The Instigator
Miles_Donahue
Con (against)
Tied
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The Contender
Kryptic
Pro (for)
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God Probably Doesn't Exist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/8/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 667 times Debate No: 76332
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (18)
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Miles_Donahue

Con

There is no denying it: God is everywhere these days. From "Modern Cosmology Vs. God's Creation" [1] to "Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God", [2] the media continues to bring God to center stage. But theological discussions ought not be restricted to scientists and philosophers. Everyday, run-of-the-mill people should have their say as well. I see Debate.org as a wonderful avenue for carrying on these conversations. Here I'd like to debate anyone who is convinced on the basis of argument and evidence that God does not exist. [3] That is to say, the burden of proof will be upon the atheist, [4] and my task will be to refute his or her case for God's nonexistence. I will not be offering any theistic arguments of my own; or rather, any arguments for theism will be extra credit on my part.

First, there is a 10,000 character limit. I find that debates about philosophy of religion should be given maximum space.

Second, the voting period will last two weeks.

Third, round one is for acceptance only.

[1] http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...

[2] http://www.wsj.com...

[3] "God" is defined generally as the God of classical theism (as opposed to the polytheistic gods of the ancient world). That is to say, God is the morally perfect, personal Creator of the universe. We're not concerned with the rather narrow definition of "a being that is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, and all-good." Rather, we're adopting a more general, commonsense definition of God, but one that still excludes Zeus, Thor, and the like.

[4] "Atheist" is here defined in the traditional sense as "someone who believes that God does not exist."
Kryptic

Pro

God Probably Doesn't Exist.
However the clich" title, I will be taking the Pro (for) side on this debate.
I am an agnostic personally and can clearly see both arguments on why people are theistic and atheistic.

Due to my knowledge of Christianity I will also be attacking 'God' on the premise that someone assumes the Abrahamic God of the bible is true and the bible is the infallible word of God.
I would like to get some definitions down before we go,
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Agnostic; Noun: A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God. (a claim not to know something)

Gnostic; Adjective: Relating to knowledge, especially esoteric mystical knowledge. (a claim to know something)

Atheist; Noun: a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods. (a lack of belief in a deity)

Theist; Noun: belief in the existence of a god or gods; specifically : belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world. (a belief in a deity)
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I am aware that in this debate, the burden of proof is being put on me, I am to make arguments as to why God does not exist and my fellow debater is to suggest how one does.
However, to accurately suggest a God does not exist, we need to know the limitations of what this god is, and what this god can do. Recently someone has 'created' a god, suggested they 'hear' from this god and are a prophet of the god, this god is called the Flying Spaghetti Monster. If I was going to attempt to disprove this god, I would need to know the limitations or extent of it so I could make claims that appear to show the 'God' unrealistic. If it claimed the earth was flat, all I would have to do is prove it round and therefore show the 'God' to be wrong, I could use that as a basis to suggest that if a God is omnipotent, it would just know the earth was round.

However if I am arguing against a 'God' in general that has no limitations or made any assertions like the Abrahamic God of the bible, someone could argue that what ever we see is simply the expression of this 'God', I would then have no ground to stand on. Science is the observation of the natural environment, science does not claim that a god does not exist, science does not claim that a god does exist, science does not claim to be atheistic or theistic. Science simply looks to find an answer that is falsifiable (testable and repeatable), science has nothing to do with the supernatural, spiritual or anything that is not testable or repeatable.

When people use science as a way to justify proving 'God' wrong, they are simply showing the assertions made by either scripture, or the person who talks for the god wrong. If something is shown to be wrong, people can stand on something to and suggest, 'if one thing is made up and none of it is testable, how can we be so sure any of it is true?'.
However, even if this does happen, it is still something very personal. I know Christians who are legalistic, fundamental and literal with their religious view and doctrine, I also know Christians who are liberalistic, moderate and modern with their walk in Christianity. These adjectives describe the bible in two totally different ways, one sees the bible as the infallible word of god that is literal and direct. The other sees the bible as god inspired but written by man, a lot of doctrine and passages aren't followed because it doesn't hold up to new doctrine.
Since some Christians have this open minded, logical and reasonable outlook, when problems such as geology and biology come into play, it does not phase them, as their faith in their 'God' is not with in the boundaries of the book of Genesis in the Bible.
At this point I no longer have any assertions to test and it is up to the person to decide what they want to do.
However, I can show 'God' (of the bible) to look like an unpleasant, unstable 'God' that is not worth following. I can show contradictions and simple untruths, one scripture for example is Mark 16:18 "They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won't hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed."
I could use this scripture to suggest that it is wrong if applied, and we have evidence of Pastors over in America holding snakes, getting bit and dying shortly after; however in the Christians defence, we could counter this with other scripture that says not to tempt God. Or the really funny phrase a lot of people use 'you just do not have enough faith'.
People will find loop holes in literally everything, especially if they find them selves in it.

In summary so far, I need to have limitations or assertions placed for me to test otherwise I have no reason to simply say 'there is no god'.

To quote the late Christopher Hitchens - "That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence."
If I make a claim that there is a rainbow monkey flying around the planet Venus, you have every reason to question me and no evidence to suggest otherwise.
If I claimed that this rainbow monkey was a god and it talked to me, you have no evidence to suggest it did not do this. You can show the probability of it not happening, of there being no evidence and there is no reason to accept or believe in it. But you still have not shown it to not be true. It is only when I make an assertion like, 'Rainbow Monkey revealed to me that he was our monkey ancestor and created the first proto-human descendant for the evolutionary chain to eventually reach what we have today.'
At the point that I made a limitation or assertion, you are allowed to rebuke or refute because you have ground to stand on.

If you don't then you can't show a god to not be true.

For my opening statement, I will now leave it over to Con.
Debate Round No. 1
Miles_Donahue

Con

I'd like to thank Kryptic for his interesting comments!

I. Preliminary Comments

Two general observations undercut my opponent's remarks.

1. Inappropriate Definitions - Kryptic claims at the outset that he will be arguing against "the Abrahamic God of the [B]ible." I never agreed to this. In point of fact, we are debating the existence of a general theistic God, as my introductory remarks above make clear. Even if the God of Christianity does not exist, perhaps the God of Islam exists, or the God of Judaism. Maybe all three great monotheistic religions are false, but the God of milk-and-water deism takes the day. This observation is significant, because failure to argue against these concepts of God amounts to failure to argue one's case in this debate.

2. Irrelevancy of Kryptic's Case – Following off the heels of the above, at least 60% of my opponent’s case for atheism is completely irrelevant. Showing that the Bible contains contradictions, for example, does nothing to suggest that God does not exist. Indeed, all Kryptic's case proves is that the Bible is not inerrant. But of course, we are not debating the inerrancy of the Bible. For what it is worth, Kryptic has not even shown that the Bible contains errors. His one example is Mark 16:18, a passage the vast majority of New Testament textual critics reject as part of Mark's gospel; verse 18 was probably a later addition. And the point is, inerrancy only applies to the Bible as it was originally penned. More generally, it does not matter how “unpleasant [and] unstable” the God of the Bible appears to my opponent, because that God is not under debate today.

Moreover, concerns about how "personal" certain Christians' faith is to them is clearly irrelevant. Even if all Christians were fundamentalist, legalistic, and close-minded, stating that fact does not go a single inch in suggesting that Christianity is false, much less that God does not exist.

In these two ways, we see Kryptic trying to “sneak in” inappropriate, irrelevant issues. But I will not take the bait. Instead, we must stay focused on our goal of assessing the arguments for and against the existence of God.

II. Defining God

Do not think from the above that I find all of my opponent's remarks insignificant. Kryptic's principal argument for atheism is that in order to argue against the existence of a generic God, we must have a clear definition of a generic God. But we do not have one. Therefore, one cannot argue for atheism. Now, I completely agree that God must be defined. That is why I provided a definition above: the morally perfect, personal Creator of the universe. I understand the definition, at least, so what's the problem? Kryptic himself provides a similar definition, so surely he knows what God refers to. Therefore, he must present his case against the existence of God.

But perhaps I have not been fair to Kryptic. Perhaps his argument is better stated like this: we must define God under the limitations set by the Abrahamic/biblical definition, for otherwise, the atheist does not have “any assertions to test." That is to say, there are no predictions of the “generic God hypothesis” that someone might try to falsify, and therefore such a hypothesis is impossible to disprove. The biblical God hypothesis, however, does make predictions. So in the course of this debate, we must restrict ourselves to considering God biblically understood. This argument is even less impressive than the first.

First, God’s existence can be disproved even if the “generic God hypothesis” does not make any concrete predictions. For example, Kryptic could argue that the concept of God contains a contradiction; perhaps omniscience is inconsistent with omnipotence (e.g., “God does not have the power to learn”). In general, entities are immediately consigned to nonexistence if they have contradictory properties (e.g., a square circle). In short, “observation of the natural environment” (i.e., science) is not the only way of coming to a knowledge of what is real, and what is not real.

Second, even a general understanding of God ostensibly makes predictions about the world. The problem of evil, for example, is predicated on the understanding that if God existed, evil would not exist. This is a bone fide prediction of the theistic hypothesis. Or again, the argument from evolutionary theory assumes that God, if He existed, would specially create life on Earth. Now, I do not think either of the above is a sound argument, but the point is that atheists can and do create arguments against a general theistic God based on possible predictions of the God hypothesis.

Third, and this really the main point, even if my opponent could not disprove the existence of God generally conceived, what would that show? Would it excuse him from giving arguments for atheism? Nope! If God’s existence cannot be disproved, then no one should be an atheist. Take his “rainbow-monkey” illustration, a hypothesis that makes no claims about the world, but merely asserts that a rainbow-monkey spoke to Kryptic (an assertion we could never disprove). Now, if this hypothesis cannot be disproved, then we ought to remain agnostic about it, not conclude that some monkey did not talk to Kryptic. What could be more obvious?

For these three reasons, Kryptic's principle argument fails to establish that God probably doesn't exist.

III. The Case for God

So we are left with no reason to think that God does not exist. But let me go the past what the debate requires of me and suggest some reasons to think that God does exist. In this round of the debate, I will outline one such argument: the kalam cosmological argument, an argument that attempts to demonstrate the existence of a personal Creator of the universe.

  1. 1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
  2. 2. The universe began to exist.
  3. 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause (from 1 and 2).
  4. 4. If the universe has a cause, then a transcendent, personal Creator exists.
  5. 5. Therefore, a transcendent, personal Creator exists (from 3 and 4).

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause – We know through mere reflection that something cannot come into being out of nothing. Why? The argument can be stated intuitively like this: when a wooden boat, say, comes into being, the potentiality for that boat first had to exist in a heap of wood. Only then could that potentiality be turned into actuality by a carpenter. But for a boat to come into being without any cause whatsoever - including (a) the previously existent pile of wood and (b) the carpenter - it would have to come into being without even the potentiality of its existence, a feat nearing contradiction. As such, a boat cannot come into being out of nothing (i.e., without any sort of cause). And what is true of the boat is true of everything else.

2. The universe began to exist - Modern Big Bang cosmology supports the conclusion that the universe came into being at some point in the past. The argument has two steps: (1) demonstrating that the standard Big Bang model predicts a beginning to the universe, and (2) demonstrating the Standard Model is indeed correct. Turning to step one, the Standard Model certainly predicts a beginning to space and time. As cosmologist P. C. W. Davis has written,

“An initial cosmological singularity . . . forms a past temporal extremity to the universe. We cannot continue physical reasoning, or even the concept of spacetime, through such an extremity. . . . On this view the big bang represents the creation event; the creation not only of all the matter and energy in the universe, but also of spacetime itself.” [1]

The initial cosmological singularity is part and parcel of the Standard Model, so I’ll simply leave it as given that the big bang theory does indeed present us with a beginning to the universe.

Turn, then, to step two: the big bang theory is correct in its prediction of a beginning to space and time. First, alternative models proposed to avert the standard Big Bang model have all failed. For example, the Steady-State Theory crumbled when the cosmic background radiation was discovered. Or again, the Oscillating Universe Model has largely been abandoned due to observations of mass-density much lower than that predicted by the model. As each successive attempt to avert the beginning of the universe fails, the Standard Model is reinforced. Second, the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem proves that any model of the universe, whether the Standard Model or otherwise, that represents the universe as expanding throughout its history must entail a beginning to the universe. [2] This is the only assumption of the theorem. Indeed, it is not even assumed that general relativity holds at the beginning of the universe; the theorem is therefore applicable to quantum gravity models. And the point is, all models that deny this assumption of average expansion fail.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

4. If the universe has a cause, then a transcendent, personal Creator exists – The cause of the universe must be transcendent (i.e., beyond space and time) because it created space and time. But now a problem arises: the only two entities conceived of by philosophers that could be timeless and spaceless are (1) abstract objects (like numbers, sets, and properties) and (2) unembodied minds. But it belongs to the very definition of abstract objects that they lack any causal powers. They cannot be the cause of anything, much less the universe. Therefore, the cause of the universe must be an unembodied mind.

In short, a personal Creator of the universe exists.

Notes

[1] P. C. W. Davies, "Spacetime Singularities in Cosmology," in The Study of Time III, ed. J. T. Fraser.

[2] A. Borde, A. Guth, A. Vilenkin, “Inflationary Spacetimes Are Incomplete in Past Directions,” Physical Review Letters 90 (2003).

Kryptic

Pro

Thankyou Con, I would like to get some things first as we have gone off on the wrong foot. Also, before we get into it, I am on the side of Atheistic, Agnostic and Nothing.
I am not debating whether or not the Abrahamic god of the bible is true or not, I am simply attacking it. I am arguing whether god in general is true or not. However I clearly made the argument that you need defined limitations and understanding of who this god is, what this god can do and many other approaches before we could even comprehend whether a god could even be real.

Now, I have accepted the burden of proof, but I don't know what I am proving or disproving because of the lack of limitations and boundaries of what 'a god' could have. For example, if I made my own assertions and claims that god was capable of a variety of things, if I asserted that the god in question made the earth roughly 3 billion years ago. I could see how old the earth is and test it; if it came back true, that does not prove a god, that only proves that the claim was accurate.
However you could later simply suggest that this does not disprove the god, and this is not the limitation or boundaries of the capabilities of the god. It is your job to tell me what the god is, the limitations, extent and boundaries of the capabilities of this 'god'.

If I was to make a claim about the future, if I said that in 3 years I will win the lottery. If, in three years I do win the lottery, it does not prove I am psychic, only that I have accurately described an event to take place in the future without knowledge of it.
The same thing applies to assertions of a god, if you claim a god told you that the earth is 3 billion years old, and you find out it's true (it's not though, this is an example), that doesn't prove your god true, it proves that you were right.

"1. Inappropriate Definitions - Kryptic claims at the outset that he will be arguing against "the Abrahamic God of the [B]ible." I never agreed to this. In point of fact, we are debating the existence of a general theistic God, as my introductory remarks above make clear. Even if the God of Christianity does not exist, perhaps the God of Islam exists, or the God of Judaism. Maybe all three great monotheistic religions are false, but the God of milk-and-water deism takes the day. This observation is significant, because failure to argue against these concepts of God amounts to failure to argue one's case in this debate."

Although an unneeded paragraph, we can establish where we both are with understanding this debate. If the way I addressed the issue of the Abrahamic god of the bible was interpreted as my basis for critiquing and suggesting it does not exist (as well as my entire argument) I do apologise. I was only using it as a well informed example of what needs to be taken place in the time of suggesting a god does not exist.

"2. Irrelevancy of Kryptic's Case " Following off the heels of the above, at least 60% of my opponent"s case for atheism is completely irrelevant. Showing that the Bible contains contradictions, for example, does nothing to suggest that God does not exist. Indeed, all Kryptic's case proves is that the Bible is not inerrant. But of course, we are not debating the inerrancy of the Bible. For what it is worth, Kryptic has not even shown that the Bible contains errors. His one example is Mark 16:18, a passage the vast majority of New Testament textual critics reject as part of Mark's gospel; verse 18 was probably a later addition. And the point is, inerrancy only applies to the Bible as it was originally penned. More generally, it does not matter how "unpleasant [and] unstable" the God of the Bible appears to my opponent, because that God is not under debate today.
Moreover, concerns about how "personal" certain Christians' faith is to them is clearly irrelevant. Even if all Christians were fundamentalist, legalistic, and close-minded, stating that fact does not go a single inch in suggesting that Christianity is false, much less that God does not exist.
In these two ways, we see Kryptic trying to "sneak in" inappropriate, irrelevant issues. But I will not take the bait. Instead, we must stay focused on our goal of assessing the arguments for and against the existence of God."

In fact this is not true at ALL. I did not show the bible false because I am not debating about it. I am quite informed on the bible and my small example only gave a method to see if the bible could be right through testing.
As my premise on this matter is, I am trying to find boundaries and limitations of this 'god' in question. I need to know them before I make rash claims, because if I do suggest that a god has limitations or boundaries. Then all you need to do is say that's not the god we are talking about. Or you will say it's an inappropriate definition. As we have already established you have done.

Another thing is, you are not putting the god into any category which means it can fit into every category simultaneous.
I used the Abrahamic god of the bible as an example and you said, well it could just as easily be the Islamic god. However if I used the Islamic god, which I would have if I had extensive knowledge within it, you would have said; why not the Abrahamic god of the bible?

"science is not the only way of coming to a knowledge of what is real, and what is not real."

Science by definition is observing. So yes, it is the ONLY way of coming to a knowledge of what is real.

"For these three reasons, Kryptic's principle argument fails to establish that God probably doesn't exist."

Due to the lack of limitations of boundaries, I could not 'prove' that a god doesn't exist, HOWEVER....
Because of the lack of proof a god does exist, all I would have to do is claim the EXACT SAME THING. I could just say I had a dream of darkness, and there was no god. I knew my dream was different because I was simultaneously awake. I knew what I saw and I am telling the truth. If I say "now go prove it to be false, otherwise it is true and there is no god"
The lack of falsifiable evidence in both cases here; the example of the dream asserting there is no god, and the assertion that there is a god but fall under the same principle as... NO WAY TO OBSERVE.

By that definition, I have just shown god not to be true. However I want to be realistic, understanding and respectful to the scientific method.
Two great minds have shared knowledge over the years making into some incredible logic within just a few words. I will show them and show them why they are to be true.

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." ~ Christopher Hitchens.

Since the topic of God has always been an issue of debate, it has come to a point over time where there is literally nothing to suggest a god does exist. If you want to assert a god is real, then apply limitations and boundaries, say what it can and can't do. At this point we can test it, think about it and conclude.
Just because something is not yet known doesn't mean it is not yet proven, the higs boson theory was a phenomena for years, but we finally got something to test and sure enough, it's real.

"If that's how you want to invoke your evidence for God, then God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that's getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time moves on - so just be ready for that to happen, if that's how you want to come at the problem." ~ Neil Tyson.

Neil Tyson is talking about the God of the Gaps argument here and it refers to peoples lack of understanding and asserting certain things.

God of the gaps definition - 'The phrase "god of the gaps" is used to describe the attempts by some people to justify the rationality of theism by relying upon "gaps" in scientific knowledge. In other words, because science cannot explain some event or object, then it is reasonable to believe that a god is responsible for the event or object.' [1]

Now don't get me wrong, thinking there is a god at all is not a logical fallacy, it's a human right. it's a normal thing to do and a majority of people are either religious, agnostic or deistic. I am in no way attacking the ability or right to believe or respect / acknowledge a god. I do as well to an extent. However, to infer a god at the point of scientific illiteracy is simply unreasonable; and I will show you why.
In the past, we used to think having a seizure meant being possessed by a demon, we used to think that being angry meant having a bad spirit over you, we used to think that being a homosexual meant literally being a satanic worshiper.
We asserted these things to be true, we could not show them to be false, however when modern medicine and research came into the equation, we now know many are not 'supernatural / spiritual / unexplainable' but very simply common situations. Unfortunately, this keeps happening.

Izaac Newton and Albert Einstein both suggested at the limitations of their knowledge and work that 'This must be where god literally intervenes'. But sure enough, it's not. We are still yet to see God manifest. Or show evidence of something that is not otherwise possible by nature.

In summary. So far we have no seen evidence for a god, that does not mean we have been looking in the right place. The 'God' in question in this debate still needs to be properly addressed for me to make any other claims.

I am also aware that I have no talked about every detail about this and have missed a lot, I would have continued, however the maximum character limit is only 10,000 and I am about to run out. I have two more times to address issues and want to conduct it with respect.

I do apologise if anything I have said has either been taken offensively or inappropriately. I do respect people for having belief; I am just trying to address this issue as best as I can.

I now leave it over to Con.

References:
http://atheism.about.com... [1]
Debate Round No. 2
Miles_Donahue

Con

And so we go at it again.

I. My Preliminary Concerns

As I made clear in my first rebuttal, two considerations undercut the whole of Pro’s case against God.

First, Pro inappropriately attacks the existence of the God of the Bible. He responds that he is not disproving the biblical God, but “simply attacking” Him. This is a meaningless distinction. Philosophically speaking, an attack against a position is an argument against its truth. But never mind that; Pro clarifies that he is concerned with “whether God in general is true or not.” Fantastic. But then I do not understand why the Bible was brought into the discussion. As “a well-informed example of what needs to [take] place in the time of suggesting a god does not exist”? I do not know what this means. In any case, we both agree that it is a general theistic God whose existence is under debate, not Jesus Christ, Yahweh, Allah, or Brahma.

Kryptic gives two other loosely related responses. First, if he had attacked “the Islamic god” instead of the Christian God, I would have raised the same objection. That is right. We are not debating any specific God, but rather a general theism that unifies all its diverse religious interpretations. Second, there must be some sorts of limits placed on our definition of God - if Pro is to argue against it. However, if he were to set those limits, I would say “that’s not the god [we’re] talking about.” Not at all. I myself provided those limits by giving a rough and ready definition of God in my introductory remarks: the morally perfect, personal Creator of the universe. Such a definition sets limits in that God is not evil, not identical to the universe or any part of it, not a physical object, not impersonal, and so forth. Moreover, this definition does categorize God, contra Pro. God falls under the category of personal, uncreated, and morally perfect. In short, limits can be set on God without defining Him in accord with any particular religion.

Second, my opponent raises irrelevant arguments and objections: (1) various errors in the Bible, and (2) the demographics of American Christianity. Concerning (1), Kryptic clarifies that he is merely trying to investigate whether “the bible could be right through testing.” Fine; but a discussion of how the Bible might be tested is still irrelevant. Regarding (2), Pro gives no response. Fortunately, though, he does not continue to attack general Christian character, so I will take that omission as a concession.

II. Defining God - An Argument Deflated

My above remarks should suffice to refute Kryptic’s central argument, but let us review my comments given in the first rebuttal, and incorporate responses to Pro’s latest remarks. I provided two interpretations of Pro’s argument, and because I am still unclear as to which one is the more accurate representation, I will review both.

To begin, my opponent can be understood as arguing that a general theistic God is undefined, and therefore cannot be disproved. This is correct. The existence of Grappletoffer, for example, cannot be disproven because “Grappletoffer” refers to nothing. I responded by pointing out that one can give a definition of God (see above). I have already outlined how this definition sets limits on God and puts Him in the appropriate categories. Therefore, Kryptic’s remark that “[t]he ‘God’ in question…still needs to be properly addressed for me to make any other claims” is seen as an empty excuse not to engage in an intellectually responsible way with my arguments. And really, look at how desperate this entire argument is. Philosophers Graham Oppy, Quentin Smith, J. Howard Sobel, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong have no problem arguing against the existence of a theistic God, so why should Kryptic?

But perhaps Kryptic might mean that the “generic God hypothesis” makes no empirically verifiable predictions, and is therefore unfalsifiable. Recall my three objections. (1) There are other ways of falsifying a hypothesis besides falsifying its predictions. Kryptic responds that observation is the only way of coming to a knowledge of the truth. This reply just is to reassert his position without dealing with the objection. As I said, demonstrating a contradiction in a hypothesis disproves the hypothesis, and yet such a demonstration has nothing to do with observation. (2) The “generic God hypothesis” does make predictions about the world. For example, the non-existence of evil, the creation of life, and so forth. No response from Pro. (3) Even if the generic God hypothesis could not be falsified, it does not follow that we can regard it as false; we must remain agnostic about its truth. Even if my opponent’s argument were sound, therefore, he would not have established the resolution of the debate: that God does not exist.

In response to these considerations, Kryptic tries to construct a parallel argument for atheism: there is no way to disprove Pro's claim that he dreamed of God's nonexistence. The point seems to be that just as his “atheist-dreamer hypothesis" is unfalsifiable, so too is God’s existence unfalsifiable. Three responses. First, t
he argument does not undermine my above refutation. The unfalsifiablity of Pro's atheist experience does nothing to suggest that the God hypothesis cannot (a) be shown to be incoherent, or (b) make predictions about the world. Second, even if there is no reason to think Pro's hypothesis is false, that does not imply that it is true, and the same can be said concerning theism. Third, Pro's parallel scenario can be disproven. Sound arguments for the existence of God demonstrate that one cannot experience His absence. Why? Because God exists! Therefore, one ought to conclude that anyone who claims to have dreamed of the absence of God was doing just that: dreaming.

III. Cosmology and Evidence for God

In my first rebuttal, I fleshed out a powerful argument for the existence of God based on contemporary cosmology. Surprisingly, Kryptic failed to engage with it. Instead, all he says is that “there is literally nothing to suggest a god does exist.” Well, if you ignore that evidence when it is presented, it would appear that theism has nothing going for it. But for those of us who are not so blinded, we have at least one argument for God: the kalam cosmological argument. Kryptic does muse about “God-of-the-gaps” reasoning, but he fails to apply the fallacy to my argument specifically, and I am not going to do the work for him. So I await his response to the kalam cosmological argument.

IV. A Moral Argument for God

The moral argument, as formulated by William Lane Craig, looks like this:

  1. 1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
  2. 2. Objective moral values and duties exist.
  3. 3. Therefore, God does not exist.

To say that something is objectively true is to say that it is true independently of opinion. Concerning morality specifically, to say that murder is objectively wrong, for example, is to say that it would be wrong to murder even if everyone thought it was right; the wrongness of murder is independent of opinion. The claim here is that if God does not exist, moral values and duties cannot be objective so defined.

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist - First, according to atheism, moral values are products of the evolutionary process, a process has its goal survivability, not truth. We have the moral beliefs we do because their aid in our survival, not because they are true or valid. Moreover, if the evolutionary process of homo sapiens were rerun, we probably would have developed a different set of moral values, that set no less binding than our current one. It would be arbitrary to accord objective status to our current set of moral beliefs and not the set we would have had had our evolution gone differently. It is more plausible to maintain that both sets are simply subjective beliefs developed through evolution (Craig, Reasonable Faith, 174-175).

Second, according to atheism, homo sapiens are just animals, and animals have no moral duties. As Richard Taylor has written, “A hawk that seizes a fish from the sea kills it, but does not murder it; and another hawk that seizes the fish from the talons of the first takes it, but does not steal it” (Ethics, Faith, and Reason, 14). Moral actions like murder and stealing do not apply to animals because animals are not moral agents. But if atheism is true, we just are animals. It is therefore arbitrary to accord moral-agent status to homo sapiens, but not lions, tigers, and bears; we are all the same, at the end of the day.

In short, if atheism is true, objective moral values and duties do not exist. The group of barbarians who rape and pillage a village do nothing worse than going against subjective beliefs ingrained into them via evolution; they do not violate some objective moral principle, and their actions cannot be deemed objectively bad.

2. Objective moral values and duties exist - When we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that premise (2) is true. We all know that it is wrong to torture others, bring a gun to school and shoot down innocent children, and sexually abuse anyone. These things are objectively wrong, and we all know it. But that entails that objective moral values and duties exist.

3. Therefore, God exists - God exists as the foundation of moral values and duties. His character is the foundation of moral value, and His commands constitute our moral duties. This proposal is known as divine command theory.

Conclusion? God probably exists.

Kryptic

Pro


God Probably Doesn’t Exist.


Before we get into this debate, I would like to go over some things that were asserted or have been misinterpreted… I will also be shortening the quotes so my word limit is not scrapped.



“As I made clear in my first rebuttal, two considerations undercut the whole of Pro’s case against God.”


~Completely disagree, your rebuttals were nothing but shabby philosophical circular logic that does not stand with anything other than God.



“He responds that he is not disproving the biblical God, but “simply attacking” Him. This is a meaningless distinction. Philosophically speaking, an attack against a position is an argument against its truth.”


~In fact, by ridiculing the bible, it should show little to no flaws if in fact correct. This is the scientific method by principle.



“Kryptic gives two other loosely related responses. First, if he had attacked “the Islamic god” instead of the Christian God, I would have raised the same objection. That is right.”


~I don’t understand how they are loosely related, they are directly related. It seems more like you are committing logical fallacy with poisoning the well and using ad hominin’s



“Pro clarifies that he is concerned with “whether God in general is true or not.” Fantastic. But then I do not understand why the Bible was brought into the discussion.”


~I gave an example before saying my in depth knowledge on Christianity gave me a guideline to prove any other God wrong, because I would know how to attack it, however, Con, for some reason made it clear we are not talking about the Abrahamic God of the Bible, and me bringing it up was redundant; although I would have to disagree again. If we are going to talk about any deity, regardless of which one, we need to have an array of tools in which to go up against it, since none of them are falsifiable (testable).



We are not debating any specific God, but rather a general theism that unifies all its diverse religious interpretations.”


~Due to the lack of consistency within Cons argument, it appears he has given me an opportunity to portray how the God under his new conditions is not real.



“my opponent raises irrelevant arguments and objections: (1) various errors in the Bible, and (2) the demographics of American Christianity. Concerning (1), Kryptic clarifies that he is merely trying to investigate whether “the bible could be right through testing.” Fine; but a discussion of how the Bible might be tested is still irrelevant. Regarding (2), Pro gives no response. Fortunately, though, he does not continue to attack general Christian character, so I will take that omission as a concession.”


~As I stated clearly before, my reasoning for attacking the bible was to give you an example of how I could claim to know a god does not exist. It was on the basis that you need assertions and claims to test, in order to prove a god real, in no way have I conceded, as this was an example and not the topic at hand.




“And really, look at how desperate this entire argument is. Philosophers Graham Oppy, Quentin Smith, J. Howard Sobel, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong have no problem arguing against the existence of a theistic God, so why should Kryptic?”



~Simple, they had a god to argue against, I have had this discussion before where people have claimed that there is a God, but they have not shown me how there is one, the reply saying that the big bang was the result, god then started evolution etc. I had no ground to stand on because I had nothing to test. I thought this was the route you were playing.



“In my first rebuttal, I fleshed out a powerful argument for the existence of God based on contemporary cosmology. Surprisingly, Kryptic failed to engage with it. Instead, all he says is that “there is literally nothing to suggest a god does exist.” Well, if you ignore that evidence when it is presented, it would appear that theism has nothing going for it. But for those of us who are not so blinded, we have at least one argument for God: the kalam cosmological argument. Kryptic does muse about “God-of-the-gaps” reasoning, but he fails to apply the fallacy to my argument specifically, and I am not going to do the work for him. So I await his response to the kalam cosmological argument.”


~ Because your argument is this:




  1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.




  2. The universe began to exist.




  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause (from 1 and 2).




  4. If the universe has a cause, then a transcendent, personal Creator exists.




  5. Therefore, a transcendent, personal Creator exists (from 3 and 4).



    This has committed logical fallacy, I can name them, but there are quite a few… (Begging the question, complex cause, false authority, false cause and effect, hasty generalization, moral equivalence, stacking the deck, wrong direction). [1]


    I don’t argue with things that can’t be proven, tested or seen; you have invoked a god because you don’t see any other situation, I don’t because I do. I will debate assertions and claims made from a god, from someone who speaks for god as well as scripture. Since they have been asserted, I can now try and test it; assuming the assertions are falsifiable.




    “Third, and this really the main point…”



    ~Because you think I have no case, therefore I could not prove otherwise, therefore atheism is a lie? Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a deity, nothing more. Agnostic is the claim not to know something in regards to how life began. Theistic is the belief in a deity. And finally, Gnostic is a claim to know something, usually in regards to how life began. You can simultaneously believe in a God/s while not knowing how a God/s did it, you can also not believe in a God/s and claim to not know how it happened… Being an Agnostic Atheist is not against the rules, many are this combination. My hypothesis can’t be disproven, it was simply to show you that you can make any assertion you like, it doesn’t mean you take any of it on board, you should only accept what you have proven. Believe what you like, it’s a free country with free will; my job is not to impose anything. However this is a debate setting and I am showing you why it is viable not to believe in God, and a perspective where god probably doesn’t exist.




    “Therefore, Kryptic’s remark that “[t]he ‘God’ in question…still needs to be properly addressed for me to make any other claims” is seen as an empty excuse not to engage in an intellectually responsible way with my arguments.”



    ~I see where you’re coming from, however to assert something with no scientific basis is futile, an assertion that is testable, like… claiming intelligent design and creationism to be true can very well be tested.




    There are other ways of falsifying a hypothesis besides falsifying its predictions.”


    ~No there isn’t, this is lying…





“The moral argument, as formulated by William Lane Craig, looks like this:



  1. 1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

  2. 2. Objective moral values and duties exist.

  3. 3. Therefore, God does not exist.”



~First off, you say the God at question is not the Christian god, you say this is just a God that is morally perfect, personal, creator of the universe’ but now you use apologists from the Christian faith as well as suggest this god is the construction of all religious figures. Fair enough. Also in round 3, under “IV. A Moral Argument for God” You have a passage called… 1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist. Where you insist that Atheism can’t be true because of the phylogenetic classification. Also this philosophers exaggerating the words drastically, leading to yet another logical fallacy. This one is called Prejudicial language. I do hope you realise that the person who invented this system was a creationist that was Christian. It was not atheists who made this claim but biologists. At this point I am unsure if you are also insisting that evolution is deemed false because of the random chance aspect. If that is the case, I won’t mind arguing how evolution is correct and intelligent design / creationism is not. However clearly this is a different debate.


I am unsure if I am now allowed to use scripture to refute this god now. I am also unsure if I am allowed to use evolution to. I refuse to use logical fallacy and stoop to the level of a philosopher in order to stump them, to not be sure of an answer is not to forfeit. It just means you don’t know, if I have to invoke a god every time I am stuck trying to find the mysteries of the universe, I am going to have a lot of trouble each time I think I can make it to the next level. I refuse to invoke a creator, not because there is one, not because I hate god, but because I see no moral advantage to that of a Christian then to an Atheist. Hitler was a Christian yet intended to hurt millions of people and did; is that morality from a god? In fact… it is, during the old covenant of the bible and in the Quran.



In conclusion:


Every assertion ever made that is testable doesn’t prove a God. This doesn’t justify a Gods existence, this just means that intellectually dishonest people can justify a god and the refusal of scientific advancements because it doesn’t fit right with their holy book. A lot of claims by each holy book have been shown incorrect or false.


So far, everything that your ‘God’ can explain, scientists can explain better.


God probably doesn’t exist.


I would like to debate this topic again with the same preface as what we have concluded so far.


Debate Round No. 3
Miles_Donahue

Con

The purpose of debate is to come to a fuller, deeper, richer understanding of the truth. That is the goal, at least, and it is to that goal that I strive. I hope Pro feels the same.

I. Focusing on What Matters

I have made it clear that ours is a debate about the existence of a very general, theistic God (theistic because God is separate from the universe, and general because God is not identified with any particular religious tradition). In a word, God is that being who is the morally perfect, personal Creator of the universe. This is not a difficult point to understand, so there is no reason why so much space has been wasted trying to hash out the proper definition of God. Indeed, Pro himself agreed to debate me on the premise that God, understood according to my definition, does not exist (round one, note three). It is improper debate etiquette for him to argue definitions after agreeing to use them, and I do not appreciate it.

Fortunately, Pro dropped his criticisms of the Bible, and I trust he will not resurrect them.

II. Case for the Affirmative

Pro fails to give any good argument for the resolution. Consider his two arguments: (1) God is undefined, and (2) God’s existence is unfalsifiable. With respect to (1), I have consistently and repeatedly defined God in an intelligible and meaningful way, and Pro just does not get the point. This failure should be clear from the fact that instead of dealing with my responses to two loosely related objections, Pro takes issue with my phrase “loosely related”! Moreover, I have already indicated how the above definition sets limits on what God is and places Him in the appropriate categories, and Pro does not care to disagree.

Regarding (2), a few comments from Pro provide some necessary detail:

If we are going to talk about any deity, regardless of which one, we need to have an array of tools in which to go up against it...I don’t argue with things that can’t be proven, tested or seen; you have invoked a god because you don’t see any other situation, I don’t because I do. I will debate assertions and claims made from a god, from someone who speaks for god as well as scripture. Since they have been asserted, I can now try and test it; assuming the assertions are falsifiable.

The implication is that God so-defined makes no assertions about the world. His existence is therefore untestable. My response, however, should be clear. First, if God’s existence cannot be disproven, then Pro cannot establish the resolution. He does himself no favors by proclaiming the untestablility/unfalsifiablility of God, for that just is to admit failure. Pro’s counter-response is clearly a straw man. I am not arguing that atheism is a lie because there is no reason to think that God does not exist. Rather, my point is that theism is not disproven by a lack of evidence in its favor. Why? Because absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Second, God’s existence is testable. If a contradiction could be demonstrated in the concept of God, for example, God could not exist. If unjustifiable evil exists, God does not exist. If human freedom is shown to be inconsistent with divine foreknowledge, God cannot exist (assuming humans are free). If evolution is shown to be unguided, God does not exist. Further, even given a general concept of God, if God is the personal Creator of the universe, the universe must have begun to exist. If Pro could give some evidence for the eternality of the universe, then God does not exist. In all these ways, God’s existence is testable. Of course, if Pro’s point is merely that God’s existence has not been falsified, then he and I are in agreement.

In short, Pro’s argument is based on a false premise and in any case does not establish that God does not exist. Beyond this, we have seen no reason to affirm the resolution.

III. Case for the Negative

It is worth reiterating that giving evidence for God is completely extra-credit on my part because considerations of arguments for theism are beyond the scope of the resolution. Pro has the burden of proof, not I.

1. The argument from contemporary cosmology- This is the so-called kalam cosmological argument.

  1. 1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
  2. 2. The universe began to exist.
  3. 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
  4. 4. If the universe has a cause, there exists a transcendent, personal Creator.
  5. 5. Therefore, there exists a transcendent, personal Creator.

Pro gives two general responses. First, the argument apparently commits a whole host logical fallacies (e.g., begging the question, complex cause, false authority, false cause and effect, hasty generalization, moral equivalence, etc.). Pro, let me ask you a direct question: do you take this debate seriously? Do you take me seriously? Listing a series of logical fallacies prefaced by “argument X commits these” is a lazy, unsophisticated debate tactic, an indication of your unwillingness to engage seriously and responsibly with what I have to say. Now, if you had actually explained how the argument commits these falacies, that would be a different situation. But this you haven not done. Suffice is to say, the kalam cosmological argument does not commit these fallacies, and Pro gives no reason to think otherwise.

Second, the cosmological argument, in addition to the above, commits the god-of-the gaps fallacy. In response, it needs to be pointed out that science is only used to establish premise (2). I am not arguing that science proves the existence of God, but only that scientific evidence implies the beginning of the universe. Theological implications only follow when (2) is seen in light of a broader philosophical argument for God. So we go from science to the beginning of the universe, and from there, philosophy to God. This is a perfectly valid procedure that does not commit the god-of-the-gaps fallacy. Moreover, the atheist's protest that evidence for an eternal universe may one day be found reflects nothing more than the faith of an atheist.

2. The argument from objective moral values and duties - This is the moral argument as developed by philosopher William Lane Craig.

  1. 1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties exist.
  2. 2. Objective moral values and duties exist.
  3. 3. Therefore, God exists.

It should be obvious that using an argument from a Christian apologist does not entail that I am attempting to prove the existence of the Christian God. William Lane Craig might give me cooking advice, suggesting that I cook steak for ten minutes on both sides. Does the fact that Craig is a Christian mean he is giving me Christian cooking advice? Hardly. Craig’s argument only establishes that a personal, morally perfect being exists; it does not attempt to show that this being is Yahweh or Jesus Christ (i.e., the Christian God).

2.1 If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist - I distill three objections from Pro: (i) in my defense of premise one I commit the fallacy of prejudicial language, (ii) “the person who invented this system was a creationist that was Christian”, and (iii) the Christian has no moral advantage over the atheist, as Hitler so pointedly demonstrated.

With respect to (i), this fallacy occurs when “words used are calculated to conjure up an attitude more favorable or more hostile than the unadorned facts would elicit” (Madsen Pirie, How to Win Every Argument: the Use and Abuse of Logic, 106). But because Pro does not bother to give any examples of my prejudiced word choice, we are left wondering what he has in mind. Concerning (ii), here is a textbook example of argumentum ad hominem, attacking the person giving the argument instead of the argument itself. So, fine, Craig is the worst gosh-darn Christian creationist there ever was. And? Regarding (iii), I agree. Premise (1) does not assert that atheists are less moral than theists, but rather that the atheistic worldview lacks any explanation for objective moral values and duties. The atheist who sees that these things exist (and I think most do) should therefore abandon his atheism. For the philosophically initiated, the distinction here is between moral epistemology (i.e., how we come to know moral truth) and moral ontology (i.e., why moral truths exist); premise (1) concerns the latter, not the former. In sum, Pro's objections either misunderstand the argument or commit basic logical fallacies.

2.2 Objective moral values and duties exist - No objections from Pro.

2.3. Therefore, God exists - The conclusion follows necessarily from the premises, premises we have been good reasons to accept and no good reasons to doubt. God’s character serves as the standard of moral value, and His commands form our moral duties.

In short, cosmology and moral experience come together to give us good reason to believe that a morally perfect, personal Creator of the universe exists.

IV. Conclusion

I am growing weary of so seriously engaging Pro’s arguments and failing to receive the same treatment in kind. A case in point: Pro writes that only “intellectually dishonest people can justify a god”, implying my own intellectual dishonesty. Never mind the intellectually honest philosophers writing today who all attempt to justify belief in God (Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, Douglas Groothuis, Timothy McGrew, J.P. Moreland, etc.), the point is that I most certainly am intellectually honest, Pro’s attack notwithstanding. I understand that I have issued some pretty severe personal criticisms myself, but all of them are appropriate and justified. I am frustrated and finished with trying to be professional and cordial, only to have my arguments and objections dismissed with the wave of a hand or ignored completely. In the last round, I invite Pro to take up the challenge to engage responsibly, honestly, and genuinely with what I have to say.

Kryptic

Pro


I am trying my hardest here to acknowledge your side seriously; I am showing you why I cannot go into certain areas because it would cause assertions that I cannot back up. I am not able to answer certain questions or respond certain ways, I was giving you an example of the logical fallacy that was in play. I did not use it as a last resort or my argument in total because suggesting an argument is bad because of logical fallacy… is another logical fallacy. I thoroughly dislike intellectually dishonest people or those who can’t see life on either side. I am not saying I dislike you, but I have come across many people who are very single minded, I avoid closed minded as they are educated on several aspects; however single minded is more appropriate as they are driven in one direction.


Since a lot of our discussion so far has been a lack of awareness of definition, regardless of how many dictionary definitions we put in; there is a lot more of what we did not know than what we did, and if I was to conclude or push further without fixing these issues up, it would have turned very ugly for me.


My intent here is to show why God probably does not exist, and I do apologise that it has taken such a long time to come around to a position where I can actually argue it doesn’t. It was a frustrating route and I do acknowledge this, but I do hope you acknowledge that also; many arguments are well pronounced, don’t get me wrong, they are well thought out and rounded. However, my lack of response doesn’t conclude my forfeiture or lack of knowledge of it. There is a time and place for certain things to be answered; I do not want to straw man anything here.



“The purpose of debate is to come to a fuller, deeper, richer understanding of the truth. That is the goal, at least, and it is to that goal that I strive. I hope Pro feels the same.”


~Honestly I do, it will just take a little longer than a quick answer to ask if a God is possible or not.



“This is not a difficult point to understand, so there is no reason why so much space has been wasted trying to hash out the proper definition of God. Indeed, Pro himself agreed to debate me on the premise that God, understood according to my definition, does not exist (round one, note three). It is improper debate etiquette for him to argue definitions after agreeing to use them, and I do not appreciate it.”


~I was attempting to show how it is impossible to make a vague statement a conclusion. I accepted the fact that this God in question was these things, but how am I supposed to argue that a God that is all of these things does not exist? You do realise you came into this debate highly one sided and completely inappropriate to debate anyone; I am simply aware of what needs to be taken place in order to get a correct standing for myself to debate you, I do apologise if it has taken a toll on your patience though, this was not my intent.



“Pro fails to give any good argument for the resolution. Consider his two arguments: (1) God is undefined, and (2) God’s existence is unfalsifiable. With respect to (1), I have consistently and repeatedly defined God in an intelligible and meaningful way, and Pro just does not get the point. This failure should be clear from the fact that instead of dealing with my responses to two loosely related objections, Pro takes issue with my phrase “loosely related”! Moreover, I have already indicated how the above definition sets limits on what God is and places Him in the appropriate categories, and Pro does not care to disagree.”


~If you were on my position, arguing that a god probably does not exist, how would you go about it? It’s not a simple thing to ask, and simply because you don’t appreciate my conduct does not mean it’s not necessary, that’s like if I claimed your god made the earth in 6 literal days about 6,300 years ago, the universe being also very young with light made on the way. I could just show this to be false and make your God false too. You would need to re-determine what God is and that he didn’t have to do it this way; also, just because I listed what many Christian followers believe the structure of their creation story went… this is an example and not Christian.


You literally have to show different terms. If I said, 25,000,000,000 light years away, the sky is purple. You would need to do a lot of maths experiments and get a lot of things sorted out before you answer my statement, if you were to take my position. I am trying to say that a vague concept of life can’t be a conclusion for a God, you can believe that, that’s fine. You can state that, sure… but you can’t use it in a debate. If I said that someone was robbed, and people asked me more questions, we are not questioning if someone was robbed any more, we are asking how, why, when, where, what… Do you understand where I am going with this?



“The implication is that God so-defined makes no assertions about the world. His existence is therefore untestable. My response, however, should be clear. First, if God’s existence cannot be disproven, then Pro cannot establish the resolution. He does himself no favors by proclaiming the untestablility/unfalsifiablility of God, for that just is to admit failure. Pro’s counter-response is clearly a straw man. I am not arguing that atheism is a lie because there is no reason to think that God does not exist. Rather, my point is that theism is not disproven by a lack of evidence in its favor. Why? Because absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”


~Since we can’t test something without assertions that are also testable, I have no ground to stand on, this doesn’t present an argument against me, this shows your bad setup and biased outlook on a debate setting. As for your statement of ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’, I would agree with you, just because at the moment I have nothing to stand on, this doesn’t mean I have lost…



“Second, God’s existence is testable. If a contradiction could be demonstrated in the concept of God, for example, God could not exist. If unjustifiable evil exists, God does not exist. If human freedom is shown to be inconsistent with divine foreknowledge, God cannot exist (assuming humans are free). If evolution is shown to be unguided, God does not exist. Further, even given a general concept of God, if God is the personal Creator of the universe, the universe must have begun to exist. If Pro could give some evidence for the eternality of the universe, then God does not exist. In all these ways, God’s existence is testable. Of course, if Pro’s point is merely that God’s existence has not beenfalsified, then he and I are in agreement.”


~You do realise you could refute everything I say based on perspective at this point? I will answer your questions but also show how you could refute it. If I said a paedophile was a an example of unjustifiable evil, you could simply argue that it was a nature / nurture issue, that it was a vampire affect, that it was somehow in God’s ‘plan’.


An example of unguided evolution? Again, this is based on perspective; I could argue that the recurrent laryngeal nerve shows unguided evolution, in mammals, this nerve avoids the direct route between brain and throat and instead descends into the chest, loops around the aorta near the heart, then returns to the larynx. That makes it seven times longer than it needs to be. But you could just say it was his ‘plan’… Now I hope you are beginning to see my problem, I wanted you to define God in every aspect, because if you didn’t you could just say he made it that way, or he does it that way… You could argue anything you like and I have nothing to say because none of it is testable, they are all basic irrational assertions based on one question; ‘how did we get here?’ ‘if we are here, someone must have made it.’.


More specifically on your statement “if God is the personal Creator of the universe, the universe must have begun to exist. If Pro could give some evidence for the eternality of the universe, then God does not exist.” Why is God a personal Creator of the universe? Where did you get this assumption? You know very well that science has no found out how the universe came to be… so your result it. Because we don’t know, therefore god must have done it. My question is, why? I could argue, ‘what made god’, but he would be self-existent, my question would then be, why couldn’t the universe be like this? In each of these questions that are turned around, you could not give a response either. Because you have no idea either, you have made conclusions based on shabby assumptions of philosophy; however, philosophy should be based on what we do know, not what we don’t.


The assumption of a god is a nice thought, but people live fine lives that are morally right in the eyes of the community they are involved in, they also share the same good things and possibly better than those who do believe in a God. Even if I was to claim that because there are extreme religious people around, this doesn’t prove God to be immoral, they are just doing it wrong.




2.2 Objective moral values and duties exist - No objections from Pro.”


~We made them ourselves.



2.3. Therefore, God exists-The conclusion follows necessarily from the premises, premises we have been good reasons to accept and no good reasons to doubt. God’s character serves as the standard of moral value, and His commands form our moral duties.”


~What commands? Those in Islam? Surely not, those in Christianity? Surely not… Look at extremists.



“In short, cosmology and moral experience come together to give us good reason to believe that a morally perfect, personal Creator of the universe exists.”


~Believe what you like, know that it will never be shown to be true, it will always stay in unknown and probably not true.



I will be making a post in round 5 showing the positives on how I think a god could be true. I know I am not supposed to, however i think it would only be fair on Pro to show how he could very well be correct.


Debate Round No. 4
Miles_Donahue

Con

I thank Pro for participating in this debate, a debate that has forced me to write carefully, think critically, and respond patiently. Part of the reason for our mutual frustration, I think, is how differently we approach the question of God’s existence. But this realization should not cause despair, but should lead us to take a step back and reexamine the assumptions we bring to the table. As I've said before, this is hard work, but it is necessary work.

I. General Overview

Pro and I came here to debate the existence of God, understood in a general, commonsense way. Or at least, that is what should have happened. Sadly, Pro spent 60% of his space trying to hammer down a more specific, tight, and/or helpful definition of God. Having looked carefully over Pro’s comments, and through personal correspondence with him, I understand where he’s coming from: Pro is an agnostic, not an atheist. He does not affirm that God does not exist, but withholds judgment. Therefore, he can only refute arguments for theism, not present arguments for atheism.

Be that as it may, definitions are decided before a debate takes place. If Pro did not like the way I defined God, or the way the debate was set up, he should have voiced his concerns in the comments section prior to acceptance. Moreover, given his professed agnosticism, it is misleading for him to ostensibly argue that God does not exist. Indeed, I am confused when Pro tells us that his “intent...is to show why God probably does not exist.” This, when several lines down he admits that he has “no ground to stand on.” The debate was deliberately framed so that Pro could not get away with folding his arms and demanding the theist present evidence for God. The fact of the matter is, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence – ergo, if Pro wants us to believe that God does not exist, he must give us good reasons to think so. But this Pro refuses to do. In sum, his entire process of engagement was wrongheaded.

Turning to his latest remarks, Pro asks, “If you were on my position, arguing that a god probably does not exist, how would you go about it?” I would probably try to show that the universe is eternal, thereby undercutting the concept of a Creator God. Notice, it doesn’t make sense asking why God is the Creator of the universe. That just is the operative concept of God, a concept that coheres well with our intuitive understanding of the word God. Further, I might try to argue that morality is an illusion - that there really are no objective moral values and duties - thereby undercutting the idea of a morally perfect being. Finally, I might argue that the whole concept of a mind without a physical body is incoherent. Granted, getting your fingers dirty and doing the hard work of defending these arguments is “not a simple thing to ask”, but so what? It was never intended to be.

So I don't think what we have here is a “bad setup and biased outlook on a debate setting.” On the contrary, it is not impossible to give arguments for atheism. Philosophers do it all the time. We have, rather, an unwillingness/inability to do so, and that was certainly not my fault.

II. The Case for Atheism

Throughout the debate, Pro fails to give any good reason to affirm the resolution. We’ve seen that no matter how Pro’s case is spun, it turns up short. The best way to see this is by delineating each argument into a series of premises leading to a conclusion. Doing so will make the logical structure of the argument crystal-clear.

1. God is undefined

The intuitive idea here is that undefined words have no referents, and when used in a sentence, the whole sentence becomes meaningless. When I say, "Tripleminac is here", for example, the sentence expresses no content because Tripleminac refers to nothing. The sentence is therefore neither true nor false. Now, if God is similarly undefined, then both the view that God exists and the view that He does not become meaningless. These observations suggest the following argument:

  1. 1. The existence of undefined entities is a meaningless question.
  2. 2. God is an undefined entity.
  3. 3. Therefore, the existence of God is a meaningless question.

I grant premise (1). With respect to premise (2), I have consistently provided a robust, if modest, definition of God as the morally perfect, personal Creator of the universe. Again, it does not matter if Pro doesn't like the definition, or doesn't think he can disprove God so-defined. Considerations like these aren't relevant to assessing (2). Given the falsity of premise (2), the conclusion does not follow.

2. God’s existence makes no predictions

  1. 1. Hypotheses that make no predictions are unfalsifiable.
  2. 2. The God-hypothesis makes no predictions.
  3. 3. Therefore, the God-hypothesis is unfalsifiable.

Regarding premise (1), I contended that hypotheses can be falsified if a contradiction is found within them, irrespective of their predictions. Pro fails to dislodge the point. With respect to (2), I responded by suggesting multiple ways that God’s existence makes predictions. The God-hypothesis predicts (a) the beginning of the universe, (b) the existence of an objective moral standard, and (c) the possibility of minds existing independently of bodies (a possibility that has enormous implications for understanding our own minds). Finally, I argued that even if we accept the conclusion, all that amounts to is the admission that the resolution cannot be proven. Indeed, I should be the one giving this argument, not Pro. In short, argument (2) is both falsely based and irrelevant.

Now in his last round, Pro offers some passing remarks about the problem of evil and the evidence for unguided evolution. But he gives them as illustrations of his inability to prove that God does not exist, so I do not feel compelled to respond to them.

So I think it’s clear that Pro fails to support the resolution.

III. The Case for Theism

By contrast, I gave two good reasons to think that God exists: (1) the argument from the beginning of the universe, and (2) the argument from moral experience.

1. The argument from contemporary cosmology

  1. 1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
  2. 2. The universe began to exist.
  3. 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
  4. 4. If the universe has a cause, a transcendent, personal Creator exists.
  5. 5. Therefore, a personal Creator exists.

On behalf of (1), I argued that our intuitions of potentiality and actuality strongly support the causal principle. No objections from Pro. In defense of (2), I argued, first of all, that all attempts to avert the beginning of the universe as predicted by the Big Bang model fail, and second, that the BGV theorem is the final nail in the coffin for all eternal universe models. No objections from Pro. Premise (3) follows necessarily from (1) and (2). With respect to (4), I gave a thorough conceptual analysis concerning what a cause of the universe must be like. Not only must such a cause be beyond space and time; it must also be personal. Again, no objections from Pro.


Finally, (5) follows necessarily from (1) - (4). Pro drops his objections to the argument as a whole. I showed why the cosmological argument does not commit the god-of-the-gaps fallacy, and Pro never defended his allegation of other fallacious appeals. In his last round, however, Pro asks, “If everything needs a cause, what caused God?” The question is misconceived. Premise (1) asserts that whatever begins to exist has a cause. But as the argument itself demonstrates, God never begins to exist - He is timeless and eternal – and therefore does not need a cause. “But,” Pro retorts, “Why couldn’t we say the same about the universe?” Because the empirical evidence indicates that space and time came into being at some point in the past; the atheistic position is no longer tenable.

In conclusion, contemporary cosmology indicates that a personal Creator of the universe exists.

2. The argument from moral experience

  1. 1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
  2. 2. Objective moral values and duties exist.
  3. 3. Therefore, God exists.

Turn first to premise (1). In support, I argued that if atheism is true then, firstly, moral values are products of unguided evolution, and secondly, homo sapiens are animals and therefore have no moral value. I explained how (1) concerns the existence of morality, not our knowledge of it, and Pro drops all his previous objections. Concerning premise (2), I left it undefended because it is, to my mind at least, obviously true. Pro replies that “we made [morality] up.” Surely this is false. For example, no one made up the principle, “Do not torture children for fun.” Rather, the validity of the moral law is independent of human opinion.

Having learned that morality cannot exist without God, I then attempted to explicate how God and morality relate: God’s nature determines moral values, and His commands determine our moral duties. Pro asks, “Which God is the source of our moral duties? Allah? Yahweh?” The moral argument does not tell us. Once we have established that morality requires a personal foundation, then we can ask whether this being might have revealed Himself and His commands in some religion. But even if He has not, this is no trouble for the moral argument. Perhaps God’s commands are hard-wired into the human brain, thereby obviating the need for special revelation in some religion.

In short, morality suggests that there is more to heaven and Earth than is dreamt of in atheistic philosophy.

IV. Conclusion

What I offer Kryptic is an explanation for the moral values and duties he surely wants to affirm, and an explanation for the origin of the universe that science so powerfully demonstrates. What might that explanation be? A morally perfect, personal Creator of the universe. And why does Kryptic resist this conclusion? Let him not say, “Because I can’t test God’s existence”, or “Because God is undefined”. I have answered both objections, so Pro really has no reason not to go where the evidence points - to the existence of God.

Kryptic

Pro

In conclusion...

refer to round 4.
Debate Round No. 5
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Miles_Donahue 1 year ago
Miles_Donahue
I agree.
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
Cliche isn't necessarily bad. That's entirely subjective.
Posted by Miles_Donahue 1 year ago
Miles_Donahue
Ah, well, then they'd apparently be cliche avatars.
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
Two inspirational avatars there. I ought to get a blue starry avatar too.
Posted by n7 1 year ago
n7
A cliche is something that is overused. How is being used 5 times overused?
Posted by Kryptic 1 year ago
Kryptic
i hope you know something can be clich" without being written multiple times.
Posted by n7 1 year ago
n7
"However the clich" title,"

If you look at the URL this is only the 5th debate on the site with this title. Hardly cliche.
Posted by Miles_Donahue 1 year ago
Miles_Donahue
Well, I mean I guess if you do not continue to argue your case, that would be fine.
Posted by Kryptic 1 year ago
Kryptic
I wanted to post something based on how I could think a god true, as I made your argument seem... mild. but if you don't wish for me to do so, that's okay
Posted by Miles_Donahue 1 year ago
Miles_Donahue
To Pro, please do not post anything in the final round. If you do, you immediately disqualify yourself.
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