The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Challenger Chooses

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Debate Round Forfeited
MagicAintReal has forfeited round #2.
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/9/2017 Category: Science
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 566 times Debate No: 102497
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (0)





I'm back from an extended holiday and none of the debates currently open look interesting. As such, I've compiled a list of topics I enjoy debating and the person who accepts this debate should choose one of them.

To avoid confusion, I've worded each of these topics in such a way that I am still technically considered "Pro" whenever we begin debating. Note that this means you'll be taking the "Con" or "Against" position on whatever issue you accept.

As a final caveat, this is meant to be a serious debate. While some of the topics may seem silly or self-evident, please only accept if you're capable of maintaining a lengthy, in-depth debate.


I am "For"; choose a topic to be "Against".

1. In mathematics, 0.999... is equivalent to 1.

2. The Earth is better described as "spherical" than "planar".

3. God does not exist.

4. Abortion should be legal.

5. If heterosexual marriage should be legal, then homosexual marriage should be legal.

Five controversial topics, some more warranted in being controversial than others.


1. In all of these topics, the burden of proof will be considered "shared".

2. Definitions should be applicable and generally accepted. That said, feel free to introduce definitions if it helps frame your argument.

3. The first round can be used to simply accept or post your opening arguments. It's entirely up to you.

4. New arguments should not be introduced in rounds 4 or 5. New supporting evidence or minor extensions are acceptable in Round 4.

Round Structure:

R1. Pro challenges. Con accepts or accepts and posts opening arguments.
R2. Pro posts opening arguments, responds to Con if applicable.
R3. Normal Debate.
R4. Debate continues; no new arguments.
R5. Debate wraps up; no new arguments.


Thanks in advance to my opponent.


Your welcome, per the thanks in advance.
Thanks in delay to my opponent for the debate.
Pro and I both agreed to debate Pro's #3 topic, "God does not exist."
Pro and I also agreed to debate a particular definition of god listed in the definitions below.


exist - have objective reality or being.

god - a superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes.

superhuman - above or beyond what is human; having a higher nature or greater powers than humans have.

being - existence.


Pro has to show that god, as defined in this debate, does not exist.
Therefore, as Con in this debate, I accept to negate the resolution by affirming that there is an existence that has greater powers than humans, is worshiped for having power over nature and human fortunes, and has objective being, in reality.

I'll even add that god, as defined in this debate, played a crucial role in the formation of the earth, the origins of life on earth, and the formation of earth's atmosphere.

Pro can start their case, and then I'll start mine.
May the better argument win.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting; I'm sure this will be an interesting and fun debate. I'll jump right into things.


The opponent's definitions seem reasonable and are certainly commonly understood terms. However, there is one word that deserves some extra attention, as it may be important later. Specifically, this word is "superhuman".

In the context of this debate, superhuman is clearly an adjective and the opponent's definition reflects this. What the definition doesn't clearly specify is what types of nouns can possess this quality. In determining this, it is perhaps best to look at how this word is used in works meant for popular consumption.

For instance, we can look at Wikipedia's [1] "Superhuman" article, look at how the word is used, and draw some reasonable conclusions regarding what types of nouns may possess this quality. In paragraph 1, line 1 (P1L1), we see superhuman used to refer to the super abilities of fictional characters in certain works. P1L3 refers to a "tiger" as having superhuman abilities. P4L1 refers to so-called "transhumans" as possibly having this quality, and P5 discusses certain artificial intelligences as having this quality.

The article continues to describe "metahumans", cyborgs, and certain aliens as having this quality. Oxford Dictionary's [2] definition of superhuman has a sole example use case, in which a pilot is called "superhuman" for not landing a plane on top of someone. Merriam Webster's "superhuman" example use cases both refer to living beings. [3]

What all of these nouns being described as superhuman have in common is that they are all *intelligent beings*. Given that, we can reasonably conclude that the common sense definition of superhuman holds that only an intelligent being can be referred to as superhuman. Attempting to extend this definition to non-living beings is largely non-sensical, as it produces surprising, unintuitive, and occasionally meaningless results.

If "superhuman" could refer to non-intelligent beings, then literally anything that could do something better than a human, or that a human can't do at all, would be considered superhuman. A lighter would be superhuman because it can quickly produce fire by itself, whereas humans cannot. A car would be superhuman because it can move faster than humans. Tungsten would be considered superhuman because it can withstand greater temperatures than humans. Clearly, this definition of superhuman causes the word to become overly broad and of questionable usefulness.

In summary, the word "superhuman" applies only to intelligent beings. Attempting to apply the adjective to non-intelligent beings is an inappropriate application of the word.

No God Above

In this section, I will argue that god does not exist. Given that the burden of proof is shared here, if I can show that it is more probable god *doesn't* exist than does, I should win this debate.

We'll be using the word "being" above, referring to a thing which has existence. We'll also use the term "possible being", which refers to a being which may or may not exist, but which could possibly exist.

While this argument will look at possible beings that could be defined as "god", note that it is easily expanded to include all beings. I'm simply limiting the scope for clarity.

Let's consider the set of all possible gods and call this set G. We can see that this set will contain a god whose favorite number is 1. Additionally, since this set contains all possible gods, there will be another whose favorite number is 2. This can continue ad infinitum, implying that set G is of infinite size.

Let's further identify that in this set G there must be a god with the following properties:

(a) this god's favorite number is 1
(b) this god's favorite shape is a pentagon
(c) if this god exists, it is the only god whose favorite shape is a pentagon and whose favorite number is 1.

We can further deduce that there is also a god with all of these properties, except its favorite number is 2, its favorite shape is a pentagon, and if said god exists, it is the only god whose favorite shape is a pentagon and whose favorite number is 1. Clearly, if the first god mentioned exists, the second god cannot. Indeed, the existence of the first god would eliminate an infinite number of other gods from possibly existing, as one can create an infinite number of gods whose favorite shape is a pentagon, but whose number differs from all other gods in this subset.

This fact is important because it shows that not all possible gods can exist simultaneously and that, further, the vast majority of gods cannot exist simultaneously.

This argument effectively shows the following:

(a) there are an infinite number of possible gods
(b) the number of gods which can simultaneously exist is far smaller than the set referred to by (a). [See note 1]

And now the point -- from a probabilistic standpoint, if one doesn't have evidence that some random god A exists, the likelihood said god exists if virtually zero. Notably, this doesn't mean that god *doesn't* exist, it merely shows that the likelihood is tiny. As in, so tiny that there doesn't exist a mathematical construction that meaningfully demonstrates how small this probability is.

This conclusion is important -- because it allows us to analyze the evidence for the existence of some god and, if it is not sufficient, reject the claim outright on probabilistic grounds. We cannot objectively say the supposed god does not exist, but we can claim that the belief in it is mathematically unreasonable. [See Note 2.]


We've discussed two ideas here today.

First, we explored the use cases of the word "superhuman" and found that it is used to describe a particular quality in intelligent beings. Attempting to apply the word to a non-intelligent being is non-sensical. This is especially apparent in this debate, where it would give the opponent the ability to claim literally any object is a god if (a) it can do something a human can't and (b) it is worshiped by someone. Allowing the opponent to claim that his razor blade is a god because he worships it clearly strays outside of the intent of the debate and furthermore makes the debate academically and intellectually uninteresting. Such is the nature of many highly-semantical arguments.

Finally, we looked at a logical demonstration which ultimately concluded the following: If there does not exist sufficient evidence for some god N, there is a high probability that god N does not exist. This argument fulfills my obligation in this debate, where the burden of proof is split, as it shows a strong probability of any given god not existing. (If the opponent presented compelling evidence that his god of choice did exist, that would clearly make this argument invalid. The rest of the debate may well be centered upon the validity of this evidence.)

I look forward to my opponent's opening arguments and his response to mine. Thanks for reading.


(1) -
(2) -
(3) -


(1) - Technically, the set of all possible gods and the set of possible simultaneously existing gods are both infinitely large. However, the cardinality (size) of the former set is far greater than the cardinality of the latter set.

(2) - It may seem like this argument just attempts to shift the burden of proof to the other side. At a first glance, it mostly does; however, it is the probabilistic nature of the argument that effectively satisfies my burden of proof. This argument is either implicitly or explicitly used when discussing the existence of any type of object -- and effectively shows that the "side" claiming the existence of something has a responsibility to demonstrate ample evidence for this thing, otherwise there is an entirely valid mathematical reason to reject the existence of this thing based upon probability.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by MagicAintReal 8 months ago
Yeah, but if it comes to the point where I'm trying to post within my allotted time and the system won't allow me to even get to the "review post" screen, they should step in and fix that...I'd almost rather it actually just forfeit the round for me than have these unfinished debates in limbo.

Please do send the debate again.
Also I would be cool if airmax deleted this debate completely.
Posted by Cobalt 8 months ago
Yeah, absolutely. If you'd like, I can challenge you to a new debate where I lead with my R2 opener, with a brief description of what happened.

Because Juggle is having difficulties, I don't think forfeited rounds are reflected in either player's stats. They just sit there.
Posted by MagicAintReal 8 months ago
Yeah, so I tried to post my entire argument last night at about midnight and I kept getting the "Oops we're sorry message" and no matter how many times I submitted it, it wouldn't do it.
Would you be cool with resetting the debate, verbatim, and allowing me to post again?
If, not I understand, but I wanted to do this seemed fun.
Posted by Cobalt 8 months ago
Getting close
Posted by Cobalt 8 months ago
Lower case 'g' god? Sure.
Posted by MagicAintReal 8 months ago
Would you be willing to debate "3. God does not exist" with this definition?

god - a superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes.
Posted by thegibson 8 months ago
I would like to debate you but the website says I don't match your requirements for the debate.
Posted by thegibson 8 months ago
I would like to debate you but the website says I don't match your requirements for the debate.
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