The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
royalpaladin
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points

God is required to explain the beginning of the universe

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/20/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,643 times Debate No: 25202
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (5)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Con

My opponent will be assuming the burden of proof, by showing that God is the only rational explanation for the beginning of the universe. I will assume that using God as an explanation, does not lead one to an infnite regression. However, I must actually argue for the notion that my explanation does not infer an infinite regress. Just to make it clear, my opponent must argue that only a sentient being could have been responsible for the beginning of the universe. I will be arguing, that there are other rational explanations for the beginning of the universe, besides the sentient being explanation, that do not lead to an infinite regression.

Rules:

God must be defined as:

"The sentient being who caused the universe's existence."

The Universe must be defined as:

"The totality of all space-time and energy." (appealing to a multiverse in any sense, is irrelevant to this debate)

Pro will post his/ her first argument in this round, and in round 4 he/ she must reply with:

"No argument will be posted here, as agreed."

Failure to adhere to the rules, will result in an automatic forfeit.


royalpaladin

Pro


My opponent probably expects me to use a logical argument for God, but I am instead going to focus on quantum mechanics.


I will first define a quantum wave function as a probability amplitude in quantum mechanics describing the quantum state of a particle and how it behaves [1]. According to quantum theory, all objects behave not like discrete particles, but rather like waves, and their locations are defined by their wave functions, which measure the probability of finding them in a specific location. [1]


I will give an example to clear this up for readers who have not yet studied quantum mechanics. The example, while the common model of an atom is that of a nucleus with tiny ball-like electrons revolving around the atoms in fixed orbits. This model is shown below:


Although popular, this model is actually a misconception. Through an examination of electrons, the double-slit experiment proved that matter and energy behave like both particles and waves [2]. The implication of wave-particle duality is that particles do not have specific locations that can be measured; rather, at any given point (since they behave like waves), there is a standard probability that they will be in a given location. This means that electrons are not in fixed orbits, but rather have a probability distribution for their location known as the wave function. This model is shown below:


All particles and sets of particles have quantum wave functions. Humans, for example, have quantum wave functions. The reason that we do not observe the effects of this, however, is that our de Broglie wavelengths are highly miniscule.


The universe is a set that includes all time and space (as well as matter) included in it. The universe therefore also has a quantum wavelength.


If everything has a quantum wave function that determines probability of being in a specific state, how can we measure such things as location and momentum? The answer is that conscious observers cause the wave functions to “collapse” such that the measurements become viable. This reduces the probability of states to a single, specific state that we can then observe. [3]


The diagram below demonstrates the fact that the collapse of a wave function pushes the object from a probability of states to a specific state:


Now, we know that the universe has a collapsible wave function because it exists in a given state that we can observe at any specific time. There are only two possibilities:



  1. The universe’s wave function collapse itself

  2. An external mind collapse the universe’s wave function


Option 1 is not possible for the universe. Minds are self-observing, and since the wave function must be collapsed by consciousness, the universe would have had to observe itself in order for it to collapse itself. The universe, however, is not conscious. Self-observing wave functions are minds, and the universe certainly is not a mind. Therefore, the universe’s wave function was collapsed by an external observer.


If the universe was collapsed by a mind outside of its realms, that mind is outside of the universe and is therefore not a part of it. This means that a creator God (not necessarily the Abrahamic God) does, in fact, exist. God would be defined by a self-collapsing wave function because he does, in fact, have a conscience.


Thus, the resolution has been proven true. God is necessary for the creation of the universe.


Sources



  1. https://en.wikipedia.org...

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org...

  3. https://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Wave-Function Collapse and Consciousness

I do not have too much of a problem with what my opponent says, up until this statement:

"If everything has a quantum wave function that determines probability of being in a specific state, how can we measure such things as location and momentum? The answer is that conscious observers cause the wave functions to “collapse” such that the measurements become viable. This reduces the probability of states to a single, specific state that we can then observe."

Pro seems to misunderstand quantum theory here, and should be quite embarrassed. Consciousness is not what causes the collapse of wave-functions. A measuring apparatus which involves entanglement, interacts with a particle and causes the wave-function to collapse [1]. Either way, any complex system could cause collapse whether consciousness is present or not (self-collapsing wave-functions do not even ential observation for collapse to occur, let alone conscious observation). The Wikipedia source provided by my opponent does not, in reality, support his position. My opponent is basically taking the term "observation" to mean a "conscious observation". In reality, an "observation" simply means the "measurement". Also, there are even experiments where the collapse of a wave-function occurs due to the system bathing in photons, obviously, without any observer needing to look at the photons to cause collapse [2]. To act like the collapse of a wave-function is directly due to a conscious observer percieving the system in question, is either intellectually hishonest, or extremely ignorant to the basic underlying principles of quantum mechanics.

So, is it consciousness that causes the collapse of wave-functions? The answer is of course, no. This view is just flat out false, and a harsh misuse of quantum theory to say the least.

The Collapse of the Universal Wave-Function

Pro claims:

"Option 1 is not possible for the universe. Minds are self-observing, and since the wave function must be collapsed by consciousness, the universe would have had to observe itself in order for it to collapse itself. The universe, however, is not conscious. Self-observing wave functions are minds, and the universe certainly is not a mind. Therefore, the universe’s wave function was collapsed by an external observer."

I hate to break it to my opponent, but this is absolutely wrong on many levels. For the wave-function of the universe to collapse, there need not be anything external. Self-collapse does not necessitate any form of observation either. The wave-function just needs enough disparate parts that are tightly-interacting to cause collapse. One way of thinking of this is to divide the wave-function into two regions that are tightly-interacting. As long as each region has enough complexity, the other will be forced to effectively collapse. Now, with regards to objective collapse, there is an ontologically real wave corresponding to the wave-function, and collapse occurs spontaneously (and/ or when some physical threshold within the wave-function is reached, as I already explained), without the need for any observer at all [3].

This means, my opponent's entire argument is nothing more than a bastardization of quantum physics. Consciousness is not needed in the slightest to collapse a wave-function, and the wave-function of the universe could very well be self-collapsing (self-collapsing wave-functions do not require any sort of observation, nor "consciousness" in any context). Thus, Pro did not meet his burden of proof, and has failed to establish the necessity of God as the explanation for the beginning of the universe. However, I have a burden to present an alternative explanation. My explanation involves quantum mechanics and wave-functions as well, so, this should be interesting!


Quantum Tunneling and the Beginning of the Universe

Alexander Vilenkin is one of the United States' most respected physicists, and his model of comic origins describes the universe emerging from a quantum tunnelling event, with a finite size (a = H-1) and with a zero rate of expansion or contraction (da/dt = 0), from an empty geometry, void of space-time[4]. For those who are not familiar with quantum mechanics, quantum tunnelling is the effect of transitioning through a classically forbidden energy state [5]. If this model is correct, then our universe would be the tail of a wave-function that once penetrated the barrier of the Big Bang singularity. This means, one need not object to this model by claiming that there are initial conditions where the laws of physics break down. Quantum tunnelling models of this nature, bypass than line of refutation.

"These quantum mechanical models of the beginning of the universe are explanatorily superior in one respect to the standard GTR-based Big Bang models; they do not postulate initial states at which the laws of physics break down but explain the beginning of the universe in accordance with the laws of physics." - Philosopher of physics, Quentin Smith [6]


Now, Alexander Vilenken calls this empty geometry void of space-time "nothing", but it is not the "nothing" adhered to by Aristotle or other philosophers, this "nothing" is described by the laws of physics.

However, if there is no space-time involved with this "nothing", then then this means it need not have a beginning. Thus, this model avoids infinite regression. One more question remains though, what was the sufficient cause of the tunnelling event, if all that existed was an empty geometry?


"As a result of the tunnelling event, a finite-sized universe, filled with a false vacuum, pops out of nowhere ("nucleates") and immediately starts to inflate...If there was nothing before the universe popped out, then what could have caused the tunnelling? Remarkably, the answer is that no cause is required." - Alexander Vilenkin [7]

One could say that the laws of physics are what caused the tunnelling, however the laws of physics would just stand as a necessary condition which need to be in place in order to describe the empty geometry, and the tunneling itself. There would actually be no proper causal process which would give rise to the tunneling event at the exact point it did. It would be a spontaneous, acausal event.


Conclusion

Pro's argument that a conscious observer must have collapsed the wave-function of the universe, is nothing short of laughable. He also had his facts wrong with regards to self-collapse in general. This means, he failed to show that a sentient being is necessary to explain the beginning of the totality of space-time and energy. I however, presented a rational and scientifically supported quantum mechanical explanation for the origins of the universe, which does not entail the need for any observer (let alone, a conscious observer). The wave-function would have inevitably gotten complex enough for collapse, or it would have simply spontaneously collapsed at some point as commonly understood by experts in the field with regards to self-collapse. The argument I presented is supported by modern quantum theory, unlike the baseless assertions presented by my opponent, which only purport to be supported by modern quantum theory. Therefore, the resolution has been clearly negated, to the point of no return.

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://prl.aps.org...
[3]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://mukto-mona.net...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[6] http://www.infidels.org...
[7] Alexander Vilenkin: "Many worlds in one: The search for other universes" (P. 181)
royalpaladin

Pro

Makes sense. I'll go ahead and concede. You didn't have to be so rude, however . . .
Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

I did not mean to be rude. If it came off that way, I apologize.

Kudos for the honorable concession.
royalpaladin

Pro

Speeding things along.
Debate Round No. 3
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by royalpaladin 4 years ago
royalpaladin
Link to the pictures:
http://www.debate.org...
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Vote Placed by Illegalcombatant 4 years ago
Illegalcombatant
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Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
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