The Instigator
Jack212
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
gordonjames
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

Based on the available evidence, God probably doesn't exist.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
gordonjames
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/27/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,517 times Debate No: 36039
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
Votes (4)

 

Jack212

Pro

I've never done a debate before, so forgive me if I don't follow standard protocol.

It is my opinion that God doesn't exist. Science currently explains most natural phenomena, and the uncertain stuff is because we haven't found the answers yet. Non-believers are capable of moral behavior, so God obviously isn't required for that. And we are yet to see a genuine miracle occur. There is no evidence or need for God's existence.

I'm not fussy about who my opponent is, but please use proper grammar/spelling, be polite, and make a reasoned argument based on evidence.
gordonjames

Con

I want to start this debate from a less philosophical position, and consider human experience.

1. The majority of people through recorded history have believed in intelligent, superior beings.
- This is not offered as proof of God’s existence, but as evidence that we have this craving built into us as a species.

2. Recorded history is full of stories of people encountering a god or gods.
- You need to provide a rational for ignoring their testimony that does not include circular reasoning (eg “there are no gods so they must be mistaken or lying” is circular based on your faith based beliefs that there are no gods)

3. There is great evidence that many people who claim an encounter with God are greatly changed by the experience.
This is evidence they really believed their claim of hearing from God.

4. Living eye witnesses will tell you of their encounter with God, and how it changed their life.
This eye witness testimony of God's involvement in a person's life is strong evidence.

There are also a number of philosophical / scientific arguments for the existence of God as creator of the universe.

5. Cosmological arguments
Kalam cosmological argument goes back to early Christians who disagreed with Aristotle’s view of the eternity of the universe. The KCA takes this form
1) everything that begins to exist has a cause
2) the universe began to exist
3) therefore the universe had a cause
- God is that “first cause of all things” according to the KCA
There are also the Thomis (TCA) and Leibnizian (LCA) cosmological arguments.

6. Ontological arguments
These are mostly about existence or the state of being. One example of this is from Anselm of Canterbury in 1078 AD - “Anselm defined God as ‘that than which nothing greater can be conceived’, and then argued that this being could exist in the mind. He suggested that, if the greatest possible being exists in the mind, it must also exist in reality. If it only exists in the mind, a greater being is possible—one which exists in the mind and in reality” [1]

7. Teleological arguments, or arguments from design.
These are arguments based on empirical evidence of the design and purpose of nature.
These are difficult to dispute, so most opponents point to the variety of views about god and then claim we can’t know who is right about the character and identity of this god, but that is actually a different debate. Here are some common presentations in this area:
- The watch maker - This is an old analogy saying that the parts are designed so well that there must be a designer.
- Irreducible Complexity - This is the idea that some things can not be produced by the combination of random chance and natural selection. There is a certain minimum number of parts working together for a design to function, and natural selection will work against these parts being present (and serving no function) so the more complex the system, the less likely it is to exist by random chance and natural selection.
- Fine Tuning - So many of the constants of physics seem designed to produce exactly this world. For example, if water was more dense as a solid (like almost everything else) there could be no life on earth because oceans and lakes would be frozen solid from the bottom up. If gravity was more or less there would be no life. The more details we discover of physics and biology the more this fine tuning stands out.

8. God’s self revelation to individuals and cultures.

Good luck to PRO


PRO states “Based on the available evidence, God probably doesn't exist.”

Pro needs a few definitions.
The less defined his proposition, the more difficulty PRO has proving “God probably doesn't exist.”

- probably - very likely [2]
- probable - supported by evidence strong enough to establish presumption but not proof [3]

I generally prefer less “wiggle room” than the word probably introduces, but PRO has a hard enough position

- God [4]
1(in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.
2 (god) (in certain other religions) a superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity:


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.yourdictionary.com...
[3] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[4] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Jack212

Pro

Thanks for the welcome and advice. I'll stick with this debate, we'll see how well I do. I'll define "probably" as "more likely than not" if that's okay with you, as we cannot empirically test God and thus can't prove anything about him beyond reasonable doubt.

Your points:

1) Myths serve two functions. First, they explain things when science is unavailable. Second, they teach humans how to better themselves. Take Thor - he hurled his hammer against the frost giants in battle, which caused thunder and lightning (1st function), and protected humankind, acting as a role model (2nd function). Myths help people survive, so "religious" genes persist and spread through the population. We don't need God to explain religion, but this does raise an interesting question...

Q: If God created the world with the intent that his creations would know and worship him, why aren't all animals religious?

2) People tell stories of gods. There are two possible reasons. First, the stories are true. Second, the stories are myths created for one/both of the reasons in Point 1. Occam's Razor favors the second option, as it doesn't assume the existence of gods. So in order to refute this we must ask another question...

Q: If myths are true, why do we have no physical evidence?

3) Just because people are changed by something doesn't mean it really happened. I could get really stoned and hallucinate a pink rabbit who tells me to quit drugs and become a Mormon. The pink rabbit changed my life, but that doesn't make him real.

4) Again, this depends on the reliability of witness testimony. People can be easily fooled, so testimony enough is not sufficient to prove God's existence.

5) The KCA is flawed.

Statement A: "Everything that begins to exist has a cause." This has not been proven, and is actually violated by certain phenomena in Quantum Mechanics ( http://en.wikipedia.org... ). The Uncertainty Principle requires constant flux. If the Laws of Physics are not free to vary, meaning that the Uncertainty Principle applied at the Big Bang singularity as well, then a fluctuation would occur and destabilize the singularity, thus causing the Big Bang.

Statement B: "The Universe began to exist". This becomes harder to determine when Time itself is fuzzy. Space-time is warped around singularities, making it impossible to distinguish time from height, width or length. Thus the universe may not have had a technical "beginning" until well after it existed, making the concept meaningless.

Conclusion C: "Therefore, the Universe had a cause". This is no longer true if A and/or B are incorrect. Even so, it doesn't mean God was the cause. That is an extra assumption we'd be making.

Q: If the universe had no cause and didn't begin, how could God have created it?

6) If God exists in the mind but not reality, that doesn't mean there is a greater being that exists in both. It could just mean that such a being is impossible outside of abstract thought.

7) Those arguments are easy to dispute, and have been disputed many times.

Watchmaker: Richard Dawkins refutes this using a mousetrap instead. What is a mouse trap now could have once been a tie clip (can't hold back the trap mechanism), and the tie clip could have been a doorstop (no trap mechanism). Organisms change their "function" during the course of Evolution. Humans have a lot of traits that aren't actually necessary for our function, or that impede it. For example:

- Men have nipples. Nipples cost nothing to grow, so there was never a reason for them to be gender-specific.

- Humans have an appendix, even though it does nothing but cause problems. This makes sense if it's leftover from our grass-eating ancestors.

- Human eyes have the light receptors at the back, even though the eye would work better with them at the front. This makes sense if one of our ancestors was born with back-to-front eyes, and then one of their descendants evolved a tunnel through the center of them.

- Junk DNA. 98% of our genome doesn't do anything ( http://en.wikipedia.org... ). Removing it has no effect on the organism. This makes sense if adaptations were acquired through trial and error, or if God was a monkey on a typewriter.

Q: Why would God give his creations useless traits that prove Evolution and cast doubt upon Intelligent Design?

Irreducible complexity: Some think that Natural Selection screens out traits that don't do anything. This is incorrect. Natural Selection only removes organisms with traits that prevent it from successfully breeding. It's just common sense, as only organisms that breed can pass on traits to the next generation. Not developing lungs until the age of 2 would be screened out (stops organism breeding), but having useless nipples would not (has no effect on breeding). And beneficial traits such as opposable thumbs would make the organism more successful than its peers, and thus spread through the gene pool.

Fine-tuning: This argument reverses cause and effect. Conditions aren't suitable so life can exist, life is suited because of the conditions. This is Natural Selection. Organisms that cannot survive or compete in their environment die out, while those suited to their environment thrive and pass on their genes.

Also, there are some features of the universe that aren't strictly necessary for life. The Weak Nuclear Force breaks atomic nuclei apart during radioactive decay, but this happens over such a long time interval that it's irrelevant to life. We also don't need such a big universe to support life on one little planet.

Q: If creating humans was God's reason for making the world, why would he include redundant features?

8) This is the same as arguments 3 and 4. Just because those people claim they met God doesn't mean he actually existed. I won't address the specific instances where the Bible contradicts archaeological records, etc, but I will raise one last question.

Q: If God intervened in human history, why do we have no evidence except for religious texts (which can't be verified and so aren't infallible)?

IN SUMMARY:

1) If God wanted to be worshiped by his creations, why are humans the only religious animals?

2 and 8) If God intervened in human history, why do we have no evidence that he did so?

5) If the universe did not definitely have a cause and beginning, how could God have created it?

7a) If God created humans so they could worship him, why did he give them traits that don't support this purpose?

7c) And why did he give the universe features that don't support life?

The principle of Occam's Razor says that when multiple explanations for something exist, the one that makes the fewest assumptions is usually correct. I stated in my challenge that there is no evidence or need for God's existence, and have hopefully shown that in my argument. If I am correct, then God is an unnecessary assumption and Occam's Razor says that he probably doesn't exist.
gordonjames

Con

Thanks for your round 2 thoughts.

I’m ok with your definition of "probably" as "more likely than not". It makes the debate a lot less rigorous (for you), but also makes it less meaningful.
I am hoping you will “make a reasoned argument based on evidence.” to support your position that “Based on the available evidence, God probably doesn't exist.”
To me that means you will present a case, based on evidence, that flows to the conclusion that “God probably doesn’t exist.” Remember that a lack of need for God has nothing to do with His actual existence. For example - I have never seen a platypus, and do not need one to explain any aspect of life. This does not give me any evidence to say that platypuses (as a class or species) do not exist, or that “Perry The Platypus” is only a fictional character. My knowledge or my need for explanations are irrelevant to this question.

I want to start by challenging your use of the word myth in response to my first point.

The Oxford dictionary defines myth in two ways: [1]
noun
1 traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events:
2 widely held but false belief or idea:
a fictitious or imaginary person or thing:
an exaggerated or idealized conception of a person or thing:

My first point was “
The majority of people through recorded history have believed in intelligent, superior beings.

Using the word myth in the first sense does not apply here as point one is not about “traditional stories” or “explaining natural or social phenomenon.” Using the word in its second sense is inappropriate unless you are simply restating your premise, but then it is not really an argument for your position.

Now a response to your comments:


“religious" genes persist and spread through the population.
Genes code for proteins. - There is no evidence for a “religious gene”.

“why aren't all animals religious?”
Great question. How do you know they are not? Jesus said that “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” [2] I don’t know if they are worshiping and talking to God, their spirit speaking to Him. Good question though.

“There are two possible reasons. First, the stories are true. Second, the stories are myths created for one/both of the reasons in Point 1.”
You say “Occam's Razor favors the second option” - this presumption is false.
O.R. states that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected.[3] God exists is one assumption. People creating complex stories to explain the world gets more complex at each new explanation.

You ask “If myths are true, why do we have no physical evidence?”
I am curious to ask, what kind of physical evidence are you looking for?
The God of creation has left some evidence for you to examine.

It is circular reasoning to say “there is no God, only matter, space and time” and then say “the universe can’t possibly give evidence for God because there is no God”

You state “ Just because people are changed by something doesn't mean it really happened. I could get really stoned and hallucinate a pink rabbit who tells me to quit drugs and become a Mormon. The pink rabbit changed my life, but that doesn't make him real.”
Two answers to this:
1) I would bring in Occam’s Razor to this. Hallucinating pink bunnies (without drugs or any other known cause) is quite a elaborate explanation. Experiencing God is simple.
2) A changed life is a sign of changed beliefs. Most of us do not hold delusions so tightly as those who deny the words and experiences of all those who have met with God.

You challenge “reliability of witness testimony.”
In a court of law witness testimony is accepted unless there is clear physical that disputes the word of a witness. You are presenting no physical evidence disputing witness testimony. (In fact you look at the entire universe and claim there is no physical evidence)


You say “People can be easily fooled, so testimony enough is not sufficient to prove God's existence.”

You forget that I don’t have to prove anything :-)
You are PRO, and you have the burden of proof.
I am still waiting for your logical and evidence based arguments to support your resolution:

“Based on the available evidence, God probably doesn't exist.”

I will stop here for the moment hoping you present a case.

I was a little disappointed with your examples from “Science” as I get the idea that you are religiously devoted to the boys club of the new atheism. Do you really believe the examples you gave are the best for your position?


I love the quote from Blaise Pascal; "In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadow for those who don't."




[1] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
[2] John 4:24
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...'s_razor
Debate Round No. 2
Jack212

Pro

Be concise and stick to the point. Got it.

Carl Sagan once said, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." If I tell you that Santa Claus exists, I have to prove it. If you explore the entire Arctic and find no trace of a toy factory, you must assume I was wrong. Based on the available evidence, it is far more likely that I lied/was mistaken than that Santa Claus exists.

The same goes for God. The available evidence (and lack of supporting evidence) contradicts God, making it more likely that the "God hypothesis" is a load of bull.

Points:

1. Genes code for proteins, which code for everything about an organism including the ability to display religious behavior. As religion itself is not genetic, I used quotation marks when I said "religious genes" to show that I wasn't seriously suggesting a gene that directly and absolutely makes you religious. Religious fervor has environmental causes as well, so no genetic analysis could determine religion.

2. O.R. requires that both explanations fit the evidence and make as few EXTRA assumptions as possible. An explanation that requires only the physical evidence is making fewer assumptions than one that requires physical evidence + God. That's just basic math.

3. If God has left evidence, what is it? I may have the burden of proof, but that doesn't let you off supporting your side with facts.

4. Actually, hallucination is a simpler explanation than God. We know for a fact that people hallucinate, but we have to take God on faith. Taking something on faith is making an assumption, so O.R. favors hallucination over God.

5. Actually, witness testimony depends entirely on the credibility of the witness. A druggie is not a credible eye witness, while a respected scientist is. A raving religious fanatic who denies Evolution is also not a credible witness in the context of proving God.

6. I'm not part of "the boys club of the new atheism" and I resent the ad hominem fallacy. If you have an actual reason why the examples I gave are not good enough, please address them directly instead of brushing them aside and saying "not good enough" without explanation. Same goes for my argument in general, if my case doesn't work then explain why instead of just saying that I haven't made an effort.
gordonjames

Con

I have been waiting for pro to present his position supporting
“Based on the available evidence, God probably doesn't exist.”

Please present your position.
I will respond to your position in round 4.
Remember, as PRO you need to present a position, that I (CON) try to refute.
So far you have only been responding to my points and have not yet presented your position.


You say “I may have the burden of proof, but that doesn't let you off supporting your side with facts.” Actually it does. You are PRO. You need to present and support your position. Then I respond your claims with evidence that I hope convinces people that your position is wrong. That is how the PRO position in a debate works.




I want to respond to a few statements from past rounds.

Please note - these statements are a particular kind of fallacy that is unforgivable in science.
Both claim “because I don’t know what this does, I can claim it has no function”

Atheists have long abused theists for using God as the final answer for ever unknown.
These examples are just two more times atheists have said “it doesn’t do anything. It must be evidence against God” (that, by the way, is a different type of fallacy)

Let’s look at your statements, and then at some evidence

“Humans have an appendix, even though it does nothing but cause problems. This makes sense if it's leftover from our grass-eating ancestors.”

I hope the facts make you reconsider your statement.


- “Aug. 21, 2009 — The lowly appendix, long-regarded as a useless evolutionary artifact, won newfound respect two years ago when researchers at Duke University Medical Center proposed that it actually serves a critical function. The appendix, they said, is a safe haven where good bacteria could hang out until they were needed to repopulate the gut after a nasty case of diarrhea, for example.” [1]

“"Once the bowel contents have left the body, the good bacteria hidden away in the appendix can emerge and repopulate the lining of the intestine before more harmful bacteria can take up residence,"”[2]

The idea of the human microbiome project [3] is that bacteria make up a huge part of your life and health. The numbers are extreme.

“It turns out that we are only 10 percent human: for every human cell that is intrinsic to our body, there are about 10 resident microbes — including commensals (generally harmless freeloaders) and mutualists (favor traders) and, in only a tiny number of cases, pathogens. To the extent that we are bearers of genetic information, more than 99 percent of it is microbial.” [4]

The benefit of the appendix is quite noticable. For example, “Research performed at Winthrop University-Hospital showed that individuals without an appendix were four times more likely to have a recurrence of Clostridium difficile” [6]



“Junk DNA. 98% of our genome doesn't do anything Removing it has no effect on the organism. This makes sense if adaptations were acquired through trial and error, or if God was a monkey on a typewriter.”

Even the wikipedia article you reference says you are wrong. You call noncoding DNA junk that doesn’t do anything, when the known purposes of non coding DNA are quite varied.
“In genomics and related disciplines, noncoding DNA sequences are components of an organism's DNA that do not encode protein sequences. Some noncoding DNA is transcribed into functional noncoding RNA molecules (e.g. transfer RNA, ribosomal RNA, and regulatory RNAs), while others are not transcribed or give rise to RNA transcripts of unknown function. The amount of noncoding DNA varies greatly among species.” [7]

AND
“The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project suggested in September 2012 that over 80% of DNA in the human genome "serves some purpose, biochemically speaking” [7]


What you are calling junk DNA that doesn’t do anything is shown to have many different roles. I give only one example here, because one example is enought to refute your claim. NOTE SSR= Simple Sequence Repeats (or junk to you)

“In the study conducted by chief scientist, Rakesh K. Mishra and his group, it was found that one of the SSRs, the GATA repeat had significant regulatory role in gene expression by functioning as a boundary, separating functional domains of genome. “ [8]

“One of the prominent SSRs the GATA tetranucleotide repeat has preferentially accumulated in complex organisms. GATA repeats are particularly enriched on the human Y chromosome, and their non-random distribution and exclusive association with genes expressed during early development indicate their role in coordinated gene regulation.” [9]

It is as though you are saying “brakes on a care are useless. They don’t make it go”
Regulation is important.



You ask -
“Why would God give his creations useless traits that prove Evolution and cast doubt upon Intelligent Design”

I feel a need to respond to this.

The two examples you list have been proven faulty. Appendices have a purpose. SSR and other non coding DNA have a purpose.

Useless traits (if they existed) prove nothing except the creativity of God and the wonder and variety of creation.

Did you mean to capitalize the word evolution as a proper noun or the name of your deity?

What argument do you present to say that God did not design evolutionary processes into his world? How do the ideas of natural selection and variation within species “cast doubt” on God’s design of life and the universe?


You ask -
“If creating humans was God's reason for making the world, why would he include redundant features”

What makes you think you know God’s reasons for creating anything? Why does a painter paint? Why does a singer sing? Why does a debater debate?
I know God well, and He knows me perfectly. I would not presume to know his motives for creation.

As to redundant features, are you referring to the appendix and non coding DNA again?



Good luck in the next round.
I await your response.



[1] http://www.sciencedaily.com...
[2] http://www.sciencedaily.com...
[3] http://commonfund.nih.gov...
[4] http://www.nytimes.com...
[5] http://www.dailypaul.com...
[6] http://blogs.scientificamerican.com...
[7] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[8] http://www.thehindu.com...
[9] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
Debate Round No. 3
Jack212

Pro

I have repeatedly stated that it is impossible to prove God's existence or non-existence. We can only determine which is more likely. The available evidence gives two options:

1. God exists.

2. God does not exist.

As God's existence is an unnecessary assumption to explain the evidence, O.R. suggests that option 1 is the more likely.

You are incorrect in saying/implying that I have to make a case against God's existence. I just have to show that his existence is:

1. Unnecessary to explain the evidence.

AND

2. Not supported by the evidence.

O.R. does the rest for me. Also, notice that comparing God to a platypus won't work as the existence of the latter is supported by physical evidence.

That is my position, no matter how weak you may consider it. The existence of God must be required and/or supported in at least ONE case in order for you to win this debate. If God exists, finding one example should be easy.

Points:

1) I have done further research on the appendix. The previous belief that it serves no function whatsoever is under scrutiny, though by no means disproved. The appendix certainly doesn't fulfill ALL of its possible functions in humans, so it is still an example of a vestigial trait.

2) Okay, non-coding DNA was not a valid example. Though it can be removed with no effect to the organism, it still serves to protect the genome.

3) Men have nipples. Nipples serve no function in male mammals, and only persist because there is no evolutionary reason for them to be sex-specific.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

If God designed humans, why would he give men a trait that didn't benefit them? Either God exists and shares our sense of aesthetic appeal, or he doesn't exist and this is a by-product of random, unguided mutation and selection. Let's review the criteria for discernment:

1. God must be necessary to explain this phenomenon. This is incorrect, as Evolution works with or without God.

OR

2. God must be supported by the evidence. This is also incorrect, as the existence of vestigial traits doesn't prove that God made them.

God fails both criteria, so O.R. says he probably doesn't exist.

4) Saying "God knows more than we do, so we shouldn't question him" is an argument from ignorance fallacy. My mother knows more than I do about certain subjects, but I still question her if I think she's incorrect or hasn't explained herself properly. God, being omnipotent, is capable of proving his existence more directly if he chooses to. So either God is hiding from us, or he doesn't exist. As the first explanation is neither required nor supported, O.R. favors the second one.

Conclusion:

I've laid out a case for why it is more likely that God doesn't exist than that he does. It may be total bunk, but that's the best I can do. I would like to remind you that disproving my position is easy. You just have to do one of the following:

1. Present a real-world phenomenon where the existence of God is required to explain it.

OR

2. Present a piece of real-world evidence that supports the existence of God.

If you can't do either of those, then Occam's Razor suggests that the existence of God is an unnecessary assumption and should therefore be discarded.

Or, of course, you could dispute Occam's Razor itself. That would technically be a 3rd option.
gordonjames

Con

Thankyou for presenting your case.

You claim that God’s existence in unnecessary to explain the evidence so you can use O.R. . . .
I am really confused by what you are trying to do here.
“In science, Occam's razor is used as a heuristic (general guiding rule or an observation) to guide scientists in the development of theoretical models rather than as an arbiter between published models. In the scientific method, Occam's razor is not considered an irrefutable principle of logic or a scientific result.” [1]

It is used to help develop or choose between models that you want to test (simple is better) . It is not to help decide between theories already presented. Theories are supported by evidence.

You state “The existence of God must be required and/or supported in at least ONE case in order for you to win this debate. If God exists, finding one example should be easy.”

Before returning to evidence I want to review the different kinds of evidence. [2]

- Experimental evidence - consists of observations and experimental results that serve to support, refute, or modify a scientific hypothesis or theory.

- Legal evidence
testimony,
documentary evidence, and
physical evidence.

SO you are saying that any of the above types of evidence will be accepted?
I will present that in round 5

Let me respond to some of your claims.


Appendix - I have proved it serves a function after you claimed it served no function.
You need to accept this gracefully rather than say “The appendix certainly doesn't fulfill ALL of its possible functions in humans, so it is still an example of a vestigial trait.”

You said it had no function, and now say it doesn’t serve all it’s possible functions as though it were a Swiss army knife with many functions. One function is enough to prove your assertion wrong.


Non-Coding DNA - This also serves a function. I also dispute that it can be removed (en masse) with no effect to the organism. I even dispute you could design and accomplish an experiment to test this claim.


Nipples - You claim “Men have nipples. Nipples serve no function in male mammals”
That is not exactly true. - They are quite sensitive, and serve the function of an erogenous zone for sexual stimulation.
The fact that God’s first command in Genesis 1 is for people to have sex shows the importance He places on our pleasure and reproduction. God is good & sex is fun.



Presumptions
- you make many presumptions about God.
I don’t believe in the God you portray either.

When you say “Either God exists and shares our sense of aesthetic appeal, or he doesn't exist and this is a by-product of random, unguided mutation and selection.”

Why would you presume that God shares our sense of aesthetic appeal.

Why would you presume that “random, unguided mutation and selection” was not designed into the system by God?




On debates and the BOP

You state “That is my position, no matter how weak you may consider it. The existence of God must be required and/or supported in at least ONE case in order for you to win this debate.”
- this is incorrect.
The way you set up the debate gives you the BOP.
I simply need to refute your points.



[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...'s_razor
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 4
Jack212

Pro

There is no published model regarding God. No evidence can be acquired that will prove or disprove God's existence. We are merely dealing with how probable it is, not proving it beyond reasonable doubt. Occam's Razor is therefore highly appropriate.

Acceptable Evidence:

- Experimental evidence is always acceptable.

- Testimony is acceptable ONLY if it is first-hand and doesn't contradict experimental evidence, and it can ONLY detail the facts of what happened. So "the preacher touched my leg and it was healed" is okay, but "the preacher touched my leg and God healed it" is not. The witness doesn't know God healed them, they are just assuming. Anything from the Bible is invalid, because those people are dead and cannot testify. If somebody claims they saw a chair levitate, we must be able to gather evidence and then apply Occam's Razor (which usually shows that the person is delusional).

- Documentary evidence is acceptable ONLY if the facts within can be verified by testimony and/or physical evidence. Which means the Bible is not a valid source, as it can be verified by neither.

Points:

- The appendix is still vestigial because it no longer serves one of its original functions, yet it still has the machinery to perform that function.

- Here:

http://www.nature.com...

http://www.evolutionnews.org...

https://www.google.co.nz...

- Aside from the fact that the rest of the Bible tells us sex is immoral and shameful, your argument regarding male nipples simply doesn't work. If God gave men nipples for sexual pleasure, why didn't he stuff them with 8,000 nerve endings like he did with the clitoris? Either God made male nipples to get us off and he did a poor job, or Evolution made nipples for women and couldn't be stuffed making them gender-specific. The existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent deity who is obsessed with whether hairless primates are virgins on their wedding nights is a FAR bigger assumption to make than the assumption that Natural Selection sometimes gives organisms traits that they don't need purely because it has no reason not to.

- Random, unguided mutation is, by definition, random and unguided. This is in direct conflict with the idea of Intelligent Design, which states that God GUIDED the process of Evolution.

- This is the last round I can argue and I have no idea what you consider to be adequate proof. Just refute my points and we'll let the voters decide if I made enough effort. Chances are they'll vote based on personal beliefs rather than how well we debated, but oh well.
gordonjames

Con

Thanks to pro for the great topic and interesting debate.

I want to recap for the sake of clarity.

1. PRO has the BOP
This means pro has to produce evidence for the non existence of God.
2. Pro claims “Science currently explains most natural phenomena”
3. Pro claims that “Non-believers are capable of moral behavior, so God obviously isn't required for that.”
4. Pro claims “There is no evidence or need for God's existence.”


As evidence for God’s existence I offer

1. History of people’s testimony of encounters with and belief in God.
Pro failed to respond to this eye witness testimony of their experience except to say that their testimony is false (myth was the exact word) and to dismiss it. [no evidence for PRO]

2. Evidence of people who claim an encounter with God are greatly changed by the experience.
Pro suggests that these people might be drugged or hallucinating. [no evidence for PRO]

3. Living eye witnesses who tell of their encounter with God.
Pro suggests that “People can be easily fooled, so testimony enough is not sufficient” [no evidence for PRO]

4. Cosmological arguments
These have a long history of serious consideration.
Pro claims that “Everything that begins to exist has a cause.” has been disproved by quantum vacuum fluctuation (the temporary change in the amount of energy in a point in space) forgetting that this requires space-time. Space-time had to come into being before these quantum vacuum fluctuation could happen. The KCA says that space-time itself has a cause. Pro has not refuted the KCA with this faulty assertion. [no evidence for PRO]

5. Ontological arguments
Pro tries a one sentence refutation of all ontological arguments. I do not hold this against his position as I mentioned these arguments as a class for completeness.

6. Teleological arguments, or arguments from design.
These are where PRO gets in trouble. I mention the following broad classes of design arguments:
- The watch maker -.
- Irreducible Complexity -
- Fine Tuning of biology and physics - this did not happen by random chance.
Pro responds with “Those arguments are easy to dispute, and have been disputed many times.”
[no evidence for PRO]

7. God’s self revelation to individuals and cultures.
Pro offers no response to this. [no evidence for PRO]


Looking at some of PRO’s arguments from science.

Pro suggests “Humans have a lot of traits that aren't actually necessary”
PRO does not say how this reflects on God’s existence, nor does he explain how this supports his argument. As evidence he claims:
a) Men have nipples. -
One function for these is sexual pleasure
b) Human appendix
This is found to be quite functional
c) Human eye orientation suggests evolutionary process
If it is bad design why do we design telescopes and cameras the same way?
d) Junk DNA
More and more the non coding DNA is found to have regulatory functions.


Pro is arguing a “Darwin of the gaps” position where every gap (things pro can’t explain) is philosophically attributed to “Evolution.” Since PRO’s “appeal to science” above has been successfully refuted with peer reviewed scientific evidence we can safely dismiss PRO’s claims.


Now I would like to respond to comments PRO made in round 5

Pro states “There is no published model regarding God.”
WOW - the world is full of published models of God - every theistic religion and denomination have multiple published models.

Remember this was PRO’s refutation to my suggestion that he was using Occam's Razor inappropriately. He accepted my point that “In science, Occam's razor is used as a heuristic (general guiding rule or an observation) to guide scientists in the development of theoretical models rather than as an arbiter between published models” [1] He is wrong that there are no published models for God’s existence.


When I asked what kind of evidence PRO would accept as valid he says he will not accept most evidence that would be acceptable in a court of law. Here is what he says he will accept.

“Acceptable Evidence:
- Experimental evidence is always acceptable.
- Testimony is acceptable ONLY if it is first-hand . . . Anything from the Bible is invalid, because those people are dead and cannot testify. . . .

- Documentary evidence is acceptable ONLY if the facts within can be verified by testimony and/or physical evidence. Which means the Bible is not a valid source, as it can be verified by neither.”

This shows that PRO is looking for a narrowly defined kind of evidence.
It really means he has decided to ignore my evidence, yet provide no compelling evidence of his own.


Pro says he would accept “In my prayer time today I heard from God”
This happens to be true, But I suspect PRO will not accept this even though he states he will.

Pro tries to say he will accept documentary evidence, yet his condition “ verified by testimony and/or physical evidence” calls that statement into question.


PRO goes back to his claim that “ appendix is still vestigial.”
This is false. It has a function.
Pro claims to know its “original function.” This claim is difficult to accept.

PRO gives reference to a 2004 article in nature [2] that claims that mice without large portions of Junk DNA. PRO seems determined to hold on to old / bad science.
There is link on the same page to an article “'Junk' DNA reveals vital role”. His link to a google search comes up with “Further evidence that noncoding DNA is vital has come from studies of genetic risk factors for disease. In large-scale searches for single-base differences between diseased and healthy individuals, about 40% of the disease-related differences show up outside of genes.”[3]

The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project suggested in September 2012 that over 80% of DNA in the human genome "serves some purpose, biochemically speaking

The last decade has show the need for non-coding DNA. “Recent studies have shown good reason to consider the gene-free portions of genomes indispensable. Various stretches of noncoding DNA have been shown to function as enhancers of gene expression” [4]

Pro’s use of scientific evidence was faulty, and limited.

Pro claims that “the rest of the Bible tells us sex is immoral and shameful.” This misrepresentation of the Bible, if deliberate, is bad conduct. If from ignorance it shows a misunderstanding of God (the subject of the debate), scripture and religion.

According to the Bible . . . .
1. God created men and women naked and sexual together in the garden (without interruptions ;-) )
2. God’s first command is “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” [5]
3. Genesis 2:24-25 says “ a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” - there is no shame or immorality here.
4. God gave us hormones and a sex drive “and it was very good” -
5. Proverbs 5:15-19 reads "rejoice with the wife of thy youth. . . . let her breasts satisfy thee at all times"
6. “ The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another” - 1 Corinthians 7:3-5

These show that pro does not understand the God he is trying to dispute.
His “scientific evidence” call his science into question as well.
VOTE CON ;-)




[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...'s_razor
[2] http://www.nature.com...
[3] http://www.evolutionnews.org...
[4] http://www.jgi.doe.gov...
[5] Genesis 1:28
Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DMiller584 3 years ago
DMiller584
Here is a link to some videos showing Peter Popoff in action and discusses how he has been caught, but still continues to scam people out of millions. http://skepacabra.wordpress.com...
Posted by DMiller584 3 years ago
DMiller584
Response to gordonjames:
Response to your Round 1 comments 1-4 and 8 The instinctual need for security, love, health and comfort is likely a result of evolution. Religion exploits these natural desires with offers of supernatural solutions and sometimes scams. As far as people claiming to have been changed and experienced "god", there is something called a placebo effect and there is also outright lying. To see an example of it at work in the present time Google Peter Popoff. No joke Peter Popoff is a current TV evangelists who sells people "miracle spring water' and mana bread. Here is a link to a video of him in action.

The commonly used phrase "drinking the Kool-aid" came into being as a result of the mass suicides of the followers of Jim Jones, founder of the Peoples Temple Christian Church Full Gospel. These are just two examples I thought of quickly to show that "the human experience" is an interesting phenomenon but not proof.
Now onto your #5 - 7. Your #5 Premise "1) everything that begins to exist has a cause." I am throwing a red flag on consistency of your arguments. . Your claim is that the complexity of the creation mandates a creator, then I must respond by saying that the creator is complex as well and must have also had a cause or creator. That means there is an unending, imaginary, string of creators. But you claim that the creator (god) has always existed. So consistency has tossed another penalty flag. You have made a special rule for our universe maker(god) that we aren"t allowed to apply to the universe itself (illegal procedure). Otherwise we could also just say that the universe has always been around so there"s no need to ponder how it came into being either.
I can't vote on this debate due to the structure of it. The burden of proof should be on the person claiming that god exists. What evidence could prove something does not exist?
Posted by Jack212 3 years ago
Jack212
@ Juan_Pablo

Don't sweat it. Con is still winning by an overwhelming majority.
Posted by Juan_Pablo 3 years ago
Juan_Pablo
LOL. I gave points to Pro that I meant to give to Con! Sorry.
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
Maade a note to vote tomorrow. Looks like Gordon may have the stronger argument but I'm biased so I should be able to vote fairly in spite of the current vote totals. Without a firm definition of God the pro position is difficult.

@Jack, looked at your set up, consider arguing against a god that is omniscient, omnibenevolent and omnipotent. That's a straight forward case and fair for a new debater.
Posted by gordonjames 3 years ago
gordonjames
@ DMiller584

it would be fun to debate you on the problem of evil.
Posted by gordonjames 3 years ago
gordonjames
cool info

"How 'Junk DNA' Can Control Cell Development

Aug. 2, 2013 " Researchers from the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at Sydney's Centenary Institute have confirmed that, far from being "junk," the 97 per cent of human DNA that does not encode instructions for making proteins can play a significant role in controlling cell development."

http://www.sciencedaily.com...
Posted by DMiller584 3 years ago
DMiller584
Evidence that it is probable that god does not exist? What about suffering? Natural diasters, world hunger, illness, war, evils of all sorts with no intervention to assist people.
Posted by Jack212 3 years ago
Jack212
Okay. Sorry I read malicious intent into your post.

I have Asperger's Syndrome and am relatively uninformed about media stuff. I won't always pick up when you're speaking figuratively or using popular phrases. In future, can you please be more direct? Just say "you need to review and update your science", or "you sound like Richard Dawkins".
Posted by gordonjames 3 years ago
gordonjames
Apologies that I gave impressions that made you think I was attacking you.
When I spoke of "the boys club of the new atheism". I was actually speaking of the current media darlings; Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens.
Check out the link below to understand the term.
https://www.google.ca...

I was hoping to give you a chance to review the science of your reasons before I refuted them. The idea that the appendix is useless is old and no longer held. Similarly, most idea around the concept of junk DNA.

This is a fun debate. Sorry I gave offense, it was not my intent.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Juan_Pablo 3 years ago
Juan_Pablo
Jack212gordonjamesTied
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: This was an interesting and well-thought out debate. Pro and Con both deserve credit for handling this issue nicely and for remaining gentlemen throughout the conversation. Ultimately I awarded the win to Con because I felt he able to support his position well and because he rebutted virtually all of Pro's arguments. Both used sources, credible one's too, but Con used so many more. I agreed with Con that, based on evidence, one cannot claim God probably doesn't exist. Much evidence can be used to claim he DOES exist. The resolution failed I think.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro was never able to prove that there is solid evidence against God. All evidence he gave was shot down, and he defended himself with only fallacies and, to be honest, typical atheist thinking and arguments instead the thinking and arguing of a scientist. Con gave more sources. I found it hard to believe Pro used more 'logical and scientific' arguments when it was Con who could actually back his argument up. Pro's own source in R2 actually gave him and his 'logical' argument away... Pro used too many fallacies, and honestly, defended his argument with a lot of disrespect, such as claiming anyone who believes in God is just hallucinating, and calling God a myth before actually proving it, which is not proper debate etiquette. I'm giving Con conduct for not using fallacies and not insulting the opposing side's viewpoint. Both sides did good on S&G.
Vote Placed by GOP 3 years ago
GOP
Jack212gordonjamesTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con used many reliable sources. Pro, on the other hand, did not use as many as Con did. Pro displays a fallacy by saying, ". Actually, hallucination is a simpler explanation than God. We know for a fact that people hallucinate, but we have to take God on faith. Taking something on faith is making an assumption, so O.R. favors hallucination over God." In turn, Pro puts faith in the assumption that people hallucinate about these matters. Unfortunately, that would be self-defeating for his argument. Nor does he provide ANY substantiation for his "lying witnesses" argument, Pro arbitrarily brings up a bunch of body parts that are allegedly no longer useful. However, Con brought up that nipples, for example, are used for sexual pleasure. Con did not reply well about the appendix part (it was a broad statement), but arguments go to him overall, since the amount of mistakes Pro made still remains to be grandiose. Good debate.
Vote Placed by Skeptikitten 3 years ago
Skeptikitten
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Reasons for voting decision: While I don't think either side made a particularly convincing argument, Con relies heavily on logical fallacy such as Bare Assertion (claiming that there is "fine tuning" for example yet never illustrating this is the case). He also basically stated as evidence for a god that people say he exists, which is a ludicrous argument that could be used for everything from unicorns to leprechauns, and rebuttals for scientific assertions summed up to "god wants it that way".