I accept. Best of luck. I’ll be testing out a few new arguments of mine in this debate. Note that I am in a Devil’s advocate position; thus, I myself am an atheist arguing for God’s existence. I’ll present the negative constructive in R1 since Aff has as well.
Unlike Pro’s assertion, I don’t have to demonstrate God’s existence “with certainty”, since the resolution doesn’t imply as such and it wasn’t a rule/stipulation, only an argument. Therefore, if I’m able to demonstrate inductively that God exists, via. a statement of “God probably exists”, I can resoundingly negate the resolved.
For further clarification, let me define the terms. For the purpose of this debate, I define God as the “singular transcendent mind that grounds reality and caused the universe”, which basically illustrates an intelligent God that is the “creator and ruler of the universe” (Google: “define God”). Thus, I shall be using this definition for the debate. The definition is according to standard envisioning of “God”, and can’t be objected to since Pro “denies the existence of any God”.
“Exist” is to “have objective reality or being”, according to the Oxford Dictionary.
My structure will follow this format:
- 1. There is a mind which grounds reality.
- 2. The universe was caused by a mind.
- 3. These minds may either be different or the same (null hypothesis).
- 4. If they are different, there are 2 minds that ground reality.
- 5. Occam’s razor implies that among a set of equally likely explanations, the one with least assumptions is a priori most likely.
- 6. Therefore, a single transcendent mind that grounds reality and caused the universe exists.
I will not attempt to demonstrate these premises individually, but shall defend them in the form of independent contentions.
For the first contention, I shall attempt to demonstrate inductively that a mind grounds reality, thus there is some intelligent force that reality depends on. Basically, this is an ontological argument to demonstrate monistic idealism.
Existence of the Mind
The mind exists. Doubting the mind’s existence is a contradiction, and the basic essence of Descartesian ontology demonstrates that the mind exists. The following axiom of Descartesian ontology entails: “Cogito ergo sum.” 
Minds are “Mental”
This proposition is to demonstrate that the concept of a “mind” that exists objectively is independent of physical reality. If mind is matter, it would entail that solipsism, in any form, is impossible. Metaphysical solipsism is the position that a physical reality does not exist, and only the mind exists . If the mind itself would be physical, then even if only a mind exists, a physical reality would exist nonetheless, thus a mind being physical would entail that solipsism is impossible.
If solipsism is possible, then it exists in at least one possible world. The question entails--does at least one possible world follow a metaphysical ontology of solipsism? There are good reasons to believe this. Solipsism is logically possible, i.e. it entails no logical contradictions, thus is not prima facie impossible, and it is also conceivable.
For something x to be a metaphysical impossibility, it would have to not be conceivable, e.g. one is unable to conceive of a square triangle, thus that is logically impossible. This picture I borrowed from zmikecuber perfectly illustrates the forms of ‘possibility’.
Since metaphysical solipsism is logically coherent, it exists in at least one possible world, entailing that minds are not physical. Leibniz’s law illustrates that a mind would have to be “mental” .
Leibniz’s law is structured thus: There is an object x that has properties a, b, and c, and no more properties. Let n be the combination of the properties a, b, and c. Therefore, it entails that x possesses n, and nothing else, thus x possesses n + 0. Similarly, there is an object y that possesses n + 0, which would entail that x and y have the same properties sans differences, thus are the same.
In application, something “mental” relates to properties that a mind possesses and nothing else, and vice versa, thus Leibniz’s law entails that mind is mental.
Cartesian dualism entails that the mind cannot interact with reality, and there are two separate worlds: the “mental” world and the “real” world . If the mind interacts with reality, substance dualism is probably false. It’s obvious that there is some form of interaction that the mind interacts with reality, in that I can make decisions to perform an action in the physical world--the mind makes the decision, and my physiology performs the action. For example, I wish to drink a cup of water--and I just did, which influenced the physical world. Thus, substance dualism is false.
But one could always move to property dualism, i.e. the idea that the mind isn’t a separate substance, rather merely an aspect of the brain , A.K.A. a position of epiphenomenalism. Epiphenomenalism would tell us mental events didn’t cause anything and the process of this reasoning is just an illusion created by our physical brains. This is an ad hoc hypothesis, and should be dismissed via. Occam’s razor as unlikely. Epiphenomenalism would eventually lead to causal overdetermination.
Idealism has explanatory power
Abduction via. explanatory power and Occam’s razor would entail that an ontology of monistic idealism is probably true. Dualism assumes two separate substances, two critical assumptions not made by idealism, thus parsimony, which posits that an explanation with lesser assumptions is a priori most likely, entails monistic idealism as likely rationally.
Science is perfectly compatible with idealism, especially since the idealistic ontology makes accurate a priori predictions of how the mind exists a priori explanations of how the mind exists, e.g. via. Chalmer’s Hard Problem . A position of theism is the best explanation to monistic idealism.
According to the fine-tuned universe hypothesis, the universe is “finely tuned” for the existence of life, viz. the idea that various “constants” (e.g. the proton-electron mass ratio) are perfectly tuned such that if they were any different, life couldn’t have originated .
Probabilistic reasoning entails that the fine-tuning likely originated via. intelligent design, since there are three acknowledged possibilities as to how such fine-tuning could have occurred:
- 1. Chance
- 2. Necessity
- 3. Design
Chance creating the universe would be highly improbable. According to astrophysicist Hugh Ross, the probability of the universe being caused by chance would be 1:1037 .
Necessity creating the universe is equally improbable, since for something to remain coherently “necessary”, it would have to be true in all possible worlds, but there is no metaphysical or logical contradiction with there being other possible tuning of the cosmological constants.
Thus, intelligent design entails, meaning there is an intelligent cause of the universe.
Law of Causality
The “Law of Causality” implies that everything that begins existing has a cause of its existence--since the universe began to exist (according to BGV theorem and the Big Bang theory), it would have a cause. A simple ontological analysis of the properties of this cause would entail that the cause is, sans the universe, timeless and spaceless.
For something to be conceived of as “timeless” and “spaceless”, it would either be (1) an abstract concept, or (2) a mind. Since abstract concepts can’t influence reality, it’s logical to entail that a mind caused the universe.
The question entails - how do these arguments inductively or deductively justify the statement “God exists”? The first argument from monistic idealism showed that there is a mind that grounds reality, while the Law of Causality and the Fine-Tuned Universe entail a universe that was caused by an intelligent being.
One might argue that this entails two entities with the properties, not one, but that is untrue via. Law of Parsimony, which posits that among a set of competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with least number of assumptions is a priori most likely.
The arguments entail that there is/are either: (1) one intelligent, transcendent entity, or (2) multiple intelligent, transcendent entities. Since these entities have only non-empirical, logical possibility, Occam’s razor would entail (1) to be a priori more likely than (2), thus I have inductively affirmed that God probably exists.
I await your response, Pro.
1. Rene Descartes (1644). Principia Philosophiae.
7. See video.
8. Stephen Hawking. A Brief History of Time, p 125.
9. Hugh Ross. The Creator and the Cosmos, p 115.