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

Does God exist?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/16/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 516 times Debate No: 105082
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
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nwarth

Con

Hi all, my first debate back here in almost ten years! I look forward to returning and hope to get some excellent competition and and good discussion going.

I'm looking for someone to debate the notion as to whether God exists! Obviously this is a bit difficult for me to go first, as what, exactly, "God" is has to be developed by the pro side. Additionally, as Bertrand Russell argued, the person making an affirmative claim is the one who bears the burden of proof. If I were to say, to use Russell's famous analogy, that a teapot orbits the sun somewhere in space between Earth and Mars, would you honestly believe me? It's possible that there is an orbiting teapot, especially if it were too small to be seen by our most powerful telescope! It's tale, I'm sure, would be fantastic. But you would rightly demand to see the evidence.

https://rationalwiki.org...

Thus is the way with the theism/atheism debate. The default is atheism, since one could never prove the non-existence of something. After all, I need a pro side to begin so that I even know which flavor of "theism" I am debating against!

Further, I would argue not only does the Pro side shoulder the burden of proof, but that proof is of a high nature. After all, if correct, a cosmic creator, especially a personal being that takes interest in our lives, would have a huge impact on our day to day lives. If we demonstrated that he existed we may feel compelled to worship him, going to services/temple/mass/etc and follow his rules of conduct, or moral code. Obviously this would only be the beginning of the theistic impact: epistemology and metaphysics would greatly be impacted, lest we forget about science, interpersonal relationships, culture, and even our own daily habits! Given this huge impact, it makes sense that the theist not only has the burden of proof, but also shoulders a high standard!

I look forward to seeing my opponents arguments and seeing how this argument develops!
Champybeat

Pro

Hello.
I. burden of proof that lies on the Christian:
Let us begin with your statment concerning the burden of proof:
Indeed, Mr Russell is correct; the burden of proof concerning the existence of God lies on me. And so, since the existence of God cannot technically be proven nor disproven, I must provide rational evidence that presents why it is logical to believe in a Creator.

II. burden of proof that lies on the atheist:
I would start by asserting that the atheist who has a naturalist/materialistic worldview (i.e. the worldview which asserts only physical, material nature exists) fails to account for such things as the laws of logic, nature, and mathematics. They also fail to offer an explanation for the uniformity in nature. The burden of proof lies on the atheist to account for such things and offer a reasonable foundation for them. I will explain such evidences more specifically:

III. laws of logic, mathematics, nature, etc.:
The laws of logic, for example are immaterial. They are absolutely incompatible with a naturalistic/materialistic worldview. Why? Because the very definition of the worldview states everything that exists is ultimately physical. It would be like a Christian asserting that God does not have to exist in the Christian worldview - it's just not possible. These laws cannot exist in a universe apart from a logical Creator, as they are immaterial and cannot possibly exist in a universe composed of only physical. We can't bang our head on the law of non-contradiction, for example. Allow me to explain deeper: Using an example - the 'law of non-contradiction' - states that contradictions are illogical, and therefore not possible. For example, if I asserted, 'My car was in the parking lot, but it also is not in the parking lot', you would obviously know I was wrong. But why are contradictions not possible? The simple answer is they are illogical. But we must dig deeper: Why are they illogical? What determined them to be impossible when the universe came into existence? For contradictions have never been possible! And I believe the laws of logic (and nature, mathematics, etc.) point to a logical Lawgiver, the Creator, who made his universe in a logical, orderly way.

IV. uniformity in nature:
The universe continues to work in a logical, orderly, regular way in all places at all times. But why? What determined it to remain orderly at all times and determined it to obey the laws of logic, nature, etc. at all times, in all places? Apart from a Creator, we are missing a foundation for uniformity in nature, and therefore must use circular reasoning: to assume it exists and that the laws of logic exists so we can argue logically for why they exist (obviously a vicious circle).

V. origin of universe, life, conscienceness, etc.
What gave rise to the universe? Christians believe in a timeless (eternal), spaceless (infinite), immaterial, unchanging Creator. I understand most atheists proclaim 'We don't know'; but to throw God out as 'foolish, stupid, unscientific, etc.' as many do, is quite naive. As for the origin of life and conscienceness, the burden of proof once again lies on the atheist. We have *only* observed life from life (i.e. biogenesis). Never have we been close to observing abiogenesis (i.e. life from non-life). So, again, the burden of proof lies on the atheist - they must prove life can come from non-life (contrary to everything we have ever observed).

VI. information in DNA:
DNA contains immaterial genetic information - this is what makes you you, rather than a gorilla, giraffe, or a cabbage. Where did such information originate naturally?

VII. complexity of life:
Sure, we observe design in animals (lightning bugs, elephants, dogs, cats, sting rays, octopus, worms, [insert favorite animal], etc.), but if we take a look at something as 'simple' as a single cell: a cell is composed of various components that all have to work - if one fails, the whole cell is useless. So I ask how such an intricate, yet extremely complex, 'simple' single cell could come about naturally and continue to work.

These are my starting arguments; I will now take a look at what you said above and attempt to offer a rebuttal to anything I disagree with:
I. I like how you mentioned that if God exists, we would probably all begin to worship him (and let us for now on be speaking of the Christian God specifically - just to clarify), but I would change on thing: He does deserve our worship! For God created us (and the entire universe) to bring glory to him. And what's amazing is we can take part of this. For as John Piper says, 'God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him'. Ultimate satisfaction and supreme happiness, joy, are only found in God alone through Christ alone. For we are sinners. Yet, the merciful God sent his Son, Christ Jesus, to die on the cross to save us from our sins, and was resurrected three days later - making forgiveness and salvation offered to all men/women. If we put our faith in Christ and his saving work for us, we will be saved, and receive the free gift of God; for we are saved by the grace of God alone through faith alone in the Christ alone. And forever, in this life, and in our eternal life, we can enjoy God, and bring glory to him through our enjoyment of him.

II. Also let us remember, morality is subjective apart from God. (E.g. the statement, 'Murder is wrong', is an opinion apart from absolute, objective morality - only possible if we have a transcendant Creator and Lawgiver).

Your primary argument seemed to be 'the burden of proof' argument, which I addressed above. If it was not, please feel free to address so.

I'm glad to debate you, and excited to see your response.
Debate Round No. 1
nwarth

Con

Fantastic! Champybeat, welcome aboard. Now that you developed some arguments and laid out a premise to which you will defend, I shall respond, then I shall offer counter arguments and finally ask a few questions.

Point 1 was Burden of Proof
Points 2 & 3 can be combined: Immaterial Entities Objections
Point 4 through 7 are really Teleological Arguments and I shall respond to them collectively
Point 8 is a worship argument
Point 9 is a moral argument

Unfortunately, I fear that few of these arguments are fully flushed out, so that may impact my ability to respond.

(1) Burden of Proof: No dispute here. No further comment necessary!

(2) Immaterial Objects: I am not an Eliminative or Reductive Materialist. Therefore, I do not and cannot argue that all that exists is space, time, and material objects. Otherwise, I would be in the silly position of defending the notion that my thoughts don"t refer to anything! So, I agree that a purely materialist worldview cannot account for things like logic, math (really an extension of logic), laws of physics, and so forth. I would defend M-Theory, but your notion still remains, what "substance" are we talking about. So far, the best answer I can find is from Alexander Vilenkin, that the laws of physics "have some Platonic existence." (see two minutes in on attached video). With regards to minds, they are a emergent properties from an already existing matter.

https://www.youtube.com...

(3) Teleological Arguments: Champybeat argues for different design arguments. So this argument can really be split between Induction and Evolution.
Induction, or how the world came to exist in such a coherent way?
I must admit I am a bit torn about what you are getting at. If you are asking how we know induction works, that is causes bringing about effects, without collapsing into circular logic, my response would be that we can accept that as a "brute fact" or to dress it up in philosophical language, a properly basic belief. After all, how could this universe work without it? And, if you remove God from the picture, it appears that inductive reasoning and logic simply makes sense on its face. It is a bedrock, fundamental belief. If I am wrong and this is not where you are going, please rephrase so I can better understand.
Evolution, or how life exists so well tuned for this world? Three specific claims were laid down: abiogenesis, DNA, and complexity.
(i) DNA is easily explained (and in fact predicted) by Darwinian and modern evolution. DNA is the chemical blueprint of what we are, made up of different combinations of four chemicals (short hand GACT). Humans have 3 billion bases, most of which are similar, which makes sense. We can also track DNA and, to no surprise, those species similar to us have more similar DNA. As DNA is, at its base, chemical, it is formed and became more complex with the life of which it creates. We share 98% genes with chimps, but only 18% with certain weeds.
(ii) Complexity is what evolution is all about! In fact even Darwin addressed this objection in Chapter 6 of his work "On the Origin of Species." While Darwin may not have known about the technical complication of cells, he knew about eyes. The processes work similarly. I"m robbed of a perfect quote by long, dry, technical language. He draws how the eye gains complexity from a nerve "sensitive to light" to our modern eye. In the same way, a complicated cell can develop over millions of years. Keep in mind, earliest water on earth is believed to be 4.41 billion years ago and the first single-spelled life existed 3.77-4.28 billion years ago, plenty of time for single-celled life to form.
(iii) abiogenesis is the hardest claim to refute because we haven"t actually figured it out yet. We are, however, coming close as we have been able to create most basic amino acids, the basic chemical blocks of proteins, using a Miller-Urey experiment. So, while we haven"t solved this one yet, definite progress is being made! Wikipedia article regarding Miller-Urey attached.
https://en.wikipedia.org...

(4) Worship" I didn"t know what challenge I would fetch, so I left the language loose. However, I"m not yet ready to concede this point. I"ll start with the Canaanite Genocide. Why should we worship a God who would encourage that behavior?

(5) Moral Argument: This could simply be reduced to:
Only through God can we have objective Morals
Objective Morals Exist,
Therefore God exists.

I am honestly unsure if Objective Morals exist. Perhaps they are some emergent property from our evolution. Or, perhaps they are just a matter of taste, though I certainly hope not! However, they could exist platonically. In addition, there have been many other moral theories that have been created that do not need God. Kant"s Categorical Imperative, Aristotle"s Golden Mean, and the plethora of Utilitarian Ethics could also yield some moral results. So both premises are questionable, therefore the conclusion is highly improbable.

Now, my counter arguments are: Logical Problem of Evil, Probabilistic Problem of Evil, and Existence of Evil in General, which are really Impossibility of God arguments.

C1 - The logical problem of evil. If all the premises are agreed to, and you cannot find fault with the logic, then the conclusion flows out of necessity.
If God exists, then God is omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect.
If God is omnipotent, then God has the power to eliminate all evil.
If God is omniscient, then God knows why evil exists.
If God is morally perfect, then God has the desire to eliminate all evil.
But evil exists.
If evil exists and God exists, then either God doesn"t have the power to eliminate all evil, or doesn"t know when evil exists, or doesn"t have the desire to eliminate all evil.
Therefore, God doesn"t exist.

C2- the Probabilistic Problem of Evil. This argument notes that if the logical problem is overcome, then you still have an issue with evil, namely one of amount. God is unlikely to exist if there is slightly more evil than there absolutely needs to be. That ie, there is more than on would expect! We see terrible things done every day throughout time. Genocide, slavery, murder, theft, and corruption exist at all levels of society and have existed since ancient times. How does one account for the large amount of evil out there? Also, even the world itself exists as a cruel and wanton place. From mudslides to floods, from lightning strikes to a no fault car accident, people of any age can be maimed or killed for absolutely no reason at all. In the case of famine, perhaps even for where they just happened to have been born! How is this explained if a morally perfect being exists?

C3- Existence of Evil Generally. Since you believe morality objective, then you must believe that evil exists. In fact, you cite examples and refer to the Christian God which necessitates evil as a prerequisite for sin. You also defend God as Creator. So, I ask:
If God is morally perfect and all good, then he has no evil within his substance.
God Created the Universe.
God cannot put something in the universe that is not a part of himself.
Therefore, where comes evil?

If the universe is created by God, and God was all that existed prior to the universe, then where comes evil? Either it came from god and he is not morally perfect, or it came from somewhere else and God is not the only thing that existed prior to the creation of our universe.

As promised, a few questions.
Q1- Do humans have free will?
Q2- Does God have free will?
Q3- What is your definition of God? What qualities does He have?
Q4- Ought the Bible be taken literally? That is, is Bible historically inerrant or just morally/spiritually inerrant?
Q5- Which parts of Evolution do you disagree with?
Q6- what would you accept as proof that God does not exist? That is, how could He be falsified?
Champybeat

Pro

Hello, again. Sorry it took so long for me to get to you. I'm sure you understand I have more time to respond during the weekend.

I. immaterial 'objects' response:
Since you assert you are an atheist, and yet you are not a materialist/naturalist, I would like to question you concerning how it is possible the immaterial laws of the universe (e.g. of logic, nature, mathematics, etc.) could come into existence by material/natural processes alone (assuming that's how you believe the universe came to be [i.e. by natural processes alone - nothing immaterial/supernatural/beyond natural involved]). As for the video, it appears this gentleman is quite speculative. Can we know if quantum mechanics can funtion 'outside' the universe (i.e. before its existence - outside time and space)? He also asserted that these laws seemed to already exist. It sort of reminds me of Hawking's answer: 'The universe can and will exist because there is a law of gravity'. We must remember that laws cannot create anything. As Lennox asserts, 'The laws of mathematics exist, but that never put two pounds in my pocket!' It's astonishing that many (like Lawrence Krauss) try to redefine nothing. If we try to assert that these laws that work quite logically are eternal, it explains nothing. As Lennox also points out, 'It would be like me offering you two possiblites for the origin of a jet engine: either Frank Whittle, or the laws of physics'. We need both of course, but Whittle is the agent behind it (this can be an analogy for God; we have laws of the universe that keep things in logical order, but I believe there is an Agent - God) And therefore, I believe it is very, very reasonable to believe in a Creator - we must be open to the possibility (and I would point out that his existence cannot technically be proven or disproven, however our faith in him existing can be based on rational evidence. And do you believe these laws are 'objects'? We cannot touch them, nor see them - they are not made of energy. They are laws that the universe is bound to at all times and at all places. Also, regarding the conscience, I ask: 'What is conscienceness'?

II. 'teleolgical arguments' response:
I suppose the first point you made here was referring to my argument of uniformity in nature(?) Correct me if wrong, of course. 'How could the universe work without it?' Well, why not? If the universe came about by purely natural processes, before its existence, couldn't anything be possible? But it is an odd assertion that when it came to be, it *had* to function in a logical, orderly, uniform way at all times. The constants of the universe and uniformity of it are not determined by the laws of nature. There's no reason or evidence to suggest that uniformity is necessary (I would also like to bring up fine-tuning in the universe [e.g. if the law of gravity varied by 1 in 10(60 zeroes) parts, life would be impossible everywhere; generally, all scientists recognize this fact - e.g. Stephen Hawking: 'The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make the developments of life possible').
You explain DNA concerning the 'how' not the 'why'. If I went to the beach this weekend, and found a Chinese symbol in the sand, I can reasonably assume there was intelligence; now, there is something odd going on here - the atheist asserts that the 3.5 billion 'letters' of DNA which contains immaterial information (which again, makes you you instead of a hippo) happened by purely natural processes. The information itself they cannot explain, for without it, DNA could not do anything, obviously (for example, the letters on a menu 'contain' information - we can't see it or touch it, but they have meaning [e.g. if I read the letters 'soup' together in that order I can know what it is referring to). In DNA, there is a 'singnaling system', we have a code, and we have a translator of the code (i.e. reading the information). Quite suprising, any other time this is observed, we always asssume intelligence (i.e. until genetic information enters the conversation). And atheists often deny that God cannot possibly exist, even when the observable evidence suggests it likely (then, naturalistic processes becomes our 'god of the gaps', so to speak). With respect, you explained very well how it works, but said nothing of the orgin of genetic information in DNA. As for DNA similarity, we can expect similarity in organisms if we have a common Designer (i.e. we could reasonably assume he had a 'blueprint' for life, that would all live on the same earth). I saw this article a week or two ago, and this point brought this article to my mind; the second question addresses similarity (the paragraph takes under a minute to read): http://www.ligonier.org...

III. 'irreducible complexity' response:
Time is not a magic wand that makes all naturalistic problems disappear. It appears when something cannot be explained naturally, time is inserted in the equation (e.g. '. . . but smack on a billion years and it will eventually. . .' etc.). And again, the cell itself is so intricate, and yet so complex (if one of its 'machines' stopped working it is 'game over' so to speak) it is quite hard to explain how we can get from a cell to something as complex as the human brain (able to invent touch screen phones, or airplanes, etc.), as if evolution has no boundaries (i.e. it is 'anything goes' - just give it time). We can always try to assert such things are possible, but where does the evidence lead? I would assert a Creator, rather than time, chance, and natural processes alone. Darwin thought the cell was relatively simple, but we have discovered the complete opposite since his time on earth.

IV. abiogenesis:
Let us look at Mr. Miller's experiement: It is very ironic: 'If we can create with our life and intelligence life itself, we can demonstrate there was no life and intelligence that created life in the beginning!' The entire experiment is designed by life; and abiogenesis is asking for unguided processes. 2.) There's not a shred of evidence for the primordial soup. 3.) sean mcdowell uses this analogy: amino acids compared to a cell is like a brick compared to a city; the cell itself is the most basic form of life. Miller himself later claimed that the origin of life is much more complex than he expected. Dr. Pigliucci, atheist biologist said, 'Unfortunately, Miller-type experients have not progressed much further than the orginal proto-type, leaving us with a sour aftertase of the primordial soup'. Abiogenesis is far from scientific as it is against literally everything we observe in nature (everytime life comes into existence, it came from preexisting life).

V. God and evil response:
I would again point out morality is mere opinion with no God, so your assertion 'why worship a God like this' is based on your opinion of morality. But that aside, we must remember God is the Author of life, and being omniscient and perfectly just, knows fit when to give and take it. (After all, since God is absolutely sovereign, he is the one who ultimately gives and takes *all* life). The Canaanites, for example, often sacrificed children to false gods for over 400 years.

VI. I've never met an atheist who believed in absolute morals. If they are a 'matter of taste' that's what it is, and therefore, opinion. Nazi Germany had a different 'taste' than the U.S. during WWII.

You are asserting evil exists in your above argument - which if God doesn't, from your standpoint there is a dilemna, because it would be opinion. 2.) we must realize if God is truly omniscient and allows evil, why in the world would finite, limited humans try to assert we know more about what is going on than he does? 3.) if God stopped evil every single time there would be no freedom, therefore, no freedom to love as well.
https://www.youtube.com...
(I'm out of characters).

Debate Round No. 2
nwarth

Con

I perfectly understand and am happy you got in before the time elapsed! Sorry you ran out of space to answer the questions, it would have greatly helped me respond to your claims!

Starting with my counter arguments. I can assert evil existing in these arguments because they attempt to show that your understanding of God is contradictory and therefore failed. That is, assuming your worldview, it has fatal contradictions which make it untenable. Unfortunately, I think your responses were a bit muddled so it is hard to tease out which responded to what.
C1) Logical Problem of Evil (LPE). I am unsure if I saw a response to this. Unfortunately, if you don"t respond to this, my claim is you lose the entire debate.
C2) Probabilistic Problem of Evil (PPE). You responded limited human knowledge and free will. Free will can be a response to human evil, but not natural evil. What purposes does famine that kills hundreds of innocent people serve? Also, with regards to free will, the PPE is one of degree. It states that there is more evil THAN IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Stating "we cannot know God"s will" seems to be a conversation stopper because it appeals to ignorance. I"d rather attempt to shine light on problematic situations. This light shines brightly on things like genocide, famine, neglect, etc.
C3) My origin of evil argument seems to be without response. Again, I fear if you do not adequately respond to this, you lose because your worldview has a contradiction at its heart.

Swinging back to the original points:
(1) Immaterial Objects: Your question is one of "how." That is "how do the laws of physics create anything." This is a bit of a stand off. You never explained "how" God could create the Universe or what the laws of physics, logic, etc are. Since we agreed in (1) that you have the burden of proof, you should move first. You have to show how God could effect things in a way that Occam"s razor wouldn"t not make him redundant from just accepting the laws that make the universe work. Should you do that, then your claim would become ripe for response. Also minds are emergent properties. A mind emerges from a brain. I"ve never seen a disembodied mind! The laws of physics and logic exist immaterial and timelessly, they do have causal properties over matter and as such are platonic forms. Just drop an apple to see how they work!
(2) Teleological
Induction. I think you are taking this on a bit of a tangent. I"m responding I accept it as a brute fact or a properly basic belief. These have been used by philosophers to figure out the "ground floor" of knowledge. For example, Descartes had Cogito ergo sum. Plantinga has "God Exists." This is merely something I accept as a fact of the world, otherwise it would be turtles all the way down. One has to have foundational beliefs, and inductive reasoning is one of mine.
Cosmological Constants are another (NEW) argument. To respond to that I accept M-Theory which creates a multiverse in which a massive (and ever growing) set of possible universes could potentially exist. We are in a universe that could house life" just as we were born on a planet that could house life. After all, it would be difficult for us to be born in one of the possible universes that could not house life! This last thing I can say because I am putting forward a Multiverse!
DNA. Meyer"s argument is one of an origin of life, because once we have life DNA replicates, changes in DNA are very few and akin to a "copy error". So this is really an issue of getting from amino acids to DNA. There are a number of naturalistic hypothesis such as RNA first. However science hasn"t figured this one out. However, we have figured things out before and after" using God as a "gap" in missing links is risky, because, as in evolution, it turns out we usually, eventually, find the missing gap. (see Lucy Australopithecus!) However, I will note that I accept that DNA refers to something, the thing it refers to is our physical and physiological makeup. It is goal directed without being conscious or acted upon by a higher nature.
(3) Irreducible Complexity (IC) is a dead theory. Michael Behe never really got the thing off the ground because, while it appears to sound nice and appeals to psychologically pleasing notions, it does not match the science. First, yes time is not a magic wand, but when combined with evolution theory, it is certainly powerful! So we aren"t just saying time, but we are saying time plus genetics, plus survival, plus environment, plus etc etc" All these things combine together to make evolution work. I brought up the eye example to demonstrate the larger point, I could have brought up countless others, including the Flagellum. We have already figured out this stuff, rather I"m excited to figure out the gaps between amino acids to DNA, see whether M-Theory is proved or falsified! Finally, I will note the first cells were much simpler than modern cells, not even having a nucleus or membrane.
(4) Abiogenesis: Your Sean McDowell example actually proves my point. We go from simple to more complex. Further, the Miller-Urey experiments were updated with Volcanic spark and H2S-rich spark discharge tests in 2008 and 2010, yielding an even larger collection of amino acids. So we have studies consistent with naturalistic conclusions even though they have not yet confirmed our suspicions. However, no discovered explanation (and we only have theories) does not mean that one does not exist. You still have to show that God exists, that is what this debate is about. I"ll discuss this more below.
(5) If God is the author of life and gives and takes all life morally, is it wrong for God to create a life in a famine plagued area in which that life dies shortly thereafter by malnutrition. I"m not asking if the death itself is wrong (due to existence of afterlife), but the pain that proceeded the innocent life"s death.
(6) I noted that it would not be ideal if no set of absolute morals exist, however I"m not ready to go that far. There are ways they could exist, either platonically or as an emergent properties. Platonic morals mean that morals exist and act like the laws of math or physics and if they were emergent properties they would emerge from our evolution and collective human behavior and guide what is living right or well, in short immaterial teleologies that come from us collectively and command what are good for us individually. I also noted that there are numerous theories of morality that do not require God and yet would dictate how we ought to act. Under these theories the Nazis would be roundly condemned!
(7) I have to return to the burden of proof as it has become relevant against some of your attacks, specifically the DNA and abiogenesis. Just because we haven"t figured something out, does not mean that an explanation does not exist. We did not know a lot of things that were true and greatly changed our worldview! However, you have the burden of proof, not me. We agreed to this in round 1. I have demonstrated two logical contradictions, if you cannot answer those, then the probabilities of God don"t matter and there must be another explanation for abiogenesis and DNA. Logical contradictions cannot exist. While you may think my worldview suffers from gaps, that is far better than having irreconcilable contradictions.

I look forward to your response.
Champybeat

Pro

I'll try to answer these in short, to save room - hopefully you get a good idea of what I believe:
I- Humans have free will in the sense that we can truly and justly be held accountable for our actions, those who have not accepted Christ do not have free will in the sense that they can do 'whatever' freely (i.e. by nature, we are sinners and therefore will by nature rebel against our Creator and enjoy it, Christians have been set free from this and now hate sin [however we will still sin as we are living in our corrupt flesh]), no human has free will in the sense of ultimate determinism (as the Sovereign ultimately determines all things)
II- God is absolutely sovereign over absolutely everything.
III- A few attributes of God: sovereign, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, eternal, infinite, unchanging, holy, just, loving, merciful; God is one in essence/nature/being who exists as three distinct persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).
IV- Depends on what literature it is (e.g. some books of Scripture are historical narrative while others are poetic [e.g. the Pslams]); the Bible is inerrant, infallible, and divinely inspired by God.
V- I am open to evolution concerning the cosmos (i.e. there is disagreement within the church concerning the age of the universe and earth; I am open to both young earth and old earth creation - if I was forced to say, I probably lean toward Old Earth Creationism). I accept microevolution, but reject that we came from a common ancestor (i.e. a single celled organism).
VI - God's existence cannot be technically proven nor disproven as he is immaterial (God is not made of matter, rather he made matter).

C1- God exists; he is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent; he has the power to eliminate evil [and he will]; he knows why evil exists and included it in his sovereign plan before creation and in some mysterious way determined evil to exist without sinning; he has the desire to eliminate evil; evil exists; both evil and God exists; God foreordained evil's existence, determined that he would send his Son, and determined that he would return to restore creation - this is the perfect, sovereign will of God.
Apart from God, we have no reason to be angry at evil, for evil can be anything; in a universe with God, we can trust his sovereign will, and his promise to restore his creation at the Second Advent of the Christ - ultimate justice will be served by the Almighty, as we had the free will (in sense number one above) to commit evil - absolutely perfect justice will be served by the Judge of the earth.

C2- Natural evil affects humanity due to the Fall (I believe human death exists due to the Fall of humanity; I lean toward animal death existing pre-Fall, but not entirely sure). Indeed, natural evil was determined by God to affect humanity throughout history (after the Fall, of course). It is Mankind's fault that we are affected by such things, including death, not God's fault (I admit this is hard to reconcile though, since I believe *all* things have been foreordained by God, at the same time I'm glad I don't understand everything about the Divine - I would be concerned if I could, for we shouldn't be able to squeeze God into a box). I would assert that if there is no God, your subjective feelings are the only basis for which you can object toward natural suffering; for if there is no God, nature is doing what nature does and therefore we must attempt to remain sane until nature (including ourselves) ceases to exist (there's nothing just/unjust about nature). In the Christian worldview, we have hope as we believe moral and natural suffering will come to an end for all eternity when God restores his universe.

C3- I hope you understand I couldn't respond last time because I ran out of room - forgive me if it appeared that I was trying to ignore you. The origin of evil would have to date back to when Lucifer and his angels rebelled against the Creator; I cannot answer what ultimately planted this desire in him - he had free will, yes, however this is just a label. I do believe that it was part of God's ultiamte plan for him to rebel; as John Calvin puts it, I am not ashamed to admit my human, finite ignorance concerning how God can ultimately foreordain evil's existence without committing evil himself - that is, God is not the author of evil.

Concerning the immaterial:
God is existence while everything else can exist; he is ultimate reality - compared to him, we are nonexist - in a sense, God is 'more real' than us. The universe's existence is secondary and is completely dependent upon the Creator, as he sustains it every second. God spoke the universe into existence. The laws of logic, nature, etc. are immaterial laws that the universe must obey. They reflect that the universe was made by a logical, orderly Creator. I asserted the burden of proof concerning these immaterial laws rest on you, as they cannot come into existence naturally (we've never observed the immaterial come about by the material). Concerning God's existence, the burden of proof rests on me (in which I propose these logical laws are evidence for the immaterial Creator). I do not necessarily thing logic came into existence when the universe came into existence, on the contrary, since God has been logic for eternity, the universe reflects who made it (as it is logical, regular, and orderly - like God).
Concerning minds: Some atheists assert we do not have a 'mind' rather we have merely a 'brain' as we evolved purely by natural processes (and there cannot ultimately trust our reasoning, as we would be attempting to reason to try to discover we are reasoning and we there fall into a vicious circle) C.S Lewis said, 'Suppose there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It's like upsetting a milk jug and hopting that the way it splashes itself will give a map of London. But if I can't trust my thinking, of course I can't trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and there have no reason to be an atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God'.
My questions:
How can you trust your own reasoning? For you have the foundation that you can reason logically, but are completely lacking a foundation that you can reason logically, as you must attempt to reason to believe that you can actually trust your reasoning. You also, lack a foundation for logic. We are rational to accept logic and math, but cannot prove it scientifically - science presupposes math and logic and attempting to prove them with logic would be arguing in a circle. Science itself cannot be proven scientifcally, as it cannot be justified by the scientific method. Science is filled with unprovable assumptions. We cannot prove such things, but accept them and I would assert we are rational in believing in them. However, the atheist fails to offer foundations for accepting such things.

The Multiverse has not a shred of evidence. The generator of these universes would require a lot fine-tuning, yes? If we remain in the only universe we scientifically know of (if we accept the assumption that science is possible [which we need a foundation for instead of merely accepting]), we must be open to a Creator. For the universe's fine-tuning cannot be due to chance (due to the probabilites that I mentioned earlier), and needs an explanation for the immaterial laws (the generator would have to be logical, and either needs an origin, or must be eternal). I believe it is much more reasonalbe to believe in a logical, personal, Creator, who existed before time itself.
(I'll respond to everything else soon, out of char.)


Debate Round No. 3
nwarth

Con

Before I begin, I just want to clarify something. I am NOT a Materialist (Reductive or Eliminative). While the world is MOSTLY made up of material objects, it is not completely material. This means I accept non-material objects such as minds, logic, mathematics, laws of physics, and probably laws of morality.

Thank you for answering the questions.

C1- Again, I didn"t get a response to the LPoE. It appears you have conceded all of the premises. Reviewing your argument I think you may have some issue with "If evil exists and God exists, then ["] does not have the desire to eliminate all evil." Unfortunately, you haven"t sketched the argument as to how present or future desire to remove evil gets you around this argument. So, I fail to see why this aught to be rejected when each sub premise was accepted! As I noted earlier, if all the premises are agreed to, and no error is found with the logic, then the conclusion must necessarily follow from the premises! My conclusion remains, God cannot exist as a matter of logic, the very definition of God is found to be untenable.

C2- To the natural PoE, you give an interesting response, that God foreordained all things, but it is Mankind"s fault that natural evil happens. So does God create man(or woman) specifically so that they can suffer? Does he create the child specifically so it can die a horrible death of starvation due to a famine? That sounds horrible and a terrible way to explain natural evil. Again, as you have the burden of proof, you need to show the morally superior reasons. As for "natural evil" in my worldview you are correct, it is meaningless because "nature" cannot act morally or immorally and there is no God to preordain fate.

C3- I"m unsure you understood this argument. As you noted above, "evil exists; both evil and God exists" and that God is "omnibenevolent." I"m claiming there is a problem with these two statements. In the beginning there was nothing except God. He then went about the business of creating a universe. In this universe evil exists. I"m asking how does that happen? How can God create something that (1) does not exist anywhere and (2) is not within his nature. If God is omnibenevolent how does evil come about in the first place? Did he create it? If so, how can he create something that is not within his nature?

Immaterial. You say that God is the source of all existence. My argument is that logic and math exist platonically, and as they exist above the multiverse, they are timeless and eternal. In essence we are both positing explanations for the source of everything. You posit a God, I posit the laws as they exist. Your argument is a bit susceptible to Occam"s Razor. Why have God for logic and such? Just cut him out and get straight to the laws. There is no reason to believe that God exists because there is no warrant for a disembodied mind to exist. As I argued elsewhere, minds are an emergent property, they emerge from brains (matter).

Which moves into "Minds." Your summation is an oversimplification. Obviously thoughts are connected to physical brains. Study after study attest to this connection. (https://www.kcl.ac.uk... has a nice overview of some medical interplay between mind and body). So our minds are bound to our bodies, however our thoughts are immaterial and obviously "refer" to things. To say otherwise ("My thoughts don"t refer to anything") is obviously absurd! However, we see goal directness in nature all the time without intentionality behind it. I could point to numerous "living" examples from trees gaining sunlight to cats eating for survival. However, even inanimate objections could be said to be goal directed. One could say that a hydrogen molecule is "goal directed" to bond with oxygen and form water. All this could be done without intending to do it with a like a sentient being. Rather the forms themselves lie down the rules by which materials interact with each other. Again, unlike Dawkins or Rosenberg, I am not a materialist as nature can have a teleology without being intelligent.

Multiverse: The Multiverse has been demonstrated mathematically. There are also some elements of the theory that are falsifiable (if we zoom out of the universe we should expect to see certain structures). We do not have the technology at this time to falsify the multiverse, however, assuming we continue scientific gain, we should. Generating these universes would not require fine tuning, brute force trial and error would be sufficient. All that the forms need to establish is a minimum level of order, even the rules of physics could change from universe to universe. For example, the speed of light could be different in another universe. So our particular universe"s fine-tuning is absolutely by chance. Should the multiverse be falsified in a way that doesn"t make the universe eternal or potentially eternal, then I admit this point becomes extremely tenuous.

Finally I would like to use your question as the beginning of my conclusion, as this is the final round, and time for us to draw the threads of this debate to a close. It appears to me that you assume that God exists and then spin off a universe around your belief. By drawing atheists in (and I"ve looked over your other debates), you are attempting to have world-views fight each other, believing yours to be the stronger. (How very Darwinian of you!) Now, my worldview needs to be at least equally as strong as yours for me to win this debate. Since you have the burden of proof, if one is unsure which is stronger, the tie ought to go to me.

So let us compare these world-views. Your worldview has two fatal flaws. The Logical Problem of Evil (C1) and Evil"s Existence (C3). These are both logical flaws that draw out incompatibilities in the nature of God. If my arguments carry the day, then God cannot exist as a matter of logic. The Probabilistic Problem of Evil (C2) is a probability argument that merely suggests what C1 argued logically. The Probabilistic Problem of Evil is one for the jury to ultimately vote on, if you think there is any more evil existing than absolutely needs to for any greater good, then my opponent"s God becomes implausible. So if any one of my three counter arguments prevails, my opponent loses as his entire worldview presupposes the existence of God.

Now as we established, I believe it is a properly basic belief to accept induction. As for the logic and math, my foundation is that one cannot conceive of a possible world without it. After all, how can I be me and not be me? What would it even mean to say that the law of identity is in error? With logic, math, and induction, I would submit we have sufficient building blocks to figure out everything else we can. My opponent launched several attacks, arguing that I could not account for nonmaterial laws, the uniformity of nature, certain details of evolution, and morality.

While I may not have been able to give definitive answers to each and every claim, I have demonstrated how evolution works and how it need rely on a God. Additionally, I have set up a cosmology that equally does not rely on a God. I have used science and metaphysics as building blocks and showed that they could generate sufficiently plausible explanations to render God unnecessary. With regards to morals, while I admitted they may not be objective, I have given two arguments (platonic forms and Aristotelian emergent properties) for their potential objectivity that do not rely on God existing.

In short, my opponent"s view has several fatal flaws, whereas my worldview has demonstrated sufficient building blocks and explanatory power to be (1) non-contradictory and (2) sufficient. For these reasons, I believe the only outcome for this debate is a finding that God does not exist. Finally, I would like to thank my opponent, for a stimulating, thoughtful, and fruitful debate/discussion.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Champybeat 6 months ago
Champybeat
Yes, most definitely enjoyed this debate with you. And I apologize if anything in the entire debate goes unanswered, as I do not intend it to (on the contrary, it is due to limited characters). But of course, I welcome you to debate me anytime on anything that was mentioned (most of these topics mentioned could probably have an entire debate of its own [e.g. the problem of evil]). Thank you for the respectful and friendly discussion. I look forward to any arguments we may have in the future.

Brayden
Posted by nwarth 7 months ago
nwarth
Well the debate has gotten so complex, that I need two windows open while I draft an answer. One with your most recent stuff and one with my previous stuff, that way I can track the responses as they flow along!

Regardless of who wins, I will say this has been a stimulating, wide ranging, hard fought, complicated, complex battle of wits and convictions! Thank you.
Posted by canis 7 months ago
canis
Depends on what god you created, or was created for you..
Posted by What50 7 months ago
What50
We had the ABM fiasco, The Brotherhood, some drama involving Emilrose thats what I remember.
Posted by nwarth 7 months ago
nwarth
Yeah, I hear. Evidently there was some crazy stuff that happened while I was away.
Posted by PowerPikachu21 7 months ago
PowerPikachu21
Ten years? Man, you missed out on some events.
Posted by nwarth 7 months ago
nwarth
Pro would define what god is. I'm hoping someone will give me a serious and not silly challenge. There are lots of different ways to define God. For example, does God exist in time as some fundamentalists believe, or stand outside time, as someone like William Lane Craig believes. What about certain aspects, a deist would argue that God is a Creator, but not a personal being. There area also slippery differences between different branches of Christianity and, obviously, between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim understandings. This also impacts which arguments they would use to defend their God. Ken Ham's arguments would look a lot different from Bahnsen's, which, in turn, would differ greatly from someone like Peter Kreeft. Since they are defending the notion that God exists, they have to give a realistic account/definition, of what they are defending is, and how their arguments defend their definition. It wouldn't be fair for me to hamstring their definition too early.
Posted by dsjpk5 7 months ago
dsjpk5
So would Pro get to decide which religion's god you two would debate about?
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