The Instigator
Skeptic8
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
socialpinko
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

Existence of God

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/22/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,555 times Debate No: 15540
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (5)

 

Skeptic8

Pro

Bailed on the last debate, I challenge you again.
socialpinko

Con

I look forward to an intereseting debate and await your opening arguments.
Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Skeptic8

Pro

I'd like to begin by explaining my methodology. In this debate I will be laying out 3 arguments for the existence of God. These arguments will lay out a cumulative case for the existence of God. In order for my opponent to win in this debate, he must first tear down my three arguments and in place of those, erect his own argument for the non-existence of God. If my opponent is unable to do this then I think the voters should vote Pro.

The first argument is known as the Kalam Cosmological Argument. The premises of the argument are as follows:

(1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause
(2) The universe began to exist
(3) Therefore the universe has a cause
(4) The cause of the universe must be causeless, immaterial, timeless, changeless and personal
(5) This uncaused cause is a description of God
(6) Therefore God exists

The second argument is known as the Teleological Argument which states that the constants for the universe are finely-tuned for the existence of life. The premises of the argument based on these findings are as follows.

(1) There are three possible explanations for the fine-tuning of the universe; necessity, chance or design
(2) The fine-tuning is not due to necessity
(3) The fine-tuning is not due to chance as the probability is vanishingly small
(4) Therefore the fine-tuning is due to intelligent design

The final argument is the Argument from Objective Morality

(1) Without God, objective morality can not exist
(2) Objective morality does exist
(3) Therefore, God exist

I await to hear my opponent's refutations!
socialpinko

Con

I thank my opponent for a quick and timely response. I will now proceed to refute his claims.

============================================================================

Kalam Cosmological Argument

1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause
(2) The universe began to exist
(3) Therefore the universe has a cause
(4) The cause of the universe must be causeless, immaterial, timeless, changeless and personal
(5) This uncaused cause is a description of God
(6) Therefore God exists

I will begin by first disputing my opponent's second claim that the universe began to exist. If 'god' was causeless then the same can easily be applied to the universe. Argument's for god's causelessness usually revolve around time and space being constructs of god's, therefore god supersedes them. I contend that time and space are constructs of the universe as a whole and therefore prior to the existence of the universe(pre-big bang) time and space did not exist. Therefore the universe is in a unique position to not need a cause, for the same reason that god does not need a cause.

============================================================================

Teleological Argument

(1) There are three possible explanations for the fine-tuning of the universe; necessity, chance or design
(2) The fine-tuning is not due to necessity
(3) The fine-tuning is not due to chance as the probability is vanishingly small
(4) Therefore the fine-tuning is due to intelligent design

My opponent has not backed up his claims as to why the alleged fine tuning of the universe could not be due to necessity so I will wait for him to prove that in the next round. My opponent has also not shown why chance could not be a cause. He only claims that there is a small probability. However, as my opponent pointed out there still exists a chance that fine tuning of the universe is due to chance. I will wait for my opponent to prove that it is impossible that chance is the reason for the alleged fine tuning of the universe.

============================================================================

Argument form objective morality

(1) Without God, objective morality can not exist
(2) Objective morality does exist
(3) Therefore, God exist

My opponent has failed to show why objective morality does exist and why it cannot exist independent of a god. I will also wait for my opponent to clarify in the next rouns. As of now these are merely baseless assumptions and need to be backed up with reason and evidence before I can refute them.
Debate Round No. 2
Skeptic8

Pro

Cosmological Argument:

My opponent asserts that the same rules of causation apply to the Universe as they apply to God. The issue with this is that recent scientific data implicates that the universe began to exist. This does NOT mean that it lasted eternally much as the steady-state theory (or my opponent) implies. Even without scientific evidence its philosophically obvious that something physical can only exist in a finite sense. Another evidence that the universe had a beginning is the impossibility of actual physical infinites. Such infinites would cause mathematical impossibilities. For more information read on the absurdity of Hilbert's Hotel ^1. Therefore, since we established that the universe is not separate from its need for a cause the argument still follows that the cause of the universe must transcend time, space and matter. This is due to the fact that the universe encompasses all time, space and matter. Such a description leaves us with an excellent starting point for the existence of God.

Teleological Argument

The fine-tuning of the universe can not be due to necessity as it is both logically and mathematically possible that the constants can be different. The difference however, lies in the result of the changes of those constants which would end in the non-existence of life. The chance explanation fails when you look at the sheer unlikelihood. Such a possibility is less than one winning the lottery 7 times in a row. Now I ask you to play along with this analogy. If you saw an individual win the lottery 7 times in a row, which is more likely? It is virtually impossible that this occurred by chance and infinitely more likely that this person rigged the results. Therefore, if its not by chance and not by necessity it is due to design.

Argument from Objective Morality

My opponent seems to contest that objective morality is true. This is, to me, a properly basic fact. Certain things based on our own moral intuition are basically wrong, for example, cold murder, genocide, rape and torture. Other things like charity, love and generosity are basically good. It is the burden of my opponent to prove that morality is not objective as objectivity need only be demonstrated.
socialpinko

Con

Cosmological Argument

You misunderstand my argument and I apologize for not being clearer. I was actually disputing that the universe had a cause as I pointed out. I can concede that the universe began to exist while still mantaining that it does not need a cause. As time is a construct within the universe, prior to the existence of the universe(pre big-bang) time did not exist. Therefore prior to the big bang what would become the universe supereded time and thus did not need a cause.

Also, infinites or singularities can exist naturally. Take black holes for example. The center of a black hole has zero volume and infinite density. This is a natural singularity just as the big bang singularity was natural. this is because our concept of time is a construction within the universe(space-time). Before the universe existed there was no time. So my argument stands that for the same reason that god does not need a cause(it supersedes time), the universe does not need a cause.

Teleological Argument

"The fine-tuning of the universe can not be due to necessity as it is both logically and mathematically possible that the constants can be different. The difference however, lies in the result of the changes of those constants which would end in the non-existence of life. The chance explanation fails when you look at the sheer unlikelihood. Such a possibility is less than one winning the lottery 7 times in a row"

The chances of winnin the lottery can range from 18 to 120 million to one. So your chances of winning the lottery 7 times in a row could be up to 840 million to one.[1] Now estimating conservatively there could be up to a billion billion planets in the universe. So even if the chances of life arising were more than 1 in 840 million, life would have still have arisen on almost 1.2 billion different planets.

It is not the universe which has been fine tuned to create life, but life which has evolved in the way it has in response to the constants of the universe. If the constants were different, then life may have still arisen and evolved, albeit in a profoundly different way. You would be correct in stating that we would not have evolved exactly the way we are now if the constants of the universe were different.

Objective Morality

"My opponent seems to contest that objective morality is true. This is, to me, a properly basic fact. Certain things based on our own moral intuition are basically wrong, for example, cold murder, genocide, rape and torture. Other things like charity, love and generosity are basically good. It is the burden of my opponent to prove that morality is not objective as objectivity need only be demonstrated"

Yes. Objective morality needs to be demonstrated before we can assume that objective morality exists. All you have shown is that people seem to think that some things are bad and some things are good. You have in no way shown that they are objectively good or bad. And the burden is on you as you are making an argument which rests solely on objective morality existing. It is not the default to believe that objective morals exist.

[1]http://www.savingadvice.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Skeptic8

Pro

Cosmological argument

My opponent asserts that although the universe began to exist it does not apply to the first premise (1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause. He also asserts that because the Universe encompasses time it can not have a cause that is in temporal relation (for example "before") to its existence. However, causes do not necessarily have to be antecedent to their effects. Causes can often be simultaneous to their effects, an example of which is a person sitting on a cushion and the cushion compressing to the weight.

My opponents belief that the universe which encompasses everything can be created and caused from nothing is at face value absurd. It is one of this world's standing principles that from nothing and by nothing, nothing comes. My opponent is to have us believe that everything in the known universe was caused by nothing. I only hope the voters understand that such an argument is so obviously absurd.

I'd like to add to this argument the idea that the cause must be a personal agent. If we accept the premise that everything that begins to exist must have a cause for we know that nothing can only cause nothing then we can discuss why the cause must be personal. Such a cause must be personal for if the cause was an impersonal set of conditions that existed eternally then the effect must exist eternally. For example, the condition for water to be frozen is for the temperature to be sub-zero. If this condition occurred eternally then its effect (water that is frozen) must occur eternally. For a cause to be eternal and its effect to begin the cause must be a personal agent who freely choses the action, much like a human who is sitting eternally may freely choose to stand.

I feel as though I did not properly explain what an actual infinite is. My opponent states that black holes are examples of "actual infinites". This is a wrong statement. Black holes are examples of "potential infinites". The definition of an actual infinite is a set which has neither a beginning nor an end. An example of which is a line which can infinitely go in both directions. It is actual infinites which create logical absurdities (much like Hilbert's Hotel) whereas potential infinites are much like black holes. To visually understand it picture a ray where from one point can go infinitely in one direction. It is logically possible to infinitely add to an already existing entity much like a black hole. To state however that the universe is eternal is to say that the universe has a history of moments that stretches infinitely backwards and infinitely forward. Such "actual infinites" do not exist in the universe and therefore can not apply to the universe.

Teleological Argument

I believe my opponent fails to understand what would occur with the changing of these constants. These constants are not like those of the weather where life would be able to adapt. The universe itself would become desolate, unable to support stars or planets in any way. For instance, were α (the strength of the electromagnetic interaction) to change by 4%, stellar fusion would not produce carbon, so that carbon-based life would be impossible. If α were > 0.1, stellar fusion would be impossible and no place in the universe would be warm enough for life. ^2

I fear I did not express the vanishingly small possibility of these constants falling as they do. The number of seconds in the history of the universe is about 10 to the 18th power. The number of sub-atomic particles in the entire universe is about 10 to the 80th power. Now with those numbers in mind, consider the following: Donald Page, one of America's eminent cosmologists, has calculated the odds of our universe existing as being one chance out of 10 to the power of 10 to the 124th power, a number which is so inconceivable that to call it astronomical would be a wild understatement! ^1

Objective Morality

Objectivity is defined as something existing independent of thought or observation pertaining to reality. Therefore the idea that morality is objective is much like the idea that 2 + 2 = 4. Objective morality exist necessarily under this definition. It is up to the person saying 2 + 2 = 5 or that morality is not objective to prove that this is the case. An analogy of this is asking a person why does salt taste like salt? It is a properly basic taste much like objective morality is a properly basic fact.
socialpinko

Con

Cosmological Argument

"causes do not necessarily have to be antecedent to their effects. Causes can often be simultaneous to their effects, an example of which is a person sitting on a cushion and the cushion compressing to the weight."

The concept 'simultaneous' is itself a concept of time. For the same reason that god's omniscience does not disprove free will, as time does not exist for god(simultaneousness included), the universe does not need a cause.

"My opponents belief that the universe which encompasses everything can be created and caused from nothing is at face value absurd. It is one of this world's standing principles that from nothing and by nothing, nothing comes. My opponent is to have us believe that everything in the known universe was caused by nothing."

Your positing that the universe must have been created because nothing can come from nothing is contradictory. You discard that the universe could exist without a cause but then claim, without evidence, that god can exist without a cause.

To respond to your contention that a cause for the universe must be personal being, I can simply apply the argument to god. God must have a personal creator, and that creator must have a personal creator to infinity.

Teleological Argument

To your contention that life could not form with different universal constants, I respond the same as I did last round. You cannot prove that under a different set of universal constants, radically different forms of life would not emerge. Who are we to say that our form of life is the only one possible?

Objective Morality

You cannot prove something exists based solely on the definition. And it is up to the one claiming 2+2=5 to prove their claim, however, this is because it has already been established that according to agreed upon axioms of mathematics, 2+2=4. You are making the positive assertion that objective morality exists, therefore you must prove it. Objective morality is not a basic fact as it has not been proven to exist.
Debate Round No. 4
Skeptic8

Pro

Cosmological Argument

Where my opponent fails to understand the concept of simultaneous is that the moment of the ACT of creation and the creation of time itself occur at exactly the same point. Therefore the act of creating time is occurring within the framework of time thus making it possible to use the language of time for example "simultaneous" Q.E.D.

My opponent states that nothing can come from nothing is a contradictory statement. He however, fails to SHOW how the premise "Nothing can come from nothing." is contradictory. He, however, attempts to apply the same rule of the causality of the universe to the creator God. If the same rule of causality applies to the creator God then the creator God is not greater than the universe but its equivalent. Something equivalent to the Universe can not create the Universe. Therefore the creator God does not abide by the same principal of causality as the creator God is greater than the Universe.

It appears that in my opponent's third contention he has chosen to reiterate in a different manner his second contention. As I have responded to his contention I'd like to show that my opponents belief that every cause must have a cause is inconsistent. If we apply this principal to everything in science then no explanation would be valid as EVERY explanation could be brought to an infinite regress. If every explanation needed an explanation to be valid then NO explanation would be valid. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause which is the creator God.

Teleological Argument

My opponent's contention focused on the idea that other forms of life might exist. My opponent claims that I have no evidence that this could NOT occur. I'd like to rebut by asking my opponent for explanation of how it CAN occur.

I'd also like to point out that my opponent chose not to respond to the vanishingly small likelihood that this would occur leaving our final explanation, design, to be the strongest explanation.

Objective Morality

My opponent appears to believe that 2 + 2 = 4 is an "agreed axiom" of mathematics. This is a false premise. To assume that 2 + 2 = 4 is agreed upon is to remove it from its objectivity. Even if every leading mathematician in the entire world stated that 2 + 2 = 5 they would be wrong. My opponent appears to fail to understand the concept of objectivity and therefore contends that morality that is objective must be proven. Objective morality exists necessarily for it is unable to NOT exist. To contend this my opponent would have to prove that morality is not objective but rather subjective. I shall leave this to my opponent.

In conclusion I believe we have seen 3 good reasons to believe that theism is true. We, however, have not heard any arguments to believe that atheism is true. It is for these reasons that voters should vote Pro.

I'd also like to, if my opponent is interested, continue to the debate with a new challenge to allow us to further delve into this interesting topic.
socialpinko

Con

Cosmological Argument

My opponent believes that the concept of simultaneousness is not a concept that is within the realm of time. This however is not true. Just as for something to happen in the past or the future would have to happen within the realm of time. My opponent has not shown why simultaneousness does not lie in the same category of other timely concepts.

My opponent then goes on to state that the casualty of the universe cannot be applied to god as that would make the two equivalent and if god were equivalent to the universe then he would not be able to create the universe. My opponent discards this as it disproves his own claims. This only goes to show that the concept of god is illogical and contradictory and is no reason to discard my own argument.

Teleological Argument

My opponent tries to shift the BOP in the last round. He believes that because I have not shown an example of other life forms occuring under different circumstances then that leaves god as the only explanation. However my opponent is the one who has the BOP in this specific situation in that he is claiming that life could never form or evolve under any other circumstances. It is up to him to prove this point and show that god is the only explanation for the formation of life. He has not done this so we may discard his argument.

My opponent has also shown that the possiblity of life forming and evolving is small, but he has not shown that it is impossible. In the third round I showed that even if the chance of life forming was as my opponent claimed, less likely than one winning the lottery seven times in a row, life would still form on almost 1.2 billion planets. My opponent is correct in stating that the chance of life forming is small, but given the huge time frame that has elapsed since the big bang and the staggering number of planets in the universe, the formation of life at some point is actually inevitable.

Objective Morality

My opponent correctly states that no matter how many people agree that 2+2=5 it would still be wrong. However that is not what I am arguing. I am arguing that our understanding of the values and concept of mathematics are agreed upon as human concepts although they may be applied to the physical world. If humans had determined when laying the framework of mathematics that when one used the word 2 one would be referring to a value which we would agree to be 2.5 then 2+2 could logically and correctly equal 5.

My opponent has not given readers and voters any reason to believe that any form of morality is objctive, or that this could only happen if there were to exist a god. He has not upheld his burden of proof and therefore his argument from the existence of objective morality must be discarded.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

My opponent brought three arguments to prove that god exists. The first one is the Kalam cosmological argument or basically that the universe began to exist and everything which begins to exist must have a cause, namely god. I showed that not everything that begins to exist must necessarily have a cause because our conception of cause and effect is directly related to the relation between events in time. As time did not exist prior to the universe, my opponent's principle that everything that began to exist must have a cause does not apply.

My opponents next claim was that life's formation and evolution would have been very unlikely without a creator god. I showed that my opponent did not fill his BOP and did not show conclusively that it was impossible for life to form without a god, only that it was unlikely. I however showed that with the billions of years in history of the universe, coupled with the estimated billion, billion planets in the universe, the formation of life is not as unlikely as my opponent would put forth.

My oppnent's last contention is that objective morality exists and would not be able to exist without a creator god to legitamize it. He however again did not fill his burden of proof and did not show that objective morality did in fact exist and also did not show that it would take a god would legitamize morality.

My opponent completely forfeited his burden of proof to prove his contentions. He also mantains that it was my reponsibility to show why atheism is the correct option. However as instigator of this debate and pro it was my opponent's responsibility to prove that god exists and my responsibility to refute my opponent's arguments. I have successfully done this so I urge a con vote.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by mecap 5 years ago
mecap
The cosmological argument is wrong on so many levels:
1. The universe did NOT begin to exist at the point of the Big Bang... it existed prior to the Big Bang as a point of infinite singularity (like a black hole). There is no known phenomenon that would prevent an infinite singularity from existing infinitely.
2. If there was a creator of Universe, God would have to be eliminated as a candidate due to Occam's razor: any characteristics which are not necessary for the fulfillment of the role of the creator are to be eliminated. A creator need not be merciful, just, loving, caring, omnipotent, omnipresent, etc... a creator just has to be a sufficient cause and THAT'S ALL!
3. By Pro's logic, any being that fits the characteristics of a creator will qualify as a creator, thus rendering the argument completely pointless.
Posted by Jinx 5 years ago
Jinx
While I personally believe in God, the existance of God from an academic standpoint results in a conundrum similar to Schroedingers Cat. If we were to put odds on the probability of a result, regardless how unlikely that probability is, and then attempt to see that result an infinite number of times, that result will eventually come to be. Therefore, in the infinite depths of space, finding a planet (earth) populated by a people who are followers of an exsisting all powerful creator, while not likely from a mathematical standpoint, will come to pass due to an infinite repetition.
Posted by Skeptic8 5 years ago
Skeptic8
^1 Donald Page, cited in L. Stafford Betty and Bruce Cordell, "God and Modern Science: New Life for the Teleological Argument," International Philosophical Quarterly 27 (1987): 416. Betty and Cordell actually get the number too small.

^2 D. Barrow (2001). "Cosmology, Life, and the Anthropic Principle". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 950 (1): 139–153. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2001.tb02133.x.
Posted by awatkins69 5 years ago
awatkins69
(1) Of the Kalam is deniable if you believe in libertarian free will and incompatibilism. What is the cause of the coming to be of the movement upward of my arm? Me. The end. No?
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
This really should have started with someone defining "God"
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by mecap 5 years ago
mecap
Skeptic8socialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro didn't meet the BOP.
Vote Placed by TUF 5 years ago
TUF
Skeptic8socialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pros BOP was not upheld.
Vote Placed by Puck 5 years ago
Puck
Skeptic8socialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Barely Con due to the ease on refuting bop's taken on by Pro. Scrappy debate all around by both. There is a bunch of easily accessible material for both sides on these topics. My advice is find it and read up. Dial in debates are neither interesting nor rewarding.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Skeptic8socialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: "To respond to your contention that a cause for the universe must be personal being, I can simply apply the argument to god." - con was doing well until that round
Vote Placed by Brenavia 5 years ago
Brenavia
Skeptic8socialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I personally agree with Pro and would like to vote him up, but I have to be honest in saying that everything cam down to the fact that Con cited a source using a hyperlink. If Pro had cited more sources, I would have given him the win. All in all, a great debate!