The Instigator
JohnT
Pro (for)
Tied
4 Points
The Contender
izbo10
Con (against)
Tied
4 Points

Belief in God is an intellectually valid standpoint

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/30/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,137 times Debate No: 19590
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

JohnT

Pro

Belief in God has been shown to be reasonable through arguments such as the Kalam Cosmological and Fine Tuning Arguments. Furthermore many well known modern scientists believe in God, such as Colin Humphreys and Francis Collins. If atheists are going to go around calling all religious people idiots, then they need to back up their claims.
izbo10

Con

Accepted waiting for my opponent to present a case, I assume he is going to use kalams and fine tuning two long since debunked anti-intellectual nonsense arguments
Debate Round No. 1
JohnT

Pro

Thank you izbo10 for accepting the debate.
I'm interested in knowing how these two arguments have been debunked, as I've yet to see any good counter arguments.

For anyone unfamiliar, the Kalam cosmological argument goes as follows

Premise 1:
Anything that begins to exist has a reason for existing. For example it would be absurd to say that if you found a watch, that that watch had simply sprung into existence for no reason. Instead you would come to the conclusion that some person or process had caused the watch to come to exist, in this case a watchmaker.

Premise 2:
The universe had a beginning. All the scientific evidence is in favor of this. It has been proposed that the matter that was involved in the big bang came from another prior universe, but then we need an explanation for that universe, and an explanation for that explanation, and we are left with an infinite regress, which has been shown to be logically absurd.

Premise 3:
Therefore the universe has a reason for existing. A common objection is that when we talk about things having a reason we are talking about things inside the universe, and that we cannot apply this to the universe as a whole. However this isn't a reasonable objection. We know that the universe had a beginning. We do not even need physical laws to prove the universe has a cause, it's just logic. The universe could not have simply popped into existence for no reason, anymore then a unicorn could suddenly pop into existence in your living room, for absolutely no reason whatsoever! Therefore we can conclude that the universe has a reason for existing, and this reason we call the first cause. So what attributes would this first cause have? Firstly, of course, it would not itself have a cause or reason for existing. Since time came into existence with the big bang it would be timeless and therefore eternal. Since space and matter also came into existence at the big bang it would have to be immaterial. Now the only things we can imagine that are immaterial are uninbodied minds and abstract objects, for example numbers. Since abstract objects can't have any effect on anything, it would be reasonable to think that this first cause was a mind, or "spirit", and this spirit we call God.

I look forward to hearing your objections to this argument.
izbo10

Con

Thanks to my opponent for the debate,

This argument has long since been debunked so lets get started:

Premise 1 has massive problems. Firstly my opponent uses a poor analogy. He is arguing using the watchmaker analogy. The problem inductively here is that he is trying to act as though complex things imply a designer. This simply is not so. Lets look at a couple of sets:

Set of all complex things: ( (set of complex things that are proven to be designed), (set of complex things not proven to be designed))

ok, so the set of complex things contains 2 different sets as we see. I contend that since the set of complex things not proven to be designed is far greater in size then the set of complex things that are proven to be designed, there is no reason what so ever to inductively draw this conclusion. IN other words the set of things like galaxies,planets, stars, solar systems, plants, caves, and more outweighs the number of man made things. Therefore his inductive reasoning that complex things require a designer is deeply and utterly flawed.

A second problem is that the argument presents either the fallacy of composition or the fallacy of division. Let me first go about it looking at it from the fallacy of composition way.

Anything that began to exist, that we know of is a part of the universe. Since it is a part of the universe we are now going to attempt to attribute this attribute to the entire universe. Attributing an attribute of the parts to the entire set is the fallacy of composition.

You could also look at it the opposite way. Firstly this commits the fallacy of equivocation, everything that began to exist is a result of matter reacting. That is completely different from coming together ex nihilo, or from nothing. We are talking about two different things beginning to exist from something vs beginning to exist out of nothing. We have no experience with this, so it is not possible to draw conclusions on how something would come to exist ex nihilo, based on things that came to exist from something. With that said, when you think about it the universe is the lay out fo the matter that everything that came to exist is made of. So, now we are attributing the attributes of the whole, to the parts it is made from, that is the fallacy of division. These last 2 arguments are two different ways of thinking about the same problem.

The premise that the universe had a beginning is likely but not definitiely here is a quote from Victor Stengers book God: The failed Hypothesis: As we saw
"above, the claim that the universe began with the big bang has no basis in current physical and cosmological knowledge."

The universe could have existed in another form before the big bang. Therefore there is no reason to believe the universe had a beginning. The other problem is if the universe had a cause we have no reason to believe it was god. As we have seen even if we accept the fallacious reasoning used in the first and second reason, inductively we just have no reason to believe it is a personal cause, since more complex things tend to come from natural results with no indication of design, then we have evidence for design. There are other reasons we know a coke bottle was designed, it is not just that the coke bottle is complex.
Debate Round No. 2
JohnT

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for the quick reply.

Firstly, regardless of whether something is simple or complex, it requires an explanation for how it came to exist. The process through which a complex object forms may be lengthier then that which a simple object goes through, but both require a reason for existing.

Secondly "the fallacy of composition". I see no reason why we can't compare the universe as a whole to an object in the universe. Objects are made of matter, so is the universe. Objects exist in space and time, so does the universe.
Now I agree that beginning to exist out of nothing is completely different to beginning to exist out of preexisting matter. However I think that this is actually in the theist's favor. While it's possible that preexisting matter can be rearranged through a natural process to create a new object, it's absurd to think of something coming out of nothing through a natural process. Since the universe exists in space and time, is made up of matter and had a beginning I don't see why it can't be referred to as a whole. The problem I think you have with this is that you're thinking of the universe as meaning the whole of reality, when there's no reason to think that nothing else could exist.

As for the universe having a beginning, this is held to be true by such a vast majority of scientists that I see no reason whatsoever to doubt it. If you dispute this point then the burden of proof is on you to prove it false.

"The universe could have existed in another form before the big bang". If you hold this position then I would presume that you think that there has been an infinite regress of these universes? If that's the case then we get into some logical and mathematical problems. If there has been an infinite regress of universes then that means there has been an actual infinity of universes. Naturally you can't get a number that's bigger then infinity, correct? However, with each new universe that appears in this chain of universes, the number of universes that have existed increases by 1. Therefore, currently more universes have existed then had in the past, even though in the past an infinity of universes had existed. Naturally this is a logical contradiction.

"inductively we just have no reason to believe it is a personal cause". I've already shown that a first cause is required.
If this first cause is eternal and non personal, then anything that results from it, such as our universe, must also be eternal. In other words if the cause is eternal then the effect will be as well. However, if the first cause is a personal being, then it could decide to create something non eternal, such as our universe, at a given "point". Since we know that the universe is not eternal, it follows logically that the First Cause is personal.
izbo10

Con

My opponents first statement about simple or complex things needing an explanation seems to be true within this universe. My point was two fold, one that he was trying to imply a designer which is usually done through complex things that have designers. He even used e coke bottle. The second point, I made is that all these "things" that we draw this conclusion from our parts of the universe. We are now trying to attribute that to the universe.

Next, the universe is not "made" of matter, it is the sum of all matter and anti-matter that we know exists arranged in any order. Since if the universe had a beginning it was probably at a singularity, it is not the same. At that point we are not asking, how did someone rearrange that matter to make the universe, that is nonsensical, since once the matter existed our universe existed. We are asking how did the universe come to be ex-nihilo. That is the fallacy of equivocation, we are clearly talking about 2 different types of creation.

In terms of other possibilities, we have a regress of universes or we could have an eternal motherverse of sorts. A never ending mother universe that gives birth to other universes. To say that infinity causes a problem for a universe is 1: to say that other universes would obey the same laws as our own,no reason for that and 2: to just blatantly ignore that the same problem would exist from god.

His last argument definitely needs further clarification. It is clearly fallacious to state that the product of a cause must have the same attribute as the cause, so he needs to clarify how he gets from a eternal non-personal cause, to it must create eternal things. That is clearly nonsequitur.

At this point we are not sure that the universe needs a cause, some scientists even state that it could have come out of "nothing" for clarification on this you can look up Lawrence Krauss. None the less even if we do accept that the universe has a cause. We can know nothing about this cause. We have no experience outside of the universe to draw conclusions about what anything outside the universe might be. So at best my opponent is doing a you can't explain where the universe came from therefore god. Historically this has gone quite poorly:

Ancient man: Why does the sun rise?
Other ancient man: Well a god must pull it up with a firey chariot, god is the only one strong enough and it must be personal to get it to move.

Ancient man: Why do the tides come in?
Other AM: God must be controlling them how else could they be so controlled, it must be a personal cause.

Jumping to the god conclusion when we don't have answers has never been reasonable or intellectually valid. He has put forth an argument full of fallacies from composition, to equivocation, to argument from ignorance. This is not an intellectually valid position to hold. Where did the universe come from?

other universe regress, god, motherverse, nothing, universe creating fairies....

I don't know, as an intellectual, the only thing we can do is withhold judgement until we get a answer that is proven with facts and evidence, not fallacious syllogisms.
Debate Round No. 3
JohnT

Pro

I don't see why even if the universe is the sum of all matter, why that changes any of it's properties. The reason we can refer to the universe being "made" of matter is that it is made up of a finite amount of it. As for rearranging matter and creating out of nothing being different I completely agree. However as far as I can see, rearranging matter can be explained through natural processes, whereas creation out of nothing can't be.

The reason an infinite regress isn't a problem is because the God I'm proposing is changeless and outside of time. An infinite regress only becomes a problem for something that changes, because then there's mathematical problems with the number of changes it goes through. If the universe was in a changeless "frozen" state then it wouldn't be a problem. As for saying that other universes don't obey the same logical laws as our's seems rather unlikely.

Next I'll try to explain why the first cause must be personal. Imagine that the first cause is something impersonal. Let's represent it with a robot. Now let's imagine that this robot has the power to create the universe. Now even though the robot has the power to create a universe, it's not going to until it gets a command to, or something else outside of itself causes it to create the universe. However now imagine that the robot has been replaced with a person. Something personal could freely choose to create a universe. In other words, if the first cause is something impersonal in a changeless state then it needs something outside of it to initiate anything it does. However if the first cause is personal then it can choose to carry out an action of it's own free will.

In summery belief in God is logical and not simply something we call on to explain anything we don't understand. While I don't think belief in God is the only conclusion you could come too, I do think that it is an intellectually valid point of view. If you agree then please vote pro.
izbo10

Con

izbo10 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
lol mr. infidel votes on a forced forfeit. As for 16kadams, sorry you disagree with philosophers all over the world that I did not adequately refute this argument.
Posted by Buckethead31594 5 years ago
Buckethead31594
Hm. I wonder why Izbo forfeited the last round... hehe.
Posted by Buckethead31594 5 years ago
Buckethead31594
Hm. I wonder why Izbo forfeited the last round...
Posted by JohnT 5 years ago
JohnT
Thanks man. I've finished the last round so it's up to izbo10 now.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
good luck john
Posted by BUZZARD37 5 years ago
BUZZARD37
God is merely an assuance on what created the universe, like when your brain creates multiple personalities when stressed. It's not controlled by intelligence or logic, but still has a good reason to accept.
Atheist out.
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
will do a reply tonight or tomorrow morning.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Boogerdoctor 5 years ago
Boogerdoctor
JohnTizbo10Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: I felt like con had slightly better grammar and spelling. Also, I feel like con did an okay job at refuting pro's point, but really pro didn't meet the burden of proof or do a good enough job refuting con's points.
Vote Placed by Mr.Infidel 5 years ago
Mr.Infidel
JohnTizbo10Tied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
JohnTizbo10Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: wasent the best debate, but it was ok. I will not count the FF against izbo because of his temporary ban. But izbo didn't refute properly/effectively so pros arguments still stood. ANd his case wasn't compelling. so pro wins.