The Instigator
Benshapiro
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Sswdwm
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

Belief in God is reasonable

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Sswdwm
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/13/2014 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 995 times Debate No: 48998
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (2)

 

Benshapiro

Pro

By "God" I mean any supreme being that was the creator of the universe.

In the first round you may present your arguments. This is a debate claiming that belief in God is reasonable. The main opposing argument against intelligent design is evolution. By pointing out some of the inconsistencies of evolution, belief in God becomes more reasonable. I will use some of these inconsistencies as part of my evidence.


Reasonable evidence #1:

The first law of thermodynamics states that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. There is matter that exists. Therefore it is reasonable to believe that it was created by a supreme being.

Reasonable evidence #2:

The second law of thermodynamics states that in a closed system, processes can only increase in disorder. The earth is not technically a closed system because meteorites enter the earth's atmosphere and the earth receives energy from the sun. However, many textbooks and scientists consider the earth "essentially a closed system" due to the nature of earth's balanced processes. The competing theory against a creator or God is evolution so I will point this out: How could billions of years of mutations resulted in the highly organized energy like human cells (that can self-replicate and repair themselves) if energy is constantly following a down-hill energy gradient? Plants (life extremely sensitive to the sun's energy) receive the sun's energy and can organize themselves into a more complex structure for a brief time, but will still succumb to the second law of thermodynamics even given a perfect amount of light, nutrients, and water.

Reasonable evidence #3:

"Natural laws" are laws such as gravity, thermodynamics, physics, and so forth that are universal and unchanging in nature. If the world had a spontaneous cause, there would be no logical explanation for any universal, unchanging laws of order to exist whatsoever without an intelligent designer.

Reasonable evidence #4:

The existence of good and evil. Knowing good and evil is not needed for the survival or propagation of our species.

Reasonable evidence #5:

The earth has the ideal conditions for human life. The earth contains plenty of water and food, contains a multitude of natural resources that have yet to be depleted, the earth is the perfect distance from the sun, gravitational pull from the moon keeps the ocean from stagnating, the atmosphere is the right mixture of oxygen and nitrogen for us to live, and many more instances that are tailored for human existence.

Reasonable evidence #6:

Love is another reason to believe that there is a God. Love is considered by many to be the meaning of life. If we originated from random processes then love would serve no purpose. But in reality it does have a purpose. Love increases well-being. It increases well-being because love is good and God is the ultimate source of good. Therefore love exists and is good because of God.

Reasonable evidence #7:

The existence of beauty is another argument for God. What makes something more beautiful than something else? The human mind is universally coded for recognizing things that are beautiful and things of beauty in varying degrees. Take for instance the beauty of a diamond. The more perfect and brilliant the diamond, the more beautiful it is: but why would this be? This means that the pinnacle of beauty must be God because he would be flawless perfect. The existence of creativity is another argument that favors God. Anything that does not have a use-value does not have any reason for existing if evolution is true. Any reason at all for recognizing creativity as a "good" thing that enhances our quality of life would not make sense under evolutionary theory.
Sswdwm

Con

Opening Arguments:

I would like to thank Pro for offering the debate, and I would like to open by reviewing Pro’s definition for God:

Any supreme being that was the creator of the universe

The key component that distinguishes his God from anything else in nature is the term ‘being’, which requires a mind/intelligence akin our consciousness. Since my opponent is arguing for this definition, I will be mostly focussing on rebutting my opponent’s assertion that a mind is what is required for the creation of the universe.

Burden of Proof:

The title of the debate is “Belief in a God is reasonable”, which sets the Burden of Proof on Pro’s side, since Pro is the one making the positive claim that a God exists. Now Pro opens with his contention:

The main opposing argument against intelligent design is evolution. By pointing out some of the inconsistencies of evolution, belief in God becomes more reasonable. I will use some of these inconsistencies as part of my evidence.”

I would like to point out that arguing against evolution does nothing to establish the truth of intelligent design. It is true that some interpretations of Intelligent Design are mutually exclusive propositions to the theory of Evolution, but it is not a dichotomy. There are potentially an unlimited number of other unsupported, unimagined explanations for the diversification of life which are also mutually exclusive claims to this right. Therefore, Pro would have demonstrate the implausibility/impossibility of every single alternative if he is to demonstrate his positive claim by the ‘process of elimination’.

I would argue that this is essentially impossible, and therefore any positive claim needs to produce positive evidence to support its conclusion, and stand on its own merits instead of the failings of an alternative hypothesis.

This fallacy is can be illustrated by the following adaption of the Russel’s Teapot analogy:

It is known that there is a small object in a precisely 300km orbit above Mars. Con claims it is a celestial teapot, based on the spectroscopic study of the object through various telescopes (the object is too small to resolve its shape) which show the object is likely made of ceramic. Con essentially claims it is a Cat, and only cites the failings in the evidence/aruments that supports the claim it is a Teapot in his argument for the existence of the Cat.

If Con could conclusively disprove the claim that it is a Teapot, does it make the claim it is a Cat any more likely?

The answer is no. As there are a potentially unlimited number of other objects that fit this bill.

The same applies to evolution & intelligent design.

The problem gets worse than this. Even if I could conclusively demonstrate, without a trace of a doubt to Pro that evolution was absolutely true and accurate. Would it do a thing to disprove a God? The answer is no. Because one could always argue that God used evolution to get it’s desired results via. natural processes. Thereby ‘God’ in this sense becomes an unfalsifiable claim that in the process of being capable to explain anything, actually explains nothing.

This mean’s the claim of a God is untestable, and untenable until Pro provides additional attributes for his God.

Rebuttals:

1.

The first law of thermodynamics states that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. There is matter that exists. Therefore it is reasonable to believe that it was created by a supreme being.

Logically, this argument is a non-sequitur. What a strict interpretation of this argument actually yields is the suggestion that matter & energy are eternal instead of created.

  1. Matter cannot be created or destroyed
  2. Matter & energy exists

C. The matter & energy that exists was not created, and cannot be destroyed.

Incredibly this works opposite to Pro’s own contention that matter has to be created and actually provides a positive argument against his God!

One important point that Pro may have missed is that scientific laws are descriptive, not proscriptive. In the laws of thermodynamics these laws have applied without fail, but they do not describe the how or why questions of the laws themselves. While it seems intuitively true that matter cannot just appear, and a car does not suddenly accelerate without an input of energy, the observation of this occurrence is likely telling us something we didn’t know before about the underlying principles at work.

Zero energy universe:

Because Gravity exists, empty space itself is inherently unstable. Virtual particles spontaneously pop in and out of existence on timescales shorter than the planck time. The law of conservation of energy is not violated because the particles when they exist form a negative gravitational potential on a short enough timescale within the planck time.

When you have a patch of empty space which is itself boiling with temporary virtual particles, then the end result is that patch of empty space actually has an overall mass, and therefore a net energy content. This is thought to be one of the major factors involved in the ‘free lunch’ hypothesis put forward by inflationary theory. Which depicts that sum of all the energy in the universe, subtracted by the negative gravitational potential, gives exactly zero[1].

The predictions that this theory makes, regarding quantum fluxuations in the early universe, and rapid inflation are realized in the CMB measurements. The size of the patches are in agreement with the universe being geometrically flat (the only conditions upon which the met energy content of the universe can equal zero) and also consistant with a rapid period of inflation that ‘froze out’ the small early quantum fluxuations into large macroscopic features of the universe which we can observe today.

Therefore, there are experimentally supported theories which explain the origin of the energy content of the universe without need for a God.

2.

First of all, this argument seems to just be an argument ad ignorantum. As it provides no positive argument for his God except to say there’s a potential hole/unknown in a competing theory.

Second of all, Pro unfortunately makes a horrific misunderstanding of what entropy is. The second law of thermodynamics is more accurately stated as:

The entropy of an isolated system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium.” [2]

Entropy does not equate to disorder, as this is a very gross extrapolation of the law. While it is true that things, when left to time, will decay, wear, decompose. When there is a positive influx of energy, the system is no longer in equilibrium. It is in fact the ‘drive to achieve equilibrium’ that the second law of thermodynamics that is the driving force for the evolution of life!

Without life, there would be a very large stress (imbalance) of energy on the planet in the form of high energy molecules such as sulphides, silicates, amino acids etc. Life processes are by far the best known to catalysing the conversion of these high energy molecules to lower ones, with a release in energy and therefore an increase in entropy.

Therefore, particularly for the origin of life, the tendency of a system to drive to equilibrium is likely whole driving force behind its origin in the first place.

Pro acknowledges that the Earth is not a closed system. But even this is not the whole picture, as life only exists on the Earth’s crust. The Earth’s crust is an open system to both the heat & reactive molecules ejected from within the Earth’s mantle and of course from the Sun, and radiates into space. Therefore the Earth’s crust can never equilibrium, and structures as complex as life can indeed arise.

3.

"Natural laws" are laws such as gravity, thermodynamics, physics, and so forth that are universal and unchanging in nature. If the world had a spontaneous cause, there would be no logical explanation for any universal, unchanging laws of order to exist whatsoever without an intelligent designer.”

His third evidence is a subtle shift of the BoP. As pro did not attempt to demonstrate why the Unchanging Laws of Order’ would defy any logical explanation.

An important thing Pro misses out is the fact the natural laws are descriptive, not proscriptive. They are a description of our observations of nature and how it works, and work to model the system to an understanding. But Laws by definition to not describe the underlying principles that cause the laws to be as they are, that role is reserved for scientific theories.

5.

Here Pro argues that the conditions on Earth are ideal for Human life. I actually agree with Pro, everything about the Earth’s fundamental conditions are good for our survival, the right temperature for our finely tuned bodies, the right atmospheric composition, and so on.

However this is not an indication of design.

I will attempt to demonstrate why with the following analogy:

In glass moulding, molten glass is blown into a steel mould akin to blowing a balloon inside of a bottle. The balloon will expand to perfectly fit the contours of the mould it is blown into. All the bumps and dimples on the insides of the mould are fully moulded around by the expanding glass. Now after a short while, the glass cools and solidifies.

Imagine what would happen if one were somehow capable of changing the shape of the steel mould with the moulded glass still inside of it, the glass would inevitably crack.

This is not so different with Human life on Earth. We have evolved to fit and take best advantage of our environment, not vice versa.

Furthermore, this argument is made with the assumption that Humans are the target of a process, where instead it is thought that Human’s are just one of millions of outcomes of an undirected process that is evolution, and to think otherwise is perhaps a little arrogant.

I will address the arguments 4,6 & 7 in my second rebuttal.


References:

[1] Lawrence Krauss – A Universe from Nothing 2012

[2] http://simple.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 1
Benshapiro

Pro

Thanks con.

Yes, my burden of proof is to show that belief in God is reasonable, not that God exists. Although belief in God certainly implies that he exists, I am not trying to prove the existence of God.

There are two logical theories on how life came to be: 1) by a supreme being or 2) by natural means.

I am arguing that evolution and intelligent design are mutually exclusive because if I can prove that evolution would not be able to occur by natural means, then the competing theory, God, becomes the most likely logical explanation. I get what you're saying though, that even if evolution were proven without a doubt there would still be no contradicting evidence of God. However, if evolution isn't proven and can actually be shown not to be true, then this logic doesn't follow. As for Russell's Teapot analogy, it is possible there are an infinite number of means the universe could've come about but it isn't logical to argue for something we know nothing about. We have some evidence of an intelligent designer. Russel's teapot analogy doesn't apply.

Rebuttal for evidence #1

My argument, although unstructured, in my opening argument was implied to be this:

Matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed
Matter and energy exists
The existence of matter and energy contradicts laws saying that they can't exist
God must have created all matter that exists


con: "In the laws of thermodynamics these laws have applied without fail, but they do not describe the how or why questions of the laws themselves."

That is essentially my "natural law" argument for God. Universal, unchanging laws of order would defy any universe that originated spontaneously. You could be arguing that we don't yet understand this law enough to know that the law can't be defied or formulaically exploited in different ways, but no natural law has ever been shown to be contradicted or formulaically exploited.

Zero energy universe:

Your conclusion is contradictory to your explanation.

con: "The law of conservation of energy is not violated because the particles when they exist form a negative gravitational potential on a short enough timescale within the planck time."

. . .

con: Therefore, there are experimentally supported theories which explain the origin of the energy content of the universe without need for a God

If the net energy is still 0, this wouldn't explain energy creation at all.

Rebuttal for evidence #2

con: First of all, this argument seems to just be an argument ad ignorantum. As it provides no positive argument for his God except to say there’s a potential hole/unknown in a competing theory.

If there are two competing theories, such as intelligent design and creation, then if one of the two theories becomes more unlikely the other becomes more likely.

I admit my definition of the second law of thermodynamics was worded in the general sense, but my logic follows that if energy is unable to do as much work by following a downward energy gradient it's not logical to believe that life followed an upward energy gradient using the power of the sun. As I stated in the first round, if plants (that are extremely sensitive to the sun) can organize themselves into more complex structures for a brief time before succumbing to the second law given a perfect supply of water, nutrients and light, how does it follow that all of life has followed an upward energy gradient for billions of years?

Rebuttal for evidence #3

con: his third evidence is a subtle shift of the BoP. As pro did not attempt to demonstrate why the Unchanging Laws of Order’ would defy any logical explanation.

If life originated from spontaneity and given that order defies spontaneity, then believing that spontaneity governs order like natural laws that are universal and unchanging would be illogical.


Rebuttal for evidence #5

I am glad we can agree on this point although we've reached different conclusions. This point serves as supporting evidence in favor of a God given the sheer unliklihood of life to exist at all. That was the extent of what I was trying to convey.


I look forward to your rebuttals to my remaining reasonable evidences.
Sswdwm

Con

Thanks for the rebuttal Pro.

Pro is attempting to soften his burden by addressing the argument ‘Belief in a God is reasonable’ instead of ‘Proof a God exists’.

My original adaption of Russell’s teapot scenario still applies here. I would add, even if you were able to conclusively prove beyond a shadow of a doubt evolution is false. This does not begin to make the belief in a God reasonable. As it is an entirely separate claim, which needs to satisfy its own burden of proof.

Of course given that Pro’s definition of god is in direct contradiction with the theory of evolution, if Pro could prove his god true, then it automatically follows the theory of evolution is false. Pro has his own burden of proof to satisfy here, and therefore essentially all seven of these lines of evidence are arguments ad ignorantum.

“God of the Gaps” is another description of my take on Pro’s position.

Now Pro stated:


“There are two logical theories on how life came to be: 1) by a supreme being or 2) by natural means.”

Even this is a false dichotomy. The true logical dichotomy is:

1. By natural means

2. Not by natural means (or supernatural)

Or

1. By a supreme being

2. Not by a supreme being

One example I can and have give is a celestial PhD student (CPS) who lives in another reality, or dimension. A higher reality. This PhD student is by no means special in it’s reality, nor is it any more intelligent than our average scientist. But let’s assume the laws of it’s reality are understood well enough that the beings in this alternative reality would create micro-universes, such as our own.

The CPD’s project could, in theory, have been set a project to see what kind of micro-universes are capable of producing life by tweeking the natural laws it will come into existence by.

This scenario would be perfectly compatible with the observations we have today. Whilst of course no serious person would advocate for this explanation, it does demonstrate Pro’s false dichotomy. Since we don’t have a very good understanding of the address-space for potential non-natural means except for humans, then claiming that the non-natural means must be a god seems to be another argument ad ignorantum.


Evidence Rebuttals:

1. 1st Law of Themodynamics

Pro gave the following logical argument:

Matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed
Matter and energy exists
The existence of matter and energy contradicts laws saying that they can't exist
God must have created all matter that exists

Note that the last line is a non-sequitir. As Pro has jumped form ‘a contradiction’ (which I argued isn’t true) straight to God. Pro makes the assumption there could never have been a natural process that would account for thie apparent contradiction. Just like the orbit of mercury ‘contradicting’ Newton’s laws of gravity did not prove god, it was Einstein’s theory of relativity that allowed us to resolve this contradiction.

This I hope has highlighted the dangers of putting god into a gap in scientific understanding.

Also recall my original rebuttal:

1. Matter cannot be created or destroyed

2. Matter & energy exists

C. The matter & energy that exists was not created, and cannot be destroyed.


con: "In the laws of thermodynamics these laws have applied without fail, but they do not describe the how or why questions of the laws themselves."


Zero energy universe:

Pro claims a contradiction in the zero-energy hypothesis. I was merely laying the groundwork for how matter and energy can apparently appear where the energy content should be zero. While virtual pop in and out of existence on incredibly short timescales, if you take a patch of space, you will have countless particles spontaneously appearing and annihilating [1].

The physics gets complicated from here, but the end result is an empty patch of space will have an overall negative energy potential, and a positive mass. It is from a process akin to this that positive matter and energy can appear form what seems to be nothing, since the net energy content is zero.



2. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

Pro seems to be quite hung-up on the disorder definition of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Disorder is an exceptionally ill-defined quantity, whereas entropy is defined strictly in terms which relate to the quantity of ‘useful energy’ in a system.

It does not follow that a higher entropy = higher disorder, especially when we have the entropy of the Sun+Earth system constantly increasing (as the energy/mass in the sun reaches equilibrium… which will take billions more years).


3 & 5.

I only have this much to say:

“What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” – Hitchen’s Razor.

6 & 4.

The substance of Pro’s argument is:

“If we originated from random processes then love would serve no purpose.”

This is a blunt and hasty generalization. The evolutionary explanation is rather more subtle. In biological evolution, life as we know it today including the most intelligent species’ emerged via a gradual, cumulative process. This cumulative process is made so by random mutation followed by non-random natural selection. The population with traits that better enable them to survive and reproduce will have an overexpression of these genes.

We can also apply this to love, which is best understood as a neurochemical process. The benefit of possessing the ability to love, or hold deep affection becomes obvious, as it drives the formation of parental and intra-cult bonds, which is important given we are a social primate species, and very similar behavior can be observed in our primate cousins.

Furthermore, let’s assume if suddenly love were erased from existence on the planet. What would happen? Mothers would leave children, fathers would not attempt to care for said children, and it would essentially become much more akin to ‘every man for themselves’, with overall less co-operation and physical support and ultimately negative survival consequences.

Therefore, given our unimpressive physical bodies, it is very logical for emotions to have arisen via purely natural processes, including love.

Pro’s forth argument is rather hard to address as he has provided virtually no support for his argument and leaves the definition of Good & Evil undefined.

1. What is Good & Evil?

2. How do we know what is Good & what is Evil?

If Good & Evil were well-defined, like a square, or a triangle, then the answer becomes trivial. Our brains are capable of matching the concept with the manifestation. Similarly in the case of Good & Evil.

However I think Pro is arguing for our intuitive sense for right & wrong, which is a far cry from ‘Good & Evil’, which is generally loaded with religious presuppositions. Our sense for right & wrong is easily explained by an understanding of how we are a social species[2], and doing things that positively affect well-being (as mentioned in my rebuttal to #6) will generally positively affect the overall survival of said species.



7.
Pro’s seventh argument is a rather interesting one, much like how we will derive pleasure from numerous experiences, the question of why we find things attractive, or beautiful, seems to be addressed in how our ancestors chose places for habitat, and for personal beauty, addresses our innate lust to mate [3].

At the core of it, this is another argument ad ignorantum, and one that would not require a positive explanation in order to be dismissed. It isn’t even clear why a God would be required for our sense of beauty, only Pro’s bare assertion for such.

Conclusion:

The main issue here at the heart of Pro’s arguments are that they don’t provide positive support for the existence of God. The lack of attributes that Pro has put forward, and ability to make precise predictions that would confirm this make such an exercise very difficult to accomplish as it stands.

I would like voters to take Pro’s god as seriously as the orbiting teapot, or celestial PhD student until Pro can put forward some hard attributes and predictions that would make his God testable and therefore verifiable.

1. http://profmattstrassler.com...

2. http://www.eva.mpg.de...

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

Debate Round No. 2
Benshapiro

Pro

Thanks, Con.

Interestingly, con is saying that I am attempting to soften my burden of proof by trying to prove that "Belief in a God is reasonable" rather than "Proof a God exists."

The title of this debate is: "Belief in God is reasonable."

In my first opening paragraph, my second sentence was "This is a debate claiming that belief in God is reasonable."

What's more, is that I was reading your debate topic on "Evolution is Falsified" with Garrett and you said in your concluding round of the debate: "The title of the debate was "Evolution is Falsified". The title is the first principle governs the format of the debate, sets the BoP etc."

So even by your own set of rules, this debate is to prove that belief in God is reasonable and there's really no logical reason to think otherwise. The reason I give "reasonable evidences" is to support my assertion that belief in God is reasonable, not to make a claim that there's "Proof a God exists."

"My original adaption of Russell’s teapot scenario still applies here. I would add, even if you were able to conclusively prove beyond a shadow of a doubt evolution is false. This does not begin to make the belief in a God reasonable."

Russell's teapot analogy is a metaphor illustrating the impossibility of proving a negative. This analogy is meant to be analogous to God or an intelligent designer. It is not analogous because there is reasonable evidence to believe that a an intelligent designer exist because the universe exhibits qualities of design that are better explained by a designer rather than spontaneity (take natural laws for example). Therefore Russell's teapot analogy doesn't apply because there is no evidence of a teapot floating millions of miles above earth but there is reasonable evidence of design in our universe rather than something that doesn't exhibit any qualities of existence.

As I've stated in previous rounds the origin of the universe boils down into two separate categories: an intelligent designer or natural causes. As one explanation becomes more unlikely, the other becomes more likely. Try to think of any other explanation other than intelligent design or natural causes for the origin of our universe. Even if an alien of some kind designed our universe it would still be a design of intelligence or of a supreme being given the intricacy, interdependency, and fragileness of our existence given the odds against existing and sustaining in the first place.

The second law of thermodynamics by itself disproves evolution given the impossibility of the sun or any other means to circumvent the second law (referencing my plant example). This hasn't been part of the debate but since you brought up that I haven't provided any evidence to the contrary, in addition, abiogenesis has never been shown to occur in nature or through a controlled environment (even though amino acids "the building blocks of life" were created in a lab under very specific conditions, they were not able to create any form of life even given this controlled setting. How would nature have spontaneously created a perfect environment for life to arise from non-life and then to thrive?) mutations are overwhelmingly more harmful than good, no bone evidence has been found of missing links despite dinosaurs pre-existing essentially almost every link that's every lived, and violation of the nested hierarchy given randomly distributed germ-cell formation arising simultaneously as evidenced in the 'Evolution is Falsified" debate.



In order to argue that the first law of thermodynamics does not require divine intervention, you would have to argue that matter has existed eternally. Since we exist in the confines of time (whereas God does not), there would be an infinite regress of time before waiting until this present moment of time. It is impossible that matter is eternal. If the universe is not infinite, matter and energy were created. Since they were created, this defies laws saying that they cannot be created. Therefore, belief that God has created matter by means that supersede these laws is reasonable.

One note about the phrase: "God of the Gaps" that Krauss likes to use. This really isn't true. Sure, people have attributed phenomena that is explained by scientific discoveries made throughout history, but this doesn't lessen the design that was already in place. Science is really just discovering the design that already exists. Scientists aren't creating or inventing anything, merely discovering and documenting how phenomena that is already in place works.

Zero energy universe

"It is from a process akin to this that positive matter and energy can appear form what seems to be nothing, since the net energy content is zero."

I can certainly see how this is a complex issue, but at its core this does absolutely nothing to prove that virtual particles show that energy or matter creation is possible. The virtual particles always have the same net effect and nothing is created in the process. Even when "popping out of existence" there is a negative gravitational potential that acts as an exchange for this effect and is only extremely temporary.

2nd law of thermodynamics

Pro seems to be quite hung-up on the disorder definition of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Disorder is an exceptionally ill-defined quantity, whereas entropy is defined strictly in terms which relate to the quantity of ‘useful energy’ in a system.

This seems to be an attempt by con to avoid the issue of the second law of thermodynamics providing an upward energy gradient for life to follow using the power of the sun. In the last round I admitted that I used the second law's definition in the general sense (which isn't wrong) and provided a very specific example as to why life couldn't have followed an upward, complex organization. By focusing on the definition of entropy rather than the implications of the second law which I've covered last round, con seems to be making a straw-man argument.

In addition, take this quote taken from Stephen Hawking, who is of the most outspoken and famous of atheist scientists as he speaks of the second law of thermodynamics: "It is a matter of common experience, that things get more disordered and chaotic with time. This observation can be elevated to the status of a law, the so-called Second Law of Thermodynamics. This says that the total amount of disorder, or entropy, in the universe, always increases with time. However, the Law refers only to the total amount of disorder." [2]


Argument of natural law and infinitesimally small likelihood of life existing.

con simply dismisses my arguments of "natural laws" saying that they aren't indicative of evidence for God. Intelligent design is specifically that: intelligent design. This in stark contrast to chaotic and spontaneous causes of the universe presumed by natural means. Now, if universal and unchanging laws of order exist, which camp do these laws lean more in favor of: an intelligent designer or chaotic spontaneous causes? Since it would be illogical to assume that spontaneity and chaos govern universal and unchanging laws of order, it would be reasonable to believe they were created by an intelligent designer to naturally govern order in the universe. Therefore, belief in God is reasonable.

Likelihood of life existing

This is supporting evidence of a God given the sheer unlikelihood of life to exist. The evidence against the probability of life existing is all around us: we haven't found any life forms yet or any planets capable of inhabiting a sustainable life force such as ours.

Love

Con is essentially arguing that love exists as a means of social cooperation. Cooperation can be coerced through fear, intimidation, reward, or any kind of incentive really. This doesn't explain why love intrinsically enhances well-being and is inherently "good."

Good and evil

Right and wrong are different values than good and evil. Good and evil relate to moral characteristics whereas "right and wrong" could apply in a different set of circumstances unrelated to morals. A collective group can be cooperative and still engage in evil activity. Take Nazi Germany for example. An entire country collectively unwilling to stand up for what was right and stop annihilation of the Jews and sub-groups[1]. To deny the existence of good and evil is to assume that objective morality doesn't exist which would require a big leap of faith and ignorance given that human beings have a conscience that acts as a moral compass to remind us what we already intuitively know is right and what is wrong.

"It isn’t even clear why a God would be required for our sense of beauty, only Pro’s bare assertion for such." Because if God existed, then absolutes would exist. Absolute truth. Absolute beauty. Absolute perfection. If absolutes exist, then the nature of anything is not absolute unless it posses all of the qualities of that nature. Take one diamond that is less beautiful than another. The less beautiful diamond is more flawed than the more beautiful one and possesses less of the true nature of a diamond because it has flaws. The existence of an absolute, rather than subjective a sense, of objective and universal beauty means that the ultimate beauty is flawless. This aesthetic perfection is only objectively real if a God exists.


conclusion:

My evidences are favored by an intelligent designer rather than by means of spontaneity and chaos. The universe exhibits traits of intelligent design. Science is merely the discovery and documentation of how the designs in our universe already work. Given my evidence in favor of an intelligent designer, I have shown that belief in God is reasonable. Thank you con for this debate.

http://www.jaapl.org... [1]

http://www.hawking.org.uk... [2]
Sswdwm

Con

Thanks, Pro.

I concede Pro’s last point regarding my position my opponent should be arguing for the resolution “Proof a God exists” and instead suggest the resolution “Belief in the existence of God is reasonable” is a more reasonable one.

Russell’s Teapot

My opponent is punching an airbag in his last statement, and I would like voters to refer to my opening statement as I was specifically talking about my adaption of the Russell’s teapot analogy. Specifically, disproving the existence of a teapot in orbit around Mars does not help support the existence of the objection in question: a cat.

I gave the next-dimensional PhD student example to dispel the notion that design absolutely requires a God. We do not know the physical laws etc of this putative dimension, therefore the fact it’s a question-begging response (much like God is), is irrelevant. These explanations just add another layer of uncertainty to our understanding of the world, and postulating an additional unnecessarily unproven entity is an argument from ignorance.

Entropy:

For the creation of order via entropic purposes, I would like to refer con to the water cycle, crystal caves[1], volcanoes and even natural fission reactors[2]. All of which are stunning examples of stunning complex systems which serve as mechanisms driven by the second law of thermodynamics itself. All of these mechanisms lead to a net increase in entropy, although the systems themselves have/had order.

I argued in my original post that entropy is actually the driving force behind life’s mechanisms. And an alleged small loss of entropy (in the ‘ordering’ of life) is going to be easily driven by the counteracting large increase of entropy of converting highly reactive molecules & higher frequency radiation (UV, visible) to low energy molecules (such as glucose, CO2) & low frequency radiation(infrared).

This is at least partially reaffirmed in the context of the same quote Pro attempted to use (emphasis mine):

To do these things, the system must convert energy in some ordered form, like food, sunlight, or electric power, into disordered energy, in the form of heat. In this way, the system can satisfy the requirement that the total amount of disorder increases, while, at the same time, increasing the order in itself and its offspring..

Abiogenesis:

The attempt to shift the topic to abiogenesis is an amusing one, which I will deal with quickly. “Why doesn’t new life arise easily now if it did in the past?”.
The answer is simple:

1. Conditions on Earth are very different to 4.5 billion years ago (oxygen rich atmosphere, cooler surface)

2. Competition with existing, highly evolved life (current life is orders of magnitude more efficient that anything abiogenesis is likely to cook up).

Gish Gallop:

My opponent asserted a number of points regarding ‘missing links of dinosaurs, nested heirachy violation, mutation’s causing more harm than good. These might have been interesting points but my opponent provided absolutely no substantiation to these points and therefore I will not address them in this debate.

1st Law of Thermodynamics:
I never advocated for eternal matter, I only stated this as this was the only logical conclusion from Pro’s argument as he gave it. If Pro argued further stating that matter must have had a beginning and therefore contradicts the 1st Law, then I had argued in my second rebuttal that this only demonstrated a violation of this natural law, and indicates at most a shortfall in our understanding (be it a God, or another natural process). Therefore using this hole seems to be at best another argument ad ignorantum.

Pro cited an infinite regress for this process. This fails due to the fact that anything eternal never did have a beginning, and therefore there is no moment in the infinite past to ‘come from’. The effect of time itself can bet understood as an illusion due to entropy, which is our only reference for the arrow of time.

Zero energy universe:


While each event is temporary, they happen all the time, everywhere, then the net sum of these interactions will produce a persistant net-positive energy/mass along with an equal and opposite gravitational potential. This is one of the proposed candidates to explain the inflation constant which is currently driving apart the universe, the energy of empty space.


The science is more complicated in inflationary theory, which only deals with the initial phase of the big bang, however the explanation it provides for the presence of matter and energy is analogous to that of the energy of empty space. The net energy content of the universe is actually zero. The inflationary theory is becoming increasingly well supported empirically especially via observations in the cosmic microwave background. A stunning, and beautiful new piece to add to the evidence pile came even during the course of this debate!! [3]



Sponetneity:

Pro makes the argument of chaos and spontaneity being the order of the day without a God. Guess what, he’s right! Check out Brownian motion and quantum mechanics in particular. Both of which demonstrate that the universe is indeed jiggling all over the place, where the electrons in my body are moving all over the place and can spontaneously appear in the next atom, or even the (although infinitesimally unlikely) Andromeda galaxy!

However when one considers the sum of all these individual ‘random’ interactions, only then do complex and ‘ordered’ systems emerge. Another example is in radioactive decay [4]. A radioactive nuclei may or may not decay, completely at random. The only thing you can say about a radioactive nucleus is the chance it will decay within a certain time, but you can never say when. However when you take a large sample of the nuclei (>10^21 particles, or a few grams), you can obtain a very predictable decay rate which will be very predictably measurable over time.

Likelihood of life existing

The universe contains at least 200 billion galaxies of 100 billion stars. From our study on exoplanets with Kepler, it is a reasonable estimate that there are 10^24 planets in the universe! This is an unimaginably large number, more than the number of grains of sand on Earth! When one considers we have a number of other environments within our own solar system which could potentially have/had harbour life [5][6].

Furthermore one should take Pro’s assertion for finding extraterrestial life with a pinch of salt. Since the distances are vast between stars, and the relatively short period of time humans have existed and even shorter period/distance that we have been sending out complex radio waves (maximum of 100 light years),. Even if extraterrestial life existed the sheer scale of distances involved in spacetravel is a likely explanation as to why we have yet to be visited by intelligent life even if it did exist.

Love, Good & Evil:

Pro mentioned in the debate that he was going to be arguing against evolution, and the way these 2 arguments were originally put forward were as follows:

Good & Evil- “The existence of good and evil. Knowing good and evil is not needed for the survival or propagation of our species.”

Love- “Love is another reason to believe that there is a God. Love is considered by many to be the meaning of life. If we originated from random processes then love would serve no purpose…”

I have more than satisfied my burden by giving a naturalistic explanation of love, Pro attempts a red herring in giving other processes that could achieve the same results but this does nothing to undermine the evolutionary development of love. One could also say why build a camera when the same results can be achieved with a telescope, a scanner, photographic memory, or pen & paper. It’s a non-argument.

Good & Evil as Pro stated in his rebuttal, are defined differently. If that is the case than it just comes down to how us as conscious beings are able to recognise certain social patterns and associate them with a definition. These definitions have clearly changed over time, you need only look at the past 100 years to see the change in how we view women’s & gay rights, ethnic equality etc.

All the evidence shows that ‘Good and Evil’ are at best, badly defined & accepted from group to group, therefore makes for a poor argument for God.

Beauty:

A perfect square has four 90 degree angles and 4 straight edges.

Is the square, or ability to perceive ‘squareness’ only possible because of God now?

I have given a naturalistic explanation for how we perceive things to be ‘beautiful’, and it has very much to do with our psychology. Most heterosexuals would struggle to conceive of a beautiful member of the same sex, but would have no such trouble imagining a beautiful example of the opposite sex.

Our perception of beauty seems to be linked to our innate evolutionary desires that tie back to our search for habitat and mates as I have already suggested. Our ancestors in Africa that did not possess these innate desires (before they developed the capacity to rationalize) would have quickly gone extinct, which is how natural selection works.


Conclusions:

I hope I have thoroughly rebutted my opponent’s arguments in this debate, and I hope I have even given forward a number of points that would even make a case for naturalism. I have turned the entropic, love & good and evil in arguments actually for evolution instead of against it. Even my opponent’s argument from the eternal nature of matter could be an argument against God, as it implies that creation is impossible!

I would like to thank Pro for his participation and of course, vote Con!


References:

1. http://news.nationalgeographic.com...

2. http://www.atlasobscura.com...

3. http://www.bbc.co.uk...

4. http://www.darvill.clara.net...

5. http://en.wikipedia.org...(moon)#Potential_for_extraterrestrial_life

6. http://en.wikipedia.org...(rover)

Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Skepticalone 2 years ago
Skepticalone
Good debate guys. Sorry, I didn't see it in time to vote.
Posted by Benshapiro 2 years ago
Benshapiro
Yeah I'm disappointed at the vote turnout too. Maybe it'll get better though i posted the debate in the general forum to see if we could get more votes :-)
Posted by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
Thanks for RFD!

Benshapiro by all means ask a theist to look the debate and vote, a I was hoping we'd we more votes than we did :-(
Posted by Benshapiro 2 years ago
Benshapiro
Etherealvoyager- I'm just curious, why would you agree with me before and after the debate if your religion is "atheist"?
Posted by etherealvoyager 2 years ago
etherealvoyager
This was a highly contested debate. The title of this debate is 'Belief in God is reasonable.' Pro is correct that he does not have to prove that God exists, he merely has to establish it is reasonable to believe in God. To fulfil his burden of proof, Pro, in his first round, gives a massive seven reasons why it is reasonable to believe that God exists. In order for Con to win this debate, he must at the very least refute all seven of Pro's arguments.

Con relatively easily refuted argument 4, 5, 6, and 7. Pro, in argument 2 also misconstrued the notion of the second law of thermodynamics, and Con rightfully pointed this out. Of course, even if his argument was valid, that does not in any way ratifies the existence of God. Intelligent Design proponents themselves (perhaps to avoid the 'creationist' label) admit that it if intelligent design was true, it could have been caused by aliens. Pro also added more irrelevant arguments against evolution, from another debate, as well as an argument from abiogenesis. Argument 1, and 3 were the more fiercely debated ones. Con really argued against argument 3 properly in his final round, hence Pro could not respond to this. But his refutation was a reasonable one. Argument 1 was the most interesting argument in the debate. Pro's official formulation of the argument was rather logically invalid, as Con noted. Nevertheless, it was still an argument that Con has to address properly to win the debate. He brought up the notion of a 'Zero-Energy Universe.' Pro made succinct, yet competent arguments against such a notion. Overall, though, Con (in his last round again) was able to defend this argument successfully. Hence, Con wins based on arguments.

Conduct were similar on both sides. Con gets the sources, as he used a variety of sources, while Pro only used two sources in the entire debate.
Posted by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
Squeezed it into 9,999 characters! Heh.

Thanks a lot for the debate Pro, especially in your tenacious last two rebuttals!
Posted by Benshapiro 2 years ago
Benshapiro
I know I've struggled with that too. I wish there was an option when creating a debate for more than a 10k char limit per round but 10k is the max.
Posted by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
I wish we had another round to be fair. Struggling to make within 10k word limit...
Posted by Benshapiro 2 years ago
Benshapiro
Yes that's my logic.
Posted by etherealvoyager 2 years ago
etherealvoyager
So, your argument is like:
1) The 1st law of thermodynamics states that matter & energy can not be created or destroyed.
2) Matter & energy exists.
3) (From 1 & 2) The existence of matter and energy defies the 1st of thermodynamics
4) (Conclusion) Therefore, (3) is reasonable evidence that God exists

?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Pitbull15 2 years ago
Pitbull15
BenshapiroSswdwmTied
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Reasons for voting decision: "God" could mean literally anything supernatural in this debate such as a genie or a unicorn or two gods, etc. Now which god specifically... That deserves its own debate entirely. However, about who had more convincing arguments, although I think Pro didn't use the best arguments in the best ways, and didn't do as well at defending his position, and he could've done so; that's not the point, as we're talking about how well Con refuted Pro's arguments specifically in this debate. The point is that Con used better sources and arguments against Pro's arguments specifically, so he gets my votes there. And also, evolution has nothing to do with theism or any belief in a supernatural entity of sorts. Evolution itself has nothing to do with life's origins.
Vote Placed by etherealvoyager 2 years ago
etherealvoyager
BenshapiroSswdwmTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.