The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Does God Exist?

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/5/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 487 times Debate No: 84590
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)




Round 1 is for acceptance.
Round 2 is for opening statements and arguments.
Round 3 is for rebuttals.
Round 4 is for additional rebuttals.
Round 5 is for closing statements - no new information or arguments.

BoP - Debate topic is in the form of a question, so both sides have the BoP. This is done so CON will also need to provide arguments for his position and not merely find faults in PRO's position. This allows for a more intriguing and informative debate.
Debate Round No. 1


First I want to thank Envisage for accepting this debate. He is an experienced debater, and I look forward to the challenge and a hopefully intellectually stimulating debate. I also want to remind him, and the audience, that since the topic of the debate is in the form of a question, that we share the burden of proof. In other words, it is not enough for my opponent to simply refute my arguments, but he also will hopefully advance a worldview proposal of his own.
For this debate, I intend to defend two basic propositions:

1 - There are good reasons to think that God exists, and
2 - There are not comparatively good reasons to think Atheism is true

In this opening round, I will present my case, and then provide a rebuttal to Envisage's case in round 2.
My case for there being good reasons to think that God exists will center around two classic arguments: the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA) and the Teleological Argument. Even though I am a Christian, this debate will not use other evidence from Christian theology that could also be used as an argument, such as evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Nor, for the sake of space, will I invoke other arguments, such as the Ontological or Moral arguments, although these are also quite solid, unless I need to use them in rebuttal form.

The logical structure of the KCA is as follows:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore the universe has a cause

If the two premises are true, then the conclusion naturally follows. But are the two premises more than likely true? Notice that this argument is solid, even from a non-theistic point of view. The atheist will often say "why does the cause need to be God?" Or they will also give the ever-popular rebuttal of "well then what caused God?" It will be shown that these rebuttals are simply fallacious at best.

I will now answer the questions of how this argument leads to God. First, we should notice that the first premise states that "everything that begins to exist has a cause", not that everything has a cause. For to say that everything has a cause would lead to an infinite regression of causes, which would be logically absurd " and then the atheist would be justified in asking what caused God. However, while infinities are useful and possible in mathematical equations, they are not possible in reality. There cannot be an infinite number of causes, and so there must be a first cause.

Premise 2 states that the universe began to exist. This premise is backed up by the overwhelming evidence of big bang cosmology and that the universe exploded into existence approximately 13.8 billion years ago. While there are other theories for the beginning of the universe, none has come even remarkably close to having as much evidence or scholarly support to back it up as a successful model. If my opponent wishes to bring up these possible models, then I will discuss them in my rebuttal round. Since big bang cosmology, namely by Einstein"s theory of relativity and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, has shown that the universe, which includes all space, time and matter, almost certainly began to exist, then it must have had a cause. Since things, including universes, cannot cause themselves, something outside the universe must have been the first cause.

It follows that if the first cause is outside the universe, then that uncaused cause is spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. It is uncaused because we"ve seen that there cannot be an infinite regress of causes. It must be spaceless, timeless and immaterial, since space, time and matter did not exist before the universe, as Einstein"s theory of relativity shows.
There are only two possible applicants that could fit this description, and these are abstract objects, such as numbers, or an unembodied mind. Since abstract objects cannot create anything, then we are left with an unembodied mind. This spaceless, timeless, immaterial unembodied mind is what I (I will not assume other"s opinions here) would call God.

I will now move on to my 2nd argument, the Teleological Argument, also known as the argument from fine-tuning. At its basic logical structure, the argument is as follows:

1. The fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe is due either to law, chance, or design.
2. The fine-tuning is not due to law or chance
3. Therefore, the fine-tuning is due to design

In support of the premises, fine-tuning consists of two sorts of quantities of the initial conditions of the universe. One would be certain constants of nature, such as the gravitational constant. In addition to these constants, there are other arbitrary quantities that suggest fine-tuning.

When the laws of nature are expressed as mathematical equations, we find certain constants which are always the same. One example is Newton"s Law of Gravity, where he calculates the gravitational force between two objects. Newton said the force (F) is equal to a certain gravitational constant G, and then, suppose you want to figure out the gravitation force between the Earth and the moon, we would take the mass of one of these bodies and then multiply it by the mass of the other body. So you have m1 and m2, and then take the distance between them squared (which we will symbolize as r2) and divide that product of the masses by r2. That is the statement of Newton"s Law of Gravity.

The gravitation force is the gravitational constant G times the mass of one object times the mass of the other object divided by the square of the distance between them. These masses can vary, and their distance will vary, but G is always constant. These are certain factors that appear in the laws of nature in mathematical form that are invariable.
These constants are independent of the laws of nature. The laws of nature don"t determine what the value of G is. G could have any of a wide range of values. It could have any of these values, and the law would still hold. It would also still be true that the force F is equal to that constant times the product of the masses divided by the distance between them squared. So the laws of nature don"t determine the values of these constants. There isn"t a natural necessity that determines why these constants have the values they do.

By arbitrary quantities, I mean quantities such as the initial low amount of entropy. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics shows that entropy is always increasing, but there was some initial arbitrary amount at the beginning of the universe. It is an arbitrary quantity that is put in at the creation, and then the laws of nature " like the 2nd law of thermodynamics " operate on this quantity. Another example would be the ratio between matter and anti-matter in the early universe. These constants and quantities have to be fine-tuned to an incomprehensible precision in order for the universe to permit the evolution and existence of intelligent life.

Our existence is balanced on incomprehensible precision. If these constants or quantities were not fine-tuned for our existence, then the universe would be non-life-permitting. If certain things like the force of gravity were to be altered only slightly, or if there had been a different ratio of matter to anti-matter in the universe, then the universe wouldn"t even exist. There are many others, such as the distance from the sun, relationship to Jupiter, etc. One would face insurmountable odds to claim they all occurred by chance. In order for intelligent life to exist, these quantities and constants have to have very precise values or they have to fall into extraordinarily narrow ranges of values or otherwise the universe would not permit life.

Since there is a plethora of evidence for fine-tuning, and it is not due to natural law or chance, it is therefore due to design, and therefore there must be a designer. I will hold my critique of atheism for my rebuttal round.

Sources given in comments, as I am near my max characters.


I am afraid I do not have a huge amount of time to devote to this debate. So my arguments will be brief. In any case I will just use this round to build up a case

I. Analysis of resolution
Without adequate analysis of the resolution, arguments for or against it are meaningless. The resolution is depicted 'Does God Exist', therefore we are left with ourselves pondering the meaning of 'God'.

Judging my Pro's opening round, then God is at the very least defined as an intelligent creator of the universe that is spaceless and timeless and an unembodied mind and something that is 'outside the universe'. Pro also makes the claim that moral arguments for the existance of God is quite solid, therefore assuming a definition of God as defined by traditional theism (tri-omni, all good) is warranted given the resolution.

I am sure Pro will add to the list of attributes, but that should be sufficient to develop my case.

II. Incoherence

This is formalized very simply

1. All locations are in space
2. God has a location
3. God is not in space
4. God is in space (nodus ponens, 1&2)
5. 3 & 4 entail a contradiction, therefore P1,2 or 3 is false.

The conclusion is deductively true given hypothetical premises, therefore we are left with at least one of three options, either premise 1, 2 or 3 must be false.

Premise 3 cannot be false IF God exists, since Pro has already conceded that existing outside of space is one of God's attributes.
Premise 1 cannot be false since locations are spacial by definition, to speak of locations sans space entails non-cognitivism (thus, meaninglessness), much like speaking of 'before' and 'after' sans time, or being north of the North Pole.

Therefore premise must be false, however this is an issue for Pro since that would entail stating 'God exists nowhere', unless Pro seriously wants to posit another dimensional fabric that things (including a God) can exist within, in which case his entire positive case via. the KCA is moot.

III. Deductive argument from evil
I dislike this argument, but internal contradictions amuse me. The argument is formalized as follows:

A. God exists (assumption for reductio ad absurdum)
1. If God exists, God would maximise the amount of good that exists
2.If the amount of good in the universe is maximized, then the amount of evil that exists will be zero
3. If God exists, then the amount of evil that exists will not be zero
4. The amount of evil that exists is zero (A&1 modus ponens, 'A+1'&2 modus ponens)
5. The amount of evil that exists is not zero (A&3 modus ponens)
6. Contradiction (4&5), therefore A must be false

Defence of P1:
Follows automatically from God's definition, perfect motivation (omnibenevolence) with perfect capability (omnipotence) entails that motivation being inevitably fulfilled in every possible scenario.

Defence of P2:
Mathematics analogies suffice here. Assuming a situation with a finite amount of 'good', 'X' with a finite amount of evil 'Y'. Reducing the amount of evil would leave a greater overall amount of good than otherwise. With no evil, the amount of evil is at a minimum, and therefore overall good is a maximum. It is impossible to argue otherwise, lest God not be omnipotent (since an omnipotent being would always be able to create a state of affairs with the same amount of good, but without the same amount of evil).

Defence of P3:
If God exists, then moral realism entails, which means evil is possible. Unless Pro is seriously going to argue that in the presence of God then nothing humans do could ever be classified as 'evil', then we can assume that if God exists, then humans can and do do evil acts - sufficient to fulfil this premise.

Defence of P4 & 5
Both follow deductively, as does the conclusion.


I bounce this debate back to Pro. I will ensure the next round is much ore comprehensive. Alas, sleep awaits...
Debate Round No. 2


I thank CON for his argument. I note that CON does not seem to take issue with the KCA as I presented it, since he does not address the argument itself, as I presented it:

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore the universe had a cause

CON did not address this argument, and so I therefore have to assume he does not take issue with it. I gather is that his counter argument is in response to my explanation on how this most plausibly leads to God, which I will address shortly.

Secondly, CON has not defined his terms, so I do not know what he means by "location" or "space". By location, does he mean a physical location? Merriam Webster gives 7 definitions of space (, so I"m not sure which one he is referring to. But in fairness, I will assume he is referring to the space that I claimed was created at the Big Bang (and not "the distance from other people or things that a person needs in order to remain comfortable").

CON states at the end of his first argument, "Therefore premise must be false", but he does not say which premise he is referring to, and so his argument becomes difficult to extrapolate. CON also states "unless Pro seriously wants to posit another dimensional fabric that things (including a God) can exist within". This presupposes, however, that I consider God a "thing". At the least, CON would need to define what he means by a "thing." In either case, I do not necessarily propose this.

As to CON's argument regarding location and space, depending on his definition, he presupposes that God would have some physical property to take up space or need to be in a location. In other words, premise 2 could certainly be false. Why does God need a location? Surely God would not be confined to a single location. Surely if God can create the universe from nothing, then he would not be confined by location. As an unembodied mind, God would not be limited by location.

Further, why would a being such as God be restricted from moving from outside of space to inside of space (given by the contradiction of premise 3 and 4)? If God exists, why would he be bound by such restrictions? Or to put it another way, just because a God who is omnipresent is not present in the world physically, does not mean he has no location. He has no physical location precisely because he is all present. As Aquinas put it, "non-physical does not necessarily negate the ability to be present." Therefore, since premise 2 is not necessarily true, the argument is invalid.

CON's second argument is summarized as God and the presence of evil (which CON does not define) being logically incoherent. Instead of attacking each premise, I will respond instead in a qualitative manner. I propose that there is no reason to think that God and evil are logically incompatible. Arguing for atheism, CON presupposes that God cannot have morally sufficient reasons for permitting evil. But this assumption is not necessarily true. So long as it is even possible that God has morally sufficient reasons for permitting evil, it follows that God and evil are logically consistent.

Further, we are not in a good position to assess the probability of whether God has morally sufficient reasons for the evils that occur. It is impossible for limited observers to speculate on the probability that God could have a morally sufficient reason for allowing certain evil. CON also presupposes that God's purpose is for human happiness, but this has not been established. To carry his argument, CON must show that it is feasible for God to create a world in which the same amount of the knowledge of God is achieved, but with less evil, which would be sheer speculation.

NOTE: CON did not address the teleological argument which I presented.

I will now address two reasons atheism is incoherent as a worldview. Atheists generally claim there is nothing beyond nature and that nothing transcends it; there is nothing supernatural or outside of nature. But this is again a presupposition. If the supernatural is ruled out a priori, then how is the atheist justified in claiming nature is all that exists? If atheists only suppose the natural, then how are they in a position to speak of the existence or non-existence of the supernatural?

Secondly, atheists generally make the claim that everything should be testable by science. However, the statement 'you should believe only what can be scientifically proven' cannot itself be scientifically proven. Hence it is a self-defeating statement, again leading to an incoherent worldview.

I now yield the floor back to CON.


Envisage forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Since CON forfeited his round, I will take my turn to further support the KCA and to provide a rebuttal to the thesis of Richard Dawkins, one of atheism"s most profound supporters.

Further support of KCA:
Premise 1 " Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

In the words of William Lane Craig, "Believing that something can pop into existence without a cause is more of a stretch than believing in magic. At least with magic you've got a hat and a magician." Now I do not claim that CON believes that objects can pop into existence without a cause, as he did not say this, and so I want to avoid producing a straw man. This defense is more for the audience"s benefit than a rebuttal of something CON believes; in fact CON has provided very little evidence of what he actually believes. However, other atheists tend to hold true that things can come into existence without cause, and so I will expound on this negation. If things can in fact come into existence without a cause, then why do all sorts of things not come into existence this way? It would certainly be incredibly strange to see, for instance, an elephant pop into existence in front of me as I am driving down the road.

Atheists often claim that things come into existence uncaused all the time on the quantum level. There are two problems with this claim though: 1 " They do not come into existence out of nothing; this is only in a quantum vacuum, and a quantum vacuum is something, not nothing. Further, they only come into existence for extremely short periods of time. 2 " This does nothing to explain how then the universe came into existence from nothing; claiming that just because incredibly small particles can come into existence from a quantum vacuum does little to explain how the universe came to be. This would be a causal fallacy, as well as a fallacy of necessary vs. sufficient condition. There are other alternatives that atheists will often claim, but in an attempt to avoid making CON"s claims for him, I will simply leave it at this for now.

Premise 2 " The universe began to exist.

This is backed up by several lines of evidence, namely Big Bang cosmology, including Einstein"s Theory of Relativity and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Other evidence includes evidence of an expanding universe and radiation afterglow from the Big Bang. So the evidence for the universe beginning to exist is quite extensive.
Conclusion, therefore the universe has a cause. This flows logically from premise 1 and 2. I have already expounded on how I get from this conclusion to God, by way of the properties already mentioned, which CON did little to refute.

Rebuttal of Richard Dawkins" Thesis

As CON has provided no defense of atheism, or even claimed any worldview properties of his own, as require by sharing the burden of proof, I will instead provide a critique of one of atheism"s leading voices. In Dawkins" book, The God Delusion, he states that the following his is main thesis:

1. One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises.

2. The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself.

3. The temptation is a false one because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.

4. The most ingenious and powerful explanation is Darwinian evolution by natural selection.

5. We don't have an equivalent explanation for physics.

6. We should not give up the hope of a better explanation arising in physics, something as powerful as Darwinism is for biology.

Therefore, God almost certainly does not exist.

This argument fails for several reasons. Mainly, if it is taken as a logical argument, the conclusion does not remotely follow from the premises; it just comes out of nowhere. Perhaps Dawkins did not mean for it to be a logical argument, with a conclusion that follows from true premises, but then if that is the case, it should not be numbered like one and have a "therefore" that follows. With that in mind, perhaps it is only meant as a set of statements that when put together build a case for the conclusion that God almost certainly does not exist.

But the thesis fails here as well. The first statement is true and likely undisputed. The second statement may be true, but then is it true for atheists as well? Perhaps atheists, who may not believe in design at all, have no natural temptation to attribute the appearance of design to actual design. Is Dawkins so tempted? Also, where would this "natural" temptation come from? Finally, wouldn"t Occam"s razor tell us to attribute the appearance of design to actual design, barring other compelling evidence?

Statement three is perhaps the statement that is the most flawed. In order to notice that an explanation for something is the best explanation, we are not required to explain the explanation. If I find arrowheads and pottery shards in the woods, I will likely conclude that people are the best explanation of how the arrowheads got there (this is not a watchmaker analogy), regardless of whether or not I can explain who the people are or where the people came from. The likely explanation of the arrowheads is still valid. Requiring an explanation for every other explanation would lead us to an infinite regress of explanations, likely leading to nothing ever being explained. At some point, we have to say that something or someone is the best explanation we have.

Statement 4 may, although not definite, help explain the appearance of design in biological creatures (where Dawkins specializes), but it does nothing to explain the design in the universe, which I proposed in my opening argument. Unless of course Dawkins means that non-living things, such as planets and moons evolve and naturally select just like living things, but this would seem preposterous that non-living entities would have the ability to adapt at all without some outside force. As an example, to say that mountains have adapted so people could climb them would just be ridiculous. I do not claim that Dawkins says this, but I think the point is made that he fails to address the design in the universe and only addresses biological design.

The rest of the statements do not seem to have anything to do with whether or not God exists, but that physics seemingly needs to catch up with biology, or something similar. These statements, even if true, certainly do not lead to the conclusion that therefore God most likely does not exist. Further, even if there were absolutely zero problems with Dawkins" thesis, it does nothing to address other arguments for God, only one version of the teleological argument. Someone may still be justified in believing in God on the basis of the KCA, moral argument, evidence for Jesus Christ, or their own religious experience.

In this round, I have provided further support for the Kalam Cosmological Argument and have shown that Dawkins" thesis in The God Delusion fails on several accounts as a reason to believe that atheism is true.

I yield back to CON.

Sources: Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith.


Envisage forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Unfortunately my opponent has forfeited two of his rounds, and therefore this really hasn't been much of a debate.

I have provided two logically valid and sound arguments for the existence of God. Con only partially touched on one of them and completely ignored the other. Further, in accordance with the rules of the debate, Con did nothing to advance the worldview of atheism. I however, provided a two arguments against atheism and further provided a critique of Richard Dawkin's thesis, to which Con did not reply.

Since Con has forfeited two rounds, has provided little input regard atheism as a worldview, and did little to refute the arguments I provided in my opening statement, I think it is fair to ask for a Pro vote.

I thank Con for his limited participation and hopefully we can have a better debate sometime in the near future.


Envisage forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Batman97 1 week ago
You did a very good job, RookieApologist.
Posted by RookieApologist 9 months ago
Sources for PRO Round 1: Christian Apologetics by Douglas Groothius, Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig, Theory of Everything by Stephen Hawking, and I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Frank Turek.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 9 months ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 9 months ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ff many times, so conduct to Pro.