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God is a Delusion

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/22/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 608 times Debate No: 68750
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




The opening round of this debate is for agreeing on the definitions of the terms in it only. Please refrain from arguing in this round.

God- the omnipotent (all-powerful) creator of all reality.
Delusion- a false belief unsupported by reason or evidence.


I agree to the terms.
Debate Round No. 1


Okay I will be using several logical arguments to show God exists.

Firstly, I will be arguing that God is the best explanation for why anything exists rather than nothing. Now we know the universe began to exist, about 13 billion years ago, in an event called the Big Bang. Now the Big Bang represents the origin of the universe from nothing. It's not just a re-arrangement of things but literally the universe coming into being, and thus all known reality. The idea of a beginning is confirmed by the existence of a red-shift in the movements of galaxies, showing the whole universe moving apart from the bang. This is the first line of evidence showing that the universe began to exist. Also, the universe had to begin to exist at some point if the second law of thermodynamics holds true, because ifn the universe existed forever, then there would be no matter or energy in it whatever. We also know that when something begins to exist it is caused to exist by something. Otherwise tigers would appear in our living rooms. Also we know that something cannot come from nothing but from prior things that cause it to exist. This is a basic metaphysical intuition. But then our universe must have a cause for it's beginnning. It is my conviction that this cause of the universe is a transcendent reality, which is best described as God. We can summarise our argument in the following syllogism

1. everything that begins to exist, has a cause
2. the universe began to exist
3. therefore the universe has a cause

This cause must transcend the space-time of the universe, at least prior to the creation of the universe, and therefore it must be timeless and immaterial. It must also possess unimaginable power, in order to create a world out of nothing. The being can also be shown to be personal, because the only being which possesses causal power is the metaphysical object of the mind, and this is a personal thing, also if the cause of the unvierse existed before the universe it existed in a timeless eternity forever. the only way an infinite cause could have a finite effect is through agent causation. This, to paraphrase Thomas Aquinas, is what most people mean when they talk about God.

Secondly, I will argue that God is the best explanation for why the universe is fine-tuned for intelligent life. The universe contains many constants and quantities that make it a "Goldilocks universe" and therefore perfect for intelligent life. Now these constants and quantities are fine-tuned to within a hairs breadth for intelligent life, so much so that they are not explained as being set by chance at a one-off event in the Big Bang. They are also not explained as a natural result of laws, because these constants and quantities are arbitrary and unaffected by the strengths of various laws in physics. The only other reasonable explanation for them is design and so if both blind luck and chance are not explanations for the fine-tuning, the result is we must accept an intelligent being caused the fine-tuning. We can summarize this argumengt like this

1. the fine-tuning of the constants and quantities of the universe for intelligent life is due either to chance necessity or design
2. it is not due to chance or design
3. therefore it is due to design

A final argument for God I will make is the argument from objective moral values and duties. Now we all apprehend that there are certain moral oughts, ie things we should do to be good or bad. But these morals would have no fundation without some authority.The best way to account for these objectives values and duties is by posting the existence of God. Thus

1. if objective moral values and duties do not exist, then God does not exist
2. but at least one moral value or duty exists
3. therefore, God exists


Thanks to Con for starting this debate.

The Affirmative Case

As Pro, I assume I’m supposed to make some kind of affirmative argument. I found it impossible to present my case separately with the character space provided, so my arguments are contained throughout my rebuttal.


“Delusion” was defined as “a false belief unsupported by reason or evidence”. We’re pretty much just arguing whether God exists or not. “Delusion” is not the best word to keep in mind during this debate since it’s usually not defined that way.


We don’t know much about anything beyond the singularity, so we can’t really say that the big bang marks the beginning of the universe. There are multiple counter possibilities. The multiverse is an obvious alternative and contains much theoretical plausibility as well as some explanatory power. Brian Greene argues the failure to explain the amount of dark energy in the universe supports the possibility of a multiverse [3] and it has much theoretical support as well (though it does not amount to actual proof). As Kaku explains, the multiverse is currently views as an 11-dimensional arena. There are bubbles that float in this arena. The skin of the bubble represents a universe. "So we're like flies trapped on fly paper". Our universe is a three dimensional bubble. Bubbles expand and can sometimes bump into each other which would explain the big-bang [4].

Another possibility is the oscillating universe theory, when our universe collapses, it will result in another big bang, like the one that happened 13.8 billion years ago [2]. The theory states that our big bang could have been the nth cycle of this collapse and inflation. The big bang only points to the beginning of the universe as we know it; not necessarily the beginning of existence.

We haven't seen anything come into existence except ex materia. Our intuition is the result of everyday experience in the everyday world, in our small corner of reality, and using limited perceptual tools. Newtonian physics epitomizes the classical picture of the world. Newtonian mechanics is still widely useful today, but in the 20th century, the intuitive view of reality was shattered in many ways. Einstein’s special relativity destroyed the common sense view of time and quantum mechanics reveals a plethora of counterintuitive notions such as quantum entanglement and superposition. If intuition was our epistemic authority, we'd be striving to reconcile classical Newtonian physics with special relativity and quantum mechanics, which is impossible.

Radioactive decay is also random which violates the causality principle [5]. Moreover, in vacuums--which are as close to empty space as we can get--virtual particles constantly wink into and out of existence, as if from nothing; again violating P.1 [1].

The laws of physics apply to this universe and what we’ve been able to understand from it. There’s no warrant in claiming they will be just as applicable when speaking of before the universe.

Our understanding of cause and effect is that it’s temporarily ordered; every cause precedes its effect. Since the beginning of the universe was supposedly the beginning of time, there could be no prior to the universe, and therefore no cause. Stephen Hawking even turns into an argument for atheism since theism assumes God caused the universe; but since the universe includes all time, there could be no “before” and therefore no cause of it.

If the multiverse exists, different universes will have different constants, and if the big bang was just the nth in a number of cycles, different constants could hold true in the previous universes. Once the universe as we know it ends (such as in a big crunch), we can’t assume the same physical laws will apply afterwards.

If Con defines the universe as everything which is material and existing within spacetime, then it would follow that if the universe has a cause, the cause is immaterial and not within spacetime. However, Con has not given good reason to believe that the big bang marked the beginning of spacetime and that there could not be a material cause of the big bang.

It’s problematic to assume to know what it would take to create a universe out of nothing. In fact creation ex nihilo would be more plausible if we perceived an entire abstract world existing before the material world, rather than a material being. One of the main problems with the KCA is that there’s simply no reason to believe that this transcendent cause is God (leaving alone the major difficulties in getting to the cause). Why not conceive of an abstract/transcendent world that gave rise to materiality? Our why not assume idealism is true and the world really only consists of mind and ideas? That would get rid of the problem of having an abstract cause creating the universe out of nothing.

Con says the cause must be sentient because the mind is the only being with causal power. However, many entities have causal power, so I see no reason why it must be sentient.

Fine-tuning Argument

Most rational persons would probably agree that it’s pretty amazing and wondrous that life exists. They should also agree that our existence depends entirely on the physical constants and the environment around us which have so many possible variations that life-enabling states are astronomically less common than life-hindering states. What the rational person absolutely would not do is assume that these fine-tuned properties must be the result of conscious design. Why? He’d have to eliminate some very plausible counter-explanations that it would be completely foolish to discard. As mentioned, the multiverse is a very serious possibility. If the multiverse exists, it’s simply inevitable that life enabling universes would arise. They might be 1 in a million, or 1 in a billion, but in a near infinite set of universes there would be a near infinite set of life enabling universes. It’s easy to see how this works with an oscillating universe as well. The universe would go through phase after phase, the vast majority being non permitting of life, but eventually, given enough time, we’d get a life-permitting universe; just like the vast majority of space is hostile to life, but the vastness of the universe makes it plausible for habitable planets to exist.

Our knowledge of the universe provokes no logical reason for bringing God into the picture. The concept of God is simply an unnecessary hypothesis. Other theories, such as string theory/M-theory, explain the presence of life. None yet have empirical proof but they’ve been shown plausible and countless scientists have invested their entire lives into studying string theory. I see no reason to provoke God as a counter-explanation when we have other theories that have massive theoretical power and some explanatory power. Theism is worthy of consideration, but it does not have evidence to trump the other theories.

The Moral Argument

Con’s given no support for calling morality objective. Some form of morality exists, but that doesn’t mean it exists independently of us. Morality was part of evolution. Desires, goals, and interests propel evolution and also create what we call “values”. Kin altruism and group altruism are both conducive to survival. Thus, caring for others helped to propel evolution. Laws in part reflect morality which helped to ingrain moral sentiments and to universalize them. Religion has played a huge role in enforcing moral laws throughout history and provides divine authority to make people obey them, fear not obeying them, and see rewards in living by them. Thus, religion enforced moral feelings within humans and helped to validate and universalize them.



Debate Round No. 2


I will now respond to my opponents counters to my arguments in the same style as he did previously


First my opponent says that we don't know what happened before the Big bang singularity and therefore can't say that was the start of the universe. He ignores the evidence from the second law of thermodynamics, which shows that our universe's energy and matter must have come from somewhere at some finite point because otherwise it would have existed forever and there would be no energy-content in our universe at all. That is proof there was a beginning. Whenever and however that happened, it doesn't disprove the evidence I have brought to show my second premise is true, at least more true than its negation, which is all you need to demonstrate about your premises to have made a sound logical argument.

My opponent then says we never see anything begin to exist, but only exist ex materia. But of course objects begin to exist and space-time is an object which did have a beginning point.

Finally my opponent objects to the idea a mind has to be the cause of the universe, but this is simply non sequiter arguing because I have explained why a mind must cause the universe- it is abstract and has causal power. Other abstract objects do not have such power.

Fine-tuning argument

My opponent posits a multiverse to explain the improbablity of a fine-tuned universe, but offers no evidence for it beyond speculative theories. I have provided evidence for this argument and he disputes that, but even if the hypotheiss of god seems unreasonable, it comes from logical argunment and should be taken as true until he disputes the premises.

The moral argument

I have appealed to intuition in this argument and simply said we simply observe moral values and duties. It's not my duty to prove them, we just sense them. I appeal to people think of something really wrong and see if there is any time or place it would be good to perform said action or behgaviour. If there is not then my argument is sound and holds as proof of God.

Your turn.


It seems Con is not very interested in a debate since he ignores half of what I say.


Of the 2 premises, Con focuses almost solely on the 2nd premise, that the universe has a beginning. This is the premise I least have issue with--though I do contest it as at least unknowable. My main issue is the causality premise since it flies in the face of modern physics and relies on flimsy common sense arguments and speculation. There’s also the issue of whether the cause could be called God, which I have issues with as well. P.1 goes almost entirely undefended, and can thus be discarded.

P.1 Causality

Con completely ignores the key fact that radioactive decay is random and that virtual particles in a vacuum randomly wink in and out of existence, as if from nothing. The latter is especially important because it’s the closest observation to creation ex nihilo that we can make in a world where everything must be ex materia. A vacuum does not amount to nothingness, but it has less of the material properties of the world and closer to what we could imagine existence out of nothing would look like. Since the principle of causality only holds true on the macro scale with billiard balls and everyday interactions, and fails on the quantum level with quantum particles and radioactive decay, we can easily discard the principle altogether.

Con ignores the argument that the beginning of the universe would mark the beginning of spacetime which excludes the possibility of a prior cause. Cause and effect operates on the assumption that causes precede their effects in time. Since the beginning of the universe would be the beginning of time, there could be no prior state to the universe and therefore no cause. This in itself disproves God as defined in this debate, so Con’s ignoring it doesn’t just make his argument fail; it makes my case succeed.

Con ignores the evidence of the plausibility of the multiverse as well as the oscillating universe theory.

I don’t believe my opponent grasps what a frail guide intuition can be. Physicists are well acquainted with the many counterintuitive aspects of nature. As Brian Cox writes “Newton’s laws provide us with a very intuitive picture of the world...They take the form of equations...that allow us to predict with precision how objects move around. Inherent in the whole framework is the assumption that objects are, at any instant, located somewhere and that, as time passes, objects move smoothly around from place to place. This seems so self-evidently true that it is hardly worth commenting upon, but we need to recognize that this is a prejudice”[1A] He states, “Newton’s laws are built on intuition, and that is like a house built on sand as far as fundamental physics is concerned.”[1B]

Cox then goes on to describe Clinton Davison’s and Lester Germer’s well-known slit experiment where electrons fired at at two slits with a detector on the other side behave in in ways that defy common sense prejudices. The quantum particles behaved similar to waves but they aren’t waves. The best way to think of the electron wave is a single electron--not a wave of electrons--traveling every possible path to get to the end. That’s certainly very counterintuitive, but it’s the only way to explain the interference pattern [1C]. As mentioned, other phenomena such as superposition [1D] are also counterintuitive and hard to grasp. We certainly cannot relly on intuition to understand quanum physics. Since quantum physics underlies all of the physical universe, we have to be very cautious when in the absence of direct physical evidence, e.g. when specualting about explanations of the big bang.

If Con’s only support for premise 1 is intuition, then his argument is far too feeble to be accepted.

P.2 Beginning of the Universe

I did respond to the thermodynamics argument with the point that different universes will have different constants and that the laws of physics we use to describe the universe as we know it don’t necessarily apply to states prior to the big bang or during the big bang singularity, or after the death of our universe. The only thing that the law shows is that what we take to be our universe had a beginning, viz. the universe as we know it had a beginning, but that doesn’t mean there was no previous existence. Moreover, if say the oscillating theory is true and the collapse of our universe results in another big bang like event, there’s simply no reason to posit that the resulting universe will have no usable energy.

If the multiverse is infinite in space, then it contains infinite usable energy and therefore would never run out. Con doesn’t account for this fact. Again, the 2nd law of thermodynamics supports the big bang but not the proposition that all of existence is finite.

As William Craig notes, the KCA also relies on the A-theory of time. He says "From start to finish, the Kalam Cosmological Argument is predicated upon the A-Theory of time. On a B-Theory of time, the universe does not in fact come into being or become actual at the Big Bang; it just exists tenselessly as a four-dimensional space-time block that is finitely extended in the earlier than direction. If time is tenseless, then the universe never really comes into being, and, therefore, the quest for a cause of its coming into being is misconceived” [2].

The problem is that special relativity supports the B-Theory of time. Special relativity has much experimental support, such as tests of time dilation and the Doppler effect [3]. Con has to show why the A-Theory of time is correct.


Last round I showed why alternative theories explain fine-tuning better than God. Con essentially says we should favor God over alternative theories (such as the multiverse and oscillating universe) because of other arguments he’s provided in favor of theism (the KCA and morality argument). So is he dropping the argument that fine-tuning proves God? His statements imply that God is the explanation for fine-tuning, but not because fine-tuning requires a creator; he says because other arguments prove there is a creator. However, for fine-tuning to be an argument in favor of theism, the fine-tuning of the universe has to require God. Con drops all arguments to that regard and says God is the explanation because of the KCA and moral argument, not because fine-tuning requires conscious design.

It would be irresponsible of me to say there’s definitive proof of the multiverse or other theories. It’s even more groundless of Con to say there’s definitive proof of God. No one should be convinced of the multiverse, but there’s very good reason to recognize it’s plausibility and possibly probability. As stated string theory or M-theory, is an extraordinarily well built up theoretical model of particle physics and it explains the amount of dark matter found in the universe, but its testability is limited so far. I ask Con whether God, as a physical proposition, is open to testability and whether theism makes experimental predictions capable of confirmation. If not, I ask why we should favor God over the alternatives.

The Moral Argument

No one denies that people have a sense of right and wrong and I won’t deny there being some form of morality, but it’s highly contendable whether this morality exists independent of us or not. Con’s attempt at justification is inexcusably feeble. He moreover ignores my alternative explanation of morality, which was unfortunately very brief since three arguments for God is simply too much to deal with adequately in one debate.


[1] The Quantum Universe: Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
[1A] P.19
[1B] P.20
[1C] PP. 20-24, 28-32
[1D] PP.187-188
[2] The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, pp. 183-184
Debate Round No. 3


Geneaux forfeited this round.


Last round I ran out of space and neglected to address the hidden premise of the KCA--that the cause is God. As shown, P.1 is clearly false and P.2 is problematic, but even if we accept those premises and thus the conclusion that the universe has a cause, there's no reason to conclude that this cause is God. Con's argument is that the cause must be abstract and that minds are the only abstract objects with causal power. However, he hasn't actually shown that minds are abstract. Clearly ideas and consciousness are both abstract, but there's no reason to believe the brain is abstract; rather, the brain creates mental states and mental events. We have no reason to believe anything abstract has any causal power at all; at least independent of their material foundations, i.e. consciousness independent of a brain. Why should we believe consciousness exists independent of the brain? Con hasn't made any argument for substance dualism.

I've given alternatives to the personal omnipotent cause, such as an abstract world that gave rise to materiality. Or idealism, in which everything that exists is abstract. The latter would rid us of the problem of having an abstract entity creating a material universe out of nothing. The former is not any less plausible than God.

There could also be multiple causes of the universe instead of just one.

Moreover, the cause cannot transcend time because the notion of cause and effect assumes that the cause comes before the effect in time. From special relativity we know that time and space do not exist independent of each other, so the cause can also not transcend space. (As mentioned, special relativity also brings P.2 into question).
Debate Round No. 4


Geneaux forfeited this round.


Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by NoMagic 1 year ago
Fine tuning points away from god. Why does god need to fine tune anything? He is all powerful, the universe should exist purely on his will. So why does he need the laws of physics to do it?
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Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by Sandra888 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to pro because con forfeited twice. Pro also rebutted all of Con's arguments and Con dropped many of pro's. Arguments to pro. Sources to pro, who had many more.