The Instigator
Aithlin
Pro (for)
Tied
21 Points
The Contender
Romanii
Con (against)
Tied
21 Points

God (Probably) Exists

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/6/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,673 times Debate No: 58634
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (39)
Votes (6)

 

Aithlin

Pro

DA Debate : God (Probably) Exists


Introduction


Romanii and I have been planning to do a debate for several months. After deliberation over topic, and delay due to time constraints, both of us are finally ready to debate.I have a lot of respect for Romanii as a debater, and I hope that this debate is one of excitement and intellectual rigour.


The resolution of this debate is “God (Probably) Exists”, which, given the amount of debates on this topic in this site, should be easily understandable. Note that both of us are playing as the devil’s advocate. As Pro, and with the sole BOP, I shall be arguing that God does indeed probably exist. Romanii, as Con, has no BOP. All he has to do it to refute the arguments that I give in favour for God’s existence sufficiently. The winner of this debate shall be determined on whether Pro upholds by BOP to a sufficient degree, and that is for the judges to decide.


Definitions




It is important to note that I am not arguing for the tri-omni God; the God of Classical Theism. Instead, I am merely arguing for a deistic God. Hence, the following definition is to be used.




God: A supernatural, universally creative force that is responsible for the creation of the Universe ; and the physical law that governs over it. [1]


[1] Adapted from: http://www.deism.com...

Romanii

Con

I accept.

Good Luck, Aithlin!
Debate Round No. 1
Aithlin

Pro


Thanks, Romanii, for accepting. Before I begin, I warn readers of possible grammatical and spelling discrepancies. I was not in the best state of mind while writing this, and I apologise in advance for any problems caused.


I will build my case for the existence of God based on modern variants of two traditional arguments: the cosmological argument, and the teleological argument; as a matter of fact the Kalām argument, and the teleological argument from fine-tuning respectively. I’ll be utilising William Lane Craig’s formulations of both arguments. Yes, yes, I know. Both arguments are used so much these days, but nevertheless, I believe that they are simple, yet potent. Let’s begin.


Kalām Cosmological Argument


P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.


P2: The universe began to exist.


C1: Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence (God) [1]


Obviously, there is a lot that I have to defend, so I’ll get into it immediately without further digression.


P1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.


If Premise 1 were to be false, then things would come into existence without a cause of their existence. Yet, this is clearly absurd. The metaphysical principle “ex nihilo nihil fit”, or “nothing comes from nothing” is one of the most fundamental and intuitive principles within metaphysics. Indeed, to deny it, one would collide with what Kantischieder calls the “most successful ontological commitment” within science. [2]


Furthermore, ex nihilo nihil fit has never been contradicted in our common experiences. We never see anything that comes into existence without a cause of its existence, whilst everything that comes into existence we observe to have a cause of its existence. This is also true within science. We have never seen anything come into existence uncaused in scientific discovery either. One would say that scientific discovery and advances have vindicated such a notion. Thus, one can then create a probabilistic argument, that, given


It would be utterly absurd to insist that the Universe could suddenly “pop” out of nothing. If that were possible, then all sorts of logical absurdities follow. Craig states:


To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is to quit doing serious metaphysics and to resort to magic. Nobody sincerely believes that things, say, a horse or an Eskimo village, can just pop into being without a cause. But if we make the universe an exception to (1), we have got to think that the whole universe just appeared at some point in the past for no reason whatsoever." [3]


Thus, the first premise is affirmed.


P2. The Universe began to exist


The second premise is strongly supported by modern cosmology. Work from Hawking and Penrose in the 70s strongly suggest that the Universe began in a singularity. The BGV (Borde-Guth-Vilenkin) theorem further builds on other work and is somewhat of a “godsend” towards theists, because , according to Craig, it shows that “any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary.” [4]


Vilenkin has this to say about the theorem: “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” [5]


Hence, there are good reasons, from modern cosmology, that the Universe began to exist. Now, there are also philosophical reasons for affirming this premise, but I won’t go into them, because I believe that above argument is sufficient.


C1: Therefore, the universe had a cause of its existence (God)


Thus, from the above two premises, we have shown that the universe has a cause of its existence. However, we are yet to have shown that the cause is God. Yet, there are good reasons to believe that is the case.


Such a cause of the universe must be, and transcendent of space-time, for it would be responsible for bringing both of them into existence. It is immaterial because it is responsible for bringing a material world into existence. It also must be one of immense power, for it is responsible for the creation of the universe. Now, notice that I don’t have to go from here and argue for a personal God, because the definition proposed is one that is not necessarily personal. With that said, we can thus conclude that the KCA is sound, and that a deistic God exists.


Teleological Argument From Fine-Tuning


Traditionally, teleological arguments have been used to infer the existence of a designer through biology eg. Paley’s watchmaker analogy. However, recent discoveries in cosmology, relevant to the physical laws of nature, also support the notion of a designer; God. William Lane Craig formulates his fine tuning argument as follows [6]:


P1: The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.


P2: It is not due to physical necessity or chance.


C: Therefore, it is due to design.


But, what is this fine-tuning that we speak of?


In this context, when we speak of fine-tuning we are referring to the fact that the physical law and the constants of nature governing the universe must fall within a very, very range in order for the conditions that allow life in the universe to form. Thus, if such physical laws are even changed in the slightest, the universe would turn out to be inhospitable.


Let’s look at an example of this; the gravitational constant (yes, the one in Newton’s law of universal gravitation).


But how fine-tuned is the gravitational constant? According to Robin Collins [7] :


if one increased the strength of gravity by one part in 10^34 of the range of force strengths, then:



  • Every single celled organisms would be crushed, and only planets less than 100 feet in diameter could sustain life with our brain size. Such planets, however, could not contain an ecosystem to support life of our level of intelligence.

  • No long-lived stable stars (that exist longer than a billion years). This would hugely decrease the chance of conscious, embodied life evolving.


Another more extreme example of fine tuning is one that is found as an initial condition of the universe; the initial distribution of mass-energy. The physicist Roger Penrose describes the unlikelihood of such a distribution: “In order to produce a universe resembling the one in which we live, the Creator would have to aim for an absurdly tiny volume of the phase space of possible universes-about 1/10^10^123 of the entire volume, for the situation under consideration.”


Collins uses an analogy to explain the unlikelihood: “According to Penrose’s calculations, the precisions of the Big Bang explosion must be greater than that needed to blow up a pile of rubble and obtain a fully completed building replete with desks, tables, chairs, and computers!”


There are plenty of other examples of this, which one could drone on for months, but the above should be enough as examples of fine-tuning.


P1: The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design


The whole purpose of Premise 1 is to list out the possible explanations of fine-tuning. Of course, if there were to be any explanations that were excluded, then Con would simply have to point them out, and we’ll add it onto both premises.


P2: It [the fine-tuning] is not due to physical necessity or chance


If the fine-tuning was due to physical necessity, then it means that the constants simply had to be the way they are. However, it would be spectacularly improbable that this would be the case, and to suggest that they would “simply had to be the way they are” is an unintuitive, intellectually unsatisfying answer. Furthermore, there is simply no evidence; no reason to believe that such fine-tuning was physically necessary, thus making such a “hypothesis” unlikely.


Now, what about chance? The problem with arguing that mere chance was responsible for the fine-tuning of the universe is that it is simply too improbable. Consider Penrose’s calculation that the fine-tuning of the initial distribution of mass-energy, for instance. Or perhaps Collins’ analogy to explain such a likelihood. Now, notice how this is only referring to one example of fine-tuning. That’s right. One example. Yet, there are tens of other examples of fine-tuning. Thus, it is exceedingly improbable – not impossible – that chance is an adequate explanation of fine-tuning.


C: Therefore, it is due to design


This follows logically from the above two premises. Hence, we have discerned that the fine-tuning of the universe is best accounted for by design, thus once again fulfilling our BOP by demonstrating the teleological argument to be correct. Now, I expect all sorts of responses from Con with regard to the fine-tuning argument, due to the fact that I was merely giving a very basic overview of the argument involved. I will wait until him to do so, before making any further comment.


Conclusion


The resolution has been affirmed. I have provided two potent arguments in favour of God’s existence – the Kalām cosmological argument, and the fine-tuning argument. As of yet, they have not been refuted, and I look forward to interacting with Con’s rebuttals.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...


[2] http://calumsblog.com...


[3] The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology pp.182


[4] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...


[5] http://commonsenseatheism.com...


[6] http://withalliamgod.wordpress.com...


[7] http://is.gd...


[8] http://infidels.org...


[9] http://is.gd...



Romanii

Con

Thanks to Aithlin for his opening arguments!
I will be utilizing this round to refute them :)



== KALAM COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT ==

I will only be contesting the first premise of the KCA in order to refute the entire argument's logical soundness.

"P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence."

Firstly, I would like to observe that we have never witnessed anything "begin to exist". As a result of the Laws of Conservation of Energy and Conservation of Mass, doing so is basically impossible. We have only seen *changes*, either physical, chemical, or sub-atomic. Since we have never seen anything begin to exist, we have no evidence for the notion that anything which begins to exist must have an external cause.

Pro ignores the lack of evidence and attempts to deduce the truth value of this premise by the following logic:

"If Premise 1 were to be false, then things would come into existence without a cause of their existence. Yet, this is clearly absurd."

This may seem like a valid deduction, but upon closer inspection, we see that there are some major problems with this logic.

Objection 1: It ignores the fact that conditions prior to the Big Bang were *radically* different from current conditions. Most noticeably different was that Space and Time did not exist yet. Space and Time form the very basis of our senses of perception and metaphysical intuition; as a result, we cannot even begin to imagine a plane of existence without the presence of Space and Time. We cannot assume that principles based on our observations within spacetime hold true when spacetime did not exist. Thus, our observations within spacetime cannot be used to validate the truth of the KCA's first premise, since the Big Bang did not happen within spacetime.

Objection 2: It ignores the fact that two things cannot exist in the same space; something can't simply come into existence where there is something already there. Things can only come into existence where there is nothing there, and the latest developments in particle physics suggest that there is no such thing as "nothing" within our universe because even in what appears to be a complete vacuum, there is still a positive energy density, known as the Cosmological Constant (http://www.astro.ucla.edu...). Thus, it is impossible for us to observe things pop into existence within our universe, simply because the entirety of the space within our universe is already occupied. The fact that we *don't* observe things pop into existence within our universe does not prove anything regarding the truth of the KCA's first premise.

"The metaphysical principle 'ex nihilo nihil fit', or 'nothing comes from nothing' is one of the most fundamental and intuitive principles within metaphysics."

There is absolutely no evidence for notion that nothing comes from nothing. As explained in Objection 2, there is no such thing as actual "nothingness" within our universe, due to the existence of the cosmological constant. Because of this, we have *never* observed nothingness, and thus cannot rationally assume that something cannot come out of it.

Pro, ignoring the utter lack of evidence to support 'ex nihilo nihil fit', attempts to make an appeal to our metaphysical intuitions in order to demonstrate the seeming absurdity of this principle being false. However, as explained in Objection 1, we cannot apply our metaphysical intuitions to the Big Bang because the Big Bang happened in the absence of spacetime, and our metaphysical intuitions are completely contingent on the existence of spacetime.

In conclusion, it has thoroughly shown that the preliminary premise of the KCA is completely baseless, with no real reason to accept it. This alone refutes the logical soundness of the entire argument.



== TELEOLOGICAL / FINE-TUNING ARGUMENT ==

I sincerely apologize to Pro, but a something has suddenly came up in real life, forcing me to cut my argument short this round. I will definitely get around to refuting this contention next round, and hopefully the round following that will be enough for Pro to sufficiently counter my refutation. Again, Sorry :/



Back to you, Pro!

Debate Round No. 2
Aithlin

Pro

Thanks, Con, for your excellent reply.

Kalām Cosmological Argument

There are two contentions central to Con’s critique of the first premise of the KCA.

(a) We cannot witness anything “begin to exist”. First, due to the Law of Conservation of Mass and Conservation of Energy, all that we see are changes. Second, due to advancements in physics, the notion of “nothingness” does not apply within our universe, due to the fact that there still is, even in a vacuum “a positive energy density, known as the Cosmological Constant.”

(b) Metaphysical intuitions about nothingness are void, when applied to the origin of the universe, because “conditions prior to the Big Bang were *radically* different to our current conditions.

(a)

Con begins by arguing that the Law of Conservation of Energy and the Law of Conservation of Mass shows that it is “basically impossible” for anything to begin to exist. This is, he argues, due to the fact that what we see are merely changes, rather than them “beginning to exist.” The problem with such an argument, is that it makes an assumption. Namely, that things “beginning to exist” must result in an increase in energy or mass, as opposed to when they did not exist. Unfortunately, this assumption has not been justified by Con. I could leave it here and wait for him to provide a rationale for such an assumption, but I shall go further.

It is simply untrue that something “beginning to exist” must result in an increase in energy or mass, when compared to when they did not exist. This can be shown by looking at the definition of “begin to exist”, in the context of the KCA. Craig states, that the term “begin to exist” when applied to the Kalām means the following (where time is denoted by t and the entity coming into existence is e):

e comes into being at t if and only if (i) e exists at t, (ii) t is the first time at which e exists, (iii) there is no state of affairs in the actual world in which e exists timelessly, and (iv) e’s existing at t is a tensed fact.” [1]

Thus, Con’s argument is void.

However, Con provides another argument for such a contention: that particle physics demonstrates the existence of the “cosmological constant”. Furthermore, due to the fact that two things cannot exist in the same space, we cannot observe things coming into existence; they only can when there is nothing there. Thus, “nothingness” in our universe is impossible, and we have no reason to believe that something cannot come out of it.

While I would agree that the physics used to justify the existence of the cosmological constant is sound, I don’t agree with Con’s other statements. I’m not quite sure what Con means by “two things cannot exist in the same space”, particularly what “space” is meant in this context. I would ask him to clarify what he means.

Con tries to refute the following usage of the following logical absurdity as justification of P1 of the Kalām: “If it was possible for the universe to suddenly ‘pop’ into existence, then why don’t we see let’s say, horses, or Eskimo villages pop into existence?” He argues that this is impossible, because “the entirety of the space in our universe is already occupied.” It would occur to me that such an argument is based off misrepresentations of what is meant to “begin to exist”. I have already criticised the notion that we can’t see anything begin to exist because the Laws of Conservation of Energy and Mass entail that all we see is physical, chemical, or sub-atomic change. If that is false, which I believe is the case, then there are plenty of instances where things “come into existence”, even when the Cosmological Constant exists.

Con also states that “things can only come into existence where there is nothing there”. I’ll deal with this while I deal with his second point.

(b)

Another criticism Con makes against P1 of the KCA is that the “conditions prior to the Big Bang were *radically* different from our current conditions.” Because of the fact that our metaphysical intuitions were supposedly formed on the basis of space-time, which was not in existence prior to the Big Bang, we cannot apply such metaphysical intuitions to the origin of the universe.

The problem is, however, that such metaphysical principles were not discerned wholly on the basis of observations within space-time. There are other reasons, independent of such observations that confirm P1: “Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence”. Something cannot come from nothing, because there is no properties of nothing that enables something come from out from it eg. no potentiality. In fact, it has no properties at all. Thus, the fact that our observations come from within space-time make little difference to the soundness of P1, due to the fact that the premise is not reliant on it being true; instead, it is more of a supporting beam.

Teleological Argument

Unfortunately, Con has delayed any criticism of the fine-tuning argument until the next round. There is little that I could say, except for the fact that I was looking forward to discussing the fine-tuning argument more so than the KCA :(

Conclusion

In conclusion, none of Con’s criticisms against Premise 1 of the KCA are sound. On the other hand, all of my arguments in favour of the premise: ex nihilo nihil fit is a fundamental metaphysical principle; experience always confirm, rather than weaken ex nihilo nihil fit logical absurdities are a consequence of denying ex nihilo nihil fit. Thus, the KCA is sound. Combined with the fact that Con has not as of yet argued against the fine-tuning argument, the resolution has been affirmed.

[1] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...

Romanii

Con

Thanks, Aithlin!
And again, I'm really sorry about having to cut short last round.
This round, I will defend my refutations of the KCA and present my refutations of the Fine-Tuning argument.



== KALAM COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT ==

1. Beginning to Exist

Pro argues that when something "begins to exist" in the context of the KCA, it does not necessarily mean that there was nothing before that. However, there is a painful lack of elucidation here... all Pro does to defend this claim is present a short quote by William Lane Craig with no further elaboration upon it at all; what is a "tensed fact" anyways? It is pretty much common sense that if something comes into existence where there was originally nothing, then there is an increase in mass/energy. If Pro wants to deny this, he's going to need to explain himself; not just name some abstract philosophical concept...

2. Cosmological Constant

Pro argues that we *can* see things come into existence even if the entirety of space within the universe is already occupied because, in accordance with his "tensed fact" point, beginning to exist does not require an increase in mass, so something can come into existence from something else. However, this is not really "beginning to exist" anymore, as much as it is simply another change. It is true that "virtual particles" can emerge from the cosmological constant, giving the impression that they are "beginning to exist", but this is *still* simply a *change* on the quantum level (http://profmattstrassler.com...).

And anyways, this has nothing to do with my original point... I was originally trying to argue that we cannot assume things like "nothing comes from nothing" based on our observations within the universe because *actual* nothing does not exist within the universe for us to observe, thanks to the cosmological constant. Pro has not really addressed this, instead going off on some tangent about how things can *appear* to come into existence, when in fact they are merely undergoing change.

3. Metaphysical Intuitions

Pro argues that our metaphysical intuitions are not necessarily based entirely on our observations, citing the following logic instead, to support the metaphysical intuition of 'ex nihilo nihil fit' :

"Something cannot come from nothing, because there is no properties of nothing that enables something come from out from it eg. no potentiality. In fact, it has no properties at all."

However, I will once again argue that my opponent has absolutely NO way of knowing this to be true... absolute nothingness has not ever been witnessed by humans, and most likely does not exist within our universe. We can know nothing of its properties or lack of properties, much less what is possible within it.
Thus, the ultimate source of metaphysical intuitions is sensory perception, which is wholly shaped by the existence of space-time; since space-time did not exist at the time of the Big Bang, our metaphysical intuitions become unreliable in determining what was or was not possible prior to the Big Bang.


Sub-Conclusion: the KCA's first premise is completely devoid of warrant, thus rendering the entire argument logically unsound.




== FINE-TUNING / TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT ==

Pro's argument here is basically that there is no viable explanation for the Universe's fine-tuning other than design. Thus, if I can give at least one viable explanation for the universe's fine-tuning, then his whole argument will fall apart, as it would no longer support God's probable existence.

1. Physical Necessity

This explanation of fine-tuning objects to the very basis of the teleological argument: the idea that physical constants *could* have been different. This explanation, instead, states that physical laws are *necessarily* the way that they are.
For example, what does Pro mean by "if such physical laws are even changed in the slightest"? Does he mean to say that such physical laws could have turned out to be different? By the same logic, does he mean to say that the laws of mathematics could have turned out to be different? Certain laws simply couldn't have been different, being necessary in nature.
There is no reason to believe that the universe's constants could have turned out differently, as Pro is arguing. We may be able to imagine them being different, and even calculate what the Universe may have been like in such circumstances, but that in no way means that those constants could *actually* could have turned out differently. It is perfectly plausible that the universe's physical laws and constants are necessarily "set" the way they are, thus explaining the universe's apparent fine-tuning.

2. Multiverse Theory

Let's assume that physical laws *are* contingent (i.e. able to be different). Even then there are viable ways to explain our universe's fine-tuning. One of the most popular explanations is the Multiverse theory, which states that there are an infinite number of universes, with every single physically possible universe occurring at least once. In that case, our universe, with all its contingent laws/constants being set the way they are, just happens to be one of those universes; a universe like our's was inevitable.
Of course, this explanation would only be viable if there was some sort of evidence making the Multiverse theory plausible.
And the evidence most definitely is there:

"The first direct evidence of cosmic inflation — a period of rapid expansion that occurred a fraction of a second after the Big Bang — also supports the idea that our universe is just one of many out there, some researchers say...
The new research also lends credence to the idea of a multiverse. This theory posits that, when the universe grew exponentially in the first tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, some parts of space-time expanded more quickly than others. This could have created "bubbles" of space-time that then developed into other universes. The known universe has its own laws of physics, while other universes could have different laws, according to the multiverse concept.
'It's hard to build models of inflation that don't lead to a multiverse,' Alan Guth, an MIT theoretical physicist unaffiliated with the new study, said during a news conference Monday. 'It's not impossible, so I think there's still certainly research that needs to be done. But most models of inflation do lead to a multiverse, and evidence for inflation will be pushing us in the direction of taking [the idea of a] multiverse seriously.'
Other researchers agreed on the link between inflation and the multiverse."

http://www.space.com...


Sub-Conclusion: I have presented two viable explanations for the Universe's apparent fine-tuning, ensuring that the Teleological argument does not prove that God probably exists.




== CONCLUSION ==

In conclusion, neither the KCA nor the FTA successfully affirm the resolution, by default rendering the resolution negated, since BOP is on Pro.
I hand the debate back over to my opponent for the final round!
Debate Round No. 3
Aithlin

Pro

Thanks, Con, for your response. I have thoroughly enjoyed this debate as it has forced me to adopt and argue for unfamiliar positions, thus resulting in insightful discussions.

Kalām Cosmological Argument

RE: Beginning To Exist

Con asks me for further clarification, writing: “All Pro does is present a short quote by William Lane Craig with no further elaboration on it at all.” However, I am not entirely sure why I have to further elaborate on it. I presented the accepted definition of “begin to exist” used within the KCA as formulated by Craig. Maybe further clarification is required. I presented to definition of “begin to exist” to show the minimum criterion that needs to be fulfilled in order for something to “begin to exist”, and thus refuting Con’s argument that after something began to exist, there is needs to be an increase in mass/energy. Con’s vision of how things “begin to exist” seems overly grounded on scientific grounds, rather than philosophical.

As it would Con specifically requested so, I shall explain a tensed fact (although I’m not sure that it has anything to do with increases in mass/energy after something begins to exist). I will adapt my explanation from Craig.

In 2008, Barack Obama pledges to close the Guantanamo Bay prison centre”. This sentence is one that expresses a tenseless fact by the usage of a tenseless verb “pledges”, and thus will always be true. If one replaced “pledges” with “pledged” (a tensed verb), then we would know that it occurred in the past. However, the sentence would not always be true. In order for the sentence to be true, in let’s say, 2006, we would have to replace “pledges” with (the tensed) “will pledge”. In the words of Craig, “tensed sentences serve to locate things in time relative to the present and so may chance the truth value.” [1] Essentially, tenseless facts are facts that relate to the present, and thus facts that may change.

Con dodges attempting to justify his previously unjustified assumption, by stating that it is supposedly “common sense”.

RE. Cosmological Constant

Con clarifies his argument, and renders my previous argument somewhat based on a straw-man invalid. Essentially, he is arguing that, due to the cosmological constant, there is no “true” nothingness in the universe, and thus we cannot use our observations to support Premise One. A few things to note. First, “nothing from nothing” is not reliant on this common experience argument in order for the principle to be true. Second, Con’s argument makes an unjustified assumption; namely that “in order for things to come into existence, they must come from *absolutely* nothing.” Again, I shall appeal to the definition of “begin to exist” in the KCA to show that this is not the case. I shall reiterate that, in order for something to “begin to exist” or “come into existence” it merely has to satisfy the criterion given in the definition. I also was not talking about virtual particles. I don’t know where Con got that from.

RE. Metaphysical Intuitions

Con objects to certain logic that I used. He argues,“my opponent has absolutely NO way of knowing this to be true…absolute nothingness has not ever been witnessed by humans…we can know nothing of its properties, much less what is possible within it.

Two things to note. First, it is absolutely irrelevant whether we have ever observed absolute nothing, as this has no bearing on whether we know anything about it. Con’s statements seem verificationist, which is discredited. Second, we do know that nothing has no properties, and that it has no potentiality by definition. Nothing is “a pronoun denoting the absence of anything.” [2] Thus, we would know that it has no properties, nor does it have potential. Hence, Con’s argument fails.

Sub-Conclusion: Con’s criticisms of Premise 1 of the KCA fail. Thus, the Premise is affirmed, and the argument is sound.

Fine-Tuning Argument

RE. Physical Necessity

Con argues that it is “plausible” that our physical laws are necessary, and offers it as an explanation of the fine-tuning of the universe. In order to argue that they are “plausible”, he offers an analogy with the laws of mathematics, which supposedly couldn’t have been any different. However, maybe that isn’t the case. Mathematical laws are based on axioms, which are simply assumed to be true, rather than shown to be the case.

According to Prof. David Kyle Johnson, “All mathematical systems are based on axioms – unproven, unprovable assumptions. …different assumptions will entail different things and produce different mathematical systems.” [3]

Massimo Pigliucci writes, “Consider, for instance, Euclidean geometry, and in particular Pythagoras’ theorem. Is it “true”? I’m not even sure what that means, at this point (I used to think the answer was clearly yes, by the way). The Pythagorean theorem is “true” given the axioms of Euclidean geometry, but not “true” if we move to, say, spherical geometry.”[4]

There are other reasons to believe that physical necessity is not as plausible as an explanation as Con thinks. This is because “necessary” physical laws are not predicted by any accepted nor proposed physical theory.

John Archibald Wheeler states: “Never has physics come up with a way to tell with what initial conditions the universe was started off. On nothing is physics clearer than what is not physics: equation of motion, yes; initial position and velocity of the object which follows that equation of motion, no.” [5]

M-Theory and String theory is also unimpressive in the same regard. According to Stephen Hawking, “Does string theory, or M theory, predict the distinctive features of our universe, like a spatially flat four-dimensional expanding universe with small fluctuations, and the standard model of physics. Most physicists would rather believe that string theory uniquely predicts the universe, than the alternatives. These are that the initial state of the universe is prescribed by an outside agency, code named GOD. Or that there are many universes, and that our universe is picked out by the anthropic principle.” [6]

Although it is certainly possible that the laws of nature are the way they are due to physical necessity, there is no plausible reasons to believe that is the case. Current physical theories have been unsuccessful in predicting such laws, and there are no good reasons why this will change.

RE. Multiverse Theory

Con then argues that multiverse theory, where there perhaps is an infinite number of universes, provides an adequate explanation of fine-tuning. He argues for the existence of the multiverse from inflation.

Con provides evidence, based on the discovery of gravitational waves, suggesting that inflation occurred. Before I go any further, I shall reiterate that this is the “first direct evidence of cosmic inflation”. Other than this discovery of gravitational waves, there is no direct evidence of inflation. Of course, it could be argued that inflationary cosmology solves a variety of problems in cosmology. Yet, there are still a variety of discrepancies within inflation that are unaccounted for.

Paul Steinhardt lists 3 in his article “The Inflation Debate.” According to Steinhardt, “inflation was supposed to create a huge volume of space matching the observed large-scale features of our universe naturally. But unless the inflation energy curve had a very specific shape, the outcome would be “bad”-a huge volume with too high a density and wrong distributions of galaxies. Given the range of possible values [of the parameters], bad inflation seems more likely.” [7] To restate, “bad” inflation does not account for galaxy density, but is far more likely than “good” inflation, which does.

Con cites the “findings” of gravitational waves as evidence of the inflationary paradigm, hence, multiverses. There are two things to note. Firstly, the evidence of such gravitational waves have not been independently confirmed by other research groups, so all we have as evidence of gravitational waves come from one research group, in one location. The “evidence” would be far stronger if other research groups were also able to detect such gravitational waves. However, they have not.

Second, doubt about the detection of gravitational waves, have, in the words of Scientific American, been “growing.” Ron Cowen writes: “two independent analyses now suggest that those twisting patterns in the CMB polarization could just as easily be accounted for by dust in the Milky Way Galaxy.” According to physicist Uros Seljak, “based on what we know right now…we have no evidence for or against gravitational waves.” [8] Thus, the “evidence” of the multiverse, from inflation; from gravitational waves is very dubious, and open to debate.

Sub-Conclusion 2: Both of Con’s arguments; one from physical necessity, and the other from multiverse theory fail to act as a good explanation of fine-tuning.

Conclusion: All of Con’s arguments against the KCA and the Fine-tuning argument ultimately fail. His arguments against the KCA make dubious assumptions or are misguided, and his arguments against the fine-tuning argument are unconvincing. Evidence of a multiverse is debatable, and his argument from physical necessity does not stand up to scrutiny. In order for Pro fulfil his BOP, he only needs to provide 1 successful argument for God’s existence. Right now, I believe that I have presented 2. In order for Con to win this debate, he must successfully refute both arguments. I believe that he has not done so. Thus, vote PRO.

[1] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3] Exploring Metaphysics Guidebook by David Kyle Johnson; Lecture 1

[4] http://is.gd...

[5] http://is.gd...

[6] http://is.gd...

[7] http://www.physics.princeton.edu...

[8] http://www.nature.com...

Romanii

Con

Thanks to Aithlin for his great concluding argument!
This was definitely a great debate; I have learned quite a bit through the contemplation that I had to put into refuting his arguments, and I sincerely hope that he has gained something, as well!
Now, onto my final refutations :D


== KALAM COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT ==

1. Beginning to Exist

"Con dodges attempting to justify his previously unjustified assumption [that beginning to exist results in an increase of mass/energy], by stating that it is supposedly 'common sense'."

I cited common sense because it is rather difficult to explain such a basic, fundamental concept... it's like trying to define the word "and". Nonetheless, I will try... If something BEGINS to exist, it is implied by definition that it did not exist prior to that; that there was *nothing* prior to that. Thus, when "something" comes into existence, it is coming into existence over "nothing", and since "something" consists of mass/energy, it coming into existence obviously does result in an increase in mass/energy.
I fail to see how any Pro has said so far refutes the above logic. Our only choice is to accept the common sense notion that something beginning to exist requires an increase in mass/energy. By extension of the logic provided in Round 2, this means that we have never seen anything begin to exist before; it is illogical make assumptions about what is required for something to come into existence (i.e. causality) if we have absolutely no experience of something coming into existence.

2. Cosmological Constant

Pro claims that things CAN come into existence where something is already there. However, as I've stated before, such an occurrence would no longer represent something "beginning to exist"; it would represent a *change* (like the example of virtual particles I provided).
I have already shown that something "beginning to exist", by definition, implies that it is coming from nothing.
It is logically impossible to witness things beginning to exist within our universe because the entirety of space within our universe is already occupied by the cosmological constant, and things can only begin to exist where there is nothing, as shown before. Thus, the observation that we never witness objects spontaneously pop into existence cannot be used to infer the truth of the KCA's first premise.

3. Metaphysical Intuitions

"Con’s statements seem verificationist, which is discredited."

I am not arguing that empirical observation is the ONLY way to know something, as logical positivists would argue... I am merely stating that we have *absolutely* no experience which such things, so the fundamental premises of Pro's logic are unfounded (i.e. that nothing must have no properties or potentiality).

"...we do know that nothing has no properties, and that it has no potentiality by definition."

Pro argues that the definition of "nothing" necessarily entails its complete lack of properties. Let's ignore, for now, the fact that actual nothingness does not necessarily have to conform to our definitions of it, and follow Pro's logic...
"No properties" includes "no constraints", yet Pro is inadvertently attempting to place the constraint of "being unable to produce something" on nothingness. Pro is declaring that nothingness has no properties while simultaneously assigning properties to it! Pro's own logic is self-refuting; we cannot apply our limited metaphysical intuitions to such a radically and fundamentally different plane of existence, especially since it lacks the presence of Space and Time, which essentially form the very basis of human perception/cognition, and, by extension, our intuitions.




== FINE-TUNING / TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT ==

1. Physical Necessity

Last round, I argued that the laws of nature could plausibly have been necessary (i.e. could not have been different), drawing an analogy to the laws of mathematics to demonstrate my point that necessary laws exist. My opponent seems to be challenging the very idea of necessary laws by arguing that even the laws of mathematics could have been different.

"All mathematical systems are based on axioms – unproven, unprovable assumptions… different assumptions will entail different things and produce different mathematical systems ."

However, he only demonstrates this dependence on axioms through geometry, which is actually just an application of mathematics, rather than the actual raw form of mathematics: number operations. Number operations, which form the actual basis of math, do not require any sort of dependence on axioms. For example, what "unproven assumptions" are involved in the statement "2 + 3 = 5"? There aren't any assumptions there; it is simply an unchangeable, necessary fact of reality. It is impossible for "2 + 3 = 6" to be true no matter HOW you look at it. There are no underlying assumptions that can be tweaked to make it true.
Thus, we draw the conclusion that the laws of mathematics are, indeed, necessary laws.

The point of all that was just to show via example that necessary laws exist. It seems perfectly plausible that if some abstract laws forming the basis of reality are necessarily the way they are, then the physical constants governing reality also operate in the same way. However, PRO is making the claim that those constants *could* have been different; it is HIS burden of proof to demonstrate that to be true. Seeing that he hasn't done so (instead attempting to flip the BOP onto me), we must assume that Pro has not sufficiently attacked physical necessity as an explanation of fine-tuning. Since physical necessity remains a viable explanation, design is no longer the only explanation, and the teleological argument fails to prove that God probably exists.

2. Multiverse Theory

Unfortunately, due to my novice status in terms of knowledge on this subject, combined with not having enough time to put into thorough research, I am going to have to drop this contention.
However, this by no means that I'm conceding the FTA as a whole. My physical necessity contention still undermines the FTA.




== CONCLUSION ==

The KCA fails because its first premise is completely unwarranted; it is totally devoid of empirical evidence, and attempts to indirectly affirm it via logic have their own fatal flaws.
The FTA fails because it is dependent on design being the ONLY viable explanation of fine-tuning, and I have shown that physical necessity is an equally viable explanation of it.

Thus, neither of Pro's arguments successfully affirms the resolution that God probably exists.

Thanks to Aithlin for the debate and to any/all voters!
Vote Con!

Debate Round No. 4
39 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Heh, you're not alone. It's interesting that this debate is sitting at a tie even after 6 votes. I'll be intrigued to see how it ends up.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
Phew, at least WF agrees with me.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
Victor J. Stenger's book "The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us" completely destroys the FTA.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
Con's argument pointed out the fallacies in the KCA and the FTA.
I really don't think Theists should try and use these arguments as support for God.
As they have been demonstrated fallacious time after time.
While the KCA is an argument from ignorance and the FTA is an argument from False Assertion.
The FTA is equally an argument for No God so it cannot be used as an argument for God.

The FTA parameters are precisely what would be expected if the natural forces from a Big Expansion were to balance out.
Essentially keeping the total mass and energy of the universe to balance, since it is now considered the combined mass and energy of the universe = 0.
The universe is in total balance.
Posted by Aithlin 2 years ago
Aithlin
I'll read this debate and vote tomorrow night."

wtf lol
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
Does that mean you didn't read it the first time? 0_0
Posted by daley 2 years ago
daley
I'll read this debate and vote tomorrow night.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
I'll read through this debate and post a vote sometime tomorrow.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
Did I judge this debate badly? YYW and IAAA strongly disagree with me.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
If you are interested in multiverse theory then read that book I recommended :-).

Yes, I was thinking about the necessary explanation, but It just didn't sit well, and I bought Pro's preemptive rebuttal that a necessary explanation still begs the question. I will have another quick look at the debate on that specific area later. Personally I would have attacked the appeal to ignorance, since it doesn't necessarily matter if the multiverse is true in the way it's presented or not, what matters is there there numerous possible naturalistic explanations, and there is too much ignorance to make a call.

If you were interested in a cogent rebuttal to the KCA, I would check out Sean Carroll's debate with william craig, and my favorite rebuttal to the KCA is by Peter Milican: http://www.theaunicornist.com...

Peter milican speaks soooo eloquently...
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
AithlinRomanii
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Pro could not complete the Burden Of Proof commitment. Because, Con pointed out the fallacies in all Pro's arguments. Thus defeating Pro. KCA ignores other possible causes and the conservation of energy/matter destroys the KCA for God. Fine Tuning Argument ignores science findings that life can adapt to non-fine-tuned universes and multiverse scenarios. Thus it was impossible for Pro to upheld their BOP commitment.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
AithlinRomanii
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: This is a tough debate to call, though I find that the main source of contention - the KCA - solidly goes into Con's corner. I get the same support from Pro several times on this in counter rebuttal, which is that the definition provided by the KCA is sound, but I find Con's analysis about what it means to come into existence persuasive, and thus find this definition lacking in terms of applicability. So the question is, is the FTA a rational explanation of why God must exist? This issue comes down to a single question of burdens, and both sides try to shoulder the burden of proving necessity (or lack thereof) on the other. Neither debater meets the burden the other shoulders them with, so this is my main point of concern. It's on this that I side with Pro. While I find his analysis on mathematics to be incomplete, I find Con's similarly wanting for explanation, and as it's his argument, I think that dearth is chiefly his responsibility to fill. Hence, I vote Pro. Good debate guys!
Vote Placed by daley 2 years ago
daley
AithlinRomanii
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Con kept arguing that we have never seen anything come into existence, but surely he believes that HE came into existence, doesn't he? After all, he didn't always exist. Con didn't seem to understand Pro's point that everything which begins to exist, like buildings that were not always there, come from some prior existing stuff. Thus, the universe had to be preceded by something which began it all, and Con's arguments were to weak to overcome this point. He did not explain how NOTHING (which is the ABSENCE OF ANYTHING) could have any properties or powers to bring anything into existence.
Vote Placed by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
AithlinRomanii
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: CON sufficiently showed how the various arguments made in support of God's existence fail, which took almost no effort. Arguments to CON, as such.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
AithlinRomanii
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: This debate focused on two arguments by Pro namely teleological and cosmological. Unfortunately for Pro, when Con showed the flaws in the first premise of the cosmological argument Con effectively seals the debate unless Pro can give prove the first premise not flawed. Pro is unable to give this proof and so Con must win the debate. This is lucky actually, as while Con did a good job with rebutting the teleological argument, it was a bit of a hatchet job and I could have called the debate a tie if it had focused just on that. However, as it stands its a clear win for con.
Vote Placed by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
AithlinRomanii
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: While I am leaning on Con's side of the KCA (I think he sufficiently demonstrated that the argument relied on too- much speculation and extrapolations outside out experience & overreliance on intuitions, Con was unsatisfactory in rebutting the fine tuning argument. Pro did defend the KCA very well though, and I think Pro lacked experience in affirming b theory of time (where the tensed facts become important). On the FTA, Cons surprisingly affirms physical necessity.... Which runs into Pro's original defence if improbability and question begging, the multiverse hypothesis was promising... But was rebutted quite well by Pro, but Con dropped the argument!!!! If Con held onto the multiverse he would have likely won, but apart from that, Pro successful affirmed the deistic god via the FTA.. Note - the definition of God is a little weird, as it doesn't require god to be conscious or intelligent.... Meh. Nice debate guys. Romanii you need to read 'A universe from nothing' by Lawrence Krau