The Instigator
aasib
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
JonathanDJ
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

God probably does not exist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/12/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 391 times Debate No: 45773
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (0)

 

aasib

Pro

I'm going to lay out my position here and define what I mean by God. I am talking any sort of deity who created the universe around us. This god can be the God of Abraham, a deist-esque God, or the gods of a polytheistic religion. The only criteria must be that this character had to have created the universe around us. Please, no playing devil's advocate. Only take this debate if you believe in a creator.

Although I freely admit that God could possibly exist (i.e. he/she/it doesn't definitively not exist), I believe the chances of such are quite slim. I would consider myself a faery atheist agnostic. The burden of proof in any argument always lies on the people making the claim. A person is guilty until proven innocent. The person who says something happened, or says something exists must prove it. An infinite amount of things do not exist at any given point, and an infinite among of things are not happening as you read this, but only a finite amount of things are happening. Each moment that I type the letter "A" I am not typing the letter "B" or "C" or taking a shower or eating a banana or eating banana pudding. I could list things that I am not doing for a quite a bit longer than things I am doing. Now if you are given no evidence at a given point in time that I am in the process of typing the letter A, it is absurd and irrational to assume that I am typing that letter (there is an infinite list of things I could be doing which are more or less equiprobable but there is only one potential event that I type the letter A, which is that I type it) at that point in time. Furthermore, it is ridiculous and time-wasting (at best) to then to worship my typing of the letter A (one because it is so obviously improbable, but also because it is quite strange to worship single-minded typists). That said, I am not definitively not typing the letter A at any given point in. I could be, but the chances are so slim as to beyond consideration. This is the way I feel about the existence of God. Of course, me typing a particular letter and the worship thereof is a ridiculous idea, but the point still stands and the analogy is clear. This is the essence of Russell's teapot argument (http://en.wikipedia.org......) and an argument which is very compelling. Our system of guilty until proven innocent is one of the things that makes the American judicial system great, and that same logic and reasoning should be applied to all issues worthy of debate (such as this one).

Because of all this, there is very little I can say in this opening in the way of arguing. I can point out the lack of evidence presented to me in favor of God, although hopefully some will be shown to me as this continues. I am doomed to wait for a response, and then respond to the arguments put forward with counter-arguments. Because when we debate the existence of something, the assumption is that it does not exist. Therefore, once someone puts forth the idea that something (be it God, rainbows exists or something has/is/will happened/happening/happen, they must put forth their evidence, and the skeptic must discuss and pry at the aforementioned evidence. It is in this way that we can reach at the truth (or the probability) of such a statement. I eagerly anticipate the response of one of the faithful.
JonathanDJ

Con

I think the first place we should start in any debate is by defining our terms. Pro has done that to a degree; now I think I'll have a crack at it. I'll start by saying some things about what I mean when I say "God". I'm going to try to keep it somewhat simple for the sake of our debate. God is a self existent being (needs nothing to bring Him into existence or to keep Him in existence) God is an eternal being (He is not limited or contained by time) He has the ability to call physical energy and matter and space as well as spiritual reality into existence by His will alone. All that exists in the Universe and in Heaven are fashioned from these materials. Therefore God is the source of all being. He is also the source of all continued being. All things depend upon God in order to exist and to continue to exist therefore God is the supreme power. Another way to put that is by saying He is omnipowerful or all powerful. Because God is the source of all things all possible outcomes of events are known to Him from the beginning. We could say He has all knowledge or that God is omniscient. Another title that God would be given would be Creator.
The Universe is the only physical reality that we have any evidence of. It has an estimated age of 13.7 billion years. It began from what is called an infinitely (not literally) dense and hot point. What could roughly be called an eruption occurred and began a process of expansion. At first it was uniformly energy and space and time erupting into existence. At some point a flash point was reached that caused space to hyper expand leaving a much larger space. The massive energy event continued. When "cooling" occurred along with disturbances in the smoothness in the expansion; the energy started to manifest itself as matter. We normally experience only the reverse of this with nuclear fission. It does occur on the quantum level with quarks in a process called quantum chromo dynamics. This is expressed mathematically as E=MC2. These processes continued until we have all we find today. It is also important to understand that time it self did not exist nor did it start until the Big Bang began. Time and space are intimately connected.

Why do we believe the Big Bang occurred? For these reasons:

The second law of thermodynamics (shows that the universe can not be infinitely old, or else it would have run out of usable energy, i.e., it would have reached heat death, or maximum entropy)
The observed expansion of the universe (which, extrapolated into the past, indicates that about 14 billion years ago, the entire universe was about the size of the period at the end of this sentence, and before that it didn"t exist "i.e., it had zero size.)
The predicted (and observed) background radiation in our universe (confirms that the big bang really happened).
The predicted (and observed) ripples in the background radiation in our universe (confirms that the big bang really happened).
The general theory of relativity, predicts an expanding universe (i.e., a universe that contracts as we look into the past, until it reaches zero size, and ceases to exist).
The space-time (singularity) theorem of Hawking and Penrose shows that not only all physical matter and energy and forces, but also all physical space and time of the universe came into existence at the instant of the "birth of the physical universe" (i.e., the singularity at the beginning of the physical universe.)
http://www.big-bang-theory.com...

Normally Cosmologists will say that the Universes emerged from "Nothing". Some have argued that this is a live possibility. They point to a phenomenon called a quantum vacuum. This is a pervasive energy field throughout physical reality that exists at the quantum level and is detectable when you remove all other matter and energy from an environment. The difficulty is that it is dishonest to call this nothing. Secondly, the laws of physics cease to exist when the universe is near the singularity so that should include the quantum vacuum. The quantum vacuum is a product of this Universe. This Universe cannot logically be dependent on it's own product to bring it into existence. The same why you cannot be dependent on your children to travel back into the past, mate, and give birth to you so you can give birth to them. Without the Universe there would not be a quantum vacuum nor any other vacuum. There would literally be nothing physically speaking.

Other people have suggested a chain of universes going back into the past. That would eventually give rise to ours. That fails for two reasons. One reason is entropy. In any process you lose usable energy over time. If you think it through energy would be this way in all the other universes before as well. If it didn't have the habit of decaying it wouldn't have decayed in our Universe either. What this means is that the chain backward can't be infinite. If it were then logically the chain forward would be too.

The second reason is based on the work of three scientists named Arvind Borde, Alan H. Guth, Alexander Vilenkin. They developed a theorem that says that unless certain special conditions were present in the beginning of the Universe then a chain of creation events could not have gone on back infinitely into the past. Alexander Vilenkin has talked about why he thinks the special conditions are unlikely and said this: "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning" (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176)Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org...

OK, we're starting out with no materials, space, energy, or time to work with. We want to produce a Universe that includes allot of all of those. I think we can safely say we have eliminated a purely natural or physical cause for the singularity and it's proceeding Universe. Can we get some idea of what the cause of the Universe is? We can. One cannot live within and be dependent on time, space, and matter/energy and yet be the ultimate source of them. One way of looking at it would be Macbeth was capable of killing his king but could not kill Shakespeare. Our maker is unaffected by time. Space is no limitation to him or her. For example; Macbeth is in his castle and his mortal enemy is sneaking up on him outside pretending to be a forest, but Shakespeare is everywhere in the play at once because he wrote it. All things came from the maker so all knowledge and power is inferior to his or her power and knowledge.

Finally: am I all on my own here? Does anyone else see it this way?

"Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced sharply and suddenly at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy" (Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, p. 14).

The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Bible as a whole.
- Arno Penzias (Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1978)

Scientist George Smoot (who was the scientist who lead the team of scientists who first measured ripples in the cosmic background radiation) says: "There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing". (quoted in Fred Heeren, Show me God, p. 139.)
Debate Round No. 1
aasib

Pro

I think that when you define God as "a self-existent being" we can end the debate right now. There is no such thing as a self-existent being. There is no such thing-as self existent matter. It was all created during the Big Bang, which you are right to point out, probably happened. There is almost definitively nothing that exists outside of the laws of nature (i.e. something that needs nothing to bring it into existence). This is because we have been provided no evidence for such. The reasoning behind this is quite similar to the reasoning discussed in our other debate (http://www.debate.org...).

Now, there is still some debate as to what the Big Bang actually was. But the mainstream theory seems to be that a singularity, which is an extremely dense but very small point that ignores many of the laws of physics, exploded 13 billion years ago.

Although I am not an expert in astronomy/cosmology, my understanding of the concept of singularity is a dense point that contained all the matter in the universe. This, coincidentally, is the view of Stephen Hawking; "At this time, the Big Bang, all the matter in the universe, would have been on top of itself." So, to the statement "we're starting out with no materials, space, energy, or time to work with." We have all the materials in the universe to work with. Literally. For the space idea, the Big Bang was just an expansion of all the matter in the singularity. Anyway, opinions of scientists seem to differ enough to make it hard to judge whether we can see the work of a supernatural being in the world. Let me just point out that this was the case right after Darwin's work was published with the diversity of life.

There is a lot to be said about the Big Bang. We don't know all that much, and there are some contradictory opinions among the top cosmologists. Thus, I will simply wait to pass judgement. Just because we do not definitively know whether or not the universe was created by a creator, does not mean we should assume that it was.

Now, if the universe was created by a creator, then who created that creator. By all known ideas about physics, nothing has existed forever. We currently know of nothing that does not obey the laws of physics, except at the subatomic level. General Relativity falls apart as you get down to this level.

I am no expert and in fact know very little about this kind of science. But, there is, definitively, not a consensus among the thinkers of the scientific world. I do not see how we should then decide that God has created the universe. Even if we did, that would also not provide sanctuary for one particular set of beliefs. Given that situation, Islam is just as probable as Hinduism which is just as probable as the Norse myths.

Lastly, to the statement by Arno Penzias, if you had nothing to go on but on the Bible, this is what you would have predicted.
- no evolution
- all species created in their current form
- 6000 year old universe
- destruction of the city of tyre by Nebuchadnezzar
- drying of the Nile
So far, none of these have happened.

In summary, the Big Bang occurred. But, seeing as the evidence does not clearly point to anything supernatural, we can safely assume that there is nothing supernatural involved.
JonathanDJ

Con

You declare that there is no such thing as a self existent being. You are simply declaring to be a fact that which you are tasked with trying to defend. And now indeed you must defend the non existence of God because you have absolutely stated it. What is your evidence that a self existent being does not exist? You say there is no such thing as self existent matter. I never claimed there was. Are you suggesting that God is made of matter. I am certainly not. The creator of matter cannot be made of that which He is the ultimate cause. God is a unique order of being. The Universe is finite in time. The distance into the past whether there are other universes or not is finite in the past. The ultimate cause cannot be subject to time. To be the cause of time He must be greater than finite time. If He is not bound by time then He is eternal. If he is eternal then he has no beginning nor ending. You asked who made God? God has no need of a creator. He is eternal and that which is eternal has no need of a beginning. The eternal doesn't need to be given existence nor does it need to be maintained. The eternal is self existent. Hence God is a self existent being. Furthermore I've given you evidence to that end. You have given no evidence for your absolute claim that a self existent being (God) does not exist.
You said Hawking described the singularity as containing all the Universes matter. That is simply incorrect. I'm not sure what he was talking about there. All of the Universes subatomic particles then the atoms that were constructed out of the particles were all formed out of the energy of the Big Bang. The process that started making them was the perturbation and cooling period. It started after the subatomic particles with hydrogen then helium then lithium etc. As I said before it's the effect we observe in nuclear fission in reverse. Just as energy can be created from matter E=MC2 so matter can be created from energy.
As for your criticisms of the Bible: The Bible doesn't necessarily teach that creation occurred 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. That is one view. There are others. Another is that the days are ages. Mine is that the Genesis account is not a literal telling of creation events in a proper sequence. It is a framework. There is a pattern between the first three days and the last three days that match up. The purpose is to prepare Gods people to face pagans and their false beliefs. The sacking of Tyre I'm going to leave in Wikipedia's capable hands:
Ezekiel prophesied the permanent destruction of Tyre. (Ezekiel 26:3"14)
Tyre was an island fortress-city with mainland villages along the shore.[51] These mainland settlements were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II, but after a 13-year siege from 585"573 BC, the King of Tyre made peace with Nebuchadnezzar, going into exile and leaving the island city itself intact.[52] Alexander the Great used debris from the mainland to build a causeway to the island, entered the city, and plundered the city, sacking it without mercy.[53] Most of the residents were either killed in the battle or sold into slavery.[53][54] It was quickly repopulated by colonists and escaped citizens,[55] and later regained its independence.[56] Tyre did eventually enter a period of decline, being reduced to a small remnant. Echoing Ezekiel's words, historian Philip Myers writes in 1889:
The city never recovered from this blow. The site of the once brilliant maritime capital is now "bare as the top of a rock," a place where the few fishermen that still frequent the spot spread their nets to dry.[57]
Older sources often refer to the locations as a "fishing village". However, the nearby area grew rapidly in the 20th century. The ruins of a part of ancient Tyre (a protected site) can still be seen on the southern half of the island[58] whereas modern Tyre occupies the northern half and also sprawls across Alexander's causeway and onto the mainland.[59] It is now the fourth largest city in Lebanon[60] with a population of 14,000 people[61]
http://en.wikipedia.org...
If it were me I wouldn't live in that city for all the gold in fort Knox. I suspect it hasn't got much of a future.
I never heard of a drying of the Nile. Perhaps you are referring to the drying of the Euphrates river that will occur during one of the Battles of the end times. It's not surprise it hasn't happened given that it isn't yet the end time.
Debate Round No. 2
aasib

Pro

aasib forfeited this round.
JonathanDJ

Con

I believe that when God made all things at the beginning he was fully aware of what the results of His creation would be. He knew about us. When we think of the care He took just in creating the atoms and molecules that we needed in order to exist it's breathtaking. Investigate the exact nature of the force of gravity. If it was off even a tiny amount life would be impossible. Without the electro-magnetic, nuclear strong, and color flavor forces atoms couldn't exist. Study the nature of water, without it life is inconceivable. The same is true of carbon. Then what's the most stunning of all. We are awake, we are conscious. We can ask about God and pray to Him. We can relate to each other. There are living beings around us, the animals, who are also aware. I think it's safe to assume that such a God might try to get in touch with us and have expectations of us. These three are a minimum. We must respect the life, freedom, and belongings of others. I think the New Testament does the best job explaining the meaning of life "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND." and "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."" Jesus taught us these things in Matthew 22:37. Did you ever notice that when we were kids that on Christmas morning we would end up going back to our favorite toy even though we got new ones. Why did we do that? It's because those are the toys that we would use when we would play with others. We were made for love. God is love and we were meant to love Him, our fellow humans, and the animals around us. I think God gave animals consciousness to facilitate that.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by aasib 2 years ago
aasib
I can only make one choice at a time, and they are al theoretically equiprobable, but the chances of me choosing any particular choice is quite slim (but just as probable as me choosing another).

Let me explain why the default position is atheist agnosticism (which is what I am). I do not need to provide evidence for the non-existence of unicorns. There is no direct evidence that disproves their existence. But, because no evidence can be provided for their existence, we are almost positive they do not exist. They could, theoretically exist, but it is quite unlikely.

When given no evidence for the existence of something, the default position is that it does not exits (or probably does not exist). At any point in time, to say that I am definitively typing the letter A is foolish unless given evidence. I can see that even though the chances of me typing A are equal with the chances of me doing something else, it is not the most likely thing I am doing. Just because I can only make one choice at a time doesn't make any one particular choice moire probable.

Also, I'd love to do a separated debate forum if you feel that that is what you want to do. Set it up and I'll join.
Posted by JonathanDJ 2 years ago
JonathanDJ
I appreciate the first part of your point. But there is a fly in the ointment. Typing a compared to all other actions combined is a small chance, but you can only make once choice at a time. About the atheism being the default, my friend you couldn't be more wrong. Default is soft agnosticism. The definition of atheism: "To lack belief in god or gods" won't do. It's unclear. It leaves you not knowing the difference between Taoism, Buddhism, Soft agnosticism, animism, ancestor veneration etc. or atheism. If it were true that you merely lacked belief you wouldn't have asked the question that brought about this debate. You can't define your way out of responsibility for your ideas. Atheists are going to have to face the fact that they can't come to the table arms folded over their chests with an air of superiority demanding proof and giving none themselves. The criminal law example doesn't work. We presume innocence to protect the accused from the power of the government. If the accused if found guilty they lose some degree of their rights so we are very careful about that. I think if you want to debate this further we would have to have a separate debate. It's somewhat different from our current topic.
Posted by aasib 2 years ago
aasib
Anyway, let's talk about this on the actual debate, not in the comments section.
Posted by aasib 2 years ago
aasib
I do agree that they are all equiprobable. The probability of me typing the letter A is just the same as me typing the letter B or eating a banana pudding. But the probability of me typing A is definitely not the same as the probability of me doing all other actions. In fact, it is quite small when compared with the concept of all other actions. Imagine a string of actions, each with infinitesimally small probabilities. Now imagine the probability of one event being compared with the probability of all actions but that event. The probability that I am typing the letter A is nothing compared to the probability I am doing anything else, anything at all, but typing the letter A.
It is just the same with the concept of God. Theoretically, there is an equal probability of all things existing. For example, so far, without evidence, it is just as probable that Christianity is true or Hinduism is true. Notice the deliberate exclusion of atheism. Atheism (more accurately strongly atheist agnosticism) should be the default position, only to be discarded when significant evidence is provided to prove statement x's truth. The burden of proof is on the one who makes the claim about the world. The natural response to anyone who declares that something exists should be skepticism, unless given evidence that supports the position x. My favorite allegory for this is innocent until proven guilty. Seeing as a staggering amount of people are innocent of a proposed crime (all but one), it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the defendant to be that one improbable figure, not the defense's job to prove the defendant one of the more likely category.
Anyone making a claim that something in the world exists must provide evidence. The skeptics job is not to provide evidence. There is no way to prove that fairies and unicorns do not exist. We only assume so because there is a distinct lack of evidence to suggest they do. The same is true with God. The faithful must provide the evidenc
Posted by JonathanDJ 2 years ago
JonathanDJ
I'm a Born Again Christian. Not to labor the point but that's just it; the chances of you typing A are precisely as likely as every other possible action. This is why I believe atheism and hard agnosticism are irrational positions and soft agnosticism is the more noble position for the non believing person to adopt. "I don't know" is intellectually safer and intellectually more likely to be fertile.
Posted by aasib 2 years ago
aasib
No, we cannot say definitively. I am not definitively doing such, but the probability of me typing the letter A (of course this is an example) is significantly lower than the probability of me doing something else. Thus, people should only accept the notion of me typing a particular letter if they are given evidence to support that position.

Anyway, I eagerly await your response. Just out of curiosity, what religion are you?
Posted by JonathanDJ 2 years ago
JonathanDJ
Thanks for the opportunity for some intellectual stimulation and a very thoughtful reason for your position. I'll get to work on my response/opening. I believe we start with the assumption of impartiality. That's how the Jury system works more or less. I mean as a framework. You and I obviously have a starting point of our own. I don't know whether you are typing the letter A or not. I can't possibly know that without direct evidence. So it's foolish for me to say either way until I can make some head way on the question.
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