The Instigator
Ockham
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Champybeat
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

God exists.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 283 times Debate No: 105773
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (0)

 

Ockham

Con

The resolution is that God exists. Pro will be arguing that God exists, while Con will be arguing that Pro has not established that God exists and/or that God does not exist.

By accepting this debate, Pro agrees that they have the burden of proof to establish that it is objectively more likely than not that God exists. The rules for assessing this are the standard rules of logic, including the rules of deductive and inductive inference. For example, a deductive argument must be deductively valid and have premises that we have sufficient reason to believe are true, and an inductive argument must establish that the conclusion is the best or only explanation for the evidence cited in the premises.

God for the purposes of this debate shall be defined, by default, as an omnipotent, omniscient, all good person. I take this definition from the first paragraph of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on "Concepts of God." [1]

If Pro wants to use a definition other than this default definition, they should ask for me to approve it in the comments section before accepting the debate. The following types of definition are unacceptable: (a) Definitions that attempt to win the debate by defining God as something that obviously exists, like "God is love" or "God is the universe." (b) Definitions that attempt to define God as something radically different from the traditional Judeo-Christian God as conceived of by Anselm, Aquinas, Richard Swinburne, or other traditional authors.

Please note that the character maximum for this debate is 5,000 characters per round. I am trying something new.

[1] https://plato.stanford.edu...
Champybeat

Pro

Hello, friend
I"ll be arguing for the Triune God of Christianity, specifically. First, I would like to speak of the burden of proof. Yes, the burden of proof concerning God"s existence lies on me (the theist - Christian), yet the the existence of the laws of logic, nature, etc., the uniformity in nature, objective morality (if one believes the evil should be held accountable - yet they believe morality is opinion), abiogenesis, etc. lies on the atheist, as they have no physical evidence for such things.

I. I would first start with the laws of logic, nature, mathematics, physics, etc.:
The universe is bound to immaterial laws of logic. In a naturalistic/materialistic worldview, these laws cannot exist, as they are immaterial entities. Science cannot prove logic, as we must assume logic for all that we do - I believe most would accept this as a rational presupposition. How could these laws arise if the universe arose by purely natural and physical processes? Why must the universe obey these laws and always work in a logical way? In the Christian worldview, there is a logical and transcendent Creator and Lawgiver.
II. Uniformity in nature:
The universe continues in a regular, uniform way (e.g. it obeys the Law of non-contradiction in all places at all times). Why? Why should we assume it will continue in a regular way? What determined the universe to remain uniform?
III. Origin of universe:
Most atheists would assert we just don"t know the cause of the universe. But I believe a Creator who "banged" the Big Bang (I assume it happened) is the most logical explanation. The Christian God is eternal and timeless (and the Maker of time), he is spaceless and infinite (and the Maker of space), he is transcendent and immaterial (and the Maker of matter), and he is unbelievably powerful - omnipotent (the one who created the heavens and the earth and all that is within them [Gen. 1:1]). And of course, this can also go back to the first and second argument, as we need a rational explanation for the laws of logic. nature, mathematics, etc. and the uniformity in nature.
IV. Origin of life:
The burden of proof lies on the atheist for abiogenesis. We don"t have a shred of evidence that life can come from non-life. Yet, when we observe life coming into existence, it always* originated from pre-existing life.
V. Complexity of life:
We observe just how marvelous something such as the apple iPhone is. People took probably millions of hours coming up with such an invention. But we look at something as simple as a worm, or lightning bug, or even down to a cell. Lightening bugs are astonishingly more complex than a touch screen phone - layer upon layer of compexity. Or if we observe a "simple" cell, we see how they are not simple at all; they are extraordinarily complex and yet so "fragile" - if one of its functions quit working the entire cell is useless.
VI. DNA:
Indeed, DNA is fascinating; we see how it is an information and language system. It contains immaterial genetic information, wwhich makes us us instead of a giraffe, or a cabbage.
A few broad arguments that we can go more specific into in the later rounds. I"m excited to have a discussion with you.
Debate Round No. 1
Ockham

Con

My opponent makes the following arguments:

1. The universe is bound by the laws of logic, which can best be explained by God.
2. The uniformity of nature can best be explained if we posit the existence of God.
3. The Big Bang can best be explained if we posit God.
4. The origin of life can best be explained if we posit God.
5. The complexity of life can best be explained if we posit God.
6. DNA "is fascinating." (I guess the idea here is, again, that the best explanation is God.)
7. "Objective morality." (Probably he intends to make another explanatory argument here.)

I have two general points, then I'll address each argument specifically.

First General Point: God of the Gaps Reasoning


First, it ought to be obvious that my opponent is really just listing a bunch of things and asserting that God is the explanation for them. He does not explain how any of this supports the claim that God exists.

I mean, I could continue in the same way:

8. My shoes are white with black stripes, which can best be explained by God.
9. Water is wet, which can best be explained by God.
10. Donald Trump wears a toupee, which can best be explained by God.

But clearly, none of these support the existence of God at all. There is no connection between facts 8-10 and the existence of God. My opponent's arguments are no different, except that the facts he cites strike him with a subjective sense of awe or puzzlement, leading him to unjustifiably posit that the explanation for them is God. This is not rational.



Second General Point: Irrelevance to the Divine Attributes


My second general point is that none of his arguments establish that God is omnipotent, omniscient, or perfectly good. You can see that just by looking at his arguments, even before any objections have been made. For example, even if God made DNA, there is no reason why that would require an omnipotent, omniscient, or perfectly good God. A God of finite power, knowledge, and goodness could have done the same thing.

It's worth recalling that the definition of God we are debating is an omnipotent, omnioscient, and perfectly good person. So, as of right now, my opponent has not made any arguments that are relevant to any of the attributes of the being we are debating.



Refuting The Arguments


Now, let's consider each of his arguments in turn.

Regarding 1, all of the laws of logic follow from the law of identity, A is A. The law of identity cannot have an explanation even in principle, because the explanation itself would have to have an identity, which would make it a circular explanation. The law of identity is just where we start.

Regarding 2, the reason nature behaves consistently is that the things in nature have definite identities, and they always act according to these identities. They cannot do otherwise, because that would be a contradiction - they would be acting like something that they are not. For example, paper burns when put in contact with fire due to its identity as paper. A substance that did not burn when put in contact with fire would not be paper.

Regarding 3, I simply see no reason to believe that the Big Bang was caused by God. It could have been caused by any number of things - a prior state of the universe, for example.

Regarding 4, the burden of proof is certainly not on the atheist to prove that abigenesis was not caused by God. The default position obviously isn't to believe that God caused every single thing we observe until we prove that it wasn't caused by God. That is pure God of the gaps reasoning, and there is no warrant for it. [1]

Regarding 5, again, there is simply no connection here. "X is complicated, therefore it was caused by God" is bad reasoning.

Regarding 6, again, there is no connection between God and DNA, and my opponent has not even tried to present one.

Regarding 7, this overlooks the accounts atheists have presented of objective morality in terms of deontology, utility, virtue, and rational self interest. I happen to belong to the rational self interest (or "egoist") group.





Conclusion


In conclusion, my opponent's arguments are all non sequiturs and he has not explained how any of them are relevant to omnipotence, omniscience or perfect goodness.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
Champybeat

Pro

Hello, again.
I. "god of the gaps"
This gentleman begins with the "god of the gaps" argument" First, we need to understand that science does not always close gaps - it often opens them. It is not rational to always dismiss a Creator as the explanation; for we must come to the conclusion whether he is the best and only reasonable explanation we can offer. The laws of logic we know cannot come about by materialisric/naturalistic processes, for they are not physical, yet they exist as he Universe has to obey them. An immaterial, transcendent, logical Creator is a very reasonable explanation, as this logically working universe reflects the logical Creator. Darwin stated we don"t know how life originated, but it *had* to happen by natural processes alone - if we begin thinking life this, naturalistic processes becomes our "god of the gaps"; it"s not scientific to close the doors om God, especially when he is the only explanation offered (e.g. laws of logic and nature).
II. In Christianity, we accept his omnipotence, omnibenovolence, omniscience, etc. because of his work and his word (he created the universe and he himself tells us he is all-powerful,he knows all and so can perfectly judge us, he provides for all creatures as he gives us life, breathe, and everything else).
III. You restated my point concerning the laws of logic. Yes, we assume logic. We can"t discuss without it. But what"s our foundation for these laws? They cannot come about naturally.
IV. Yes course contradictions are impossible. But why is the universe bound to these laws at all times in all places? If the universe came about naturally alone, what determined it to be logical, uniform and orderly?
V. But God is a great explanation for it indeed (as I always stated, explains why we have a uniform and logical working universe). To throw a Creator out is not scientific. If it came from a preexisting universe, we have a "turtles all the way down" problem. With an eternal God, time itself did not exist, as he created it. In Christianity, there is no before or after for God.
VI. I don"t believe in abiogenesis - I believe what we observe (i.e. life from life - God himself is life). We have never observed life from non Life - therefore to claim it"s possible, the burden of proof lies on you.
VII. If you were walking on the beach, and observed some Chinese symbols written on the sand, you would automatically presume intelligence behind it. Now it appears something odd is going on here: the naturalist proclaims life and all its complexities (e.g. the cell depends on all its organelles within it - if one stops working it is useless), arose apart from a Designer. To proclaim a Designer is a silly explanation is naive; indeed, I would proclaim he is the best explanation.
VIII. DNA itself contains immaterial genetic information. This information is what makes bananas bananas, seals seals, and elephants elephants. The DNA is being "read" so to speak, and it is being translated and has a messenger. We also have another problem if we are attempting to explain it naturally: you need DNA to make RNA, you need RNA to make protein, but you also need protein to make DNA.
And so, I assert, with respect, my opponent did not rebuke not even one of my arguments - that is, that God is the most rational explanation for such things.
Debate Round No. 2
Ockham

Con

I'll use the same numbering as my opponent.

1. My opponent's response to my first general point regarding his "God of the gaps" reasoning largely misses my point.

What I said in that section was that my opponent had not demonstrated the slightest bit of relevance of any of his points to the existence of God. This is still perfectly true - my opponent has not shown that there is anything *about* the Big Bang, or DNA, or any of his other arguments, that should lead us to appeal to God as an explanation. The only reason any of these things might suggest the existence of God to us is psychological: they give us a subjective sense of puzzlement.

Again, my opponent is really just listing a bunch of random things and *asserting* that God is the explanation for them. He has never shown that that inference is warranted. (Incidentally, no professional philosopher argues for the existence of God in the way that he does - if you read Aquinas or Swinburne, they put a lot of work into justifying this inference.)

My opponent writes that the laws of logic are immaterial, so they require God an explanation. This makes two mistakes. First, the laws of logic are only our descriptions of the universe, not entities in their own right. Pro has confused the fact that things have identities with the law of identity. Second, even if the laws of logic are immaterial entities, Pro has done nothing to demonstrate the relevance of this to the existence of God. Let's suppose they're immaterial - so what?

2. Pro says that Christians believe God is omnipotent because "he created the universe and he himself tells us he is all-powerful." But God could have created the universe with finite power, and appealing to the Bible is question begging.

Pro says that God is allegedly omniscient "so can perfectly judge us," but it is unclear how this is supposed to serve as an argument in a debate with an atheist. An atheist does not think God will judge us, since atheists do not think God exists.

Pro says God is perfectly good because "he provides for all creatures as he gives us life, breathe, and everything else." But God could do this while having limited goodness. Indeed, the presence of evil in the world is more consistent with a God of finite goodness than with a perfectly good God.

3. I absolutely did not restate Pro's point about the laws of logic. If you refer back to my earlier speech, I proved that there cannot possibly be any explanation or "foundation" for the laws of logic. They have no foundation, natural or supernatural, since any such foundation would have to have an identity in the first place. This refutes Pro's argument.

4. Pro is just repeating himself here rather than addressing my refutation. Nature is uniform because things always act according to their identities. The only way for nature to fail to be uniform would be for something to act contrary to its identity, like paper acting contrary to the nature of paper. This never happens because it would be a contradiction.

5. Pro did not respond to my point that he has not shown how the Big Bang implies God's existence. He did say that we run into an infinite regress without God, but he did not explain what is wrong with positing an infinite temporal regress. There is no contradiction in the idea of an eternal universe with no beginning.

6. Using God to explain the origin of life is unscientific, since it violates methodological naturalism. God has been invoked to explain countless things that were later shown to have rational explanations, like thunder and lightning (Thor), so we ought to assume that there is a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life in the absence of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

7. Pro is correct that we infer a designer when we see Chinese writing, but the reason for this is not that it is complex. The reason is that we have seen human beings write in Chinese before, so we infer that a human wrote it when we come across Chinese. We have never seen a God create a universe.

8. Pro apparently believes that information, such as we find in DNA, is some sort of immaterial substance. That kind of claim would require serious scientific evidence, which we don't have. The rational position is that information is something human minds read into the world, rather than an independently real, immaterial "thing." Pro also provides no reason at all why DNA allegedly containing immaterial information would have anything to do with the existence of God. Again, so what?

My opponent claims that you need DNA for RNA, RNA to make protein, and protein to make DNA. He doesn't provide a scientific source for this claim, but even if it's true, it's an issue for scientists to work out. It is completely unscientific to invoke God to explain DNA, given how many failed theological explanations of this sort there have been.

I conclude that none of Pro's arguments are successful. Vote Con.
Champybeat

Pro

I. We must follow th evidence where it leads: when we observe a logical and orderly universe that is uniform, it is reasonable to presume something logical gave rise to it. If we observe life, it is reasonable to presume life was behind it. If we observe information, we can assume intelligence behind it, etc. If we assert natural processes *has to* to explain such things, natural processes will become our unscientific "god of the gaps".
II. Concerning the laws of logic:
They are not mere descriptions; sure humans have described what we observed and given such things the label "laws". But before humans existed, these laws existed. For example, the sun, before humanity, could not have been a sphere and square at the same time. Why is this? It is because it is illogical. But we must ask ourselves, What determined contradictions to be impossible in the first place? And so, the the immaterial laws of logic stem off of God"s sovereign, logical nature. The logical creation reflects the logical Creator.
III. This good sir seemed to miss my point: he seemed to be asking how we could know he is such things, and the Christian has faith in such things - but the faith is based on evidence (e.g. we have faith in his omnipotence; evidence for this is he created the entirety of the universe; we have faith in God and word, and so accept his perfectly good and sovereign will [and part of this perfect plan is that he will eliminate evil completely when his Son returns, and since God ultimately determines all things, we can trust his plan to be good and perfect [and he plans all things [including the death and resurrection of his Son, so we could put our faith in him and his saving work to receive salvation and forgiveness of our sins] in a way in which he does not sin / how he does this is beyond the creation"s finite, limited mind, as Calvin puts it]).
IV. We can indeed have a foundation! Christians accept a logical Creator, and so we believe this is the explanation of the laws of logic. The naturalist cannot offer any rational doundation, as such laws cannot come about naturally.
V. Referring to the uniformity of nature: yes, contradictions are not possible - we believe this. But why? The Christian ultimately answers: a logical Creator. The naturalist fails to give a foundation for why a universe that came about purely by natural processes has to remain regular and orderly - we all presume uniformity and logic. God explains why the universe is uniform, logical, and regular at all times.
VI. Referring to the beginning, God also explains the fine-tuning of the universe (all physicists generally agree with this [e.g. Stephen Hawking]). An eternal, immaterial, infinite, omnipotent, Designer who has a plan explains our logical, orderly, fine-tuned universe.
VII. Yes, biogenesis contradicts a naturalistic worldview. And? This is what the debate is about. But there are some things that cannot be explained by purely natural processes (laws of nature, physics, logic, life from no life, etc.). The argument remains: the burden of proof lies on the one who accepts abiogenesis happened. Let us not try to fill the gaps with naturalism - this is not science.
VIII. We have observed information. DNA is infinitely more complex than one Chinese symbol. Let us not close the doors on God because he contradicts a philosophy which states everything that exists ultimately must be material.
IX. In the Christian worldview, God has created weather, th human body, etc. to function properly; we do not associate such things happening because of a "god of weather" or a "god of blood". On the contrary, we believe in a God who created such things to happen in the first place. It"s not as easy to explain the origin of life naturally as it is to explain how life works. Is there evidence that the materialistic worldview can explain such things like the immaterial (e.g. laws of logic), or if it can explain immaterial (and extremely complex) DNA, or cells and their numerous functions? No, the evidence is against such an idea.
I would still hold that all my arguments are best explained by an immaterial, transcendent Creator God - the God of Christianity. Naturalism fails to account for the immaterial laws of logic and nature, order and uniformity, and immaterial genetic information. It fails to explain the fine tuning of the universe. It fails to explain life from non life (and I would state the evidence is against this idea).
And I would invite my opponent to consider putting his faith in the Christ, who died to save us from our sins and was raised to life three days later to prove that faith in him and his saving work will save us from our sins - we can enjoy God as our ultimate satisfaction, bringing glory to him, now and forever. We also have eternal life - saved from the eternal damnation we deserve for our sin against our Creator.
I thank my opponent for the debate - very much enjoyed it.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by KwLm 1 month ago
KwLm
@Debating_Horse, from what I see, you have a completely valid reason for your vote.
I would appeal whiteflames rediculous reasoning for getting rid of the vote.
And re-asses what ever system allowed whiteflame to be a moderator.
Posted by Debating_Horse 1 month ago
Debating_Horse
+whiteflame Oh! Ha I wasn't aware that my voting would have to be like that! Sorry!
Posted by whiteflame 1 month ago
whiteflame
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: Debating_Horse// Mod action: Removed<

5 points to Con (Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Through my viewing of the debate, i state that the con person ( Ockham) had better arguments than the pro person (Champybeat) The pro person has failed to present good arguments for the existence for a god, the con person had better arguments refuting the pro's arguments.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The voter does not explain sources. (2) Arguments are insufficiently explained. The voter is required to specifically assess arguments made by both sides. Generalizing about what one side failed to do and the strength of the other side"s refutation is not sufficient.
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Posted by Debating_Horse 1 month ago
Debating_Horse
+ Jay1980 A film cannot prove that God exists. Stop using non-credible sources.
Posted by Ockham 1 month ago
Ockham
Good debate!
Posted by Ockham 1 month ago
Ockham
I apologize for the spacing in my last post. The text editor was acting weird.
Posted by Jay1980 1 month ago
Jay1980
Yes he does. Go see God's not dead 1-2 great movie
Posted by Jay1980 1 month ago
Jay1980
Yes he does. Go see God's not dead 1-2 great movie
Posted by Ockham 1 month ago
Ockham
KwLm, I haven't noticed a problem with theists using metaphors or analogies, personally. If it starts becoming a problem then I'll add that condition to future debates.
Posted by KwLm 1 month ago
KwLm
Should have added in, No metaphors or analogies, theists love to use analogies when they can't say anything else.
No votes have been placed for this debate.