The Instigator
salam.morcos
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
tejretics
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

God vs. Naturalism

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after 1 vote the winner is...
tejretics
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/20/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,473 times Debate No: 75549
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (91)
Votes (1)

 

salam.morcos

Pro

This debate should be impossible to accept. If you accidentally can accept, your acceptance without permission will lead to an automatic loss. I'm looking for a good debate.

The topic of this debate: Is it more likely that God exists (Pro), or that naturalism is true (Con)?

The debate doesn't require either side to prove that God or naturalism definitely and necessarily are true or false. The goal of this debate is to show which side's claim is more probable.

Some may argue that there could be more than one God. Feel free to substitute the word God with Gods, but for this debate we will assume that there is one God. Also someone may argue that there are other theories besides the God hypothesis and Naturalism. For this debate, we'll assume that these are the only two possible scenarios.

I will admit that this will be a tall order for me, but I look forward to an exciting debate. I am not looking to win this debate as much as garner an excellent discussion. I hope Con would share my sentiment as well.

Definitions

God – An intelligent supernatural being that created the universe(s), existed before all things and was not created. [No citation – My definition]

Naturalism – The view of the world that takes account only of natural elements and forces, excluding the supernatural or spiritual [1].

Rules
72 hours, 10,000 characters, voters must have at least 2000 Elo points

1. No forfeits
2. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
3. No trolling
4. BOP is Shared
5. First round for acceptance only
6. Violation of any of these rules merits a loss

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...

tejretics

Con

I accept. My opponent and I have agreed that there shall be no K's of the topic and no deconstruction semantics.
Debate Round No. 1
salam.morcos

Pro

I want to thank my opponent for accepting my challenge.

To support my claim, I will present the following arguments:

1. Arguments for an initial being

1.1 Pool Table argument
1.2 Corroborating evidence

2. Arguments for intelligent design

2.1 Fine Tuned Universe argument
2.2 Evolution

1. Arguments for an initial being

1.1 Pool Table argument

This is an argument that I made up during discussions with my brother. I struggled with it because I was still a militant atheist then (Sorry atheists for betraying you. My brother is still an atheist so it's not all bad!
) This argument is very similar to many other arguments such as: Aquinas' "Uncaused first cause" argument [1], Plato's "Self-originated motion" argument [2] and William Lane Craig's Kalam Cosmological Argument [3]. So it turns out that I wasn't so smart after all!

The argument:

1. Premise A: Every cause was either caused or uncaused (Null Hypothesis)
2. Premise B: 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.

I called this argument the Pool Table argument. I argued that if we had full knowledge of all physical things and physical laws, we could determine where each ball in a pool game will end up being, and I could even trace it backwards. The problem was that damn white ball! I could never predict how it would be hit.

For my opponent to refute my argument, he must either challenge my premises or challenge the validity of my logic. My opponent may argue that Premise B that "there's a finite number of past causes" is not necessarily true. In order to keep this discussion concise, I would like to first ask my opponent if he agrees that there can only exist a finite number of past events. If he disagrees, I will show in the next round why this premise is true.

Now that I proved that there must exist at least 1 uncaused cause, let's examine some of the properties of an uncaused cause:
1. An uncaused cause must have behaved in a certain way that's not predetermined. Such a cause couldn't have been naturally caused!
2. The cause acted freely. If it wasn't free, then what made it act this way? The answer is nothing.
3. A cause that acted freely must have some form of intelligence. By intelligence I don't mean cleverness, but I mean a being with the ability to apply knowledge and skills [4].

An unnatural, free and intelligent cause is definitely best explained by the God hypothesis than by Naturalism. There's no doubt that this is a real challenge to the naturalistic view. Looks like I scored first!

1.2 Corroborating evidence

The Big Bang theory is a well accepted theory that confirms that the universe has a beginning [5]. The Borde-Guth-Valenkin theorem also proves that the universe had a beginning [6]. The BGV theorem also states that any universe with an expansion rate of greater than zero must have a beginning and cannot be past-eternal. Even if you argue that this universe was caused by a previous universe which was caused by another universe… you will eventually have to reach a universe that simply began.

These theories only support the initial claim that there exists at least one uncaused cause which somehow (directly or indirectly) led to the creation of our universe. I argue that these theories support the God hypothesis. When scientists presented evidence that the universe wasn't eternal in Hawking's 70th birthday, Lisa Grossman described it as the worst birthday presents ever. She argues that "…physicists, including Hawking, tend to shy away from cosmic genesis. A point of creation would be a place where science broke down." I think any reasonable reader would argue that this only makes the God hypothesis more likely that Naturalism.

2. Arguments for intelligent design

2.1 Fine Tuned Universe argument

This argument is a very well known one that I wouldn't be surprised if my opponent has a prepared rebuttal for it! But I find this argument so fascinating and so strong.

Basically, the universe is governed by many constants. For example: π = 3.14159…, G (Gravitational constant) = 6.67384… × 10-11 and many like those. What's interesting is that if these constants were slightly different, the universe wouldn't come to existence as we know it. By that, I mean there will be no stars, no planets and certainly no life. In order to start off the universe in a state of low entropy, so that there will indeed be a second law of thermodynamics, the factors must be within 10^10^123 [8]. This number is so insane and I majored in mathematics! If the gravitational constant was off by 1 over 10100, the gravity force would either be too strong and the universe would collapse on itself, or it would be too weak and not form any stars [9]. If you tell me that this was simply random, I will actually get upset!

You may argue however that these numbers are just what they are. They don't need some God to monkey with the numbers, similar to number 2 or number 1,000,000. They are what they are. However, scientists disagree. They argue that "the physical universe does not have to be the way it is: it could have been otherwise" [9]. In other words, these values didn't have to be what they are and they are not unique in any special way.

I argue that this argument strongly corroborates the argument that the universe was intelligently designed which supports the God hypothesis. Naturalism can hardly explain the precision of a fine tuned universe.

2.2 Evolution

You might think that I am absolutely insane to bring evolution to support my argument! After all, some argued that evolution buried God [10]. I am not trying to discredit evolution.

Natural selection is a very gradual process [11]. Very simple cells evolved to more complex organisms through this very slow process over billions of years. Naturalists argue that this process occurs naturally and didn't necessitate a divine intervention.

Naturalists argue that the origin of life began with the origin of the first self replicating molecule [12]. Since these are not found yet, I will look at some of the oldest cells on Earth called bacteria [13]. Those billions of years old cells are in fact very complex. They have very complex molecular machines [14], have complex DNA and its parts interact with each other. What I want to demonstrate to the reader is that there is no such a thing as a simple cell.

Darwin realized that this theory has some limitations. He argued "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." [15]

So the question is: Are there any organisms, organs or biological functions that couldn't have possibly been formed naturally (by numerous, successive, slight modification)?

The answer is yes. For the first self replicating cell to exist, it would need that ability to replicate, must have DNA and would need a few complex molecular functions. The first self replicating cell could not have possibly been formed through natural selection, because it's the mother of all formation. There are only two possible explanations: Pure luck or intelligent design. Given the complexity of the cell, no matter how much you downplay it, it is astronomically implausible that a complex structure to exist randomly. I argue that intelligent design is by far the more plausible explanation to the origin of life than naturalism.

This poses a problem to the naturalistic view. In an interview for the documentary "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed", Richard Dawkins is open to the idea that other alien species might have "intelligently designed" the first replicating cells [16]. I am not naïve to suggest that Dawkins is supporting the God hypothesis in any way or form. I am simply asking the reader that it's very reasonable to believe that intelligent design was behind the origin of the universe.

Thank you.

Sources
[1] http://www.ewtn.com...
[2] Macmillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1967), Vol. 2, p. 232
[3] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[4] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
[5] http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu...
[6] http://arxiv.org...
[7] http://www.newscientist.com...
[8] http://www.ws5.com...
[9] Paul Davies, The Mind of God (1993), p. 169
[10] http://www.theguardian.com...
[11] http://www.darwinwasright.org...
[12] http://www.newscientist.com...
[13] http://learn.genetics.utah.edu...
[14] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[15] http://darwin-online.org.uk...
[16] https://www.youtube.com...

tejretics

Con

I will present my case in Round 2 and rebut Pro's case in the following round. Looking forward to an interesting debate.



C1) A caused universe is incoherent


a) Requirements for Causation


Physicist Sean Carroll notes two features that allow us to coherently talk about any form of causation whatsoever [1].


i. Time & the arrow of time (determined by entropy)

ii. Physical laws


Time and the arrow of time are naturally required to speak of causation. Without an arrow of time, it is impossible to coherently speak of a ‘process’ of anything, or a ‘beginning’ of something. The beginning would have to have a fixed point in the arrow of time, without which it is impossible for anything to coherently ‘happen’ over a period of *time* (because there is no time).


For something to ‘occur’, it has to occur with a principle supporting its possibility. Possibility is incoherent without physical laws, as objective properties or actions are incoherent without limitation. It can be illustrated by the paradox of the stone, which admittedly does not disprove omnipotence, but illustrates how physical laws are necessary for anything to coherently have a ‘cause’ or beginning.


Prior to the origin of the universe, there were neither physical laws nor time. Sans these essential features of the universe, to speak of causality is incoherent. That the universe was caused is the primary assumption of deism, and without these properties, a caused universe is incoherent.


b) Eternalism


To argue for causation is to propose a capacity for ‘change’. Change is only possible if there is an absolute moving reference point. If there is no such absolute moving reference, to speak of change, and, thus, causation, would be incoherent. According to the B-theory of time and eternalism, the universe is a ‘block’, with no such absolute moving reference, and, thus, is unchanging and cannot have been caused [2].





According to general relativity, space is ‘stretchable’. This was confirmed by the Friedmann observations and Hubble’s Law, that were used by Georges Lemaitre to propose the Big Bang theory, that states the universe is expanding, which is shown via. the cosmological redshift [3]. The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin singularity theorem, derived by Arvind Borde, Alan Guth and Alexander Vilenkin, further supports the theory that the universe is expanding [4].


General relativity also yields ‘eternalism’ or block universe, where the past, present and future are all equally real, and the passage of time is illusory via. the B-theory of time. General relativity models time as a ‘fourth dimension’ of space itself, allowing for the block universe theory to be likely true. Causality cannot be stressed on unless one assumes the presentism ontology of time, which is dubious in light of scientific discoveries supporting eternalism, especially special and general relativity. “Many [scientists and philosophers] have argued against presentism on the grounds that presentism is incompatible with the theory of relativity.” [5]


If eternalism is true, causation is incoherent. In special relativity, each observer has their own ‘plane of simultaneity’, a small section of three-dimensional space where all events are simultaneous [6]. “Special relativity suggests that the concept of simultaneity is not universal: according to the relativity of simultaneity, observers in different frames of reference can have different perceptions of whether a given pair of events happened at the same time or at different times, with there being no physical basis for preferring one frame's judgments over another's (though in a case where one event A happens in the past light cone of another event B, all frames will agree that A happened in the past of B). So, in special relativity there can be no physical basis for picking out a unique set of events that are all happening simultaneously in ‘the present’.” [7] This entails eternalism. Therefore, temporal change and, thus, causation, are incoherent.




C2) Argument from Atemporal Minds


I shall now use a contention to attack the metaphysical possibility of an atemporal mind, i.e. God.


P1: God is an atemporal being with a mind.

P2: All minds require processes.

P3: Processes are always temporal and require time.

C: An atemporal mind is a contradiction, thus God cannot exist.


P1 is true by definition. As God is the creator of the universe, he must be external to the universe. Outside of the universe, there is no time. God is intelligent, and, therefore, has a mind.


P2 is accurate as we don’t have a quantitative understanding of intelligence, which must be a subjective property unless it has a process. Subjective properties are incoherent if paired with transcendence, as noted by the incoherence of greatness as a property, thus intelligence has to be objective for the existence of God as a mind, ergo it must involve a process. To argue a mind is not a process is to also concede that the entity is static, and essentially non-causal, thus the mind must involve a process by definition [8].


P3 follows as if time does not exist, there will be no passage of time. It is impossible to coherently talk of a process without the passage of time. For something to coherently ‘happen’ and change something because of that, there has to be the passage of time.


The conclusion directly follows from the premises.



C3) Law of Parsimony


a) Deductive


The Law of Parsimony, a form of Occam’s Razor, posits that in a group of equally likely explanation, the one with least number of assumptions is a priori most likely [9]. Theism, or even deism, has greater number of assumptions than atheistic metaphysical naturalism. The former assumes the existence of a physical universe, its laws and God, the latter only assumes the existence of a physical universe and its laws. Therefore, if the existence of God is not required and the functioning of the universe can do without the addition of God, then the other explanation is more likely [10].


On this, philosopher Bertrand Russell writes, “Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.” [11-12]





b) Ad hoc hypotheses


Occam’s razor also supports the explanation that invokes least ad hoc hypotheses [13]. “[A]n ad hoc hypothesis is a hypothesis added to a theory in order to save it from being falsified.” [14] If you notice, arguments such as the argument from atemporal minds and the incoherence of a caused universe have to be refuted only by the addition of ad hoc hypothesis.


Conclusion


I have presented three deductive arguments to think atheism is likely true, thus negating the resolution soundly. I shall address my opponent’s case and defend my own in the following round.


1. http://www.preposterousuniverse.com...

2. http://plato.stanford.edu...

3. A.B. Whiting (2004). “Free Particle Motion and the Cosmological Redshift.” The Observatory. 124:174-189.

4. http://journals.aps.org...

5. http://goo.gl...

6. http://en.wikipedia.org...

7. http://bit.ly...

8. http://www.sciencedirect.com...

9. http://plato.stanford.edu...

10. http://russell.mcmaster.ca...

11. Ibid.

12. http://en.wikipedia.org...

13. http://en.wikipedia.org... (see Section 3, “Falsificationism”)

14. http://en.wikipedia.org...



Debate Round No. 2
salam.morcos

Pro

I want to thank my opponent for a fantastic opening argument. I have never seen one like it before.

Rebuttal

R1. A caused universe is incoherent?

a. Requirement for Causation?

My opponent argues that any cause must go through some type of 'process' which requires time. He argues that before the universe began, there was no time and physical laws; and therefore he concludes that the universe simply could not have been caused, because there was no time.

There are several problems with my opponent's argument. First, my opponent assumes that causation can only occur in the physical realm, and couldn't possibly occur in the metaphysical realm. There's no reason to assume this bare assertion as true. I agree that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang [1], but that doesn't mean that the metaphysical realm couldn't have another form of timeliness (which may or may not be tenseless).

Second, logically speaking, a beginning without a cause is incoherent, and not the opposite. For something to simply begin by itself, for no purpose, yet at the same is very sophisticated… this would be more absurd and illogical that any other hypothesis that suggests causation.

Third, this argument hardly supports naturalism! Why? As my opponent stated previously, natural processes require time. Because there was no time before the universe, the universe couldn't have naturally begun. This poses a problem to that naturalist, not the theist! It goes like this:

P1: The universe couldn't have naturally begun. (Because there was no time before it)
P2: The universe begun. (Big Bang)
C1: The universe must have begun supernaturally (or unnaturally)

It looks like you scored on your own goal!

b. Eternalism

Eternalism is a philosophical theory that argues that there is no past, present or future; they are all equally true. It's very similar to a movie, and we are watching different frames. Someone could be watching the last scene, and I could still be reading the FBI warnings. My opponent is arguing that Eternalism proves that causation is incoherent.

Again, there are several problems with my opponent's argument. First, my opponent is suggesting that Eternalism is true because special relativity appears to be incompatible with Presentism. However, this claims has been disputed [3][4]. Someone even argued that Einstein's theory of relativity actually refutes Eternalism! [5]

Second, if Eternalism is true, then all causation (not just the beginning of the universe) is incoherent. This means that there is no cause and effect. It means that evolution is not true, because all creatures simply "exist", including the dinosaurs… there's no gradual process. Eternalism also suggests that the very well known, proven and tested theory that "every action has a reaction" is not true either. I find this unreasonable! Why? To deny scientific facts for the purpose of proving a philosophical claim is unreasonable, ad hoc and doesn't follow the principle of parsimony.

Third, even if Eternalism were true, naturalism can hardly explain how this eternal universe exists (or came to existence). Proponents of Eternalism argue that the universe is just "there", was always "there" and will always be "there". Just like a movie, you can reverse and forward all you want, but the movie itself never changes. But this begs the question: What made this movie? Who were the directors, producers and crew? Why is it just simply there? And why is it this special way? Naturalism can't answer these questions. It just asserts that it's there! Naturalism fails to answer these valid question. However, this is not incompatible with the God hypothesis, because there is no reason to claim that God couldn't have created a universe of this type. So again, this is a problem for that naturalist, not the theist.

I have other objections, but I think I've done enough!

R2. Argument from Atemporal Minds

This is a very clever argument, but it's fallacious. Let me explain!

My opponent is arguing that because God is outside of this universe, the He is timeless. But this doesn't mean that God is static. If God were static, we wouldn't have this debate in the first place!

God is outside the time and space of this universe. But this doesn't mean that there isn't another type of time (specifically space-time) in the metaphysical realm that could be either tenseless or non-tenseless. So your first premise P1 is false. (Sorry!)

P3 is also wrong. There's no reason not to believe that God can make decisions instantaneously and doesn't require time to think or process them.

I ask the reader to dismiss this argument altogether.

R3. Law (Principle) of Parsimony and Ad hoc Hypothesis

I don't disagree with these laws in principal! But I think my opponent is misunderstanding them. Before I continue, I want to highlight a little mistake by my opponent. He stated that "a caused universe have to be refuted only by the addition of ad hoc hypothesis." This is incorrect. An ad hoc statement would make an argument less likely, but doesn't necessarily refute it. But this is irrelevant, because none of my claims are ad hoc.

First, the principle of parsimony is completely misstated.

"[Principle of parsimony] appears to be based in the notion that, when there are several competing theories, ‘the simplest is always most likely to be the correct one'. However, this sound-bite version of the principle is not entirely correct and was not what Occam actually proposed at all. Simple ideas can be quite wrong and relatively complicated ideas are more than capable of being correct. […]In contrast to popular opinion, at no point did Occam ever state that the simpler explanation is always more correct or that the more complex explanation is always less correct." [6]

So what did Occam mean then? He argued that the best way to evaluate a theory "is to start from the simplest possible explanation and make it more complex only if, and when, absolutely necessary." [6]

Let me admit, that many theists make this mistake and whenever they find something they don't understand, they plug God into it. This is called the well known "God of the Gaps" fallacy [7]. These instances clearly violate the law of parsimony and are ad hoc. However, none of my claims were as such. They were all logical, rational and reasonably conclude that God is the best explanation given all the data available.

I also want to add that none of my claims are ad hoc! I didn't stick the God hypothesis in any of my arguments to rescue it!

I ask the reader to dismiss this argument altogether.

Conclusion

I have to admit that I liked my opponent's arguments, but I argue that they fall short of showing how naturalism is more likely than the God hypothesis.

Thank you.

[1] http://www.hawking.org.uk...
[2] http://reducing-suffering.org...
[3] http://philoscience.unibe.ch...
[4] http://myweb.facstaff.wwu.edu...
[5] http://www.soulphysics.org...
[6] http://www.academia.edu...
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...

tejretics

Con



I shall defend my arguments in the next round and instead only rebut Pro’s case in this round.



R1) An initial being exists



a) “Pool table” argument



The pool table argument merely leads to a conclusion that there was an “uncaused cause”, which is justified by Premise B, wherein there is a “finite number of past causes”, justified simply by the fact that there is a finite number of past events. This brings in the seemingly intuitive assumption that every event has a cause. The derivation is from the axioms of Parmenides and Empedocles, who state “ex nihilo nihil fit”, i.e. “out of nothing, nothing comes.” [1] One may argue this is supported by the conservation of mass/energy, but this brings the obvious question -- caused what? There is an uncaused cause of what? Since the definition of God is a being that created the *universe*, there is the assumption that the universe was ‘caused’ into existence. This cosmology was used in an attempt to demonstrate God’s existence by Aristotle in his Physics and Metaphysics, using a formulation of Plato’s initial thought to create an argument from cosmology for the existence of a primal mover [2]. Philosopher, mystic, and theologian al-Ghazali used a derivative of philosophical cosmology with theological principles of orthodox Islamic kalam theology and Sufism to form an argument against the metaphysical possibility of actual infinities, that was adapted by apologist W.L. Craig to form the kalam cosmological argument [3].



Modern physics and naturalism seems to refute this ‘causal premise’ that seems to be the core of a variety of deductive cosmological arguments, such as Craig’s. As Hume argued, there is no reason to think the causal principle is true a priori [4], and quantum mechanics brings in a posteriori evidence to the contrary. Acausal explanations for the origin of the universe, according to theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, are likely true if the sum of net energy in the universe is precisely zero, which would be determined if the curvature of the universe is flat [5]. According to measurements by the NASA spacecraft WMAP, we now know “that the universe is flat with only a 0.4% margin of error.” [6] If the universe’s curvature is flat, the sum of net energy in the universe would be precisely zero, and there is a 99.6% chance that this is true.



“If the total energy of the universe must always remain zero, and it costs energy to create a body, how can a whole universe be created from nothing? That is why there must be a law like gravity. Because gravity is attractive, gravitational energy is negative: One has to do work to separate a gravitationally bound system, such as the Earth and moon. This negative energy can balance the positive energy needed to create matter, but it’s not quite that simple. The negative gravitational energy of the Earth, for example, is less than a billionth of the positive energy of the matter particles the Earth is made of. A body such as a star will have more negative gravitational energy, and the smaller it is (the closer the different parts of it are to each other), the greater the negative gravitational energy will be. But before it can become greater (in magnitude) than the positive energy of the matter, the star will collapse to a black hole, and black holes have positive energy. That’s why empty space is stable. Bodies such as stars or black holes cannot just appear out of nothing. But a whole universe can.” [7]



Next, I attack proposition 2: “an uncaused cause must have free will.” Why can’t an uncaused cause be a resul of random reactions? This is a bare assertion, thus is logically fallacious.



Thus, the “pool table” argument is refuted.



b) Corroborating evidence



This argument is based on misconceptions of physical laws and propositions. I shall address them by quoting my opponent and then responding.



First, my opponent repeatedly confuses the universe having a beginning with having a cause. For something to have a beginning in time, it does not need to have a cause. Take the example of a quantum fluctuation, where a particle and its corresponding antiparticle emerge from the quantum vacuum and annihilate to release energy without a finite cause [8].



Pro argues that the BGV theorem predicts the universe had a cause. This is based on a classical interpretation of spacetime and the assumption of the A-series of time and a presentism ontology to be true. The latter is highly unlikely in light of special relativity, which uses the relativity of simultaneity to predict the B-series of time and eternalism [9].



R2) Intelligent Design



a) Fine-tuned universe



This variation of the teleological argument is referred to as the ‘fine-tuning’ argument, i.e. the idea that the universe is unique in that it is a universe fine-tuned for life, with the physical constant values of the universe [10]. According to philosopher Theodore M. Drange, “Other values for physical constants [are] highly improbable. … [T]he burden of proof is still on the advocates of FTA [to show that other values for physical constants are possible].” [11]



Furthermore, “[Michael Hurben and Theodore Drange] have offered various objections to this new argument to design: that the values of the various physical constants aren't really ‘tunable’ and thus couldn't have been ‘set’ to anything other than the values we find.” [12] According to particle physicist and philosopher Victor J. Stenger, “[I]t can be shown that the conditions necessary for the evolution of some form of life would have arisen from a wide variation in physical constants.” [13]



While I do not outright reject the fine-tuned universe hypothesis, as Drange poses, how is it possible for the universe to have been ‘tuned’ otherwise? Stenger also posits that our ‘type’ of life, i.e. carbon-based life, need not be the only type of life possible [14].



According to inflationary theory, “an inflaton field in the first 10−30 seconds of the universe produces strong repulsive gravity, and the universe and space-time expand by a factor of 1030. After 10−30 seconds, gravity starts to become attractive. In this framework, with such rapid expansion, the overall shape of the universe at 14 billion years is much less sensitive to initial parameters … thus, the fine-tuning issue disappears.” [15] Andre Linde proposed a theory of ‘chaotic inflation’, “the peaks in the evolution of a scalar field (determining the energy of the vacuum) correspond to regions of rapid inflation which dominate.” [16] This theory of eternal inflation was proven by Paul Steinhardt and Alexander Vilenkin independently, and further supported by Alan Guth [17]. This allows for a wholly naturalistic explanation for fine-tuning [18]. Stephen Hawking proposed that the early universe was a superposition of possible initial conditions, only a small fraction of which contributed to the conditions we see today, thus providing a further naturalistic explanation for fine-tuning [19].



Therefore, physical necessity has equal probability as intelligent design, and the argument does not affirm God’s existence. Thus, the teleological argument is refuted.



b) Evolution



For this, I need only defend that life could have originally arisen via. abiogenesis. Before the question of did life originally arise via. abiogenesis, I need answer the question why. Life is thermodynamically inevitable. If life on Earth did not form, the Earth’s environment would have been under ‘thermodynamic stress’. The atmosphere was thick in cyanides, methane, CO2, ammonia, and other gases, and was under concentrated ultraviolet radiation trapping it in heat [19]. Life was just a group of chemical compounds created to relieve thermodynamic stress on Earth by moving it to a higher-entropy state, thus scattering energy-dense particles, e.g. oxygen generation via. photosynthesis and the evolution of chlorophyll would have prevented much greater levels of ultraviolet energy density, thus scattering particles of energy and rising the level of entropy in the thermodynamic system further [20].



Life is a self-propagating process of a thermodynamic system, basically using cell division to increase level of entropy in organisms, which are merely thermodynamic systems, e.g. process of ‘food’ to scatter energy via. heat release and mitosis.





Because the system is autocatalytic, if all other factors are irrelevant then the system will continue to multiply at an exponential rate. Thus, via. autocatalysis, constant replication can emerge from non-living nature.



Nucleotides and amino acids can be synthesized via. simple chemical combination and bonding. This is via. autocatalysis in itself. As seen in the Miller-Urey experiment, amino acids can be synthesized by inorganic compounds in conditions very similar to the early Earth itself [21].




Thus, life could arise out of abiogenesis. The resolution is negated.


1. http://en.wikipedia.org...

2. http://plato.stanford.edu...

3. Ibid.

4. http://www.iep.utm.edu...

5. See Lawrence Krauss lecture video, starting at 11:56.

6. http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov...

7. Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow (2010). The Grand Design. p. 180.

8. http://aether.lbl.gov...

9. http://bit.ly...

10. http://en.wikipedia.org...

11. http://infidels.org...

12. http://infidels.org...

13. http://www.colorado.edu...

13. http://goo.gl...

14. Source 10.

15. http://en.wikipedia.org...

16. http://www.sciencedirect.com...

17. http://www.sciencedirect.com...

18. http://en.wikipedia.org...

19. http://link.springer.com...

20. Ibid.

Debate Round No. 3
salam.morcos

Pro

I want to thank my opponent for a good rebuttal. I will defend my arguments as follows:

1. Arguments for an initial being

1.1 Pool Table argument

My opponent actually modified my argument! My opponent's rebuttal doesn't weaken my argument; it doesn't even scratch the surface. I will explain how in the space below.

First, my opponent doesn't challenge my premises or the coherence of my argument. He states that my argument "leads to a conclusion that there was an 'uncaused cause'".

Second, my opponent attempts to somehow challenge my argument by claiming that there's an implied or hidden assumption "that every event has a cause". This is not true. While I do believe that this premise is true, my logic doesn't depend on it in any way. For the sake of the argument, if an event somehow existed that's uncaused, my logic would still follow logically and necessarily. Please discard this claim.

Third, my opponent mentions that some philosophers Plato and Dr. Craig have brought other cosmological arguments that corroborate my conclusions. But I want to add that, while I respect and support their arguments, I find that my argument is much more powerful due to its utmost simplicity.

Forth, my opponent again misquotes Hume. My opponent states that Hume argued that "there is no reason to think the causal principle is true a priori". This is a misquotation [1][2]. What Hume said that the effect cannot be known a priori! I want to also comment that there's no reason to assume that Hume had a monopoly over the truth! Many disagreed with him, such as Kant [3].

Fifth, my opponent seems to suggest that causality itself is simply false! But this would falsify many scientific theories such as Newton's laws of motion [4] and evolution. Cause and effect has been tested, observed and logical in every sense. To claim that it's false is absurd… Such a truth claim is ad hoc and doesn't respect the principle of parsimony. I ask the reader to discard such a claim.

Sixth, my opponent brings Lawrence Krauss famous claims that a whole universe can appear out of nothing in his book "A Universe from Nothing" [5]. But this "nothing" is not really nothing as in not anything (or nihil) [6]. The Sunday Book Review explains:

"But that’s just not right. Relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical vacuum states […]are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff. The true […] equivalent to there not being any physical stuff at […] is the simple absence of the fields!"

Seventh, my argument doesn't depend on the creation of something out of nothing! While I believe that a creation event, but if (for the sake of the argument) all physical stuff existed eternally, my argument would conclude that this physical stuff must necessarily be static until an initiation stage where thing started to change such as movement, transformation, formation of universes…etc.

Eighth, my opponent attacks my second proposition: "An uncaused cause must have free will". He argues that this is a bare assertion (It's not), and states "Why can’t an uncaused cause be a result of random reactions?" The answer to my opponent's question is extremely simple – It can't because randomness is not actually true! Henri Poincare explains that "Randomness is due to our ignorance: 'Chance is only the measure of our ignorance. Fortuitous phenomena are, by definition, those whose laws we do not know.'" Let me add that even if randomness actually exists (which it doesn't), it would still depend on initial conditions, so it can't be "uncaused"!

Conclusion

My Pool Table argument is very valid and my opponent's claim doesn't pose any threat to its legitimacy.

1.2 Corroborating evidence

First, my opponent argues that "for something to have a beginning doesn't mean it must have a cause". Let's examine this claim for a second. The very first universe that began must be either caused by something outside of its realm, or it would have caused itself. The second notion is unreasonable, for something to cause itself. But even if that's true (I'm being very accommodating), that initial cause possesses all the criteria I had in my Pool Table argument.

Second, my opponent argues that the B-theory would thwart my claim altogether. While I don't think Eternalism is true, but it actually doesn't refute my argument! Let's assume Eternalism is true (for the sake of the argument), you can still trace all causes back to an initial uncaused cause, which would occur simultaneously because the past, present and future are all real! I've already explained further on this subject (See Round 3 - R1).

2. Arguments for intelligent design

2.1 Fine Tuned Universe argument

My opponent doesn't fully reject the fine-tuned universe hypothesis. He tries to provide a naturalistic explanation for this. He claims that eternal inflation "allows for a wholly naturalistic explanation for fine-tuning". The most important sources #18 and #19 that he provided were incorrect so I wasn't able to know the details of the explanation so I can rebut it properly (A bit frustrating). Anyways, I did some research on my own and found Sean Carrol that relates to your claim [8]. The idea is that "Once inflation starts, it produces a limitless supply of different 'pocket universes'" Eventually a universe like ours was created. But there are two problems in the claim that Sean himself states. First, "The multiverse is not a theory; it is a prediction of a theory." Second, as Swinburne said: "To postulate a trillion trillion other universes, rather than one God in order to explain the orderliness of our universe, seems the height of irrationality." [8]

Basically, the naturalist has to scramble to find an explanation. As my opponent offered, such ad hoc claims should be viewed with skepticism, and definitely doesn't help the likelihood of naturalism.

2.2 Evolution

My opponent argues that he only needs to defend that "life could have originally arisen via abiogenesis". I just want to remind my opponent that BoP is shared so he has to show why it's more likely that "life could have originally arisen via abiogenesis". After all, one could argue the first replicating cell just formed randomly!

My opponent provides a very good argument; the first replicating cell occurred through autocatalysis.
I want to remind the reader that this process is anatural, so it's random. Now let's examine this further.

First, if autocatalytic evolution were true, during the early stages of Earth formation, a self replicating cell should have evolved anaturally through autocatalytic evolution. But wait a second! I've already demonstrated in my second round that these cells are very complex! They have DNA, membrane, complex molecular machines…etc. I didn't even mention the peculiarity of DNA and its information. The order and sequence of DNA bases determines the "information available for building and maintaining an organism" [9]. For this to happen randomly, I argue that it would require so many "mutations" and "changes" because it's completely random. In other words, each iteration would be more likely to head away from rather than towards the formation of a self replicating cell.

Second, even if you argue that the rate of mutation was so high (billions and billions of changes), why don't we see other autocatalytic systems creating many new things (not necessarily life)? Did the first cells have some kind of monopoly over this process?

Third, research has shown "Lack of evolvability in self-sustaining autocatalytic networks" [11]. So it takes a lot of faith to stick with the opinion, than to believe otherwise. This is again an ad hoc argument to basically try to stick anything to rescue the claim.

Finally, my opponent brings the famous Miller-Urey experiment where it was believed that he replicated, in some way, what happened at the origin of life. But the initial conditions were disputed. Also, it was shown that "inanimate nature has a bias toward the formation of molecules made of fewer rather than greater numbers of carbon atoms" [12]. The amino acids produced are exponentially simple compared to a cell.

Thank you.

[1] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[2] http://oregonstate.edu...
[3] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[4] http://www.dummies.com...
[5] Dr. Krauss, "A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing"
[6] http://www.nytimes.com...
[7] NEWMAN (ed.), 1960, The World of Mathematics (London: George Alien and Unwin)
[8] http://preposterousuniverse.com...
[9] http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov...
[11] http://www.pnas.org...
[12] http://www.scientificamerican.com...

tejretics

Con

C1) A caused universe is incoherent



a) Requirements for causation



First, Pro asserts that I assume causation can occur “only in the physical realm”. That is entirely irrelevant and I make no such assumption. Causality is the relationship between a cause and an effect by definition. An effect can emerge without time, but for a cause to coherently trigger an effect, something must obviously coherently ‘happen’, and for something to ‘happen’ the passage of time is required. Now, Pro introduces an ad hoc hypothesis saying there could be another form of timeliness prior to time itself, but that is possibility and not probability. Since the additional assumption is not required, via. Occam’s razor it is best to reject that assumption.



Pro asserts that “a beginning without a cause is incoherent”, but that is a bare assertion. An effect can occur without a cause. Filipenko and Pasachoff (2001) write, “The idea of a zero-energy universe, together with inflation, suggests that all one needs is just a tiny bit of energy to get the whole thing started (that is, a tiny volume of energy in which inflation can begin). The universe then experiences inflationary expansion, but without creating net energy. What produced the energy before inflation? This is perhaps the ultimate question. As crazy as it might seem, the energy may have come out of nothing! The meaning of ‘nothing’ is somewhat ambiguous here. It might be the vacuum in some pre-existing space and time, or it could be nothing at all – that is, all concepts of space and time were created with the universe itself.” [1]



As Lawrence Krauss says, if the universe’s curvature is flat, the net energy in the universe would be precisely zero [2]. Measurements taken by NASA’s WMAP proved, with a chance of error of 0.4%, that the universe’s curvature is flat, thus its net energy is zero [3].



Naturalism need not assert that the universe “naturally begun” or “unnaturally begun”, since, as said before, a beginning can be coherent without a cause, and the universe was likely not caused. If causality is not required for naturalism to be true, then the argument stands only against God. My naturalistic explanation does not require causality of the universe to be true, but the God hypothesis requires the same in all cases.



b) Eternalism



Despite there being arguments against eternalism, philosophical consensus seems to agree with eternalism, and the B-series. Dean Rickles notes that “the consensus among philosophers seems to be that special and general relativity are incompatible with presentism.” [4] The argument from special relativity which I presented in support of eternalism is referred to as the Rietdijk-Putnam argument, which uses relativity of simultaneity to demonstrate eternalism [5].



Christian Wuthrich writes in defense of eternalism and the Rietdijk-Putnam argument, “Presentists have responded in a variety of ways to the pressure exerted by the Rietdijk-Putnam argument... [A] presentist could deny Naturalism. ... [or] reject SR-Realism... This could occur simply on a priori grounds... Also, considerations from quantum mechanics can be invoked in an attempt to establish that SR is false or incomplete insofar as it lacks an absolute, privileged frame of reference. This response comes in different flavours: (a) (non-relativistic) collapse dynamics require a preferred frame in which the collapse occurs; (b) Bohmian interpretations are incompatible with SR; and (c) invoke Bell's theorem to argue that some tenets of SR must be given up… [A] presentist might simply bite the bullet and consequently relativize existence... since what is present is relative to an inertial frame, what exists becomes fragmented in that it depends on the choice of frame… [Another] is to accept that SR offers a perfectly empirically adequate theory, but to insist that absolute simultaneity still exists. It is just that we cannot possibly detect the privileged frame of reference which determines the present. In other words, absolute simultaneity is not empirically accessible... [The] metaphysics fully relies on postulated extra-structure that can't even in principle be observed... It violates Occam’s razor so crassly that the move cannot be justified by putting some post-verificationist philosophy of science on one's flag.” [6]



Eternalism being true does not render all causation incoherent. It is the causation of time (and, in extension, spacetime) which eternalism renders incoherent. Causation of processes such as evolution do not require change, they require change directionality. The B-series and eternalism only entail untensed temporal relations, thus causation of the universe is incoherent without change. But causation of evolution, etc. does not require metaphysical change via. conservation of energy, rather it only requires a directionality of change. In other words, McTaggart argues that metaphysical change is incoherent, not physical processes and change directionality. He writes, “Changes must happen to the events of such a nature that the occurrence of these changes does not hinder the events from being events, and the same events, both before and after the change. Now what characteristics of an event are there which can change and yet leave the event the same event? ... It seems to me that there is only one class of such characteristics -- namely, the determination of the event in question by the terms of the A series.” [7]



Pro argues, “naturalism can hardly explain how this eternal universe exists (or came to existence).” First, it is not an ‘eternal’ universe, rather it had a beginning, albeit it was not caused, according to naturalistic explanations. The zero-energy universe hypothesis allows for the universe to literally come into existence with no cause [8].



C2) Atemporal minds are impossible



Pro introduces an ad hoc hypothesis saying there could be another form of timeliness prior to time itself, but that is possibility and not probability. Since the additional assumption is not required, via. Occam’s razor it is best to reject that assumption.



Making decisions is irrelevant to P3. Differential psychologist Lloyd Humphreys defines intelligence as “the resultant of the process of acquiring, storing in memory, retrieving, combining, comparing, and using in new contexts information and conceptual skills.” [9] Since ‘intelligence’ involves a process by definition, for God to be intelligent a process is required, and atemporal processes are incoherent.



C3) Occam’s razor


I accept Pro’s interpretation of Occam’s razor, which states that unnecessary complexity is considered unlikely. Thus, if I can refute Pro’s arguments regarding the probability of God, I can use Occam’s razor to show that Pro adds unnecessary complexity to the explanation by adding the God hypothesis and reject the hypothesis as unlikely.




R1) Arguments for an initial being



a) Pool table argument



I challenge Premise B of the pool table argument that says “there is a finite number of past causes”, which in turn is justified by the fact that there is a finite number of past events, which seems to assume that everything has a cause, which was what I challenged.



Next, the properties of the uncaused cause. An uncaused cause can behave in a predetermined way since it needn’t be the first thing to exist -- that is begging the question, since the universe need not have been caused, and if the universe wasn’t caused, this uncaused cause would have emerged in a finite amount of time after the universe came into existence.



The cause needn’t act freely, as Pro begs the question assuming there was nothing prior to this uncaused cause. If the universe wasn’t caused, it existed prior to this uncaused cause, thus the cause need not act freely.



So, even if the pool table argument proves an uncaused cause, it does not prove God without begging the question.



Next, my opponent strawmans, claiming I’m stating all causality is false. This is incorrect, as I merely represent causality of the universe to be false. Evolution, et cetera are irrelevant to this, and my opponent presents a classical straw-man fallacy by misrepresenting my entire argument [10].



As Alex Filipenko says [1], the universe could have literally come from nothing at all, or the limited energy in the quantum vacuum could have existed eternally.



b) Corroborating evidence


Once more, my opponent begs the question by assuming that either the universe caused itself or it had an external cause, entirely dropping the idea that the universe could have come into existence without anything influencing it. Next, I never mentioned that the B-series would thwart Pro’s claim altogether, rather I said his interpretation of the BGV theorem was based on the A-series which is flawed.



R2) Intelligent design



a) Fine-tuning argument



I apologize for the sourcing of 18 and 19, I shall present the sources here [11-12]. Sean Carroll’s idea has nothing to do with chaotic inflationary model, rather it is a multiverse hypothesis which I do not support.



b) Abiogenesis



Pro asserts that abiogenesis via. autocatalysis is unlikely because it is random. This is incorrect, as the process occurred due to thermodynamic inevitability, i.e. the low-entropy state of Earth put it under thermodynamic stress without these processes of autocatalysis. When the Earth was first formed, there was not as much thermodynamic stress via. the atmosphere as it was during the origin of life [13].



According to most studies, DNA emerged via. RNA, since deoxyribose is a modification of ‘normal’ ribose sugar. Pyrimidine nucleotides, essential to the formation of RNA, have been synthesized under conditions thought to occur under the early Earth [14][15].





Oligomers and polymers can be formed by abiotic coupling of monomers via. inorganic clays. Ribosomes are capable of complete autocatalysis. Thus, DNA could have easily arisen by abiotic processes, especially in conditions under great thermodynamic stress.


Sources in comments.


Debate Round No. 4
salam.morcos

Pro

R1. a. Requirement for Causation?

Con argues that I made an incorrect assumption by claiming that he implied that causation can occur “only in the physical realm”. Did Con forget that in Round 2, he claimed that causation requires physical laws?

Con argues that I introduced a new hypothesis that "there could be another form of timeliness prior to time itself". Don't penalize me for his misunderstanding. All that I argued that it "doesn't mean that the metaphysical realm couldn't have another form of timeliness." I didn't say that the metaphysical realm necessarily has another form of timeliness because that's a bare assertion and I don't claim such a thing. Con on the other had stated that before the universe "there [was] no time". This is a truth claim and Con has the BoP.

Con argues that "a beginning without a cause is coherent". He makes me chuckle when he follows by saying that "As crazy as it may seem"! He's only helping my case! "Incoherent" means "expressed in a confusing way" [1].

Con argues that "an effect can occur without a cause". For evidence, he uses Filipenko and Pasachoff who say that "all one needs is just a tiny bit of energy to get the whole thing started." Do you not notice Con's error? The universe (effect) started because of tiny bit of energy (cause).

Con then continues that "nothing" is somewhat ambiguous here. It might be the vacuum in some pre-existing space and time, or nothing at all. But this vacuum is "not truly empty but instead contains fleeting electromagnetic waves and particles" [2][3][4]. Nothing means "Not anything; no single thing" [5]. Con argues that "energy [before inflation] may have come out of nothing". He is utterly wrong. It came from energy and particles in the quantum field.

Con argues that "Naturalism need not assert that the universe naturally begun' or unnaturally begun". I've shown before that science has shown that the universe actually began [6]. Naturalism actually cannot explain this beginning. This is a problem to the naturalist. Vilenkin, an agnostic, wrote about this:

" 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" [7]

Also, why would Lisa Grossman (Round 2) describe presenting this evidence in Hawking's 70th birthday as the worst birthday present? It's because it is a problem to the naturalist.

b. Eternalism

Con agrees that there are disagreements about this theory. Why should I uphold one claim over another? Let me add that this theory is based on Special Relativity (SR) as Con has shown. I've already shown scientists that not only disagree with Eternalism, but also believe that SR in fact disproves it (Round 3). Also many dispute SR itself [8][9].

Con shows Wüthrich defense of Eternalism which Con appears to have found in Wikipedia [10]. Yet, in the very next paragraph in Wikipedia, Dean Zimmerman states:

"[When] appealing to findings from empirically well-grounded disciplines, philosophers face a strong temptation to overstate their case […] I fear that some B-theorists have succumbed to the temptation, […] the presentist’s conflict with either version of Relativity is shallow, since the presentist’s manifold can satisfy the same geometrical description as a B-theorist’s manifold, and afford explanations of all the same phenomena in precisely the same style. In these circumstances, how could appeal to SR or GR justify the frequent announcements that the A-theory–B-theory dispute has been “settled by physics, not philosophy”?" [10]
—Dean Zimmerman, "Presentism and the Space-Time Manifold" in The Oxford Handbook of Time [10]

That's the difference between me and Con. Con argues that Eternalism is true (almost like a doctrine), and I argue that there isn't enough evidence to compel me to take a side. But as I said previously, even if Eternalism is true, it doesn't undermine my case. What I find irresponsible is Con's claim that "Eternalism [is] true". He hinges the majority of his claim on this disputed theory.

Con then argues that Eternalism doesn't render causation as incoherent. Con argues that "[evolution] only requires a directionality of change" Please examine the sentence carefully. Directionality of change is not change! Con states this clearly "evolution doesn't require change" So a directionality of change means that is appears to us that something is changing, but nothing is actually changing (because there is no time). How can a cause be coherent, if the effect already exists!

Con then challenges my argument that "naturalism can hardly explain how this eternal universe exists (or came to existence)." What? How can Con say that it's not eternal? Isn't he the one who's claiming Eternalism? (See Rounds 2 and 4) But let's forgive him this error. The challenge remains: "Naturalism can hardly explain how this eternal universe exists (or came to existence)." Con argues that the zero-energy universe hypothesis allows for the universe to come into existence with no cause. This is the same argument that Lawrence Krauss was alluding to in his book which I discussed in detail above. There are quantum particles which consist of positive energy and negative gravitational energy that cancel each other out [11].

R2. Atemporal minds are impossible

Con repeats his challenge that argues that I introduced a new hypothesis about timeliness. I've already addressed this above (See R1.a, 2nd paragraph).

P3 states that "Processes are always temporal and require time." What if these processes are instantaneous? God may or may not need time. I don't know, and I don't really care. However, I have an issue with Con's truth claim stating that they are always temporal. The different is that I don't make an argument out of ignorance.

Con's contention fails because his premises, especially P1, are not necessarily true.

R3. Occam's razor

I feel bad for Con. I've stabbed Con with his own contention over and over again. I've shown that many of Con's claims are ad hoc.

Defense of my contentions

1.1 Pool table argument

I am unhappy of Con's request to prove that there can't be an infinite number of past events. Why did he wait until now to challenge it? I specifically stated in R2 that "If he disagrees [then] I will show it in the next round." Now I am running out of space and will not provide a conclusion. Please don't penalizing me for this.

Can there be an infinite number of past events? No.

Infinity ∞ doesn't exist. It's only a potential abstract concept. Many make the mistake that it's a number [13]. Here are some peculiar properties of ∞:

∞ + 1 = ∞
∞ x 7 = ∞
∞ + ∞ = ∞
You can't say that ∞ = ∞, ∞ ≠ ∞ or ∞ > ∞!

Past events are events that already occurred. David Hilbert explains this with Hilbert's paradox [14]. You will love the video!

Imagine that there is a hotel with an infinite number of rooms. And every room was taken! Someone comes to the hotel and wants a new room. The owner will say "Yes of course!" How? Well, you ask the tenant of room 1 to go to room 2, 2 to 3...etc. Guess what! Room 1 is now vacant.

If an infinite number of new tenants want to enter the hotel, they still can! You ask tenant of room 1 to go to room 2, 2 to 4, 3 to 6…etc. Now all even numbered rooms have been taken, and all odd numbered rooms are available (Infinite of them)!

Basically, basic laws of math fail with infinities. Because infinities are potential values, but can never be achieved. No matter how much you add to a number, you will never reach infinity.

Since past events actually occurred, then it's impossible that there is an infinite number of past events.

Con argues that "an uncaused cause can behave in a predetermined way" What? If it's predetermined then it's caused. It's like saying "an unborn child could have been born!" This comment is simply and plainly wrong.

Con argues that "[I beg] the question assuming there was nothing prior to this uncaused cause!" This is again simply and plainly wrong! It's uncaused, which means by definition that nothing prior to it caused it.

1.2 Corroborating Evidence

Con says that I beg the question by stating that the universe either was caused or caused itself. He provides a third possibility that the universe existed without any influence. This is the same as "causing itself".

2.1 Fine Tuned Universe argument

Con proposes Andre Linde's model as an explanation for naturalistic explanation for fine-tuning. However this model has several problems such as the use of large fields and that it doesn't fully reconcile with quantum theory [15]. My issue with Con's argument is that he's using vague theories and models as proofs. My argument stands.

2.2 Evolution

Con stated that origin of life occurred through abiogenesis through autocatalysis. Richard Dawkins said that this is " the kind of thing that sounds promising as an ingredient for the origin of life" [16]. I've also shown in Round 2 how Dawkins didn't dismiss the possibility of other creatures designing the first replicating cell (See Round 2)! My issue with Con is that he again uses potential theories as facts which is irresponsible. Occam isn't be happy.

Con argues that "DNA could have easily arisen by abiotic processes." Easily? One of Con's sources state "According to one version of the RNA world hypothesis, this polymer was RNA, but attempts to provide experimental support for this have failed" and that "it is far from obvious how such ribonucleotides could have formed from their constituent parts (ribose and nucleobases)" [17]

I want to remind the reader and voter that you should presume that the likelihood of God's existence at the beginning of this debate is 50%, (not 100% if you're a theist and 0% if you are an atheist). I argue that my contentions show that the likelihood of God's existence is more likely than the null hypothesis.

I want to thank Con for a very engaging debate.

Sources in comments

tejretics

Con



I thank salam.morcos for one of the most interesting debates I’ve had on DDO, and definitely the toughest.



R1) Arguments for an initial being



a) Pool Table Argument



Pro rejects the metaphysical possibility of actual infinities via. Hilbert’s hotel, also used by philosopher W.L. Craig to defend the second premise of the kalam cosmological argument. On this, analytic philosopher Michael Martin writes, “[Hilbert’s hotel is] unsound or show[s] at most that actual infinities have odd properties. This latter fact is well known, however, and shows nothing about whether it is logically impossible to have actual infinities in the real world.” [1]



Additionally, physicist and mathematician John D. Barrow writes, “Einstein’s theory [of general relativity] predicts that if you fell into a black hole, and there are many black holes in our Galaxy and nearby, you would encounter an infinite density at the centre. These infinities, if they do exist, would be actual infinities.” [13] Since general relativity is true and these infinite density ‘points’, or singularities, do exist [14], actual infinities exist.



Now, Pro asserts that an uncaused cause cannot have had anything existing before it by definition. This is entirely incorrect. An uncaused cause cannot have had anything that caused it, but that in no way implies that something before it may have existed without being caused. This is based on the assumption that everything has a cause, and is entirely incorrect. The universe could have been uncaused, since the causal principle breaks down external to the universe, where there is neither time nor are there physical laws. Sans physical laws as well as time we no longer have reason to believe things need causes, since we have no time directionality, nor physical constraint.



b) Corroborating Evidence



The universe ‘causing itself’ is via. a physical process known as simultaneous causation, advocated by many philosophers. But the universe coming into existence without a cause is with no reason. The universe creating itself does involve a cause--the universe itself is the cause of itself, but the stance I’m taking is there being absolutely no cause, i.e. the universe literally coming into existence from nothing. As mentioned, Pro seems unable to conceive of it, thus is attributing a cause to an uncaused universe--the universe itself, and that is not what I am suggesting. Therefore, Pro is begging the question.



To assume the universe must have a finite cause is to assume the A-theory of time, but majority of evidence is against it, and it is unlikely the A-theory of time is true, via. the Andromeda paradox and relativity of simultaneity [2].



R2) Arguments for intelligent design



a) Fine-Tuned Universe



Ande Linde’s model is a possible explanation for fine-tuning, as plausible as the God hypothesis. Various other theories that fully reconcile with quantum physics have been proposed, e.g. classical scale invariance studied via. perturbation theory [3]. All I need to do to refute the fine-tuning argument is to show physical necessity has equal probability of explanation with intelligent design, and God is not the only solution to this problem, thus it does not argue for God. Pro drops Hurben’s likely explanation via. the anthropic principle that there are no other possible change in the ratio of constants, thus it may be physically necessary for the constants to be in these specific ratios.



b) Abiogenesis



Since this is Pro’s contention, if I can affirm an equal probability of abiogenesis and the God hypothesis, I can use Occam’s razor to dismiss the claim.



“Researchers synthesized the basic ingredients of RNA, a molecule from which the simplest self-replicating structures are made. Until now, they couldn’t explain how these ingredients might have formed.” [4] Pyrimidine nucleotides of RNA have been abiotically synthesized. Pro questions how polynucleotides of RNA could have formed via. ribose, but these polynucleotides can form abiotically via. inorganic clays that couple multiple monomers into linear chains. Marco Franchi and Enzo Gallori write, “[F]indings indicate that primordial genetic molecules adsorbed on clay minerals would have been protected against degrading agents present in the environment and would have been in the right conditions to undergo evolutionary processes.” [5]



Thus, abiogenesis is possible. Even if abiogenesis wasn’t an explanation, it does not signify that God created life.



C1) A caused universe is incoherent



a) Requirements for Causation



This requires a highly specific definition of ‘universe’ to be valid. The universe is generally interpreted to be all of existence itself--i.e., all of space, time, matter, antimatter, and energy. There is, according to standard interpretations of physics, nothing outside the universe or multiverse. As physicists Michael Zeilik and Stephen A. Gregory write, the universe is “[t]he totality of all space and time; all that is, has been, and will be.” [6] Thus, the universe encompasses all temporality, so it is incoherent to conceive of a form of “timeliness” outside the universe, and highly improbable. Since the debate is about probability, it is highly improbable the universe was caused.



The “tiny bit of energy” can literally come out of nothing, as Filipenko says. As mentioned, sans physical constraints and time directionality, the causal principle breaks down. When I said the vacuum could be ‘nothing’, the vacuum is a part of the universe, and it was not caused and literally came out of nothing. Thus, somewhere, some part of the universe did come out of nothing.



Vilenkin stated they face the problem of a cosmic beginning, and *not* a cosmic cause. Pro frequently begs the question by confusing the words ‘beginning’ and ‘caused’. Pro commits a fallacy of appeal to authority when quoting Lisa Grossman [7], as I have presented *evidence* for an uncaused universe’s possibility.



The zero-energy universe hypothesis allows for the universe to arise out of nothing, or out of an uncaused quantum vacuum--the vacuum is, nonetheless, uncaused [11].



A ‘metaphysical form of causality’ is also highly improbable, because then it would have likely produced a metaphysical product, and not a physical product such as the universe. Pro does not contest that time is required for causality, thus another form of “timeliness” is Pro’s positive assertion, which is improbable.



b) Eternalism



My assertion that eternalism is true is an inductive claim, since the resolution only requires an inference to the most *probable* explanation. There is a philosophical consensus and more evidence to support eternalism. There are three options--belief in presentism, possibilism or eternalism, and eternalism is the most likely of these via. the Andromeda paradox and planes of simultaneity [8][9]. If the B-series, four-dimensionalism, and eternalism are true, which is highly probable, causality is implausible, and, thus, inductively false.



Next, Pro strawmans my argument by misrepresenting eternalism with a catastrophic misconception--eternalism is not the idea that the universe has been existing forever, eternalism is the idea that the past, present, and future are non-distinct and equally real temporally [10].



C2) Atemporal minds are impossible



I have addressed this new form of ‘timeliness’, and it being immensely improbable. As for an instantaneous process, a process of a mind taking t0 is incoherent. A process is a systematic series of changes individually that contribute to a conclusion over a period of time by definition [12]. God still exists presently, thus his process of intelligence is greater than t0 if present, thus it cannot be present.



Thus, the contention succeeds in negating.



C3) Occam’s razor



Thus, I have refuted the entirety of Pro’s case, and the God hypothesis is an additional complexity that is not required.



Thus, I negate. Vote Con.






1. Michael Martin (1990). Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, p 104.

2. http://plato.stanford.edu...

3. http://inspirehep.net...

4. http://www.wired.com...

5. http://www.sciencedirect.com...

6. Michael Zeilik and Stephen A. Gregory (1998). Introductory Astronomy & Astrophysics, glossary 31.

7. http://web.stanford.edu...

8. Roger Penrose (1999). The Emperor’s New Mind, p 393.

9. http://en.wikipedia.org...

10. Theo Kuipers (2007). General Philosophy of Science, p 326.

11. http://www.astrosociety.org...

12. Google (“define process”)

13. http://plus.maths.org...

14. http://fqxi.org...

Debate Round No. 5
91 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by salam.morcos 1 year ago
salam.morcos
@chaosism - then in that case, I agree with you ;)
Posted by salam.morcos 1 year ago
salam.morcos
@TJ - and no, you didn't challenge the infinite in your rebuttal, but that was in your defense of the KCA. The only mention you had was an infinite universe (our universe) is not accepted by scientists. But that doesn't refute Con because he didn't disagree with the Big Bang. A voter should not borrow from other arguments (or personal opinion). It's your responsibility to refute that argument.
Posted by Chaosism 1 year ago
Chaosism
@ tejretics

I thought that infinity theoretically existed in the center of a black hole?
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
@salam.morcos:

But I demonstrated that the totality of existence is not infinite because infinite doesn't exist.
Posted by Chaosism 1 year ago
Chaosism
@ salam.morcos

Yep - I realize that, hence my "...in this case." at the end of the comment.
Posted by salam.morcos 1 year ago
salam.morcos
@TJ - that's not fair :(. I did mention it in my RFD. Here is it:

"Con argues that the "totality of existence" is infinite, and that infinite doesn't have a cause. Therefore, he argues against the necessity of God.

Pro defends by pleading to the Big Bang theory and that there exists a scientific consensus that the universe began to exist. But I think Pro missed Con's argument. Con didn't argue against the Big Bang, he simply argues that the "totality of existence" has no beginning. Pro doesn't refute Con's argument."
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
Also, I showed the universe was expanding, which it can't if it's infinite.
Posted by salam.morcos 1 year ago
salam.morcos
@chaosism - about the 50/50 chance. I agree with your comment but that's how I defined the debate. I was only trying to show the God hypothesis is more likely than naturalism. I made them as opposites in R1 which I agree may or may not be the case. A swing either way can be considered a contention.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
That isn't even mentioned in your RFD.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
@salam.morcos:

I rebutted with the metaphysical impossibility of actual infinities.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Fkkize 1 year ago
Fkkize
salam.morcostejreticsTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Comments.