The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
Jzyehoshua
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points

God Exists

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/23/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,478 times Debate No: 34108
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (27)
Votes (4)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Con

My opponent must show that Theism is more reasonable than Atheism, and I must show that Atheism is more reasonable than Theism (By "Atheism" I mean "Strong Atheism"). Thus, the burden of proof will be shared.

The God we will be discussing is the God of Classical Theism. I take it on faith that my opponent will not hold me to the position that I must defend the notion that "nature" does not exist (Spinoza's God for example). No semantics. If one accepts this debate, then we both know what we mean when we speak of God within the context of the debate outline.

My opponent will present a case for Theism in round 1 instead of the first round being for acceptance. In round 4, my opponent will simply put:

"No argument will be posted here, as agreed"

Good luck!
Jzyehoshua

Pro

Hello, I look forward to discussing this subject with you. My arguments for the existence of God are as follows:

1. Good and Evil

As Ravi Zacharias points out in 'Jesus Among Other Gods' one cannot criticize God for the existence of evil in the world without accepting a moral law exists in the universe differentiating between good and evil. A moral law can exist only if there is a moral lawgiver who not only institutes said law but serves as its standard. Ravi furthermore points out that questioning why evil occurs to humans inherently assumes humans have intrinsic worth and value, which can be true only if they are given that inherent value by a Creator.

"When you say there is evil, aren't you admitting there is good? When you accept the existence of goodness, you must affirm a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. But when you admit to a moral law, you must posit a moral lawgiver. That, however, is who you are trying to disprove and not prove. For if there is no moral lawgiver, there is no moral law. If there is no moral law, there is no good. If there is no good, there is no evil. What then is your question?"
http://xwalk.ca...
"You may ask, Why does assuming a moral law necessitate a moral lawgiver? Because every time the question of evil is raised, it is either by a person or about a person"and that implicitly assumes that the question is a worthy one. But it is a worthy question only if people have intrinsic worth, and the only reason people have intrinsic worth is that they are the creations of One who is of ultimate worth. That person is God. So the question self-R03;destructs for the naturalist or the pantheist. The question of the morality of evil or pain is valid only for a theist."
http://www.rzim.org...

I believe it was C.S. Lewis who once pointed out that the man who says there is no good and evil will cry foul when he is the one being wronged. Those who claim absolute right and wrong do not exist nonetheless show a knowledge of the concept when they are the ones being wronged. The founding fathers themselves recognized that for humans to have inalienable rights, these must be given by a Creator. This is referenced by Thomas Jefferson in both the Declaration of Independence and Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and by James Madison in Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments.

2. Existence of Matter

According to the second law of thermodynamics, matter decays. Matter is temporal, not self-existent. If matter could pop into nowhere from nothing we should see little big bangs occurring in the universe all the time, but not once have we ever witnessed such an occurrence. See also the law of conservation of energy which states that energy in an isolated system cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form. For there to have been a Big Bang where particles collided, you must first explain where particles came from when multiple laws of the universe show the temporal nature of matter should not allow it to self-exist.

The atheist will doubtless ask where God comes from, but this inherently assumes God would be bound by the same physical laws that make a purely physical beginning impossible! Only by inferring the existence of another dimension like the spiritual and an intelligent, self-existent being like God can one explain where anything physical could come from. In other words, while the physical cannot be self-existent or eternal, a spiritual dimension would not necessarily involve the same limitations, and as such a spiritual being would be outside the laws of physics that make Big Bang theory in its current form impossible.

3. Nietzsche's Prophecy

A powerful, recent case of the supernatural imitating a Biblical example of God's intervention ironically occurred to one of the best-known atheists in history, Friedrich Nietzsche. After declaring 'God is dead' and books attacking Jesus called "The AntiChrist: Curse on Christianity" and "Ecce Homo" (his autobiography lauding himself), Nietzsche suffered a bout of insanity in 1899 and mailed a number of letters before dying from pneumonia. In these letters, Nietzsche prophesied the coming of World War II fifty years later and signed his name as "The Crucified" in an apparent warning to the Jewish people.

"The passion of my last work has something terrible about it. Yesterday I read it with the most profound astonishment as though it were something new."
-Friedrich Nietzsche to Karl Fuces, December 14, 1887
http://archive.org...

Ah ! if you could only know what I had been writing when your letter reached me ! With a cynicism which will become part
of the world s history I have now related "myself." The book is called "Ecce Homo", and is an onslaught on the Crucified without the ghost of a scruple; it ends with thunderclaps and lightning flashes, that deafen and blind, against everything that is Christian or tainted with Christianity."
-Friedrich Nietzsche to Georg Branded, November 20, 1888
http://archive.org...

"You may make any use of this letter which will not degrade me in the eyes of those at Basel. I have had Caiaphas put in fetters. Also, last year I was crucified by the German doctors in a very drawn-out manner. Wilhelm, Bismarck, and all anti-Semites abolished."
-Friedrich Nietzsche to Jacob Burkhardt, January 6, 1889
The Portable Nietzsche, pp. 685-687.

"To my maestro Pietro. Sing me a new-song: the world is transfigured and all the heavens are full of joy. -The Crucified"
-Friedrich Nietzsche to Gast, January 4, 1889
The Portable Nietzsche, p. 685.

"On the other hand it is anti-German to the point of annihilation. I have kept firmly on the side of French culture throughout (I treat German philosophers, en masse, as unconscious counterfeiters). Nor is the book tedious here and there I have even
written in the style of 'Prado'. In order to guard against German brutalities (confiscation) I shall send the first copies, previous to publication, to Prince Bismarck and the young Kaiser, accompanied by a written declaration of war. Soldiers cannot answer that sort of thing by police measures."
-Friedrich Nietzsche to Strindberg, December 7, 1889
http://archive.org...

"You will hear from me shortly about your short story it goes off like a gunshot. I have appointed a meeting day of monarchs in Rome. I shall order to be shot."
-Friedrich Nietzsche to Strindberg, December 31, 1888
http://archive.org...

"I myself am working on a promemoria for the European palaces with an intent of an anti-German league. I ordain to constrict the Reich in an iron shirt and to provoke war of desperation"
-Friedrich Nietzsche to Overbeck
http://www.bu.edu...

Wilhelm II would become the Emperor of Germany just months after Nietzsche wrote this, and replace Otto von Bismarck, the nationalistic German Chancellor who'd unified Germany. Caiaphas was the Jewish high priest at the time of Jesus (Matthew 26:3). In other letters, Nietzsche also commanded the German emperor to go to Rome to be shot, and summoned the European powers to take military action against Germany.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://topics.nytimes.com...
http://www.jstor.org...

God likewise caused opponents who became proud to go insane or in Paul's case, blind, in the Bible, using them as prophets, e.g. Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:28-37), King Saul (1 Samuel 19:18-24), and the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-22).
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

I thank my opponent for agreeing to this debate.

Good and Evil

It is evident that Pro is trying to dodge the Problem of Evil early by making the common Theistic claim that one has to presuppose evil exists to run the argument. Since evil can only exist if God exists then this would make the Problem of Evil self-refuting and void. There are two huge issues with this line of reasoning:

(i) Evil does not need to exist under the Atheistic worldview to run the Problem of Evil

(ii) This begs the question against Atheistic morality

The Problem of Evil can be run even if one assumes that rape is only wrong if Theism were true. Thus, (i) is devastating to Pro's case. All one needs to do is show that rape would be wrong if Theism were true and show a contradiction in the idea of God. It is not necessary to assume evil actually exists for the Problem of Evil to work, and this is not a rare misconception.

My opponent also begs the question against Atheistic morality while claiming that objective law requires an external law giver. However, this law giver is the human species ourselves and is not external. We have a law of Chess for example that states a knight must move in an "L" shape, but we do not need a "gaming" deity for this. Humans can create our own objective rules. Many moral philosophers simply reject the notion that God is required for morality:

"A common outlook amongst moral philosophers that I share, is that people have been doing moral philosophy without appealing to God for thousands of years." - Philosopher, Shelly Kagan [1]

Pro still has not even ruled out any Atheistic moral frameworks and just presupposes Theism is necessary for this. However, as philosopher Stephen Law states:

"The onus is on [The Theist] to show that all such atheist-friendly accounts are wrong, even the ones we haven't thought of yet." - Philosopher. Stephen Law [2]

My opponent has not even come close to having a compelling argument against Atheistic morality. This "Good and Evil" section does not stand as valid.

Existence of Matter

The universe most likely has a total energy sum of zero and many calculations demonstrate this [3]. This view is held because the negative energy of gravitational attraction and the negative energy stored in space, exactly offset the positive energy in the universe to equal zero. This is hypothesis is no fiction either; as negative energy has even been experimentally verified between two Casimir plates [4]. If there was no universe there was be a sum of zero energy; we we have the same sum with a universe. This means that no additional energy is required for a universe. This makes this argument from Pro rather trivial:

"We know that there are conservation laws. Usually this means that if you have something you cannot have nothing; it takes energy. However, it turns out that if you have a closed universe...the gravitational energy, which is always negative, exactly compensates for the positive energy of matter." - Physicist, Alexander Vilenkin [5]


Nietzsche's Prophecy

An Atheist converting to Theism does not support the notion that Theism is true. This argument can be made on both sides (take a look at Dan Barker [6] for example). Pro states that Nietzsche predicted World War 2. However I can predict World war 3. It will happen in the next 50 years and involve the United States, China, Iran, and Israel. Am I a prophet? No. It is not hard to predict things like this and to actually have them turn out true.

None of my opponent's arguments stand.

Argument from Temporal Minds


P1:
If God exists he is/ has a functioning atemporal mind

P2: Mental processing is required for a functioning mind

P3: Temporal duration is required for processing

P4: A functioning atemporal mind cannot exist

Conclusion: God does not exist


P1

The claim that God is/ has an atemporal mind should go uncontested, as he is adhered to as the mindful creator of time itself. Also, the claim that this mind would be functioning seems obvious. God certainly would not be a vegetable without mental capabilities as far as Classical Theism is concerned.

P2

This is as natural and self-evident a truth as the notion that a moving vehicle is required for a car ride, or the notion that arm lifting is required for bench pressing.

P3

A process requires an order of events with a series of steps; and thus a change from state ‘A’ to state ‘B’. This change means that a process at its most generic metric necessitates some sort of temporal emergence in order for a transition of states to be feasible. This is a widely accepted philosophical principle:

“So construed, the notion of change is obviously bound up with notions of cause, time and motion” - Change and Inconsistency (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) [7]

“Change is intimately bound up with time.” – What is philosophy? (University of Florida) [8]

P4

This premise follows from the preceding premises.

Conclusion

The conclusion follows from the preceding premises.


- The Argument from Temporal Minds establishes the non-existence of God.


The Argument from Evil


I am going to present William Rowe's version [9] of the Argument from Evil. Here are two scenarios which the argument involves:

(E1) Lightning strikes a tree in a forest, causing a forest fire. A fawn is caught in this fire, and suffers intense agony for an extended period of time before finally dying.

(E2) A five year old girl is, by her mother's boyfriend, severely beaten, raped and strangled to death.

The argument is as follows:

(P) No good state of affairs that we know of is such that God, by bringing it about, is morally justified in permitting E1 and E2.

Therefore, probably:

(Q) No good state of affairs is such that God, by bringing it about, is morally justified in permitting E1 and E2.

Therefore, probably:

(R) God does not exist

The inference from Q to R should be rather obvious as these things in question are self-evidently permitted if God exists (which the Problem of Evil establishes is a contradiction). The inference from P to Q is justified based on the principle of induction [10]; it is clearly prima facie [11] warranted. It is safe to say that P is actually true because we have no good reason why God allows these instances to occur. To say God has morally sufficient reasons we just may not know about delves into radical epistemological skepticism. If we were consistent with the logic, then if I set up a bomb to blow up in an elementary school then skepticism would be warranted with regards to whether I was evil or not. It would have to be more reasonable to assume that I had morally sufficient reasons than the notion I did something evil according to this response to the Problem of Evil. If the Theist claims that is "different" without valid reasoning, then we are dealing with a classic case of special pleading.

Also remember that one does not necessarily have to assume these acts of suffering are genuinely evil given Atheism. All we have to do is assume that these acts would be evil if God exists to show the contradiction in the idea of God. Pro has given us no good reasons to doubt Atheistic moral philosophy as well, so his "Good and Evil" section undermines the Problem of Evil in no way.

- The Problem of Evil establishes the probable non-existence of God.

Conclusion

Pro has failed at showing that Theism is true, and I have succeeding in showing that Atheism is true. As it stands, the resolution has been negated.

Jzyehoshua

Pro

Good and Evil

No dodge, if evil can be recognized as absolute rather than relative, it necessitates a moral Creator who set a standard to good and evil in the universe. Ultimately, I argue that atheism and humanism by reducing the worth of humanity to that of animals introduce, by definition, inhumane concepts such as eugenics that devalue human life.

For, as the Declaration of Independence states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

To quote Jefferson again, "Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free; That all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and therefore are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do;"

To quote James Madison, "This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considerd as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance."

The common theme of both founders is that men have inalienable rights only because such rights are given to them by God. As Madison aptly puts it, "Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the universe." There is no way to recognize intrinsic worth in our fellow man without accepting that it is implanted in them by a Creator. Thus, those who do not recognize God will inevitably devalue the rights of others. You cannot believe in "unalienable" or absolute rights for men without believing in an absolute standard of good or evil, and thus a Creator who sets that standard. To believe that Hitler or other immoral historical figures were truly committing evil, rather than just doing what was right for them, and thus to believe evil exists while having a conscience, one must believe evil exists absolutely, which necessitates a moral Lawgiver.

Existence of Matter

The Zero-Energy universe theory is part of the recent Inflation Theory developed around 1980 and according to NASA originated as a way of addressing three serious weaknesses in Big Bang theory; specifically the flatness problem, horizon problem, and monopole problem, so that the theory can explain the facts which contradicted it in its previous form.

http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov...
http://www.astrosociety.org...

It should of course be noted the theory was only devised as a way of addressing evidence which contradicted Big Bang theory to massage the facts into existing theory, and is quite recent, yet to withstand scrutiny. It could well be disproven like previous attempts such as Steady State, Cosmic Hesitation, and an Oscillating Universe. As detailed by Hugh Ross in "The Fingerprint of God" a steady succession of atheistic theories have fallen by the wayside over the past two centuries attempting to explain a purely naturalistic beginning to the universe.

So is additional energy required for a universe? The structure and scope of the universe did not and could not begin until the Big Bang occurred, and thus cannot explain how the Big Bang itself began. In other words, a Zero-Energy universe can be explained as something existing because of the Big Bang, but not originating before it.

Ultimately current theory is insufficient to explain our current model of the universe. We discovered in the 1990s that the universe doesn't meet the qualifications it should if conventional thinking about its structure is correct, nor is the structure even remotely what it should be. Expansion of the universe was supposed to be slowing down, but observations showed that instead it was actually speeding up. Roughly 95% of the universe consists of hypothetical unexplained constructs referred to as 'Dark Energy' and 'Dark Matter.' As NASA concludes, a likely possibility is that the very theory of gravity which predicted the universe's slowing and the speed of light in space used to estimate the universe's age is itself incorrect:

"More is unknown than is known. We know how much dark energy there is because we know how it affects the Universe's expansion. Other than that, it is a complete mystery. But it is an important mystery. It turns out that roughly 68% of the Universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest - everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter - adds up to less than 5% of the Universe...

A last possibility is that Einstein's theory of gravity is not correct. That would not only affect the expansion of the Universe, but it would also affect the way that normal matter in galaxies and clusters of galaxies behaved. This fact would provide a way to decide if the solution to the dark energy problem is a new gravity theory or not: we could observe how galaxies come together in clusters. But if it does turn out that a new theory of gravity is needed, what kind of theory would it be? How could it correctly describe the motion of the bodies in the Solar System, as Einstein's theory is known to do, and still give us the different prediction for the Universe that we need?"

http://science.nasa.gov...

Ultimately conventional scientific thinking has thus far been unable to explain why 95% of the universe is the way it is, or even where it is, and why its expansion is accelerating rather than slowing down. The existence of matter does not make sense per a purely naturalistic universe.

Nietzsche's Prophecy

Nietzsche didn't just predict WWII, but specific details like Joseph Mengele's torture of the Jewish people in his reference to Caiaphas; too specific for mere coincidence.

Opponent Arguments

The Argument From Evil

Due to space shortage I will address this only briefly, I have addressed it more fully at my website:

http://www.bereawiki.com...

Essentially, this rests upon three false assumptions which do not apply to the Biblical God:

(1) That God is all-knowing regarding the future which would contradict Mt. 13:28, Ps. 14:2, and Ez. 18:31, and generally how God is portrayed by the Bible in general.
(2) God created or helped create evil contrary to Gen. 1 which says God made all things good with Satan gaining control over mankind through sin (Heb. 2:14-15) as well as control of the world. (2 Cor. 4:4; Jn. 12:31) Biblically God made things God and the devil planted evil against God's will (Mt. 13:28), the devil is the "god of this world." (2 Cor. 4:4; Mt. 4:8-10)
(3) Evil is unlinked to humanity. By asking why evil exists one actually asks why God doesn't destroy them, for humanity with Satan is the source of evil Biblically.

Argument from Temporal Minds

This rests upon argument from ignorance making several potentially false conclusions, that "temporal duration is required for processing" and "mental processing is required for a functioning mind" which can be argued only by denying spirit in man, arguing naturalism to begin with.

Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

I thank my opponent for his response. Unfortunately, it suffers some devastating problems.

Good and Evil

In this section, my opponent merely hand-waves all my objections and falls right back on his original presuppositions. This makes this section from him rather trivial. First of all, he presumes that absolute law requires an external absolute law giver, but fails to realise that laws are just descriptions; they are not what the descriptions are describing. If there is objective moral truth then this can be described by laws that we create, but this does not necessitate that what the laws doing the describing requires an external law maker. This is clearly fallacious. Moral truths can come from us without and external being, and my opponent has not torn down any Atheistic moral philosophy yet:

"There are many different [Atheistic] objective moral systems, such as Objectivist morality, many variants of utilitarian morality, humanism (when not used with the evolutionary justification), and to a certain extent, rational pragmatism." - François Tremblay [1]

In order for my opponent to claim that Atheism cannot account for morality, he must do much more than he is doing now:

"There is no obvious contradiction between a strong commitment to moral realism and disbelief in God. That atheism and moral realism are in tension is a philosophical position that must be argued for." - Jason Thibodeau [1]

It seems clear that Pro has not provided a compelling incompatibility case with regards to Atheism and objective morality and only provided a semantical issue based on the word "law". Thus, his claims that Atheism and objective morality are not compatible are severely unjustified.

In addition, Pro completely dodges my main point that one does not need to assume things can actually be deemed "evil" if Atheism is true. One only needs to assume that these things would be "evil" if Theism was true and show the contradiction. This leaves the Argument form Evil standing unscathed form the perspective of this "Good and Evil" section. My opponent is simply relying on a red-herring pertaining to the notion that the Atheist has to believe morality is objective to run the argument. This is false.

Existence of Matter

Pro does not deny the calculation I provided [3] does not deny that negative energy has been experimentally verified between two Casimir plates [4]. He merely states that it may be proven wrong in the future, and that this claim from me still does not explain why The Big Bang happened at all. However, anything could potentially be proven wrong in the future; this does not mean one cannot make a strong probability case based on what we know at the present moment.

"So is additional energy required for a universe? The structure and scope of the universe did not and could not begin until the Big Bang occurred, and thus cannot explain how the Big Bang itself began. In other words, a Zero-Energy universe can be explained as something existing because of the Big Bang, but not originating before it. " - Pro

If there is no universe, there would be the same total energy sum (zero). This means that no additional energy is required to get the universe started. The plausibility of this went uncontested. The question remains of what did get space-time and energy going? We do not know. If my opponent tries to infer it must be due to a supernatural cause then he is certainly mistaken. This implies an initial point 13.7 billion years ago that are physical laws cannot touch. The fact is that scientists in the field do not believe there was a singularity in the past. This type of point is only predicted using strictly relativity (quantum mechanics rules at these early conditions [5]).


"It is widely expected that this new improved theory [involving Quantum Gravity] will not contain the singular histories that characterised Einstein’s theory." - John Barrow [6]

"The BGV theorem, together with some more recent work (e.g., arXiv:1204.4658) suggests that the universe did have some sort of a beginning, but we certainly cannot say that this represents the beginning of space and time. This does not necessarily mean a singularity -- that is, simply, a breakdown of physics." - Alexander Vilenkin

"There is no reason to believe that our Universe came from a singularity, and this outdated idea should have died as soon as inflation was accepted." - Ethan Siegel [7]

"There was in fact no singularity at the beginning of the universe." - Steven Hawking [8]

"... I don’t think that any result dealing with classical spacetimes [singularity] can teach us anything definitive about the beginning of the universe."- Sean Carrol [9]

It seems evident that there is no reason to believe that the emergence of space-time and energy could not have been explained naturally. This means that my opponent has not sufficiently argued for the notion that the supernatural is required for this; or even implied.

Nietzsche's Prophecy

"Nietzsche didn't just predict WWII, but specific details like Joseph Mengele's torture of the Jewish people in his reference to Caiaphas; too specific for mere coincidence." - Pro

My opponent has not described how in detail this prophecy was, and the quotes provided in the first round were not compelling in the least.

The Argument From Evil

My opponent provides his website due to lack of space; this is clearly cheating. I urge a conduct deduction to Pro for this. Also, Pro claims that God does not know the future based on The Bible. This is false. The Bible clearly states God knows the future (Isaiah 41:21, Romans 8:29, I Peter 1:1, Psalms 139:16, Jeremiah 1:4). Pro also claims that God made all things "good" and Satan has control. This just leaves us wondering why God has not gotten rid of Satan. This argument from my opponent actually raises more issues than it solves.

Since my opponent has not sufficiently addressed the Argument from Evil, it stands.

Argument from Temporal Minds

"This rests upon argument from ignorance making several potentially false conclusions, that "temporal duration is required for processing" and "mental processing is required for a functioning mind" which can be argued only by denying spirit in man, arguing naturalism to begin with." - Pro

This is basically an indirect concession of my argument. "Mental processing is required for a functioning mind" is self-evident and has nothing to do with presupposing Atheism. K
nowledge is that which is gained; which implies a transition from a state of which said knowledge was not held. At best we are left with atemporal “information stored”. This does not get us a proper mind with a functioning mental process. This atemporal information stored is more analogous to a static bookshelf which stores information but does not engage in basic mental processing. This means calling this statically stored information a mind but a “different kind” of mind is tautology. It would be like getting pinched in the arm and calling the resulting sensation in your arm a sound, but a “different kind” of sound. If one has to resort to worthless games like these then it shows the power of the argument has.

This argument clearly establishes the truth of Atheism.

Conclusion

Pro's whole case for Theism is flimsy at best, and I successfully tore down all of his main arguments. My arguments went mostly dodged. As it stands, the resolution has been negated.


[1] http://www.strongatheism.net...
[2] http://www.infidels.org...
[3] http://arxiv.org...
[4] http://www.universetoday.com...
[5] http://arxiv.org...
[6] http://debunkingwlc.wordpress.com...
Jzyehoshua

Pro

Good and Evil

Ultimately, a standard of good and evil as absolute realities in the universe does not exist by pure chance. You cannot say someone like Hitler is truly doing anything absolutely wrong without recognizing the existence of good and evil that are more than relative but absolute; not dependent upon the arbitrary presumptions of man but instituted by a spiritual Creator. Ultimately, man has no positioning to declare the actions of another person right or wrong if an absolute law does not exist, no inherent authority from which to decree they are right and another wrong, and no power to institute such a law into existence. Only a Creator has the authority to dictate to man what is right and wrong, and to implement a standard of right and wrong to the universe.

If all is relative as relativists assert, then nothing is truly and inherently wrong; in which case they have truly justified all that is utterly evil. Only by acknowledging a moral law can one truly believe in right and wrong, but this one leads one to inevitably acknowledge the reality of a moral lawgiver. Again, the relativist who denies the existence of right and wrong has no recourse when wronged to claim they were wronged, for according to them, wrong does not exist.

Our founding fathers clearly recognized, in government legislation no less, per the Declaration of Independence[1], Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom[2], and Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments[3] which I just quoted from, that God exists, and is the basis for man's inalienable rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, etc. Therefore, those who do not recognize God's existence have no basis from which to recognize the fundamental worth and inalienable rights of others.

Existence of Matter

Ultimately there is no basis for an atheistic Big Bang. No explanation for how particles can appear out of nothingness, and why we do not witness little Big Bangs appearing all the time. No explanation for why current materialistic theory fails utterly in explaining why 95% of the universe is the way it is, where it is, or why its expansion is accelerating. 95% of the universe has never been witnessed and cannot be proved by current science, consisting of theoretical constructs known as dark matter and dark energy.[4]

Furthermore, matter is temporal and has a tendency to decay, it does not occur naturally. It should not occur at all. As previously stated, atheism has attempted for over a century to concoct theories which avoid a singularity such as Steady State, Oscillating Universe, and Cosmic Hesitation. All were debunked by new discoveries.[5] Materialism as such is insufficient not only to explain how anything can exist at all, but to explain why our universe currently is the way it is.

Nietzsche's Prophecy

Nietzsche during his madness writings stated the following:

"You may make any use of this letter which will not degrade me in the eyes of those at Basel. I have had Caiaphas put in fetters. Also, last year I was crucified by the German doctors in a very drawn-out manner. Wilhelm, Bismarck, and all anti-Semites abolished."

Caiaphas was the Jewish high piest during the time of Jesus. (Mt. 26:3) Nietzsche said he had him imprisoned, and claimed to have been crucified by German doctors. Then he called for Wilhelm and Bismarck along with other anti-Semites to be abolished. Wilhelm II would become the Emperor of Germany just months after Nietzsche wrote this, and replace Otto von Bismarck, the nationalistic German Chancellor who'd unified Germany. In other letters, Nietzsche also commanded the German emperor to go to Rome to be shot, and summoned the European powers to take military action against Germany[7], a claim supported on the Friedrich Nietzsche page by the New York Times.[8]

Therefore, Nietzsche prophesied very specific details of World War II such as the coming atrocities by Joseph Mengele and other German doctors, anti-semitism by German leaders, and the need for war against Germany by a united Europe.

Argument From Evil

While God can be shown able to see the future, nowere is it said that God definitely knows the future. Such a claim would contradict the following verses:

Matthew 13:27-28 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

In vv. 37-39, Jesus clearly says that He sows and the one who plants is the devil. Therefore, God creates things good but the devil sabotages God's works. That would not be possible if God were all-knowing regarding the future. Likewise, when the Bible says God looks down from Heaven to see if any do good, that would not make sense if God already knew. (Ps. 14:2) When God pleads with the wicked to change their ways so they won't die (Ez. 18:31) that makes no sense if He already knows the outcome. God is loving, not stupid.

A God who creates evil isn't Biblical. (Ja. 1:13; Hab. 1:13; 1 Jn. 1:5) Biblically God created all things good (Gen. 1) and Satan sabotaged them, causing the corruption of mankind. Satan was also created perfect originally and described by God as "perfect in all your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you" (Ez. 28:15), so that God caused all heaven to go into mourning when Lucifer fell. (Ez. 31:15) Biblically Satan's evil caught God by surprise, just as the sin of Adam and Eve did (Gen. 3:11-13) and just as the sin of Cain did. (Gen. 4:9-11)

As for why God could not get rid of Satan, Biblically Satan is the "god of this world." (2 Cor. 4:4) Satan controls this world's kingdoms. (Mt. 4:8-9) Satan had the power of death and Jesus came to destroy Satan and that power. (Heb. 2:14) Satan by temporarily gaining control over mankind by corrupting them certainly gained a bargaining chip to use against God.

Furthermore God cannot destroy evil without destroying mankind, which is the source of evil. Biblically all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and the wages of sin is death. (Rom. 5:12-17; 6:23) When Con asks why God allows evil he unknowingly asks why God allows mankind to exist since mankind is the source of evil.

In summary not just one but three different assumptions vital to Con's Argument From Evil do not apply to the Biblical God.

Argument From Temporal Minds

Con's argument is composed of circular reasoning and potentially fallacious assumptions that do not hold up to scrutiny. He argues that a physical mind is necessary for reasoning but never disproves in any way that a spiritual being could be capable of reasoning. He uses claims steeped in naturalism to argue for naturalism, in other words, arguing that from physical observation a mind is needed for reasoning, so therefore only the physically observable exists. He never disproves the possibility of a spiritual realm, a spiritual Creator, or the reasoning capabilities of a spiritual Creator. Indeed, one wonders to what degree the spiritual is subject to physical observation in the first place since they are of different dimensions, seemingly. Just because we haven't observed or tested it, does not mean it doesn't exist or cannot.

Sources:

[1] http://www.archives.gov...
[2] http://www.virginiamemory.com...
[3] http://religiousfreedom.lib.virginia.edu...
[4] http://science.nasa.gov...
[5] Hugh Ross, "The Fingerprint of God", ch. 2.
http://books.google.com...
[6] Friedrich Nietzsche to Jacob Burkhardt, January 6, 1889. The Portable Nietzsche, pp. 685-687.
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[8] http://topics.nytimes.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

I thank my opponent for his response. I am going to tie up some loose ends pertaining to this debate and show why my opponent's arguments fail, and why mine stand to critical scrutiny.

Good and Evil

It simply does not matter if Atheists can account for morality or not; this is nothing more than a Red Herring[1]. So I do not know why we have wasted so much time on this. Pro simply ignored my main argument here once again...One only needs to assume that suffering and killing would be evil if Theism was true to run William Rowe's Argument from Evil[2], as this would show a contradiction in the notion of God. One does not need to suppose these things are evil under Atheism. My opponent also attacks Moral Relativism by claiming that people who hold this position can never truly say anything is really wrong. This does not show Theism is true, or most plausibly true, as Pro has shown no problems with the idea of Moral Relativism actually being true. This makes this section from Pro, once more, completely trivial.

Existence of Matter

My opponent assumes a non-sequitur[3] here. Even if it is true that we have no natural explanation for 95% of the universe, does not mean there is no natural explanation for 95% of the natural universe. Pro has not even made a valid prima facie case for this notion. Also, there are models which describe The Big Bang without appealing to God just fine. This means the claim from my opponent that "there is no basis for an atheistic Big Bang" is false. There are plenty of ways to explain The Big Bang Atheistically.

Alexander's model of comic origins[4] describes the universe emerging from a quantum tunneling event (without a sufficient cause) with a finite size (a = H-1) and with a zero rate of expansion or contraction (da/dt = 0). It's plausible that the universe emerged in a symmetric vacuum state without an initial cause, which then decayed with the inflationary era beginning; and after this era ended, the universe evolved according to the standard Big Bang model. Space-time and energy would emerge out of a void with no space or time. This means that there is no infinite regress implied by the model.

Then you have Steven Hawking’s idea, which involves starting off with four dimensions of space[5]. A quantum fluctuation would break symmetry and cause one of those dimensions to turn into time and this would be the “beginning”. However, the universe would not really come into being when time did as it already “pre” -existed as four dimensions of space timelessly. This would explain the universe without an infinite regress of questions due to the fact that the four dimensions of space did not come into being; meaning they do not require a cause.


It seems we have good reason to believe that Atheism can easily account for The Big Bang. At the very least, Pro gave us no good reasons to think that supernatural cause is the most likely. Not even a philosophical attempt was made.

Nietzsche's Prophecy

Pro is implying that either the divine is responsible, or this prophecy is just some unreasonable coincidence. I fail to see how this is a true dichotomy. My opponent has not ruled out any natural explanations which might involve the prophecy being self-fulfilled in the future from the time of the prophecy in some way. Perhaps the Nazi's were influenced by this his writings in some way; we have no clue (this would actually be more plausible than the notion that someone saw the disant future magically). Thus, no strong case has been made here.

Argument from Evil

My opponent's three objections here are Red Herrings and have no bearing on William Rowe's Argument from Evil. Even if we assume that God cannot be certain about the future, he could still be certain about the present. This means he is certain of probabilities with regards to results hypothetically produced by natural disasters, and he is aware of the intent of the agents he has created meaning he can determine with fair accuracy which actions are going to happen, and which ones are not. Therefore, what is being provided here really has no effect on this argument I have presented. Pro also claims that God could only "create" good. However, this does not undermine/ falsify any of the premises in the argument I provided. In addition, even if Satan is the source of evil, this does not mean we would not expect God to prevent evil. It seems my opponent keeps forgetting that his God is also supposed to be omnipotent.

The truth of P in Rowe's argument has not been contested by Pro. The inference from P to Q was not contested, and the inference from Q to R was not contested. Thus, this is basically a concession. William Rowe's Argument from Evil stands. God's non-existence has been established.

Argument from Temporal Minds

My opponent is accusing me of circular reasoning and begging the question, but of course this is not the case as he is simply confusing cause and effect. Begging the question is when one presupposes the truth of the conclusion of an argument in order to show one of the premises of that argument true[6]. However, my argument derives the truth of the conclusion from the premises, as one does not have to assume the conclusion in order to show any of the premises are true. If one accepts that mental processing is required for a functioning mind, then it would follow then that God's mind would fall into this larger set called "minds". This means that the conclusion follows from the premise, and not the other way around. This is why my opponent's rebuttal to my argument here fails.

One could deny the truth that mental processing is required for a functioning mind, but then they would be forced to say things like this are false:

(i) A moving vehicle is required for a car ride

(ii) Arm lifting is required for bench pressing

(iii) Movement is required for muscle spasms

This would be denying seemingly self-evident truths simply to delve into the world of radical epistemological skepticism, which is not reasonable at all. This debate is about which position is more reasonable, and it seems as if Atheism walks out of the battle without a scratch.

Conclusion

I have always found the existence of God to be a profound one. It is not a question I think is analogous to the existence of ferries or Big Foot, like some Atheists try to make it seem. It is a genuine question that we should all take seriously. In my quest for knowledge, Atheism has seemed to be the most sensible worldview to me. I am aware that many others (in fact, most others) have come to a different conclusion. When it comes to this debate however, I hope you put your biases aside and vote objectively as we all should. Pro's arguments simply did not hold, and mine were not refuted properly but were presented sufficiently.


Sources

[1] http://www.nizkor.org...
[2] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[3] http://www.princeton.edu...(logic).html
[4] http://mukto-mona.net...
[5] http://everythingforever.com...
[6] http://www.nizkor.org...

PS. Pro, just in case you forget; please put "No argument will be posted here, as agreed" as your next round. I thank you for the intellectually stimulating debate, as I cannot think of a more fun topic to discuss. Bye for now.
Jzyehoshua

Pro

"No argument will be posted here, as agreed"

Con, I did not forget. No arguments here, only a thank you for the debate, I hope everyone found it interesting, though it was a bit short for my tastes.
Debate Round No. 4
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Magic8000 3 years ago
Magic8000
I really like your argument from temporal minds. Pro definitely didn't respond to it very well. He had to basically deny what it means for a mind to be a mind.
Posted by Jzyehoshua 3 years ago
Jzyehoshua
AnonyFeline, it should also be pointed out that the whole reason Jesus used parables was to provide analogies that mankind even in the 1st century A.D. could understand, He used analogies that would explain God in ways they were familiar with. The whole point of scripture Biblically is instructing us in the ways of God and His kingdom. God says in Hosea 6:6 that He wanted people to have knowledge of Him rather than sacrificial offerings.

Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Proverbs 1:1-7 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
@AnonyFeline

I think you are a little closed minded here. In principle, there is no reason to think one could not logically show God does not exist, or one could not logically show God does exist without needing any scientific evidence. One can potentially attempt to show that God is logically impossible, or logically necessary without even needing any outside information (a priori knowledge). Therefore, I do not think it is that "arrogant" to make knowledge claims with regards to the existence of God.
Posted by Jzyehoshua 3 years ago
Jzyehoshua
Why is it a hypothesis that cannot be tested? If God exists He will produce effects that can be tested indirectly the same way we test other things indirectly through science. You haven't explained your premise to begin with.

You claim that we cannot understand anything about God, but the mere idea God would give an understanding of Himself to mankind through scripture implies God wants us to understand more about Him. Thus you've written off the concept of the Bible before ever considering it. The question I would ask is, is God so powerless that He cannot help humanity understand Him when He created them, and arguably for the purpose of understanding Him? A pupil's learning is predicated to large extent upon the teaching capabilities of their teacher.

Your argument is that we can't understand anything about God but you never explain why we can't, just infer that humanity is too limited. However, that argument if used would apply to all other scientific reasoning as well, in essentially saying that what we don't know is too complex to know, so we should just give up. I'd argue that rationale isn't good or evidentiary.

Perhaps you could argue that current understanding is incomplete to either prove God can or cannot exist, but that is a premise which itself must stand up to scrutiny. I would argue it does not do so in light of the arguments I made in this debate.
Posted by AnonyFeline 3 years ago
AnonyFeline
To claim to know whether or not God exists is an extremely arrogant notion on the part of humanity. From the scientific perspective, it is a hypothesis that can never be tested nor is it a theory that can ever be observed. To claim otherwise would be to circumvent the scientific method and ignore the process by which all scientific knowledge has been established. From the religious and/or spiritual perspective, think that we could possibly see or much less understand the intentions, mind, or even the mere idea of God is in itself heresy. If God does exist, and God created everything in existence, to fully understand God would be infinitely beyond our comprehension. Take sub intelligent life form that exists in our world as an example (rodent, lizard, bacteria, or a virus). Would any of these life forms be able to understand the intricacies of language, self consciousness, and self realization/actualization? Would they ever understand the idea of partial differential equations? the nuanced language and double entendre of Shakespeare? or the dialectic method? The obvious answer to all of these questions is a deep and resounding NO. Our understanding and intelligence is orders of magnitude beyond what any of these life forms could even come close to after generations of evolution. Similarly, who are we, as mere humans to believe that we can even begin to understand God, the master and creator of the universe? The one and only way to possibly understand God is to create a universe of our own, including all matter and life therein. So in effect, there is no way to know, which makes both the contention of a theist and an atheist contradictory to their stance. A theist could not possibly understand God, an atheist could not possibly prove (by testing and/or observation) whether God existed or not.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"I just wanted to make clear what I didn't have time to say during the debate, that's all. I've said it, it's done. I'm dropping this now, just wanted to make clear what I thought of that tactic of yours. I don't like people attacking my reputation like that with slanders."

Well I'm just letting you know that most people would deduct you for what you did on debate.org, not just me. So, I don't like being accused of "cheap tactics" when I pointed out something that most people would point out on here. Regardles,s that gets me conduct points at best, not arguments. So acting like I did it to get argument points is just silly. Good day.
Posted by Jzyehoshua 3 years ago
Jzyehoshua
Sorry, ad hominems and mudslinging are a disgusting tactic to me, I've never liked them. When you resort to them, it annoys me. Anyway, I didn't have character space to confront it during the debate, so I confronted it here. Like I said, it's over.
Posted by Jzyehoshua 3 years ago
Jzyehoshua
I just wanted to make clear what I didn't have time to say during the debate, that's all. I've said it, it's done. I'm dropping this now, just wanted to make clear what I thought of that tactic of yours. I don't like people attacking my reputation like that with slanders.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"They were all valid points demolishing the Problem of Evil, there was nothing wrong with them, and you never confronted them or disproved them at all."

Yes I did. Look at my last round. Now stop this childish behavior....
Posted by Jzyehoshua 3 years ago
Jzyehoshua
They were all valid points demolishing the Problem of Evil, there was nothing wrong with them, and you never confronted them or disproved them at all.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by HeartOfGod 3 years ago
HeartOfGod
Rational_Thinker9119JzyehoshuaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: pro's link in the second round was a little fishy but I will give him the benefit of a doubt and not bump him conduct. Pros arguments for theism were not that great but he undermined the temporal mind argument. His response to william rowe's version of the PoE did not really address it. Overall, I just think con argued better. Spelling goes to pro, as I notice a few typos from con. PS. Just wanted to add to my vote the fact that I agreed with Pro before the debate (and still do).
Vote Placed by Corrupted_Ideal 3 years ago
Corrupted_Ideal
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Reasons for voting decision: I think better arguments could have been made on behalf of the existence of God, but in the end, Con made the better argument and provided the better sources. It was interesting to read.. but I found the scientific content to be very, well, prehistoric to say the least.. there is a lot of new discoveries being made right now and I'm surprised none of them were brought up. The Big Bang theory is a bit out-dated, and as Con brought up, the belief in a singularity creating the Universe is highly out-dated.. should have been thrown out long ago. Nevertheless, great debate.
Vote Placed by AgentRocks 3 years ago
AgentRocks
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Reasons for voting decision: I was very intereseted in this debate, and I think there are superstitions that make me belive that god exists. Good job for both of you.
Vote Placed by Skeptikitten 3 years ago
Skeptikitten
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct point to Con for Pro's citation of his own website to get around character limits. Argument points to Con, as Pro never fulfilled his Burden of Proof regarding the Problem of Evil nor on the Existence of Matter without resorting to logical fallacy.