The Instigator
Bound_Up
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Hooded_Freak
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Can a single atheist argument be rebutted?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+3
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/4/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,057 times Debate No: 92323
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (25)
Votes (0)

 

Bound_Up

Con

Rules are set to age 100+. If you want in, tell me and I'll change it.
(Attention! Despite the title, you may not submit just ANY atheist argument to argue against).

I present below a series of arguments in favor of God, along with rebuttals of them.

Your invitation is to find ANY theistic argument below which you think is correct, with just ONE atheistic rebuttal which you believe is mistaken.

Announce your chosen argument in a comment, along with your arguments. I'll accept your challenge and the debate shall begin.

1. Where do morals come from without a God?
- where do morals come from WITH God? Suppose He exists, suppose he wants certain things, commands certain things, has a character consistent with certain things. On what grounds do any of those facts determine morality?

2. I've been given a conviction by God that He exists.
- Distinguish between observation and inference. What experience have you had that leads you to conclude that God has communicated His existence to you? How do you know that it was God, as opposed to anything else? How could you distinguish between it being God, versus a lying deity tricking you? Or a lying non-deity? Or some natural phenomenon?

3. The Bible(Koran, whatever) is perfect
- What do you mean perfect, and how do you know? You may point to proofs of the truth of certain parts, but how do you know the other parts are perfect? How do you know some parts aren't true and other parts false?

4. What if you"re wrong?
- If I"m wrong, then I suppose Thor will never let me into Valhalla. Oh, did you mean YOUR God? Why yours? What if you"re wrong about Thor? I"ve considered writing a story about someone who buys the "what if you're wrong" argument. They decide to go around and investigate which religion has the worst Hell, so that they can decide to believe in that one, since they"re just believing to try and avoid the bad consequences that might occur on the off-chance that a religion happens to be true. What if you"re wrong about Allah? Or Jesus? (depending on your religion)

5. Could you be wrong? I could be wrong about Batman; maybe he really does exist. That applies to lots of things, Superman, Spiderman, fairies, talking rabbits, flying bears, God, Darth Vader, Harry Potter. I"m willing to grant you that, but I think anyone who went around making sure everybody admitted they could be wrong about flying bears is probably making a mistake somewhere in their thinking. The same applies to God, unless you have more evidence for God than you do for sentient sock puppets.

6. Disorder does not beget order
- Now, that"s not entirely true, is it? If you put the right chemicals together, and add a supply of energy, atoms will form into crystal shapes, now, won"t they?
The 2nd law of thermodynamics says that a CLOSED system will not increase in order, more or less. Well, are we in a closed system? Not at all. The sun's pumping in energy all the time, and there are tens of thousands of tons of matter from outer space falling onto earth every day. Not-closed systems CAN increase in order.

Plus, even in a closed system, it"s only the total "order" or negentropy that decreases. So long as the total decreases, there"s no reason to categorically deny that a local part of it might have increased order, even while its surroundings become less orderly.

7. You send yourself to Hell
- So, supposing that we were all somehow here, but God didn"t exist, or say he was just a Deist God, who created nature (not heaven or hell), and then never touched anything beyond that, would I go to Hell when I died? Would Hell even exist? If yes, then how? If no, then what difference does God make that ends up with me in Hell, and why shouldn"t he be held responsible for that? Why is it that when God doesn"t intervene, I don"t go to Hell, but when do does, I go to Hell?

8. Atheists have a higher suicide rate than Christians
- Atheists may commit suicide more than Christians, but Christians commit suicide more than Hindus. And the Muslims hardly commit suicide at all. Does this prove Islam? I think not. I think it would be a mistake to assume that a position is true or false based on how often the people who hold the position commit suicide. In each case, I suspect there is a different cause of the rate of suicide.
Muslims, for example, might have a closer watch on each other. Hindus might feel they"re needed more by their families, since they tend to live in poorer places.
Atheists may be more isolated than Christians, because there are fewer of them in some countries, like America, and they may not be socially accepted by the Christians that surround them

It"s worth pointing out, also, that global atheist statistics just tend to reflect whatever's going on in China. There may be something about china other than atheism that makes it the way it is, and it would be a mistake to confuse the two.

9. Historical evidence shows that Jesus appeared to people after His death, and that his disciples were genuinely convinced of His resurrection, despite having every predisposition not to be.
- Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion, died for his faith. He showed the golden plates that were revealed to him by the Angel Moroni to 11 witnesses, 3 of whom signed a testimony saying Moroni had come to show them the plates. Several of these witnesses later left the church, some were excommunicated against their will. Many were persecuted. The Mormons were kicked out of their homes time after time, until they finally left the country and moved to Mexico (back when Utah was Mexican territory).
Some of these witnesses eventually returned to the church, but even those that didn't affirmed that they had seen the plates, shown them by an angel, 'til the day they died, and none of them denied their testimony while they were estranged from the church.
Does this prove that the Mormons are right? I think not. I think rather, we recognize the following principle:
People seeming to be really convinced of supernatural things is not strong evidence for the truth of those supernatural things, even when they suffer because of their beliefs, or you figure they'd know if they were lying.
If you happen to be Mormon, and accept both the Jesus' disciples idea, and the Mormon witnesses idea, just ask yourself if you'd be convinced of Islam if you were told of similar witnesses about Mohammed flying to heaven on a winged horse.

10. Prophecies come true in the Bible/Koran prove that it's true.
- How does that prophecy prove that the other parts of the book are true? Is it possible that some parts are true and other parts false?

11. The universe must have a cause/explanation. That's God, so God exists.
- You've proven that there is a cause/explanation (if the argument is true). Why should it be God? Why not a great cosmic fish? Why not aliens from beyond the universe? Why not Vishnu or Cronos?

12. Fine-tuned universe shows it must have been designed. Therefore God.
- So there's design. Why God? How do you know it's not a supernatural troll? Or a computer simulation? Or a giant cosmic possum? Or a flying bear that coughs out universes, and died 11 billion years ago, so there's no longer a creator of any kind?

13. God is defined as perfect. Perfection includes existence. Therefore God is defined as existent. So, God exists.
- This argument works equally well for the existence of a perfect leprechaun. You can define ANYTHING as "perfect," as "existent." That doesn't make it exist.
If an argument works equally well for leprechauns and Batman, that's usually a sign that something's gone wrong.

14. Were you there?
No, but let me ask you. If you were strolling along the beach and found a watch, and observed the intricate workings of its many parts, would you not be justified in inferring that there was a watchmaker? But, were you there when the watch was made? How can you know that the watch was made if you weren"t there?
You already understand implicitly the principle I am going to state explicitly: There are things in the present which tell us things about the past. Evidence. By careful examination of things in their present state, we can often infer things about the past.

15. Science can"t prove or disprove religion
- Not so. Religion claims that there are certain things going on in the real world, that we can look for, to see if they"re really there or not. If they are there, then that"s evidence for religion, and it"s evidence against religion if they"re not there. Prayers, for example, are claimed to increase the chances that someone will recover from an illness. So, we could have studies which measure if people get well more often when other people pray for them. If that was a finding, the doctors would recommend prayer, because it was known to work. There would be studies trying to figure out what kind of prayers were most effective, and there would be hand-outs recommending the kind of prayer that most improves someone"s health. That none of these things happens suggests that prayer does not increase the chances of someone"s recovery.
Whenever religion claims something is going on in the real world, that"s an opportunity for there to be evidence in favor of religion. Whenever that evidence is not found, that's evidence against religion.

16. It"s like an elephant that some blind men feel. You can"t tell what it"s like as a whole. Things which are unclear shall become clear, other religions are having genuine experiences with only a part of the truth, that"s all.
- You can say that ANYTHING will be made clear later on. Leprechauns or flying bears or talking socks. But if someone is going to say that we should pay extra attention to the possibility of flying bears being real, and that even though that seems to not make sense, it"ll all make sense later on...
then we need to know on what grounds you privilege the bear idea instead of the leprechauns to be something that you just know is true even though it seems otherwise.
Hooded_Freak

Pro

Thank you for inviting me to this debate. I've chosen argument 11 as the argument that I think is correct.

I present below a series of arguments in favor of God, along with rebuttals of them.

Your invitation is to find ANY theistic argument below which you think is correct, with just ONE atheistic rebuttal which you believe is mistaken.

11. The universe must have a cause/explanation. That's God, so God exists.
- You've proven that there is a cause/explanation (if the argument is true). Why should it be God? Why not a great cosmic fish? Why not aliens from beyond the universe? Why not Vishnu or Cronos?

"- You've proven that there is a cause/explanation (if the argument is true). "

So in your rebuttal of this argument, you seem to accept the premise: The universe must have a cause/explanation. Then you argue against the statement: The cause is God. Now, do you actually accept this premise, or have you only accepted it for the sake of argument? I am going to take this premise for granted and proceed on the assumption that: The universe must have a cause/explanation.

I am going to choose a very reductionist definition of God, because this definition has only the properties that are relevant for this debate. I am defining God to be: the creator of everything. (or the creator of the universe if your prefer). The creator of the universe is seperate from the universe, and therefore exists independently of time, space and matter. God exists outside of the universe.

"Why should it be God?"

Now, if the universe must have been created and God is the creator of the universe, then it logically follows that God created the universe.

"Why not a great cosmic fish?"
Did the great cosmic fish create the universe? If so, then the great cosmic fish is God by definition, you've just given God a different name.

Did the great cosmic fish not create the universe? Then it is part of the universe, and was created by God.

"Why not aliens from beyond the universe?"
There is no such thing as anything other then God existing beyond the universe, that is a contradiction. The universe is everything, only the creator of everything can exist outside of the universe, because the creator must necessarily do so in order to create the universe. So if aliens are beyond the universe then they must be God, you've just given God a different name again.

Why not Vishnu or Cronos?"
Same reason as the cosmic fish.
Debate Round No. 1
Bound_Up

Con

tl;dr - The cause proves that there is a cause, not that the cause has any ADDITIONAL qualities (like being a being, or being loving, or giving people an afterlife)
And we only know that OUR universe had a beginning of time, space, and matter. That doesn't mean that there can't be matter, space, or time outside of our own particular instance of these things in our universe.

I thank you for engaging.

I think my strategy shall be to focus on DISSOLVING rather than answering your ideas (for the most part).

First, for the benefit of everyone's thinking in this and all future matters, I recommend reading Drescher's "Good and Real."

Specifically, I recommend section 1.2.2 "Definitions and Semantic Sleight of Hand" on page 15 at the following link: http://people.mokk.bme.hu...

Allow me to place here a useful passage therefrom (my argument will continue afterward):
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Even though definitions are arbitrary, some may be more confusing
than others, especially if you choose to define a common word differently
than other people usually do. In that event, it behooves you to point
out your idiosyncrasy, lest you create confusion. It"s fine, for instance, if
you want to use the word automobile to refer to a shoehorn rather than
to a motorized conveyance. But you"d better explain your unconventional
usage when you ask someone to put your automobile in the hall
closet.
Introduction 15
As obvious as the need for consistency of definitions seems when laid
bare, it often seems to be a source of profound confusion. What can happen
is that a word will be used sometimes with one meaning, sometimes
with another, with the transition unnoticed.
...
.
But the same sleight-of-hand confusion arises surprisingly easily when
a familiar word carries a connotation that smuggles in an unspoken meaning,
which then gets conflated with some explicit definition offered for the
word.
Consider, for example, the definition of life. Many older textbooks
defined a living entity as something that exhibits a handful of telltale
abilities: respiration, assimilation, reproduction, and so on. Occasionally,
a novel entity (some complex molecule, or a computer program or a robot)
boasting a subset of the telltale signs will create debate among laypersons"
though seldom among modern biologists"about whether it is a form of
life. The debate does not focus on whether the entity meets a given definition
of life (which is usually fairly clear), but rather whether the proposed
definition is ""correct,"" or whether it needs to be revised in light of the
new entity.
Insofar as definitions are arbitrary, there is nothing substantive here to
debate. If there seems to be some substantive consequence to a decision to
define a word one way or another, that is a sure sign that the word is
already smuggling in an implicit, intuitive definition. Then the real underlying
question is whether the implicit definition does or does not coincide
with the proposed explicit definition"which is indeed a substantive
question.
In the case of life, for example, a vitalist"who believes that some special
force animates living things, rather than their just being arrangements of
ordinary, inanimate particles"may implicitly define life as the possession

of that special vital force. With that meaning silently smuggled in, the
seeming question of the correct definition of life is really the question: is a
given explicit criterion sufficient (or necessary) to indicate the presence of
the special animating force? That"s a perfectly substantive question, and
one whose answer does not depend on arbitrary decrees of definitions. But
biologists, who have long since abandoned vitalism, see nothing interesting
to debate there, since the special animating force turns out not to exist
at all.
There need not be any deliberate deception or dishonesty involved in
the sleight-of-hand conflation of an unspoken, implicit definition with an
explicitly proposed definition. On the contrary, in the absence of careful
effort to avoid it, the mistake is easily made without even noticing the
back-and-forth substitution. And nowhere does that happen more readily
than in discussing matters of right and wrong
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rather than about "life," we have in our debate some semantic sleight of hand at play in how the word "God" has been defined.

"God" has been defined as the creator of everything. While creator might imply that this "God" is like us, a being with a mind who creates things for its own purposes, I hope you mean simply the creator in the sense of being the cause of everything.

And we're accepting (for the sake of argument) that the universe has a cause, which we've named/defined "God," so God exists! Brilliant!

Let's substitute in the definition of God and see what this sentence comes down to:

The universe has a cause, therefore the cause of the universe exists.
It doesn't look so impressive now, does it.

But saying it this way can confuse people into thinking you've proven something rather more interesting (which is the whole point of using definitions this way, you can get people to think you've proven all sorts of neat stuff).

No matter how precise you are about "God" only meaning the cause of the universe, once you say you've proven the existence of God people are going to think you mean something more than that. They'll probably think it's a being, which is still alive today, which knows about them, and wants them to pray to it, and intends to give them an afterlife and judge them for their works.

As long as we stick with the same meaning, we can use ANY word, without changing the substance of the argument. It might be useful to use a word rather than "God," since that one is associated with other ideas. You can appreciate how confusing it might be to define "The Illuminati" as the creator/cause of the universe, and then go around saying you've proven the existence of the Illuminati.

How about looloo-papa-gong? We'll define "looloo-papa-gong" as the cause of the universe.

Now, whether that cause turns out to be a person who made the universe, or a group of scientists, or a group of fairies, or some natural process, "by definition" it's looloo-papa-gong.

I hope you can appreciate the confusion that comes from taking something we know about (for example, the cause of the universe) and trying to associate it with different words by "defining" them to mean the thing in question (in this case, the cause of the universe). We could do it with leprechauns and prove leprechauns exist, and so on.

But.

None of this will prove the existence of little green-garbed magical men with gold at the "end" of a rainbow.
None of it will prove the existence of a father figure omnipotent being who's going to give you an afterlife and reward or punish you according to your deeds.

I don't have to "define" anything for you to know that the first refers to leprechauns, and the second refers to ____.

That's because I'm referring to something everybody already knows about, a concept we call "God." And this debate is about whether or not the existence of a cause of the universe is proof of the existence of this omnipotent father figure who intends etcetera etcetera.

Knowing that there's a cause doesn't tell you ANYTHING about whether the cause is natural or not, or if it's a being or not, a single cause or multiple, a cause still around or a cause died off, or anything. It tells you ONE THING and one thing only, that there is a cause.

Just like knowing that something has four legs doesn't let you know that it's a wolf (it could be a cow, or a diplodocus, or a table), knowing that there's a cause doesn't let you know WHICH possible cause it is (fairies, aliens, natural law, God, Thor, a cosmic fish carcass, etc).

One last thing.

It was said:
"The creator of the universe is seperate from the universe, and therefore exists independently of time, space and matter. God exists outside of the universe."

This has a different error.

First, just as a point, I posted a series of arguments that people ACTUALLY use. Science has discovered that the universe has a beginning, rather than being eternal, which is why people say something outside the universe must have caused the universe to begin.
That's fine (for the sake of argument).

The point is, that beginning refers to the Big Bang, because it is only the UNIVERSE that we know has a beginning. If there's a multiverse, or anything beyond our universe, then WE DON'T KNOW IF IT HAD A BEGINNING OR NOT.

We know THIS universe had a beginning, but not if anything outside the universe had a beginning or not.

So.

The point is.

When we say that time, and space, and mass had a beginning at the Big Bang, we are referring to time, and space, and matter OF THIS UNIVERSE.

We do not know if there were OTHER instances of time, of matter, and/or of space outside/before the Big Bang in some other area.

So, if something outside the universe DID cause the Big Bang, it doesn't have to be a timeless, spaceless, massless thing. It could have other mass, and exist in other space and time that didn't start with the Big Bang.

tl;dr - We know that one INSTANCE (our universe) of mass and space and time had a beginning. That doesn't mean that there aren't OTHER instances of matter, space and time.

Therefore, in short, the knowledge that our universe began and the idea that it must have had a cause do not provide any reason to believe anything more than that: that there was a cause to the beginning of the universe. If you want to prove that it's a being, or that it's still around today, or that it knows about us, or anything else, you'll need additional arguments.
Hooded_Freak

Pro

Okay, so lets get some semantics out of the way: when I talk about the universe I mean EVERYTHING that exists, you are using the word universe as "the OBSERVABLE universe". Now usually these two words are used interchangeable since we can never know of anything outside of our observable universe, so it is almost meaningless to talk of such things and for practical purposes the "observable universe" is everything. You keep using hypothetical entities such as aliens from outside the observable universe or other such entities. I am talking about the universe as everything, and when reading your initial argument I assumed you were too. In any case, if you explain away the observable universe using some entity outside of that observable universe such as aliens, you must provide evidence that these entities exist.

"tl;dr - The cause proves that there is a cause, not that the cause has any ADDITIONAL qualities (like being a being, or being loving, or giving people an afterlife)"

I totally agree with you, all I have proved is that there is something immaterial, timeless and spaceless, something outside of the universe which created the universe. This is the position of Deism - belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. To add on additional attributes such as being personal, being intelligent, being moral require different arguments. So atleast I have made a case for Deism, which you can agree with. To upgrade to Theism requires different arguments other then simply the creation of the universe.

"And we only know that OUR universe had a beginning of time, space, and matter. That doesn't mean that there can't be matter, space, or time outside of our own particular instance of these things in our universe."

Here is where the semantics comes into play: we only know that the "observable universe" had a beginning of time, space and matter. We can never know or detect anything outside our observable universe, so introducing hypothetical possible things outside of our universe, when there can never be any evidence of them existing cannot be used as an argument. Prove to me that there exists anything outside of our observable universe other then God who created the universe. Only then can I consider this line of reasoning. Until then such hypothetical entities and things are not an argument against God unless you want to make the case that they actually exist.

Even if I entertain this idea, that things exist somewhere in the universe outside of the observable universe, which created the observable universe, all this does is push the argument back one step, to ask the question what created the aliens and their world. The aliens must have a cause for the same reason that the observable universe has a cause. The only way to end this chain of causes is with God, the initial creator of everything that existed before the universe was created. But you can't demonstrate this argument is plausible in the first place.

I read the passage from Drescher and I agree with you, which is why I gave you my definition of God right at the beginning, I also should have probably defined the universe, and the observable universe. Universe - The Universe can be defined as everything that exists, everything that has existed, and everything that will exist. Obserable Universe - The observable universe consists of the galaxies and other matter that can, in principle, be observed from Earth.

"God" has been defined as the creator of everything. While creator might imply that this "God" is like us, a being with a mind who creates things for its own purposes, I hope you mean simply the creator in the sense of being the cause of everything.

I agree with you, the case that the creator is intelligent, moral and personal is the case for Theism. Which goes further than the scope of the argument presented here, which is an argument for Deism.

"And we're accepting (for the sake of argument) that the universe has a cause, which we've named/defined "God," so God exists! Brilliant!

Let's substitute in the definition of God and see what this sentence comes down to:

The universe has a cause, therefore the cause of the universe exists.
It doesn't look so impressive now, does it."

Exactly my argument, impressive or not.

"As long as we stick with the same meaning, we can use ANY word, without changing the substance of the argument. It might be useful to use a word rather than "God," since that one is associated with other ideas. You can appreciate how confusing it might be to define "The Illuminati" as the creator/cause of the universe, and then go around saying you've proven the existence of the Illuminati."

This is nonsense, God is the word used to describe this definition. I trust that we are both intelligent enough to not assume the description of God ascribed by some particular religion. Though I should state for the record, that I am a Christian and believe in the theistic God described in The Bible, I am making an argument for Deism at the moment, not for Christianity.

"Now, whether that cause turns out to be a person who made the universe, or a group of scientists, or a group of fairies, or some natural process, "by definition" it's looloo-papa-gong."

Again you've misunderstood your own definition, the cause of the universe cannot be a part of the universe. Humans, scientists and fairies cannot the initial creators of the universe, since they are a part of the universe.

"I hope you can appreciate the confusion that comes from taking something we know about (for example, the cause of the universe) and trying to associate it with different words by "defining" them to mean the thing in question (in this case, the cause of the universe). We could do it with leprechauns and prove leprechauns exist, and so on."

This is the definition of God, I didn't make up any definition to satisfy my proof. You can't define leprechauns to mean something other then the definition of leprechauns. In that case you would be redefining a word to prove satisfy your proof.

"None of this will prove the existence of little green-garbed magical men with gold at the "end" of a rainbow.
None of it will prove the existence of a father figure omnipotent being who's going to give you an afterlife and reward or punish you according to your deeds."

Well omnipotence simply follows from the definition of the creator. God created the universe, therefore he has all of the power that exists in the universe. Where did I ever say that he is going to give you an afterlife, or punish you?

"Knowing that there's a cause doesn't tell you ANYTHING about whether the cause is natural or not, or if it's a being or not, a single cause or multiple, a cause still around or a cause died off, or anything. It tells you ONE THING and one thing only, that there is a cause."

Ofcourse it does, the cause of the universe cannot be natural, since nature didn't exist, so by definition it must be supernatural. It also by definition is a single cause since there cannot be multiple creators of everything (contradicti. A cause that is timeless and immaterial cannot be subject to laws of the universe such as death. So it cannot "die off".

"It was said:
"The creator of the universe is seperate from the universe, and therefore exists independently of time, space and matter. God exists outside of the universe."

This has a different error.

First, just as a point, I posted a series of arguments that people ACTUALLY use. Science has discovered that the universe has a beginning, rather than being eternal, which is why people say something outside the universe must have caused the universe to begin.
That's fine (for the sake of argument).

The point is, that beginning refers to the Big Bang, because it is only the UNIVERSE that we know has a beginning. If there's a multiverse, or anything beyond our universe, then WE DON'T KNOW IF IT HAD A BEGINNING OR NOT."

Are you making the case that there IS something outside of our observable universe? If you are, then please explain how you know this to be true? If not, then stop using this argument.

"We know THIS universe had a beginning, but not if anything outside the universe had a beginning or not."

Please explain to me what is outside of the observable universe

"We do not know if there were OTHER instances of time, of matter, and/or of space outside/before the Big Bang in some other area.

So, if something outside the universe DID cause the Big Bang, it doesn't have to be a timeless, spaceless, massless thing. It could have other mass, and exist in other space and time that didn't start with the Big Bang."

So time, space and mass were created right? Then what created this "other" time space and mass, you haven't resolved the question, simply pushed it back one step.

"tl;dr - We know that one INSTANCE (our universe) of mass and space and time had a beginning. That doesn't mean that there aren't OTHER instances of matter, space and time."

Demonstrate to me that there are other instances of matter, space and time.

"Therefore, in short, the knowledge that our universe began and the idea that it must have had a cause do not provide any reason to believe anything more than that: that there was a cause to the beginning of the universe."

I agree, but there are certain things that follow from a creator of the universe.

I think you've misunderstood my argument, I haven't invoked a Christian God, or a Theistic God, or any of these additional properties you keep listing about God. All I've done is using the premise that you've agreed on already, namely that the universe was created, proven that God exists (as the creator of the universe). I am arguing for a Deistic God. If you can accept the argument that a Deistic God exists then I can proceed to argue that a Theistic God exists, but if you can't accept this argument then there is no sense in trying to prove properties of a God you dont believe in
Debate Round No. 2
Bound_Up

Con

TLDR; Is simple. Knowing (CAUSE) lets us know there is a (CAUSE).

Knowing (CAUSE) does NOT let us know there is a (CAUSE, BEING, OMNIPOTENT, TIMELESS, SPACELESS, MASSLESS).

To establish those six claims, you would need additional arguments beyond the assertion that the universe has a cause.

Your arguments are the work of a virtuoso.

You come across as smooth and convincing as a professional prestidigitator.

I can easily see how someone could find your arguments completely persuasive.

I'm afraid that everyone may think that I've already lost, so strong have been your rebuttals of my points.

All I really have to say is now greatly reduced.

The proof of a cause of the universe proves there is a cause.

Only that.

What is that cause like? We don't know. It could be all those things I was talking about before, like aliens or scientists or natural processes or God.

For me to say it was any PARTICULAR one of these (like natural processes) would be a mistake. I don't have enough evidence to say that.

If I see a rock on the street, I know it must have come from somewhere.

It is CORRECT to say that it might have come from natural processes, just falling there because of gravity, having been formed by geological processes, etcetera.

Also correct to say it might have been placed there, by an animal, or a person.

It would be INCORRECT of me to say it must have been placed there by Abraham Lincoln.

It would also be incorrect of me to say it must have been placed by SOME person (rather than by an animal or by natural processes).

If I were to say it was Lincoln, I would be making the mistake of the theists, who might think that because we know there must be an explanation, we can pick one EXACT explanation and pretend to know that it was that one.

If I were to say the rock was placed by some person, I would be making the mistake of the deists, who might think that because we know there must be an explanation, we can pick one exact KIND of explanation and pretend to know that it was that one.

I understand that you've asked me to prove the existence of something or other outside of the universe, but I'm sure you wouldn't want me to make the mistake of the deists and claim that the cause of the universe was any particular thing!

All I (or anyone) knows (allegedly) is that there is some cause. It could be natural processes, or animals, or a person, or anything.

Anyone who claims that the explanation is any ONE of these possibilities will need more evidence to narrow down the possible explanations to one kind of explanation.

Does that make sense?

Now, I don't want to sound harsh or anything, but I did not invite you to PRESENT a theistic argument you wanted to defend. I invited you to SELECT one of the arguments that I presented.

If you don't know it, then I do, that there is a history behind this argument. It's been said by some that there must be a first thing, which caused everything else.

People used to think the universe itself might be that first thing. They thought the universe might have been eternal and uncaused.

Now, we know that the universe had a beginning, because of the Big Bang. So it's not eternal, and something ELSE must be the first, uncaused, eternal thing.

The uncaused, eternal thing must be something which is NOT the thing that began with the Big Bang (the universe).

All we know about that thing is that it caused the universe. Maybe the eternal thing is a being, or maybe it's a larger "super-universe" within which Big Bangs cause mini-universes like ours. We don't know.

I don't have, nor does anyone have (including you) anything to tell us which of the possible causes is the TRUE cause of our universe

I do not believe you have misunderstood me.

Please do not ignore what I've said and insist on continuing with an argument based on the definitions you've presented. If you'd like to have a debate about that, you can start a debate and invite me to participate in it. It would not be a debate like this one; they are two different arguments.
Hooded_Freak

Pro

So, let me stress this again, because it seems you have missed my point, that you are using the word "universe" in a different way that I am, to mean the "observable universe". Even though I explicitly adressed this difference in definitions you keep misinterpreting my use of the word "universe" to mean "observable universe", so you are entirely misinterpreting my arguments and creating a strawman. It is impossible for us to argue if you insist on using different definitions for the words I use after I've explicitly stated the definition I am using . You have also done this with the definition of God I am using.

One more point that is making for a confusing debate is your use of invoking hypothetical things outside the observable universe to try and explain away God as the creator of the observable universe. I have already refuted this line of reasoning, yet you continue to use it. I know that you are not prepared to actually defend any of these hypothetical entities as being legitimate explanations for the creation of the observable universe. Consider the following argument, Climate Change is due to man-made causes, if I use the same counter argument as you, it would be the equivalent of me saying, well you don't know that do you? Because it is possible that Climate Change is the work of cosmic fairies from outside the observable universe or maybe it could be due to a secret society called the Climate Warmers that have invisibility technology and shoot fire into the atmosphere at night when everyone is sleeping or any number of imagined explanations. You know that these alternative explanations are false, and you don't believe them, yet you keep trying to use them to somehow weaken my God hypothesis.

Either that, or you are trying to say how my God is equivalent to your imaginary entities from outside the observable universe, when I have already demonstrated how they are not comparable.

"TLDR; Is simple. Knowing (CAUSE) lets us know there is a (CAUSE)."

I think this would be better rephrased as knowing the rule of cause and effect, and observing the effect (Big Bang), leads us to a cause (God)

"Knowing (CAUSE) does NOT let us know there is a (CAUSE, BEING, OMNIPOTENT, TIMELESS, SPACELESS, MASSLESS).

To establish those six claims, you would need additional arguments beyond the assertion that the universe has a cause.

Your arguments are the work of a virtuoso.

You come across as smooth and convincing as a professional prestidigitator.

I can easily see how someone could find your arguments completely persuasive.

I'm afraid that everyone may think that I've already lost, so strong have been your rebuttals of my points.

All I really have to say is now greatly reduced.

The proof of a cause of the universe proves there is a cause.

Only that."

Okay, so here is something we can work with. If you agree that there is a cause that put the universe into existence, then there are certain properties we can infer from this "CAUSE", since you prefer this word to God. The cause that created the universe must not be a part of the universe. In order to create the universe it must be seperate from the universe and exist independently of it. In order to create all of time, space and matter, it must be:
1. Eternal or timeless since it created time. If it existed in time, it couldn't create time.
2. Spaceless since it created all of space. If it existed in space it couldn't create space
3. Immaterial since it created all of matter. If it was made of matter it couldn't create matter.

Next, the "CAUSE" must be all powerful, Why? Because it created all of the energy and power, and everything in the universe, so it must be the most powerful thing there is, as it created everything. To say that it is all powerful simply means that it has the maximum amount of power possible, is there anything in the universe more powerful than the thing that created the universe? No.

So far, we have: Eternal, Immaterial, All Powerful from simple logical deduction. We can add on intelligent, due to the fine tuning of the universe, and incredible complexity of the universe. We can add on moral since the universe has moral law and human beings have innate morality. So now we have an intelligent, immaterial, all powerful, moral cause. Sounds almost like the definition of God from Thiesm, doesn't it? Not quite, but we're getting pretty close.

If you're not so convinced about the last property (moral), then we have the Deistic God.

"What is that cause like? We don't know. It could be all those things I was talking about before, like aliens or scientists or natural processes or God."

I've already refuted this point.

"If I see a rock on the street, I know it must have come from somewhere.

It is CORRECT to say that it might have come from natural processes, just falling there because of gravity, having been formed by geological processes, etcetera.

Also correct to say it might have been placed there, by an animal, or a person.

It would be INCORRECT of me to say it must have been placed there by Abraham Lincoln."

You are assuming that the universe is somehow comparable to a rock. It's not.

"If I were to say it was Lincoln, I would be making the mistake of the theists, who might think that because we know there must be an explanation, we can pick one EXACT explanation and pretend to know that it was that one."

Strawman. No one is picking an explanation, they are deriving an explanation from the evidence.

"I understand that you've asked me to prove the existence of something or other outside of the universe, but I'm sure you wouldn't want me to make the mistake of the deists and claim that the cause of the universe was any particular thing!"

Great, so stop using that argument then.

"All I (or anyone) knows (allegedly) is that there is some cause. It could be natural processes, or animals, or a person, or anything."

I've already refuted this point, natural processes cannot create the universe.

"Now, I don't want to sound harsh or anything, but I did not invite you to PRESENT a theistic argument you wanted to defend. I invited you to SELECT one of the arguments that I presented."

So why on Earth do you keep arguing against a Theistic God, when in my first two arguments I've never mentioned anything about a Theistic God whatsoever, I've mentioned it now because you're trying to refute an argument I never even made, so I decided I might as well make it now.

You never adressed any of my points, just went on the same logically inconsistent rant using the same points that I've already refuted.
Debate Round No. 3
Bound_Up

Con

Hey, come on, are you serious?

I specifically noted that we were using different definitions.

That means we're discussing two different things.

If you want to debate the question you're debating, you're free to start a debate on it.

This is my debate. I invited you to select one of MY arguments. Presenting your own definitions changes the debate, and if you want to debate something else you should start your own debate.

If you're not willing to discuss this, we can end the debate.

If you are, I want to recommend the following. This is just for clarity's sake, and if you're not willing to do it, we should probably end it now, too.

Let's try this:
1. Replace the Symbol with the Substance
Instead of using words like "God" and "universe," let's substitute in what we MEAN when we say them.

In your case, you might say something like: We know there is "Cause" of "Everything That Exists," instead of saying, we know "God" created the "Universe."

And in my case, I might say something like: We know there is a "Cause" to "Observable Space and Matter," since it started at the Big Bang. Knowing that this "Cause" exists does not let us know that there is an "Omnipotent Spaceless Immaterial Loving Being." We would need a lot more to establish that the "Cause" has those qualities.

And, you might say something like: The "Cause of Everything That Exists" must not be made up out of the things that exist, like time, space, and mass, since otherwise it couldn't have created them.

And I might say something like: Maybe that's true of the "Cause" of "Everything That Exists," but it's not true of the "Cause" of "Observable Space and Matter." The "Cause" of that stuff might very well have been made of matter and inhabited space and time, and then just created some more stuff like it in the "Observable Space and Matter" place we live in.

You follow me? It's going to be confusing if we use "God" and "universe" to refer to different things. Actually, it ends up creating two different issues to debate.

If you want to debate mine, then please do, it'll be fun. But if you do, then please say DESCRIPTIONS of what you mean, rather than words like "God" and "universe."

I don't want to put words in your mouth; use whatever descriptions you want, but just to show you what I mean, you might say "Cause of Everything" instead of "God," and "Everything That Exists" instead of "universe."

Replace the Symbol with the Substance, the label with the meaning, the word with the definition.

And be careful to use a very clear and unambiguous description. Saying "Deity" instead of "God," for example, wouldn't make things any clearer. It has to be a description, not just a synonym.

We've only got one round left, so let's get this right.

Or, if you prefer not to, of course you don't owe me anything. Just forward the debate and we can end it here.

Thanks, and best.
Hooded_Freak

Pro

"Hey, come on, are you serious?

I specifically noted that we were using different definitions.

That means we're discussing two different things.

If you want to debate the question you're debating, you're free to start a debate on it.

This is my debate. I invited you to select one of MY arguments. Presenting your own definitions changes the debate, and if you want to debate something else you should start your own debate.

If you're not willing to discuss this, we can end the debate.

If you are, I want to recommend the following. This is just for clarity's sake, and if you're not willing to do it, we should probably end it now, too."

Sorry, but I refuse to do this. It is tedious and unnecessary to explicitly write out the definition of words instead of just using the word. I very clearly stated all of my definitions, there is no confusion on my part. The confusion comes in when you chose to use your own definition when interpreting the words in my argument.

For these reasons I think its better to end the debate here.

Also, I have nothing else to say since you haven't refuted any of my arguments.

I pass it over to you.
Debate Round No. 4
Bound_Up

Con

I opine that the following is clear to my opponent:

Replacing the symbol with the substance reveals that the arguments made are empty, only appearing to be meaningful because extra meanings are being snuck in, in exactly the manner that Drescher describes in Good and Real.

I hope it is clear to everyone. Replace words with the meanings behind them to dissolve disagreements.

In short, if you know something has four legs, you can't JUMP to the conclusion that it's a cat; you need lots of other proven facts about the thing, like that it has fur, and sharp teeth, is carnivorous, has good night vision, etcetera. You'll need to prove a bunch of other things if you want to have a justified belief in a SPECIFIC thing.

Likewise, proving ONE thing, that our universe has a cause, doesn't let you JUMP to the conclusion that the cause is a being, who is honest, and male, and transcendent and so on.

One last point: The cause of our universe CAN have mass, time, and space. Proving that one INSTANCE of mass (our universe) had a beginning does not prove that ALL mass everywhere had that same beginning, or indeed, that it had any beginning at all.

If we ever find a way to create space, the fact that that space had a beginning doesn't prove that we (its creators) don't inhabit space. That should be perfectly clear.
Hooded_Freak

Pro

My arguments stand unrefuted
Debate Round No. 5
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by canis 10 months ago
canis
Can a single atheist argument be rebutted ? No they only prove reality.
Posted by Bound_Up 10 months ago
Bound_Up
@Hooded_Freak

I'll take that; hit me :)

I've invited you to the debate
Posted by Hooded_Freak 10 months ago
Hooded_Freak
11. The universe must have a cause/explanation. That's God, so God exists.
- You've proven that there is a cause/explanation (if the argument is true). Why should it be God? Why not a great cosmic fish? Why not aliens from beyond the universe? Why not Vishnu or Cronos?

I'd like to debate you on this point. The way that God is defined posits him as the initial cause, the creator of everything, if you try to explain the origin of everything using some other entity, then you need to explain the origin of this entity just like you had to explain the origin of the universe. So God follows from this argument.

If you claim that this different entity is the original creator of everything and has no origin, then that entity is God, you've just given it a different name and a different description, so you are essentially refuting your own point.
Posted by Bound_Up 10 months ago
Bound_Up
@ritchie.mg

So, does it stop working if the people close their eyes and only pretend to pray? ;)

@Thomistic_Calvinist

I'll take that one, if you like. Do you want to accept the debate for that argument?
If so, I'll invite you, and if it's acceptable to you, go ahead and put your case for God being all of those things in your first round.

Is that alright?

I'll probably run this again for anyone else who's also interested in picking an argument
Posted by ritchie.mg 10 months ago
ritchie.mg
I'm on your side so I won't take the debate, but you're wrong in your argument for #15. Studies have shown the power of prayer, but only if the patient knows they're being prayed for. If they don't know, there's zero benefit. So basically if you know other people care about you you'll have a better chance to recover. There's nothing in these studies that says anything good for religion, but your explanation here wasn't quite right.
Posted by Thomistic_Calvinist 10 months ago
Thomistic_Calvinist
Sure, let's just address one.

"11. The universe must have a cause/explanation. That's God, so God exists.
- You've proven that there is a cause/explanation (if the argument is true). Why should it be God? Why not a great cosmic fish? Why not aliens from beyond the universe? Why not Vishnu or Cronos?"

It can definitely be demonstrated that there is a cause of the universe (see some of my other debates for the full argument); however, I believe that the following things can be demonstrated of God:

-He is actus puras
-He is simple
-He is bodyless
-He is multi-personal
-He is intelligent
-He is caring

Now I believe all of these attributes can be demonstrated from a first cause argument.
Posted by Bound_Up 10 months ago
Bound_Up
@Tthompson1995

As mentioned in the introductory round, I'd like to know what your introductory points will be before I accept you to debate.

This helps me check in advance if the arguments will make for a good debate. Is that acceptable?
Posted by canis 10 months ago
canis
It is a good ? Atheist have no need for any arguments. They do not postulate anything....
Posted by David_Debates 10 months ago
David_Debates
I'm sorry, but I don't understand what this debate is about. Could someone explain this to me?
Posted by Tthompson1995 10 months ago
Tthompson1995
Hey. I would actually like to challenge a few of the points made. Numbers 1, 3, 7, 11 and 12 are similar so i will combine those, and 14. I feel like the questions are weak questions and partial. For example, in number 7 you said, lets assume God either doesn't exist or only made nature. Will i go to hell then? The question presupposes nature being the only thing which is opposite all major religions. I am a christian, so i would be defending my points with the christian worldview
No votes have been placed for this debate.