The Instigator
Minda
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
bluesteel
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

God is Both Religious and Scientific

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
bluesteel
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/18/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,711 times Debate No: 13415
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (3)

 

Minda

Pro

My opinion is fairly complex. So rather than explaining everything at once, I'll let the opponent start and I'll voice my side in relation to the opponent's views.
bluesteel

Con

I thank my opponent for the interesting topic.

I'll begin with some definitions:

According to Princeton's Wordnet, "God" is a "the object of worship in monotheistic religions;" "religious" means "having or showing belief in and reverence for a deity;" "scientific" means "conforming with the principles or methods used in science." [1] [2] [3]

I would like to kindly remind my opponent that as the pro and the instigator, she has the burden of proof.

To prove that God is religious, one would need to prove that God has or shows belief in a deity. First I ask, what god does God believe in?

Secondly, for God to believe in something, God must exist. However, the Judeo-Christian God cannot exist.

Proof 1: God is supposed to be both omnipotent (all powerful) and omniscient (all knowing). But these are not both possible. If God is all knowing, then he knows every future decision he will make. However, if he is all powerful, he must have the power to change his mind. But if he changes his mind, then God was not omniscient.

Proof 2: Along the same lines, if God is omnipotent, he can create a box whose contents even he cannot know. However, if he is omniscient, he would have to know what is in the box. [4]

God is scientific:

For God to be scientific, the concept of God must comport with the scientific method. The scientific method requires that one develop a "testable hypothesis." [5] A testable hypothesis is an explanatory theory that can be proven correct or incorrect through observation. Since it is impossible to prove the concept of "God" incorrect through scientific observation, "God" is inherently un-scientific.

An example of a scientific concept is evolution. When asked what observation could disprove evolution, J.B.S. Haldane famously answered "a rabbit fossil in the Precambrian." There is not a single observation that could disprove God.

I now turn the debate over to my opponent for her to establish her case. I look forward to hearing her arguments.

[1] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
[2] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
[3] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
[4] http://www.wikihow.com...
[5] http://www.talkorigins.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Minda

Pro

First off, I would like to apologize to my opponent for my misinterpreted topic and underlying meanings. I failed to come up with a word that best described my intentions; for "religious", "spiritual" would more or less suffice as a substitution. In relation to "scientific", please note that I incorporate the term "physical" very closely with the definition of scientific. Regarding "God", the usage of a proper noun may have caused a misguided understanding; You will understand what I mean here shortly.

On another note, I would like to inform my opponent that I intended this to be a theoretical debate, considering the fact that one cannot prove the existence of God let alone define God's characteristics.

Considering my exact words were not my original intention, I'll also start off by giving some definitions:

The Oxford Dictionaries define God as "the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority"; ruler is defined as "a person exercising government or dominion"--govern defined as "control, influence, or regulate (a person, action, or course of events)"; spiritual is defined as "of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things"; and the definition I propose to use for physical is "of or relating to physics or the operation of natural forces generally". [1] [2] [3] [4]
*Not all definitions are used in this round. Some may be used in upcoming rounds

On to the main argument:

In reference to the definitions above, God is creator and ruler of the universe. Actual beings can create and rule. We know for a fact that not everything is created by beings; inversely, we know that many things are created by events, or reactions, if you will.

Consider The Big Bang Theory (an event/reaction). The widely accepted theory broadly explains the creation and evolution of our universe. The creation of the universe, whatever specific type of creation that may be, thus sets up a paradigm of the evolution, or how future events play out and come to order--otherwise designating the title of "ruler". [5]

I would now like to make a point to my opponent that reference should be made to the previous comment about the usage of a proper noun regarding god.

According to definition, The Big Bang is considered god since it is a matter of creation and is a ruler on technical terms.

Of course, this is not my complete argument, but a comprehensive portion rather. Detailed interpretation will present itself in future rounds. I only say that in the act of being proactive as to not create anymore miscommunication between my opponent and I.

[1] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
[2] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
[3] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
[4] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
[5] http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov...
bluesteel

Con

I thank my opponent for her prompt response.

Resolutional vagueness:

I'm still not entirely sure after my opponent's second speech what she envisioned the topic to be. However, I only accepted this debate because I believed the topic was "Resolved: God is both religious and scientific." If I thought the topic was "Resolved: God caused the Big Bang to happen," I would not have accepted since this is a completely different topic because, for example, God's existence can be real and yet unscientific.

I also doubt that I would have accepted: "Resolved: God is spiritual and physical." I accepted only because I had a strategy based around the word "scientific."

I apologize that my opponent may not get the debate that she wanted. I recommend to her that in future, she present her case in round 1 if she is worried that her opponent may not understand exactly what she wants to debate. Her case could help to clarify topic vagueness from the get-go.

However, it is illegitimate of her to change the word religious to "spiritual" and the word "scientific" to "physical" after I have already accepted based on the old resolution and based most of my strategy around the word "scientific."

My opponent says that the usage of "God" as a proper noun caused confusion. I'm sorry, but I'm still really confused. Is she saying that I incorrectly used God as a proper noun or that "God" should be interpreted as a proper noun? Further confusing me is the fact that she doesn't explain how her definition of God is intended to differ from mine. Note, she leaves this part out of the Oxford definition of God, "(in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority." This seems to be substantially similar to my definition, except for one glaring difference: source of all moral authority.

On a note that may or may not be irrelevant to the debate, since I'm not sure what the debate is anymore, I take issue with the Oxford definition that God is the source of all moral authority. There are morality systems, such as utilitarianism, that do not require the existence of a Creator in order to decide what is moral and immoral. I don't think the dictionary is right that without God, there would be an absence of all moral authority. Jurgen Habermas, for example, believes that humans are guided by our "moral feelings," which create an innate sense of what is right and wrong.

Moving back to my case:

My opponent drops (does not respond to) my two proofs that the Judeo-Christian God cannot exist because his omniscience and his omnipotence are contradictory. In debate, when you drop an argument that means you agree with it for the rest of the debate. Therefore, my opponent agrees with my two proofs that the God of both our definitions cannot exist. If this God does not exist, He cannot be religious, which means "believing in a deity." He cannot believe in either Himself or Zeus or Krishna if He does not exist.

Extend my arguments that God is not scientific because He is not a testable hypothesis, since His existence cannot be disproven through scientific observation. My opponent drops this argument as well. Unfortunately, the round should be over at that point. I'm sorry there was so much confusion about the topic, but I won't agree to a topic change once I've already accepted and presented my case.

Moving to my opponent's case:

If my opponent wants to argue that God's existence (and a literal interpretation of the Bible) do not conflict with established science, I will gladly argue this with her, although I think that winning these arguments would still be insufficient to prove that "God is scientific."

The Big Bang Theory predicts the universe is approximately 14 billion years old. In addition, because the Universe is expanding (due to the Big Bang), objects that are far away from the Earth have their light shifted to the "red" end of the spectrum (called redshifting) due to the Doppler Effect (the reason the police siren sounds so weird as it moves away from you). This redshifting can be measured to predict how old these objects (usually stars or galaxies) are. Redshifting has been used to observe objects that first emitted their light 13.7 billion years ago, since it took that long for the light to travel all the way to Earth [1]. In contrast, the Bible says God created the Universe approximately 6000 years ago. [2] According to religious doctrine, the Bible is the true and infallible word of God. [3]

Believers often try to reconcile the age of the Universe with the age of the Biblical universe by saying, "God could have created the redshifted light already in transit to Earth." For this to be true, you would have to renounce the Big Bang Theory, since God would have created the Universe already expanded outward, instead of from a singularity.

I eagerly await my opponent's response. I kindly implore her to debate the original resolution with me. If she does so, I'll ignore the fact that the arguments were dropped during this round.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.creationtips.com...
[3] http://www.believers.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Minda

Pro

Once again, my apologies for creating confusion and false sense of reason for my opponent accepting this debate. I will take that into consideration for future debates.

I'll once again attempt to explain my original intention and try to clear up confusion.

My reasoning for leaving out "(in Christianity and other monotheistic religions)" is because I was not necessarily presenting my case upon the Christian or religious God; this would be my reasoning for not responding to my opponent's proofs that the Judeo-Christian God cannot exist. I used the broad, nonreligious definition so that I wouldn't create the false understanding of saying, "The Christian God is both Religious and Scientific". I assumed that my opponent would find that obvious (another place where I went wrong). I should have presented that case and explained it first off.

Also, I would like to let my opponent know that my last argument wasn't so much and argument as it was an explanation of what I was about to present.

Since I do not stand by the literal interpretation that "God is Religious and Scientific", I will agree to "argue that God's existence (and a literal interpretation of the Bible) do not conflict with established science" as long as my opponent is still up for arguing this. If my opponent wishes to do so as well, I will let him present his argument in the next round while I respond to his other statements. With that said, I apologize for this not being the typical debate on this site.

I restate the fact that I do not regard god as the Christian or religious God. Therefore, the bible has no relevance thus far. If the future rounds end up debating "God's existence (and a literal interpretation of the Bible) do not conflict with established science", then references to the Bible will become relevant.

My opponent mentions "Believers often try to reconcile the age of the Universe with the age of the Biblical universe".

I accept the fact that I may stand corrected after stating this:

People attempt to say that the actual age of the universe corresponds with the Biblical age of the universe, from what my opponent says. From my understanding, this analogize with the fact of different measurement systems: the metric system and the standard measuring system. Both ages may be correct, but are interpreted differently: Just like one metric meter is equivalent to 10 3/4 square feet, one Biblical year may equal 2,100,000 light years. With that said, the actual age may present to be true value of the universe's age, and the Biblical age may be true on religious terms with the idea that religion was created to help explain the unexplainable.

My previous statement more or less goes along with the debate of God conflicting or not conflicting with established science, not the previous debate.
bluesteel

Con

I thoroughly hope to make this a productive debate and an enjoyable experience for my opponent.

In that regard, from now on, we will be debating the resolution: "God's existence and a literal interpretation of the Bible do not conflict with established science." She is still pro, and I am still con (I will argue that one or both of these two things DO conflict with established science).

Arguments should resort to logic or quotes from the Bible; we should not be asked to fill in deficiencies in arguments by taking something "on faith."

I assume this means that my opponent now acknowledges that the God we are debating about is the Judeo-Christian God (the God of the Bible). She cannot refuse to debate this God because it is impossible for me to debate some indefinite entity with no established characteristics; I need to know whether her God is omniscient, for example.

I will be presenting new arguments, specifically in regards to evolution. I do so because we now have agreed on a new topic. It is unfortunate that my opponent only has one round remaining to establish her BOP, but she should have waited for me to agree to a topic change in the comments section if she wanted to have two rounds for the new topic.

Since it's a new topic, I'll be offering new arguments, specifically in regards to evolution.

Addressing the old arguments first, however:

1. God's existence

Philosophy and logic are part of the "natural sciences." If my opponent cannot refute my two logical proofs that an omnipotent and omniscient God cannot exist, then God's existence would be said to conflict with established science.

2. The Big Bang

My opponent says that I may be using two different measurements of time. However, both units are in human standard years. The age of the universe as predicted by the Big Bang Theory and measured by the redshifting of light is 14 billion years. My opponent makes a common mistake in asserting that the units are "light years;" however, light years measure distance (the distance that light travels in a year is a light year). 14 billion years is normal, standard human years (365 days). In addition, the units for the Biblical estimates are also 6000 normal, standard, human years. From the source I already cited, 6000 years comes from 2 estimates: the Bible mentions that Adam is approximately 6000 years old, and Archbishop James Ussher used the text of the Bible to come up with exact dates for when certain individuals (like Moses) lived, and using the lineages enumerated in the Bible, calculated creation as occurring in 4004 B.C. [1] However, creation cannot have occurred 6000 years ago if the universe is actually 14 billion years old.

In addition, my opponent agreed to a literal interpretation of the Bible. According to Princeton's Wordnet, "literal" means "without interpretation or embellishment; limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text." My opponent is thus not allowed to argue, for example, that if the Bible says "day," it is a metaphorical day that could have lasted hundreds of millions of years. This is a metaphorical, not a literal, interpretation of the Bible.

New arguments:

3. Age of the Earth

Using radioisotope dating, scientists have estimated the age of the Earth at 4.5 billion years. [2] Radioisotope dating works because rocks naturally contain a certain amount of radioactive elements. These radioactive isotopes decay at constant rates. Chemists have established the half-life for all of these radioactive isotopes, meaning the amount of time it takes for 50% of the radioactive atoms in the sample to "decay" into non-radioactive atoms. These half-lives are entirely predictable and constant. Established geology and chemistry also contradicts the Bible's claim that the Earth is only 6000 years old, since both combine to show that the Earth is at least 4.5 billion years old.

4. Evolution

According to the Book of Genesis, God created the atmosphere on day 2 of Creation, before creating life. [3] However, life actually preceded the creation of the atmosphere. The Earth's early atmosphere did not contain enough oxygen to sustain modern life forms; the oxygen was brought about by early photosynthetic life forms. We know that the early Earth did not contain oxygen because metals contained in the oldest rock layers are un-oxidized (oxidization of metal can only occur in the presence of oxygen). In addition, fossils of the oldest life forms show that they are anaerobic, meaning that they could live without oxygen. [4]

Also, according to Genesis, on the second day, God created "seed-bearing plants, and fruit trees," and on the fourth day of Creation, God created the "great sea-creatures and every breath of living, moving creature with which the waters teem, according to their proper kind, and every winged bird." [5] However, according to the fossil record, sea creatures existed before plants. Also, if God created all the birds at the same time, then Darwin's original observation that the beaks of Galapogos finches evolved to match different types of food sources was wrong. The Bible and evolution are inherently contradictory.

I eagerly await my opponent's response.

[1] http://www.creationtips.com...
[2] http://www.dummies.com...
[3] http://www.answersincreation.org...
[4] Ibid
[5] http://wsu.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
Minda

Pro

Minda forfeited this round.
bluesteel

Con

I'm sorry my opponent couldn't finish the debate.

Extend my case.

Vote con.
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
But the meaning is not exclusive. One refers to a context of young women, other refers to a context of Mary who gave birth miraculously. The accounts that reported it had made a correct usage of words.

Also, which word does the New Testament use?
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago
bluesteel
lol, true to your second point. I just like being contrary.

On your first point, parallel structure:

If "jam" can mean "a tight situation" and Mirza translated it that way, then there is no mistranslation.

Original sentence: Jonathan likes to spread jam on his toast.

The Old Testament uses "alma" to refer to other women who are about to give birth as "a young woman" not "virgin"; there is no reason to translate it one way in one case and another way in another case, if the context is the same.
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
If "alma" can mean "virgin" and New Testament translated it to that then there is no mistranslation.

As much as it is a theory it cannot be more than that in this case. If it is "period" then it is a period between the morning and evening. In other words, a day.
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago
bluesteel
The "context" for "virgin" was only created in later New Testament writing (like Matthew) that was inspired by the original mistranslation of alma in Isaiah.

Your theory about "day" is only a theory, unless you speak ancient Hebrew and have translated it yourself. Some words are quite clear and haven't changed between ancient and modern Hebrew dialects.
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
Well, the point is that a mere word in the Bible does not necessarily mean one thing in and itself, but it depends on the context. The creation time in Genesis 1 would most like be translated to "period" had "morning" and "evening" not been there. But they are, which indicates that the translation is more correct as "day."

As for Mary, the context also tells that she did not give natural birth, but a miraculous one, which makes her a virgin, not merely "young woman."
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago
bluesteel
Mirza

That may very well be true. I'm well aware of this phenomenon. For example, the word "virgin" used to describe Jesus's mother Mary was likely mistranslated from the Hebrew "alma" which actually means "young woman." http://www.outreachjudaism.org...

I'd be interested to see if there is similar linguistic analysis for the words "day," "morning," and "night" in Genesis. Somehow I doubt it though; otherwise, people shouldn't have to go to Church on Sunday (on the 7th day He rested) because a day might actually mean 50 years. It would be good news for Christians who hate going to Church though - once every 50 years isn't so bad.
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
bluesteel, "for example, that if the Bible says "day," it is a metaphorical day that could have lasted hundreds of millions of years. This is a metaphorical, not a literal, interpretation of the Bible"

I am not defending Christianity here, but a word that is translated as "day" to English can originally also mean "period," so saying "period" is not necessarily metaphorical, at least no more than "day." "Day" is just how we see it in English.

But the Bible mentions a morning and evening, so it may mean "day" and not "period" but if there is no indication save the original word, then neither period nor day are more metaphorical than each other.
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago
bluesteel
Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Hope whatever is troubling you works itself out.
Posted by Minda 6 years ago
Minda
I'm sorry to say this, but I'm no longer continuing this debate. I'm not "whimping out" or anything, I simply do not have time to present my last argument. It's a matter of personal issues, and my reasoning does not relate to the debate whatsoever.
Posted by Minda 6 years ago
Minda
I would like to say that I am aware of the many errors I have presented in the creation of this topic. This is my first debate on this website (not that I'm using that as an excuse). I hadn't realized and efficient way to present my case in a way that made sense. Referring to my original strategy, I was planning on furthermore explaining my true purpose and intention through details to come within the upcoming rounds--that is where I went wrong, I believe.

For future debates, I will be sure to create a better strategy and to create a presentable/understandable argument firsthand.

I will start on my next argument now, and I'll try to create a little more understanding. However, I have to ask. Regarding your last statement in your argument, do you intend that I debate the literal meaning of the original topic, even though the literalness of it isn't what I truly believe?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by sllewuy 6 years ago
sllewuy
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Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
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Vote Placed by bluesteel 6 years ago
bluesteel
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