The Instigator
Moelogy
Pro (for)
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0 Points
The Contender
Surgeon
Con (against)
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God exists (pro) vs God does not exist (con)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/23/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,142 times Debate No: 103281
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (17)
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Moelogy

Pro

I will be arguing in this debate that the case for God is extensive and is most often underrated. I will be using science, philosophy and logic to form the foundations for my arguments for God. I am a Theist and my opponent should most likely be an atheist who denies the existence of God.

Definitions :

Universe - all of space, matter, time and energy

God - The necessary, uncaused, omnimaximal, timeless, spaceless being.

Exists - to have an objective being or existence.

Rules :

-no trolling
-no forfeits
-no semantics (tweaking definitions of the dictionary)

Rounds :

Round one - acceptance
R2) arguments
R3) Rebuttals + arguments
R4) Rebuttals
R5) Rebuttals

BOP : Burden of proof will be shared. The opponent (who is most likely an atheist) will have to demonstrate that God does not exist. Since claiming that the natural reality is all that exists and that there is no supernatural reality is a claim. Whoever claims that God does not exist is making a negative claim and therefore should prove it. Proving a negative claim is possible because you can prove that there are no muslims in the U.S. senate, there are no dinosaurs on the face of the Earth, the sun does not orbit the Earth. all of those were negative claims that should and could be proven. The most logical position taken if you reject the claim that there is a God would be an agnostic, who claims that he simply does not know since you would still have no evidence for/against either sides. No arguments against religion shall be made since you could disprove all religions and you still would not undermine or even address the reliability of God.
Surgeon

Con

Debate accepted.
Debate Round No. 1
Moelogy

Pro

Contention 1: argument from contingency

Premise 1 : Everything that exists has an explanation for its existence, whether in the necessity of its existence (necessary) or in an external explanation (contingency).

Premise 2 : If the universe has an explanation, it would be an external explanation due to the contingency of the universe

Premise 3 : The universe exists

C1) The universe has an explanation for its existence (from P1 and P3)

C2) The universe's explanation is grounded in a necessary cause due to its contingency (from P2 and P3)

For this argument to stand, I would have to defend its three premises since the conclusions logically follow from the premises. However, I really do not have to defend premise 3 since denying it would reveal you are not seeking the truth.

Premise 1 defended :

Science )

To reject that everything has an explanation would be to undermine the foundations of science that entail curiosity and finding an explanation for everything. The law of cause and effect perfectly embodies this principle. The law of cause and effect bluntly states that every effect has an explanation in an external cause. This is of course assuming that the object is contingent. However, science agrees that abstract objects like numbers do not really have an explanation and they just are which means that abstract objects are necessary. This is a demonstration by science that everything has its own explanation whether in an external cause (law of cause and effect) or in the necessity of their nature (numbers).

Logic and philosophy )

Premise 2 defended :

Principle of sufficient reasoning (PSR): a well-accepted principle among ancient and contemporary philosophers alike is that everything has an explanation, cause or reason. To illustrate this, I will provide a scenario.

Imagine that you were hiking with a group of friends through the woods and you stumbled across a ball, You would intuitively wonder how it got there? You wonder to yourself why is this ball here? Did a kid throw it here? Did a previous hiker accidentally drop it? You definitely would not just waive it off as being necessary and it must exist there and its explanation is grounded in the necessity of its nature. You would intuitively assume that it must have had a cause or an explanation for being there. This scenario would not change based on the size of the ball or multiplying it by incomprehensible folds to the size of the universe

Premise 2 defended :

It is commonly held that the universe is contingent for two reasons: it had a beginning and it is changeable.

Background : a necessary entity is that which accounts for its own existence. In order to account for your own existence, you would have to be independent of others who will not change you or influence you at any time. Therefore you and your explanation would have to be eternal (no time for anything before it to explain your existence) and mute (no influence from others). a non-necessary entity by contrast is not eternal, had a beginning and can be changed and is contingent. a non-necessary contingent entity does not have an explanation in its own existence and therefore reuires an external explanation. [1]

The universe is changeable and is not eternal, and is therefore contingent and reuires an external explanation. I will demonstrate so using science, philosophy and logic.

Science )

On change : The universe changes all the time. Some stars are born, some die, some explode. Energy is transformed from other forms to heat. The second law of thermodynamics acknowledges this change and states that entropy tends to increase overtime in a close system. If the choas and disorder increases in a system, this is an illustration of change. If the universe changes, it does not have to be that way as in the preceding state, therefore it is contingent and does not have to be "one way" like numbers.

On the beginning : Scientists believe that the universe popped into existence and started expanding fourteen billion years ago. This is confirmed by the big bang theory which in its classical [2] states that the universe had a start.

Secondly, there is empirical evidence that the universe began expanding such as the CMBR and the redshift of galaxies. The BGV theorem entails that *any* universe that had been expanding over its history has had a space-time beginning (even if there is a multiverse).

Moreover, the second law of thermodynamics reveals that the universe can not be eternal because had that been the case, we would have no usable energy by now and the only available form of energy would be only heat.

If the universe had a beginning, it is not a necessary entity because its explanation does not exist within it and had to rely on something else to account for its beginning (an external explanation)

Logic)

On change : Logically, just looking around things change. Trees die, animals are born, Ice and snow in the poles melts. If the universe has an explanation grounded in its necessity, it should be mute like numbers and other necessary entities , there should be no reason why it changes.

On beginning : There is tons of empirical and definitive evidence that the big bang happened. However, assuming that the singularity prior to the big bang was past-eternal raises a few questions. If the singularity of the big bang is past-eternal, then it would have to undergo an infinite past sequence of events (due to being forever in the past) before getting to the big bang meaning that the singularity would never get to the rapid expansion of the big bang due to being eternally stuck in past infinity before getting to the big bang (infinite regress).

Implications : The argument establishes that the universe has an external explanation. If the universe has an external explanation, that explanation is beyond the universe and nature and is therefore transcendent (external to the universe) and supernatural (outside nature). The cause must be necessary to avoid ad infinitum or infinite regress of external explanations. The cause must be outside the dimensions of the unvierse since it is external to it and existed before it to create the universe and therefore spaceless, timeless, immaterial, non-physical. The uncaused, necessary, timeless, supernatural and transcendent cause of the universe fits perfectly with God.

Contention 2 : Kalam argument

Premise 1 : Whatever begins to exist has a cause
P2: the universe began to exist
Conclusion : The universe has a cause

Premise one stands )

Outline : This premise does not state that everything has a cause so therefore the universe has one. It states that everything that begins to exist has a cause because it is ridiculous that things can just pop into existence uncaused.

Science : The law of cause and effect is the cornerstone behind this premise. The law precisely states that every effect has a cause and no effect can merely just pop into existence out of nothing without a cause.

Logic : Logic would demonstrate that whatever begins to exist must have a cause because it is impossible and ridiculous for things to begin to exist without a cause. How do we know this? It has never been observed that things can just pop into existence (or begin to exist) without a cause. It is impossible and ridicolous if anyone denies this premise and indirectly implies that bikes, ice cream, cars, houses can just merely pop into existence from nothing and by nothing.

Premise 2)

Science :

a) empirical evidence for expansion (CMBR, Redshift of galaxies) + BGV theorem (any expanding universe has a beginning even if in a multiverse and if the universe was contracting before expanding, that universe is too unstable to exist)

b) The big bang theory, the most accepted that states there is a beginning to the universe fourteen billion years ago. (refer to previous diagram)

c) Second law of thermodynamics - Usable energy turns to heat and atoms become disordered overtime. If the universe is eternal, there would be no usable energy and only heat by now since all of the usable energy would turn to heat. However, there is usable energy therefore the universe is not eternal and had a beginning.

d) Singularity and infinite sequence of events. If the singularity of the big bang or the universe is past-eternal, then it would have to undergo an infinite past sequence of events before getting to the big bang meaning that the singularity would never get to the rapid expansion of the big bang due to being eternally stuck in past infinity before getting to the big bang (infinite regress).

Implications : Now all we have proven is that there is a cause. The cause would have to be outside of the universe and all of nature inside the universe therefore must be transcendent (outside universe) and supernatural (outside nature). The cause must be outside of the dimensions of the universe because it existed independently before the universe to create it and the cause must be therefore timeless, spaceless, immaterial, non-physical. It must also be personal because it acts upon the volition of free will and decided to create the universe fourteen billion years ago rather than 2 billion years ago or 20,000 years ago or 5 minutes ago. Therefore it must have free will and be a personal being. The cause must be uncaused or created by something uncaused to steer away from the logical fallacy of infinite regress. This is the exact definition of God. You will have to turn to the supernatural since using nature and natural laws to account for the existence of the unvierse would be a catch 22. You would need natural processes to create the universe but you would need the universe for nature to even exist.

Possible objections :

Fallacy of composition :

"Premise one" = the first premise is not saying that everything (parts) has a cause so the universe (whole). The first premise is declaring that whatever starts to exist must logically have a cause and can not just pop into existence uncaused
Surgeon

Con

Thanks and good luck Pro. During this Round it is my responsibility to present the case that the Theistic concept of God does not exist. I will present 5 arguments.

1) Argument from the meaninglessness of the God-concept

"What then, brethren, shall we say of God? For if thou hast been able to understand what thou wouldest say, it is not God. If thou hast been able to comprehend it, thou hast comprehended something else instead of God. If thou hast been able to comprehend him as thou thinkest, by so thinking thou hast deceived thyself. This then is not God, if thou hast comprehended it; but if this be God, thou has not comprehended it."
-St. Augustine

When the Atheist asks the Theist: "What is God?". We can determine whether or not Theists can answer such a question. In turn this enables us to reach a conclusion about the meaning of religious discourse. Put simply if they cannot meet this burden, then the God-concept is meaningless and can be rejected out-of-hand. Argument (adapted from a formulation by Francois Tremblay):

1. There are three attributes of existents:
A.Primary Attributes (fundamental character)
B.Secondary Attributes (character which can be enacted by virtue of A.)
C.Relational Attributes (ability to interact with other existants by virtue of A. and B.)
2. B. as well as C. are dependent upon and must be related to A in order to be meaningful.
3. The concept "God" lacks a positively identified A.
4. Because of this, the concept "God" holds no justified A., B., or C.
5. However, an attribute-less term (a term lacking A., B., and C) is meaningless.
6. Therefore, the concept "God" is meaningless.
7. Therefore, the God-concept is invalid and it refers to no actual thing in existence.

To quote George Smith: " To say that an 'unie' possesses wisdom in proportion to its nature while stipulating that such wisdom is different in kind from man's wisdom and that the nature of an 'unie' is unknowable and contributes nothing to our understanding of an 'unie' or to the meaning of the attributes when applied to an 'unie'."

It is the conclusion of this argument that if the Theist cannot identify the primary attributes of a god, that all resulting religious discourse is meaningless god-talk. I will borrow an analogy from a fellow Atheist (apologies the name alludes me). One can ask of believers in the Yellow Quantum Whisperer (YQW): "what is a Yellow Quantum Whisperer?". The response maybe "it is yellow, lives at the quantum level, whispers and is responsible for quantum superposition". Now the non-believer points out that this makes no sense. The concept of whispering requires existence, at least above an atomic level for sound to reverberate through a medium (such as air). The concept of being yellow requires existence, at least the level above the quantum level to distinguish the qualities of light waves. But furthermore we can also point out that, even if these were not impossible characteristics, it doesn't actually tell us what a YQW actually is. If the YQW believer now states that "well the YQW is invisible and sub-atomic", all that has happened is that we have swapped unanchored and impossible secondary attributes, for negatively identified primary attributes. I now know the YQW concept has the attribute of not existing above the atomic level, and of not being visible, but I still do not know what it is. At this point we can reject the existence of the YQW given its meaninglessness. The YQW is referring to nothing instantiated in reality, but is a free floating abstraction (merely an impossible concept, like a square triangle).

Likewise when we ask "What is God?", we are met by terms which are either: 1) secondary attributes (like Omni-"insert here claim"); 2) relational attributes (like Creator); or 3) negative stated primary attributes (like spaceless, timeless, immaterial etc). The problem here is that only identifying negative attributes can only tell us what the concept of God is not, not what it is. This leads us to conclude that the God-concept as presented by Theists is meaningless and should be rejected, in that it cannot and does not refer to any actual thing in reality.

Smith, again, puts it this way:
"To say that God is good or wise is to say nothing more then some unknowable being, possesses some unknown qualities in an unknowable way."

2) Argument from the "Alone Deity"

Theism asserts the existence of a lonesome, disembodied consciousness, which is unchanging and ontologically prior to Existence.

1. If Theism is true, then a being existed alone ontologically prior to Existence
2. 1. depends wholly on the truth of the Primacy of Consciousness (PoC)
3. PoC is false
4. From 1., 2. and 3. Theism is false

The opposite perspective of the PoC is the Primacy of Existence (PoE). Denial of the PoE, is to deny the validity of one's own consciousness which perceives Existence. Quoting Peikoff (Philosophy:Who needs it? p24).

"The primacy of existence (of reality) is the axiom that existence exists, i.e., that the universe exists independent of consciousness (of any consciousness), that things are what they are (A is A), that they possess a specific nature, an identity. The epistemological corollary is the axiom that consciousness is the faculty of perceiving that which exists"and that man gains knowledge of reality by looking outward. The rejection of these axioms represents a reversal: the so-called primacy of consciousness (PoC)"the notion that the universe has no independent existence, that it is the product of a consciousness (either human or divine or both)."

Theism is already pre-committed to the PoC. It argues that a conscious being can exist alone ontologically prior to Existence. In other words that a god exists conscious only of its own consciousness. But as Rand pointed out, this is a contradiction in terms. Before it can identify itself as conscious, it must be conscious of something.

This problem is further compounded for the Theist. The same god is described as spaceless and incorporeal. In other words it has no means by which to be conscious. Furthermore it is said to be timeless and changeless, meaning that if they ontologically existed, prior to Existence, then they are still existing and will always exist in that same state. It is akin to stating that God exists as a void, in a void. The difference between that, and something not existing at all, is nothing. Therefore Theism is false.

3) The hiddenness of God

Pioneered by John Schellenberg. If God does exist, then reasonable non-belief would not occur. A perfectly loving God would desire that people believe and ensure that a reasonable person, had a reasonable chance of attaining such knowledge. Furthermore, millions of people even after studying the evidence, and examining their own motives of belief, praying and seeking God, still do not believe and see no good reason to believe. The argument is:

1. If there is a God, he is perfectly loving.
2. If a perfectly loving God exists, reasonable non-belief does not occur.
3. Reasonable non-belief occurs.
4. from 2. And 3. no God exists.

It is of course open to the Theist to claim that those earnestly seeking God will find him. This seems a desperately fallacious response given it is effectively an ad hominem. It also of course ignores the problem of religious confusion (not presented here separately). So the Theist is left holding an empty sack. If a God exists why is it not more obvious, why the hide-and-seek?

4) The Problem of Divine Freedom

"Though God is the most perfectly free agent, he cannot do always what is best and wisest in the whole"
-Samuel Clark

There are of course many formalised objections (notable Ted Drange et al) to the contradictory characteristics of the Theistic concept of a God. William Rowe highlighted a powerful objection based on the lack of Freedom that any such God has. If a God has no option but to create humanity (because of his desired relationship and loving nature), he is neither free not do so, nor is he worthy of worship. Like a computer program he simply executed commands in accordance with his programmed characteristics.

1. If God exists then he is perfectly loving, powerful and free.
2. If Theism is true, God desires a relationship with humanity and is worthy of the worship of humanity (because he decided to create us).
3. From 1. and 2. God has no option but to create humanity
4. But 1. and 3. are contradictory, because God cannot freely decide, not to create humanity
5. And from 2. and 3. God is contradicted as not worthy of worship.
6. From 1., 2., 4. and 5. God does not exist and Theism is false.

5) Mind-brain dependence

Lastly I will turn to an inductive argument. As such I can only conclude that, if the argument is sound, God probably does not exist. However, given the cumulative case, this is just further evidence to support the contention that God does not exist.

1. Minds are emergent properties of brains.
2. By induction, we obtain: Probably, no mind can exist without a brain.
3. If God exists then he has a mind, but no brain (incorporeal).
4. Therefore, from 1., 2. and 3. God probably does not exist as he has no brain from which a mind can emerge.

There is an additional problem for theists. Theism is already pre-committed to some form of Substance Dualism. Theism argues that there is an essential 'soul' separate from the body, which leaves the body at death with all mental faculties in place. The soul is poorly defined concept, but is commonly held to be synonymous with the 'mind'. Substance Dualism can not be sustained because of the interaction problem and empirical issues associated with physical brain damage. This means that Theism is probably false.

In my next post I will turn to rebuttals of my opponent's opening arguments: 1) The argument from contingency, and 2) The KCA.
Debate Round No. 2
Moelogy

Pro

Rebuttal 1) argument from meaningless of the concept of God.

My opponent argues that since God can not be understood or expressed in words, it somehow undermines the possibility of his existence. Based on MY understanding of con's argument, it can be followed in the following syllogism :

P1) If God is not understood by human comprehension, he does not exist
P2 ) God can not be understood by human comprehension
Conclusion : God does not exist.

any rational person would see through Con's logic that one is premise one is not true. God is an omnimaximal being, meaning he is the greatest possible being. It should come as no wonder that humans can understand God. The greatest possible being or the greatest conceivable being, by definition, should be extremely difficult/ impossible to imagine. If God could be imagined, that would be evidence that God does not exist since he can be easily conceived and is therefore not the greatest maximal being or the greatest conceivable being and is therefore not omnimaximal.

However, even if we grant Con that his logic is valid, let's look at something that also do not exist by using his syllogism.

- Energy can not be conceived of and therefore does not exist

according to con, that just because we do not understand and can not conceive of a god then no god exists. In a similar scenario where we do not understand and can not conceive energy nor how it works, it simply does not exist.

according to Richard Feynman :
"It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is. We do not have a picture that energy comes in little blobs of definite amount. We do not even have a unified definition of energy"

- The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume 1, 4-1. according to con, energy does not and can not exist.

- Quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanics is a really hard and heavy topic to fully comprehend and can not be fully conceived of since human knowledge is still developing in that field. Therefore, quantum mechanics does not exist.

- Consciousness.

Consciousness can not be explained by science and humans have no theory on how consciousness works, therefore humans can not conceive nor comprehend consciousness and thus consciousness does not exist.

R2) argument from the alone deity

My opponent's argument to my understanding is

P1)Before creation, God was only conscious of his own consciousness
P2) This is a logical contradiction and is circular reasoning
Conclusion : God's consciousness did not exist prior to creation because it is a logical contradiction and circular reasoning and thus God does not exist.

Other than the fact that the conclusion that God does not exist is bombed into the conclusion out of nowhere, I do have multiple criticisms of this argument.

Premise 1 rebuked)

Before the universe, God could have been very well just conscious of the supernatural reality such as angels, demons, etc. Con has left this completely outside of the realm of possibilities. The existence of a supernatural realm could very well solve the issue proposed. God could have easily expressed his consciousness by acknowledging the existence of supernatural beings that existed alongside with him. However, admittingly this does raise the same question of who was God expressing his consciousness on before the creation of these supernatural entities? Read on

Premise 2 rebuked)

Con makes a point that acknowledging one's own existence and being aware of one's consciousness is a logical contradiction and therefore such entity does not exist ... We can obviously see where Con's reasoning falls apart. God could have easily expressed his consciousness on his own existence similar to how humans use their consciousness to acknowledge their own existence. according to Con's logic, those who spend time pondering their existence, using their consciousness to acknowledge their consciousness and acknowledge their own existence using their consciousness, do not exist similar to how God does not exist because he used his consciousness to acknowledge his own existence.

R3) Hideness of God

I agree with premise 1 since if God exists, he would be omnimaximal and the greatest conceivable being in every aspect including love.

I disagree with premise 2 and 3.

Premise 2)

This premise is a non-sequitur (does not follow) since Con provided no proof of such. However, there is a plethora of evidence for God ranging from arguments like Kalam argument, Fine tuning argument, contingency, adequation, moral experience, etc. to historical evidence such as eye witness testimony, historical records of secular (Tacitus' annals, Testimonium Flavium, Nero's declarations, etc.) and Jewish historians and willingness to die for the miracles recorded in the bible such as the miracles of Jesus to establishing a personal relationship with God where you can glorify and enjoy him for an eternity. all of this evidence is within reach of the atheist who explores the evidence with an open mind and an open heart. There is emerging research that atheists are more close-minded than theists [1].

Premise 3)

Reasonable non-belief does not exist. For non-belief to be reasonable, you would need evidence DIRECTLY against the God hypothesis. Since however such evidence does not exist and most atheists just reject God on the grounds that there is a lack of evidence for God, most atheists should be some sort of agnostic or something and not non-believers. They should be at best someone who claims that they do not know since future evidence might reveal there is a God or might reveal that God does not exist and they should not declare themselves as strictly speaking, people who reject God. I have also included an explanation somewhat similar to this in the introduction.

The argument can be easily reversed to say :

P1) If atheism is true, there should be definitive proof that God does not exist to support that atheism is true and there should be no theists.
P2) Theists exist
Conclusion : atheism is false

The argument falls in that there is no definitive proof for atheism and that there are close minded theists.

R4) Divine Freedom

Premise three is where the entire argument falls apart. It does not follow that just because God is loving then he MUST created humanity to express his love for two reasons.

Just because God is all-loving does not mean he has to express his love on a specified entity. Just because an entity is full of love does not mean it has to express this love. For example, my friend has a very strict mom. She almost never shows him any signs of love. No hugs, no kisses, no good nights. She is always strict that he must get good grades and behave himself and must fulfill his dreams and ambitions so that his future will not end up like her past. No signs of love and no expression of love, yet deep within he knows that his mom is doing this as a sign of love and empathy and mostly importantly because she cares. She wants to maintain her strictness and pressure on him for him to get the best results and be the best person in the world. Just because you do not express love does not mean you do not have any. Think of other examples where kids get vaccinated where the children will think that their parents hate them for causing them to go through the suffering of the needle yet the parent is doing so out of love.

Why must he express his love on humans and not on himself. Why can God not express love to himself (For example, Christians say God is three persons. Why can't God express this love in the community of three people). Surely everyone here has a degree of love, respect and regard for one's self. Why can not God have the same thing but for an eternity?

R5) Mind-Brain dependence

My opponent has not demonstrated that premise 1 or premise 2 are true. They were merely bare assertions sans any shred of evidence. Most importantly my opponent does not really define what a mind is. Cognitive faculties? Jellyfish have no brain but they have senses and can experience reality and respond to stimuli and can acquire knowledge about their surroundings and run away from predators. [2] Intricate systems that relate to the natural world? You have Math which fits that definition but has no physical brain.

New arguments :

argument from fine tuning :

P1) There is incomprehensibly improbably fine tuning of the unvierse for life (sometimes, even for the universe to exist)
P2) The only logical explanations is chance, necessity or design
P3) It is not due to necessity or chance
Conclusion : The fine tuning of the universe is due to design.

P1) One example is If the mass and energy of the early universe were not evenly distributed to an incomprehensible precision of 1 part in 1010123, the universe would be hostile to life of any kind.

Most of the sources and the examples of fine tuning can be found here [3].

P2) True unless my opponent wants to provide any other explanation.

P3) Necessity : Some do not even have to exist [4] therefore they are not necessary constants

Chance : The possibility that the universe would have had this perfect match of constants has been estimated by two of the best mathematicians of our time (Penrose and Lennox) to be 1 in 1^10^123 [5] [6] [7] . according to mathematicians, anything with the possibility of 1 in 10^50 is basically impossible [8] [9]

It takes less faith for design.

"This is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all . . . it seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature's numbers to make the universe. The impression of design is overwhelming." - Paul Davies

Implications : The deliberate designer would have to exist before the universe existed (to design some of the constants required for the universe to even exist) and is therefore independent of nature (supernatural), universe and its dimensions (spaceless, timeless, immaterial, non-physical, etc.). The traits of this supernatural designer proves it is most likely God
Surgeon

Con

Thanks to Pro for his rebuttals, I can sense this will be a good and healthy debate. I hope to correct his perspectives of my arguments, as well as rebut his new argument introduced from Round 3 ("The Fine Tuning of the Universe"). So, in this Round, I will only rebut his opening contentions (too much to say, too little space). I would also like to point out to Pro that we only have space on this forum to sketch arguments (as he has done).

First general comments. These arguments have similar failings. As we will see in the KCA, when discussing both the very big or very small, our English language is woefully inadequate. Terms like "explanation", "beginning", "cause" are thrown into a discussion on the something as big as the Universe or as small as a singularity as if they have meaning. Even the precision of the language of mathematics doesn't have the tools, to model this complex physics yet, so how Pro thinks the English language can cope is beyond me. All of Pros arguments are from his own personal incredulity. I can't possibly imagine how x could be otherwise without y, therefore y. Then he leaps in with some cherry picked and/or one-sided interpretation of science (like his view on the BGV theorem). The leading physicist behind BGV (Alan Guth (the G in BGV)), has stated he has no idea whether the Universe "began" or is "eternal". His theorem doesn't help either way. He actually tends towards an eternal Universe, because he finds those physical and mathematical models more promising. I find it surprising that models such BGV are constantly mis-applied by Theists seemingly a little too desperate to justify their beliefs using science, when they clearly do not understand it.

Pro additionally has a problem with infinities, he clearly doesn't like them, and wishes to terminate an infinite regress in both arguments. How does he do this? By invoking an infinite being! So the strategy is to invoke an infinity, to terminate an infinity. In the case of the KCA he argues, that a series of infinite events unless terminated means we would be stuck somewhere in the past unable to get to where we are today. But by magically creating an interlocutor (an infinite god) he can terminate that series. Only trouble is that now that same infinite god must now cross his own infinite series of mental thoughts, and thus never arrive at his final "abracadbra...bring forth the universe!" moment.

The argument from contingency

Premise 3 is uncontroversial. I agree, there is an objectively existing Universe.

Premise 1 is unfounded. It is not anti-science to suggest that everything in existence needs an explanation, when science itself teaches that the underlying nature of existence is indeed random. Of course we can point at macro-world objects or effects and explain them. But this is not so at the most fundamental level of nature. The simple intuition that contingent things could have been different, therefore they must have an explanation, is false. If we are serious about pursuing the question of a true contingency then we must also ask, why does there have to be a reason (explanation) at all. If some things could be otherwise, the explanation cannot be that there must be an explanation. A true contingency is genuinely random, like fluctuations in a quantum field.

Premise 2 is a straight out composition fallacy. It is clear that even if everything that exists at any moment has an explanation to it, it does not follow that everything taken together has an explanation to it. As Bertrand Russel (1948) put it:

"I can illustrate what seems to me your fallacy. Every man who exists has a mother, and it seems to me your argument is that therefore the human race must have a mother, but obviously the human race hasn't a mother -- that's a different logical sphere."

In addition Premise 2 seeks to paint the Universe as contingent (it might not have existed, nor existed in its current form). This may be true, but how has he ruled out that the Universe could just be a brute fact? His conclusion is already assumed. Furthermore to what degree can a necessary and perfect being create something which is neither necessary nor perfect. If one accepts the meaninglessness of a "necessary being" (I do not, but for the sake of argument), how do we know it cannot only create other necessary things? For example to the extent humanity was already in a gods plan, surely we were already necessary (to that god), and therefore never contingent at all (this is further developed below).

Some further general comments. Pro wishes to conclude that a god must be the explanation. Here he throws in some meaningless god-talk like spaceless, timeless etc and "bingo...phew what a relief" as if by magic it matches Pros own definition of god. Is the Atheist meant to be impressed at this point? It is merely a definitional move and a non-sequitur. The same of course applies to the KCA.

Even if his Premises are true (and they are not), Pro has failed to demonstrate why the explanation of the Universe must be a god. But the coup-de-gras here, is that Pro actually presents an argument for Atheism. If a god was responsible for the Universe, the chances of there being this Universe are 100% (a god could not choose otherwise if he desired to bring about humanity, and of course could not fail to succeed). But, if the entire Universe is a contingency (as Pro believes), then the chances of there being this Universe by definition are less than 100% (it could have been otherwise). Meaning one of 3 things: 1) that a god cannot be the cause and therefore does not exist; or 2) that the argument from contingency is false; or 3) most likely both.

The Kalam Cosomological Argument (KCA)

The KCA is a philosophically well defended and established argument by its leading proponent WLC. The problem is that it is just a terrible argument.

Firstly I would like to point out again that not even maths (a more precise language than English) can model the origins of the Universe. The argument is therefore "buggy" from the outset. This is why Sean Carroll famously once said of Premise 1 of the KCA that it is: "not only is it false, it is not even false". He meant that you cannot use this kind of reasoning and language when discussing the origins of the Universe. Even physics breaks down at the big-bang singularity, so what hope is there that we can uncover the truth using Aristotelian logic? Which at best is more rudimentary tooling than Astrophysics and Maths.

Premise 1. This premise carries no definition of the term "cause" leading it open to equivocation. Is it taken to mean 1) human or divine action only? or, 2) Human or divine action + scientific causation? If the latter then this argument is at best inductive, as a scientific cause for the Universe may still await discovery and cannot be ruled out by fiat.

However the whole premise is a subtle form a question begging. Here the Theist wants to lead you down a path where the only possible causal "things that DO NOT begin to exist" are gods. The argument should read:

1.Everything that isn't a god, has a cause for its existence
2.The Universe isn't a god
3.The Universe has a cause for its existence...er..er..and its god

Put like this, the argument looks more obviously fallacious. What a surprise when we come to its conclusion then, that after further huffing and puffing around spaceless and timeless things again it was a god after all.

So lets try a different tack. Consider the abstract notion of the structural rigidity of a triangle. This is spaceless, timeless and is something that didn't begin to exist. Does that also make it a candidate for Universal origins? Apparently not, because I'm sure Pro will argue it does not stand in a causal relationship. But it causes rigidity of man-made structures, doesn't it? That's not real causation my opponent will say...then I return him to the definition of what exactly he means by a cause and causation, which remains unclear.

There is almost no support for the idea that things can come into existence without a cause. Apart, that is, from the incredulity of Pro who thinks it is ridiculous that cars and bicycles etc could "pop into existence". Well I agree that macro-world objects cannot. But how does Pro account for the existence of virtual particles that do "pop into existence", uncaused. Furthermore what does a bicycle say about the Universe as a whole. Again we have the fallacy of composition (even though my opponent tries to pre-empt it), you cannot construct from parts of the Universe, to the whole.

Premise 2 is also false. What does it mean to say the Universe has a beginning? Physicists may use the term loosely (what other word can they use), but for the Universe to actually begin, time must have already been present. And as my opponent would no doubt concede, time "began" with the Universe, thus we seemingly have a problem. Put it another way, consider the statement "the Universal is eternal". What does it mean? If anything it must mean the Universe has existed for all of time. But as time "began" with the Universe, then the Universe can be indeed said to have existed for all of time, and is eternal:

1.Eternal means "has existed for all of time"
2.Time only "began" co-terminously with the Universe
3.The Universe is eternal and Premise 2 is false

The conclusion by itself is also false in that it smuggles in yet another concept. Here we are told that the origins of the Universe have a cause. But how can that be? Causation is a temporal phenomenon, it requires the existence of time, with causes always preceding their effects. This particular "cause" is therefore not only before the existence of time, but also atemporal. Again what is the definition of cause here?

So with all premises and conclusions refuted I hand back to Pro. Next round I will refute Fine Tuning and his criticisms of my Arguments for Atheism. There is plenty more to say but the space is limited. To the next Round..
Debate Round No. 3
Moelogy

Pro

"Terms like "explanation", "beginning", "cause" are thrown into a discussion on the something as big as the Universe or as small as a singularity as if they have meaning .. so how Pro thinks the English language can cope is beyond me."

Well I am not sure what you are trying to accomplish here. are you trying to change the definitions of the terms "explanation", "beginning" or "cause". The meaning of those words is self-evident and I do not think Con's argument here has any substance.

" The leading physicist behind BGV (Alan Guth (the G in BGV)), has stated he has no idea whether the Universe "began" or is "eternal". "

This demonstrates that my opponent has no idea on the history of the BGV theorem. The leading physicist is actually alex Vilenkin and not Guth. He has been the one responsible for most if not all media mentions and has been the one showing on TV shows to explain the theorem. WLC contacted Vilenkin who affirmed Craig that theorem concludes that if the universe is expanding then it has a cause even if it is part of the multiverse, the theorem's results extends to quantum interpretation and that it is too unstable for any universe to exist if it was preceded by a period of contraction before expansion [1]

" Theists seemingly a little too desperate to justify their beliefs using science, when they clearly do not understand it."

Just a reminder that Science was established by two Franciscan Friars, Roger and Francis Bacon.

" By invoking an infinite being! So the strategy is to invoke an infinity, to terminate an infinity ... But by magically creating an interlocutor (an infinite god) he can terminate that series."

Con is confusing quantitative infinity with qualitative infinity. When theists say God is infinitely loving or infinitely merciful, we mean that his qualities of love and mercy as so great to a degree beyond human comprehension. However, quantitative infinities like an past-infinite sequence of temporal events is where the objection is, since it contradicts famous philosophical principles like infinite regress. Consider this, If the universe is past-eternal, how did it get to the big bang? If the universe is past-eternal, It would be travelling through an infinite sequence of events through the equally real time (assuming B theory of time). However, if the universe is travelling forever through this past-infinity of events, it will be stuck in infinity (infinite regress) and it would never get to the big bang fourteen billion years ago. But it did get to the big bang so the universe is not eternal and had a beginning. That is the infinite regress that theists object to.

R1) Contingency

" It is not anti-science to suggest that everything in existence needs an explanation"

There goes the law of cause and effect.

"when science itself teaches that the underlying nature of existence is indeed random."

absolutely unevidenced bare assertion that contradicts all the data we have. The entire purpose of science is to discover the laws of nature and the laws of physics that give order rather than randomness to nature. How can Con claim that nature is random if one of science's major purposes is to discover and study the laws of physics that give nature order?

"The simple intuition that contingent things could have been different, therefore they must have an explanation, is false."

Bare unevidenced assertion contradicting 5,000 years of philosophical thinking and principles like the Principle of sufficient reasoning.

" It is clear that even if everything that exists at any moment has an explanation to it, it does not follow that everything taken together has an explanation to it."

Con just completly misunderstood the meaning of premise 2. Premise 2 states that based on inductive reasoning, philosophical principles and laws of logic EVERYTHING must have an explanation. The second premise is not founded upon reasoning by composition rather based on inductive reasoning and the laws of logic and science that the universe itself follows and is therefore subject to. Similar to how scientists use inductive reasoning of increased entropy in closed systems to apply that and make judgement about the universe like the heat death of the universe [2]. Inductive reasoning allows transition from parts to the whole as evidenced by the heat death. Scientists used inductive reasoning to discover the laws governing the closed systems that exists within the universe to make judgement about the whole closed system of the universe. The main problem here is Con's failure to distinguish between inductive reasoning and reasoning by composition.

"how do we know it cannot only create other necessary things? For example to the extent humanity was already in a gods plan, surely we were already necessary (to that god), and therefore never contingent at all (this is further developed below)."

God is free and could have created angels in the place of humans or unicorns or aliens, etc. He is free to do whatever he wants, thats the whole point of the divine freedom doctrine.

"His conclusion is already assumed."

Not if you have failed to refute the evidence provided and made bare assertions instead of rebuttals.

"Pro wishes to conclude that a god must be the explanation .. be impressed at this point? It is merely a definitional move and a non-sequitur. The same of course applies to the KCA."

I provided a logical analysis to the nature of the explanation of the universe. Con waives away all the evidence and analyses I provided for this argument and instead provides bare assertions or red herring fallacies that are not relevant to our discourse. Con has not disproven the premises since he fails at distinguishing reasoning by composition and inductive reasoning. He also seems to miss the fact that a major part of science is the study of physical laws.

"If a god was responsible for the Universe, the chances of there being this Universe are 100% (a god could not choose otherwise if he desired to bring about humanity, and of course could not fail to succeed)."

again, divine freedom.

R2) Kalam

" He meant that you cannot use this kind of reasoning and language when discussing the origins of the Universe. Even physics breaks down at the big-bang singularity"

We can use philosophy, laws of logic and laws of thought which are all necessary [3]. They are also true since logic seems to work out well and has never been disproven since almost everything is disproven on the basis of logic so it is impossible to disprove logic using logic. Therefore, philosophy provides a valid way of talking about the universe using necessarily true principles like "ex nihilo, nihil fit".

" Is it taken to mean 1) human or divine action only? or, 2) Human or divine action + scientific causation?"

It is taken to mean efficient causality, whatever you want to include in that as long as it fits the term.

" The argument should read"

Strawman fallacy. You are proposing an argument I did not propose nor even came close to proposing. Worse to come, You start attacking your own strawman.

"Triangle ... Does that also make it a candidate for Universal origins?"

WLC actually makes this point in his video about the kalam [4], that the argument does indeed narrow down to two possibilities which are God and abstract objects (like numbers, geometrical shapes, triangles, squares, etc.). However, we can safely eliminate abstract objects because we know that they abstract and do not have a concrete existence and therefore have no causal powers. Do not believe me? Grab a paper, draw a triangle and tell me if the triangle on the paper creates anything? Furthermore, we all know based on inductive reasoning that numbers or triangles can not create anything with concrete existence like cars, houses, etc. and therefore could easily be ruled out based on inductive reasoning. Con might say well if you draw God on paper, it would still not create anything either. The obvious objection is that triangles are abstract and have no concrete existence (therefore the only way to make it exist in reality is to draw it out on paper) while the God hypothesis does have a concrete existence and can exist in reality without being drawn on paper. Watch Dr. Craig's video who demonstrates this point more eloquently.

"There is almost no support for the idea that things can come into existence without a cause."

Inductive reasoning, 5,000 years of philosophy, laws of logic and principles of philosophy like "ex nihilo, nihil fit" and therefore whatever comes into existence can not do so out of nothing, from nothing and by nothing (since out of nothing, nothing comes).

"the existence of virtual particles that do "pop into existence", uncaused."

Fallacy of ignorance. Virtual particles are the result of quantum vacuum energy (material) and energy fluctuations (efficient). Energy is not nothing con.

" Again we have the fallacy of composition (even though my opponent tries to pre-empt it), you cannot construct from parts of the Universe, to the whole."

Inductive reasoning rather than reasoning by composition.

"What does it mean to say the Universe has a beginning?"

Came from nothing.

"1.Eternal means "has existed for all of time"
2.Time only "began" co-terminously with the Universe
3.The Universe is eternal and Premise 2 is false"

Premise one is a bare assertion. Eternal means existed forever without beginning or end and thus logically it follows that it means without time since for time to take effect and have a sequence of events, it needs t = 0, but there is no beginning.

Premise 2 is true. However, it shall be noted that this applies only to the natural world based on inductive reasoning.

Premise 3 is, thus, assumed.

"Here we are told that the origins of the Universe have a cause. But how can that be? Causation is a temporal phenomenon"

Therefore the cause has to be timeless and can not be nothing since nothing has no causal powers since it is NO THING
Surgeon

Con

Fine Tuning

If some of the variables are changed, then local conditions in the Universe change. But we simply do not know how any of the variables could have varied, if at all, nor what Universe results or not. The mind bending calculations are pulled from nowhere. No explanation of why we should be amazed by the electron:proton mass, as opposed to say the early entropy of the Universe (which was far lower than it needed to be). It just seems convenient for theists to cherry pick some small numbers, multiply them by other small numbers and then stand back in amazement. It is snake oil.

Take the expansion rate of the Universe. We are (or at least were) told by theists that it is 10 to 60th power tuned. But the rigorous derivation of the expansion rate (using the correct equations from General Relativity) turns out is not 10 to 60th power, but 1 (ie 100% likely). Do theists update their assumptions? Nope, they move on to their next apparently fine tuned number and off we go again.

There are some things to explain about the Universe, but UNTIL the underlying Physics is more complete we have no grounds to conclude that any apparent fine tuning is present. The explanation of these effects may just be waiting a more fundamental view of the Physics. So the very best this argument can ever be is inductive, ie the Universe is probably designed. But it cannot even get us that far.

There is a false trichotomy in Premise 2 as it automatically rules out the possibility of evolution and anthropic principle, or the conjectured Multiverse. It is not in my burden to show that the alternatives are true, but Pros to show that they are false if he wants to conclude that the Universe IS designed.

If it is designed we would expect a well engineered, self-contained, neat, tidy, newish, life friendly Universe where humanity appeared early on (we are the purpose after all). Instead we observe a chaotic, vastly old, incomprehensibly large and 99.999..% deadly Universe where just the sheer size ensures there are billions upon billions of continual, physical and biochemical experiments. Why is the emergence of humans so different?

Physicists also say that our Universe is the perfect for the appearance of Black Holes. Given the vast majority of matter and energy in the Universe is contained in Black Holes, it seems a safer conclusion that they were the purpose.

When taken together I would not be the first Atheist to point out that this is an argument for Atheism. The whole attempt underestimates god. Why would a god care what the ratio of the electron:proton mass are. If he wanted x to be true with a 1:100 ratio or a 1:50 ratio, it would be true. A god does not need to be tinkering, tweaking and footling like some mad old professor, it should just be. Instead we find ourselves living on a knife edge, unable to step off our own planet, which is on the edge of freezing or burning.

Meaninglessness of the God-concept

Pro misunderstands the argument, creates his own strawman and then attacks it. It is not an issue of comprehension, it is an issue of meaninglessness. The argument shows that if a term is meaningless, then it points to no actual thing in reality. Theists only give us negative primary attributes (eg immaterial). This is what a thing is not, not what a thing is.

There are plenty of things that have meaning, but lack comprehension. Pro mentioned Consciousness. Consciousness is the ability of the mind to perceive reality. It therefore has an identified positive primary attribute, consistent with its qualities. It thus has meaning. What it is exactly, remains a mystery (and thus we lack comprehension). But the mere fact that we can perceive reality, means that Consciousness does exist (at least in an emergent sense). We cannot say the same for gods can we? His other examples fail the same test.

In the previous round I proposed a thought experiment using a YQW. Is Pro an agnostic on the existence of a YQW? If not, why not? Attaching more reverence to a term like god does not make it more likely to exist.

Worse still for Pro is that his rebuttal reinforces Atheism, given that he admits that Humans cannot comprehend a god. If true we are unable to conceive fully of his attributes, and the Anselmian Ontological argument fails. Which as Kant noted is vital for the success of his Cosmological arguments. Ironically, given all Pros admitted uncertainty and hedging, on a day to day basis, Theists seem to know all about god. Quite how they know this is of course utterly mysterious.

Alone Diety

Again Pro fails to grasp with the argument. Although it maybe clearer for Pro if I re-stated 1. to be: 1. if Theism is true, then the PoC is true. I apologize to Pro, if it misled him. However Pros reformulation is incorrect. I am not imputing circularity, but a flat out contradiction (it does state that).

Pros reformulation is debunked by Pro himself and he attacks his own strawman again? The rebuttal of his first Premise, fails by his own admission. I quote: "However, admittingly this does raise the same question of who was God expressing his consciousness on before the creation of these supernatural entities?. Read on". Yes it fails for exactly that reason.

The "Read on" element then goes on to suggest that god could infact be conscious of his own consciousness by (I guess Pro hints at) self-reflection. Again the argument makes clear why this cannot be the case. As Ayn Rand stated: "...before it could identify itself as conscious, it had to be conscious of something". God has no means by which this can be true. By Pros own admission his god is a spaceless, timeless, immaterial entity in a spaceless, timeless, immaterial existence (a void, in a void). What can a god be conscious of exactly, to reference his own existence? If a child from birth was placed in a flotation tank and deprived of all sensations for 20 years, then he would be mentally impaired, but would at least recognise his own existence through some physical appreciation of water, the tank, his heart beat etc. But a theistic god does not even have these mechanisms. To quote a fellow atheist:

"The problem as it arises, then, is two-fold: not only a) do the implications of the description which Theists give of their god suggest it could have no object to be conscious of prior to creating anything distinct from itself, but also b) that description also indicates that it would have no means by which it could be conscious of anything. Thus both aspects of the subject object relationship are fundamentally undermined, which means the believer commits the fallacy of the stolen concept when he points to a conscious being as the creator of the universe. The theistic god in its pre-creative state at best resembles a nonconscious nonentity stranded in a void."

Pros reply seems to be an attempt to put up a smokescreen by retreating into the utterly vague.

Hiddenness of God

The rebuttal of Premise 2 is that it is a non-sequitur, ie that an all loving god would want to provide enough evidence to prevent non-belief. I am open to this being true, but they are the only implications I can deduce from the vague and meaningless god-concepts presented. If we were always part of an unchanging, all loving plan by a god, then it seems to me a straightforward interpretation that god had no choice but to create us and yield up some non contentious evidence of his existence.

Pro then goes onto to reheat old soup of other "so called" evidences. I am not a hard skeptic, and I would simply state that I do not find that evidence remotely compelling. All of it has been refuted. And I do not appear to be alone in this view.

Pro then makes a rather poor attempt to claim atheists might be "close minded". My own view is that there are a lot of brilliant and deep thinkers on both sides. I disagree with theists on at least one topic, and I expect a discourse based on reason to ensue. However, Pro seems to suggest that the alternatives with this Argument are that: 1) he is right, or 2) I am wrong. Hardly a debate then it seems. Just a bare assertion that Christianity is true, and if Atheists can not see it we are unreasonable for not seeing how obviously true it is. It is a rather clumsy ad hominem, to not accept reasonable non-belief.

As for there being no direct evidence against (or for) god. Both observations are only consistent with their being no god, and not with the existence of a god. As Theists have already defined him out-of-existence (spaceless etc), there can be no direct evidence either way. Lastly taking Pros reformulation, to reverse the argument on me, can be used to prove the existence of fairies as well. Which again, makes it a poor reformulation.

The Problem of Divine Freedom

I find the rebuttal a little bizarre. My response is the same as the first paragraph above to the Hiddenness of God.

Mind-Brain Dependence

I agree with Pro that I did not validate Premise 1. I will do that now (borrowing from F. Tremblay):
1.Evolution demonstrates that brain development corresponds with mental development. Corliss Lamont: "We find that the greater the size of the brain and its cerebral cortex in relation to the animal body and the greater their complexity, the higher and more versatile the form of life".
2.Brain growth in individual organisms. "The developmental evidence for mind-brain dependence is that mental abilities emerge with the development of the brain; failure in brain development prevents mental development" (Beyerstein).
3.Brain damage destroys mental capacities. Clinical evidence cases of brain damage from accidents, toxins, diseases etc, result in irreversible losses of mental function.
4.Empirical evidence for mind-brain dependence is from experiments in neuroscience (EEG etc). Mental states are correlated with brain states; via electrochemical stimulation.
5.The effects of chemicals and drugs show correspondence between brain and mental activity.
Debate Round No. 4
Moelogy

Pro

R1) Fine tuning

"But we simply do not know how any of the variables could have varied, if at all, nor what Universe results or not."

Yes, they could have been different. They could have literally not even existed at all. Take for example, weak nuclear force constant. That constant could have literally not been just different, it could have not existed together and you would still have a universe but without any form of intelligent life. [1] This reaffirms my thesis of the volatility of the constants and their most likely design.

"The ... calculations are pulled from nowhere."

The sources I provided in the comments detail the method, observations, calculations and the results of reputable scientists and mathematicians (John Lennox and Roger Penrose). If you want to doubt the works of highly regarded scientists and mathematicians, write a paper and disprove them. It is close-minded to dismiss reputable peoples' works and evidence just because you disagree with them by simply saying they are pulled out of nowhere.

"It just seems convenient for theists to cherry pick ... It is snake oil."

Con claims that fine tuning is snake oil. Little did he know that this snake oil is confirmed by atheist scientists. ATHEISTS and SCIENTISTS.

"A COMMON SENSE INTERPRETATION OF THE FACTS SUGGESTS THAT A SUPERINTELLECT MONKEYED WITH PHYSICS . . . AND THAT THERE ARE NO BLIND FORCES WORTH SPEAKING ABOUT IN NATURE. THE NUMBERS ONE CALCULATES FROM THE FACTS SEEM TO ME SO OVERWHELMING AS TO PUT THIS CONCLUSION ALMOST BEYOND QUESTION." - Fred Hoyle

"THERE IS FOR ME POWERFUL EVIDENCE THAT THERE IS SOMETHING GOING ON BEHIND IT ALL . . . IT SEEMS AS THOUGH SOMEBODY HAS FINE-TUNED NATURE'S NUMBERS TO MAKE THE UNIVERSE. THE IMPRESSION OF DESIGN IS OVERWHELMING." - Paul Davies

"WHEREVER PHYSICISTS LOOK, THEY SEE EXAMPLES OF FINE-TUNING." - Sir Martin Rees

"THE REMARKABLE FACT IS THAT THE VALUES OF THESE NUMBERS SEEM TO HAVE BEEN VERY FINELY ADJUSTED TO MAKE POSSIBLE THE DEVELOPMENT OF LIFE." - Stephen Hawking

"IF ANYONE CLAIMS NOT TO BE SURPRISED BY THE SPECIAL FEATURES THE UNIVERSE HAS, HE IS HIDING HIS HEAD IN THE SAND. THESE SPECIAL FEATURES ARE SURPRISING AND UNLIKELY." - David Deutsch

The fine tuning has been the reason why militant atheists like Anthony flew and Francis Collins converted to theism and have become solid believers.

"But the rigorous derivation of the expansion rate ... but 1 (ie 100% likely)."

absolute unevidenced bare assertion. I would just like to remind Con with the fact that General Relativity is experimented, formulated and confirmed WITHIN this universe. Of course it would assume 100% that the cosmological constant is the same everywhere since science assumes the uniformity of nature. This cosmological constant is 100% likely WITHIN THIS universe since science assumes uniformity of nature and that the constant should be the same everywhere.

"we have no grounds to conclude that any apparent fine tuning is present."

well we do based on probability of those constants being different and producing a universe that does not produce life. For example, when we change the cosmological constant's value by an infinitesimally small margin and substitute this cosmological into our equations, we see that the universe would have expanded too fast for any planets or stars to form and no life would form or if the constant was bumped down within another infinitesimally small margin, the universe would expand too slowly to escape gravity and it would collapse on itself into a singularity and would form no life, planets or stars. This is one example among hundreds. The possibility that they would all fit this perfect combination for the universe to allow life is 1 in 10^10^123. [2] That is incomprehensibly low.

"There is a false trichotomy in Premise 2 as it automatically rules out the possibility of evolution and anthropic principle, or the conjectured Multiverse."

Well evolution would not have been possible if those constants were not designed. Because changing some constants will not even allow the universe to exist such as lowering the cosmological constant or bumping gravity. The other constants will make it impossible for atoms to interact to create any life or complex organism or even a complex molecule or just not allow intelligent life to exist. all of the evidence we have goes against the multiverse. The universe is all that exists naturally and therefore anything beyond that would technically be part of the universe. [3] Secondly, the universe's components are expanding but the space-time fabric is not expanding into anything. This proves that beyond the universe, there is no space as in there is empty space (or else the universe would just expand into that empty space), there is literally no space dimension. [3] The obvious question arises if there is no space dimension beyond the universe, WHERE exactly would the other universes exist? another problem with the multiverse is the obvious the fact that it shoots itself in the foot since now you have to account for not just this universe but you have to account for the origin of the multitude of other universes that we have no evidence of.

"If it is designed we would expect a well engineered, self-contained, neat, tidy, newish, life friendly Universe where humanity appeared early on (we are the purpose after all)."

Well the universe is well-engineered and it is life-friendly as evidenced by the incomprehensibly unlikely perfect combination of constants. But why does it have to be self-contained and small? Maybe God created such a vast universe to acknowledge his power, strength and glory.

R2) Meaningless of God

"Pro misunderstands the argument, creates his own strawman and then attacks it. It is not an issue of comprehension, it is an issue of meaninglessness."

Well the concept of god is not meaningless. He is an eternal consciousness that has extreme power and knowledge.
Given that being an omnimaximal being is giving positive attributes to God (through what has been revealed through scripture) like having power, knowledge, etc. Pro's argument since now God has something we can relate to.

"then it points to no actual thing in reality. "

That's the whole point of being SUPERnatural.

"Consciousness is the ability of the mind to perceive reality. It therefore has an identified positive primary attribute, consistent with its qualities. It thus has meaning. What it is exactly, remains a mystery (and thus we lack comprehension)."

So we have a definition of Conciousness but you do not know what it is exactly but we this does not undermine whether it exists or not. Sounds just like God where we have a definition of positive attributes comparable to elements of nature (power, knowledge, etc.) through examination of scriptures but we have no complete mosaic of his nature and identity. Can this argument be used to disprove the existence of energy, consciousness, quantum mechanics too just because we have no idea of their nature or even a definition in case of energy [4]

"Worse still for Pro .. rebuttal reinforces Atheism .. admits that Humans cannot comprehend a god."

Just because humans can not fully comprehend God's glory has no impact on whether he exists or not. Con's statement and argument is a non-sequitur.

" Ironically, given all Pros admitted uncertainty and hedging.. Theists seem to know all about god."

You can not group all theists under the same umbrella. I do not claim to know everything about God. If I was to do so the same, it would be sound to compare you to stalin, Hitler, Mao, Maximillian Robespierre just because all of you were/are atheists.

R3) alone deity

"The rebuttal of his first Premise .. quote: "However, admittingly this does raise the same question of who was God expressing his consciousness on before the creation of these supernatural entities?. Read on""

Maybe Con should have read on to the rest of my rebuttal. Funnily enough Con includes "read on" in his quote of my statement which means that I addressed later in my rebuttal. Con is an intellectually dishonest person. Because later in my rebuttal, I prove that it is ok for God to express his consciousness on himself.

"before it could identify itself as conscious, it had to be conscious of something"

Why? There is no evidence for this statement in the natural world, let alone the supernatural realm. [5] God's consciousness could have acknowledged itself in the search for something to acknowledge.

Con's argument due to the obvious fact that a consciousness could definitely acknowledge its own existence. (self-reflection) (meditation)(pondering human nature and reality)

R4) Hideness of God

"If we were always part of an unchanging, all loving plan by a god ... yield up some non contentious evidence of his existence."

Try establishing a personal relationship with him, pray and be open to the arguments other theists and I provide.

"Just a bare assertion that Christianity ... to not accept reasonable non-belief."

The main problem is not the evidence for God, it is that atheists are generally more close-minded than theists. [6] and have preconceptions of God being a fairy not worth my time.

"As Theists have already defined him out-of-existence ... can be no direct evidence either way."

We can observe his effects (universe from nothing, fine tuning, etc.) and then we can conclude that he is the only possible reasonable cause.

Con's argument fails in general due to the fact that nobody could agree what counts as reasonable evidence (some need God showing himself, some are content with that there is something rather than nothing). Reasonable non-belief is subjective not objective.

R5) Divine Freedom

Debunked above.

R6) Mind-brain dependence

Con responded to only 1 aspect out of 3 my rebuttal. He still has to define "mind" and prove premise 2. Premise 2 is a bare unevidenced assertion. "Mind" and cognition could exist without a brain as evidenced by jellyfish. [7]
Surgeon

Con

All good knockabout stuff from Pro, but lets see if we can keep the debate a little more structured. I would like to use this last round to try and summarise the debate and reach a conclusion. Firstly of course I would like to thank Pro for starting the debate and for his spirited defence of Theism, it certainly led to a healthy and robust conversation. One troubling aspect though is that Pro seems to have a penchant for quote mining (either his opponent or famous scientists). Staggeringly (when I include his full quotes verbatim), he then wishes to accuse me of intellectual dishonesty. As a side note, his list of impressive physicists are so convinced by his arguments that they are all Atheists (or were given Hoyle is dead). Perhaps Pro wishes to advance another ad hominem attack on them for being close minded (that would be the third ad hominem ), that they remain atheists despite "seemingly" have said something to support Pros Design argument.

Design and Cosmological Arguments

I will start by replying to Pros design argument. Pro wishes to quote scientists IN CAPS, from their writing in popular literature (not from scientific papers). And what do you know those same quotes make his view seem plausible. To redress the balance, for those who cannot answer for themselves, I would like to give just 3 counter-examples:

Davies: "Thus, three centuries after Newton, symmetry is restored: the laws explain the universe even as the universe explains the laws. If there is an ultimate meaning to existence, as I believe is the case, the answer is to be found within nature, not beyond it. The universe might indeed be a fix, but if so, it has fixed itself."

Hawking: "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."

Vilenkin: "Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God " So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes."

If anyone fails the test of intellectual honesty here, it is Pro. Why are these people suitable to quote only when it seems to support Pros incredulity. One has to ask at this point, whether we are engaged in propaganda, or a genuine search for truth? To what extent is he shoring up his own faith, rather than genuinely contributing to debate and discourse?

He then describes people who have moved from Atheism as if there is a some sort of theistic renaissance. The truth is there are a small number of people who move both ways between theism and atheism (both famous and not). The trend seems to be towards some form of non-belief. Faith is largely propped up by mass, youth inculcation, if that were removed then the swing towards non-belief would be greater.

It is good to see people change their mind, it is brave, and open. It does not mean of course that they are right, or that they do it for the right reasons. Anthony Flew, was one who actually became convinced that the argument from Design was compelling enough for him to become a Deist. I have no problem with that, but I think he is just wrong. Francis Collins accepted Christianity because on one of his countryside walks he came across a waterfall frozen in three parts (which he interpreted as a representation of the trinity). No problem. But do not tell me that is a remotely convincing reason. A bigger non sequitur is hard to imagine.

Arguments for Atheism.

I think Pro failed to grasp the power of the arguments and attempted to minimise them by a straw man reformulation and picking up certain aspects, whilst ignoring others. Ultimately this was not a successful strategy.

To summarize my arguments briefly. Theism fails at the first hurdle. The concept of a god is utterly meaningless, something we have seen in this debate. God is conceived of as a void (spaceless, timeless, immaterial), existing within a void. Such an entity cannot exist. God is a nothingness with no positively identified attributes. From this Theists must hum and haw about god existing as a disembodied consciousness. But all this shows us, is the theists own mendacity as they hide behind vagueness. It is a smokescreen that only yields more mystery to solve a mystery: a mind free from a brain; a decision maker frozen outside of time; an infinity to stop and infinite regress; a friendly designer that designs a lethal universe, something all powerful but limited in some aspects as his powers contradict each other. The meaninglessness goes on and on.

Furthermore from the other arguments for atheism, we can deduce (even if we assume a god can exist), that such a thing cannot even be conscious (alone deity); that the reason why he remains apparently so hidden, is lack of existence; that from the flat out contradictions of his so called omni qualities he cannot freely act; and that from the evidence we have there can be no disembodied minds (for gods or humanity). Now we can see that on their own and together the arguments for atheism are consistent and powerful. Compare those with the inherent paucity and inconsistency of theistic arguments.

Theistic challenges

In the last round Pro states defiantly that God does have positive primary attributes after all. Pro states: "Well the concept of god is not meaningless. He is an eternal consciousness that has extreme power and knowledge". Pro this is a poor attempt. Power and knowledge are secondary and not primary attributes, and add nothing to the meaning of what a god is. So all that remains of this desperate stuff is an "eternal consciousness". Could Pro be vaguer? What does it mean to say a being can be eternal? This is not a primary attribution given to beings. The meaning of consciousness is the ability to perceive reality. This ability is, by its own necessity, temporally bound and probably an the emergent characteristic of physio-chemical systems. He thus falls straight into the trap again with more meaninglessness god-talk, which we are in turn meant to immediately accept as meaningful. The basic problem here is that the theist is using fallacious reasoning (the fallacy of the stolen concept and floating abstraction) to anchor their deity in words, because they have no anchor in actual existence.

Pro then states that God is SUPERnatural (he seemingly enjoys shouting SUPER, in case I am too stupid to get it). But the concept of Supernaturalism (only propagated through the context of Theism), would only ever be useful in that it points to something non-natural. So yet again another negatively defined concept, this time a void existence. Stating the supernatural exists is akin to stating that nothing exists (spaceless, timeless, immaterial etc). In other words the Theist is saying: non-existence, exists. He also continues to plead that a consciousness, can be conscious of just its own consciousness. I have said all I need to say on this point. I think the best thing to do is underline Pros attempts at a rebuttal and move on.

Before we move on, just a short note on mind-brain dependence. It is true that the jellyfish has a lower form consciousness and is able to perceive some parts of reality through just nerve impulses (ie without a brain). That does not grant the jellyfish has a mind or higher forms of consciousness (eg self awareness).

Arguments for Theism

Unable to point to actual evidence of his god (as concieved), Pro has offered some classical arguments. These arguments seek to infer a god from certain cherry picked "gee-whizz" facts about the Universe, and by certain philosophical musings. These arguments try to shoehorn concepts which are at best uncertain, or at worst flat out inapplicable when we are talking of Universal origins. We then have the constant referral to quote mining, composition fallacies and question begging, all supported by stolen concept fallacies and incredulity.

To pile on the agony when we dig into these arguments it becomes clear that in straightening them out, they actually support Atheism. Their weaknesses individually are only amplified by their inconsistencies (juxtapose that with the consistency of atheistic arguments):

1) If the Universe is contingent it is less than 100% likely, if it was designed by a perfect and infallible god who wanted only this Universe for us it was 100% likely.
2) If god is changeless, and somehow booted up with everything in place (including his plans) he cannot change his mind and must create only this Universe instantaneously, and thus is akin to an automaton who is not worthy of worship.
3) If god is conceived as timeless, there is no cause and effect for him. He cannot create. "He" is an impotent frozen void, in a void existence.
4) If humanity was already in gods plan and we are the aim of his creation event, then why would god need to fine tune anything? It would just be so, and the Universe designed for us and not deadly.
5) If god is a disembodied mind in a void, how can he even recognise his own existence?...so on and so forth

From nothing, nothing comes states Pro. Yet Pro attributes god with exactly the qualities of nothingness (timeless, spaceless, immaterial). Unable to give Theism up Pro asserts, rather laughably, states that gods existence is "concrete". Which apart being the fallacy of the stolen concept, is almost too delicious an irony. God at best is as abstract a concept as could possibly be imagined. All that happens is we return to the argument from meaninglessness and Pro remains bogged down by the trap it creates over the very concept of gods. The Theist is left hoisted by his own petard.
Debate Round No. 5
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Surgeon 10 months ago
Surgeon
@kwagga_la

You say these things with such confidnence, quite how you know them remains utterly mysterious. The "formulation" I have put forward of your god, is perfectly consistent with t,he words Theism uses to decsribe the concept and consistent with primary, secondary and relational attributes. But again as you abley demonstrate the theist must retreat behind the meaningless and vacuous to bolster their conception.

You want to ascribe the secondary attirbutes of being loving and merciful, to a description of a void in a void (spaceless, timeless, changeless, immaterial). How you get from point A to point B on that journey is anybodys guess. You want to use words you find favourable (loving and merciful) even though, it seems a perfectly straightforward interpretation that it can equally (and accurately) be described as peevish, vengeful and capricious. It doesn't matter to me what you want to ascribe to a god. A void is still a void and it can have no such attributes. It is rather like saying that the sound is brown.
Posted by kwagga_la 10 months ago
kwagga_la
@Surgeon No. 1 in your formula is not correct and therefore the rest does not make sense. The fundamental character of God can be known as defined according to the God in question of a PARTICULAR religion. The reason there are different gods is primarily based on the difference in character ascribed to that God and therefore defeats your assertion. Your premise is therefore flawed because you reason for a general definition of "god" and try to include all the different gods into that concept with conflicting characteristics. The God of the Bible exhibits personal characteristics that can be defined (loving, merciful etc.) as opposed to some eastern concepts of a god. The other problem here is that you confuse what can be known about God and how God is able to do things that is known. For example: God is omnipresent, the concept can be defined and understood but HOW God does it to be omnipresent is a mystery. This is the fundamental aspect to keep in mind when discussing the know-ability of God. Many people use a computer but do not even know what components a computer have to make it work the way it does, but how to use it and what it can do is known.
Posted by Moelogy 11 months ago
Moelogy
Last round sources :

[1] - https://arxiv.org...
brief - https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] - http://www.focus.org.uk...
[3] - https://www.universetoday.com...
[4] - Feynman Lectures on physics, Volume 1, 4-1
[5] - http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[6] - http://www.independent.co.uk...
[7] - https://www.scienceabc.com... (Jellyfish have consciousness, have a "mind", cognition, self-determination, response to stimuli which shows awareness of external environment even though they have no physical brain).

Fine tuning quotes - http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
Posted by Moelogy 11 months ago
Moelogy
[1] - http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[2] - http://theconversation.com... (CTRL + F and type "second law of thermodynamics") (This shows that inductive reasoning allows us to make valid and true judgement about the parts ( closed systems within the universe) and the whole (the universe))
[3] - https://link.springer.com...
[4] - https://www.youtube.com...
Posted by Moelogy 11 months ago
Moelogy
for [5] [6][7] it should be the chance for chance is 1 in 10^10^123 and not 1 in 1^10^123
Posted by Moelogy 11 months ago
Moelogy
[1] - http://www.independent.co.uk...

[2] - (http://www.asnailsodyssey.com...
[3] - http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[4] -https://arxiv.org...
[5] - http://www.focus.org.uk...
[6] - http://godevidence.com...
[7] - The Emperor"s New Mind (by Roger Penrose), Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 344
[8]- Emile Borel's law
[9]- not enough space so I included it here but the statement that "[9]" is attempting to prove I think can also be proven by citations [5], [6] and [7]. Just did not have enough space to include all three citations so I grouped them under one citation.
Posted by missmedic 11 months ago
missmedic
Beliefs and faiths do not establish "truths" or facts. It does not matter how many people believe or for how many centuries they have believed it. It does not matter how reverent or important people think of them, if it does not agree with evidence, then it simply cannot have any validity to the outside world. All things we know about the world, we can express without referring to a belief. Even at its most benign level, beliefs can act as barriers to further understanding.
Posted by canis 11 months ago
canis
Yes a lot of people say that some sort of god exist..And it is all they can do. No saying = no god.......it is what it boils down to..
Posted by KingDebater369 11 months ago
KingDebater369
Glad I stumble upon this. I hope the debate will be a great way to get arguments from both sides forward. Will be following this debate closely (and most likely vote at the end), assuming all goes well. Good luck to both of you guys.
Posted by missmedic 11 months ago
missmedic
You do not use or need knowledge, proof or evidence for gods.
The only thing needed for gods to be true is belief.
If you don't have belief then gods are not true. Humans have invented thousands of gods over thousands of years and all have become myths when belief in them stopped.
Beliefs and faiths represent a type of mental activity that produces an unnecessary and dangerous false sense of trust and wrongful information (thinking coupled with the feeling of 'truth'). Faith rarely agrees with the world around us. History has shown that beliefs and faith, of the most intransigent kind, have served as the justification for tragic violence and destruction and sustained the ignorance of people. Replacing beliefs with predictive thoughts based on experience and evidence provide a means to eliminate intransigence and dangerous superstitious thought.
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