The Instigator
darthebearnc
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
1Credo
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

Evidence for God

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
1Credo
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/23/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 628 times Debate No: 67500
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)

 

darthebearnc

Con

First round is for acceptance only. I am arguing that there is insufficient evidence for the existence of God. My opponent will argue that there is sufficient evidence for the existence of God. Good luck! :D
1Credo

Pro

I accept. I'd like to thank my opponent for creating this debate. I look forward to a good discussion!
Debate Round No. 1
darthebearnc

Con

I thank my opponent for accepting this challenge. I look forward to a great debate! :D

Looking back, I forgot a few things in the introduction (definitions, Burden of Proof, etc.) For the sake of my first argument, I'll be arguing against a God in general, though noting you are Catholic, you may decide to limit the scope of the debate to the Christian/Catholic God in your next round if you so choose. You can also provide a definition for God, as long as it is reasonable. I would assume that the Burden of Proof is shared, as the debate will mainly focus around whether the amount of evidence for God is sufficient or not. Once more, I thank you for accepting the debate, and wish you the best of luck!

For my first argument, noting that I'm not sure whether you want the debate to be focused on a general God or the specific Christian/Catholic one, I'll be showing the error in two common arguments that pro-God debaters like to use. The two I chose in this round are the two favorites of William Lane Craig, a quite well-known modern Christian apologist.

1. Modal Ontological Argument - This argument, one of the most commonly seen in today's world, falls somewhere along these lines:
a. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
b. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
c. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
d. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
e. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
f. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

This argument, while seemingly convincing, is contradictory. It uses modal logic axiom S5, a branch of logic that defines possibility as relating to something that exists in at least one possible world (or hypothetical scenario). For example, using axiom S5, we can argue that a leprechaun (as a rationally possible being) exists in at least one possible world. Going back to the argument, we can see it uses the idea that a maximally great being (God), if possible, exists in every possible world because existing is greater than not existing. Unfortunately, using modal logic axiom S5, this is not true. The principle of axiom S5 states that a maximally great being would exist in some possible worlds due to the axiom's definition of possibility, but because a maximally great being is as of this point in the argument only possible and not yet proven as actual, a maximally great being would not exist in all worlds (this is proven through the modal logic scenario in which due to the mere possibility of God existing, God doesn't exist in at least one possible hypothetical world - if you use Modal to prove that God does exist in every possible world, you are using circular reasoning). Already, the axiom shows that a maximally great being, while existing in some possible worlds, does not exist in others. Therefore, stating that a maximally great being exists in every possible world (point C of the Modal Ontological Argument) is contradictory and hence untrue. Furthermore, another problem in the Modal Ontological Argument arises with the question of whether existence in every possible world is a necessary property of a maximally great being. If existence in every possible world was not a property of a maximally great being, a maximally great being would not necessarily need to exist in every possible world. While my opponent may argue that it is better to exist in every possible world than to not exist in every possible world, there is no evidence for this, especially on a supernatural scale (existence is a blank template from which both greatness and evilness can be derived). For these reasons, the Modal Ontological Argument fails as evidence for God's existence, and should not be used by those who argue in favor of God as proof.

2. Kalam Cosmological Argument - This is another argument commonly used by those who support the existence of God. It essentially says:
a. Everything that has a beginning has a cause.
b. The universe had a beginning.
c. Therefore, the universe had a cause.

This argument, like the previous, is flawed. First, Point A, also known as the law of cause and effect, doesn't apply to the creation of matter and energy. There has been no observation that the law of cause and effect applies to the creation of matter and energy, making this assumption unknown and unproved. The principle of cause and effect has only been observed within changes in something - technically, when ever you 'create' something (e.g. building a car or drawing a picture), you're only turning something into something else, not creating anything from an atomic standpoint. As shown, the principle of cause and effect (Point A) has only been shown within the universe and does not describe the creation of the universe (all of spacetime and matter/energy) itself. Another problem with the Kalam Cosmological Argument is that can be applicable to infinite regression (if God caused the universe, who caused God?). If my opponent assumes that God does not apply to natural law and is therefore inapplicable to infinite regression, we can then make the assumption of equal value that the universe as a whole does not either (natural law has only been observed within the universe, not the creation of the universe). Furthermore, the principle of Occam's Razor suggests the Kalam Cosmological Argument as incredible when paired against the argument that the universe doesn't require a creator. Occam's Razor states that a hypothesis is more credible than its opponent if it has less unproven assumptions - the hypothesis that the universe needs no creator requires only two assumptions (the universe began & it has no creator), while Kalam requires four assumptions (the universe began, God created it, God has no creator, and God exists). As shown, using Occam's Razor, the Kalam argument is beneath the argument that the universe requires no creator because Kalam requires two extra assumptions.

This argument is relatively short - I didn't really consider that my opponent should probably argue first due to the topic of the debate (you would be trying to provide sufficient evidence and I would be trying to deem it insufficient - I assume that you win if you are able to provide sufficient evidence and I win if I am to show your evidence as insufficient). My next argument, most likely as a rebuttal to your first evidences, will most likely be much longer. Anyway, I thank you for reading, and good luck!

Sources:
http://www.peterkreeft.com...
http://www.existence-of-god.com...
https://www.youtube.com...
https://www.youtube.com...
https://www.youtube.com...
1Credo

Pro

Burden of Proof

My opponent has assumed a shared burden of proof. I think this is fair; my opponent and I will be equally responsible for providing justification for our respective positions. In order to fulfill my share of the burden of proof, I will present arguments to serve as evidence for God's existence.

Definition of God

My opponent has requested that I provide some sort of definition for God. For the purposes of this debate, I'll define God as "the greatest conceivable being".

Is there evidence for God?

i. God is the best explanation for the origin of the universe.
P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
P2: The universe began to exist.
C1: Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Defense of P1: I will not spend much time on premise one, as it is fairly self-explanatory and relatively uncontroversial. Simply put, something cannot come from nothing. This is supported by reason as well as by experience. No one has ever witnessed a material object (say, a tree) pop out of nothing in front of their eyes. The idea itself is absurd, as everything within the natural world has a cause for its existence.
Defense of P2: There is both philosophical and empirical evidence that verify premise two. In order for this premise to be false, one must assert that the universe is eternal. This suggestion contradicts both science and reason. Let us start with the philosophical evidence for premise two. Reason alone can show us that the idea of an eternal past (with an infinite number of past events) is impossible. The absurdity of infinity is shown in this example:
I begin with an infinite amount of coins. I subtract an infinite amount of coins from my original count. How many coins do I have left? (Answer = an infinite amount of coins)
I begin with an infinite amount of coins. I subtract three coins from my original count. How many coins do I have left? (Answer = an infinite amount of coins)
In both cases, I subtracted the same exact number of coins from my original count, yet I arrived at contradicting answers. This, along with several other examples (i.e. Hilbert's Hotel) go to show that infinity does not exist in reality.
Now, let us take a look at the empirical evidence supporting this premise. Aside from the obvious Big-Bang model of cosmology, which estimates that the universe came into being from nothing about 13.8 billion years ago, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem shows that any universe which is on average in a state of expansion (as our universe is) cannot be eternal.

ii. God is the best explanation for objective moral values and duties.
P1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
P2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C1: Therefore, God exists.

Defense of P1: Here again, premise one is relatively uncontroversial. If there is no God, then we have no standard from which to deem particular moral acts "good" or "evil". In order for objective moral values and duties to exist, there must exist a perfect standard: God.
Defense of P2: Each of us have a sense of morality which tells us that certain actions are objectively "good" or objectively "evil". For example, I can clearly recognize that altruism (self-sacrifice in order to further the well-being of others) is objectively good. I can also clearly recognize that raping and torturing a child is objectively evil. I have no more reason to doubt the reliability of these moral senses than I do to doubt the reliability of my physical senses. In other words, for any argument given in an attempt to show that our moral senses are not valid (and objective morality is therefore not valid), I can construct a parallel argument to show that our physical senses are not valid (and the physical world we experience through these senses is therefore not valid). In order for one to disagree with premise two, one must believe that an action like rape is just as "good" as an action like generosity, and that no objective distinction can be made between the nature of "goodness" of the two acts.

iii. The very possibility of God implies His actuality.
P1: It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
P2: If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
P4: If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P5: If a maximally great being exists, in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
C1: Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

Defense of P1: In order to refute this premise, one would have to show that the idea of God is incoherent, such that the concept of God is as absurd as the concept of a square circle.
Defense of P2-P6: I have combined the defense of premises two-six because these premises are necessarily true so long as premise one holds true. If a maximally great being is even possible, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world (this does not imply a parallel universe idea, but by possible world I mean to say a way that the world could have been). But if this maximally great being exists in some possible world, then by its very nature it must exist in every possible world (otherwise it would not be "maximally great"). And if this maximally great being exists in every possible world, it follows that it exists in the actual world.

Response to Con's Objections

My opponent objects to the ontological argument, arguing that P3 (If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world) is false. What reasoning does my opponent have for thinking that this premise is false? He asserts that it is "contradictory and hence untrue", but I fail to see any logical contradiction.

In order to be a maximally great being, this being must have maximal greatness in all aspects. So, for example, this being must be all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, etc. Any quality that can be conceived, the maximal greatness of that quality must be attributed to a maximally great being. So, when we consider "existence", this being can either be necessary (existing in every possible world, i.e. truth propositions), contingent (existing in some possible worlds but not in others, i.e. human beings or unicorns), or else incoherent (existing in no possible world, i.e. square circles or married bachelors). Clearly, the quality of necessity is greater than the qualities of being contingent or incoherent. It is better to exist in all possible worlds than it is to merely exist in some worlds, but fail to exist in others (contingent) or else exist in no possible worlds at all (incoherent).

But if that's the case, then a maximally great being must be necessary. Otherwise, it wouldn't be maximally great at all (the being would lack maximal greatness in at least one aspect, namely existence). So, if it's possible that a maximally great being exists (which my opponent does not deny) then it follows that this being must necessarily exist. But, as seen from the argument, if this being exists necessarily, it cannot merely exist in "some possible worlds", but it must exist in every possible world (by virtue of its necessity). So, it logically follows that if a maximally great being is possible, then a maximally great being exists necessarily in every possible world. In order to reject the conclusion of this argument, one would have to show that there is some sort of logical contradiction with the concept of a maximally great being (in the same way that a square circle or a married bachelor is contradictory). My opponent has yet to propose such a contradiction. For now, then, the ontological argument remains sound.

My opponent also objects to the cosmological argument. In attempt to reject P1 of the argument, he seems to argue that matter and energy can be created out of nothing. But surely that's absurd. If it were true that the law of cause and effect "doesn't apply to the creation of matter and energy" as my opponent claims, then we should see objects (made up of matter) popping into existence from nothing all the time. While I sit here typing this response, perhaps I ought to expect a tyrannosaurus rex appear in my back yard, or George Washington appear in my living room. Clearly this is silly, one might argue it's worse than magic.

Furthermore, if my opponent asserts that matter and energy are uncaused, then it follows that he must believe matter and energy to have existed for an infinity. But, as the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem, philosophical arguments (Hilbert's Hotel, counting coins, etc.), and basic mathematics show, it is not logically possible that there be an actual infinity in reality. Thus, my opponent's objection is unfounded.

As for Occam's Razor, my opponent argues that this is a better explanation due to it's simplicity (the fact that it has less premises). But surely my opponent can recognize that a simple, unsound argument is not in any sense better than a less simple, sound argument. My opponent states that Occam's Razor- "the universe began & it has no creator"- is a better explanation. But this is trivial, as it doesn't provide any sort of explanation at all! From these two statements, the original question remains unanswered, what is the cause of the universe? So, I think it is evident that Occam's Razor does not come anywhere close to providing an explanation for the existence of a finite universe. Thus, the cosmological argument remains sound.

Summary

I have presented three arguments as evidence for the existence of God. If my opponent wants to win the debate, he must knock down each of these arguments. If even one of these arguments remains standing at the end of the debate, then it seems to me that there is evidence for God's existence.

Thank you.

Sources

http://now.tufts.edu...
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
Debate Round No. 2
darthebearnc

Con

I would like to thank Pro for participating in this debate and being such a well-mannered and capable opponent. Good luck!

First of all, I would like to clarify that I accept my opponent's definition of God as 'the greatest conceivable being'. I also accept the shared Burden of Proof - I assume that you will win if you provide a proof for God that I cannot refute and I will win if I successfully negate each of your proofs. With that, I will begin my next argument, and wish Pro good luck once again.

It seems that my opponent has provided three logical evidences for God's existence - the two which I provided in my first argument along with the argument from morality. I will attempt to refute all three of these arguments - if I do so successfully and my opponent fails to provide any more valid evidences, I will win the debate.

1. Kalam Cosmological Argument:
Unfortunately, my opponent has failed to refute my initial objection to the Kalam Cosmological Argument. He didn't address most of the main points I made regarding Kalam, instead only providing a short objection to my argument that the law of cause and effect doesn't apply to the creation of matter and energy, as well as my argument regarding Occam's Razor. I will now explain why my opponent's rebuttal, as well as the Kalam Cosmological Argument, are invalid.
My opponent begins his rebuttal by stating that the theory that the law of cause and effect doesn't apply to the creation of matter and energy is "absurd". He asserts that I argue that "matter and energy can be created out of nothing" - this is far from true. I don't think that matter and energy can be created out of nothing because I don't know. Nobody knows. The scientific community currently doesn't know how matter and energy came to be, if they came to be at all. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that matter and energy ever came into existence - the Big Bang theory instead simply states that all matter and energy started expanding from a single point 13.8 billion years ago. Nobody knows if matter and energy were actually created in the Big Bang, or if the universe has actually been in a longer cycle of expansions and contractions with the Big Bang as only a beginning of one of the expansions, or if the single point before the Big Bang was there forever. It's simple - nobody knows. My opponent, the real "absurd" one, asserts that he somehow knows that matter and energy began to exist - how does he know this? He can't, as there is literally no evidence whatsoever that supports the theory that matter and energy came into existence.
Furthermore, my opponent is being completely unrealistic in saying "we should see objects (made up of matter) popping into existence from nothing all the time" if the law of cause and effect doesn't apply to the creation of matter and energy. There is currently no scientific or logical evidence whatsoever that matter and energy can randomly 'pop' into existence - once more, nobody knows how matter and energy are created (if created at all) because there is no evidence regarding the topic. My opponent continues in saying that the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem shows how "it is not logically possible that there be an actual infinity in reality". He's being self-defeating with this claim - if the Theorem is true, how can God be infinite? You have admitted that you believe there is no actual infinity in reality - how, then, can you believe in God? If God is not infinite, then he too must have been created.
Regarding Occam's Razor, my opponent incorrectly asserts that I think my explanation is better because it is simpler. The amount of premises or complexity of an argument have nothing to do with Occam's Razor whatsoever - Occam's Razor regards assumptions, or statements that have not been shown to be true. My argument is better in the eyes of Occam's Razor not because it is simpler or has less premises, but because it has less unproven assumptions. The hypothesis that the universe needs no creator requires only two assumptions (the universe began & it has no creator), while Kalam requires four assumptions (the universe began, God created it, God has no creator, and God exists). My opponent is stuffing words into my mouth by saying that Occam's Razor has to do with the simplicity of an argument - this simply isn't true.
As shown, my opponent is yet to successfully rebut my objection to the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Kalam assumes, with no scientific or logical evidence whatsoever, that matter and energy (the components of the universe) must have a cause - there is no evidence regarding the 'creation' of matter and energy that supports the assumption that they do have a cause. Therefore, Kalam is invalid, as clearly shown through its assumptions and failure to realize the lack of evidence regarding matter and energy's creation.

2. Modal Ontological Argument:
As with Kalam, my opponent has failed to successfully rebut my objections to Modal (he says he fails to "see any logical contradiction", though he probably would if he actually understood the axiom S5 objection). Pro completely fails to discuss my objection regarding Modal logic axiom S5 - instead, he only discusses my objection regarding necessary existence as a good property. As my opponent has failed to discuss my objection regarding axiom S5, I will reiterate my argument here so he hopefully notices it. The Modal Ontological Argument uses modal logic axiom S5, a branch of logic that defines possibility as relating to something that exists in at least one possible world (or hypothetical scenario). The ontological argument uses axiom S5 to state that as a maximally great being is possible, it must exist in at least one possible world or hypothetical scenario. However, because a maximally great being is not yet necessarily existing in all possible worlds at this point in the argument, we must also realize that, due to axiom S5, there is certainly a possible world or hypothetical scenario in which a maximally great being does NOT exist. Therefore, we know for sure that a maximally great being does not exist in at least one possible world. To then say that a maximally great being is present in every possible world is contradictory - we have already deduced that due to axiom S5, there is a possible world in which the maximally great being does not exist. Therefore, it is impossible that the maximally great being exists in every possible world.
If this has not already convinced you that the Modal Ontological Argument is untrue and invalid, I must now rebut Pro's initial rebuttal of my objection regarding existence. My opponent argues that necessary existence (existence in all possible worlds) is an attribute of a maximally great being. My opponent asserts that "the quality of necessity is greater than the qualities of being contingent or incoherent" and that "it is better to exist in all possible worlds than it is to merely exist in some worlds". However, there is absolutely NO evidence to back these claims. There an absolute lack of any evidence or logical proof that it is greater to exist in all worlds than in some - if there is evidence or logical proof for this, I beg my opponent to give it to me, as I am unaware of it. While it might seem that it is better to exist in all worlds than in some, this is not necessarily true. Just because something seems true doesn't make it true - this applies to if existence is 'good' or not. My opponent may argue that my claim is 'absurd' or 'clearly wrong' - why? Where is the evidence that necessary existence is good? There is none. I have clearly rebutted the Modal Ontological Argument - as shown above, it is invalid and simply untrue.

3. Argument from Morality:
I'm running out of characters, so I'll have to make this short. My problem with this argument is Point 1, which asserts that "if God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist." My opponent argues that "if there is no God, then we have no standard from which to deem particular moral acts 'good' or 'evil'". However, this is untrue. First of all, let me clarify that both my opponent and I agree that objective morality exists. We can both cite examples of objectively good things (altruism, kindness, etc.) as well as objectively bad things (rape, torture, etc.) Why, we ask, are these things objectively good or bad?
The answer is simple, and does not require God. An objectively good action is one that maximizes the well-being of oneself and others, while an objectively bad action is one that depletes well-being of others. Obviously, this holds true to both my opponent's and my views on objective good and bad, as objectively good actions (altruism, kindness, etc.) maximize well-being, while objectively bad actions (rape, torture, etc.) deplete well-being. The theory that objective morality depends on well-being is quite simple to explain.
Every individual (regardless of religious affiliation) tries to maximize their own well-being. We can deduct from this that the most well-being (including that of the individual) would be present if everybody's well-being was maximized (an individual must only apply their own personal interest to others to realize this), leading us to believe that morality, quite objectively, can be achieved by maximizing everybody's well-being. When committing an act, one must consider whether it maximizes or depletes the well-being of oneself and others - through this can be derive whether an act is objectively good or bad. Obviously, objective morality exists and can be tested through an action's well-being - all without a God required.

Overall, I believe that I've shown how all three of my opponent's arguments are faulty and untrue. Unless my opponent can successfully defend his arguments, I win the debate. Thanks, and good luck! :D

Sources:
1. tinyurl.com/pfarh9v
2. tinyurl.com/neg7zss
3. tinyurl.com/o9o5c2q
4. tinyurl.com/om8vopw
5. tinyurl.com/m85wro4
6. tinyurl.com/yj49dph
1Credo

Pro

Rebuttal

i. God is the best explanation for the origin of the universe.
P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
P2: The universe began to exist.
C1: Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Let's take a look at my opponent's objections to my first argument:

"The scientific community currently doesn't know how matter and energy came to be, if they came to be at all. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that matter and energy ever came into existence - the Big Bang theory instead simply states that all matter and energy started expanding from a single point 13.8 billion years ago."

This is a misleading interpretation of scientific evidence. As the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem states, any universe which is on average in a state of expansion (like ours) must have had a beginning. Note that it does not say "the universe might have had a beginning" or "the universe probably had a beginning" but rather it says that the universe must have had a beginning. Furthermore, we are not restricted to scientific evidence (though it is readily available). We also have overwhelming philosophical evidence that the universe cannot be eternal in the past, but must have had a beginning. I won't regurgitate the philosophical evidence I brought forward in the last round, but recall that the coin example I gave along with examples like Hilbert's Hotel demonstrate the absurdity of infinity and, therefore, an eternal universe. So, we can reasonably conclude that it is more likely than not (which is all the premise needs to remain sound) that the universe had a beginning. But if the universe had a beginning, then all matter and energy within the universe must of course have also had a beginning, thus refuting my opponent's objection that we "don't know" whether or not matter and energy are eternal. Remember, in order for this objection to have any standing, one would have to affirm that it is more likely that the universe is eternal than it is that the universe had a beginning. This is an affirmation that would go against mainstream scientific and philosophical evidence, and thus ought to be rejected.

"There is currently no scientific or logical evidence whatsoever that matter and energy can randomly 'pop' into existence"

This is exactly my point. My opponent, however, claims that "the law of cause and effect doesn't apply to the creation of matter and energy." On this view, one ought to expect various objects to then pop into existence all the time. Why does he attempt to single out the universe as something that the law of cause and effect doesn't apply to?

"My opponent continues in saying that the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem shows how "it is not logically possible that there be an actual infinity in reality". He's being self-defeating with this claim - if the Theorem is true, how can God be infinite? You have admitted that you believe there is no actual infinity in reality - how, then, can you believe in God? If God is not infinite, then he too must have been created."

This is a blatant misunderstanding of the mainstream conception of "God". I have yet to meet someone who believes that God is infinite in the sense that He has an infinite past. When we discuss whether or not the universe is infinite, what we really mean is whether or not the universe is eternal (thus having an infinite number of past events). It is widely accepted that the universe is not eternal, but did have an absolute beginning. My opponent, however, asserts that the universe is eternal and thus has had an infinite number of past events. But as I previously stated, no one (that I have met) believes God to have had an infinite number of past events. God is believed to be transcendent, to exist outside of space and time. Surely my opponent can see that there is no need for a "beginning" or "cause" for an entity which does not exist within time. On the other hand, space and time are clearly both aspects of our universe. Thus, our universe must have had a beginning due to the absurdity of an actual infinity.

"Regarding Occam's Razor, my opponent incorrectly asserts that I think my explanation is better because it is simpler."

I don't think I've incorrectly asserted anything here; this is my opponent's quote from his last argument regarding Occam's Razor: "a hypothesis is more credible than its opponent if it has less assumptions". It seems to me that this quote implies that Occam's Razor ought to be accepted simply because it has less premises than the argument I've presented. My obvious objection was that a simple, unsound argument is by no means better than a more complicated but sound argument. My opponent argues that Occam's Razor is somehow more valid because it has only two "unproven assumptions": (1) the universe began & (2) the universe has no creator. The problem is that (1) and (2) contradict each other. How could a universe begin without a creator? (I'd also like to note that my opponent continually changes his stance on the universe- whereas he previously argued that the universe is eternal, he now shifts to arguing that the universe is finite but has no creator). If my opponent wants to affirm Occam's Razor, it seems to me that he is responsible for providing a plausible mechanism by which the universe began (a mechanism which is not a creator, in order to be consistent with (2)).

ii. God is the best explanation for objective moral values and duties.
P1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
P2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C1: Therefore, God exists.

Let's now take a look at my opponent's objections to my second argument:

"However, because a maximally great being is not yet necessarily existing in all possible worlds at this point in the argument, we must also realize that, due to axiom S5, there is certainly a possible world or hypothetical scenario in which a maximally great being does NOT exist."

My opponent contradicts himself here in attempting to argue against S5 modal logic. The statement "a maximally great being is not necessarily existing in all possible worlds" is a contradiction. As the argument shows, if a being is maximally great, then one property that being must have is necessary existence. There is no such thing as a contingent being that is maximally great, as my opponent seems to be arguing. If a being is maximally great, then that being exists necessarily in every possible world, as the argument shows. So my opponent's assertion that "there is certainly a possible world or hypothetical scenario in which a maximally great being does not exist" is contradictory and thus false.

"There an absolute lack of any evidence or logical proof that it is greater to exist in all worlds than in some"

How about common sense? Is my opponent really going to take the position that it is greater to not exist than to exist?

iii. The very possibility of God implies His actuality.
P1: It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
P2: If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
P4: If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P5: If a maximally great being exists, in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
C1: Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

Finally, let's look at my opponent's objections to my third argument:

"An objectively good action is one that maximizes the well-being of oneself and others"

I disagree. For the psychopath, rape and torture are actions that maximize well-being. Self-sacrifice resulting in death clearly does not maximize well-being. So, on this view, rape and torture are "good" actions for the psychopath while self-sacrifice (say, dying so that a family member can live) is an "evil action". Perhaps my opponent argue that rape and torture are not "good" actions because while they maximize the psychopath's well-being, they are detrimental to the victim's well-being. But then, a situation where a group of psychopaths rape and torture one individual would be a "good" because this maximizes the well-being of several individuals whereas it is detrimental to the well-being of only one. Likewise, if two parents sacrificed their lives for their child, it would be an "evil" action on this view because this action is detrimental to the well-being of two individuals while it maximizes the well-being of only one. On my opponent's view then, morality isn't really "objective" at all (though he claims to affirm objective morality) as actions that maximize well-being for one individual may very well be detrimental to the well-being of another.

Summary

I have presented three arguments at this point in the debate, and each argument remains standing as my opponent has failed to bring forward any sort of defeating objections. Until my opponent is able to knock down each of the three arguments I have presented, we can reasonably conclude that there is evidence for God.

Sources

http://plato.stanford.edu...
http://mind.ucsd.edu...
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
http://now.tufts.edu...
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
http://scienceblogs.com...
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Debate Round No. 3
darthebearnc

Con

Rebuttal:

1. Kalam Cosmological Argument - My opponent begins his rebuttal by stating that the second premise of Kalam is sound because the universe "must have had a beginning" due to the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem. However, this statement is untrue. First, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem [1] states only that "almost all" inflationary models of the universe will reach a boundary in the past (not that all inflationary models "must have had a beginning," as my opponent asserts). Already, we can see that like all other valid theorems regarding the matter, even the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem doesn't show for sure that the universe had a beginning - my previous statement that "the scientific community currently doesn't know how matter and energy came to be" is sound. Even Alexander Vilenkin admits this, saying that [2] :

"[I]f someone asks me whether or not the theorem I proved with Borde and Guth implies that the universe had a beginning, I would say that the short answer is "yes". If you are willing to get into subtleties, then the answer is "No, but"" So, there are ways to get around having a beginning..."

As you can see, an author of the theorem himself admits that Borde-Guth-Vilenkin doesn't prove a beginning for sure. The Kalam Cosmological Argument's problem is that even if universe does have a beginning, this beginning can be explained in scientific terms. Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin themselves write:

"What can lie beyond the boundary? Several possibilities have been discussed, one being that the boundary of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of the Universe in a quantum nucleation event."

As you can see, the theorem itself realizes that even if the universe does have a beginning, there are "several" possibilities of its cause - not the single possibility of God. The possibility described above regards a quantum nucleation even (not God-related), though the authors of the theorem itself realize that there are multiple possibilities (not just God, as Premise 3 of Kalam tries to assert). I have clearly shown that my opponent's own evidence reveals the Kalam to be untrue, and will end this rebuttal with another of Vilenkin's statements:

"Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God " So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist."

2. Modal Ontological Argument - My opponent seems to have mixed up his order of arguments, as he provides the argument from morality with evidence for Modal and provides Modal with evidence for the argument from morality. Assuming that he wants to address Modal second, I will now begin my rebuttal of his argument for the theory.

My opponent first states that I contradict myself by saying that "there is certainly a possible world or hypothetical scenario in which a maximally great being does NOT exist." This is untrue. My opponent bases his assertion of my contradiction off of the assumption that "if a being is maximally great, then one property that being must have is necessary existence." This assumption is false. I have shown my opponent over and over again that necessary existence is not a property of greatness - he responds:

"How about common sense? Is my opponent really going to take the position that it is greater to not exist than to exist?"

Please describe the evidence, reason, or logic behind your "common sense." I don't see the "common sense" behind the assumption that necessary existence is a property of greatness - what is your "common sense"? Please explain. Once more, even if something seems to be true (i.e. theory that existence is great), there must be evidence, reason, or logic provided in order to show that it is, in fact, true. Furthermore, I'm not arguing that "it is greater to not exist than to exist" - I'm simply arguing that there is no evidence, reason, logic, or 'common sense' in saying that it is greater to exist than to not.

Furthermore, my argument against Modal regarding axiom S5 logic is sound. As I have said repeatedly, axiom S5 defines 'possibility' as existing in at least one possible world (or hypothetical scenario). Just like there is a hypothetical scenario in which God exists, there is already a hypothetical scenario in which God does not (shown to be true by axiom S5). Therefore, it would be impossible for God to exist in all possible worlds, as axiom S5 itself says that there's already at least one possible world in which God doesn't [3] [4]. My opponent bases his rebuttal of this argument off of necessary existence as a possibility of greatness, though as you can see in the above paragraph, necessary existence isn't. Once more, there's already a possible world where God doesn't exist due to axiom S5, so Modal is untrue. So Modal's assertion that "if a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world" is contradictory and thus false.

3. Argument from Morality - Once more, my opponent seems to have mixed up the order of his arguments, so I can only assume that he wants to discuss the argument from morality third.

My opponent provides a series of examples to 'disprove' my argument regarding morality. I will address each of these examples in order to clarify that the objective morality system regarding well-being is sound:

a. For the psychopath, rape and torture are actions that maximize well-being.

Note that this would not be permissible under my moral system, as rape and torture are detrimental to the well-being of whoever is being raped or tortured. The net well-being is obviously negative in this example, as while the psychopath is most likely provided with temporary pleasure from his activities, the well-being of the victims is decreased to a much, much further extent (e.g. possibly permanent and at the least temporary injuries, mental harm, horrible memories, etc.) Furthermore, even gang rape (where multiple rapists rape one victim) is immoral under my system, as even though the pleasure of many is temporarily increased, the well-being of the victim is decreased to a much, much further extent. It's pretty clear that sexual assault will harm its victim in a huge, huge way, to an extent much larger than any amount of rapists will be pleasured. My opponent will probably somehow further change the situation of the above example in order to 'corner' my moral system, though in any given example whatsoever, the better action is that which provides the most well-being and least suffering (note that the above actions are extremely immoral, as they provide little well-being and much suffering - temporary pleasure is not as significant as lasting mental/physical pain, regardless of how many are pleasured).

b. Self-sacrifice resulting in death clearly does not maximize well-being.

This depends on what the self-sacrifice is for. If the self-sacrifice results in well-being that is to a greater extent than the extent of the detriment of the well-being of the sacrificed individual (i.e. positive net well-being), then it is permissible. If the sacrifice results in well-being that is to a lesser extent than the extent of the detriment of the well-being of the sacrificed individual (i.e. negative net well-being), then the action should not be permissible. In the situation in which one individual sacrifices his/her life for another, the net well-being could be determined by comparing the future lives of the two individuals in question and determining which individual would have a better life if theirs was saved (this is based off of who will, throughout their life, contribute the most to the well-being of themselves and others). In the situation in which two parents sacrificed themselves for a child, the net well-being could be determined by comparing the future lives of both of the parents against the future life of the child and determining whether the parents or child would have better lives if saved (once more, this is based off of who will, throughout their life, contribute the most to the well-being of themselves and others). However, if the parents choose to do so, I suppose they could sacrifice themselves out of pure altruism and kindness for their child (this would still be morally permissible, as the parents are consenting to the sacrifice and therefore willingly determining their own well-being).

As shown in the two above examples, the morality of an action is determined on whether it causes a positive or negative net change in well-being. This is not related to the amount of people with changing well-being (my opponent would like you to believe that the net well-being is based off of the quantity of people being positively or negatively affected, though in reality, the net well-being is based off of the extent of positive or negative change - this is what makes gang rape immoral even though many are pleasured while one is pained). Furthermore, under this system, the morality of an individual's action can be determined by seeing if they applied their knowledge to the situation in order to provide a positive net well-being (it would therefore not be immoral to commit an action with good intentions but later figure out that it had bad effects). Overall, this system, which doesn't require God, is obviously objective, as it works the same when applied to each and every scenario.

Conclusion - Overall, I believe I have successfully countered each of my opponent's three arguments. Unless my opponent can successfully back his arguments with reasonable evidence (he hasn't), I win the debate. Thanks! :D

Sources:
1. tinyurl.com/p2lc7f8
2. tinyurl.com/m9p69p6
3. tinyurl.com/pfarh9v
4. tinyurl.com/neg7zss
1Credo

Pro

Thanks, Con.

Rebuttal

i. God is the best explanation for the origin of the universe.
P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
P2: The universe began to exist.
C1: Therefore, the universe has a cause.

"the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem states only that "almost all" inflationary models of the universe will reach a boundary in the past (not that all inflationary models "must have had a beginning,"

My opponent has misrepresented the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem here; commonly, atheists will adopt the cyclic model in hopes that a past boundary (a beginning) will not be necessary. This is explicitly addressed by Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin in the source referenced by my opponent:
"The internal brane spacetimes, however, are nonsingular, and this is the basis for the claim that the cyclic scenario does not require any initial conditions. We disagree with this claim. In some versions of the cyclic model the brane spacetimes are everywhere expanding, so our theorem immediately implies the existence of a past boundary at which boundary conditions must be imposed."
Here it is clearly stated that the cyclic model does not in any way rule out the existence of a past boundary. As such, there is no viable model of the universe in which a past boundary (a beginning) is not reached.

"my previous statement that "the scientific community currently doesn't know how matter and energy came to be" is sound."

I don't disagree that this particular statement is accurate. What I disagree with is the assertion that matter and energy are uncaused. My opponent may be correct in stating that the scientific community isn't in agreement as to how matter and energy came to be, but what is clear is that matter and energy are not uncaused.

"As you can see, an author of the theorem himself admits that Borde-Guth-Vilenkin doesn't prove a beginning for sure."

I don't think the source used for this quote was in the slightest bit reliable. Furthermore, I find it extremely difficult to believe that Alexander Vilenkin would contradict everything he says in his academic work in a supposed interview with an atheist blogger. It seems evident to me that the source used was not credible. If a blogger claimed that a popular atheist (say, Richard Dawkins) revealed a conversion to Christianity in a personal interview I hardly think anyone would think of it as legitimate. In the same way, I don't see any reason to take this atheist blogger (and his claims) seriously.

ii. God is the best explanation for objective moral values and duties.
P1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
P2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C1: Therefore, God exists.

"Note that this would not be permissible under my moral system, as rape and torture are detrimental to the well-being of whoever is being raped or tortured."

On my opponent's moral system, any act that maximizes well-being is "good". If we consider a group of five psychopaths who's well-being is maximized by actions like rape and torture, it becomes evident that this action is "good". My opponent argues that rape and torture are not "good" because they are detrimental to the well-being of the victim of these actions. But why think this is the case? If an action (rape) maximizes the well being of five individuals and minimizes the well-being of one individual, then the net result of the action is "good". On my opponent's view, then, actions like rape and torture are morally "good" so long as there are more psychopaths involved in the action than their are sane individuals.

Moreover, my opponent's view is self-defeating. He wants to affirm objective morality while at the same time rejecting God as the basis of this objective morality. To do so, he proposes a radical theory for objective morality, namely that an action is objectively "good" if it maximizes well-being and objectively "evil" if it minimizes well-being. But clearly different individuals have different preferences. In other words, the same action that maximizes the well-being of one individual might very well minimize the well-being of another. Going back to the previous example, rape maximizes the well-being of the psychopath while it minimizes the well-being of the victim. So, it cannot be concluded that rape is objectively "good" or "evil" on this view. Is it both? Is it neither? In any case, it is clear that this is a self-defeating proposition for an alternative basis of objective morality.

"If the sacrifice results in well-being that is to a lesser extent than the extent of the detriment of the well-being of the sacrificed individual (i.e. negative net well-being), then the action should not be permissible."

On this view, then, a mother who runs into a burning house to save her baby, dying in the process, has committed an "evil" act. I find it incredible that anyone should take such an absurd stance on morality.

"Overall, this system, which doesn't require God, is obviously objective, as it works the same when applied to each and every scenario."

I think I've shown pretty clearly that this moral system is not objective in any sense. My opponent affirms the contradictory view that (1) morality is objective and (2) identical actions can be both "good" or "evil" depending on the individual with which the action is concerned. (1) and (2) are obviously inconsistent, as objective morality by definition holds that an action is either right or wrong in the factual sense, so that it cannot be "good" for one individual yet "evil" for another. I invite my opponent to reconsider this view.

iii. The very possibility of God implies His actuality.
P1: It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
P2: If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
P4: If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P5: If a maximally great being exists, in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
C1: Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

"Furthermore, I'm not arguing that "it is greater to not exist than to exist" - I'm simply arguing that there is no evidence, reason, logic, or 'common sense' in saying that it is greater to exist than to not."

In order to reject the statement "existence is greater than non-existence" one would have to affirm that either "existence and non-existence are equally great" or "non-existence is greater than existence". My opponent does not seem to affirm either of these statements (please correct me if I'm wrong here). Until my opponent affirms that non-existence is either greater or as great as existence, he cannot sensibly reject the statement that "existence is greater than non-existence".

"Just like there is a hypothetical scenario in which God exists, there is already a hypothetical scenario in which God does not"

Regurgitating this statement doesn't make it any less of an unwarranted assertion. Why think that there is a possible world in which God does not exist? If my argument (which my opponent has thus far failed to refute) is sound, then it follows that there is no possible world in which God does not exist.

Summary

I have presented three arguments in favor of the position that there is evidence for God. In response to the first argument I presented, my opponent has tried all sorts of objections - from Occam's Razor to arguing that Alexander Vilenkin refuted his own theory - each of which has not been the slightest bit convincing. As such, the first argument remains sound. What about the second argument I presented? Here, my opponent took the wild stance that (1) objective morality exists and (2) identical actions can be either "good" or "evil" depending on the individual with which the action is concerned. As I showed above, (1) and (2) are contradictory and as such my opponent's moral system fails. In response to the third argument I presented, my opponent's main objection is that existence is not any greater than non-existence. If this were true, then I'd expect to see a much higher suicide rate. In any case, my opponent doesn't affirm the negation of this statement, so he has no basis for rejecting it.

All three of the arguments I originally presented remain unrefuted. For now, it seems to me that we can reasonably conclude that there is evidence for God. This is not, of course, to say that God exists; it is merely the modest claim that this is at least one piece of evidence in favor of God.

Thank you.

Sources

http://arxiv.org...
http://now.tufts.edu...
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
http://scienceblogs.com...
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
http://plato.stanford.edu...
http://mind.ucsd.edu...
Debate Round No. 4
darthebearnc

Con

1. Kalam Cosmological Argument

"Commonly, atheists will adopt the cyclic model in hopes that a past boundary (a beginning) will not be necessary."

I am in no way endorsing the cyclic model, nor do I claim to be doing so. Simply, I am asserting, correctly, that there is no certainty regarding whether the universe had a cause. Once more, this debate is about whether there is sufficient evidence for God's existence. I need not provide additional evidence supporting another claim about how the universe works, etc. - merely, I must simply show how your evidences are invalid (I have done so). I'm not arguing that the cyclic model is true - I don't know why you're assuming that I am and recommend that you don't waste a paragraph next round to refute a theory that I don't claim to be true. Once more, Alexander Vilenkin himself acknowledges that there is no way to know for sure whether the universe had a cause:

"[I]f someone asks me whether or not the theorem I proved with Borde and Guth implies that the universe had a beginning, I would say that the short answer is "yes". If you are willing to get into subtleties, then the answer is "No, but"" So, there are ways to get around having a beginning..."

Again, an author of the theorem himself admits that Borde-Guth-Vilenkin doesn't prove a beginning for sure. Pro claims - with no reliable evidence whatsoever - that the source I used was apparently faulty because it is "extremely difficult to believe that Alexander Vilenkin would contradict everything he says in his academic work in a supposed interview with an atheist blogger." First and foremost, I find it slightly disappointing that Pro would stoop to the low level of criticizing a reliable source just to advance his argument and bash mine. Simply being both an 'atheist' and a 'blogger' does not make one unreliable - to say so would be preposterous (to conform to you're needs, I'll provide additional sources [1] [2] and [3] with the exact same interview included). The interview Vilenkin gave did not "contradict everything he says in his academic work" whatsoever - once more, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem itself says only that "almost all" inflationary models for the universe have a beginning. Clearly, both the theorem and Vilenkin himself acknowledge that the universe didn't have a beginning for sure - the second premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument (the universe began to exist) is simply not known to be true.

Furthermore, my opponent completely ignores my refutation of the claim that the cause of the universe must have been God. Once more, I acknowledge that there is evidence for the universe's beginning, but to say that such a beginning must be due to God is preposterous. Vilenkin himself states clearly that:

"Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God. So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist."

I find Pro's use of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem slightly ironic, as an author of the theorem himself is blatantly acknowledging that the Kalam Cosmological Argument is unsound. Pro completely ignored the above quote in his argument, probably because it refutes Kalam in the entirety. Again, I have provided three additional sources for Vilenkin's interview [1] [2] [3] due to Pro's distaste for bloggers who are atheist.

2. Argument From Morality

Once more, it isn't even my responsibility in the debate to defend any moral system - I must simply show that my opponent's evidences are insufficient. However, I will still defend the moral system I have presented, as the system is quite logical and Pro's claims are quite contradictory:

Pro begins his argument by blatantly ignoring mine. He states that under my moral system, "if an action (rape) maximizes the well being of five individuals and minimizes the well-being of one individual, then the net result of the action is 'good.'" I don't know where Pro deduced this from. Perhaps, if he had listened to the following quote of mine, he would have seen things differently:

"The morality of an action is determined on whether it causes a positive or negative net change in well-being. This is not related to the amount of people with changing well-being (my opponent would like you to believe that the net well-being is based off of the quantity of people being positively or negatively affected, though in reality, the net well-being is based off of the extent of positive or negative change - this is what makes gang rape immoral even though many are pleasured while one is pained)."

It's quite ironic how my opponent asserts that my moral system would allow rape that increases the well being of five and decreases that of one - once more, the morality of an action is related to the net change in well-being, NOT the quantity of the people experiencing a change in well-being. I asserted this multiple times, though Pro apparently doesn't seem to notice. He says the following:

"On my opponent's view, then, actions like rape and torture are morally "good" so long as there are more psychopaths involved in the action than their are sane individuals. "

I currently cannot remember debating an opponent who has - to the same extent - so carelessly attributed such falsehoods to me. Once more, I clearly stated in my last quote that the morality of an action is "not related to the amount of people with changing well-being" - I encourage Pro to base his next rebuttal off of what I actually think instead of what I don't actually think.

"To do so, he proposes a radical theory for objective morality, namely that an action is objectively "good" if it maximizes well-being and objectively "evil" if it minimizes well-being."

Pro quotes the word "evil" in his argument, saying that I supposedly think "a mother who runs into a burning house to save her baby, dying in the process, has committed an 'evil' act." First of all, I don't even mention the word evil in my argument - to quote the word and its moral connotations to me is simply, well, wrong. Once more, I strictly believe that "the morality of an individual's action can be determined by seeing if they applied their knowledge to the situation in order to provide a positive net well-being (it would therefore not be immoral to commit an action with good intentions but later figure out that it had bad effects)." In the situation regarding the burning house, I suppose the mother would apply her knowledge to the situation and conclude that the most well-being could be achieved if she tried to save the baby. Of course, even if she willingly sacrificed her own life for that of the baby, her action would still be permissible - note that I distinctly state in my argument that "however, if the parents choose to do so, I suppose they could sacrifice themselves out of pure altruism and kindness for their child (this would still be morally permissible, as the parents are consenting to the sacrifice and therefore willingly determining their own well-being)." Pro's assertion that the actions of the mother would be considered "evil" under my system is blatantly untrue - once more, (a) I never said, nor do I believe, that the actions of the mother would be evil, (b) the actions of the mother would be morally good if she tried to increase well-being by saving her child, and (c) even if she willingly sacrificed herself, "this would still be morally permissible, as the [mother is] consenting to the sacrifice and therefore willingly determining [her] own well-being." Pro's attacks against my moral system are all blatantly untrue, as each of the attacks obviously attribute a bad quality to my moral system that simply isn't there (see above).

3. Modal Ontological Argument

"In order to reject the statement "existence is greater than non-existence" one would have to affirm that either 'existence and non-existence are equally great' or 'non-existence is greater than existence.'"

This assertion is untrue. As my opponent has the responsibility to provide evidence for God, and this evidence relates to existence as good, Pro must provide evidence that existence is good. In this specific situation, my opponent has the burden of proof, as he is affirming the contention on hand, while I must simply explain that there is no evidence for it. As philosopher Chris Hitchens once said, "that which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." Only Pro must provide evidence regarding this specific contention, as he is affirming it and I am simply saying there is no evidence for it (not necessarily that non-existence is equal/better).

"If my argument (which my opponent has thus far failed to refute) is sound, then it follows that there is no possible world in which God does not exist."

For what seems like the billionth time, using axiom S5, any possibility is real in at least one possible world. Therefore, as both the existence and non-existence of God are possible, there are possible worlds in which God does and doesn't exist. My opponent is absolutely using circular reasoning if he argues that it's impossible that God doesn't exist due to the ontological argument itself.


Summary
Throughout my arguments, I have successfully rebutted each of my opponent's arguments. While he may attempt to counter my successful rebuttals, I remind the voters that I have provided many evidences against his three arguments, whilst his attacks against me have each proven to be faulty and untrue. With that, I end the debate. Thanks! :D

Sources

1. tinyurl.com/pymcw9y
2. tinyurl.com/pafddqw

1Credo

Pro

Thanks, Con.

Rebuttal

"Simply, I am asserting, correctly, that there is no certainty regarding whether the universe had a cause."

If we're going to understand "certainty" in that way, then there isn't really any certainty about virtually anything. This is, however, irrelevant, as all that is necessary in order for the conclusion of the argument to remain sound is that the argument's premises are more likely true than their negations. In order words, one doesn't need to be certain that the universe had a cause (I think there is ample evidence for one to be certain, I am only saying that this certainty is not a necessity). All that's required is that it is more likely that the universe had a cause than it is that the universe is uncaused.

"I find it slightly disappointing that Pro would stoop to the low level of criticizing a reliable source"

I can't think of any source that could be more unreliable than a biased blog. I see no reason at all to think the blogger my opponent quotes ought to be given any sort of credibility. I suppose this is an issue which reader's must decide for themselves, though it's worth noting that my references to Vilenkin come from academic papers whilst my opponent's come from a biased blogging site.

"the second premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument (the universe began to exist) is simply not known to be true."

Once again, even if my opponent is correct, the argument remains sound. All that is required for an argument's soundness is that it's premises are more likely true than their negations. Here again, it may very well be true that the premise is not "known to be true", but this does nothing to refute the argument, which hinges only on whether or not the premise (and other premises) are more likely true than not.

"The morality of an action is determined on whether it causes a positive or negative net change in well-being. This is not related to the amount of people with changing well-being"

My opponent continues to alter his strange attempt at an explanation for morality. Upon recognition that his system fails as soon as the quantity of individuals having a positive change in well-being as a result of an evil action outweighs the negative change in well-being of only one individual, my opponent tries to argue that his quantity is not what matters in his system. He doesn't give any sort of reason as to why an action which maximizes well-being for 5, or 50, or 500 individuals but minimizes well-being for only one individual is still not a "good" action, he merely makes the assertion that this is not the case. Even if my opponent's unwarranted assertion were correct, his system would remain trivially flawed. All that's necessary to show that this idea of morality is inconsistent is that it's possible for a rapist to have a more positive change in well-being than his victim has a negative change as a result of rape. So, if we put "well-being" onto a scale from -10 to +10 (0 being neutral), it's entirely possible that a psychopathic rapist gets a +8 well-being as a result from raping someone. The victim of this rape, however, gets a -7 well-being, resulting in a net change in well-being of +1. If this is even possible, then it follows that my opponent's propose system of morality is utterly flawed and thus ought to be rejected, as actions like rape are sometimes "good" actions and actions like self-sacrifice are sometimes "evil" actions on this system.

"As philosopher Chris Hitchens once said"

He was a journalist, not anything close to a philosopher.

"Pro must provide evidence that existence is good."

My opponent has been very stubborn on this subject; I think it could be plausibly argued that this is a properly basic belief, in the same way that believing the external world is real is properly basic. Nonetheless, I think it can easily demonstrated with evidence that existence is preferable to non-existence. Going back to my opponent's flawed system of morality, recall his insistence that actions that maximize well-being are "good". Well-being (or "good") cannot be obtained without existence. Thus, "good" is only possible if existence applies to the being concerned. My opponent would be shooting himself in the foot if he denied this, as this conception of "goodness" if what his moral system hinges on.

"For what seems like the billionth time, using axiom S5, any possibility is real in at least one possible world."

For what seems like the billionth time, I agree that any possibility is real in at least one possible world. I haven't been given any reason by my opponent to think that God's nonexistence is a possibility. My opponent is the one making the assertion in this case (claiming that there is a possible world where God does not exist). He fails to provide a shred of justification for this assertion. Why should we think that it's even possible for there to be a world in which God does not exist? If my third argument is true (which I think we can safely say it is as my opponent hasn't come anywhere close to showing at least one of it's premises to be false), then it follows that it is impossible that there be a world in which God does not exist. Thus, we have reason both in my own argument and in my opponent's lack of justification for thinking that his assertion is false.

"My opponent is absolutely using circular reasoning if he argues that it's impossible that God doesn't exist due to the ontological argument itself."

This is a blatant demonstration of my opponent's misunderstanding of the argument. I am in no way arguing that the "ontological argument is true because the non-existence of God is impossible". Can my opponent (or any readers for that matter) find this statement in any of the argument's premises? I think not. These are my opponent's own words and have absolutely nothing to do with the argument I've presented. The argument is true if each of it's premises are more likely true than their negations. As my opponent's statement that the "ontological argument is true because the non-existence of God is impossible) is nowhere to be found in these premises, his accusation of circular reasoning is clearly false.

Conclusions

It seems to me that each of the three arguments I presented remain unrefuted:

i. God is the best explanation for the origin of the universe.
P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
P2: The universe began to exist.
C1: Therefore, the universe has a cause.

ii. God is the best explanation for objective moral values and duties.
P1: If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
P2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
C1: Therefore, God exists.

iii. The very possibility of God implies His actuality.
P1: It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
P2: If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
P3: If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
P4: If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
P5: If a maximally great being exists, in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
C1: Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

As such, I think we can reasonably conclude that there is at least one piece of evidence for God.

I'd like to thank my opponent for creating and participating in this debate. I'd also like to thank any readers for taking the time to read the debate through.

Sources

http://arxiv.org...
http://now.tufts.edu...
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
http://scienceblogs.com...
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
http://plato.stanford.edu...
http://mind.ucsd.edu...
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by darthebearnc 1 year ago
darthebearnc
Thank you for voting!
Posted by dsjpk5 1 year ago
dsjpk5
This is a very interesting debate. I've read about half of it so far, and can appreciate the hard work both parties obviously undertook! I plan on voting in a few days.
Posted by darthebearnc 1 year ago
darthebearnc
The comment below is for Round 5.
Posted by darthebearnc 1 year ago
darthebearnc
Unfortunately, sources 3-7 didn't show up... the rich text option tends to lie and say that you still have characters when you don't. The sources are at:

3. http://commonsenseatheism.com...
4. http://arxiv.org...
5. https://debunkingwlc.wordpress.com...
6. https://www.youtube.com...
7. https://www.youtube.com...
Posted by darthebearnc 1 year ago
darthebearnc
Sorry for taking so long in Round 2... I've been busy in RL but I'll get it in on time for sure.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Texas14 1 year ago
Texas14
darthebearnc1CredoTied
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: Source points to con. Pro had slightly better arguments in this contested debate. Pro wins.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 year ago
dsjpk5
darthebearnc1CredoTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct was equal. Both parties were respectful. S and G are times as well. I found Con's use of a blog a bit concerning, but overall I thought they both had reliable sources. Therefore sources were a tie. As for arguments, I give that to Pro. Con was able to refute all Pros arguments accept one, objective morality. Con agreed objective morality exists, but his explanation for its existence was lacking. In every case, Con's explanation could be best described as SUBJECTIVE, not OBJECTIVE. With him unable to give a cogent explanation for the cause of objective morality, Pro's claims go unrefuted. Overall, this was an outstanding debate!