The Instigator
Sargon
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
G131994
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

God probably does not exist.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Sargon
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/2/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,439 times Debate No: 37277
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (4)

 

Sargon

Pro

Ave

This debate is about whether it is probable that god exists. I will be arguing that god probably does not exist. Con will be arguing that god probably exists. The winner of the debate will be the person who proves their case beyond a preponderance of the evidence.

The first round is for acceptance of the debate format and rules. The next rounds are for back and forth debating.

General expectations of conduct should be followed.

God is defined as the personal (rational and conscious), omnipotent cause of the universe, matter, space-time, and everything else that exists.

Vale
G131994

Con

I will accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Sargon

Pro

Ave

I will be presenting an interpretation of general relatitvity and Big Bang cosmology which entails that god does not exist.

Preliminary Definitions

A half-open state of time can be thought of a line segment with a maximum value, but no minimum value.



A first state of time can be thought of as a line segment with a maximum value and a minimum value.



Entailment Argument


P1: Every state of the universe is sufficiently caused by a previous state.

P2: If every state of the universe is sufficiently caused by a previous state, then every state of the universe has a causal explanation with reference to another state.
P3: If every state of the universe has a causal explanation with reference to another state, then there is no state of the universe that was not caused by a previous state of the universe.
P4: An external cause of the universe can only exist if there is a state of the universe that was not caused by a previous state of the universe.
C: By P3 and P4, The universe has no external cause.
C2: God does not exist.

Support for the entailment argument

There are two ‘’types’’ of mechanics, classical mechanics and quantum mechanics. Classical mechanics deals with things on the scale of atoms, and quantum mechanics deals with things below the scale of atoms.[1] Classical mechanics is the most important mechanism for this specific argument. The theory of general relativity is part of classical mechanics, and it describes space-time and how gravity functions.

The theory of general relativity is one of the most supported theories in science. The Hafele-Keating experiment demonstrates time dilation, which is a prediction of general relativity.[2] The orbit of Mercury is experimental vindication of the theory of relativity's equations. For many centuries, it was noted that the orbit of Mercury was slightly different from what Newton's equations would predict. Instead of orbiting in a perfect ellipse like other plants, the orbit of Mercury precesses (which means it does not return to the same point after one orbit, but shifts slightly). When Einstein calculated the orbit of Mercury using the equations of general relativity, it predicted the orbit of Mercury with perfect accuracy [3][4]. This is a strong indication that the theory of relativity is true.

Physicists derive equations from relativity called metric tensors (or metrics for short), which describe the geometric and causal structure of space-time[5]. Ever since Einstein created general relativity in 1915, four physicists have derived metrics from his theory that describe the universe we live in, which are now called Friedmann-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker (FLRW) metrics [6]. The FLRW metric describes a universe that is isotropic, homogenous, and expanding. These metrics also state that every state of time is half-open. [7][8]

If every state of time is half-open, then this creates problems for a first state of time. A first state of time has a minimum value and a maximum value However, this contradicts the theory of relativity. The theory of relativity tells us that every state of time must have no minimum value, but a maximum value. Therefore, the theory of relativity tells us that a first state of time does not exist. Not only that, but the existence of a first state of time would actually be impossible!

Now, let’s talk about sufficient causation. In the context of this argument, I use sufficient cause to refer to a condition that, when it has been actualized, will inevitably lead to something else [9]. For example, if people are playing checkers, then there is also a board and pieces in use. The act of playing checkers requires the use of a board and pieces.

This is a picture of the universe if every state of time is half-open.



Every end-point (represented by the U shape) sufficiently causes the next end-point, and is sufficiently caused by a prior end-point. If one end-point represents the first hour after the Big Bang, and the next end-point represents the second hour after the Big Bang, then the first hour after the Big Bang sufficiently causes the second hour, because once it has been actualized, it will lead to the second hour. The first premise is warranted, and I believe that the other premises logically follow from its truth.

Big Bang cosmology

The argument I gave is consistent with standard Big Bang cosmology.
The universe still had a beginning in the sense that every state of time must be less than 13.9 billion years old, the age of the universe. In algebraic terms, if T represents a state of time, then every T < 13.9 billion years ago. I think this explanation will solve any questions about how my view of the universe is compatible with standard Big Bang cosmology, which has a finitely old universe.

Some may argue that the initial cosmological singularity represents a beginning point. I think this interpretation has many problems. It is better to think of the singularity as a mathematical abstraction rather than a real thing. For example, it's supposed to have infinite temperature, but it's a zero dimensional point. Temperature relates to molecules moving around, like spreading out when heated, or getting closer together when cooled. How can temperature make any sense at a zero-dimensional point, which by definition, has no movement? Dr. Craig also points out that a physical object with no duration and no physical extension hardly qualifies as a physical thing at all! [10]

Atheism with a first state


Even if there is a first state of the universe, it can be explained by simultaneous causation. Simultaneous causation is the idea that ‘’the causal order must not be the temporal order because of the possibility of cause and effect being contemporaneous.’’ Alain Aspect's experiments with Bell's inequalities demonstrate simultaneous causation with spatially distant photons. The measurement of one photon causes the other photon to instantaneously take on an anti-correlated spin [11]. The first state of the universe can be logically explained by this simultaneous causation. One part of the state, X, simultaneously causes another part, Y, which simultaneously causes another part Z, which simultaneously causes another part, X.


This may seem absurd, but I like to quote physicists Paul Davies on this: 'The idea of a physical system containing an explanation of itself might seem paradoxical to the layman but it is an idea that has some precedence in physics. While one may concede (ignoring quantum effects) that every event is contingent, and depends for its explanation on some other event, it need not follow that this series either continues endlessly, or ends in God. It may be closed into a loop.' [12]


Vale


References
1: http://en.wikipedia.org...
2: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...
3: A Brief History of Time, pg 11
4: http://en.wikipedia.org...
5: http://en.wikipedia.org...
6: http://en.wikipedia.org...
7: I consulted DDO user nordmarj, who has a master's degree in Astronomy and Physics, and he told me this was a correct statement.
8: http://plato.stanford.edu...
9: http://www.nku.edu...
10: Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology, pg 227
11:
The Fabric of the Cosmos, pgs 112-115

11B: A full description of the experiment can be found in: 'Alain Aspect and Phillipe Grangier, 'Experiments on Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen-type Correlations with Pairs of Visible Photons', Quantum Concepts in Space and Time (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), 1-15.'
11C: A larger discusion of this can be found by reading Quentin Smith's article 'The Reason the Universe exists is that it caused itself' at the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy website.
1
2: God and the New Physics, pg 47
G131994

Con

The argument is ""God Probably does not exist"". You have put forward one argument that suggests that the universe evolves and there was no start. At each point the ""new state of the universe is totally dependent on the previous state"" thus making a continues line which has no start.

You state Einstein"s theory of general relativity as proof for your theory. That suggests god does not exist however Einstein himself said. ""Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe " a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive."" (1)

You state that that "" The FLRW metric describes a universe that is isotropic, homogeneous, and expanding. These metrics also state that every state of time is half-open. [7][8]

If every state of time is half-open, then this creates problems for a first state of time. A first state of time has a minimum value and a maximum value However, this contradicts the theory of relativity. The theory of relativity tells us that every state of time must have no minimum value, but a maximum value. Therefore, the theory of relativity tells us that a first state of time does not exist. Not only that, but the existence of a first state of time would actually be impossible!"" .
Isn"t it also equally possible the laws that govern our universe today only came into effect once our universe had been created ?. The mathematical models we use to describe our universe today assume an infinite amount of time and do not account for the physical factors of the universe. Such as the big bang but are based on the assumption that our universe has been here in its current form since eternity or only changes we know about have happened and we have accounted for them correctly .

To illustrate my point take the orbit of mercury you could use a mathematical model to predict at what point in the orbit mercury would be in exactly 3000 trillion years into the future. This has one major flaw mercury will not be orbiting the sun in 3000 trillion years because the sun will no longer be there this is one example of the mathematical model not taking into account the physical factors. (2)

Another Major problem with all scientific theory is we as humans have only in the past 500 years been able to make meaningful observations. Our theory"s and ideas are solely based on what we have witnessed over a relatively short piece of time we have no way of knowing what has happened in the past.(3)
We have next to no understanding of dark matter the matter we observe is predicted to only be 5 % of the total matter in the universe and therefore 95 % is either dark matter of dark energy. No current model on the evolution of our universe has provided a credible proven reason for this. (4)

Why is this relevant to the debate?
It shows that mathematical models such as the one provided by my opponent struggle account for physical changes in our universe, for example the big bang furthermore we have not observed all changes in our universe therefore we cannot account for them in our models. My argument also suggests that everything we observer today is a result of the big bang and therefore could not of existed before hand and so the model proposed by my opponent is not valid if the laws of physics only came into effect after the big bang. Our lack of understanding of past events in the universe makes it impossible to correctly predict the future or past. I therefore propose that it is impossible and wrong for anyone to state "" god probably does not exist"".

1)http://josephranseth.hubpages.com...-
2)http://www.bbc.co.uk...
3) http://www.quora.com...
4) http://science.nasa.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
Sargon

Pro

Ave

Preliminary Note

Con makes no attempt to attack the logical validity of the argument. Therefore, he agrees that the truth of the premises entail the conclusion. Now the only issues that's left is whether there are good reasons to affirm the premises as true.

Response to Con

In my first round, I used to FLRW metrics to establish that every state of the universe is sufficiently caused by a previous state. Con's response to this argument is logically invalid. He argues that using FLRW metrics to establish that every state of the universe is suffcient caused by a previous state because Einstein believed in god. As a historical note, Einstein was actually a pantheist who believed that god was the universe. [1] There are much bigger problems with Con's response than this. He committs a logically invalid appeal to authority. Authority can only be invoked in an argument when the authority has expertise that is 1) relevant to the subject and 2) there exists consensus among experts on the subject. [2] Einstein was a physicist, not a philosopher, so his opinions on the implications of theory of relativity on the philosophy of physics
are irrelevant by standard 1. There are also no reasons to think that 'Einstein believed in god' entails that 'FLRW metrics are not proof that every state of the universe is sufficiently caused by a prevous state'. Ergo, I think there are good reasons for dismissing Con's flimsly objections.

Con thinks that mathematical models of the universe are purely mathematical and have no bearing on what is physically real. First, he hasn't connected this statement to the argument I gave, so I'm not sure what it is he is trying to argue. The second problem is that this is a false statement. The equations that you derive from relativity will tell you what the universe we live in is like. The FLRK metric describes a universe that is homogeneous, isotropic, and expanding. [3] This means that space-time is expanding, not contracting, that the universe is istropic (the universe looks the same in all directions), and that the universe is homogeneous on large-scales (if you stand in any place and look around, the universe will be the same). A proper understanding of metric tensors must lead to the conclusion that mathematical models have relevance to what is physically real (Of course, not all mathematical models take physical factors into account, but the one relevant to this argument does.)

Con has also confused the Big Bang model of the universe with the steady state model of the universe, or perhaps the quasi steady state universe. The Big Bang model does not state that "our universe has been here in its current form since eternity'. In fact, it states the exact opposite: the universe did not exist before 13.9 billion years ago. [4][5][6]

Con says that we have no way of knowing what happened in the past. This statement entails that physics, astronomy, biology, paleontology, geology, and other fields of science are false. It also means that history is false. For example, there is good and accepted evidence that most animal phyla began around 534 million years ago in what is called the 'Cambrian explosion' [7]. An example of things we know about the past from geology is the existence of Pangea, when all continents were in one large landmass. [8] (Of course, there are hundreds of examples like this. I don't want to push the point farther than it needs to be)

But aren't we just establishing that based on the principles of today? Couldn't the laws of nature have been different in the past? I would answer in the negative. Scientific theories can have good confidence that the principles today applied to the past, like half-lives of unstable isotopes of principles of geology. This is due to a scientific epistemology called falsificationism, which solves the problem of induction as far as science goes. The principle of falsification states that a good hypothesis must be, in principle, able to be disproved.

Consider the principle of uniformitarianism. This is the geological principle which states that geological processes happening now also happened for the Earth's entire history. We have high confidence in the principle because of Popper's principle of falsifiability. Remember, Popper said that a good hypothesis has to be falsifiable. There has to be some experiment that can be done to demonstrate the hypothesis as true. The hypothesis which says 'Geological processes might have been different in the past' is unfalsifiable. I can't go two billion years into the past and see if Potassium-Argon dating still works like it does today. Geologists should reject the idea that geological processes were different in the past because the hypothesis is fundamentally bad, as it cannot be falsified.

Con brings up that science doesn't have a full understanding of dark matter. What's his argument here? He doesn't tell us what we're supposed to conclude from this fact. I can't refute an argument if an argument hasn't been presented.

Unaddressed points

By the fact that these points have not been answered, they can assumed to be true as of now.

1) Con did not dispute that 'every state of the universe is sufficient caused by a previous state' entails that 'a first state of time does not exist'.
2) Con does not dispute that a physical, ontological interpretation of the initial cosmological singularity is flawed.
3) Con does not dispute that my argument is consistent with a finite universe.
4) Con does not dispute that the first state of the universe can be explained by simutaneous causation.

Vale


References
http://www.cbc.ca...
http://www.princeton.edu...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu...
A Universe From Nothing
A Brief History of Time
http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
http://en.wikipedia.org...










G131994

Con

First off "" Con makes no attempt to attack the logical validity of the argument"". I challenge the idea the universe had no beginning. You have not responded to the idea the current laws of physics only came into effect when the universe began ie the big bang.

"" Einstein was a physicist, not a philosopher, so his opinions on the implications of theory of relativity on the philosophy of physics are irrelevant by standard"" I like the fact he considers his position to be superior to Einstein. You propose my argument about Einstein is invalid. The very person who proposed general relativity a key corner stone of your argument believes in the presence ""vastly superior to that of man"" in other words god.[1]
You say my argument is also invalid because there is no "" consensus among experts on the subject"" 500 years ago the "" consensus among experts"" was the earth was flat. Just because there is not a great "" consensus among experts"" does not make my point invalid. It is indisputable we know very little about the birth of our universe hence why we cannot explain the presence dark matter. It is therefore illogical and rather arrogant to dismiss the possibility of an overall superior mind.
"" Con thinks that mathematical models of the universe are purely mathematical and have no bearing on what is physically real"" I make no such argument !! I simply point out that mathematical models are not bound by physical reality. A fact I point out in round 2 "" To illustrate my point take the orbit of mercury you could use a mathematical model to predict at what point in the orbit mercury would be in exactly 3000 trillion years into the future. This has one major flaw mercury will not be orbiting the sun in 3000 trillion years because the sun will no longer be there this is one example of the mathematical model not taking into account the physical factors."" [3]. This is very relevant to the debate. As the models you sight may very well only apply after the big bang. Therefore the models you propose are not valid prior to the big bang.

So why do I keep going on about the big bang?. There is no proven explanation for the big bang. The big bang could well be the work of god. Therefore it would be wrong to suggest that god doesn't probably doesn't exist when there is a equal chance he does we simply do not know.[2]

""Con brings up that science doesn't have a full understanding of dark matter. What's his argument here? He doesn't tell us what we're supposed to conclude from this fact. I can't refute an argument if an argument hasn't been presented."". Please allow me to elaborate I am pointing out how little we know about our universe and the place we live. We constantly learning and evolving. Given our limited knowledge we are not in a position to judge whether or not god exists. If only if we can answer two questions without doubt are we in a position to say god probably doesn't exist. Why are we here? Where did we come from? . Until such a time we are unable to make such statements.

1)http://josephranseth.hubpages.com......-
2) http://www.infidels.org...
3)http://www.bbc.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 3
Sargon

Pro

Ave


An argument is logically valid if the truth of the premises entail the conclusion. If P1, P2, P3, P4 of my argument are true, then C1 and C2 are also true. I claimed in R3 that Con does not dispute the logical validity of the argument. In Con’s R3, he says that he has attacked the logical validity of the argument by disputing that the universe had no beginning. This isn’t an objection to the logical validity of the argument! This is an objection to the soundness of the argument.


Besides, it’s a straw man argument anyway. I have never argued that the universe did not have a beginning. I argued in my opening statement that my argument is consistent with a finite universe.


The argument I gave is consistent with standard Big Bang cosmology. The universe still had a beginning in the sense that every state of time must be less than 13.9 billion years old, the age of the universe. In algebraic terms, if T represents a state of time, then every T < 13.9 billion years ago. I think this explanation will solve any questions about how my view of the universe is compatible with standard Big Bang cosmology, which has a finitely old universe.”


As I noted in my R3 remarks, Con did not make any argument to show that my argument was inconsistent with a universe. Disputing that the universe had no beginning, therefore, does not undermine the argument I have presented.


Con fails to respond to empirical proof (FLRW metrics) that P1 is true. Instead, he makes an argument about Albert Einstein’s beliefs. Not only did Einstein believe in a god that has nothing to do with the resolution, but it would be irrelevant even if he did.


We are debating the existence of god defined as “the personal (rational and conscious), omnipotent cause of the universe, matter, space-time, and everything else that exists”. According to the undisputed historical evidence that I presented, Einstein did not believe in a personal being who caused the universe. Einstein believed that god was the universe. The universe also doesn’t have a mind, so he didn’t accept a rational and conscious cause. Considering these facts, Einstein’s worldview should be considered irrelevant to the ‘’god’’ we are debating.



Con has failed to show that this argument meets both standards of a valid appeal to authority. Einstein did not have relevant expertise because he was not a philosopher of physics. There is also no consensus on the subject being talked about. In response to the first point, he points out that I must think my worldview is better than Einstein’s. I’m not sure where he gets this from. I hold that Einstein’s worldview about god is irrelevant altogether. I think that Con has taken my second point of out context. The contention is not that an argument is invalid if there is no consensus on it. The contention is that an appeal to authority is invalid if there is no consensus.


Con’s argument about mathematical models fails to account for two important things. Firstly, a mathematical model can be combined with a physical model to avoid absurd results. Secondly, there is no prior to the Big Bang. That’s a self-contradiction because there cannot be a ‘’before’’ time.


Con states that there is no proven explanation of the Big Bang. I question the relevance of this observation. The resolution is about whether god is the most probable hypothesis. Nobody is trying to establish anything with 100% certainty. He also states that god could have caused the Big Bang. This isn’t relevant either, because we’re talking about the probability of something being true, not its logically possibility. They are very different things.


Con observes that physicists don’t know much about dark energy. This observation does not undermine my argument in any conceivable way. I am basing my argument on theories of physics that have always been confirmed and never falsified, so we have good confidence that they are true. I am not trying to base it on anything in physics that is presently unknown or up for debate.


Unaddressed points


1) Con did not dispute that 'every state of the universe is sufficient caused by a previous state' entails that 'a first state of time does not exist'.

2) Con does not dispute that a physical, ontological interpretation of the initial cosmological singularity is flawed.

3) Con does not dispute that my argument is consistent with a finite universe.

4) Con does not dispute that the first state of the universe can be explained by simultaneous causation.

5) Con does not dispute my proof that he has confused the Big Bang model with the steady state model.

6) Con does not dispute my proof that we can know what happened in the past.

Conclusion

This debate is about whether it is more probable that god exists, or that god does not exist. The winner of this debate should be the person who proves their case with a preponderance of the evidence. It should be remembered that Con has presented no positive evidence to support the existence of god. Even if you think my arguments in this debate have failed, the debate should be left a tie, because the preponderance of the evidence would be equal.

In my opening statement, I presented reasons to think that the first state of the universe could be explained by simultaneous causation. Empirical proof of simultaneous causation is found in
Alain Aspect's experiments with Bell's inequalities, as the measurement of one photon causes the other photon to instantaneously take on an anti-correlated spin. The first state of the universe can be logically explained by this simultaneous causation. One part of the state, X, simultaneously causes another part, Y, which simultaneously causes another part Z, which simultaneously causes another part, X. I also presented a quote from physicist Paul Davies to demonstrate that this concept has basis in physics. Con completely fails to respond to this entire argument, and does not even attempt to answer it in the debate.

I also presented an argument called the entailment argument, which concludes that an external cause of the universe does not exist. This entails that god does not exist. Con has not made any arguments to show that it's logically invalid. So, the only thing left to do is analysis whether the premises are true. I believe that Con has failed to respond to the empirical evidence offered in favor of the premises. Con's only argument is a logical fallacy called an appeal to authority. This leaves Con with no good objections to either of my arguments at the end of the debate. For these reasons, a vote for Pro is the most justified.

Vale
G131994

Con

unfortunately due to moving for uni i am unable to complete the debate therefore i forfeit the debate.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
" Pro argued that due to conservation of mass/energy the universe must be steady state, hence there is no first cause. "

That is NOT what my argument was.
Posted by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
He chalked up the steady state theory to general relativity. This debate is probably already over. The theory itself died out when Penzias and Wilson discovered the CMB, or rather it was the informal death of it.
Posted by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
I shall refrain from offering my opinion, as it might raise a few eyebrows.
Posted by MysticEgg 3 years ago
MysticEgg
Hi there, Sargon!
Just a suggestion, it is technically better to call the debate:
"God probably exists" and then take Con. Always frame the debate in the positive and then assume the negative, rather than frame the debate in the negative, and then take the positive.

Clearly, this isn't required, but it's just a suggestion!

Regards,
J
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
SargonG131994Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited. Pro argued that due to conservation of mass/energy the universe must be steady state, hence there is no first cause. The premise of conservation is unproved, so Pro was vulnerable.
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
SargonG131994Tied
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Total points awarded:61 
Reasons for voting decision: This may seem like a votebomb but its not. Pro managed to refute every argument Con put out and in the end Con cenceded. He even managed to point out the fact con confused BBC with the steady state theory, and that the theory had been proven false. Pro had better and much more reliable sources that went to strengthen his debate, and it was even formatted better. All around Pro wins this. Conduct to con for a clear concession.
Vote Placed by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
SargonG131994Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: conceeded.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
SargonG131994Tied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.