The Instigator
dairygirl4u2c
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
MrJosh
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

God's existence - supernatural explanation superior to natural due to violation of nature

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
MrJosh
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/20/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 489 times Debate No: 56904
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (4)

 

dairygirl4u2c

Pro

God's existence - supernatural explanation superior to natural due to violation of nature

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. but, the most direct observation is that violations of natural laws have occurred, and / or things outside of nature.

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. 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. 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. (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)
should that something else be best considered natural or supernatural?
we could infer a naturalistic explanation and have it all be not supernatural, but the actual observation indicates a violation of laws. that is, it is something that doesn't exist in our universe. that is, there is nothing in nature to make note of that could cause what looks like something from nothing. sure, you could say it's merely something that doesn't exist in our universe 'as we know it', leaving open natural explanations. but 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.

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.
MrJosh

Con

I would like to thank PRO for setting up this debate. I will argue that a supernatural explanation, to any question, is necessarily inferior to a natural explanation. I will happily share the burden of proof.

All of PRO’s points are based in a version of the Argument from Ignorance Fallacy. That is, because we cannot explain a thing, an individual’s pet theory (in this case a God) is posited [1]. Unfortunately, doing this has not advanced knowledge, as no real evidential support has been offered for the pet theory, but it is basically assumed to be correct because it has not been proved wrong. This is, of course, fallacious thinking.

Thermodynamics

PRO has claimed that the Laws of Thermodynamics “says energy is always breaking down from higher states.’” There are four laws of thermodynamics [2], none of which state what PRO claims them to say. Perhaps PRO can elaborate further.

The Uncaused Cause

PRO has claimed that that every effect must have a cause, except the first one. This is a case of the Special Pleading Fallacy [3]. PRO must provide evidence for why that first cause must have been uncaused, not simply claim that “the cause of our universe apparently had no other cause before it.” This again is an Argument from Ignorance

The Inferiority of Supernatural Explanations

My defense of my own proposition, that supernatural explanations are necessarily inferior to naturalistic explanations, will basically rely on Occam’s Razor. Occam’s Razor basically states that when comparing two hypotheses, the one that makes the fewest assumptions should be preferred [4].

PRO has not demonstrated that a supernatural ANYTHING exists. Also, positing a supernatural explanation does not have any explanatory power. If we do not know the explanation for X. We are ignorant on 1 item, and we have 0 assumptions. However, if we claim by fiat that God is the explanation for X, we now have 1 assumption, but we are ignorant on at least 2 items (How God did it, and an explanation for God himself). We have multiplied our ignorance and added to our assumptions, therefore, Occam’s Razor requires us to abandon the supernatural explanation. If we are ignorant of a thing (which we all are about numerous things) the correct course of action is to admit our ignorance, say, “I don’t know,” and then go about looking for an answer. Supernatural explanations do not have explanatory value

Final Thoughts

PRO has made several logical fallacies in her first round comments. I look forward to her expounding upon her points in the subsequent rounds so that we can have a fruitful discussion. I would again like to thank PRO for setting up this debate; I am having a good time so far.

Sources

[1] http://rationalwiki.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 1
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

it is not based on ignorance. it's based on observation. if we see a magician who turns cats into dogs, and cannot find a way to prove it being scientific, we at least have an observation that says it's magic. even most scientific methods answer questions based on the best evidence available... that's not appealing to ignorance, it's just going on what we have best.

"There are four laws of thermodynamics [2], none of which state what PRO claims them to say. Perhaps PRO can elaborate further."
http://telstar.ote.cmu.edu...
"Natural systems left to themselves move towards states of lower potential energy."

the uncaused cause thing is same as before. we have an observation, that the universe apparently came from nothing. we go with the information we have available. everything else we might suppose, are based on theories alone, not empirical information.

okham's razor could be said to be best fulfilled by the supernatural hyposthesis. most any therory (aside from us coming from nothing) that we might posit for how the universe began would necessarily entail more questions, it's no better than the God hypothesis. at least with teh supernatural hypothesis, we can just chaulk it up to the mysteries of the supernatural, and in fact probably have fewer questions overall in the long run. the only theory that might have fewest questions, would be that we came from nothing, as that is most apparent and raises only 'how is that possible'.
MrJosh

Con

I would like to thank PRO for her comments this round. I will do my best to address all points thoroughly.

Magic

PRO has claimed that magic is an acceptable belief when we see a magician turn a cat into a dog. Aside from the obvious flaw in the analogy of the “magician” using sleight of hand, we run into the problem of making another Argument from Ignorance Fallacy. In this case, PRO is using the fallacy in its most basic form, basically saying that an explanation should be believed since it has not been disproved [1].

To demonstrate the absurdity of PRO’s position, I claim that the universe was created by an Invisible Pink Unicorn. According to PRO’s reasoning, she must accept this proposition unless she can prove it false. The time to believe a premise is when sufficient evidence has been provided.

Thermodynamics

I would like to thank PRO for expanding on her point about thermodynamics. It appears now that she is talking about the Second Law of Thermodynamics, specifically that entropy will increase with time [2]. It seems to me that she is then reasoning that there must have been a point in the past where entropy was 0, and that this must have been the beginning of the universe, the Big Bang. Furthermore, PRO goes on to point out that there must have been a cause of the Big Bang, and that cause violates the natural laws. She then says that we could call this cause “God.” I would ask PRO to correct me if I have incorrectly framed her argument. I will address this again in my final section.

The Uncaused Cause

No, we do not have an observation that “the universe apparently came from nothing.” What we have is an area in which we are ignorant. If PRO is claiming that the universe came from nothing I would be willing to look at her evidence.

Occam’s razor

Here, PRO is forgetting something; we have evidence that the natural world exists; we do not have evidence that anything supernatural exists. Therefore, in ANY discussion, a supernatural explanation requires at least one more assumption (that the supernatural does indeed exist), and therefore it can be cut away with the razor [3].

Arguments from Ignorance/Final Thoughts

The problem that is at the core of all of PRO’s arguments is that she seems to commit the Argument from Ignorance Fallacy with reckless abandon. Simply because we cannot disprove a proposition, does not mean it should be believed. Positive evidence for the proposition MUST be offered. This is the case whether we are talking about magic claims by illusionists, the cause of the universe or the existence of the supernatural. PRO is able to argue back to our ignorance, but then she begins to make assertions for which she has no evidence. If we don’t know something, the correct answer is “I don’t know.”

I look forward to PRO’s comments in the final round.

[1] http://rationalwiki.org...
[2] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...
[3] http://rationalwiki.org...

Debate Round No. 2
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

the magician analogy may be flawed, but so are any analogies that con presents. something from nothing, uncaused caused, possible infinite regressions.... these are not things we see every day. this is all stuff that is unique unto itself. this means unexpected or alteranative etc explanations are to be expected.

"To demonstrate the absurdity of PRO"s position, I claim that the universe was created by an Invisible Pink Unicorn. According to PRO"s reasoning, she must accept this proposition unless she can prove it false"

the problem is that all i am claiming to establish is the supernatural. and perhaps various definitions of God, probaably something Deistic as a baseline. a unicorn is specific and we have no specific reason to believe antything about unicorns. we have have reason to think something about the supernatural.

i dont know why con seems to be acknolwedkng that the link i provided is an adequate reference to thermodynaics, when he had in the last post said it wasn't possible for me to be arguing about thermodynaimcs. anyways, just a minor quibble.

"No, we do not have an observation that "the universe apparently came from nothing." What we have is an area in which we are ignorant. If PRO is claiming that the universe came from nothing I would be willing to look at her evidence."

im not claiming it came from nothing. im claiming that's what it looks like. this is common lay man knowledge. there was nothing, then there was the big bang. there might be alternative explanations, but this is the common knowledge 'what it looks like' 'what it is said to be' understanding.

i do acknowledge that with occam's razor, that the simplest explanation is that we came from nothing. if we want it to make more sense, though, basedo n the observation taht things have always been known to come from other things, we have no choice but to add a layer on to explain it. you could add a theoretical model like multiverses etc, but they are themeselves added layers. and, the supernaturla hypothesis is a layer that could be said to be more simpler, cause it just ends with "it's a mystery". the other theories have many more questions than answers etc.

it should be noted too, that those theories are just that, theories. they are not based on empirical evidence. emirical 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 alterantive theories? because that's what it looks like.

con is putting too much emphasis on the point of God. i mostly included it as the arguments i'm using are a common theme is the God's existence debate. we could easily have the supernatural or not deabte without reference to God specifically. i wouldn't necesaarily even go so far as con's definition of God, you could easily and argue more probably that my argument is more from a deistic standpoint, that there is 'something' like a higher power going on. but again, is all pretty much beside the point of the supernatural argument.

i will take his points about God being used to explain the unknown, as 'supernatural' is being used to explain the unknown. he has a point, it has often been the catch all for thigns we can't explain. but existance as we know it, and how that happened, no one can deny is unique unto itself/. it's not everyday we something that looks like it fcame from nothing, or that we see 'uncaused causes' or 'infinite regresssion'. you can argue that my magician point is just an analogy, but your analogy here is also just an analogy. again, we are dealing with a situation that is unique unto itself.

' Please demonstrate how any being exists outside of space and time.'

it is of course obvious that if something is supernatural. it doesn't have to and in fact wouldnt alwayts accord with laws as we know them. we have evidence of the supernatural, which just means we have evidence for something acting outside of laws as we know them. it's not definitive evidence, but it's sufficient ot say it's a proof, and it is indisputably somehting that could be called 'evidence'.

multiverse. yes ive admitted already taht there are other possible explanations. that doesn't mean we don't ahve sufficient evifence to state a theory or even a proof for something supernatural. and, those alternative explanations are just theories. they are not based on empirical evidence. the empirical evidence we do have i am arguing indicates the supernatural.

"Did the laws of physics exist before the universe. Well the laws of physics describe the universe, so if there's no universe how can there be laws of physics? They would be reduced to the laws of nothing?"

im not following what con is tryin to say here. it seems like if anything he is supporting the supernatural explanation. we can't describe something from nothing with phyhsics, and phsyics doesn't makes sense 'before' the universe'. so we go to the supernatural explanation.

"The Quantum Eternity Theorem states: under conventional quantum mechanics, any universe with a non-zero energy and a time-independent Hamiltonian will necessarily last forever toward both the past and the future."

i'm sure there are theories that say that. the standard model says that our iuniverse is breaking down from higher energy to lower energy and will go out with a whimper, as they say. we are fading to black.

"When you apply quantum physics to gravity, the whole universe can come from nothing."

you didn't really address my quantum points. we see something from nothing only at the quantum level. that means at the level where matter already exists to begin with. we also don't see quantum happenings causing matter to form. these are both huge obsticals in trying to put this in the same league with matter and the universe coming from nothing.

"If we don"t know something, the correct answer is "I don"t know.""

sure, of course. but if we are going to argue about possibilities, i'm just arguing what i see as the best one.

bottomline: if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.
MrJosh

Con

I would like to thank PRO for her comments, of which there are many. I will do my best to address all of the points which are relevant to the debate.

Invisible Pink Unicorns

My point about the Invisible Pink Unicorn is not to provide a counter analogy, but rather, to point out the flaw in PRO’s reasoning. She is claiming that a thing should be believed until it can be disproved. As I have pointed out before, this is fallacious reasoning. The time to believe a thing is when positive evidence for it can be provided; this goes for gods, unicorns, and the supernatural in general.

Thermodynamics

In round 1 I challenged PRO to elaborate further on her points regarding thermodynamics. In the second round I accepted her points for the sake of the argument, because I chose to argue a different way. I know PRO noted that this is “just a minor quibble;” I just want to make it clear that the points PRO made about thermodynamics are irrelevant for the reasons I mentioned previously, which I will recap at the end of this round.

A Universe From Nothing

PRO makes the odd point that the universe “appears” to have come from nothing. When pressed, she noted that this is a lay observation. This is irrelevant. I don’t care about lay observations when we have access to expert analysis. My point about the beginning of the universe being a mystery stands; PRO has not provided evidence that the universe came from nothing.

Occam’s Razor and Adding Layers

PRO claims that we “have no choice but to add a layer” to explain the unknown. This is just incorrect. We can simply say, “I don’t know,” and continue looking. As is noted by Occam’s Razor, adding additional layers simply complicates things unnecessarily.

Breaking the Physical Laws

PRO has noted that it seems like physical laws break down as our knowledge approaches the Big Bang. She then takes the fallacious leap suggesting that this might be supernatural. No, this is an unknown phenomenon. Once again, the fact that we don’t know a thing, does not mean it was done by magical space pixies, or anything supernatural.

Phantom Quotes

Toward the end of this round, PRO provided several quotes which are of dubious origin, seemingly crediting them to me. One of them is similar in content to what I wrote, but since she is actually presenting them in quotes, I am confused. They are:

' Please demonstrate how any being exists outside of space and time.'

"Did the laws of physics exist before the universe. Well the laws of physics describe the universe, so if there's no universe how can there be laws of physics? They would be reduced to the laws of nothing?"

"The Quantum Eternity Theorem states: under conventional quantum mechanics, any universe with a non-zero energy and a time-independent Hamiltonian will necessarily last forever toward both the past and the future."

and

"When you apply quantum physics to gravity, the whole universe can come from nothing."

Perhaps PRO accidentally copy/pasted from another debate. I really don’t know, and am not going to address these points.

Arguments from Ignorance

PRO’s points throughout this debate have boiled down to Arguments from Ignorance. That is, she is claiming that something should be believed because it cannot, or has not, been disproved. As I have pointed out, this is fallacious, and these arguments can be dismissed.

I do want to point out that PRO has changed her language in this last round. The initial proposition is that supernatural explanations ARE superior, but in her closing comments, she pointed out that SHE SEES them as superior. How PRO sees it is irrelevant. What is relevant is what actually is, and what evidence we can find the help us best understand that reality.

Final Thoughts

PRO claimed that supernatural explanations are superior to natural explanations. She has not sufficiently supported that proposition. In contrast, I have shown how supernatural explanations are necessarily inferior to naturalistic ones. In closing, I would like to thank PRO for this debate, it has been most interesting.

Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Mike_10-4 2 years ago
Mike_10-4
Humanity is just scratching the surface of the Laws of Nature via the scientific method and that is a natural explanation. As of yet there is no natural explanation of the supernatural, so how could there be a supernatural explanation in the physical domain?

Supernatural is just metaphysics, a place where any thought is free to go.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by ArcTImes 2 years ago
ArcTImes
dairygirl4u2cMrJoshTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro didn't meet the BoP... and too many fallacies.
Vote Placed by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
dairygirl4u2cMrJoshTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro bears the BOP and fails to meet it. Con's arguments re: pink unicorns, thermodynamics, and Occam's Razor sufficiently indicate that Pro has failed to meet her BOP. Arguments from Ignorance, as Con succinctly puts it, do not affirm the resolution. Con's sources were far more numerous and informative, as well. They were better integrated into Con's case as a means of advancing his argument. Vote Con.
Vote Placed by Mikal 2 years ago
Mikal
dairygirl4u2cMrJoshTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Cob negated all of pros arguments with viable sources. Not really much of an RFD needed
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
FuzzyCatPotato
dairygirl4u2cMrJoshTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Occam's Razor + lack of knowledge = negate