The Instigator
IEnglishman
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
MrJosh
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

In Light of Modern Science, God Is More Likely to Exist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
MrJosh
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 660 times Debate No: 67335
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)

 

IEnglishman

Pro

I believe the knowledge that modern science has given us increases the likelihood that a God exists.

Definitions

God- the supernatural, powerful creator of the universe

First round is acceptance only.
MrJosh

Con

I would like to thank PRO for setting up this debate. From the comments, I accept that PRO is arguing that it is more likely that a god exists than that no gods exist. I defer to to PRO to make his case.
Debate Round No. 1
IEnglishman

Pro

I will present two arguments for God that, in the light of modern scientific evidences, increase the chance that God exists.

Firstly, a cosmological argument for God. We know from experience that things become existing objects due to causes or culminations of causes outside of themselves that ground their existence. Therefore it seems to reasonable to look at the universe and ask whether it has a cause or whether it simply goes backwards and backwards, like a reverse of the story of Tristram Shandy. Traditionally most atheists have upheld this belief (one could mention Bertrand Russell, who used this objection in his essay "Why I Am Not A Christian". But it seems significantly less likely that this is so in light of modern cosmology. Cosmologists are now pretty certain that the universe originated in the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. The universe is quite obviously expanding from somewhere (because of the observation of a red shift between galaxies) and this is what convinces many physicists (e.g Roger Penrose) of a beginning of the universe. What is remarkable is this beginning represents not just the start of the universe in its current state but literally the coming into being of everything from a state of nothingness. Now there are highly speculative theories about an eternally oscillating universe which might result in the universe not having a beginning and thus no need for any cause, but these have not recommended themselves to the majority of physicists. You can summarize the argument so far as follows:

1) everything that begins to exist has a cause
2) the universe began to exist
3) therefore, the universe had a cause

Now what properties must this cause have? Well, it seems it must be existent outside the universe and thus immaterial and timeless (at least sans the universe). it must also be unchanging, since only things in times can change. Also, it must be enormously powerful in order to create our massively turbulant universe as it is today. It must also I think be personal for two reasons: 1) a timeless event cannot produce a cause which isn't also timeless unless it possesses agency. 2) only two kinds of things can have the properties of timelessness and immateriality discussed earlier one would be abstract objects like numbers or sets, the other a mind, but numbers can't stand in causal relations, so the entity that caused the universe must be a mind. A mind is a fundamentally personal attribute. Thus we are brought to a personal, uncaused, timeless, immaterial, immensely powerful first cause of the universe. And this, to quote Aquinas, is what everyone means when they talk about God.

A second argument is the teleological argument from the fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the Big Bang for intelligent life. This is not an argument that fine-tuning implies a fine-tuner, otherwise the argument would be obviously circular in its reasoning. This is to draw upon the fact that there are multiple arbitrary constants and quantities in the universe which physicists have detected that fall into an infinitesimally small range permitting intelligent life-forms such as ourselves. For example, Roger Penrose has calculated that the low entropy condition of the Big Bang had a chance of ten, to the power ten, to the power 123 chance of randomly occurring, he has said that he knows of no other place in physics were such a slim chance event has manifested itself in reality.[1] Now this kind of unique balance of conditions in the universe cries out for explanation. there are three options to explain such fine-tuning: chance, necessity or design. Chance appears to have been ruled out by such slim odds. The other option is physical necessity of these laws being at these values. But these values and quantities are arbitrary and therefore inexplicable by physical necessity. Therefore,we should posit that they were designed. But design implies a designer, a designer who is personal, and massively intelligent this is what we all mean when we speak of God.

Footnotes

[1] Roger Penrose, "Time-Asymmetry and Quantum Gravity," in Quantum Gravity 2 (ed. C. J. Isham, R. Penrose, and D. W. Sciama; Oxford: Clarendon, 1981), 249
MrJosh

Con

I would like to start by thanking PRO for setting up this debate; it promises to be enjoyable. I will start out with a brief discussion of probabilities, address PRO’s two arguments, and then offer a point of my own.

Probability

The resolution being debated here is that it is more likely that a god exist than that no gods exist, or to put it more succinctly, it is more probable that a god exists, than that one doesn’t. Now, the way we determine probabilities is to divide the number of ways the thing can happen, but the number of possible outcomes [1]. For instance, to find out the probability of rolling a 4 one a 6 sided die, we divide the number of fours on the die (1) by the total possible outcomes (6), and end up with a 1 in 6 chance.

Bringing this back to the topic at hand, we only have one universe to investigate, and we can’t go back in time to see the beginning. We don’t know the number of different ways a god might or might not exist, and we don’t know the different types of universes that might exist. So, while the arguments presented here may or may not lead anyone to think that a god is more or less likely than they did before, the two cannot be compared, since an actual numerical calculation is not possible without additional information. Therefore, the comparison of probabilities PRO suggests is impossible.

A Cosmological Argument

I would like to thank PRO for putting his argument in syllogistic form; this makes it much easier to address. Very simply, I question both of your premises:

Everything that Begins to Exist Has a Cause

Of course this seems intuitive, especially as everything we see in our everyday life follows this rule, however, I would like to ask PRO to demonstrate it. I will concede that every trial we have ever investigated suggests that this claim is true, but PRO is claiming that it applies universally. Does this not risk a Hasty Generalization [2]?

Also, to paraphrase Dan Barker, we are putting everything into two categories: things that begin to exist (BE), and things that do not begin to exist (DBE). Seemingly, everything in the universe, except God, is part of the set of things labeled BE. God would presumably be labeled DBE. However, if there is nothing else in the DBE category other than God, than the category itself would be a synonym for God. This means that PRO’s claim that “everything that begins to exist has a cause,” would be equivalent to saying ‘everything except God has a cause,’ which is a fallacy known as Special Pleading [3][4].

The Universe Had a Beginning

This is another claim I would like PRO to demonstrate. PRO claimed that “Cosmologists are now pretty certain that the universe originated in the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.” This is not accurate. It can be said that we are pretty sure that the universe AS WE KNOW IT began about 14 billion years ago, but we do not know what happened during the Planck Epoch. Our models theorize about the history of the universe back to about 10^−43 seconds after the big bang, but we know nothing about the universe before that [5]. We know all matter and energy were squished together really tightly, but we don’t know what made it go “bang,” or where it came from. Perhaps it had always existed, perhaps it grew out of a multiverse…we don’t know, so if PRO is going to claim that the universe had a beginning, he will need to provide some evidence.

A Teleological Argument

With this argument, PRO is asserting that the specific conditions (values of gravity, the strong force, etc.) of the universe require a god. For instance, if gravity were slightly weaker, stars wouldn’t “burn,” and if gravity were slightly stronger stars would be shorter lived, and would burn out before complex evolution such as our own could take place. PRO has suggested three possible explanations for the balance of forces we experience: design, necessity, and chance. I will utilize PRO’s framework (in a different order).

Design

PRO asserts that design should be posited because he feels the other two options aren’t possibilities. I suggest that the other options should not be counted out. Also, we should not posit design simply because the othe options are shown incorrect (assuming they are), because there might be a fourth option we haven't thought of. We should not believe this particular explanation until positive evidence is provided for it.

Necessity

Necessity is the suggestion that the universe could only have developed this way. PRO claims that the values are arbitrary, a claim he has not supported with evidence. Maybe this is the only way universes develop.

Chance

PRO is discounting chance as a possibility based on Penrose’s estimations of the odds of the universe developing this way. I want to point out that long odds do not equal impossibility; people DO win the lottery. We don’t know how many other universes might exist, perhaps all with different constants. Since we are sitting here discussing the matter, it is clear that our universe happens to be one of ones where the constants happened to be amiable to the development of us.

Also, PRO is ignoring the possibility that there might be multiple combinations of the constants that will develop into a universe that is amiable to life. Perhaps if gravity is a little weaker, but electromagnetism is a little stronger, while the weak and strong forces are changed a little this way and that, a different form of life could arise. We don’t know; PRO is simply asserting that it is too unlikely. This is a fallacy known as the Prosecutor’s Fallacy [6]. I admit that I am speculatinghere, however, PRO is asserting impossibility, and he carries the burden to demonstrate his claims.

The Existence of the Supernatural

The god we are talking about in this debate, according to PRO, is “the supernatural, powerful creator of the universe,” who is also “personal, uncaused, timeless, immaterial, immensely powerful.” I would like to ask if PRO has any evidence of the existence of a supernatural ANYTHING, even if it isn’t a god. My point is that we have lots of evidence of the existence of the natural world, but no evidence for the existence of anything supernatural. While I freely admit that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, Occam’s Razor demands that we consider the possibilities that require fewer assumptions first [7]. Therefore, since the natural world is known to exist, a natural explanation, however improbable, should be assumed before ANY supernatural explanation.

Wrapping Up

I have shown why neither PRO’s cosmological or teleological arguments hold up. I have also shown how supernatural explanations are necessarily inferior to natural explanations. PRO has not met his burden to show that the existence of a god is more likely that the lack of existence of such a deity.

Sources:

[1] http://www.mathsisfun.com...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://infidels.org...
[5] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://math.ucr.edu...

Debate Round No. 2
IEnglishman

Pro

IEnglishman forfeited this round.
MrJosh

Con


I’m sorry to see the PRO was unable to submit comments for this round within the allotted time. I presume he was simply caught up with responsibilities regarding the upcoming holiday. I look forward to his comments in the final round.


Debate Round No. 3
IEnglishman

Pro

IEnglishman forfeited this round.
MrJosh

Con

PRO has not addressed my response to his arguments, and therefore, my points stand. I have shown that PRO misunderstands modern scientific principles and uses that poor understanding to support his cosmological argument. While I am happy that PRO set up this debate, as I very much enjoyed it, I am disappointed that PRO did not see it through. If anyone has thoughts on my points, I would love to hear them.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Asburnu 2 years ago
Asburnu
Thank you both. I am looking forward to this and am withholding all pre-judgments or biases, to the best of my ability. May the one with the fewest logical fallacies win!
Posted by IEnglishman 2 years ago
IEnglishman
I assumed that, Intellectuallyprimitive, I just thought you were trying to make me appear like I was going to be using a "God-of-the-gaps" argument in my debate. Thought I'd head it off at the pass.
Posted by intellectuallyprimitive 2 years ago
intellectuallyprimitive
I am well aware that the concept of god is not affiliated with scientific endeavors, albeit science has played a role in ascertaining the veracity of certain religious claims, such as the flood.
Posted by IEnglishman 2 years ago
IEnglishman
Just more likely to exist. God is not a scientific concept.
Posted by intellectuallyprimitive 2 years ago
intellectuallyprimitive
The resolution requires more transparency.
Posted by intellectuallyprimitive 2 years ago
intellectuallyprimitive
More likely to exist, or more likely to utilize science to discover evidence for the existence?
Posted by IEnglishman 2 years ago
IEnglishman
Those two things are basically the same thing aren't they? Just from different perspectives.
Posted by MrJosh 2 years ago
MrJosh
Are you saying that modern scientific findings make it more likely that a god exists than a god not existing, or that science makes it more likely that a god exists than it looked before those discoveries?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
IEnglishmanMrJoshTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by Rubikx 2 years ago
Rubikx
IEnglishmanMrJoshTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: I agree with Pro, but he forfeited so my vote goes to Con