God almost certainly exists
Debate Rounds (4)
Burden of proof is on me to show that the God of Classical Theism almost certainly exists.
1st round is for acceptance
Good luck and God Bless
I accept this challenge, with the understanding that I am defending a view where it is in no way "almost certain" that a God, in the classical theistic conception, exists.
Good luck, and I look forward to reading your opening arguments!
I'll give 2 arguments and defend both in depth in order to defend the motion.
P1) Anything that exists has an explanation for its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature, or in an external explanation.
P2) If the universe has an explanation of its existence, then that explanation is grounded in God.
P3) The universe exists.
P4) Therefore the universe has an explanation for its existence (from 1,3).
P5) Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the universe is grounded in God (from 2,4).
C) Therefore God exists.
The first premise rests on Leibniz's principle of sufficient reason  and seems evident simply by its nature - if you deny that whatever exists has an explanation, then you also deny the study of science, which rests on the notion. It seems that no rational person could assert that things exist with absolutely no explanation whatsoever - it goes against all experience and rational thought.
There are two parts to this premise - first, that the universe has an , and the second that the . The first part is another way of stating 'the universe is not necessarily existent'; as if premise 1 is true, then the universe is either necessarily existent, or has an explanation external to itself. If the universe is not necessarily existent, then it must, by deductive reasoning, have an explanation that is external to it. So the question is, 'why is the universe not necessarily existent?'.
Well in order to be necessarily existent, the universe would also have to be changeless. However, this does not appear to be true. All around us, we see the universe changing - from ourselves, the stars or the planets - changing from existent to non-existent and from one state to another. The universe is changing in nature constantly. So this means that the universe cannot be necessary in its existence and instead must be contingent.
The second part states that God must be the explaination. This is because the explaination must possess a number of qualities. These include:
Necessity; the cause must be necessarily existent. This is because if the external cause is a contingent being, then we immediately go into an regress of causes. This will go on ad infinitum unless we come to a necessarily existent being that explains everything. So in order to explain anything at all, we must arrive at an uncaused, unchangeable, eternal and therefore necessarily existent being.
Transcendence; if the being is the external cause of the universe, it must by definition transcend the universe realm.
Powerful; in order to create a universe, a being must be extraordinarily powerful beyond human comprehension.
These 3 qualities are equivalent to what we call 'God'. 
The notion that the universe exists can barely be contested, as we all experience it around us through our senses.
If the principle of sufficient reason is true - that everything that exists has an explanation for it's existence - and also that the universe exists, then it logically follows that the universe, and existing entity, has an explanation for its existence.
If the notions given in both premise 2 - that if the universe has an explanation for its existence then it is God - and also premise 4 - that the universe has an explanation for its existence - are true, then it logically follows that God is the explanation for the universe's existence.
If God is the explaination of the universe, then God must exist by definition.
P1) If objective morals exist, then God exists
P2) Objective morals exist
C) Therefore God exists
The reasoning behind this is that if objective morals - that is, morals that are genuinely binding, regardless of human opinion - exist, then there must be a transcendent giver of these morals. If there is no such giver, then such objectiveness could not exist, as there would be no basis for their objectivity. They wouldn't mean anything except as a subjective accident of natural processes. However, if they mean more than that - if they are objective, then there has to be a grounding for their being. There has to be a source as to why they are objective rather than subjective. In other words, if objective morals exist, then there must be a grounder of such morals. This grounder must be the source of all morality, wholly good, and transcendent to the human realm - that is, 'God'.
Here, it is best to appeal to human experience. Also, it is important to distinguish between absolutism and objectivism. Absolute morals are those which are either 'good' or 'bad' independent of context or consequence. However, objective morals are those which are 'good' or 'bad' regardless of opinion; and that is what I argue for.
I'll argue in 2 respects:
1)human moral experience
Every day, we humans act as if objective morals exist. When we see another person, we know innately that killing them and stealing their wallet is morally abominable. Similarly, we know intrinsically that we should hug and show compassion to our family as opposed to stabbing and killing them. Note, that under moral subjectivism, there would be no ontological difference between what we consider 'good' and 'bad' actions. However, it appears that there is. It's opposite - moral objectivism - must therefore prevail
2) human moral reasoning
The idea is that if humans see a moral action to be the categorical imperative - that is, wish it to be universal law - then they won't act by it. Humans will only act in accordance to a moral law, provided they view it to be univerally, as opposed to locally binding. After all, there is no reason to act according to a moral law if it is not genuinely and universally binding. However, humans do act according to moral laws. All around us, we see citizens of the world acting in compassion, in mercy and in justice, despite it having no obvious societal benefit or cost thereof. The best explanation of this phenomena is that there really are objectively binding moral values, and that humans act in accordance to them.   
The conclusion 'God exists' logically follows from the first two premises. If both the premises 'if objective morals exist then God exists', and 'objective morals exist' are both true, then God must also exist by rule of logical inference.
So, I have presented 2 argument and defended their premises. Together, if sound, they prove the existence of a being that is necessary, hugely powerful, transcendent, wholly good, and the source of moral authority. This being is in essence, the God of classical theism.
Over to you Con.
I would like to clarify the BOP here: Pro, quite literally, has to prove that God exists. "Almost certainly exists" is not cognitively distinct from "certainly exists," and, if it somehow is, Pro will have to elaborate on the difference. Either way, as Christopher Hitchens and others have elaborated, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," and Pro will have to present this in order to win the round.
I am not going to spend too long with the constructive here, as most of my work, with the Con position, is simply disproving the arguments that Pro has put forward. Moreover, most of my constructive material is in direct response to the two arguments presented by Pro, and, as such, will be presented as a rebuttal. With that in mind, however, I would like to present one argument against a likelihood of an omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipotent God.
I. Problem of Evil
Everybody knows and expects this argument, so I am not going to spend too long explicating it . Essentially, evil exists in the world, in myriad, horrible forms. We see this manifested in genocide, detestable crimes, poverty, starvation, etc. The God that Pro is defending is perfectly good (perfectly moral), but also all-powerful. Thus, in order to act morally, God would have created a world where evil was not present, where destruction is, at the minimum, minimized. However, we see that this has not been the case. We are, then, faced with two options, neither of which supports Pro's side: 1) God does not exist, or 2) He is not in the same conception as Pro has presented (e.g., not omnibenevolent).
To make response to this point simple, I challenge Pro to answer this question: why would a perfectly good, all-powerful God refuse to stop the Holocaust, the killing of (according to the Judeo-Christian tradition) his "chosen people."
That is all I have for independent points for now, as most of my work, as stated earlier, will be in refutation.
I. Argument from Creation ("Creation has a creator")
This argument is, quite clearly, fallacious, but I will first attack the overarching principle.
The universe certainly does have an explanation, and scientists are searching for it everyday. The lack of a currently-known explanation is not an excuse to substitute a "God of the gaps," whereby Pro has created an infinitely complex, unknowable, timeless and spaceless being that cannot be proven or disproven by his very nature. God, in the past, has been used to explain things like the Solar System, natural disasters, disease, etc., until the scientific community was able to dispel these ridiculous notions. We face a similar situation here.
Moving on to the premises given by Pro, I would like to first quibble with P1. While everything in existence does have an explanation, surely, that does not necessarily mean that there is an external creator. For instance, we see that, on the extremely micro scale of quantum physics, that particles do, in fact, sometimes create themselves from a vacuum . If this can occur, then it would seem at least plausible that the energy which matter manifested from to cause the Big Bang could, quite literally, spontaneously appear.
Pro claims that nothing could exist without an explanation; this is certainly true. However, his definition of explanation as an external force goes completely unjustified in his defense.
This premise is absolute nonsense. Firstly, as I previously stated, an external explanation is both 1) not necessary, and 2) not known currently by the scientific community. I will, of course, not be arguing that the universe is somehow changeless. However, the second part of this premise is completely unjustified. One possible explanation, other than God, and actually substantiated by findings from science is the inflationary model's gravity wave/primordial energy conception .
Pro claims that the cause of the universe must have several qualities: necessity, transcendence, and omnipotence. None of these things must be the case, as I will demonstrate.
"The cause must be necessarily existent...[if not] we immediately go into a regress of causes."
It is completely unclear, then, how a God that has no creator makes sense, but a universe/energy/space that has no creator does not. What created God, then?
Moreover, Pro has presented the idea that God is changeless. If this is the case, then why did God decide to disrupt the status quo and create the universe? That, certainly, is a huge change.
"The being must transcend the universe realm"
Something that can do that? Quantum waves, as shown by string theory .
"A being must be extraordinarily powerful"
Why? Simply because the universe exists does not imply that what created it is all-powerful. For instance, my parents created me, but they are certainly not all-powerful over me.
Moreover, this premise is hopelessly circular; a true explanation for a God is not given, only appeals to authority and more circular logic.
Yes, the universe exists. Maybe . We at least perceive that it exists; I might perceive that my imaginary best friend Rufus exists, but does that mean he is real?
Again, the universe certainly has an explanation, at least in the semantic form, but Pro has not justified why this must be an external force in the conception presented. It could have created itself .
Already attacked this in my refutation to P2. This is hopelessly circular and ludicrous, as a commenter on this debate has demonstrated.
This entire argument is incredibly circular and reminiscent of "God of the gaps." Pro will have to do better.
This argument is also comically circular; exactly how Pro can possibly prove the existence of morals, a necessarily intangible concept, is unclear.
Where do morals come from, then? Well, to put it simply, psychology and evolution  . A study  from the University of Iowa has shown that part of the prefrontal cortex is responsible for moral development. The prefrontal cortex developed through natural selection, as man evolved from ape to human, to facilitate growth in collective societies and to ensure competitiveness with larger, faster, stronger creatures. It would be bad for the cohesion of a society for murder or rape to routinely take place; thus, our brains instinctively instruct us to not murder or rape. These instincts have been developed through time as a result of evolution and cultural shifts.
No binding objective morals exist. Morals are a result of natural, necessarily subjective processes. There is a reason that the Aztecs thought that child sacrifice was perfectly acceptable, but we find it abhorrent. Exactly how are morals genuinely binding? I can say, "Wow, it is wrong to lie to your mother," but what, exactly, other than base intuitions, binds this?
Moreover, if God is, indeed, strictly a moral being, then I suppose we can see that, since God has permitted genocide, that genocide is moral.
"We act as if objective morals exist."
See my explanation above as to why we do this.
Thus, we should literally never, ever lie; yet, humans generally lie when circumstances dictate that it would be in their best interests to lie, for instance, if lying would save a family member.
This entire point can be summarized as follows:
Humans often have moral instincts. Therefore, binding morals exist. Therefore, God exists.
I do not think I really need to explicate any further as to why this is ridiculous.
Most of Pro's arguments are incredibly circular and appeals to authority; they generally go, "trust me, the explanation of the universe is God," or "trust me, objective morals exist." Unfortunately, Pro must do significantly more work to meet the BOP of this round.
Thanks, and I look forward to reading Pro's forthcoming arguments.
Con asks me to elaborate on the resolution, and my response would be that 'almost certainly exists' is not a 100% proof claim, but a probablistic claim. I am not looking to say that certainly without a doubt, God exists - rather, I am looking to assert that most probably, God exists.
Argument from evil
Con briefly presents an argument from evil and poses a question. However, such an argument cannot be rationally upheld.
The simple fact is that the notion that genuine, binding evil exists is epistemically inscrutable. We humans, with finite knowledge and finite capacities cannot possibly make the claim that God, in a wider framework, could not have a morally sufficient reason for permitting an instance of evil that leads to a greater good. We are talking subjunctive possibility that humans cannot possibly know; indeed, Plantinga showed that if it is even subjunctively possible that God has a morally sufficient reason for permitting evil, then the POE falls Flat on its feet.  This obvious lack of knowledge makes the claim that evil and God cannot coexist redundant: God could, for all we know, permit evil because it is the most moral course of action available. We simply lack the necessary knowledge to make such a positive claim.
God of the gaps?
Con makes this accusation, but at no point is the argument i presented a God of the gaps argument. If you look at how I set it out, I give reasons as to why a God should be inferred through deductive reasoning; firstly to show that the universe has an external cause and secondly to show that such an external cause has the characteristics of God. I did not argue that there is an unknown cause 'X' and that we know nothing about 'X' but must be God because there is a gap in the scientific knowledge and there no other explanation I can think of - rather, I gave reasons why such a cause 'X' must be God, through deductive reasoning, given the truth value of the established premises.
Con makes two charges against the first premise - firstly that"the PSR doesn't mean that there is an external creator and secondly that quantum events occur without any obvious cause.
But the first charge seems to misunderstand the argument and/or creates a strawman. I did not make such a claim - indeed, the first premise stated that everything has an explanation which is either external to it, or internal to it. And so I agree, when Con states that this 'does not necessarily mean that there is an external cause'; as I explicitly mention that the explanation can also be through an entity's own necessity. Though, I argued the universe cannot be necessary namely due to how it isn't changeless.
The appeal to quantum mechanics is equally as fallacious. Firstly, such an indeterministic interpretation of quantum mechanics, that is required for Con's objection, is one of many - none of which can be known for certain. There are more than 12 interpretations of quantum mechanics . Amoung these, there are multiple deterministic interpretations, like the De Broglie-Bohm interpretation, where Con's objection simply has no force. Furthermore, even if we accept an indeterministic interpretation, we still have to make the jump that the indeterminacy is ontic as opposed to epistemic, and there is no reason to suppose that. Secondly, the quantum events that Con mentions are still in the contex of the quantum vacuum so that without the quantum vacuum, the events could not take place.  they still therefore have an external explanation and P1 still stands.
Can gravitational energy waves take the place of God?
In short, no. The concept in itself is highly speculative and by no means scientifically proven. However, the underlying contention is that such an entity, if exists, would philosophically still be the universe, which is defined as 'all of space-time' . Such a hypothesis has no philosophical relevance to the argument, which is in reference to 'the universe' - of which, the gravitational energy waves discussed would be a part of. Even if it were possible that such an entity could be the explanation of what we commonly refer to as our local universe, philosophically, it would remain to be 'the universe' and is not as such an external cause - it is very much internal.
'What created God?'
This is a nonsensical question. By definition, a necessary entity has no creator - it exists in metaphysical necessity. A universe, energy and space are contingent entities of which, it is metaphysically possible that they be different. So while God, if such a being exists, would be necessary by definition; a universe, energy or space are intrinsically, innately, contingent. Their form, whichever they take, are not necessary and could be different. So the answer lies in the nature of such entities, were they to exist.
Does creation impact on immutability?
It doesnt appear that it does. Put simply, God's nature stays the same. While it is a change in the external environment to God, it is not a change to the nature of God himself. However, it is the nature of God which we are to consider if we are to debate about God's immutability, not the external environment. This is an irrelevant objection.
Are quantum waves truly transcendent?
As it has already been discussed, quantum waves still exist in space-time, and so philosophically, they are not transcendent to the universe.
Con uses the phrase "all-powerful" in relation to creation but I make no such claim - I make the more modest notion of 'hugely powerful'. And I ask, how else is an entity supposed to be the cause of the universe without huge power? It seems highly unlikely that a being with extremely limited power could be the cause of something as great as the universe.
Is God given an explanation?
Con makes the charge that God is given no explanation but this is simply false. I explicitly argue that God's explanation is through the necessity of his own nature.
Con briefly mentions that we may merely perceive the universe's existence rather than the universe genuinely existing - however, it doesn't follow that the universe 'doesn't exist' - it still exists, but in a mentally constructed form. You can compare it to thoughts - which obviously exist, but in a distinct form.
P4 and P5
The rest of Con's contentions are reiterations of already established points which have already been responded to.
Firstly, Con appeals to evolution in explaining away objective morality. However, this commits the .  By stating the origin of phenomena like morality does nothing in discrediting the objectiveness of morality. It could well be that the means by which objective morality came to be was via evolution. In which case, evolution is true and objective morality exists.
An independent argument has to be provided as to why objective morality does not exist. You cannot simply appeal to its origins.
Con's objection seems to totally misunderstand the argument, and is a confusion I explicitly tried to avoid when distinguishing between absolute and objective morals.
When Con states "there is a reason that the Aztecs thought that Child sacrifice was perfectly acceptable, but we find it abhorrent", he is fundamentally confusing epistemic and ontological morality. The argument has no concern with the epistemic side of morality. It is concerned with the ontological status. As such, differing opinions concerning morality are an irrelevance in establishing its objectiveness. To give an example - if half the population believe that the world is flat, and the other half believe it is round, the differing opinion has no impact on the objective nature of the earth's geometry. In other words, the relative nature of morality has no binding on the objectiveness of it.
Con asks what binds morality and my response would be the same laws that bind logical truths - simple necessity.
Con also makes the basic error of bringing the Judeo-Christian God into the debate when he states that "God has permitted genocide". This debate is not concerning the Abrahamic God even in the slightest and as such, the comment is an irrelevance in the context of the debate at hand.
A strawman against the argument is presented, when Con says that it states that "humans often have moral instincts. Therefore, binding morals exist". This is not at all what I argued. Rather, I argue that human moral experience and reasoning of genuinely binding morality proves the objectiveness of morals, as we have a prima facie experience of objective morality that is a properly basic belief and should therefore be assumed correct unless proven otherwise. This is clearly distinct from arguing that moral instincts prove objective morality. Con should therefore reassess his case against my argument that doesn't rely on ridicule.
Back to TruthHurts for the next round
Sorry about the length but there is a lot of material to work through!
Firstly, I would like to make sense of the semantics of this round. I do not really understand how a claim, "almost certainly exists," interpreted as, "most probably exists," has a different burden of proof from, "exists." Pro has set an incredibly high burden of proof, one that cannot possibly be met by arguing for a being that cannot be observed in any way.
Secondly, I would like everyone to look to the bottom of Pro's argument the previous round. Five sources are given; one is an explanation of quantum physics, one is a definition of the genetic fallacy (which Pro improperly applies), and three are from the website ReasonableFaith.org, a website set up by Dr. William Lane Craig, a prominent theist. This is not credible.
Thirdly, every single Pro argument is circular. For instance, the first argument goes something along the lines of, "God exists, and he is unchangeable, because he exists," and the second argument is simply an appeal to authority without any rational argumentation whatsoever. These arguments do not stand up to deeper investigation.
Reconstruction: Argument from Evil
"The simple fact is that the notion that genuine, binding evil exists is epistemically inscrutable."
If binding evil, binding wrong exists, then how, exactly, can binding good exist? How can there possibly be binding morality if there is no binding evil that morality commands us to avoid? Any appeal to God to settle this matter presupposes that God exists in any meaningful way, and is not an explanation for WHY he permits evil.
The simple fact of the matter is that God is not an actor placed into difficult circumstances, faced between the lesser of two evils. God, according to Pro, literally has created the groundrules by which we play and the universe in which we play. He controls literally the entire landscape of the universe. The idea that, somehow, it could feasibly be moral to allow genocide (The Holocaust is not an appeal to Abrahamic God; it certainly DID happen) to occur when God himself created the circumstances in which the genocide occured is laughable. God made the universe, and, thereby, every single rule and action within; he is responsible for everything that goes awry. This conception is not in accord with an omnibenevolent God.
Rebuttal: Creation had a Creator
God of the Gaps
I am quite uncertain that Pro understands what God of the gaps means. God of the gaps is when science, failing to, at the moment, provide a satisfactory answer, is substituted for a very unscientific, unknowable, unfalsifiabled deity. I gave numerous possible explanations, as witnessed in my previous sources  and , and Pro's source  does as well, as to how the universe could have potentially come into being independently. The simple fact of the matter is that science is still working on a conclusive answer; lack of one is not evidence for an infinitely-complex creator.
Con argues that the universe cannot be necessary because it is changeless; yet, I have offered significant evidence that, at the micro level, the laws of Thermodynamics brerak down, that matter can, in fact, create itself (see previous sources). The universe could have brought itself into being through gravity wages or quantum indeterminacy, since the Big Bang was, in fact, borne from micro-level matter [previous source 2, 3].
"Such an indeterministic interpretation of quantum mechanics, that is required for Con's objection, is one of many - none of which can be known for certain."
The idea that there are multiple accounts of quantum mechanics does not disprove my objection; I simply am putting forth the idea that there are other, scientific possibilities, even if they cannot presently be proved. However, by his very nature, God cannot be proven; it is quite amusing that Pro is attacking scientific enquiry because it is not proven.
Finally, again, in my source material, it is stated quite clearly that a quantum vacuum and the universe are different entities entirely. A quantum vacuum is, by necessity, self-existent because it is the absence of anything . The entire argument here is that something can, sometimes, come from nothing.
"The concept in itself is highly speculative and by no means scientifically proven."
Again, the idea that Pro is attacking scientfic enquiry because is has not yet been proven is absolutely comical. Moreover, Pro misunderstands what gravity waves mean: they are in the universe, but they lend evidence to the idea that somehow, energy that spontaneously appeared spontaneously created matter from a quantum vacuum . Again, something CAN come from nothing.
"By definition, a necessary entity has no creator."
This is circular logic at its finest; God does not have a creator because God is defined as having no creator. This is not an
"It is not a change to the nature of God himself..."
How so? God, one day, in the solitude of nothingness that existed before the universe, decided to totally and irrevocably upset the status quo and create a universe? That seems to me to be a huge change in God's modus operandi, which would be a change in God's decision-making, which would be a change in God himself.
Literally, this entire argument boils down to the idea that God does not change or have an explanation because that is just how God is. That is not a logical argument or a deductive proof; that is circular reasoning.
Nothing new here.
Pro's argument is that humans have reasoned out reasonable moral norms, so, therefore, an objective, binding morality exists. This objective morality has some grounding, a God, therefore, according to Pro.
Pro does not understand what I am saying here. I have given a scientifically-accurate account as to how morality came about, which was independent of a God and necessary for the survival of homo sapiens as a species. The grounding of a possible objective morality, which is highly debateable, is natural selection, not God.
"Opinions concerining morality are irrelevant in establishing its objectiveness."
Pro then makes an analogy about the Earth being flat. The difference is that you can prove that the Earth is, in fact, not flat. You cannot possible prove via scientific enquiry that genuine, binding, external morals exist. The entire argument here is that different societies, using the same DNA as us, have determined entirely different moral codes. How, exactly, could an objective morality exist if humans have reasoned such varying conceptions of it? More importantly, where, exactly, do you go to prove that there is an objective morality?
"I argue that human moral experience and reasoning of genuinely binding morality proves the objectiveness of morals...and should therefore be assumed correct unless proven otherwise."
What Pro is saying is merely a dressed-up version of what I have argued Pro is arguing; humans do, in fact, reason out certain moral behaviors. However, these vary wildly and have a grounding in genetics and cultural standards, thereby discrediting the idea of both objective morality and a God to create it.
Also, the idea that I somehow have the burden to disprove morality is comical; Pro is making a positive claim that objective morality exists. Pro, then, has to prove that this is the case, and in no way has this task been accomplished.
Pro has not met the BOP of this round. Pro has not proven anything in this round. Pro does not use logical and rational argumentation in this round. Literally every single argument made is a logical fallacy of some sort, from appeals to authority to circular logic. Pro, somehow, has to make positive proofs that discredit the scientific notions I have set forward, and this Pro cannot do.
Thank you, and I look forward to future argumentation.
My opponant doesn't seem to make sense of the semantics of the debate; however, it just doesn't matter. Either way, we are discussing the validity of the two arguments. If correct, then God exists. If Con sees the probablistic claim to be no different to the empirical claim then fine. It simply does not change what we are discussing in this debate nor does it change the burden of proof, and it would be futile to argue over it.
This seems like a cheap shot by Con. Regardless, his accusation that I used unreliable sources is a false one. Craig is a philosopher. I cite his website because the points I make are philosophical points concerning the problem of evil and agent causality and thusly, I cite a philosopher's viewpoint as a source from his website, just as my opponent cites a scientist's website concerning quantum mechanics. The source is fine and reliable.
"How can there possibly be binding morality if there is no binding evil that morality commands us to avoid"
I never state there is no 'evil', I just state that we cannot know whether in a wide context, 'evil' really is morally abominable as opposed to morally justified.
Is this an explanation why God permits evil?
No. Rather, it is an appeal to not make a judgement concerning evil's comparability with God.
Falling into the same trap
Con just reiterates the same assertions, that God is responsible for everything that goes on in the universe and therefore also for evil, and that evil can't coexist with God. This simply ignores my response. The simple fact is that you cannot make any sort of judgement that because we lack the subjunctive knowledge. We are finite beings with limited mental scope. We have simply got to withhold any sort of judgement because we cannot make any sort of judgement.
A self defeating argument
It should also be noted that it cannot be argued both that evil exists in a genuine, binding sense, but also deny the existence of objective morals. This is because . It seems therefore that Con's argument is counter-intuitive. 
God of the gaps
I'm entirely sure what God of the gaps means. And so I'm equally as sure that the argument is not appealing to such a notion. It appears that in asserting such an accusation, Con ignores all the justification I gave for the cause being necessary, transcendent, powerful, timeless and immaterial and thusly, is equivalent to God. Instead, Con just argues from ignorance, stating that there may, for all we know, be a scientific answer but we don't know what it is. This is hardly a rebuttal to my argument and so needs to give an independent reason as to why the cause cannot be so, which has so far been done.
Science vs philosophy
Con still maintains that 'the universe could have brought itself into being'. However as I have already pointed out, this is , and this seems to go ignored by my opponent. Gravitational quantum waves, even if they were the cause of the universe, are still within space-time and thusly still, philosphically, within the universe. Consequently, no alternate external explanation other than God being presented. Therefore, in the context of the I presented, these quantum events have .
Con states that the different accounts of quantum mechanics is not a relevence. However, the reallty is far from it - which interpretation is taken is vital, as only upon an indeterministic interpretation can the claim that the quantum vacuum can produce matter from 'nothing' have any credability.
Is a quantum vacuum the 'absence of anything'?
Simply, no. It is still ; and for an entity to be genuinely the absence of anything, neither space nor time can be present. It appears that con equivocates on what 'nothing' means. It is not simply the absence of matter and energy - it is the absence of space and time as well; of which, the quantum vacuum does not fulfill the criteria of. 
Necessity, causality and circular reasoning
Con claims that it is circular to argue that a necessary being has no cause. However, this is just mistaken - It is simply extracting a characteristic from a definition, like stating that because someone can run 100m in 9.2 seconds, they are the current world record holder. The fact that they can run in that time already implies the holding of a world record. Equally, The fact that God has no cause is already implicit within his nature. If you really want, we can formulate a syllogism to show the reasoning, if you prefer:
1) Whatever is necessary has no external cause
2) God is necessary
3) Therefore God has no external cause
Does creation affect God's nature?
No. Through creation, God gains no new attributes. A decision is not a new attribute; and as I have already stated, the change is external to God, as creation is ex nihilo as opposed to ex Deo.
Con simply restates his case, and still appeals to the origins of morality as opposed to contesting the morality itself. As I have already stated, by explaining the means by which morality arises achieves absolutely nothing in establishing the ontology of morality. There is nothing about evolutionary theory that implies any particular theory of ethics; if this is rejected, then Con is begging the question, as there is already the presupposition that God did not guide evolution in such a way which could bring about objective morality. For all we know, it could have done. But it's truth value depends soley upon the existence of God, which Con already rejects in his contention. The simple fact is, the origins of morality are simply an irrelevance.
Can we prove objective morals?
Of course we can. But Con is correct when making the assertion that science can't prove such a phenomena. However, that is because ethical truths are out of science's grasps. It is an a posteriori claim that relies on human experience to prove and not the controlling of external variables - that is the precise reason why I appeal to moral experience in support of the second premise.
How can objective morality exist if there are varying opinions on morality?
The simple answer is because even if objective morals exist, that does not imply that all humans agree on them. Indeed, objective morality makes the claim that there exists morals that are true . The 'irrespective of human opinion' is the vital part - there may be some that have varying views on morals, but regardless, are objectively true. Indeed, varying viewpoints are expected under such an ethical theory. But as I have already explained, it has no impact on objectiveness and so is an irrelevance.
Experience vs instinct
There is a distinct difference between moral experience and moral instinct. Moral experience is the internal sense, whereas moral instinct is the external reasoning. I argued for both experience and instinct in affirming objective morality and so Con must respond to both affirmations, not just moral instinct, when objecting to P2, as of yet has failed to do that.
I don't argue that Con has the burden of proof at all. I argue the given that given the context that objective morality is a properly basic belief, and that we at least have a prime facie experience of objectiveness, it is a sufficient enough reason to assume objective morality.
For large parts of the debate, Con resorts to ridicule rather than constructive argument, failing to distinguish between a scientific notion and a philosophical notion and as a result, his objections have little to no force against my arguments. I presented two arguments and neither have been successfully contested - even Con's argument from evil supports my argument for objective morals. It seems therefore that the motion is passed.
Thanks TruthHurts for this great debate and I wish the best of luck to you.
Hello, and thank you for an interesting debate. I will start with an overview, and then I will demonstrate how, along all three arguments discussed in this round, I am conclusively winning.
Right off the bat, I would like to address the clash of this debate. Throughout the round, Pro has made quasi-philosophical claims, while I have responded with both philosophy and science. In wake of the overwhelming doubt these have cast upon Pro's arguments, Pro has resorted to a line of argumentation that, more or less, has become, "Well, you cannot PROVE that God does not act this way/did not behave this way/etc." If these are the lone lines of argument Pro has left to turn to, then it is clear that Pro has not met the burden of proof.
We must also remember that Pro has the exclusive burden of proof of this round. Several times, Pro exhorts me to disprove that God had something to do with morals. It is clear that I cannot do that; rather, Pro has to prove that God alone is the only rational source of morals, the universe, etc. And this burden has not, and probably cannot, be met.
Finally, I would like to, once again, attack Pro's source material. I understand this makes Pro uncomfortable, since these sources have no validity. The point of a source is to substantiate, not simply to restate, a claim. For instance, when I claim that particles can self-create, I cite a source which substantiates this claim via empirical evidence. However, citing a "philosopher" like William Lane Craig, a single-minded, incredibly biased, generally discredited scholar, to substantiate very nebulous philosophical claims, simply will not do. More work needs to be done here in order to have any modicum of credibility.
Problem of Evil
Pro misunderstands my argument. While I cannot, of course, claim that there exist actions that are objectively "evil," there certainly are actions that are incredibly destructive and, on a large scale, abrogate the rights of others. The force of this argument comes from the fact that if God created the Universe in its entirety, he, then, is responsible for what happens within. If he makes all the groundrules that the Universe must play by, and he is completely benevolent, it is absolutely nonsensical that such actions would be tolerated, let alone created, by an all-good God.
Pro's counter is that we cannot possibly know whether evil is actually evil in a wider context of God. Of course, this presupposes that God exists. But, more importantly, this counter has two implications: 1) If evil can be good, then how do we possibly make sense of objective morals, and 2) God is perfectly OK with using the universe as a means to an end, violating Pro's own categorical imperative. Finally, even if these arguments would, somehow, lack force, Pro cannot appeal to lack of knowledge as proof. This is not a proof in any sort, and Pro had to give conclusive proof.
Did Creation Have a Creator?
Pro should probably read his source material more carefully. Pro's second source from the above argument has the following statements:
- "One thing is clear in our framing of questions such as `How did the Universe get started?' is that the Universe was self-creating."
- " Modern physics is perfectly happy with creatio ex nihilo meaning that things began as a zero-energy Universe, negative energy will become dark energy and positive energy will becomes matter, the sum equals zero. This is not a statement on a `cause' behind the origin of the Universe, nor is it a statement on a lack of purpose or destiny. It is simply a statement that the Universe was emergent, that the actual of the Universe probably derived from a indeterminate sea of potentiality that we call the quantum vacuum, whose properties may always remain beyond our understanding."
- "In this sense, the Universe is not filled by the quantum vacuum, rather it is `written on' it, the substratum of all existence. With respect to the origin of the Universe, the quantum vacuum must have been the source of the laws of Nature and the properties that we observe today. How those laws and properties emerge is unknown at this time."
All of these statements, from Pro's own source material, substantiates the claim I have been making this entire debate: the Universe could have created itself.
Pro responds to this overwhelming evidence by saying that the claim that God exists is philosophical, while my claims are scientific and lack force as a result. This response is clearly off-base; if science can, in fact, present a case for something being created from nothing, then such a claim is not philosophically invalid. Moreover, if science, which is empirical and testable, proclaims something opposite of philosophy, which is neither empirical nor testable, then we should clearly defer to what can be seen and what can be tested.
Pro's only other remaining defense here has been that 1) There are many interpretations of quantum physics, and 2) The quantum vacuum is within space-time, and, as such, must have been created. To the first, Pro's own source material substantiates the more widely-accepted indeterminate interpretations, so I take that Pro is conceding this point. Even if the point was not conceded, all I have to do is cast substantial doubt upon the idea that God has created the universe. Multiple interpretations of physics does not preclude this doubt from being cast.
Secondly, Pro's source material substantiates the claim I have made all round: the Universe was written on the quantum vacuum. Space-time started at the beginning of the Universe; thus, the quantum vacuum is, indeed, outside of it. Moreover, even if the quantum vacuum was within space-time, it would be unchanging and, by Pro's own logic, would not need to be created.
Finally, I have argued that creation itself is anathema to an unchanging God. Pro responds by claiming that this is not a new attribute, but does not respond to the claim that such a decision clearly demonstrates a large change of mental calculus, which would be required to disrupt the status quo in such a profound way. Such a change of mindset would, indeed, be a change in God and, therefore, refutes the idea of an unchanging God. Creation being external does not betray this idea.
I have stated a genetic case for moral instinct, claiming, with evidence (which you can read from my earlier arguments), that natural selection and the anatomy of the brain explain basic human moral instince and experience. This account does not need God, and it explains the presence of basic human moral intuitions, though they may differ across cultures and times.
Pro has repeatedly claimed that objective morality can somehow be proven because of a prima facie belief in the objectivity of morals. To do this, Pro has repeatedly claimed a nebulous distinction between moral experience and instinct. It is clear that experience and instinct are inextricably linked, if not the same thing. They are both an innate calculus upon which humans make their decisions.
Pro expects that an experience of objectivity proves objectivity. This is not proof in any way, shape, or form; it is almost comical how flawed logically this is, which I have demonstrated all round. Simply because humans may feel one way does not mean that something exists. An example of this is a soul: many humans strongly feel that each and every being has a soul. However, this does not prove that a soul exists. With absense of any sound philosophical or scientific grounding, it is clear that Pro's claims fall flat.
I have, in addition, provided a strong objection to objective morals: differences in moral standards across the globe. I honestly am not sure what Pro's response has been throughout the round. It appears that Pro is arguing that, even if there are disagreements in morals, but, somewhere, somehow, objective morals still exist. I would like to wonder how this could possibly be the case. If rational humans have arrived at wildly different moral standards, then such a conflict clearly precludes any objectivity beyond begging the question. Pro has done this by begging the question of a God; this is not proof, and I obviously cannot disprove this claim. However, it has no evidence, no grounding, and cannot be upheld.
These different moral standards demonstrate that binding morals cannot exist in any meaningful way; the only possibility of this would be for different humans to have different binding moral codes, which clearly is anathema to a universal moral system and an omnibenevolent God. Human moral experiences and moral instincts vary to such a degree that Pro's claims cannot have any veracity.
Pro has an incredibly high burden of proof to meet, and the bar has not been met. I have shown that the problem of evil casts doubt on an omnibenevolent God, that creation does not need a creator, and that objective morality cannot exist. Pro resorts to begging the question, circular reasoning, and, incredibly, attempting to shift the burden of proof to me, to disprove what cannot be proven or disproven. As a result, Pro has not shown that God "almost certainly" exists and, if my argumentation is found to have force, God probably does not exist, though, of course, that cannot be proven.
Thank you for an interesting, lively, and informative debate, and I urge anyone reading this debate to carefully examine the arguments and vote Con.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Nzrsaa 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro gave the same arguments from ignorance fallacies in another debate where I had to award Pro the points as Con failed to defeat those arguments, but in this case Con came up with the goods and presented a stronger, more rational argument than Pro, thus my vote.
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