The Instigator
Sotiras
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
bluesteel
Pro (for)
Winning
59 Points

God's Existence

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 11 votes the winner is...
bluesteel
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/12/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,390 times Debate No: 18303
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (11)

 

Sotiras

Con

I would like to kick off this debate simply, with a very general subject: Do any gods exist, or perhaps does the particular god of my opponent exist? That part is up to them.

Obviously, my position is that there isn't any/enough evidence to warrant believing in a god rationally.

I'd be interested to see any evidence they believe they may have concerning any deit(y/ies). My apologies if the topic is a bit broad.
bluesteel

Pro

Thanks for the debate Sotiras. We will be delving into philosophy and modal logic to prove God's existence. These are some classical arguments advanced by modern philosophers to prove God's existence.

Hartshorne Ontological Argument

(P1) God is perfect (from the definition of God)
(P2) Perfection cannot exist contingently. (premise)
(P3) If God exists, then he necessarily exists (exists in all possible worlds). (from P1 and P2)
(P4) God is not impossible (there is a possible world in which God exists). (premise)
(P5) If p is necessarily true, then p is actually true (modal axiom).
(P6) If God necessarily exists, then God actually exists. (from P5)
(P7) If God does not actually exist, God necessarily does not exist (does not exist in any possible world). (modus tollens from P6)
(P8) God either actually exists or does not actually exist (Principle of Excluded Middle).
(P9) God either necessarily exists or necessarily does not exist. (substitution, P6 and P7)
(P10) God necessarily exists. (P9, P4, disjunctive syllogism, i.e. if there is a possible world in which God exists, it cannot be the case that he does not exist in all possible worlds)
(P11) God exists. (P10, P3, modus ponens).

Plantinga's Ontological Argument

1. A necessary proposition is defined as one that, if true, is true in all possible worlds. (definition of necessary propositions in modal logic)
2. God is defined as a maximally great being - meaning one that exists necessarily and is necessarily omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good. (definition of God)
3. Possibly God exists. (Premise)
4. There is a possible world in which God does exists. (By 3)
5. Therefore, there is a possible world in which it is necessarily true that God exists. (By 2 and 4)
6. God exists in all possible worlds. (By 1 and 5)
7. Therefore, God exists. (By 6 and since necessarily true propositions are true)

All that is left is to prove premise 3 from Plantinga and premise 4 from Hartshorne, but this follows from the fact that things that are logically possible are things that have no contradictions in their definition. So, for example, it is logically possible that if you pick a number between 1 and 10, the number is 5, which means that there is a possible world where the result is 5. In the same way, if God can logically exist, then there is a possible world in which he exists.

To understand necessary and possible existence, picture a checkerboard. To say something possibly exists is to say that you put an X in one box where that thing exists (one possible world). To say something necessarily exists means that you must put an X in every single box (every possible world). If you agree that God is possible, meaning you can conceive of a being that is omniscient and omnipotent and cannot find a contradiction there, then there is a possible world where God exists, so put an X in one possible world. But since by definition God must necessarily exist, that means that if there is an X in one possible world, God must exist in all possible worlds. Because God either necessarily exists (exists in all possible worlds, with X's in each box) or necessarily does not exist (with no X's in any boxes). So once you've placed an X in one box, you know that it's not possible for God to necessarily not exist, so he must necessarily exist.

Cosmological Argument

1. Something cannot come from nothing.
2. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. (from 1)
3. The universe began to exist.
4. The universe is infinite.
5. A finite entity cannot create an infinite entity.
6. God is infinite.
7. God caused the universe to exist. (from 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2)

Teleological Argument

There are certain constants in physics, like the value of the strong force, which if altered by even the tiniest fractional amount would create a completely unstable universe. All of these constants being in exactly the correct range is impossible, so some entity must have fine-tuned the numbers by design and that entity is God.

The argument goes: "It was recognized centuries back that conditions necessary for the flourishing of life were fairly tightly constrained (making the move to design in natural conditions and laws inherently attractive), but not until quite recent times has it been revealed through science itself just how wildly tight the constraints actually are, and just how many separate things have to converge, each within a miniscule value interval. For instance, here are two examples taken from Robin Collins:

1. If the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength by as little as one part in 1060, the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself, or expanded too rapidly for stars to form. In either case, life would be impossible. (As John Jefferson Davis points out, an accuracy of one part in 1060 can be compared to firing a bullet at a one-inch target on the other side of the observable universe, twenty billion light years away, and hitting the target.)


3. Calculations by Brandon Carter show that if gravity had been stronger or weaker by one part in 1040, then life-sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would most likely make life impossible. (Collins 1999, 49.)[37]

In light of these and other examples, Collins remarks that "Almost everything about the basic structure of the universe … is balanced on a razor's edge for life to occur." (Collins 1999, 48).

There is some disagreement over just how many such independent factors there are, but by some counts there are over 100, although not all requiring the above degree of precision.[38] But the apparent probability of all the necessary conditions sufficient to allow just the formation of planets (let alone life) coming together just by chance is utterly outrageously tiny—by Roger Penrose's calculation, the probability of chance alone producing cosmoi capable of producing planets is 1 in 10 raised in turn to the 10123 (Penrose 1990, 343–4)." http://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
Sotiras

Con

I just typed up over 5,000 characters of comeback and as I was trying to back it up in case disaster struck, disaster struck, and it was deleted. I think I'll wait until next round to retype it, I need to get some sleep. Sorry about this.

And if you're wondering why this response took so long, blame Notch.
bluesteel

Pro

Well, if my opponent is not going to argue, I'll offer more arguments.

I've already provided the Cosmological Argument from Efficient Causality:

1. All things must have a cause.
2. A necessary being exists.
3. God is the only necessary being.
4. God exists.

We go from 1 to 2 because if something has a contingent being as a cause, then that being also must have a cause, leading to an infinite regress. The only way to avoid the infinite regress is to posit a First Cause, or a necessary being who is responsible for his own existence.

But I will also offer the Cosmological Argument from Contingency:

(1) Every contingent fact has an explanation.
(2) There is a contingent fact that includes all other contingent facts.
(3) Therefore, there is an explanation of this fact.
(4) This explanation must involve a necessary being.
(5) This necessary being is God.

(1) This comes from the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR), which states that everything has a sufficient explanation for its being. There are a number of explanations and proofs of the PSR. The first is just the definition of a contingent fact is a fact that relies on some other fact to prove it. The second is a proof which posits the weak PSR to prove the strong PSR.

The weak PSR is: "every contingent fact has a possible compete explanation." This is obviously true because we could make up explanations even for things we currently cannot explain and even if we cannot prove the explanation is true. For example, if someone shoots us a mean glance, we can think of at least 5 possible explanations (we slept with their wife, we ate the last doughnut at the staff meetings, etc).

The weak PSR can be translated to "there is a possible world in which proposition p is fully explained by explanation x." If we define p* as "proposition p is true and has no explanation," then in possible world x* above, where x fully explains p, that means that x also fully explains p*, which results in a contradiction because x cannot both fully explain p AND have p have no explanation at the same time. So to avoid this contradiction, we must accept the strong PSR.

Lastly, the PSR just holds true in our everyday lives. If contingent facts do not require an explanation and A is not required to cause B, but B can merely happen with no explanation, then all of science become unnecessary. If you're driving in a car for example and the car is drifting to the right, the passenger may ask "why is the car drifting to the right" and the driver could respond "it just is" before they both hit a telephone and die - if the PSR is untrue. If it's true, it's likely the wheels are out of alignment.

(2) This comes from the infinite regress: if there is a contingent fact, then it must be explained by another contingent fact. Go back far enough, and one contingent fact must have spawned all other contingent facts that we currently have.

(3) this is from 1

(4) This is from the definition of a necessary being and the principle of identity, meaning that a necessary being has itself as its cause.

(5) God is the only necessary being, so it must be God or not God, and if God is the only one, we know it's not "not God," so through a disjunctive syllogism, we know it must be God.

TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

I'll offer more proof for fine tuning of the constants in certain physics equations, that if altered by even tiny amounts, would result in a very different Universe unviable for life, which is evidence of a Creator who fine tuned these constants.

If any of these numbers deviated by the amount shown to the right, then the Universe would either not be capable of existing or would be unsustainable for any forms of life:

Ratio of Electromagnetic Force:Gravity 1x10^40
Expansion Rate of Universe 1x10^55
Mass of Universe 1x10^59
Cosmological Constant 1x10^120

Also, if any of these were altered by small amounts, life would be unviable:

strong nuclear force constant
if larger: no hydrogen would form; atomic nuclei for most life-essential elements would be unstable; thus, no life chemistry
if smaller: no elements heavier than hydrogen would form: again, no life chemistry

weak nuclear force constant
if larger: too much hydrogen would convert to helium in big bang; hence, stars would convert too much matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible
if smaller: too little helium would be produced from big bang; hence, stars would convert too little matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible

gravitational force constant
if larger: stars would be too hot and would burn too rapidly and too unevenly for life chemistry
if smaller: stars would be too cool to ignite nuclear fusion; thus, many of the elements needed for life chemistry would never form

electromagnetic force constant
if greater: chemical bonding would be disrupted; elements more massive than boron would be unstable to fission
if lesser: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry

ratio of electromagnetic force constant to gravitational force constant
if larger: all stars would be at least 40% more massive than the sun; hence, stellar burning would be too brief and too uneven for life support
if smaller: all stars would be at least 20% less massive than the sun, thus incapable of producing heavy elements

ratio of electron to proton mass
if larger: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry
if smaller: same as above

ratio of number of protons to number of electrons
if larger: electromagnetism would dominate gravity, preventing galaxy, star, and planet formation
if smaller: same as above

expansion rate of the universe
if larger: no galaxies would form
if smaller: universe would collapse, even before stars formed

entropy level of the universe
if larger: stars would not form within proto-galaxies
if smaller: no proto-galaxies would form

mass density of the universe
if larger: overabundance of deuterium from big bang would cause stars to burn rapidly, too rapidly for life to form
if smaller: insufficient helium from big bang would result in a shortage of heavy elements
velocity of light
if faster: stars would be too luminous for life support if slower: stars would be insufficiently luminous for life support

initial uniformity of radiation
if more uniform: stars, star clusters, and galaxies would not have formed
if less uniform: universe by now would be mostly black holes and empty space

average distance between galaxies
if larger: star formation late enough in the history of the universe would be hampered by lack of material
if smaller: gravitational tug-of-wars would destabilize the sun's orbit

density of galaxy cluster
if denser: galaxy collisions and mergers would disrupt the sun's orbit
if less dense: star formation late enough in the history of the universe would be hampered by lack of material

average distance between stars
if larger: heavy element density would be too sparse for rocky planets to form
if smaller: planetary orbits would be too unstable for life

fine structure constant (describing the fine-structure splitting of spectral lines)
if larger: all stars would be at least 30% less massive than the sun
if larger than 0.06: matter would be unstable in large magnetic fields
if smaller: all stars would be at least 80% more massive than the sun

decay rate of protons
if greater: life would be exterminated by the release of radiation
if smaller: universe would contain insufficient matter for life

uncertainty magnitude in the Heisenberg uncertainty principle
if smaller: oxygen transport to body cells would be too small and certain life-essential elements would be unstable

cosmological constant
if larger: universe would expand too quickly to form solar-type stars [2]

[1] http://www.debate.org...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Sotiras

Con

I'm sorry, but I cannot continue this debate.

CURSE YOU NOTCH
bluesteel

Pro

Ok, I guess... Vote Pro
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ArgumentativeMan 1 year ago
ArgumentativeMan
Had I been con, I would have whipped out the handy dandy multiverse refutation.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
@popculturepooka, I sent you a PM.
Posted by popculturepooka 5 years ago
popculturepooka
F16, I find a lot of people say that but they very rarely can point out the actual flaws in the arguments. So - can you?
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
"philosophical baloney" I have to agree with RoyLatham on this one. Pro is a good debater but the ontological, teleological, cosmological stuff is certainly flawed.
Posted by snakeplissken 5 years ago
snakeplissken
you're correct, i retract my previous statement.
Posted by bluesteel 5 years ago
bluesteel
God doesn't have to be omnibenevolent for any of my arguments to work
Posted by snakeplissken 5 years ago
snakeplissken
Sotiras needs to present the "Problem of Evil" in philosophy. It trumps EVERY philosophical argument Bluesteel has presented.
Posted by bluesteel 5 years ago
bluesteel
lol. My Viking name is Bluesteel the Ruthless
Posted by Kinesis 5 years ago
Kinesis
"Well, if my opponent is not going to argue, I'll offer more arguments"

You have no mercy bluesteel.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Thanks.
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by ShrawderA 5 years ago
ShrawderA
SotirasbluesteelTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: This was not even a debate. Pro gave arguments, Con did not. Good job pro. It is a difficult argument, but you were able to pull it off better than most.
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
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Reasons for voting decision: Duh
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
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Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro buried Con with a mountain of philosophical baloney. It may be baloney, but Con was nonetheless buried.
Vote Placed by PartamRuhem 5 years ago
PartamRuhem
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Notch was a weak argument, if you ask me.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Sotiras wasted all three debates while bluesteel brought up some good points on possible arguments for the existence of god....
Vote Placed by Cerebral_Narcissist 5 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
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Reasons for voting decision: Obvious
Vote Placed by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
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Reasons for voting decision: f
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit. Pro, I will debate this.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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Reasons for voting decision: Pretty much a forfeit therefore Con loses conduct. Only Pro used arguments and sources. SG to Pro as well since Pro had good spelling and grammar. If Con has problems with me giving 7 points to pro, he can blame it on Notch.