God most likely exists
This is a debate on the existence of God, a topic I have not debated in quite awhile. Thus, I was pretty excited when Voice told me he was interested in debating the topic with me. The debate has advisers for both sides. Voice's advisers are 21MolonLabe [http://www.debate.org...] and ColeTrain [http://www.debate.org...]. My advisers are n7 [http://www.debate.org...] and BlueDreams [http://www.debate.org...].
The debate will have 72 hours for each side to type up an argument, with 4 total rounds and a maximum of 10,000 characters per round. The minimum Elo required to vote is 3500, and the debate's judging standards will follow the "opt-in" system. [http://www.debate.org...] By accepting, debaters consent to the application of this system; by voting, judges agree to follow these standards or have their votes deleted.
God most likely exists.
All terms and definitions are excerpted from or influenced by Wikipedia, the Oxford Dictionary, and/or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
God - an intelligent being that is an omnipotent, omniscient cause of the universe
Most likely - 'probably'
Exist - 'have objective reality or being'
1. No forfeits
2. Citations should be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final speechs
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. My opponent accepts all definitions and waives his/her right to add resolutional definitions
8. For all undefined terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate (unless otherwise specified in R1)
9. Pro must begin in R1 and must not present arguments, rebuttals, or debate summary in R4
10. Violation of any of these rules, or of any of the R1 set-up, merits a loss
R1. Pro's Case
R2. Con's Case and generic Rebuttal; Pro generic Rebuttal
R3. Con generic Rebuttal; Pro generic Rebuttal and Crystallization
R4. Con generic Rebuttal and Crystallization; Pro waives
...to Voice-of-Truth for the debate, and to n7, BlueDreams, ColeTrain and 21MolonLabe for advising!
I thank tejretics for challenging me to this debate, and to our advisors to agree to assist us.
P1) Everything that begins to exist has an cause.
P2) The universe began to exist.
C) Therefore the universe has a cause.
P1 is rooted in the Law of Cause and Effect. If one sees a book flying across the room, anyone would argue that something caused it to fly across the room. I will not spend much time defending it unless Con has objections to it.
The Scientific Evidence for the second premiss is the Big Bang itself (which we do no endorse). According to the Big Bang Model of the beginning of the Universe, the Universe came into existence about 15 billion years ago . Furthermore, the BGV Theorem proved that our universe is expanding and that a universe that is expanding has to have a beginning .
So now we have a cause of the universe. If you think about what the Universe is: all of spacetime reality, all matter and energy; it follows that if the universe has a cause, that cause must be very powerful, nonphysical, immaterial, and beyond space and time (since both wouldn’t exist sans the universe) . One thing that it cannot be is abstract, because abstract things such as numbers can’t cause anything. So now we have a very powerful, nonphysical, immaterial creator of the universe that is beyond space and time. This Sounds a lot like God.
One common question that many Atheists ask is “What caused God?”
The Pool Table Argument
P1) Every cause was either caused or uncaused (Null Hypothesis)
P2) There is a finite number of past causes.
3) Let n be the number of past causes and let C be the set of all causes that ever existed: c1, c2, c3 ... cn
4). Now choose any cause cx from the set of causes C.
Using Recursive process:
5. Does cause cx have at least one preceding cause causing it?
6. If the answer is no, then cx is an uncaused cause. End of proof
7. If the answer is yes, then cx has at least one preceding cause causing it
8. Let cy be any of the causes that caused cx
9. Remove cx from the set of all causes C. Now the size of C will be reduced by 1 10. Now make cx = cy and repeat steps 5 to 10
The recursive process will loop until either: a) An uncaused cause is found in step 5, or b) After a maximum of n-1 iterations, the size of set C will become 1. At that point, there's only one cause left in the set. There are absolutely no other causes available that can cause it. Therefore, this single cause must be an uncaused cause. End of proof.
Conclusion: The logic above, if the premises are true, concludes that there must exist at least 1 uncaused cause. There's no escape.
The universe is governed by constants such as the Gravitational Constant and many like it. The interesting thing is that if any of them varied slightly the universe would not be life-permitting. Here is the amazing part: because of the probability of these constants being different, the chance of the universe being life permitting is less than 1 in 10^10^123 . To say that this due to chance is simply unreasonable. To say that this is due to necessity would mean that the universe has to be this way. The Scientific Community would disagree with this, “the universe does not have to be as it is: it could have been otherwise”. We contend that that the most probable explanation for the way that the universe is would be because of a a Designer.
Irreducible Complexity will be defined as that which“cannot be produced directly by numerous, successive, slight modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional .”
P1) If irreducibly complex biological structures exist, then evolution is false.
P2) Irreducibly complex biological structures exist.
C) Therefore, evolution is false.
P1 is not at all a controversial premise.
For support, We use the bacterial flagellum motor. It has been described as:“so breathtakingly elegant and mesmerizing that the sheer engineering brilliance of the flagella motor and, indeed, the magnitude of the challenge it brings to evolution cannot be properly appreciated….”
One may object that the T3SS is precursor to the motor, but this is simply false. The T3SS only composes 1/4 of the flagellum motor. Casey Luskin explains how this is problematic: “[this] does not help one account for how the fundamental function of the flagellum – its propulsion system- evolved .” He even explains why the view claiming exaptation plus the T3SS can account for the flagellum is wrong: “[Miller] wrongly characterizes irreducible complexity as focusing on the non-functionality of sub-parts. In contrast, Behe properly tests irreducible complexity by assessing the plausibility of the entire functional system to assemble in a step-wise fashion… Miller misconstrued the proper way of testing irreducible complexity, and his argument amounts to this: ‘if my laptop cord can also be used to power my toaster, then my laptop is no longer irreducibly complex .”
And so continues the Assault on Reason
Through the ancient times, following Zarathustra's proclamation of a monotheistic, unembodied, and more abstract variation of the nature deities worshipped by the ancients, the primary source for apologetics -- which derives from the Greek "apologia," which means "defense" -- of God's existence was a form known as presuppostionalism. Today, presuppositional apologetics is considered a branch of specifically Christian apologetics, but the philosophy behind presuppositionalism was a chief defense for belief in God. Indeed, the trial of Socrates and the house arrest of Galileo were both clear examples of presuppositionalism -- the idea that we have to presuppose the existence of God, and then work our way from there. In fact, the primary source for suppression of science was this presuppositional viewpoint taken by religion.
Following this came an evidentialist perception of apologetics, which seeks to argue that God best explains certain phenomena. But I hold that no phenomena cannot be explained without God.
God is an unnecessary assumption that is unable to clearly explain things. The principle of simplicity holds that "ontological parsimony," or invoking less assumptions, is required to be held a strong explanation. Since the Fransican friar William Ockham proposed his epistemological razor that stated that the explanation which invokes least explanations, or ad hoc assumptions, is more likely, it has remained an understood fact that nothing in the universe cannot be explained without God. I have a strong reason under this principle to think that atheism is true -- if God exists, the universe had a cause, meaning there was something "before the universe." But time itself began with the universe -- sans the universe, there is neither time directionality nor physical constraint. It is impossible to cognitively process anything time-less -- we use words such as "now," "then," "before," and "after," all of which presuppose time directionality. Sans time, there's nothing "before" or "after" anything, so there are no events and no objects. Therefore, there couldn't have been anything before the universe, and God couldn't have caused the universe.
Of course, it's possible to add the simple ad hoc explanation that God caused the universe simultaneously -- in other words, the cause and the effect took place at the same time. But if simultaneous causation is possible, there's no need to add God, since the causality of the universe can be explained via simultaneous causation using particles that we know exist, i.e. elementary particles. For instance, quarks and electrons could have simultaneously caused each other into ad infinitum, in the process creating the universe. The quark causes the electron and the electron causes the quark at the same instantaneous moment. There's no reason there to think God exists at all. So, we have two possible explanations: (1) the theological one, which assumes the existence of elementary particles and God, and (2) the secular one, which only assumes elementary particles. Since the first explanation invokes more assumptions, prefer the second one by Occam's razor.
From the above information, and from what is presumed in a basic debate setting, the proof burden is with Pro. It's Pro's burden to prove that "God most likely exists." The resolution is a fact claim, rather than a normative one. We presume that the resolution is false until Pro proves so. Thus, the BoP is on Pro.
(1) Just because we haven't observed anything uncaused means everything is caused. Pro is presuming the principle of the uniformity of nature, which is an unjustified assumption made by all inductive reasoning. The principle suggests that if there have been consistent observations of phenomena X appearing in conditions Y, with no observations of Y without X, then we can conclude that if Y exists in a certain location, X applies there. But, as Hume's problem of induction noted, there's no actual reason to believe in the principle.  Even if such a principle applies within the universe, we're talking about the causality of the universe; sans the universe, there's no application of special or general relativity. If SR doesn't apply, the uniformity of nature does not apply by definition. The purpose of SR in physics is to establish this principle.  Furthermore, sans the universe, "efficient causation" is incoherent. In other words, a cause cannot precede an effect, because the idea of "precession" assumes time. An event cannot precede another without time. Only simultaneous causation can cause this, in which case both cause and effect cause each other in an infinite regression.
(2) The "beginning of the universe" is incoherent. A "beginning" entails that a certain effect began at a certain moment in time. But sans the universe, time doesn't exist. There is no precession or succession without time. There are no Cauchy surfaces for time to be on. Pro's justification for an absolute beginning relies on the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem and on Big Bang cosmology. The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem only applies on the scale of a universe that is "absolutely expanding," and is not static from an absolute moving reference frame.  But there's no evidence that such an absolute frame of reference even exists. In fact, there have been multiple suggestions, via theorems from quantum physics and suggestions like the Hartle-Hawking state, that the universe's expansion is not absolute; rather, if there were an external observer, the universe would not be expanding. Rather, the universe would be static. The quantum eternity theorem, for instance, suggests a four-dimensional universe that just remained eternal.
(3) The argument isn't relevant. Pro argues that such a timeless, spaceless entity "seems a lot like God." But that doesn't fit this debate's definition of God. The debate's definition of God is a conscious entity. The argument doesn't prove a conscious or intelligent cause in any way.
(1) Assuming the argument, the question entails: what is the uncaused cause the cause of? God is defined as the cause of the universe. An uncaused cause or a "first cause" doesn't necessarily need to be the cause of the universe.
(2) The argument assumes that simultaneous causation is impossible. Because there doesn't need to be an infinite regression of past causes if there is no uncaused cause under simultaneous causality, the impossibility of the same is presumed. This assumption is unjustified. Most physicists agree that simultaneous causality is possible. Alain Aspect conducted experiments in an attempt to confirm Bell's theorem on photon causality, and actually found simultaneous causes and effects in the photons in question -- basically a form of quantum teleportation. 
(3) A cause of the universe is not necessarily God until proven to be so.
(1) The argument is irrelevant. Pro doesn't explain how intelligent design is the best explanation for this fine-tuning. It's up to Pro to prove that.
(2) The calculation is a severely poor attempt to lead on to the conclusion. The universe is technically "fine tuned" just as much for the existence of black holes, and for the existence of volcanoes. If there were changes in a major constant, they wouldn't exist either. The improbability at it arising from chance is, in fact, a mis-application in this debate, because it can't be applied to this actual world. Rather, it would apply in a different possible world, because the probabilities for other explanations -- such as intelligent design -- might be just as low.
I'll illustrate this argument with the example of a pack of 52 cards. If I took the cards, shuffled them, and spread them out in a crescent, the probability of that exact pattern coming would be one to 52 factorial. Since 52! is approximately equal 8.07 x 10^67, the ratio of such a pattern coming up is one to 8.07 x 10^67, which is in fact a huge number. But since any pattern has the same probability, one can't conclude that it's improbable for me to get any number. The same way, Pro has to establish the probability of intelligent design on itself, rather than as opposed to chance.
(3) Pro is quote-mining. The full quote made by the fifth source is, "A world freely created by God, and ordered in a particular, felicitous way at the origin of a linear time, constitutes a powerful set of beliefs, and was taken up by both Christianity and Islam. An essential element of this belief system is that the universe does not have to be as it is: it could have been otherwise." 
The truth of evolution is irrelevant to the debate, which is about God's existence. Unless Pro proves that God's existence is the best explanation for the origin of species (following which I will be happy to defend evolution), the argument is irrelevant.
Since Pro's arguments are severely under-explained and under-articulated, and don't properly prove God, and for the reasons outlined above, vote Con.
I apologize for the delay in posting; I had personal matters to tend to.
Not only should we not believe it because Con only barely asserts it, but because it is simply false. We’ll demonstrate:
P1: A foetus is an innocent human being
P2: All innocent human beings have a right to life
C1: A foetus has a right to life
P3: Abortion contravenes the foetus's right to life
P4: That which contravenes a human being's rights should be prohibited by the Government
C2: Abortion should be prohibited by the Government.
Above is an argument against abortion. It is important to note that the premises have no physical relation to the conclusions. Also note that the premises are not physical objects. Notice however that there is a casual relationship between the premises and the conclusions. If the premises are true, then it causes valid conclusions. If they are false, then they cause false conclusions. If, however, causality is only applicable in space and time, then this argument against abortion, or any argument for that matter, would not be sound.
2) Intelligent Design
3) Theistic Evolution
4) Atheistic Evolution
Evolution is the atheist’s only explanation for how life arose. If evolution is wrong, then the atheist’s only explanation disappears. This means that the only options left are positions that include a God to explain how life arose.
Pro misrepresents my argument. That was merely a part of my argument. I'm arguing that under Occam's razor, God posits a more complex hypothesis. I argue that God is not necessary to explain anything in the universe, and that the BoP is on Pro. Pro concedes the BoP issue.
The causality argument was not a bare assertion. I clearly justified that it is incoherent for an efficient cause, not any cause. An efficient cause is a cause that precedes the effect. I argued that it is impossible for God to be an efficient cause. There was nothing "before the universe," because time itself began with the universe. Sans the universe, there is no time directionality, therefore it is incoherent to claim that a cause preceded the universe, or that the universe began. Now, this in itself does not pose a strong argument against God, because it is possible to add an ad hoc explanation, that the cause did not precede the effect. William Lane Craig argues that God caused the universe in one instantaneous cause.  I argue that if simultaneous causation is possible -- which has to be conceded by any theist -- then quark-electron simultaneous causality is also possible. Since quarks and electrons exist under any worldview, but God doesn't, by Occam's razor the quark-electron hypothesis is simpler and, therefore, more likely.
Further evidence for the idea that Pro is advocating for a God that preceded the universe is present within their defense of the cosmological argument. Pro argues that God is transcendent to the universe entirely; therefore, he lacks the properties of the universe (e.g. space, time). But if an external cause did not precede the universe, it does not need transcendence; for instance, quarks and electrons do have properties of the universe, and there have even been hypotheses of the universe causing itself, which is possible under simultaneous causation.
(1) I agree that my first objection relies on the idea that Pro has only proven causality in the physical realm. But Pro has not proven causality outside of the physical realm. The only justification Pro had was that things in the universe haven't been observed coming ex nihilo; a book can't come out of nowhere in a room, says Pro. If a room is not within the physical realm, I don't know what the "physical realm" is. But the uniformity of nature objection does not rely on that. Uniformitarianism is assumed within the universe as well. This example is only one example. Just because we haven't observed objects coming ex nihilo anywhere in the universe doesn't show that there are not any such objects. That can only be concluded assuming the uniformity of nature. 
(2) The burden of proof is on Pro. Pro's argument relies on the idea that the universe is expanding by an absolute frame of reference. Pro has to prove that assumption, else presume Con. Pro has just shown that the idea that it isn't expanding per an absolute frame of reference has been "objected to," not that it is wrong. But even if I give a hypothesis equally likely as Pro, Pro has the burden, so vote Con. I don't need to explain why my theories are better; the burden is on you. Pro is committing the fallacy of shifting the burden of proof.
(3) The analogy is utter nonsense. The only burden atheists have while disproving God is disproving any property of God -- the paradox of the stone does that. On the other hands, for theists to fulfill their burden, they have to prove every property of God. In other words, if I showed that even one property of God was impossible, I have fulfilled my burden; but Pro has to demonstrate every property of God, which the KCA fails to do. In fact, all the KCA proves is an "external cause." I can even completely concede that, and hold that this external cause is a quark/electron.
Like I said, I concede a first cause. What I do not concede is that the universe necessarily had a cause. Pro has to prove that the Principle of Sufficient Reason is true. Analogies aren't enough, sunce they commit the fallacy of hasty generalization. He has to prove, without making any unjustified assumption, that the PSR applies everywhere, under all conditions. The PSR also says that any contingent object is contingent on another object, but there's no reason to believe the universe is contingent. What if the universe was necesssary? Pro assumes God is necessary rather than being caused, but then stop the chain at a lower level: if the universe was necessary, by Occam's razor God is an unnecessary assumption.
There's no reason for the first cause to be transcendent to the universe. As detailed above, simultaneous causality is possible. It has been proven by experiment. This means the universe could have caused itself, or particles within it could have caused themselves into existence via an infinite regression of causes. Pro doesn't give a reason to believe simultaneous causality is impossible; he just barely asserts it.
I don't see how causing the universe requires intelligence. The cause did something independently. How does that imply an intelligent cause? Take the example of binary fission in amoebae, where the amoeba divides into two, thus one causes the other. There is no predetermination, and no intelligence either.
(1) Pro's source is merely an appeal to authority. There's no given reason to believe what the author of the source -- one that is defending the fine tuning argument -- says. Also, the author misinterprets the idea of nature causing the constants to necessarily be so. "Necesity" is not logical necessity, it is physical necessity.
(2) Pro drops the argument about volcanoes and black holes also being "fine tuned," and merely gives weight to the formation of life arbitrarily.
(3) Pro is arguing that intelligent design and chance are the only options, as opposed to the 8.06 x 10^67 possibilities in cards that makes the ratio so low. But Pro doesn't justify this dichotomy. It is a bare assertion, and an appeal to authority. There's no given reason to believe Pro's source is actually correct about this. Michael Hurben argues that physical necessity is a major possibility, and Pro doesn't actually establish the probability of intelligent design.  Furthermore, Pro drops that the calculation of the probability of randomness is merely asserted, and there's no justification given. Pro doesn't give a strong reason to believe that the random tuning of constants is necessarily in such a low probability; just because the source says so doesn't mean it is so. Pro has to show the method for gaining such a calculation, justify that method, and thus justify the calculation, else it is a bare assertion/appeal to authority.
Those four are only the most common positions, not all the positions. Pro has to show that the four options are the only possible options, or it is a bare assertion. For instance, we could argue that all life was simultaneously caused along with the quark and electron, or the universe created itself as it is now and there has been little change, it being static except from an internal observer's point of view. Atheism doesn't rely on evolution at all. There is also an atheistic religion called "Raelism" that claims extraterrestrial, intelligent beings seeded life on Earth.
Pro's source (Akin) isn't even claiming those four are the only options, only that they are the most common ones. We don't need to advocate evolution to win this debate, and Pro hasn't shown that we need to.
There are three reasons why I (we) win this debate:
First, all of Pro's arguments have been torn down, and it has been established that Pro has the burden of proof. The cosmological argument isn't sufficient since it only proves an external cause, not necessarily God, and fails to account for simultaneous causation. I've shown that the BGV theorem only applies in a universe that is expanding per all reference frames, but our universe isn't such a universe. I've also shown that the causal principle is nonsense and doesn't apply outside the universe. The first cause argument only shows a cause, not necessarily a cause of the universe, and I've refuted the causal principle. I've shown that the irreducible complexity argument is irrelevant, and have refuted the fine tuning argument.
Second, we've erected our own case from Occam's razor, and showed that simultaneous quark-electron causation or the universe causing itself is far more likely than God as an explanation to the universe.
Third, Pro hasn't actually proven that God exists even assuming all Pro's arguments hold. God was defined in Rd. 1 as "an intelligent being that is an omnipotent, omniscient cause of the universe." None of Pro's arguments actually shows that the cause/intelligent designer is "omnipotent" (i.e. all-powerful) or "omniscient" (i.e. all-knowing). Pro's burden is to prove that God exists. A mere intelligent cause of the universe is not God -- it is merely an intelligent cause of the universe. Until Pro establishes the link of their argument to God, they haven't fulfilled their burden.
Therefore, vote Con.
The-Voice-of-Truth forfeited this round.
"God most likely exists"
Pro had the greater burden of proof in this debate. As I established in Round 2, the resolution is a fact claim, and also, by Occam's razor, Pro had to prove the resolution true. My burden was to refute Pro's arguments, which would be sufficient for a victory.
(1) Everything requires a cause; universe requires a cause; that cause is God (unclearly explained how it links to God, since it doesn't properly fit the definition of God; weak argument); (2) there is an uncaused first cause, which is God (not explained how this cause is the cause of the universe, since PSR not warranted or sufficiently explained); (3) evidence of fine-tuned constants suggest God (probability of intelligent design not clearly established); (4) irreducible complexity refutes evolution and evolution is the only sound means to affirm origin of life under atheism.
Occam's razor suggests God doesn't exist by default, and causation without time requires simultaneous causation; simultaneous causation of elementary particles better fulfills Occam's razor.
The cosmological argument isn't sufficient since it only proves an external cause, not necessarily God, and fails to account for simultaneous causation. I've shown that the BGV theorem only applies in a universe that is expanding per all reference frames, but our universe isn't such a universe. I've also shown that the causal principle is nonsense and doesn't apply outside the universe. The first cause argument only shows a cause, not necessarily a cause of the universe, and I've refuted the causal principle. I've shown that the irreducible complexity argument is irrelevant, and have refuted the fine tuning argument. Our argument was largely untouched; Pro claims it is a bare assertion, but we clearly elucidated how "efficient causation" presupposes time, and how it's *possible* for God to exist but not *probable.* Occam's razor in itself dropped. Furthermore, none of Pro's arguments proves God as defined.
For all the above reasons, vote Con.
Conclusion of my Case:
Everything requires a cause, so it logically follows that the universe must have one. This cause is uncaused, as shown by the Pool Table Argument, which indicates that this uncaused cause is the beginnning of the Universe. This is also shown by the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which states that everything must have a cause, and for something not to completely throws out the PSR, which must be followed. Simultaneous causation is compatible with the First Cause, which refutes Con's statments concerning Occam's Razor.
According to statements made within the debate, this First Cause is intelligent, very powerful (or omnipotenct), nonphysical, immaterial, and the creator of the universe that goes beyond space and time. This falls in line with the definition of God.
Evolution is refuted via Irreducible Complexity, which leaves one remaining explantion of the universe: God.
For the above reasons, vote Pro.