The Instigator
geekygator
Con (against)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
JustCallMeTarzan
Pro (for)
Winning
26 Points

God and Science (Specifically Evolution and Big Bang) are Mutually Exclusive

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/12/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,770 times Debate No: 2587
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (11)

 

geekygator

Con

I will argue that God and Science are not mutually exclusive. The two most obvious points of dispute, of course, are Evolution versus Creationism and the Big Bang versus creationism.

It seems today that there is much debate over whether "God is dead" and if evolution or religion is right, as if you may only choose one or the other- a god-fearing ignorant or a brilliant atheist.

This is not true. For instance, Pope John Paul II, former leader of the largest single church in the world, in his 1996 address to the Pontificial Academy of Sciences, stated that

"In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor [Pope] Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, " (1)

confirming that not only, to him and the people of his faith, are God and Evolution not mutually exclusive, but capable of coexistence. Father George Coyne, an astronomer, even stated

"Intelligent design isn't science even though it pretends to be. If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science"

This pattern continues for all science- the Catholic Church does not find any dispute between God and Science, mostly by explaining science as the work of God- when Physicists cannot explain what caused the Big Bang, they turn to God, and when one questions the probability of evolution happening on its own, they similarly draw on divine intervention- but not to the point of promoting "Intelligent Design".

I would further point out the Clergy Letter Project, whose sole purpose is to promote the view that science and religion are two separate and compatible domains. The open letter has been signed by 11,000+ clergy members from around the world.
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

I'll begin by addressing your two issues (Creation and Evolution) and then the slightly larger scope of Faith vs. Science...

As I'm sure you well know, it is impossible to rule out God if you hold that he/she/it can break the laws of nature at will and without leaving evidence of his action. However, this doesn't have much bearing on the content of this argument, because I could also attribute the same actions to a Scrinny or a Glorpthang and there would be no way to prove me wrong. Alternatively, one could hold that God is a natural being with these powers, and there IS some way to see his work, but we don't have the science...

You provide evidence that Christianity has reconciled Faith and Evolution. However, the evidence you provide is simply that of the Church adding god's name to science's conclusion. This is completely uncompelling. If a new scientific theory is posited a decade from now, the Church will once again simply say: "Oh... we were wrong before - THAT's how god works!" How many times must this happen?

"When Physicists cannot explain what caused the Big Bang, they turn to God." This quote of yours is blatantly false. When physicists cannot explain what caused the Big Bang, they go back to their instruments and keep looking.

This addresses the simple attachment of the term "god" to scientific theory in an attempt to reserve credit to a deity. Below, I shall argue why attributing scientific phenomenon like Evolution and the Big Bang to God is inappropriate.

First, we need a working definition of god - we shall call him an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being. We'll call this OP/OS/OB for ssake of simplification...

This being would clearly bring about the best of all possible worlds. Otherwise, he would be creating a defective world. And if he created one on purpose, he wouldn't be omnibenevolent. If he didn't know about the defect or was unable to fix it, he wouldn't be omniscient or omnipotent. The process of evolution brings about organisms better suited to their environment than the organisms before them. Surely, one can see how this is good, both for the organism and the environment. If god is OP/OS/OB then he would know how to create organisms best suited for their environment, as well as a stable environment. To suggest that he used evolution is to suggest that he was incapable of creating a perfect, balanced system with the "finished" forms of organisms, didn't know what this system would look like, or didn't want to create it, even though it represents a much greater good than a savage system ruled by survival of the fittest.

The Big Bang is basically as far back as science can go. If God preceded the Big Bang as an unnatural being, that causes one to ask, "Then where did god come from?" The classical answer is that God always was. Whoop-de-doo. Matter always was, then. There's no way to refute either claim. However, we can see evidence that the Big Band Theory is correct. Adding God to this theory is akin to my saying the glass on the desk in front of me is full of creme soda, but it's not a natural creme soda we can interact with. I'm still going to say the glass is empty.

If one considers God to be a naturally occurring being, then this being must be bound by the laws of the natural world. Thus, either God is an unnatural being, or places where science and religion are in conflict provide evidence of one view being verifiably wrong.

People don't rise from the dead. Religion states that this happened at least 4 times in Jesus' life - Lazarus, the legionnaire's boy, the girl in the funeral, and Jesus himself. This is clearly a violation of natural law.

Matter does not multiply. Religion states that this happened at least once in Jesus's life at the Sermon on the Mount. This is also clearly a violation of natural law.

So we have two possibilities - either the stories are not true, or God is an unnatural being, in which case I present the following argument against God's existence:

1. A Scrinny is an OP/OS entity.
2. A Scrinny is not detectable by science.
3. The Universe and everything in it are the work of the almighty Scrinny.
4. The Scrinny and God cannot co-exist because the Scrinny can tolerate no other gods besides himself.
5. The Scrinny is responsible for all works we attribute to science and can break the laws of nature at will and undetected.
6. Therefore, the Scrinny, which is not omnibenevolent and under no obligation to produce a just universe, is the true deity, and God does not exist.
Debate Round No. 1
geekygator

Con

Your argument is very good and very well thought out, and I thank you for that. However, I will argue that you are making a few basic false assumptions that lead your argument astray.

""Oh... we were wrong before - THAT's how god works!" How many times must this happen?"

And this is just like how science works, is it not? Numerous theories have been put forward, thought to be true, and then new evidence came up and they were refuted or changed- and scientists said the same thing, "Oh, we were wrong before, that's how [insert phenomena here] works!". By the same argument, I could argue that when will science finally get their act together? Further, you imply that religion must be a set of static beliefs that cannot change with further research, meditation, reasoning, and learning. This could not and should not be true- many churches, especially the Catholic church, have changed parts of their beliefs over the years to better suit themselves to their world.

"When Physicists cannot explain what caused the Big Bang, they turn to God." This quote of yours is blatantly false. When physicists cannot explain what caused the Big Bang, they go back to their instruments and keep looking."

You are correct, I meant to say that they can turn to god should they so choose. Further, you assume that all physicists are atheists. In your argument you are assuming that your position is correct.

"First, we need a working definition of god - we shall call him an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being. We'll call this OP/OS/OB for sake of simplification..."

This assumption itself is very flawed. No god must necessarily be by any means OB. The Jewish/Christian/Islamic god of the old testament is by no means in any way benevolent- destroying whole cities, even in essence the entire earth through the legend of Noah's Ark. He is vindictive, cruel, and at times petty. Further, you seem to imply that the only concept of god is the Christian god- for example the gods of ancient Greece were extremely similar to humans in their behavior, experiencing anger, lust, jealousy, and acting in accordingly cruel ways. For all a religious person knows, God may in fact of created the entire world and put all of our troubles here because he was bored. Further, you rule out the mere idea of an alternate reasoning for God's assumed use of evolution- There is no reason to assume that god used evolution because that's the only way he could do it, he could have other intentions- the most obvious would be planting evidence to test his worshiper's faith.

"However, we can see evidence that the Big Band Theory is correct. Adding God to this theory is akin to my saying the glass on the desk in front of me is full of creme soda, but it's not a natural creme soda we can interact with. I'm still going to say the glass is empty."

Again, you assume that you are correct in your argument- although it is not necessarily *correct* to simply add god to whatever scientific findings may come up, it does provide a way for science and religion to coexist- one can in fact believe that God made the big bang for whatever reason he wishes to, and end up simultaneously believing in God and the big bang.

"The Big Bang is basically as far back as science can go. If God preceded the Big Bang as an unnatural being, that causes one to ask, "Then where did god come from?" The classical answer is that God always was. Whoop-de-doo. Matter always was, then. There's no way to refute either claim."

There is not a way to refute either claim- and that is the point. Science cannot (at this time) say what caused the big bang, can it? No. Nor can it say where said big bang came from. Similarly, the religious cannot answer for god. You are holding religion to answer for a question that science cannot answer its version of either. Is this not similar to me saying that everything you have ever said is wrong because you do not know the place of birth of your great great great great grandmother, even though I do not know the same thing for me?

"People don't rise from the dead. Religion states that this happened at least 4 times in Jesus' life - Lazarus, the legionnaire's boy, the girl in the funeral, and Jesus himself. This is clearly a violation of natural law."

You make the assumption here that the only way to view religion is absolutely literally. Is religion not allowed to make use of parables and exaggerate stories somewhat to make a point? Considering that one of the main purposes of religion is to tell people how to live as a good person, this is acceptable. You assume the only way to take the bible is literally, that the bible in fact is supposed to be interpreted literally (this is argued between different religious sects). Both of these are false.

I would also like to remind you of what this debate is- it is whether God and Religion are Mutually Exclusive. Hence, is it possible for someone to simultaneously believe in religion and science?

I have proven that all of your arguments, which are excellent, are based on flawed assumptions and are hence invalid. I eagerly await your reply.
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

>> ""Oh, we were wrong before, that's how [insert phenomena here] works!". By the same argument, I could argue that when will science finally get their act together?"

There's a difference between attributing a phenomenon to God and to Science. The difference is that science has done the research on these phenomena and come up with a valid explanation. Consider things like astronomical phenomena. For centuries, the Church was the authority on the model of the universe. They put Galileo on trial and ruined him at age 70 because he didn't agree with their model. Centuries later, we have a fairly significant "Holy Oops" and the Church now recognizes a Heliocentric model. The point is that science does the work and provides results and data - scientists don't put people on trial because they disagree with data - primarily because there aren't many scientists that DO disagree with data. Religion provides no data. It's not that religion is claiming that now they know how phenomena works, it's that they're changing their opinion on how god did something. When science and religion disagreed over evolution, suddenly Creationism and the Book of Genesis were metaphors, and science was simply more revelation from god...

>> "Further, you imply that religion must be a set of static beliefs that cannot change with further research, meditation, reasoning, and learning."

That is not what I intend to imply - I mean that religion has consistently meditated, researched, learned, etc... to help itself agree with science. Not because they believe there's a fundamental need for change or that the previous methods were wrong. I would imagine you'll try to introduce Vatican II here, but I'll head that off by saying it's a response to changes in social science and political climate...

>> "I meant to say that they can turn to god should they so choose. Further, you assume that all physicists are atheists. In your argument you are assuming that your position is correct."

Yes, a physicist could turn to god if he or she should choose. I do not assume all physicists are atheists - I actually have a physics professor who is not atheist. What I assume is that, like all other scientists, physicists are going to go back to their instruments, and even if they can't find what's really going on, they will admit we don't have the appropriate scientific instruments to investigate the phenomenon before even THINKING about attributing science to god.

>> "This assumption itself is very flawed. No god must necessarily be by any means OB. The Jewish/Christian/Islamic god of the old testament is by no means in any way benevolent- destroying whole cities, even in essence the entire earth through the legend of Noah's Ark. He is vindictive, cruel, and at times petty."

Doesn't the New Testament say the same god is loving, good, kind, gentle, etc...? Seems to me that indicates that this god IS indeed omnibenevolent, or he was after Jesus' time. I thought the lord was "kind and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness."

The appeal to us discussing further gods is kind of pointless in my opinion. The OP/OS/OB god is nondenominational. We can sacrifice some of the characteristics, like OB, as you suggest, but then what makes that deity deserving of worship? Why should we respect a god who's not fundamentally GOOD? For that matter, if you sacrifice a good intent, we may as well worship Satan.

>> "There is no reason to assume that god used evolution because that's the only way he could do it, he could have other intentions- the most obvious would be planting evidence to test his worshiper's faith."

There are actually a couple implications if we consider evolution the way god created the world. First, this seems to indicate a lack of distinct plan on god's part. If he had a plan, he would have just created everything according to his original plan... Second, using evolution and planting evidence to test his followers indicates that god isn't very intelligent. If he is undetectable by science, dubious at best to reason, and doesn't show up in verifiable test results, why on earth would he not have given concrete evidence of his existence and try to lead us astray? Furthermore, that's indication of intent to deceive, and I refuse to worship a deity who seeks to deceive me.

>> "Although it is not necessarily *correct* to simply add god to whatever scientific findings may come up, it does provide a way for science and religion to coexist"

How convenient and uncompelling.

>> "You are holding religion to answer for a question that science cannot answer its version of either. Is this not similar to me saying that everything you have ever said is wrong because you do not know the place of birth of your great great great great grandmother, even though I do not know the same thing for me?"

Ah... an interesting analogy, but I believe it is incorrect. I hold that religion cannot answer the same question as science, namely, "What was the First Cause?" There is a distinct and truthful answer to this question. However, since there is no ACCESS to that truth, neither side has any business making claims about the First Cause. However, science provides me with data, results, and predictions, whereas religion does not. Therefore, I think the analogy is closer to me saying your account of your genealogy back 10 generations is inferior to mine, when I have papers, photos, birth certificates, etc... going back on my side, and you have none.

>> "You make the assumption here that the only way to view religion is absolutely literally. Is religion not allowed to make use of parables and exaggerate stories somewhat to make a point? Considering that one of the main purposes of religion is to tell people how to live as a good person, this is acceptable."

I believe my lack of argument concerning literal creationism indicates I believe nothing of this sort. I ask which parts of the bible are literal and which are metaphorical? Is resurrection from the dead a metaphor? What about the multiplication of the fish and loaves? What about "This is my body..." ?? Basic morality, which has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with social contract and biology (which have been around a lot longer than religion...), will teach you how to be a good person without taking 1/10 of your money.

Your debate topic is a tautology, and therefore logically flawed. However, I will look past that and assume you mean as you said that belief in religion and science is incompatible. A Priori, this is technically correct. A posteriori, this cannot be. When science has put a verified solution before us for something, it is illogical to attribute the cause to a deity, when the much more logical solution is natural.

>> "I have proven that all of your arguments, which are excellent, are based on flawed assumptions and are hence invalid. I eagerly await your reply."

You have not in fact proven all my arguments are based on flawed assumptions. I made no LOGICAL assumptions - only the same qualitative assumptions you are making in support of your side of the argument. Qualitative assumptions MUST be made to actually form an argument. Where I see us disagreeing on a common ground in qualitative assumption, you are attacking mine as flawed without inspecting your own.

I find it interesting that you had nothing to say about my Scrinny. I think I'll worship him. Or the FSM, may you be touched by his noodly appendage ;) I eagerly await your reply.
Debate Round No. 2
geekygator

Con

"scientists don't put people on trial because they disagree with data -"

Not true, exhibit A being Bjorn Lomborg and his "Skeptical Environmentalist"- put on trial by the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty, and then found to not be in the wrong in any way by the Danish Government's Investigation.

"Why should we respect a god who's not fundamentally GOOD?"

Because, by being OP/OS, He'll smite the hell out of you if you don't *wink*. That's the whole point of them being a God- the idea is you don't actually get a choice.

"Doesn't the New Testament say the same god is loving, good, kind, gentle, etc...? Seems to me that indicates that this god IS indeed omnibenevolent, or he was after Jesus' time. I thought the lord was "kind and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness.""

Well... its an interesting question, and one beyond this debate, I think. From my relatively limited religious studies, it seems that he tends to be "kind and merciful ..." if you essentially do what you are supposed to do, but isn't afraid to whip out the big guns so to speak, and did so often in the old testament.

"That is not what I intend to imply - I mean that religion has consistently meditated, researched, learned, etc... to help itself agree with science. Not because they believe there's a fundamental need for change or that the previous methods were wrong."

I don't see your point. Isn't a new discovery in the world of science a fundamental reason to re-examine your outlook on the world and your understanding of it, including religion?

---

Now, however, I will challenge your qualitative assumptions- my trump card, of sorts.

---

"If he is ***undetectable by science***, dubious at best to reason, ***and doesn't show up in verifiable test results***, why on earth would he not have given concrete evidence of his existence and try to lead us astray?"

Those two highlighted sections, fine sir, are where you are wrong. You assume that God is not detectable by science and does not show up in tests- while the proof is moderate, this is not true.

I present to you an excerpt from the British Royal College of Psychiatry's report on Spirituality and Mental Health- the British Royal College not being religiously affiliated in any way:

"In the past decade or so, researchers across a wide range of disciplines have started to explore and *acknowledge* the *positive contribution* spirituality can make to health" (1) (the *s were added by me)

Now, I readily admit that the link is very weak- but it is definitely there. If god does not exist or cannot be detected, why do various studies show that religion contributes positively to mental health? I'm not going to say that this proves God's existence, but religion (and hence God) does have an effect on people's health- hence, it would not be unreasonable to venture that Evolution is indeed part of God's grand plan, so to speak.

"If he had a plan, he would have just created everything according to his original plan"

And if this *is* his original plan? I am not saying it is, but it is an option you must leave open to those torn between religion and science.

"Basic morality, which has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with social contract and biology (which have been around a lot longer than religion...), will teach you how to be a good person without taking 1/10 of your money."

If this is true, then why do concepts of what is right vary so widely from place to place? Humans all have very very similar biology, and social contract stems from culture, of which religion is a very big part. If basic morality stems only from biology, why did Herodotus write of the Persian King Darius concluding that morals differed widely among people by asking a Greek and an Indian about whether they would eat or burn their dead, respectively? You cannot argue that religion plays no part in morality.

Since this is my last response, I must say it has been a pleasure debating with you.

References:
1.http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk...
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

>> "Not true, exhibit A being Bjorn Lomborg and his "Skeptical Environmentalist"- put on trial by the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty, and then found to not be in the wrong in any way by the Danish Government's Investigation."

Ah - a singular example. I'm sure there are more examples, but they are isolated incidents. The Church repeatedly put people on trial... There's quite a difference between isolated instances from what may or may not be a legitimate body (The DCoSD) and a large world religion (bordering on government at some times...).

>> "I don't see your point. Isn't a new discovery in the world of science a fundamental reason to re-examine your outlook on the world and your understanding of it, including religion?"

We keep coming back to this... Scientific discovery follows a precise method with verifiable results. Religious "method" does not. Thus, I am utterly and completely unimpressed when a religion claims to have attained the same results as science AFTER science has made these results known.

>> ""If he is ***undetectable by science***, dubious at best to reason, ***and doesn't show up in verifiable test results***, why on earth would he not have given concrete evidence of his existence and try to lead us astray?" Those two highlighted sections, fine sir, are where you are wrong. You assume that God is not detectable by science and does not show up in tests- while the proof is moderate, this is not true."

The only thing barring it from being true is the absence of "current" in front of science and verifiable. This nonsense about god being detectable by science is bogus, as I will demonstrate below.

There is considerable evidence that prayer induces a placebo effect. The only time prayer improves mental health is when people KNOW they're being prayed for or are actually doing the praying themselves. There was an extensive article about a year ago in Popular Science about this. About 5 mins on google turned up the following links: (http://www.slate.com...) (http://www.brainonfire.net...). Both indicate that prayer has a placebo effect in health care.

I would tend to think the absence of any sort of correlation here is evidence AGAINST god's existence. Although absence of proof is not proof of absence, absence of proof IS proof of reasonable doubt.

>> "And if this *is* his original plan? I am not saying it is, but it is an option you must leave open to those torn between religion and science."

That's a flawed argument too... were we in ANY other situation, the immediate response would also be "what if this IS his original plan?" Introducing our current state as the original plan makes no sense because it would hold that for us to exist, we must be in the original plan, thus, any existence (of us) is consistent with the original plan.

>> "If this is true, then why do concepts of what is right vary so widely from place to place? Humans all have very very similar biology, and social contract stems from culture, of which religion is a very big part. If basic morality stems only from biology, why did Herodotus write of the Persian King Darius concluding that morals differed widely among people by asking a Greek and an Indian about whether they would eat or burn their dead, respectively? You cannot argue that religion plays no part in morality."

Basic morality was developed long before religion. You can see basic moral behavior in the higher chimps. They understand mortality and concepts like assassination, and thus live in a primitive society where their actions are governed by what is best for the whole and what keeps them alive.

Like the chimps, humans have been practicing morality much longer than religion. We don't kill other cavemen so other cavemen don't kill us. Not because god said "Thou shalt not kill." That's very basic social contract. Biological factors like the drive to guard females and offspring indicate a morality that is hard wired into our biology...

Religion has simply taken what we already practice and attributed it to a deity. It's pretty simple. The reason it's different in different areas of the world is that religion has been around a LONG time and changed the social climate of these parts of the world. Religion plays a part in the current idea of morality, but not the fundamental construct of morality.

************************************

I must say this debate has been a pleasure to me as well. I think it could have benefited from a less tautological topic title, but I think we both just kind of ignored the topic and started debating religion vs. science. All in all, one of my more enjoyable debates.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by eyeleapy 9 years ago
eyeleapy
I may take you on this debate. Mainly because you can show you know how to debate. I really admire your battle this match. You've provin to be a great debater, unlike other wierdo members on this site.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 9 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
actually, I could probably type faster with a three manual (3-keyboard) organ than with a keyboard, and I type like 70 wpm normally...

rob - we should have a philosophical debate sometime... I think it would be interesting, but for the life of me, I can't think of a really good topic.

@ eyeleapy.. I would argue that the church attaching itself to science when science presents proof of something is evidence that the fundamental sources of knowledge for science and religion are incompatible...
Posted by eyeleapy 9 years ago
eyeleapy
LOL great 1 ROB, funny stuff, funny stuff
Posted by Rob1Billion 9 years ago
Rob1Billion
so when you type you are actually thinking about playing piano? Perhaps you could arrange your piano keys with letters on them and type that way...
Posted by eyeleapy 9 years ago
eyeleapy
Sorry Tarzan, but i think I'm going to have to agree with Geekygator on this one. Also if they did prove evolution as a fact, then all churches in the world would state that God created Evolution. They say it not now, but if it was proven then that's what'll happen. Many years ago it was against the church if you said the Planets revolved around the sun until the great astronomer Galileo proved it to be otherwise.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 9 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Oh rob... ever the source of wit and charm. We should have another debate soon...

Big Band is what happens when your brain misfires and you type a word with the wrong finger because you learned to play piano, not type, and you use your own unique method...
Posted by Rob1Billion 9 years ago
Rob1Billion
Tarzan, what is this "big band" theory you speak of anyway?
Posted by eyeleapy 9 years ago
eyeleapy
I'm on watch! :) and since i can't post this i am writing a bit more info, Deftones Rule! WOOOOO
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Vote Placed by brittwaller 9 years ago
brittwaller
geekygatorJustCallMeTarzanTied
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