The Instigator
Con (against)
3 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

God in nature (intelligent design) [Version 2]

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/2/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 901 times Debate No: 39838
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
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Welcome, everyone!

Motion: God exists in nature

First, allow me to clarify the motion. By "God exists in nature" I mean the following: "Through observation and reason, we can conclude the existence of a god as the best explanation for certain - if not all - aspects in nature." This means no ontological arguments, people! I've been observing (haha...) them recently in the forums and don't wish to debate them now. What do I mean by God? I simply mean an intelligent designer that is unknown to us. (So, Pro could argue for aliens, I suppose).

I, as Con, will be arguing against the existence of God in nature. However, the burden of proof will lie on Pro here; proving God impossible and/or non-existent is not a burden I carry.

Pro's burden of proof is: To show that God is the best explanation for certain - if not all - aspects in nature.
Con's burden is: To undermine and/or refute Con's argument(s).

The rules are as follows:

1) Pro must give the opening case in round one. In round four, Pro must put, and only put, "No round posted here as agreed."
2) A forfeit of a round is a forfeit of conduct; a forfeit of a round is only a forfeit of conduct.
3) There can be no "Vote Pro" or "Vote Con" at the end of the debate unless one of the debaters conceded the debate.
4) Sources are considered accurate unless they are proven otherwise.

That's all for now! If anyone has any question, please post a comment! Good luck to all! Allez!

[Please note this is the second version of this debate; this debate is not a glitch.]



Hi! I look forward to this debate.
Obviously my arguments are going to be relatively typical arguments for God's existence, but I will try my best!

I will present 3 arguments - of which, if true, will prove that God is the best explanation for nature.


1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2) The universe began to exist
3) Therefore the universe has a cause.

This cause - bringing time and space into existence, has to be: timeless, immaterial, changeless, personal and hugely powerful. So what fits into this criteria? Well, there are only 2 options - Abstract Objects (So numbers, or Laws), or an unembodied mind or conscience (i.e 'God').
Since Abstract Objects cannot cause anything, by deductive reasoning the cause of the universe is an unembodied mind.


What reasons do we have to think that Premise 1 is correct? Well, I think we can identify 3 main reasons:

- Something cannot come from nothing - the golden rule of Metaphysics. 'Out of nothing, nothing comes'.

- If something can come from nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why everything and anything comes into being from nothing.

- Common experience and scientific evidence confirm it. All around us, we see things beginning to exist and all of them have a cause, whether it is efficient or material. This is always verified and never falsified, and appeals to inductive reasoning.


What about premise 2? We can prove premise 2 for two main reasons:

- The Big-Bang; By far the most accepted model about how the universe began is the Big Bang theorem. We are all familiar with this - the universe expanded from a singularity a finite time ago.
The biggest progress concerning the beginning of the universe was established in 2003, when three leading cosmologists: Arvin Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin, were able to prove that any universe which has on average been expanding throughout its history, cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary. In other words, the universe began to exist.

- An actual infinity is an impossibility. To give an analogy from William Lane Craig, say I have an infinity number of coins, numbered 1,2,3 etc. up to infinity. If i took away all the even numbered coins, i would be left with all the odd numbered coins, so infinty. Infinity ~ infinity = infinity. Now if i took away all the coins numbered greater than five. I would then be left with 5 coins. So infinity ~ infinity = 5. This is contradictory, as if i take the same value away from infinity, it comes up with different results. This is merely an example of the absurdity of an infinite past.


Therefore the conclusion follows inescapably.


1) If God does not exist, then Objective Moral Values and Duties do not exist
2) Objective Moral Values and Duties do exist
3) Therefore God exists


If God does not exist, there is no transcendent source for moral values and duties. So if God does not exist, morals are subjective: No moral action is fundamentally better or worse than another. Similarly if God exists, morals are objective - God is the source of morals, and moral actions are good or bad according to his standards. If Objective Moral Values and Duties do exist, it would state that helping a homeless man is better as a moral action than say, child abuse.


How do we know morals are objective? Well, through personal experience. When we see an animal, we know that petting it would be morally better than attacking it. Equally, when we see a child, we know that talking in a friendly manner to it is morally better than assaulting it. I don't think that anybody who isn't a sociopath can deny that morals are objective.


The conclusion follows logically and necessarily.


For this argument, I am going to state three historical facts concerning Jesus of Nazareth.

Fact 1: On the Sunday after his crucifixion, Jesus" tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers. Jacob Kremer, a New Testament historian has stated: "By far most scholars hold firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements about the empty tomb."

Fact 2: On separate occasions, different individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death. According to New Testament critic Gerd L"demann, "It may be taken as historically certain that . . . the disciples had experiences after Jesus" death in which Jesus appeared to them as the Risen Christ."

Fact 3: The original disciples suddenly came to believe in the resurrection of Jesus despite having every predisposition to the contrary. N. T. Wright, an eminent New Testament scholar, said: "That is why, as a historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him."

So why are these facts reliable? Why didn't the original witnesses 'make them up'?
Well, put simply, they had every disposition to the contrary.

Fact 1: Here, we need to look at the context of Jewish culture at that time. The witness of women was almost completely disregarded by the Jews - they weren't even allowed to present their witness in a court of law. So we can quite confidently say that this is unbiased as a source.

Fact 2: These appearances of Jesus were witnessed not only by believers, but also by unbelievers and skeptics, who would be more than ready to explain away the appearances. Imagine if Jesus appeared to Richard Dawkins - he would never believe what he was seeing and so the witness of the skeptics is considered reliable.

Fact 3: Again, we need to look at Jewish culture. In a Jewish culture where the Concept of Jesus as Messiah was very controversial, the disciples had every reason to disregard what they saw. But they didn't - and the explosion of the early Church is evidence of their sudden belief that Jesus was the Son of God. And we can see the consequences these Christians faced for believing - they suffered decades; even centuries of severe persecution. To disregard their beliefs was an easy route, but they knew the truth and stayed true to their beliefs.

Naturalists have attempted to explain away these facts, but their theorems, such as the disciples stole the body or Jesus wasn"t really dead, have been universally rejected by contemporary historical scholarship
In other words, there are no competent naturalistic explanation for these facts. But here's the thing - the BEST explaination for these facts is that Jesus was who he said he was. And therefore it follows that God exists.

We can set this out in an argument:

1. There are three established facts about Jesus: his empty tomb, his post-mortem appearances, and the origin of the disciples" belief in his resurrection.

2. The hypothesis "God raised Jesus from the dead" is the best explanation of these facts.

3. The hypothesis "God raised Jesus from the dead" entails that God exists.

4. Therefore, God exists.


I hope that I have firmly established that, following the arguments I have presented - from the cause of the universe, to our sense of morality to the explanation of the miracles of Jesus of Nazareth, it can be concluded that God does indeed exist in Nature.

Alan Guth: The Inflationary Universe
J.P Moreland with Dr. William Lane Craig: Philosophical foundations for a Christian worldview
Jacob Kremer, Die Osterevangelien--Geschichten um Geschichte
Gerd L"demann, What Really Happened to Jesus?
N. T. Wright, "The New Unimproved Jesus," Christianity Today
Debate: Dr William Lane Craig vs Lawrence Krausse
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to Pro for accepting this debate today! I wish him the best of luck!

Pro makes three arguments for God's existence:

1) A Cosmological Argument[1] - by looking at the nature of the cosmos
2) The Moral argument - by looking at morals we find in nature
3) The Resurrection Argument*

*I am not sure how this is an argument that entirely relates to "aspects of nature", and I would ask Pro to clarify how this is so. I will not use this as a cop-out and will still undermine it; I merely ask for clarification.

I will start with my rebuttals:

1) A Cosmological Argument that Pro lays out in the following way:

"1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2) The universe began to exist
3) Therefore the universe has a cause."

Now, I would like to clarify what I mean by sound, true, and valid arguments. A sound argument is when the conclusion follows logically from the premise(s). A true argument is when the premise(s) are correct. For an argument to be successful; it has to be valid, which is when an argument is both sound and true. ((I understand people use sound in particular to mean different things, so I thought it was best to clarify.))

While I concede that this argument is sound; I contend that this argument is false. My issue lies with premise one:

"Everything that begins to exist has a cause [of its existence]."

This is actually not true. Recently, there have been a series of discoveries made by physicists which have coined the term "virtual particles"[2]. These particles (a.k.a. quantum fluctuations) appear to have no cause whatsoever and pop into and out of existence all the time when in something called a vacuum state![3] Therefore, we have not only shown the first premise to be false, but have also (apparently) disproven the "Golden Rule of Metaphysics". Since the first premise is false, we have to remove it from the argument, leaving us with:
"1) The universe began to exist
2) Therefore the universe has a cause." But this commits a non-sequitur fallacy[4] and makes the argument refuted.

My opponent's second argument is the moral argument and he presents it as such:

"1) If God does not exist, then Objective Moral Values and Duties do not exist
2) Objective Moral Values and Duties do exist
3) Therefore God exists"

Allow me to present this argument in another way that [I hope] isn't straw manning.

1) God does not exist
2) Since God does not exist, objective moral values and duties don't exist.
3) But objective moral values do exist.
C) Therefore, God exists.

((It doesn't make a difference but I prefer reductio ad absurdium reasoning.))

First, let me clean up what "objective morality" actually is. Objective morality is: "the idea that a certain system of ethics or set of moral judgments is not just true according to a person's subjective opinion, but factually true."[5]

Now that we have that out of the way, let's look at the premises.

(Since this is reductio ad absurdium reasoning, we have to accept the first premise for us to get anywhere, because it tries to prove the opposite by using it.) The second has an implication that God is the external source of morality apart from us humans. But all we need do to demonstrate the lack of validity in this is to back up a level. Where does God get his morals from?

This is called the Euthyphro Dilemma[6] and can be summed up as follows:
"Does God command things because they are moral; or are moral things moral because God commands them?"

If the first is true, then the concept of God is refuted right here and now, because God isn't the moral lawgiver after all but follows the morals of a higher power. However, God being maximally great by definition, this is impossible. So we go to the second: "Things are moral because God commands them". If this is true, then morality is subjective after all; God's subjectiveness of what he thinks right morals are determine our morals. But, since morality is subjective after all, the third premise is refuted and the argument collapses. My opponent has to solve this dilemma or the argument fails.

My opponent gives his last argument; the argument from the resurrection. This isn't set out formally, per se (until the end), but is given in the form of three facts:

"Fact 1: On the Sunday after his crucifixion, Jesus" tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers. Jacob Kremer, a New Testament historian has stated: "By far most scholars hold firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements about the empty tomb.""
This seems to be an argumentum ad populum; a.k.a. an appeal to/argument from popularity.[7] The reasoning of: "The majority attest that it is correct, therefore, it is correct." Faulty logic. I would ask my opponent to respond to this.

However, let's give my opponent the benefit of the doubt and assume that the tomb was found empty. What appears to be more likely: "The body was taken, or a man rose from the dead"? The naturalistic explanation will take the priority and there are a host of reasons why this could have happened:

i) The Jews stole the body - motivations include revenge and a concept of duty
ii) The Romans stole the body - precaution
iii) The body was never placed into the tomb - no external source gives evidence that the body was ever in the tomb

My opponent says these are disproven. I will accept that and concede it when I see it disproved; but my opponent hasn't done so yet.

""Fact 2: On separate occasions, different individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death. According to New Testament critic Gerd L"demann, "It may be taken as historically certain that . . . the disciples had experiences after Jesus" death in which Jesus appeared to them as the Risen Christ.""
Again, there is no proof given for this, but is instead an argumentum ab auctoritate[8] (appeal to/argument from authority) and states that since this person (who is acting as the authority) has reached this conclusion it must be true. This is illogical.

Again, though, let's give my opponent the benefit of the doubt and attest that this was claimed by all the followers. The human mind is very accepting of things they want to see. When everyone reports it, it can become something called mass hysteria[9], and many examples have been seen.[10] Likely, these events were such examples.

"Fact 3: The original disciples suddenly came to believe in the resurrection of Jesus despite having every predisposition to the contrary. N. T. Wright, an eminent New Testament scholar, said: "That is why, as a historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him.""
The third "fact" is the most interesting to ponder. However, we seem to be teetering on the edge of "because they say it is; it is" argument here. I would, for the third time, ask for proof instead of quotes.

Granting the benefit of the doubt, it is plausible that the mass hysteria effect was seen.

Please note that, while I granted the benefit of the doubt, I will dismiss these claims next round unless evidence is provided. Quotes are, unfortunately, not enough to back up a claim and declare it a fact. Thanks in advance!


Pro has given some interesting arguments for God in nature (apart from maybe the last one, which I asked him to clarify), but I have refuted two of them and undermined the last one. I thank my opponent thus far and eagerly await his response(s). {Maybe I'll get a concession! :O }.

See you next round!





Hi! Sorry for the late reply, I had a lot to do today!

To clarify on the Miracle Argument. Essentially, judging from the historical facts as confirmed In the Gospels, the best explanation for these events (in nature) is that God raised Jesus from the dead - therefore God exists. Does that help? Anyway, on with the debate.


My opponent's objection is centred around this premise - he asserts that actually certain Quantum Events have no cause - and therefore the premise 'everything that begins to exist has a cause' is disproven.
However, this is entirely misguided - 'virtual particles' do not actually come into existence spontaneously from 'nothing'. Instead, the ENERGY contained within the vacuum fluctuates spontaneously, which converts into 'evanescent' particles that return back to the vacuum nearly immediately.
The structure of the quantum vacuum (where the fluctuations occur) is a 'sea' of forming and dissolving particles that take the energy from the actual vacuum for their existence. Therefore a quantum vacuum certainly not 'nothing', and therefore vacuum fluctuations do not constitute an exception to Premise 1.
Moreover, this 'quantum theory' is entirely irrelevant in terms of the fact that everything that exists must have a cause - eventually, there has to be a cause that brought about the conditions in which an event operates.
So we can say that the premise:
"There are some uncaused beginnings of existence within space-time"
Has no relation to and does not disprove the premise:
"The beginning of the existence of space-time itself has a cause"

Also, even if we grant this point - we can re-arrange the Cosmological argument to say this:
1) Ifthe universe began to exist, then the universe has a cause (as established earlier)
2) The universe began to exist
3) Therefore the universe has a cause

The rest of my argument then follows.
We can now exclude Quantum Events as the cause of the universe and therefore re-arrange the argument is because the cause of the universe has to be - as deduced earlier - changeless, timeless, immaterial, personal and hugely powerful. A Quantum Fluctuation is none of these things and therefore can be dismissed as the cause of he universe.

So I can quite confidently say that we can keep Premise 1 and so no fallacy is committed.


Ok I will allow this version of the argument for the sake of the debate :)
My opponent's main objection is the Euthyphro Dilemma. And I have to say, I agree with what he says.
However, I would say that neither of these possibilities are true in relation to God. Rather, I would say that moral actions are good because they comply with God's nature. God commands things because HE is good. So in other words, considering God is the greatest possible being, moral truths are not contingent but necessary in all possible worlds, and so from a theistic point of view, we can say that God grounds these values in all possible worlds.
Moreover, we can say that because of this, God is essentially good. To say that some property is essential to God is to say that there is no possible world in which God could have existed and lacked that property.
I hope this answers your dilemma.
We are wandering dangerously close to Ontological arguments but I think we can give some leeway :)


I have to say that I concede that I probably should have given a little more evidence the facts are sound beyond merely quotes!
I will respond to each fact in order - stating why they are true and then stating why my opponent's rebuttals are wrong.

Fact 1:
My opponent says that I am appealing to popularity. It might have come across that way in the argument, but the reason why the majority of scholars believe this Is because there is indeed good evidence, of which I will present a few arguments. In these arguments, it is extremely important to disregard any prejudices against the historicacy and reliability of the Gospels. That, I think, would be a whole new debate (of which I would happily accept!)

So what reasons do we have for the historical accuracy of the empty tomb? I will show 3 reasons - of which, if there had not been an empty tomb, would never have happened. So, if Jesus had not risen:

1 ~ The disciples could never have believed in Jesus' resurrection.
In the context of 1st Century Judaism, the idea that a man could have raised from the dead while his body remained would have been considered simply impossible - it goes completely against their beliefs. So the disciples could have ONLY have believed in Jesus' Ressurection (as we know they did from Paul's letters) were the tomb empty.

2 ~ The disciples would not have got any following.
If the body were found placed in the tomb, a movement based on the resurrection would have been foolish.

3 ~ The Jewish authorities would have exposed the affair.
By far the easiest way to refute any claim of a resurrection by the Christians, would be for the Jews to point out Jesus' grave on the hillside.

So what sources do we have for the evidence of the empty tomb?
- Mentioned in the Pre-Markan Source which Mark used for his passion account.
- Mentioned by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (15:4)
- The Account complies with archeological evidence concerning the location and type of Jesus' tomb.
- The story lacks any evidence of mythical development

I know it seems awfully typically Christian and unscholarly to merely quote Bible scriptures, but the simple fact is that these are reliable primary sources for the life of Jesus - Paul knew him for goodness sake!

I hope these evidences are sufficient for my opponent - if he wishes I could provide additional arguments :)

So why are the examples Con gave not sufficient?
i) If the Jews stole the body - why would they not reveal it to the Christians to disregard their belief? The Christian belief is very un-Jewish; they would have gone to great lengths to disregard their beliefs.
ii) What sort of precaution is Con referring to? If he could elaborate that would be swell.
iii) I think I have given enough reasons why we can soundly say that the body was placed in the tomb.

Fact 2:
Let's give some evidences:
1 ~ The list of eyewitnesses to Jesus" resurrection appearances is quoted by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (15:5-7. This essentially guarantees that these appearances occurred. These included appearances to Peter (Cephas), the Twelve, the 500 brethren, and James. Paul announced the witnesses to the Corinthians so anybody willing could go and talk to them in person about it.

2 ~ Certain appearances have identifying characteristics of historicity. For instance, none of Jesus' brothers believed in him during his lifetime. Why would the early churchgmail up stories about the unbelief of Jesus" family had they been faithful followers all along? It is indisputable that Jesus' brothers became Christian believers following Jesus" death. James was an apostle and rose to the position of leadership of the Jerusalem church. According to Josephus, James was martyred for his faith in Christ in the late AD 60s. So the APPEARENCE to James in particular is certainly a historical fact.

What about my opponent's explanation?
It is very important to bear in mind that these appearances were not only to his followers - but to Jews and unbelievers also. People who knew him - but also to people who did not know him (remember the 500?). Of course there were people who 'wanted' to see him, but there are also testimonies from people who had never even heard of him, so I don't think that mass hysteria is a sufficient explaination for the sightings (nor does it explain the empty tomb). And considering that these people had every reason to think that they WERE NOT seeing the risen Jesus - it went against every Jewish belief there is - I think we can rationally say that these were real sightings.

Fact 3:
I think we just need to look at the simple 'explosion' of the Christian Church In the 1st century to realise this fact is true - as well as the witness' Testamonies as revealed by Paul. Again, I reiterate how contrary to Jewish belief this is - they would have had every reason to not believe what they saw - yet they believed. The horrible persecution of the Christians also indicates just how sincerely they believed - Peter was crucified upside down for his beliefs, and thousands were persecuted and killed for there beliefs.
We don't only need to look at WHAT they believed - we also need to look at their sincerity and the price they were willing to pay for believing.

I'm sorry this is so long but there was a lot to explain! I think that my opponent's criticisms for my arguments are not sufficient in reffuting my arguments - and I guess I 'concede' that I maybe should have given some more evidence for my Argument from Miracles! :)

N.T Wright: The Resurrection of The Son of God
J.P Moreland/William Lane Craig: Philisophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview
Dr William Lane Craig - Historical Jesus: A Scholarly Artical
Jacob Kremer: Die Osterevangelien - Geschichten um Geschichte
Debate Round No. 2


Thanks to Pro for his post; I'll respond.

(1) Clarification of Pro's argument from the resurrection
(a) I'll accept that reasoning. Let us continue with it, then!

(2) The Kalaam Cosmological Argument

(a) Pro's rebuttal
(ai) Pro states that my example of the virtual particles coming into existence uncaused is falsified; he asserts that they are actually coming into existence by the cause of energy that "fluctuates spontaneously". I must admit that I have researched this further and will be forced to concede this point if Pro can provide a source for it. Until a source is provided, I'll dismiss it without evidence. Why? Because that which can asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence by the law of Hitchens' Razor.[1]

(aii) Let us grant the benefit of the doubt, however.[a] Let us assume that these particles are actually caused. All one has to do is back up a level. What causes these spontaneous fluctuations in energy? If they are spontaneous, then by one definition, they have no apparent cause[2]. Therefore, the most logical conclusion to draw is that they are uncaused.

(b) Further evidence
(bi) Atomic radioactive decay. The decay rate from certain radioactive particles is random when in small enough numbers.[3] To put that in another sense; the start of the decay is uncaused. This is another example of how things (e.g. a process) can begin to exist with no cause. Hence, the first premise is refuted. To finish with [(bi)], allow me to give a quote:

"Quantum events have a way of just happening, without any cause, as when a radioactive atom decays at a random
time." - Taner Edis. Department of Physics at Truman State University, Kirksville"[4] ((This was just for flavour and finish, and it is not an argument from authority))

(c) Further critique of the Kalaam Argument
(ci) Begging the question. This is a fallacy where a premise is used as the conclusion and vice versa[5]. Does the Kalaam argument beg the question? There is an implication given by the Kalaam argument when it states: "Everything that begins to exist[...]". It implies that reality can be divided into items that begin to exist (henceforth called BE) and items that do not (henceforth called NBE). So, according to Pro, what doesn't begin to exist? God. OK. If we accept that, what else falls into that sub-set? Here's the problem:

If only God falls into NBE, then we can logically set out the argument as follows:

      1. Everything except God has a cause.

      1. The universe is not God.

      1. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

If you argue that from this, we can draw the conclusion that "God exists", then you beg the question as you state that NBE is synonymous with God. Does Pro have a way out? Well, yes; he has one. If Pro can demonstrate how something else fits into the NBE sub-set then the question isn't necessarily begged. However, since he hasn't done this, the Kalaam argument begs the question; the Kalaam argument is illogical.

(3) The Moral Argument
(a) Re-arranging of the argument. Thanks, I'm glad we can use this version.
(b) Pro's rebuttal
(bi) "Moral actions are good because they comply with God's nature". This is Pro's effective response to try and answer the dilemma. This is a way of saying: "God's nature makes things good". In other words: "God's actions determine the moral values of goodness. If God does it, then it's good." So, we must ask ourselves: "Why does he do these things?" Now we arrive right back where we started. My opponent's response, while admirable, is taken for granted. We agree. But it is because of this assumption that we arrive at the dilemma!
If God does something, then it is good. {Fine}
Why does he do these things?
(1) Because they are good to do; so God does them
(2) Because "he feels like it" (or its equivalent, relevant phrase).
The dilemma hasn't been solved.

(bii) The relevance of Pro's remaining point for the moral argument. While I do appreciate Pro's taken his time to type up a response; I must state that everything that isn't the above sentence (see [(bi)]) is a red herring[6]. The things Pro explains by his nature are agreed, but that is how we come to the dilemma. It is like me asking whether to buy ketchup or BBQ sauce ((a true dilemma faced by millions, by the way!)), and Pro explaining how I got to the store. Yes, it's useful, but not relevant.

(4) The Argument from the Resurrection
(a)Note to the audience and voters: In the previous round, I stated that: "i) The Jews stole the body - motivations include revenge and a concept of duty". I did not mean the Jews! I meant his followers. The Jews would be one of the last people to expect! I do apologise, but my opponent posted his response before noting my confession of my error. This has now been rectified. (Please see the comments section for more details).

(b) Pro's rebuttals
(bi) Establishing the fact of the empty tomb
(bia) Pro gives three assertions that back up the empty tomb assertion. I must admit; it is quite convincing and I will be forced to concede this point. ((Good job, Pro!)) From now on, I continue on the basis that Jesus' tomb was empty.
(bib) However, I must clarify that this is determined from Pro's points [~1, ~2,] and [~3]. The use of the Bible to prove itself is circular reasoning. It is like me declaring the existence of Atlantis because I have a book on it! Of course, if there are external sources that are found outside of the Bible (e.g. Paul's letters), then that holds some sway. But Paul's letters in the Bible itself are dismissible. Noting that, the "evidence from archaeology" I will concede once I see a source.

(bii) On my examples
(biia) The Jews stole the body. I have already covered this blunder on my part above. Therefore, I concede this fact and instead give the example of: i) The followers stole the body - for the same motivations.
(biib) The precaution. This I will expand on now, as requested. The precaution the Romans could have taken is that, they were against the early versions of Christianity[7]. Mostly because it was originally a branch of Judaism. If the followers numbered in the hundreds (my opponent notes the alleged 500, at least), they were going to fight a losing battle in terms of faith. A precaution was to hide the body after it had been placed in the tomb (in and out) to help protect against the followers stealing the body. If this did happen, which is a possibility we have to entertain, it certainly backfired ((look at us here!)), but it does stop the "risen from the dead" claim.
(biic) Was the body in the tomb in the first place? Indeed, Pro has done this. I concede this point.

(biii) Establishing the fact of Jesus sightings
(biiia) 1~ Paul's letter to the Corinthians. The source given is the Bible, which, as I have already explained, is not reliable and begs the question. Of course, as I have also already explained, should Pro give a source for this letter other than in the Bible; I will entertain the possibility of conceding it.
(biiib) 2~ Certain claimed appearances. My rebuttal of mass hysteria in particular follows this. I will address this further down.

(biv) Mass hysteria. My opponent makes several points which I will address below:
(biva) Sightings were reported to people who had seen him and not seen him before his death. This is expected. You do not need to have seen something before to report sightings of it. Actually, if this were not the case, then we would never see anything!
(bivb) There were sighting by people who had never heard of him. This is actually quite interesting. If there is a source, I will be hard pressed to rebut this. (Not the Bible!)
(bivc) It doesn't explain the empty tomb. It isn't intended to.
(bivd) People had every reason not to believe it. Of course, but this won't affect the eyes and subconscious mind. If you see an optical illusion on a card, you have every reason to believe that it isn't moving (if it's one of those spirals): it is paper; it isn't a recording; it goes against logic (apparently); your religion dictates that this doesn't happen etc... But for all that, it still moves.

(bv) Pressures of the Jewish culture at the time. This is, while interesting, easy to see while looking at the bigger picture. For every one person who claimed, there could have been 1, 2, 3, 5+ who didn't report it, even though they thought they saw it. I do not know how many people were killed for claiming the resurrection had been witnessed by them, but claims and experiences are different things. Maybe 100 claimed, but 1,000 experienced. What does this show? That yes, it is interesting that these people chose to die over live, but maybe 900 decided not to. The pressures were indeed, high, but that doesn't confirm claims.

(5) Conclusions
(a) The Kalaam argument. I have given refutes for this and introduced the begging of the question objection. These are not refuted and the resolution hasn't been met.
(b) The Moral Argument. I demonstrated how my opponent's response was interesting, but just leads us to the dilemma instead of solving it.
(c) The Argument from the Resurrection. I have given sufficient rebuttals and undermined the argument.
(d) The resolution, therefore, has not been met.

(6) Notes
[a] As per last round, I will dismiss this unless a source is provided next round.
(b) Pro, should you wish to make any thanks, regards, etc... to finish off, it must be next round. You can only put "No round posted here as agreed." in the fourth round.

Big thanks to Pro, this debate is on fire! I'll see you next round! :)

(7) Source(s)




I thank Con for his response.

So first Con asks for a source: I will be more than willing to provide one -
Barrow, J. and Tipler, F.J. (1986), The Cosmological Anthropic Principle. Oxford: Clarendon press. Page 440
(that is where I got the info from - but I'm sure there are many more available.)

My opponent's second objection is that these 'spontaneous' fluctuations now have to have a cause. And I agree! And they do! (Although I have to confess, my level of Physics is not great enough to say just HOW they do this - merely that they do.)
But remember my first premise - 'Everything that begins to exist has a cause'. Now the fact that they 'Fluctuate' mean that their energy levels rise or fall. They never go in and out of existence as they fluctuate - the energy is always constantly there (as abiding with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics). And so that means that they began to exist at the beginning of the universe, when matter and energy came into being. And so we can conclude that the cause of these fluctuations will therefore be the cause of the universe (ie what brought space and time into existence).

My opponent then proceeds to say that Radioactive decay is an exception to this rule.
So what causes radioactive decay? Well in radioactive decay, the atoms/isotopes become unstable. The atom then emmitts a proton, neutron or electron. The nuclear and electromagnetic strong and weak forces have a huge influence on the decay - how much, and to what decays. This is why radioactive decay is extremely constant over a period of time, which is how we calculate carbon dating.
So in one sense, the nuclear strong and weak forces - as well as the electromagnetic strong and weak forces are responsible for the decay.
However, in another sense, radioactive decay doesn't exactly bring anything new into existence. Carbon-12 doesn't actually 'begin to exist' when Carbon-14 radioactively decays - it merely has 2 less neutrons. To give an analogy - if somebody cut my arm off, nothing new will have come into being.
So I really don't think that radioactive decay can really be an exception to Premise 1, because the nuclear and electromagnetic strong and weak forces are essentially the cause of it; and nothing new has begun to exist.
Nevertheless, even if we grant this point, We can apply my previous argument - the suggestion that 'there are some uncaused events within space-time' does nothing to deny 'the beginning of space-time itself has a cause' (which is what I am asserting). The conditions of the event itself began to exist - therefore it has a cause.
I know Con like sources so one in particular would be the book:
'Radioactivity and Radioactive Decay' by D.K Jha.

Con then says that my argument 'begs the question'.
I am at a loss at is just how 'everything that begins to exist has a cause' is question begging.
My opponent's point is merely an application of the Law of Excluded Middle.
Nevertheless, Everything either has a beginning or it does not. How could this necessary truth be question-begging?
As for the assertion that if God is the only member of NBE, then 'everything that doesn't begin to exist' becomes synonymous with 'God', this is muddling reference and meaning. If God is the only member of NBE, then the 2 statements have the same reference - they pick out the same object. But in no way does it suggest that they have the same meaning. For if it were the case, if you knew one to be true, then the other would be as well - but this is clearly not the case.

Anyway, regardless of this weird assertion, my opponent says that I 'have a way out', if I find something else that fits into NBE. And one comes to mind, and that is numbers - mathematicians consider numbers to be necessary truths, and don't begin to exist. Mathematicians and Philosophers alike assert that numbers would exist without the universe, space and time itself.


Well my opponent seems to get from 'Moral actions are good because they comply with God's nature' and arrive at 'God's actions determine the moral values of goodness'. And I am stuck as to how he arrived there!
I think that my opponent has misunderstood my point, so let me reiterate.
God is essentially good. This is moral ontology. God is essentially good because he is a maximally great being, and goodness is a property of being maximally great; It is greater to be the paradigm of goodness rather than to conform to it. And so God neither conforms to moral goodness [1] or sets morals as he wishes [2].
I can't help but think that Con is confusing moral ontology with moral semantics and moral epistemology: And sets out somewhat of a strawman.


Throughout my opponent's arguments, he asserts that the accounts in the Bible are not sufficient as evidence. But this is simply absurd! These accounts are primary sources for the life of Jesus, and are treated as such by historians. I think it is very important to realize that the books of Matthew, John, Luke - Mark and Paul's letters especially, are extremely accurate and reliable sources. To simply dismiss using them by stating it that is circular reasoning is simply unscholarly.
This is where knowledge of the history and authorship of the New Testament is extremely important - e.g Paul knew Jesus and his family: so as a source, his letters are extremely valuable.
Just because they are included in the collection of books in the Bible has no relevance to their reliability
I will give some reasons why it is so hard to find documents separate from those in the Bible:

1. There are very few manuscripts of ANY text written during Jesus ' time
2. Historians of this period wrote amazingly little about religious figures anyway
3. Jesus was active for only three years.
4. Jesus ministered in a very remote corner of the Roman Empire

Regardless of this, I will try my best to find sources outside of the Bible, but it is an arduous task at best.

Firstly Con asks for a source for the archeological evidence of Jesus' tomb.
I got the info from two sources:
Jacob Kremer, Die Osterevangelien--Geschichten um Geschichte;
Gerd Ludemann, What Really Happened to Jesus?
Again, I'm Sure there are many more sources on this matter.

I will now respond to Con's responses
1) The followers stole the body
- If Jesus' followers really stole the body, do you think that they would then start a movement based on the resurrection of Jesus? Do you really think that Peter, for example, would hold sincere to his beliefs, even when he was being tortured and eventually crucified upside-down for holding true to his beliefs in the resurrection of Jesus if he had stolen the body? It simply doesn't follow - if they really had stolen the body then I sincerely doubt that they would die for the belief in the resurrection (as many of them actually did)
2) I thank my opponent for elaborating - so Con says that the Romans stole the body as a precaution. But surely, when the disciples made claims about Jesus rising from the dead - they could simply and effectively extinguish any claim of resurrection by revealing the body. It just doesn't add up as an explanation.
3) Con concedes this point.

Sightings of the resurrected Jesus
1) Again, it is extremily hard to find any source outside of the accounts included in the Bible, but I persevered and found a suitable one!
"Jesus, while alive, was of no assistance to himself, but that he arose after death, and exhibited the marks of his punishment, and showed how his hands had been pierced by nails."
-Origen Against Celsus, Book 2, Chapter 59
This was written by Phlegon of Tralles, who was a Greek writer and historian.(

2) Mass Hysteria
Note: Unfortunately I have very few characters left so won't respond to every point Con made.
Just to add another point to my refutations, the appearances were to different individuals in different places - for example, there were appearances to 'Ananias' in Damascus (Acts 9:10-19), and to Peter in Jerusalem (Acts 11:1-18). This excludes the possibility of 'Mass Hysteria' as the visions were separated from one another.
As for sources, I once again emphasise my point about non-Biblical sources; it is very hard to get a detailed account of the events without turning to the Bible.
So I think that the best non-Biblical source I can provide to you is a secondary source from a non-biased historian (that I have already provided); Gert Ludemann, a German critic of the resurrection, admits that "It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus" death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ" (in his book 'what Really Happened to Jesus?'). Now this can be seen as an argument from authority, but what we can say is that Mr. Demann, as a leading critic of the resurrection and a non-believer himself, has no reason to believe that the post-mortem appearances of Jesus is false. This is actually because of the reliability of Peter's letters, which my opponent seems to reject. So in terms of sources, my opponent has left me in a sticky situation.

Moreover, Con's rebuttles are not sufficient - namely because the symptoms of 'Mass Hysteria' do not include visions - only physical defects. (this is proved if you look at Con's provided source)

As this is my final round, I would like to that my opponent for a very interesting debate.
However, Con's refutations have not been sufficient. His objections to the Kalam simply do not refute the argument - and are entirely fallacious. As for the Moral argument, I feel that I have sufficiently explained how I solved the Euthyphro dilemma, and although I have given evidence for my stances on the resurrection, Con sets unrealistic and unhistorical standards for evidence which cannot be met - even though Biblical accounts are sufficient.

Overall, I hope I have shed some light on Theistic belief!
God Bless
Debate Round No. 3


Thanks to Pro! I'll respond.

The Kalaam Cosmological Argument

As I see Pro is at least a little bemused at my objection to the Kalaam argument; I will elaborate for Pro's (and the audience's) benefit. I will also concede all other objections on this, to give me as much character space as possible and to stop us both making straw men. (Which is inductively inevitable since we are both rather basic on physics).

My objection explained
If you state: "Everything that begins to exist[...]", you instantly make an assumption. What is the assumption? Well, it is: Reality can be divided into two sets; that is, things that begin to exist (BE) and things that don't (NBE). What fits into these sets? We can easily see the answer by asking: What fits into NBE? It seems as though the only thing is God! (I will counter Pro's rebuttals further down). If God is the only thing in the NBE set, then, logically, we can re-structure the Kalaam argument as follows:

P1) Everything that begins to exist, except God, has a cause.
P2) The Universe is not God.
C) Therefore, the Universe has a cause. [From 1, 2]

Is this logical? Yes, it's fine. However, when you do this:

P3) The cause has to be God (timeless, spaceless, etc...).
C2) God necessarily caused the Universe. [From 3]
P4) Only actual things affect things.
P5) By creating the Universe, you affect it.
C3) God is actual. (This is what you mean when you state: God exists) [From all above]

((This is a very elaborated version))

Now we have the fallacy! When you affirm premise one, you make a further implication: God exists. You must state this, otherwise you deny the sets existing, and thus falsify the first premise. But, since you have made the conclusion: God is actual [exists], when you have already stated this as an implied premise, you commit the fallacy of begging the question[1].

Therefore, the Kalaam argument is illogical.

Pro's rebuttals to this
Pro gives two rebuttals: NBE =/= God. And: Numbers fit into the NBE category, so the question isn't necessarily begged.

I will counter both now.

The first objection, if correct, doesn't really prove anything to counter my objection. Simply put, if God is the only thing that fits into NBE, then the Kalaam argument can be logically structured as above. Maybe it was my mistake to say God is synonymous with NBE, and for that I apologise, however, this objection is not relevant to my own.

The other objection is far more interesting. Do numbers begin to exist? Well, it depends on the view you take. Mathematical fictionalism states that numbers don't exist, for example.[2] So, what are we talking about? It seems, for my opponent's objection to even have a chance of working, we must use mathematical Platonism, which states that numbers do exist, but only as abstract objects.[3] So, assuming Platonism, do numbers fit into the NBE set? Yes, they do. So, has my opponent just defeated my objection? No. I'll explain why.

Numbers in Platonism are abstract objects[3]. However, by definition, the do not cause anything! In fact, if they could, then the original Kalaam argument runs into problems, too. My opponent conceded this in round one: "Since Abstract Objects cannot cause anything[...]". Therefore, for my objection, we can safely omit numbers from the NBE set. My objection stands.

The Moral Argument
I apologise for straw manning Pro's position - I will back up.

So, my opponent gives a response to the Euthyphro Dilemma, and while I might be able to rebut it; I shan't try to save further straw manning. Now here is the problem:

"Premise 2: Objective morals and values exist." What support does Pro give to this claim? The following: "[...]through personal experience. When we see an animal, we know that petting it would be morally better than attacking it. Equally, when we see a child, we know that talking in a friendly manner to it is morally better than assaulting it. I don't think that anybody who isn't a sociopath can deny that morals are objective." ((I don't appreciate being called a sociopath!))

My opponent gives the claim of "through personal experience", and yet gives little support to it, save for his personal experience. This is an example of inductive reasoning and David Hume demonstrated the problems with it[4]. Say there is a possible world where anything Pro experiences and deduces are flipped. So, the opinions are literally opposite. What gives "our" Pro more authority over the possible world's Pro, and vice versa? Nothing. Hence, we can show how that, if personal experience stands, they negate each other, and thus make it useless. Rationally, we can only conclude that the argument for objective morality from personal experience doesn't hold.

Therefore, Pro hasn't sufficiently supported his second premise, allowing me to logically dismiss it by Hitchens' Razor[5].

The Argument From the Resurrection

(1) The Bible as evidence. Pro claims that I cannot claim the Bible is unreliable as it counts as a primary source.
Answer: If Pro uses the Bible to prove the Bible, then it is circular reasoning. Can the Koran do the same? Does Harry Potter count as a primary source for the life if Harry Potter? No, of course not. I am not saying that the Bible isn't always reliable, it can back up sources, but only from outside of the Bible!

(a) Pro also gives four reasons why it is very hard to find sources from outside of the Bible.
Answer: While this may be difficult, it doesn't validate the source.

(2)Archaeological evidence. Pro gives sources.
Answer: Thank you, I concede this.

(3) The arguments given in counter of the risen Christ. Pro claims that it is very unlikely that the followers would have stayed true when they could just reveal the body. For the Romans, Pro states that, since they wanted to get at the Jews (a.k.a. early Christians - at least some of them), then why not have just revealed the body?
Answer: We move too far into the world of "could of done this..." for me to answer rationally. I concede the point. For the Romans, Pro makes the assumption that they actually kept the body. It seems to us that the Romans hated them, and stealing the body would have been to stop the sort of claims from happening. If you feel like you've just completed the task (i.e. stopping the claims of resurrection from starting), then why keep the body? It seem irrational to keep a corpse in case of the event that the claim was roused, when you've just (apparently) stopped that from ever happening!

No, this point hasn't been sufficiently answered.

(4) Jesus' sightings.
Interesting source, Pro! Indeed, people claimed to see Jesus. I concede that.

(a) Mass hysteria. Pro claims that the visions were separated, so they couldn't have been cases of mass hysteria.
Answer: The source given is the Bible. I have already explained how this is not a source to be taken seriously.

(b) Mass hysteria two. Pro gives Gerd ((not Gert, in German, "d" is pronounced as a "t" if it is the last letter - linguistic note - personal hobby)) Luedemann as a source for the reliability. While Pro seems to concede that this is an argument from authority, he gives the reliability of Peter's letters as a back-up.
Answer: I only reject the sources from the Bible when - and only when - they try to prove the Bible. However, since my opponent hasn't given any source at all for this assertion; I can logically dismiss it with Hitchens' Razor[5].

(c) Mass hysteria three. Pro states that mass hysteria only gives physical effects, not visions.
Answer: Either I have missed something, or Pro has made a straw man. The quote I think Pro is referring to is: "In medicine the term [mass hysteria] is used to describe the spontaneous manifestation of the same or similar hysterical physical symptoms by more than one person."[6] As you can see, this is purely in medicine and therefore doesn't affect other outbreaks. This claim is a straw man.

I have shown how my opponent's responses to the begging the question objection were not logical and (on the numbers); irrelevant. I also showed how the numbers-counter assumed mathematical Platonism, which was a bare assertion in itself. I have dropped the Euthyphro Dilemma, but have instead demonstrated the illogical claim made by Pro; allowing me to dismiss it with Hitchens' Razor. I have dropped the followers stealing the body, but successfully rebutted the Romans doing so. I have shown the appeal to authority by Gerd Luedemann, the straw man of mass hysteria, and explained how the Bible doesn't prove the Bible. (Harry Potter doesn't prove Harry Potter).

A very good debate with a good debater! I thank Pro, most kindly! I'll also thank the audience and the voters. I shall see you all around!






No round posted here as agreed :) thanks for the debate
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by MysticEgg 2 years ago
Great debate, Pro! Thanks! :)
Posted by Nzrsaa 2 years ago
Thank you for a great debate. As you can probably see, my response was very long, and took up all 10,000 of my characters, and I couldn't respond to your final point. But if there is anything you would like me to answer, I would be more than happy to respond to it in the comments section.
God Bless
Posted by MysticEgg 2 years ago
Thanks. I'll note it to the debaters. Good luck, too.
Posted by Nzrsaa 2 years ago
I didn't see your comment before I posted >:/
And while we are 'confessing', near to the end I said 'there' when I obviously meant 'their'. So annoying'
Good luck in the next round!
Posted by MysticEgg 2 years ago
Hang on, sorry. I didn't mean Jews. I didn't mean Jews. I meant followers. (The Jews tried to kill him, for God's sake!)
Posted by MysticEgg 2 years ago
You can expand to mean anything that is not human-made by "nature".
Posted by Nzrsaa 2 years ago
I would like to debate... But by 'nature' does that only mean on earth, or can we expand to include the cosmos?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
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Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con argued that if something is spontaneous, it is still uncaused even if it came from something. Pro did not really have a good rebuttal to this. Pro argued that there are necessary conditions for certain spontaneous events, but that doesn't make them causes. Also, Pro didn't even show why the cause is God, even if the KCA is sound. Pro mentions inductive reasoning to support P2 of the moral argument, but Con mentioned Kant and the problem of inductive reasoning. I don't think Pro responded too well to the Euthyphro dilemma. Con gave many other reasonable alternatives to the idea that Jesus was actually supernaturally raised from the dead. This took care of the last argument from Pro. Both debaters did well. However, I feel Con argued a little better,