current understanding of the universe time does not seem to apply before the "big bang" [3]. This kind of destroys the first premise of the kalam."
Actually, the first premise of the kalam is that time didn"t exist before the universe, and therefore the universe is not infinite in that sense and had a first cause; I didn"t say that I totally accepted the big bang as a mechanism yet, I was just saying that many people have argued against this saying that the kalam fails to account for a mechanism and I was just getting that out of the way by saying that it can account for one. Evidence shows the universe is expanding at a rapid rate; so if we trace it back, the conclusion we come to is that the universe was once an extremely dense cosmological singularity. Whether it exploded all of a sudden or just slowly expanded, I don"t know. But we do know that it was once a singularity, containing all time and space as we know it, considered to be the beginning of the universe, and then expanded in some particular fashion. I believe that a beginning must have a cause, and in this case, an outside agency.

"We don't know the first cause of the universe but we shouldn't place a god in them in a similar way that we shouldn't place a god in the origins of life. This idea that information needs an intelligent agent is patently absurd, first this is an attempt to brand basically anything as information I think here you will probably latch onto the physical constants. These are descriptions of the universe's character not actual laws similar to how DNA is not a language, the language is just a way of simplifying complex chemical reactions. I would also say that the information that is "created" when a mutation occurs doesn't come from an intelligence."

Information is defined as a code, which seems to me can only be initially generated by some form of intelligence, after that one little bit of code is generated, the rest could probably take care of itself as it continues to generate independently. And yes, you are absolutely right; the information that comes from a mutation (I am assuming you"re talking about biological mutations [i.e. evolution.]) doesn"t need an outside intelligence to cause it. However, I believe it would need an outside agent to initially generate it, and I don"t believe I need to explain my ideas about the beginning of the universe anymore as I"m sure you"ve got the general idea by now. What I am trying to get across to you is that a case for an outside agency could be made through indirect observation.

And I apologize for any contention this debate may have caused between us. I did not intend to call you ignorant earlier; I just thought you had demonstrated ignorance. And, for the record, science and God do not have to be separate; As John Lennox put it: "Trying to choose between God and science as to explain the origin of the universe is like trying to choose between Henry Ford and mechanical engineering as to explain the Model T."
Thank you for being my antagonist this week, I hope this debate has prepared us to be better debaters in the future.
A341

Con

And for the last time I will explain to you how this wouldn"t be a good line of reasoning to logically disprove God. He would not have to change his plan if he were omniscient, and there is more to free will than just being able to change "plans.""

I'm sorry but this is by definition contradictory to free will "the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion.", which is a requirement for true omnipotence.

"However, correct me if I am wrong, but are you saying that if omniscience is impossible for us, it would be impossible for a divine creator? And are you using these just as a basis to disprove omniscience? If you are, I actually can find a way around this. Again, you are referring to solipsism by saying we as individuals cannot know anything for sure except that we exist. I already explained how solipsism is impossible for us, so it wouldn"t be impossible for a divine being that would surely possess more knowledge than we do. But again, you seem to be placing human constraints on God."

Yes, there is no way that any being, (even a divine one) could poses true knowledge, it doesn't mean that they wouldn't have vast amounts of information about the nature of reality, it just means that they would have to make the three basil assumptions that I mentioned last time.

"Actually, the way you put it sounds like this hypothesis and the first one are the same thing or at least go hand in hand. (Unless I"m mistaken.) But from what I"ve seen, this is actually the most widely accepted theory by the secular community."

This is semantics but it is a hypothesis not a theory.

"You"re correct; it is a kalam cosmological argument. The second law of thermodynamics mentions an isolated system evolving toward thermodynamic equilibrium or staying the same. I believe, with my current understanding, that such a system would have to exist within the known universe and space and time itself. Correct me if I am wrong, but are you saying that God would violate the second law of thermodynamics even if He did not exist in space itself?"

On a fundamental level an isolated system like god cannot be unchanging as it violates the second law of thermodynamics. I don't get why you think basic laws of reality don't apply to god, this has other interesting implications for god and almost make logical argument for or against the existence of a deity impossible and therefore the negative is assumed.

"Information is defined as a code, which seems to me can only be initially generated by some form of intelligence, after that one little bit of code is generated, the rest could probably take care of itself as it continues to generate independently. And yes, you are absolutely right; the information that comes from a mutation (I am assuming you"re talking about biological mutations [i.e. evolution.]) doesn"t need an outside intelligence to cause it. However, I believe it would need an outside agent to initially generate it, and I don"t believe I need to explain my ideas about the beginning of the universe anymore as I"m sure you"ve got the general idea by now. What I am trying to get across to you is that a case for an outside agency could be made through indirect observation."

The thing is DNA doesn't really come under this label, it is not a code in that sense as (I think) I have already said DNA is simplified to a code but is really a complex chain of chemical reactions. Neither does the basic laws of reality, we write them as laws to simplify them.

Quickly summing up my arguments,

There is no reason to place god in the origins of life or the origins of the universe, there is no empirical evidence for this and in the absence of evidence a negative is assumed.

The definition of god is both contradictory and logically indefensible (for an expanded argument I site the argument I made in round 2).

I thank Pitbull15 for his excellent debate and allowing me to be his antagonist.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Pitbull15 3 years ago
Pitbull15
I wouldn't call myself agnostic, although you do have a point. I just want to keep an open mind and am curious of other people's opinions. I want to prove that open-minded and informed Christian doesn't have to be oxymoronic. =D
Posted by SocialismBeatsGreed 3 years ago
SocialismBeatsGreed
I am too slow to accept, as A341 beat me to it.

I am agnostic, and I am willing to bet both Pitbull and A341 are too. I find it extremely hard to believe that any educated person completely rules out the chance that there may or may not be a god.
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