The Instigator
Philocat
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
Soul.Purge
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

God exists

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Philocat
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/26/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 499 times Debate No: 65879
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

Philocat

Pro

I am arguing that God's existence can be proved inductively.

First round is for acceptance, please only accept if you wish to have a rational, measured debate.

God = An omnipotent, omniscient and transcendent being that created the universe.
Soul.Purge

Con

Thank you for this. Debate accepted.
Debate Round No. 1
Philocat

Pro

My arguments for the existence of God are all variants of the general theistic arguments, with my spin on them.

Argument 1

Contingent: existing only if (certain circumstances) are the case; dependent on
Non-contingent: existing irrespective of any other conditions
Universe: all existing matter and space considered as a whole

Every physical thing in the universe we observe to be contingent; every single physical thing exists because certain circumstances have arisen. For example, human life is contingent on our beneficial proximity to the sun, the sun is contingent on the forces of gravity having exactly the right magnitude etc..
Therefore, every physical thing is contingent.
As the universe is simply a name for all the physical things, it makes sense that the universe is contingent. As an analogy, if an society is entirely made up of Belgians, the society as a whole will be Belgian. Simply amassing all things that have one property (contingency) does not make the whole have a completely opposite property (non-contingency).
Therefore, the universe is contingent.
This cannot go back to infinity; there must be some being that is non-contingent that is the source of everything's existence.
This being cannot be a physical being because all physical beings are contingent, therefore it must be transcendent. This is God.

Argument 2

The universe came into being. (1) Everything that comes into being requires a cause for doing so; therefore the universe required a cause. This cause cannot be something from within the universe as this would mean that it would have to create itself in order to create itself (a paradox). Consequently, the universe must have a cause that is outside the universe (transcendent). It is then not unreasonable to say that this transcendent creator is God.

Argument 3

The universe is massively complex and the higher the complexity of an object the lower the probability of it occurring simply by chance. As the universe is so hugely complex the probability of it occurring by chance is hugely minuscule. Out of the multiple explanations for the universe"s existence (chance or God) it is rational ceteris paribus to take the more probable explanation. As the probability of a God existing (asserted by arguments 1 and 2) is high, his existence is inductively proved.

Argument 4

God can be defined as "that which nothing greater can be conceived". I can conceive of a God in my mind but a God that exists in reality is greater than a God that only exists in my mind. Therefore God must exist in reality otherwise he wouldn't be "that which nothing greater can be conceived".
God is perfect in every aspect. Existence is an aspect, and so he must have perfect existence. Existence is more perfect than lack of existence so God must have the property of existence. Therefore God exists.

These arguments may not provide conclusive proof of God's existence on their own, but these multiple avenues of logic and reason can combine to prove that an existing God is highly probable.

(1) http://science.nasa.gov...
Soul.Purge

Con

Argument 1
'Every physical thing in the universe we observe to be contingent;'
'Contingent: existing only if (certain circumstances) are the case; dependent on'
Quantum fluctuation? What does quantum fluctuation depend on and what circumstances must be the case for it to exist? Explain or I will have to reject your first argument.

Argument 2
'Everything that comes into being requires a cause for doing so'
Again, except quantum physics. What is the cause for virtual particles? This is basically same argument.

Argument 3
'the higher the complexity of an object the lower the probability of it occurring simply by chance.'
yes, and the larger the universe is, the higher the possibility of such events taking place. Example: quantum tunneling. Chance of individual particle to get through a barrier is close to zero, but since there are so many particles in the sun, it happens every second. Whole your argument is based on assumption that only one single attempt is being made, which is wrong.

Argument 4
'God can be defined as "that which nothing greater can be conceived"
Ok, fair enough.

'God that exists in reality is greater than a God that only exists in my mind'
...thats only if you already assume that there is a god who exists in reality and that such god fits with your definition of it. This does not suggest that god actually exists. God that exists in your mind might be the only god out there.

'Therefore God must exist in reality otherwise he wouldn't be "that which nothing greater can be conceived".
God must exist in reality because you defined it as 'that which nothing greater can be conceived? Like I said, you are, from the very start, assuming that god exists. You are supposed to provide arguments which lead to such conclusion. You, on other hand, are basically saying 'if god exists then he exists'. All your arguments come out of assumption that god already exists, while ignoring that this is exactly what needs to be proven, not asserted.
Debate Round No. 2
Philocat

Pro

I thank you for a considered response, I will now address your attempts at refutations.

You cite quantum fluctuation as evidence of non-contingent matter. However, quantum fluctuation is contingent on the existence of the universe; to disagree would be to suggest that quantum fluctuations take place outside the universe. This is absurd as quantum fluctuations involve matter, which by definition cannot exist outside the universe. Argument 1 would be invalid if a physical thing was found to be non-contingent, yet none has been highlighted so far so the argument stands.

To counter argument 2, you postulate about virtual particles. However it is debatable as to whether they actually exist. But for the sake of this argument I will be generous and assume that they are. The crucial thing is that virtual particles DO have a cause for their existence. Firstly, they can only occur when either in an electric or magnetic field (hence the presence of a field being a cause for virtual particles). Secondly, they are caused by other particles that do exist (1).
To summarise, argument 2 is not refuted because the example that you present is not causeless.

You make a good rebuttal to argument 3, although I do not believe it falsifies it altogether. This is because the cosmological evidence heavily suggests that all the fundamental particles, laws and mechanics of the universe WERE created in a single attempt (at the Big Bang). These laws are constant and have been constant throughout the universe's history which avoids your point that any improbable thing can be possible if repeated enough; the evidence suggests that they were not repeated many times. Your rebuttal would only apply if there is a multiverse and ours was the one out of billions that are stable. However, multiverse theories have no scientific evidence and are little more than speculation. It certainly isn't a more sensible explanation than a transcendent creator.

In regards to your attempted rebuttal of argument 4, you seem to have misunderstood the argument. You seem to think that I am begging the question by taking the false axiom (in the context of this debate) that God exists. I am not doing this, the only premise I am taking is that God is defined as a perfect being. This is in no way assuming that he exists, otherwise atheists would not accept this definition (although they do).
However this definition can be used to prove that God exists, because a perfect being must necessarily be perfect in all aspects. Existence is an aspect so a perfect being must have perfect existence. Perfect existence = existence in reality.
Therefore, by definition, a perfect being must exist. It cannot not exist.

(1)http://profmattstrassler.com...
Soul.Purge

Con

Argument 1
Ok, fair enough. You said, basically, that every thing in universe has a cause. You simply switched 'cause' for 'contingent'.
I pointed out that quantum fluctuations have no apparent cause, to which you replied that universe is its cause. Well yeah, that is technically correct. Everything that exists has one cause-universe. My problem is that this is too broad explanation. Thats like saying -'why things burn?' -'well because universe caused them to burn'. -'Why things attract each other?' -'well because universe caused them to attract'. You could reply like this to all questions, but, with all my respect, such answers seem ridiculous to me. You are not explaining what, in said universe, make things to burn or to attract each other. If you could provide me with specific cause for quantum fluctuations, I would agree that everything (as far as we know) has a cause. As far as my little knowledge in physics goes, scientists still dont know what is cause for quantum fluctuations, therefore you cant say that everything must have cause.

Argument 2
Thank you for granting me that virtual particles do exist.
'Firstly, they can only occur when either in an electric or magnetic field '
Yes, and fire can only occur in presence of oxygen, but oxygen is not cause for fire. Sound can occur only in presence of some sort of medium, like air, but this medium is not cause for sound-your vocal cords are. You are mixing 'cause' with 'requirement'. The fact that particles pop into existence only in magnetic or electric field, does not lead to conclusion that this electromagnetic field is a cause rather than requirement.

' they are caused by other particles that do exist'
Virtual particles pop into existence in vacum, where no other observable particles exist. While my knowledge of this is too poor to say that they do not pop into existence in environment where other particles are present, I still know for a fact that virtual particles do pop into existence in vacum, where no other particles are present, therefore other particles cannot be cause for virtual ones.

Argument 3
'Your rebuttal would only apply if there is a multiverse and ours was the one out of billions'
So when you said that the more complex structure is the less likely it is for it to occur all on its own, you were not referring to planets and life but to universe? Our universe is so large, so that it is bound that some planets will be in exact position, subjects of exact conditions for life to be possible. If you, on other hand, claim that universe itself is so complex so that it simply could not exist all on its own, I will counter that by saying that universe is necessary product of laws of physics. Provided thats laws A,B,C,D,E,etc. exist, universe simply must exist. Now if you attempt to argue about why those laws and constants are exactly like they are, then I will have nothing to offer. Noone knows why speed of light is exactly like this and not different. This only means that we do not know. From 'not known' you cannot logically conclude that 'god therefore exists'. That would be simply 'god of gaps fallacy'

And yes, while its true that laws were created in big bang, these laws themselves break down at singularity. None of those laws can explain what exactly happens at singularity. This must be taken into consideration when talking about singularity.

Argument 4
Now this is where it gets interesting.

'However this definition can be used to prove that God exists, because a perfect being must necessarily be perfect in all aspects.'
Unless this perfect being doesnt exist. If perfect being would exist, then it would be perfect (hence the name 'perfect being'). But if this perfect being doesnt exist, then it simply doesnt. You are assuming from start that this perfect being exists and so, if you are correct, then it is a perfect being and therefore must exist. The very idea that such being does exist is what needs to be proven.

'Existence is an aspect so a perfect being must have perfect existence. Perfect existence = existence in reality.'
Yes, but again, thats only assuming that perfect being does exist. If perfect being doesnt exist, then it cant have perfect existence, because it doesnt exist. You are, again, assuming before-hand that god exists.

'Therefore, by definition, a perfect being must exist. It cannot not exist.'
Unless it doesnt exist. In which case it simply doesnt.

I am sorry for my previous reply, where I asserted that your argument will be rejected by me. It is not my place to accept or reject your arguments. I can only reply/answer to them. It is up for voters to accept/reject arguments and evaluate us. Apologies for all the disconvenience.
Debate Round No. 3
Philocat

Pro

This is a very interesting debate, I congratulate you for such a rare competent defence of atheism.

In regards to argument 1, I agree that causation and contingency are similar, however there is a subtle difference as contingent implies a constant sustenance of contingent items. This argument can therefore argue for a God that is actively involved in the Universe and not a God that is no longer involved in this universe.

You make a valid point that it seems somewhat unsatisfying to answer fundamental physical phenomena such as gravitational attraction with 'the universe caused them to be so'. However, you cannot deny that the existence of the universe DID cause these fundamentals to exist no matter how unsatisfying it sounds. Nonetheless, such a response can only apply to things that are fundamental laws in the universe, this is because these are not caused by individual things in the universe and so cannot be explained on more specific levels.
For example, if I am asked:
'Why are plants green?'
It would be silly to respond:
"The universe caused them to be green'
This is because there are more specific explanations for the question, namely that plants contain chlorophyll that reflects green light. It would be unhelpful to answer on a big-picture scale.
Nevertheless, in regards to fundamental physical phenomena such as quantum fluctuations, they do have a cause insofar as they require a vacuum, actual space-time, to occur within. The whole principle of the universe that it contains all space-time and it is definitively impossible to have space-time outside the universe. So I would simply state that the existence of vacuum is the cause of quantum fluctuation.
Therefore the credibility of my argument is maintained, as even the atheist's favourite example of quantum fluctuation does actually have a cause, or at worst a reason for its existence.

'Yes, and fire can only occur in presence of oxygen, but oxygen is not cause for fire. Sound can occur only in presence of some sort of medium, like air, but this medium is not cause for sound-your vocal cords are. You are mixing 'cause' with 'requirement'. The fact that particles pop into existence only in magnetic or electric field, does not lead to conclusion that this electromagnetic field is a cause rather than requirement.'

I disagree, a cause can be something that provides the reason for certain phenomena. Oxygen is ONE cause for fire, but it is not the only cause. I think this disparity in reasoning between us is because we take 'cause' to mean different things.
Either way, I could easily replace the word 'cause' in argument 2 with 'requirement' and my argument would still be a valid argument for God's existence. Disputes over my correct use of 'cause' do not derail my argument.

In response to your rebuttal for argument 3, I think I should have made it clear that I wasn't really referring to planets and life because you can just play the evolution card or postulate that the universe is so large that an earth-like planet would most likely exist somewhere. However, you say that the universe is a necessary product of the laws of physics. Are you saying here that the laws of physics caused the universe to exist? This is an absurdity as the laws of physics are within the universe so they would have had to cause themselves, which is a paradox. I am arguing that the probability of a stable, life-permitting universe like our own is so infinitesimal that it is unreasonable to suggest that it came about by chance. An example would be that the weak nuclear force had to have a very specific strength in order to allow life to come about anywhere in the universe because heavier elements than hydrogen would not form. The strength of the weak nuclear force has been constant everywhere in the universe since the big bang (1) which means that the strength of the weak nuclear force was determined at a single point in time, thus the probability of it having the exact required strength is minuscule.

"Unless this perfect being doesn't exist. If perfect being would exist, then it would be perfect (hence the name 'perfect being'). But if this perfect being doesnt exist, then it simply doesnt. You are assuming from start that this perfect being exists and so, if you are correct, then it is a perfect being and therefore must exist. The very idea that such being does exist is what needs to be proven."

The crucial thing is that a perfect being MUST exist by definition. It is a contradiction to say that a perfect being does not exist, as existence is a necessarily attribute of a perfect being. Saying that a perfect being does not necessarily exist is akin to saying that bachelors are not necessarily unmarried.
So when you say 'But if this perfect being doesnt exist, then it simply doesnt', you are postulating a logical impossibility.
I believe your issue with argument is that I seem to assume that a perfect being exists. However, this is not the case. My single starting point is that I can conceive, in my mind, a perfect being. From here, I can use logic to prove that this conception of a perfect being exists in reality.

"If perfect being doesnt exist, then it cant have perfect existence, because it doesnt exist."

Then it would not be a perfect being then; a perfect being HAS to exist by analytic logic.
You keep mentioning that a perfect being could not exist, but then would not be a perfect being.
Thus saying that a perfect being does not exist is a contradiction.

Looking forward to your reply!

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org... (apologies for the wikipedia source)
Soul.Purge

Con

Soul.Purge forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Philocat

Pro

My opponent has forfeited. I extend the debate.
Soul.Purge

Con

Soul.Purge forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Soul.Purge 2 years ago
Soul.Purge
This is amazing. Cant wait for next round :)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
PhilocatSoul.PurgeTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ff several times, so conduct to Pro. Pro's arguments about particles requiring a vacuum was convincing, do Con failed to refute Pros positions, so argument to Pro. Only Pro had sources
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
PhilocatSoul.PurgeTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture