The Instigator
dairygirl4u2c
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Rational_Thought
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

God's existence - it is reasonable to conclude a supernatural cause of existence

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Rational_Thought
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/2/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 508 times Debate No: 61188
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

dairygirl4u2c

Pro

God's existence - it is reasonable to conclude a supernatural cause of existence

bottom line: if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

if you see a magician who waves his wand and makes cats turn into dogs, you could argue a natural explanation is possible, and perhaps even argue that it is preferable, given most times magic tricks have explanations. but, the most direct observation is that violations of natural laws have occurred, and / or things outside of nature. at what point can we say given there's no explanation that there is magic that occurred, by definition supernatural?

likewise, according to our observation in the early universe, things are not acting according to laws as we know them. more than just that, our observation indicates *violations* of laws as we know them. that is, something from nothing, and the thermodynamics issue.

-the law of thermodynamics.
"Natural systems left to themselves move towards states of lower potential energy."
http://environ.andrew.cmu.edu......
this says energy is always breaking down from higher states. this theory basically negates the idea that there is something in our physical universe that goes on and on back infinitely. there can be no infinite beginning, because there is no infinite end. we see an end point coming. that means there must be a finite beginning. that means, if you take things back further and further in time, something must have caused the highest energy level of the big bang. we could call that unknown, God. a reason why we might call it that, is because the phenomenon violates natural laws as we know it- a high energy level came from something other than a higher energy level.

-uncaused cause. we see a finite beginning with thermodynamics, and the big bang. based on our observation, the universe has a beginning. things are known to have causes. that means the cause must be outside our universe, trancendent. therefore, by definition a supernatural cause exists, given the cause is outside our natural existence. it looks like the universe came from nothing. something coming from something else makes more sense. should this cause be said to be natural or supernatural? it looks like what happened is "beyond nature as far as we know". if it's merely "as far as we know", that would lead some to conclude a natural cause is possible. sure, it's possible, but the indicators are there to conclude it's supernatural. usually, like with a bike rolling down a hill, or in advances of science like what causes tides, we can find indicators to lead us to a scientific explanation. but here, with existence as we know it, it LOOKS like there was the universe, but before the universe was nothing.... so if something caused us, it would have to be outside of natural existence. in fact, the direct observation is more than just not what we know - it's violation of reality, or at least outside of reality, apparently more than is possible.
////// to put it in terms of traditional philosophy, there then apparently exists an uncaused cause. that is, every effect must have a cause, except apparently the first one. (we could speculate about God and his causes or lack thereof, but for our purposes in this reality, we have to content ourselves with what we see-and the cause of our universe apparently had no other cause before it) one might argue the universe could be its own uncaused cause. but that would assume something from nothing. something from something else makes more sense as mentioned earlier. (quantum mechanics shows something from nothing. but that is at the quantum level, where matter already exists to begin with. we have never observed matter to come from quantum happenings, let alone quantum happenings that didnt have matter already there to begin with- if fact, if we did see matter coming from nothing else, we might view that as with the magician, it might be something supernatural)

multiverse, something in quantum mechanics, etc. it should be noted too, that there are theories that posit where we came from. those theories are just that, theories. they are not based on empirical evidence. empirical evidence alone, it looks like we came from nothing. and we know that that isn't something we should be working with. why go with supernatural instead of alternative theories? because that's what it looks like.

with the analogy of the magician and with God, this acknowledges that there *could* be other natural explanation possibilities. but nothing has to be definitively proven for it to be a called a proof, or even proven.
theists merely are arguing the most straightforward explanation - the magician apparently caused violations of nature, so we say it apparently is supernatural. it might feel wrong making that conclusion, but if that's what it looks like, that's what it's called.

bottom line: if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

-----------------------

Atheists often talk about how the spaghetti monster disproves God, cause we could have been formed by it. This is not analogous completely, but it makes an important point. That an intelligence made is is reasonable, that something specific like spaghetti did is random.

what about everyday analogies of causes being natural? Now, It does make sense say something caused us. If you see a bike rolling, that something pushed it makes sense. we'd expect something specific to have a specific cause, but in something that's unique unto itself like existence as we know it, that isn't necessarily expected- we know bikes roling have causes cause we see it all the time it's the only thing to conclude at that level of specificity, and they're (creation v. bike) different things that could reasonably be treated different per anaysis.
Rational_Thought

Con

Thank You for the challenge Dairygirl,

I would like to start this debate with a trip into the past, to see how we have come to where we are today. The first written language appeared in Mesopotamia around 3000 BCE, and so began the first time in history humans were able to reliably pass information onto the next generation(1). Yet despite this, the scientific discoveries in the last 200 hundred years, outnumber all the scientific discoveries for the whole of history(2). Now why did this explosion of discovery occur 4800 years after the invention of writing, or better yet why didn't it occur earlier?
To put it as bluntly as possible, superstition. Humanity was only able to start true discover after a movement started in the late 17th century called the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment emphasized reason(4), with the purpose to reform society, challenge ideas grounded in tradition and faith, and to advance knowledge through the scientific method(5). Now while this was greatly beneficial, there was also a scientific revolution occurring along side the Enlightenment that resulted in, "A new view of nature emerged, replacing the Greek view that had dominated science for almost 2,000 years. Science became an autonomous discipline, distinct from both philosophy and technology and came to be regarded as having utilitarian goals."(3).
Here we have the answer, the combination of reason and the scientific method changed a historical precedent that had existed since the beginning of Humankind. Where the unexplained was treated with superstition, tradition, and philosophy. When humanity sheds its superstition for reason we allow discovery because supernatural explanations warrant no further investigation, they are by definition un-understandable. The brilliant physicist Richard Feynman described this when he said, "I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers which can't be questioned".
Since this separation of philosophy and science, virtually every unknown that our ancestors had attributed to spirits for thousands of years, the scientific method has found a natural cause for. I will now ask a question.
Why, when the current scientific method has explained so many unknowns that where once attributed to supernaturalism. Would it be more reasonable to reintroduce supernaturalism into the scientific method when science only saw its explosion of discovery after it was removed during the Enlightenment? Keep in mind that the scientific method has never once found a supernatural explanation of an event to be true.

Proceeding on.
One of the most recited claims from those who disagree with the current explanation for the universes is the "something from nothing" claim. You have placed a small twist on this claim by presenting it, along with the Planck Epoch (beginning state of the Universe) as an observation of the laws of nature being violated. I must stop here and do some clarifications before proceeding. Scientific Laws, Theories, and even Facts are not constant.
Facts: In science, an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and for all practical purposes is accepted as "true". (6)
Theory: In science, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses. (6)
Law: A descriptive generalization about how some aspect of the natural world behaves under stated circumstances. (6)
You may have picked up on the key words in all three of these definitions; observation, explanation, and descriptive (description). All of these things can change, truth in science is never final, and what is accepted as a fact today may be modified or even discarded tomorrow.
So, to use part of the definition for supernatural, nothing can truly be, "beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature". By definition, violating a Law of nature only means that our description of that aspect of nature was incomplete, or all together wrong. A good quote for this by Richard Feynman is, "You can never know you're right, you can only know that you're not wrong....yet"(7).
However, that is just the misunderstanding of definitions, now for the science. You are half correct that at the quantum level gluons and quarks come into existence from existing matter. This 'matter' however did come from nothing, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle says that when examining empty space on an extremely small scale the uncertainty of that space's energy will increase as scale decreases to the point that pairs of virtual particles can come into existence from empty space, which is the basis of Quantum field theory(8). These virtual particle pairs are described in the theory of Quantum Chromo-dynamics, and is called quantum field fluctuations (9). When energy is put into the quantum fluctuations field a quark gluon pair comes into existence so you are correct there, but the virtual particles making up the field fluctuations come from nothing. These virtual particles have been proven to exist as well, both experimentally as well as mathematically with the Dirac Equation(10/8). To overly simplify how something can come from nothing, think of the number 0. It is nothing, however it can be broken into (0=-1+1) and now you have two very real things that came from nothing.
Now you mentioned something very important that quantum mechanics describes things on a small scale. One the biggest reasons we have so many unanswered questions about the Plank epoch (early universe) is because General relativity which unbelievably precise at measuring and predicting larges things, and Quantum mechanics which is unbelievably precise at measuring and predicting small things don't agree when they meet(12). This is because quantum mechanics works in probability and super position while, general relativity is arithmetically geometric with set points. Now this doesn't mean the theories are wrong, take this math equation: 4x-2 = (6+3x)^2. While I could do this in my head most middle-schoolers starting pre-algebra will break the equation it to smaller easier to understand pieces to solve first. They would take (6+3x)^2 and used the FOIL method to get 36+45x ect. Current cosmology is doing this in reverse, starting with pieces of the whole equation. example: Quantum Mechanics+General Relativity+(unknowns)=How the Universe works. They have known for years that their theories were incomplete, this is where string theory, and more recently Loop Quantum Cosmology comes in. These two theories are the leading models to complete the equation for how our universe works, and when that happens we will have the answers to all the unanswered questions you and everyone else are asking(11).
Now there are hundreds of textbooks on this subject, so while I cannot in give you all the information you seek in 8000 characters. What I can say is, based on the historical success of supernatural explanations vs. the success of the scientific method, combined with the knowledge of current physics and where it is heading, there is no way to reasonable conclude a supernatural beginning to the Universe.

(1) http://www.hrc.utexas.edu...
(2) http://www.sciencetimeline.net... (or) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(3) "Physical Sciences". Encyclopedia Britannica 25 (15th ed.). 1993. p. 830
(4) "enlightenment" Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press, n.d. Web. 19 September 2013.
(5) Kors, Alan Charles. Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003. Print
(6) http://www.nap.edu...
(7)
(8) http://vimeo.com...
(9)
(10) http://www.physics.adelaide.edu.au...
(11)
(12) http://www.infoplease.com...
Debate Round No. 1
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

it looks like there was nothing then there as something. it makes more sense to say there was something first. but the regression of the big bang and thermodynamics state that there was a definite beginning, not the other theories that say there wasn't a definite beginning. whatever it was, looks like it was outside of natural existence. that is, supernatural.
Rational_Thought

Con

While many have been claiming the "something from nothing" argument for years, very few actually know why they can argue that point. Many assume the "Big Bang"(terrible name) Theory says we just popped into existence, however the Big Bang theory only explains how the current universe was formed, not how it was created.
"The Big Bang Model is a broadly accepted theory for the origin and evolution of our universe. It postulates that 12 to 14 billion years ago, the portion of the universe we can see today was only a few millimeters across."(1). This is as far back as the theory goes, because we honestly don't have a verified/tested mathematical model yet to pinpoint the cause to the creation of the universe. This is due to the fact that the equation for representing how particles interact (how the universe works) in every environment, are incomplete, this is what Einstein was looking for, a unified theory that explained everything(2). Like I explained in my last post, We have quantum physics which is spectacular are calculating particles at extremely small scales, and we have general relativity that is spectacular at calculating particles on very large scales(and at light speed). However we're still missing a piece of the equation, the intermediate size that is both at a large and a small scale, . Currently String theory, and Quantum loop theory are working to find that missing piece to the Unified equation. The can both guess based on their math, what might have caused the universe but their equations are still imperfect based on how we observe the universe to act. So if you want an answer that isn't, "we don't know yet" (which people think means "something from nothing") Quantum loop theory seems to have what looks like a bounce, where a universe collapsed to a tiny size and bounced back(3). String theory suggest colliding dimensional bubbles, or the multi-verse causing two universes to merge into a new universe, but we simply don't know yet.
I doubt any scientist would say that there wasn't something that existed before our Universe, but it would be unscientific it to say that without proof which is why they don't. So you are correct, "it makes more sense to say there was something first." which is what cosmologist are finding proof for.
As for the 2nd law of Thermodynamics, only says that a closed system will gain entropy, and over time concentrated forms of energy (planets, stars ect,) will degrade and disperse until the energy evenly fills that system. HOWEVER, the energy in a closed system must remain CONSTANT otherwise it would violate the conservation of energy. So a higher amount of energy would not be required to cause the Big Bang, It would only need the same amount of energy our universe contains.
Everyone wants the answer to where we came from, humans thousands of years ago wanted to know, and not knowing was so disturbing that they invented explanations. In less then 500 hundred years we have come right to the precipice of the true answer by measuring a Universe that is 28 billion light-years in diameter(4) using instruments that by comparison are smaller than the smallest known particles, from a planet that is a spec of dust being blown around in cosmic space. Yet you can't wait 10-20 even 50 years for the real answer, you want the answer right now. I count myself lucky to live in a time where so much discovery is possible, and even the chance of knowing the real answer to the universe should warrant patience, but you have more than a chance. There is a very real possibility the Unified theory will be formulated in our life time, so instead of inventing answers as our ancestors did how about you become a scientist and help or wait until others find it for you.

Bottom line:
-The Big Bang doesn't deal with the cause for the beginning of the Universe (doesn't say there was a definite beginning)
-The Second law of Thermodynamics likewise doesn't require a finite beginning
-When the Unified Theory is finally discover/proven we'll have the answers to exactly how our universe came to be.

(1)http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov...
(2)https://www.ted.com...
(3)https://www.youtube.com...
(4)http://www.space.com...
Debate Round No. 2
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

i thank con for explaining how string and loop theory relate to our current models.

it still looks like there was nothing and then something. and soemthing from something else makes more sense. so i reiterate all my points. and leave you with some analogies i didn't argue before, perhaps we could speak metaphorically to make more progress beyond what we've already covered.

three analogies...
if you see a magician who waves his wand and makes cats turn into dogs, you could argue a natural explanation is possible, and perhaps even argue that it is preferable, given most times magic tricks have explanations. but, the most direct observation is that violations of natural laws have occurred, and / or things outside of nature. at what point can we say given there's no explanation that there is magic that occurred, by definition supernatural?

also consider a couple of examples. one is the universe as a balloon, and the other as the earth as the extent of what we know. if there was a balloon of helium, the people inside it might say 'helium and this balloon is all we know, therefore, the balloon created itself'. others would say 'the balloon could have come from a nonhelium and non balloon place. it looks like the balloon was 'blown up' from somewhere else' which, we all know is in fact the truth of the matter. or, what if someone said 'the earth is all we know. everything comes and happens here. to say there is something else a 'universe' of sorts, is by definition illogical.' which of course, we all know is false. so, we can conclude that to argue against me in this matter is what is limited argument, cause it limits the possibilities of where we came from.
Rational_Thought

Con

This is the final round so I will try to withhold proposing any new arguments as much as possible since the Pro cannot respond to them.

When someone has a different view on a topic then me It doesn't really matter to me, what does matter to me is how they gained that point of view. This is why I like how you are arguing your side, you're using reason and basic logic which is why under a certain environment I would be inclined to agree with your position. The problem is that environment would require me to have no prior knowledge of history. If I looked at the beginning of the universe as a stand alone event your argument would be very persuasive because it would be similar to what you said, "the most direct observation is that violations of natural laws have occurred, and / or things outside of nature". However, this environment isn't reflective of reality where we do have knowledge of the success record of supernatural explanation vs. a natural scientific explanation, and when we factor this knowledge into the debate a "direct observation" is no longer possible. Let me use your magician here, you said that, "you could argue a natural explanation is possible, and perhaps even argue that it is preferable, given most times magic tricks have explanations." right there you supported my argument. You had to ignore the history of magic tricks to argue that as a purely direct observation the magician did something supernatural. So by that same logic when the history of supernatural explanation is NOT ignored, by your own words, a natural explanation is arguably "preferable".

"....cause it limits the possibilities of where we came from", The possibilities of where we came from are only limited by what someone can argue, because until it is proven only arguments that aren't defendable using reason, or facts are not possible.

"....something from something else makes more sense." I completely agree with this which is why in my last round I explained how cosmologists are working to prove that we did come from something with the Unified theory. While it is true that you can say, if they prove where this universe came from, what made whatever made us. The substance of that argument losses validity (again) when compared to history, especially if a natural explanation is found for the creation of this Universe. Every time a supernatural explanation is disproven that argument becomes less and less legitimate.

Summery (as I see it):

Pro argued:
-Observation warrants supernatural cause to be more reasonable
*Finite end, warrants finite beginning
*2nd Law of thermodynamics needs a highest energy state at the beginning of time (god)
*Uncaused cause (something from nothing)
-Natural explanations possible though not based on what is observed
*Quantum level physics starts with existing matter
*Scientific Theories aren't based on evidence

Con Argued:
-History warrants a natural explanation to be more reasonable
-Observations warrants natural cause
*Finite beginning or end of this universe doesn't mean anything
*Pro's argument/understanding of the 2nd Law violates the conservation of energy
*Uncaused cause happen all the times
*Quantum physics (virtual particles) come from nothing
*Pro's understanding of Scientific definitions (Theory) was inaccurate
*Unified Theory is working to finish the bases/proof for a natural explanation to where this universe came form (No one argues that we came from nothing)

Closing statement:
I find that it is more reasonable to conclude a natural explanation to the Universe, because history and physics. Modern cosmology has already explained the majority of the Universe, and is expected to complete the answer to the beginning of the Universe. While history has always seen natural explanations replace what once were supernatural explanations to almost every question in the Universe.

I'll close this debate with a quote from the most logical half-human in the Universe, Mr. Spock, "If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Rational_Thought 2 years ago
Rational_Thought
See we should have been the ones debating this,
First off you can't seriously be arguing that virtual particles don't exist, and while yes they do result in almost instant annihilation there have been experiments (Casimir effect) that proved their existence as well as mathematics (Dirac Equation). Also the strong force that holds protons together is dependent on virtual particles, the constant creation and annihilation of virtual particles causes quantum field fluctuations. To stop these fluctuations you actually have to put energy into the field you can't take it away, and quarks (building blocks of protons) do this. Their interactions between the up quark, down quark, guons ect. make dead zones in the fluctuations field and that energy to make the dead zone is the strong force (quantum chomo-dynamics).
"But then things are there! With no explanation." You forgot to add the "...yet." at the end.
Also as I explained to the individual I was debating the Big Bang Theory doesn't deal with the cause for the Universe.
True we don't know (yet) were all the antimatter went but everyone knows the current model isn't perfect...yet. (see: http://www.newscientist.com...)
Also true is the math for our universe making our existence an extremely small probability, which is why there are predictions in physics, using what we've observed in the natural universe, for our non-existence. That we are just simulations, or living on the surface of a blackhole. All of these with even smaller probability, but the probability of supernatural causes are even smaller to the point of nonexistence. I am sorry that you can't fathom a universe such as ours but that doesn't prove anything, you can say you feel like your existence is too unlikely to be chance all you want. It wont change reality. In an infinite Universe chance is nothing but waiting enough time.
Posted by THEbrick 2 years ago
THEbrick
I must comment on this. When the quantum ripple was suggested, it was said that at an infinitesimally small plane, the quantum disturbances would have pronounced effects. In theory, there could be a point where a particle (1) and and anti-particle (-1) suddenly leap into existence. But due to proximity and the nature of these objects, the result would be instant annihilation with nothing left behind to prove anything happened.

As for the Big Bang Theory. Supposedly everything in the universe was condensed into a point, a single thing so small that it could not be measured. But then things are there! With no explanation. On a cosmic scale, an 'explosion' of this magnitude should have yielded equal parts of matter and anti-matter. The consequences of which are... nothing. Now, we miraculously have more matter than anti-matter. What's next? Atoms! There are four natural forces of nature that have to be balanced for these to exist. In order of weakest to strongest: Gravity, Weak force, Strong force, Electro-magnetism. We all know what the first and last are. But the middle two? The weak force; a force that keeps atomic nuclei stable. It's the reason we have radiation. It makes sure that the protons, neutrons and electrons are all doing what they should be. The strong force; this is the binding force of the atomic nuclei. This is what keeps the protons from floating away when they see an attractive electron. Without it, everything falls apart due to electromagnetism and gravity. So you are telling me that we just happened to come about by chance and there are these four fundamental forces that are the only thing keeping things going? What is the probability of that? Next to none. Your science is good, just misapplied. Keep up the good work, you'll find the truth eventually.
Posted by Rational_Thought 2 years ago
Rational_Thought
Never mind found the limit. 8000 characters
Posted by Rational_Thought 2 years ago
Rational_Thought
So i'm about finished, but I just wanted to double check how long it could be, I vaguely remember something saying 9000 words.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
dairygirl4u2cRational_ThoughtTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Mrs. Diary has terrible spelling as usual, uses no sources as usual, and barely holds up her arguments and/or rebuts. As usual. -.-